The Northwest School Division # 203, Student Services Department, is committed to providing comprehensive support to all students in the least restrictive environment possible. It is our belief that these services and supports can be provided through school based learning teams. This model focuses on nurturing student diversity and meeting special learning needs. It places as much responsibility and accountability as possible with school personnel.
The Student Services Department recognizes diversity in our schools and classrooms and accepts that all students are unique with specific needs and abilities and are affected by a variety of physical, social and cultural factors. We strive to support and foster an inclusive school environment that is supportive, caring and responsive. We offer a continuum of services within the regular classroom, school and community using a team approach.
How does the Student Support Services process work?The Student Support Services team works closely with students, families, school-based staff and outside agencies in a team approach to provide the best education possible for all students.
Students are usually referred to the Student Support Services team through their school.
Who makes up the Student Support Services team?
At the school level, students are supported by the classroom teacher, student support services teacher, school administrators and other support staff.
Parents and guardians play an important role in this process. As part of the student services team, parents help the team to identify goals for the child and the supports that may be required.
These goals become part of the student’s Inclusion and Intervention Plan (IIP).
Student support services teachers (SSSTs) are a critical part of the school team that supports student needs. The SSST supports classroom teachers by: providing consultation and co-planning, providing direct instruction to support individual students or small groups, and by working within the school Response to Intervention (RTI) model to provide interventions.
Additional supports for students are provided using a needs-based model that is comprised of three-tiers: responsive instruction and interventions at a classroom level, or school-wide; targeted and group interventions; and intensive individual interventions.
While we recognize that universal classroom practices will meet the needs of most students, some students will require short-term, targeted supports in order to be successful. A small number of students may require intensive supports, which are provided through a wide variety of services, depending on the particular student.
For more information about Intensive Supports please visit the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education webpage.
Counsellors focus on the personal, emotional and social needs of students. Counsellors meet with students one-on-one or in small groups during the school day, and privacy is ensured so students feel comfortable.
Discussions between Counsellers and students are confidential, but the Counsellor will work with parents and teachers to develop plans for meeting a student’s needs. Counselling referrals can be made by principals, teachers, parents, and other agencies, or students can self-refer.
Counsellors may also give classroom presentations and provide support to a school dealing with a crisis or stressful situation.
NWSD Counsellors do not provide counselling for adults or families, but will help to connect families with other agencies and professionals if needed.
Educational Psychologists (Ed. Psych.) work with individual students to measure their abilities in several developmental areas. The specific assessments used will vary depening on the needs of the student.
Some of the areas that may be covered in the assessments include: cognitive ability or thinking and reasoning skills (also known as IQ), and academic skills, such as reading, writing and mathematics.
A student’s behaviour may also be assessed, which includes observing the student in the classroom and having teachers and parents/guardians fill out behavioural checklists. This information is used to better understand the student’s overall strengths and needs.
Recommendations are developed from the results of the assessments and discussed with the student’s teachers and parents/guardians.
If needed, the Ed. Psych. can assist families in connecting with other agencies and professionals.
An Occupational Therapist (OT) is concerned with a person’s ability to carry out age appropriate daily activities, including: self-care skills, play skills and school skills.
In the school system, the OT assesses students who have physical and/or sensory-based challenges, developmental needs, and/or learning difficulties. The OT works with the student to perform age appropriate activities and meet developmentally appropriate goals. The work done in the school will help the student participate in activities in the home and community.
- Communication with school staff and parents/guardians, and programming for students.
- Activities to improve posture, movement skills, eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and self-care abilities.
- Providing adaptations to an activity or environment to allow all students to participate at their current level.
Speech Language Pathologists
A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of communication challenges in the areas of speech, language, voice and fluency.
An SLP will meet individually with a student to complete a variety of specch and language tests, depending on the nature and intensity of need. Additional information may be requested from classroom teachers and parents, or obtained through direct information or observations.
- Based on assessment results the SLP will make treatment recommendations regarding speech, language, voice and fluency that will help students to:
- Learn to say speech sounds correctly;
- Understand what they hear, see and read;
- Express themselves in whatever way they are able (spoken or written word, sign language, symbol systems; technical aids);
- Improve grammar, vocabulary, conversation, story-telling and social skills;
- Use appropriate pitch, volume and vocal quality;
- Develop more fluent speech.
Recommendations may include that the student work individually, in a small group, or the SLP may provide a whole class lesson. Suggestions may be provided to teachers and parents to help the student as he/she learns new skills.
Student Services Administration
The Student Services Department is overseen by the Superintendent of Student Services, who works closely with the Coordinator of Student Services to supervise the program offerings and staff that make up the Student Services team. The Administrative Support person for Student Services provides clerical assistance to the department.