The TDSB aims to ensure that every student, every day, in every school is welcomed and included within the most enabling learning environment. It is understood that inclusive education requires continuous review, assessment and revision. In 2013, TDSB released a report entitled, A Case for Inclusive Education detailing, “international, national, and provincial principles, policies and research on the merits of adopting an inclusive education model, particularly for students who have been identified as exceptional, as having special education needs and/or disabilities” (Parekh & Underwood, 2016, 3).
Students are successfully included, supported, and empowered when:
- all students experience a sense of belonging and social citizenship (e.g., membership, inclusion, shared power and value (Parekh, 2014)the learning environment is modified to fit the student, not the student to fit the environment (Parekh & Underwood, 2016)
- all identities and cultures are celebrated within the learning environment (Parekh & Underwood, 2016)
- the right to participation and establishing a positive climate where social engagement and friendships can be promoted is prioritized (Underwood, 2013)
- deficit thinking is rejected and students are not organized within and outside the classroom by perceived ability (Parekh & Underwood, 2016)
Actions Year One (2016-2017)
Actions Year Two (2017-2018)
- Develop comprehensive, user-friendly, plain-language resources to provide parents and students with information about special education programs, services and supports, including upcoming changes to the Home School Program model, as well as the process for participating in consultations related to the Annual Review of the TDSB Special Education Plan.
- In advance of the upcoming HSP remodel, provide school staff with learning opportunities through the Leadership Capacity Plan to support a shift in attitudes and practice in order to create a more inclusive environment leading to improved achievement and well-being (see Strategic Component #5: Leadership Capacity Plan, p. 8).
- Develop and implement an effective process for parents and students to raise concerns regarding programming for students with special educational needs.
- In conjunction with the School Improvement Process, develop and conduct ongoing training sessions throughout the school year on:
- Ministry of Education PPM156, including transition of students from Section 23 programs back into a regular classroom (Elementary) or academic program of study (Secondary); and
- Ministry of Education Regulation 181/98, with specific focus on developing and implementing Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) and the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) process.
Actions Year Three (2018-2019)
- Remodel the Home School Program (HSP) to ensure support is provided in the regular classroom throughout the 2017-2018 school year.
- Provide communications support to school administrators and staff in explaining the changes to parents and community members.
- Build consistency among all educators in areas of tracking and communicating evidence of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in the approaches they have employed to date, substantiating the move from a regular classroom (Elementary) or academic program of study (Secondary) to a specialized or streamed program throughout the 2018-2019 school year.