Special Education Programs & Services

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1 Special Education Programs & Services Parent Guide Mark D. Mullan Chairperson Julian Hanlon Director of Education

2 Statement of Philosophy The Ottawa Catholic School Board s approach to the provision of Special Education Programs and Services is based upon the principle of meeting students needs within the most enabling environment. It is recognized that children grow and develop as unique individuals. As members of a Christian community and in accordance with Ministry of Education and Training direction, the Board actively promotes the goal of inclusion. Inclusion means that students with special needs fully participate in the life of the school community. Our goal is, wherever possible, to educate individuals in regular classrooms with age-appropriate peers in their community schools. However, for those children whose complexity of needs exceeds these resources, a specialized placement may be necessary to accommodate learning needs. Therefore, a full range of services will be made available to students. In providing for our students, we believe that individual gifts and strengths must be identified and used as the starting point for developing programs which will nurture growth and learning. Our goal is to enable learners to reach their full potential. This will enable them to take their place as independently as possible within society. The purpose of this guide is to provide information and to set out procedures involved in identifying a student as exceptional, deciding the student s placement, or appealing such decisions if the parent does not agree with the IPRC. Parents in the Ottawa Catholic School Board are encouraged to participate in all steps of this process. 1

3 What is an IPRC? Regulation 181/98 requires that all school boards set up an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC). An IPRC is composed of at least three persons, one of whom must be a vice-principal, principal or supervisory officer of the Board. In the Ottawa Catholic School Board the Committee includes a principal, two other teachers and/ or Central Student Services staff. What is the role of the IPRC? The IPRC will: decide whether or not a student should be identified as exceptional; identify the areas of the student s exceptionality, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education and Training; decide an appropriate placement for the student: i. Regular class placement with Special Education Resource Support ii. Special Education System class placement iii. Special schools i.e. Sagonaska Demonstration School review the identification and placement decision at least once per school year. Who is Identified as an Exceptional Student? The Education Act defines an exceptional student as a pupil whose behavioural, communicational, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities are such that he or she is considered to need placement in a special education program... Students are identified according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education and Training. 2 What is a Special Education Program? In the Education Act, a special education program: is based on and modified by the results of continuous assessment and evaluation; and includes a plan (Individual Education Plan or IEP) containing specific objectives and an outline of special education services that meet the needs of the exceptional student. What are Special Education Services? Special Education Services are defined in the Education Act as the facilities and resources, including support personnel and equipment, necessary for developing and implementing a Special Education Program. What is an IEP? The IEP must be developed in consultation with the parent. It must include: specific educational expectations; an outline of the special education program and services that will be received; a statement on the methods by which the student s progress will be reviewed; for students 14 years and older (except those identified as exceptional solely on the basis of giftedness), a plan for transition to appropriate postsecondary school activities, such as work, further education, and community living. The IEP must be completed within 30 days after the student has been placed in the program. Parents must be given a copy by the principal. An IEP can be prepared for students who are not formally identified as exceptional. 3

4 How is an IPRC Meeting Requested? The principal of the school: must request an IPRC meeting upon written notification by the parent; may, with written notice to the parent, refer student to an IPRC when the principal and teacher believe that he or she may benefit from a special education program. Within 15 days of receiving written notification, the principal must provide the parent with a Parent Guide to Special Education Programs and Services as well as a written statement of approximately when the IPR Committee will meet. May Parents Attend the IPRC Meeting? Regulation 181/98 entitles parents and students 16 years of age or older: to be present at and participate in all Committee discussions about the student; to be present when the IPR Committee s decision is made. Who Else May Attend an IPRC Meeting? About the IPRC Meeting? At least 10 days in advance of the meeting, the Chair of the IPRC will provide the parent with written notification and an invitation to attend the meeting. This will include date, time and place of the meeting and ask whether the parent wishes to attend. Before the IPRC meeting occurs, the Chair will provide a written copy of any information concerning the student, including results of assessment or a summary of information that the Chair has received. What if Parents are Unable to Make the Scheduled Meeting? If the parent is unable to attend this scheduled meeting, the principal will try to reschedule. The principal will forward for consideration and signature as soon as possible after the meeting, the IPRC s written statement of decision, noting the decision and any recommendations regarding special education programs and services. principal of the school other resource people i.e. student s teacher(s), Special Education staff, Board support staff, or the representative of any agency, who may provide additional information or clarification an interpreter, if one is required. Requests for an interpreter are made through the school principal. parents or the school principal may request the attendance of others at the IPRC meeting What Information will Parents Receive 4 5

