Inclusive Education, as defined by Alberta Education in their publication Setting the Direction Framework (June 2009), is "a way of thinking and acting that demonstrates universal acceptance of, and belonging for, all students..." It created a new framework for special education in Alberta. The framework provided suggestions of what needs to be different and identified that what inclusion means is as varied as the students themselves. For some students it means grouped programs based on specific needs, for others it means being in class with their age peers and having their instruction modified within the Alberta Programs of Study. For others, it’s a mix of the two experiences.
In the fall of 2010, inclusion was identified as part of government’s Inspiring Action on Education initiative, and Setting the Direction was renamed Action on Inclusion to signal implementation of an inclusive education system.
Evergreen Catholic School Division is committed to providing each school site with a part-time Inclusive Education Coordinator. The mission of this role is to ensure that all students have the supports and accommodations they require in order to successfully achieve to their potential. Collaborating with parents and teachers, along with outside agencies, students may be supported in a variety of ways.
Mrs. Birgit Zdril is our Inclusive Education Coordinator. She will work as an integral part of our Student Services team, which includes our Counselor, Mrs. Ambrose, as well as our administrators, to implement many important supports for our students, such as:
- Determine programming needs of student.
- Collaborate with teachers and parents to form Individualized Program Plans (IPP)
- Refer for services such as Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Family-School Liaison Workers (FSLW), Mental Health clinic
- Facilitate implementation and use of Assistive Technology
- Advocate for students
- Administer academic assessments
- Provide resources for teachers and parents
The goal of an inclusive education system is to provide all students with the most appropriate learning environments and opportunities for them to best achieve their potential. At St. Thomas Aquinas school we are committed to providing each student with the best educational program possible.
For more information on Alberta Education's Inclusive Education go to http://education.alberta.ca/department/ipr/inclusion.aspx
STA LIFESKILLS PROGRAM
The purpose of this program is to offer functional Language, Math and Life Skills to students whose needs are not met by the traditional school program. Each student's program is designed to meet their individual needs.
This program is designed to begin in grade 7 and continue up to and include grade 9 at St. Thomas Aquinas. Mid-way through the grade 9 year, we begin to visit and transition to St. Peter the Apostle High School. Students who complete our Life Skills Program at the end of their grade 9 year move directly into the grade 10 program at our high school.
Students in grade 5 and 6 that are potential candidates for the Life Skills Program begin with a modified academic program within the Learning Assistance Program. Once they are in grade 6, we begin to integrate portions of the Life Skills Program into their routines – meal planning, cooking, hands on Math activities such as the collecting and sorting bottles/juice boxes, collecting and sorting of paper recycling and counting money, with the objective of enrolling in the Life Skills Program in grade 7.
- Functional Language
- Functional Math – primary focus on time and money skills
- Social Skills – in small groups and in public
- Daily Living Skills – cooking, shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc.
- Healthy Living – swimming, bowling, exercise program
- Work Experience (for students who are 14 and over) – to begin looking at jobs that might interest each student and the skills they will need for these jobs.