Each SBT should have a thorough understanding of the District Problem Solving Approach and Process.

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1 BEST PRACTICES Each school in School District No. 22 should have an active, functioning School Based Team (SBT). Each SBT should have a thorough understanding of the District Problem Solving Approach and Process. Each SBT should develop a document describing its: Mandate Team composition Roles and responsibilities Operational procedures Record keeping procedures Resources available Procedures to ensure maintenance and growth of the team Having each of these elements clearly defined within the context of each individual school environment ensures consistent parameters for school-based teams in the district, while allowing the flexibility required to meet the unique needs of each school. Additional School Based Team information is found in the Manual of Best Practices. MANDATE The Ministry of Education manual (Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines) stresses the importance of each school having a School Based Team (SBT) to provide a forum for problem solving by school personnel. It is essential to the foundation, direction, and purpose of the School Based Team that a formal mandate be developed through consultation with staff and parents. The mandate should be in writing and be consistent with Ministry and School District policy. Parents, students and staff must be aware of the SBT s mandate and its operating procedures. Ways to communicate this information to staff might include: posting the mandate in the staff room or copy room with the referral forms publishing the mandate in a staff newsletter discussing SBT procedures at a staff meeting clarifying the procedures with referring teachers before the SBT meeting Each year, the SBT should review the mandate and procedures with school staff and provide updates regarding any changes arising from growth and maintenance plans. Communicating information about the SBT and its mandate to parents might include: a presentation at a PAC meeting a notice in the parent newsletter a copy of the mandate in the student planner

2 a copy of the mandate in the parent handbook information being available at Open House or other school events a display on the office bulletin board information on the school web site EXAMPLES OF MANDATES SCHOOL A Our School Based Team is a problem-solving group, which is available for all students, assists classroom teachers in the development and implementation of learning, instructional and/or management strategies, and makes effective use of school, parental and/or community resources. SCHOOL B To collaborate with classroom teachers in the development of intervention plans. To monitor and evaluate intervention plans. To facilitate referrals, where appropriate, to in-school resources, community services and Level 3 resources. To advocate for students. SCHOOL C Our School Based Team is a problem-solving group, which is designed to support teachers, parents and community agencies in meeting the diverse needs of our total student population. Through a collaborative process, using objective data, we assist classroom teachers, students and parents in the assessment, development, implementation of instructional and/or management strategies which benefit all our students and make effective use of all resources available to our school community. EXAMPLE OF INSERT FOR SCHOOL NEWSLETTER: School District No 22 encourages the establishment of a School Based Team (SBT) at each school in the district. Our School Based Team mandate is to provide a problem-solving group, which supports all students. The team assists classroom teachers in the development and implementation of instructional and/or management strategies, offers support to parents helping their children with academic and behavioural issues, and makes effective use of school and community resources. Our School Based Team consists of classroom teachers, a learning assistance teacher, a counselor, an administrator and other persons, as may be appropriate. The team meets weekly to determine strategies to increase students opportunities for success. These meetings are designed to share information and problem solve around academic and/or behavioural concerns. The team, in conjunction with the student s teacher(s), determines an appropriate action plan and monitors the progress of the plan. Referrals to SBT can be made by teachers and parents/guardians. If you would like more information about our School Based Team, please contact the school principal. TEAM COMPOSITION The composition of the SBT will depend upon school size and needs, the knowledge, experience, and demonstrated skills of staff, and administrative support. In order to provide an effective forum for