5 What Happens at an IPRC Meeting? The Chair introduces everyone and explains the purpose of the meeting. The IPRC will review all available information concerning the student and will: consider the educational assessment; consider health or psychological assessment conducted by qualified practitioner; interview the student, with parental consent if the student is less than 16 years of age, if the Committee feels it would be useful to do so; encourage parents to submit any additional information concerning their child to help with the IPR Committee determination. The Committee may discuss any proposal that has been made about a special education program or special education service for the child. The Committee will discuss any such proposal at the parent s request or at the request of a child 16 years of age or older. The parent is encouraged to ask questions and join the discussion. Following the discussion, after all the information has been presented and considered, the Committee will make its decision. What will the IPRC Consider in Making its Placement Decision? Before the IPRC can consider placing a student in a special education class, it must consider whether placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services will: meet the student s needs; be consistent with the parent s wishes. If, after considering all of the information presented, the IPRC is satisfied that placement in a regular class will meet the student s needs and that such a decision is consistent with the parent s wishes, the Committee will decide in favour of placement in a regular class with appropriate special education services. If the Committee decides that the student should be placed in a special education class, reasons for that decision must be presented in its written statement of decision. 6 7

6 What will the IPRC S Written Statement of Decision Include? The IPRC s written statement of decision will state: whether the IPRC has identified the student as exceptional; where the IPRC has identified the student as exceptional; i. the categories and definitions of any exceptionalities identified, as they are defined by the Ministry of Education and Training ii. the IPRC s description of the student s strengths and needs iii. the IPRC s placement decision iv. the IPRC s recommendations regarding a special education program and special education services; where the IPRC has decided that the student should be placed in a special education class, the reasons for that decision. What Happens After the IPRC has Made its Decision? If the parent agrees with the IPRC decision, he/she will be asked to indicate by signing his/her name thereby agreeing with the identification and placement decisions made by the IPRC. The statement of decision may be signed at the IPRC meeting or taken home and returned. Once a Child has been Placed in a Special Education Program can the Placement be Reviewed? A review IPRC meeting will be held within the school year unless the principal of the school at which the special education program is being provided receives written notice from the parent dispensing with the annual review. The parent may request a review IPRC meeting any time after the student has been in a special education program for three months. What does a Review IPRC Consider and Decide? The review IPRC considers the same type of information as the original IPR Committee. With the written permission of the parent, the IPRC conducting the review will consider the progress that the student has made in relation to the IEP. The IPRC will review the placement and identification decisions and decide whether they should be continued or whether a different decision should now be made. If the IPRC has identified that student as an exceptional student and the parent is in agreement with the IPRC identification and placement decision, the Board will promptly notify the principal of the school at which the special education program is to be provided of the need to develop an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student. 8 9

7 What can Parents do if They Disagree with the IPRC Decision? If parents are not in agreement with either the identification or placement decision made by the IPRC, they may: i. within 15 days of receipt of the decision, request that the IPRC hold a second meeting to discuss their concerns. ii. within 30 days of receipt of the decision, file a notice of appeal with the Board s secretary. If parents do not agree with the decision after the second meeting, they may file a notice of appeal within 15 days of receipt of the decision. If the parents do not consent to the IPRC decision and do not appeal it, the Board will instruct the principal to implement the IPRC decision. How do Parents Appeal an IPRC Decision? If parents disagree with the IPRC s identification as exceptional or with the placement decision, they may, within 30 days of receipt of the original decision or within 15 days of receipt of the decision from the second meeting referred to above, give written notification of their intention to appeal the decision to the attention of the Board Secretary, Catholic Education Centre, 570 West Hunt Club Road, Nepean, Ontario K2G 3R4. The notice of appeal must: i. indicate the decision with which the parents disagree; and ii. include a statement that sets out the reasons for disagreement

8 What Happens in the Appeal Process? The appeal process involves the following steps: 1. The Board will establish a Special Education Appeal Board to hear the appeal. The Appeal Board will be composed of three persons (one of whom is selected by the parent) who have no prior knowledge of the matter under appeal. 2. The Chair of the Appeal Board will arrange a meeting to take place at a convenient time and place, but no later than 30 days after he or she has been selected (unless parents and the Board both provide written consent to a later date). 3. The Appeal Board will receive the material reviewed by the IPRC and may interview any persons who may be able to contribute information about the matter under appeal. 4. The parent and the student, if he or she is 16 years old or over, are entitled to be present at the meeting and to participate in all discussions. 5. The Appeal Board must make its recommendation within three days of the meeting taking place. It may: i. agree with the IPRC and recommend that the decision be implemented; or ii. disagree with the IPRC and make a recommendation to the Board about the student s identification, placement or both. 6. The Appeal Board will report its recommendations in writing, to the parent and to the school board, providing the reasons for its recommendations. 7. Within 30 days of receiving the Appeal Board s written statement, the school board will decide what action it will take with respect to the recommendations (boards are not required to follow the Appeal Board recommendation). 8. The parent may accept the decision of the school board, or may appeal to a Special Education Tribunal. The parent may request a hearing by writing to the Secretary of the Special Education Tribunal. Information about making an application to the tribunal will be included with the Appeal Board s decision. What Special Education Programs and Services are Provided by the Board? The Ottawa Catholic School Board offers a wide range of programs and services which include: i. Regular class placement with Special Education Resource Support ii. Special Education System class placement iii. Special schools i.e. Sagonaska Demonstration School 12 13

