Connect Charter School: Inclusive Education

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Brittney MacDonald, Inclusive Practices Coordinator

Inclusion and our Charter

Connect Charter School is dedicated to exemplary teaching, learning, and leading in a way that fosters optimal learning for all students. This means that diversity among our learner population is well understood and planned for, by designing appropriate programming so that the school is accessible to all. Guided by our charter goals, Connect staff are committed to designing learning experiences that invite students with a range of abilities to engage in. Among other innovative efforts, Connect staff take a proactive approach towards implementing learner supports that are current, relevant, and responsive to the changing needs of our population.

Student Services Offered

Students at Connect are supported in dynamic ways. Within a whole school approach, students receive screening assessments, classroom interventions, and differentiated instruction that is enhanced through a disposition of inquiry, place based, and experiential learning, and one-to-one technology. Guided programs that align with our school’s philosophy around mutual respect, allow opportunities for student wellness, development, and community building among various grade groups. Students can also be supported through targeted intervention groups or on an individual basis, led by Educational Assistants, teachers, or the Inclusive Practices Coordinator, to build skills relating to literacy, numeracy, self-regulation, social skills, or any other identified areas of need. Our partnership with Regional Collaborative Service Delivery (RCSD) allows students to work with Occupational Therapists, Audiologists, Counsellors, and Speech and Language specialists. Diagnostic assessments of academic achievement assements can be administered at Connect, and our contract psychologist can administer Psycho-Educational Assessments (determined on a case-by-case basis). 

Connect Charter School shares similar characteristics of a diverse population as many other public schools, and has developed a model of inclusive education that reflects a true commitment to success for all students. We strive towards building capacity in a way that evolves through inclusive approaches in education, and to be leaders in providing optimal learning for all students.

Student Services Team

Our Inclusive Practices Coordinator, Brittney MacDonald, fulfills a diverse role while striving to help a range of learners find success. On any given day, the Inclusive Practices Coordinator works alongside students, teachers, administrators, and parents, to develop goals, strategies, and assessment measures that address the unique needs of complex learners. 

Connect has a strong team of Educational Assistants. Connect EAs work closely with grade teams, and are deeply involved in Student Resource Group (SRG) meetings to assist in supporting teachers and families with various learner complexities. This team has a wide range of knowledge and skills related to supporting students, and often take on additional initiatives around the school to enhance student learning. Their passion of our students radiates far beyond the school halls! 

External Partnerships are also considered an important part of our student services team. We have developed relationship with school psychologists, counsellors, reading specialists, health and wellness centres, and social agencies to support families and healthy child development. Our students have access to a variety of services that can either be provided by the school, or through referral. 

Program Planning and Basic Skills

Many students are capable of achieving the goals of the regular provincial curriculum but require some changes to instruction or assessment, often based on the information from a formal diagnosis. An Individualized Program Plan (IPP) is a flexible working document developed to ensure that appropriate educational programming is provided for your child. IPPs are responsive documents that can require changes at any time, based on circumstances. The IPP is one part of communication between families and the school, and is an important tool used to guide teaching and learning. As an inquiry-based school, we often are asked: “How do we teach basic skills at Connect?” Our charter design reflects the innovated approach to inquiry taken at Connect, and staff recognize and understand the importance of traditional methods such as direct teaching and memorization, and how this can support student learning. Combining both traditional and modern strategies leads to best practices for Connect Charter School students, creating an environment in which multiple learning needs are met.