3 problem solving, all members should be active participants in the process. All members of the SBT should strive to provide: a non-threatening, supportive environment. open, honest communication. practical and creative strategies to solve problems. an effective, systematic decision making process. Administrative support is vital. In addition to being a contributing member of the team, the administrator ensures there are resources available, encourages teachers to access the team, provides positive support to all team members, and ensures due process and district policy is observed. THE CORE TEAM The SBT will have a core group of school staff representing various positions and responsibilities, usually including the: administrator, learning assistance/special needs teacher, ESL teacher (where applicable) a classroom teacher, and the referring teacher. These members attend every meeting. Regardless of school size, there should be a balance between flexibility and stability of SBT members. Maintaining some continuity within the core team is necessary to establish consistency in the process, and credibility with colleagues. In all cases, the referring classroom teacher is regarded as a key member of the SBT. This person is the staff member requesting assistance and, at the end of the problem solving session, is responsible for choosing strategies to implement in the classroom. EXTENDED MEMBERSHIP Additional people are invited to attend a meeting with the core SBT when appropriate. These individuals bring additional ideas and experience to an established team and will vary according to the school s structure and needs. They are more likely to attend on an intermittent or as needed basis. Extended members may include the student s parents/guardians, district specialist teachers such as vision, hearing and other district specialists such as OT/PT, SLP and Coordinators. In some situations, staff from community agencies or other government ministries involved with the family may be invited. PARENT ADVOCATES AND THIRD PARTY PARTICIPATION Parents have a right to bring an advocate to the school and we must respect this. In fact, for IEP meetings, we encourage parents to bring a friend or someone from a community organization with them. Support for parents usually has 2 purposes. Parents may wish to have a friend or family member attend meetings to participate in discussions with School Based Teams, or they may wish to include community agency staff or other private practitioner (any individual who is not a school district employee).

4 In the case of a relative or friend in the advocate/support role, these factors should be recognized: - It is the parent s need and their right to have their concern heard and addressed to the extent that school resources allow. Advocates assist parents in pursuing these answers. - Thorough notes should be taken, parent/advocate should read and correct any comments which do not accurately reflect their statements. - School district policy should be well known to SBT members. They should know what they can do, and this information should be given to parents/advocates. They should also be given a timeframe specifying when SBT will get back to them. When the parents are accompanied by a consultant from a community agency, (e.g. NONA, NOYFSS, Psychiatrists) these guidelines apply: - It is important to establish clear, specific roles and responsibilities for this group of people. In particular, there should be discussion of the type and amount of information to be shared with the third party. - Specifically, you may wish to ask: 1) whether the third party be privy to all information normally discussed with the parent/guardian during these meetings? and 2) who has responsibility for inviting the third party to the meetings? It is particularly important that if any school generated written information is to be shared with the third party, the parent/guardian must sign a consent for release of information form, which specifies the material to be released. The school must clearly specify that the parent is to attend planning and decision-making meetings held with any third party. Once an agreed upon intervention is under way, a third party (with parent approval) may meet with school staff for monitoring and/or follow-up activities. However, the parent must be contacted prior to any change in the stated goal or intervention. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES The SBT should ensure that the roles and responsibilities of core members are clearly documented and shared with staff and parents. When defining roles and responsibilities, consider the following points: The Chairperson has a key role in ensuring that meetings are efficient and productive. chairperson should: model effective interpersonal skills encourage participation and contributions of all team members keep discussion focused and moving forward in a relaxed, systematic way clarify and summarize the essential issues facilitate development of practical action plans ensure everyone understands their responsibilities in the action plan conclude the meeting on time ensure that records are maintained The The Recorder must ensure that accurate meeting notes are taken. Documentation of the problem solving process ensure accountability and improves chances for successful implementation of the action plans. The recorder should:

5 listen with an impartial attitude summarize discussions objectively accurately record details of the action plan assist the chairperson in keeping the meeting proceeding efficiently establish review dates and enter the date into the agenda Referring teacher s roles include: describing the problem as concisely as possible providing background information that is relevant and brief describing what interventions they already have tried choosing suggested interventions that they feel are workable and consistent with their style and philosophy reporting back to SBT regarding the progress of their interventions and keeping records or data to demonstrate progress rate All Team Members are responsible for developing a positive environment which: provides a non-judgmental forum for discussion promotes confidence that constructive changes can be made values all suggestions recognizes skills and abilities of all members facilitates the development of a list of practical interventions acknowledges the referring teacher s role in selecting strategies to implement When the SBT has clearly defined its members roles and the specific responsibilities attached to the roles, it should establish a process whereby the roles may rotate from one person to another. This will ensure continuity of team procedures when a member is absent, and provide skill-building opportunities for all members.

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