9 What Organizations are Available to Assist Parents? Each board has a mandated Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) comprised of parent volunteers from local organizations and community members who have an interest in special education, board personnel and trustees. The role of SEAC is: to consider and make recommendations to the Board concerning any matter affecting the establishment, development and delivery of special education programs and services; to provide advice, information and assistance to those parents who require additional support. The following groups, including their association telephone numbers, are represented on the Ottawa Catholic School Board Special Education Advisory Committee: Autism Ontario Ottawa Chapter ABC Association for Bright Children of Ontario Ottawa Region Chapter Brain Injury Association Ottawa Valley Down Syndrome Association National Capital Region (DSA-NCR) Ontario Association for Families of Children with Communication Disorders (OAFCCD) Community Representative Community Representatives Three School Board Trustees School Board Resource Personnel SEAC meets monthly from September to June. If you wish to contact a member of SEAC or inquire about times and location of monthly meetings, please contact the Board at or visit our website. 14 What are the Ministry s provincial and demonstration schools? The Ministry operates provincial and demonstration schools throughout Ontario for deaf, blind, deaf-blind, and severely learning-disabled students, as well as those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Residential programs are offered at the schools Monday to Friday, for students who live too far from school to travel daily. Demonstration schools for English-speaking students with severe learning disabilities, including learning disabilities associated with ADHD Amethyst School 1090 Highbury Avenue London, Ontario N5Y 4V9 Tel: Sagonaska School 350 Dundas Street West Belleville, Ontario K8P 1B2 Tel: Trillium School 347 Ontario Street South Milton, Ontario L9T 3X9 Tel: School for the Blind and Deaf-Blind W. Ross Macdonald School 350 Brant Avenue Brantford, Ontario N3T 3J9 Tel: Schools for the Deaf Ernest C. Drury School 255 Ontario Street South Milton, Ontario L9T 2M5 Tel: TTY: Robarts School 1090 Highbury Avenue P.O. Box 7360, Station E London, Ontario N5Y 4V9 Tel and TTY: Sir James Whitney School 350 Dundas Street West Belleville, Ontario K8P 1B2 Tel and TTY:

10 French-language school for the deaf and demonstration school for French-speaking students with severe learning disabilities, including learning disabilities associated with ADHD. Centre Jules-Léger 281 rue Lanark Ottawa, Ontario K1Z 6R8 Tel: TTY: and Frequently Asked Questions 1. How Do I Get an IPRC? You may request an IPRC meeting, in writing, from your school principal. The principal may also initiate the IPRC process and will comply within 30 days of the receipt of the request. 2. Do I Need an IPRC to get an IEP? An IPRC is not required to obtain or implement an IEP. Strengths and needs are identified by parents and teaching personnel when creating an IEP. 3. Do I Need to Leave my Neighbourhood School for Programming? Whenever possible your child will receive services and programming in the neighbourhood school. However, for those children whose complexity of needs exceeds these resources, a specialized placement may be necessary. Ottawa Catholic School Board Board of Trustees Mark D. Mullan, Chairperson - Zone 8 (Alta Vista/Gloucester-Southgate) Ted J. Hurley, Vice-Chairperson - Zone 2 (Kanata North-Kanata South) John Curry - Zone 1 (West Carleton-March/Stittsville-Kanata West/ Rideau-Goulbourn/Osgoode) Brian Coburn - Zone 3 (Orléans/Cumberland) Alison Baizana - Zone 4 (Barrhaven/Gloucester-South Nepean) Joanne M. MacEwan - Zone 5 (Beacon Hill-Cyrville/Innes) Gordon Butler - Zone 6 (Knoxdale-Merivale/College) Betty-Ann Kealey - Zone 7 (Kitchissippi/Bay) Kathy Ablett, R.N. - Zone 9 (River/Capital) Thérèse Maloney Cousineau - Zone 10 (Rideau-Vanier/Rideau-Rockcliffe/Somerset) 4. Where Can I Receive Information? More information is available from: your school principal the Ottawa Catholic School Board Special Education and Student Services Department (Tel.: ) Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) Please call to request contact names and numbers

11 Notes: 1. If you wish to receive this parent guide in Braille, large print, or audio-cassette format, please contact the Ottawa Catholic School Board at the address or telephone number shown below. 2. When used in this guide, the word parent includes guardian. The Education Act requires that school boards provide, or purchase from another board, special education programs and services for their exceptional students. The purpose of this parent guide is to provide you with information about the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC), and to set out the procedures involved in identifying a student as exceptional, deciding the student s placement, or appealing such decisions if you do not agree with the IPRC. If, after reading this guide you require more information, please contact the Ottawa Catholic School Board Special Education and Student Services Department at the address and numbers listed below. Special Education & Student Services 570 West Hunt Club Road Nepean, Ontario K2G 3R4 Tel.: Fax: Website: The Special Education Report September 2012

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