Most students are successful with assessment and instruction in the regular classroom. TDSB is responsive to students who require support beyond those ordinarily received through usual instructional and assessment practices. Students who have behavioural, communication, intellectual, physical or multiple exceptionalities may require access to additional instructional programs and/or services available through special education.
For students who require modifications from the age-appropriate grade level expectations in a particular course or subject, instruction from teachers with more specialized training or experience in meeting exceptionality specific needs, smaller instructional groupings and supports or services from Professional Support Services personnel, may be formally identified by an Identification, Placement and Review Committee as exceptional pupils.
The Identification Placement and Review Committee (IPRC)
Ontario Regulation 181/98 of the Education Act provides information about the Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC). It sets out the procedures involved in identifying a pupil as exceptional, deciding the pupil’s placement and appealing such decisions when the exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education and the TDSB criteria set out in this Plan:
- Decide an appropriate placement for the student, giving first consideration to placement in a regular class with appropriate special education programs and services and taking parental preferences into account
- Discuss recommendations for programs and/or services
- Review the identification and placement at least once in each school year
Parent(s)/guardian(s) and students aged sixteen or older, have the right to attend either in-person or virtually, the IPRC meeting and will receive an invitation. In making its decisions, the IPRC will consider a package of information prepared at the sending school by teachers who work with the student, as well as information contributed by anyone attending the meeting. Parent(s)/ guardian(s) receive a copy of the IPRC package in advance, as well as a copy of the TDSB Guide to Special Education for Parent(s)/Guardian(s), which answers frequently asked questions about the IPRC process.
In determining a student’s exceptionality and placement, the IPRC considers the following:
- The student’s documented cognitive profile, learning strengths and needs and/or medical diagnoses
- The categories of exceptionality defined by the Ministry of Education and the TDSB criteria set out in this Plan
- The placement settings (Regular Class with Indirect Support, Regular Class with Resource Assistance, Regular Class with Withdrawal Support, Special Education Class with Partial Integration or Special Education Class Full Time) and degrees of support required by the student
- Parental preference
IPRC Decisions about Exceptionality
At the IPRC meeting, the specific nature of the student’s learning strengths and needs are identified. On the basis of evidence presented and discussions held at the meeting, the IPRC will decide whether or not the student is an exceptional pupil, according to the categories and definitions of exceptionalities provided by the Ministry of Education. The categories are:
- Learning Disability
- Language Impairment
- Speech Impairment
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Developmental Disability
- Mild Intellectual Disability
- Blind/Low Vision
- Physical Disability
For detailed information about the Ministry definitions of exceptionalities and placement criteria used in the TDSB, please see the SECTION D: Inclusion Delivery Model by Exceptionality.
IPRC Decisions about Placement
Under Regulation 181/98, when a student is identified as exceptional, the IPRC will also decide placement for the student, using Toronto District School Board criteria and taking into account parental preference. The goal of special education placement is to determine the recommended learning environment in consultation with parent(s)/guardian(s), supports and services to maximize the individual student’s potential. In making a placement decision, the IPRC will consider placement in Regular Class or Special Education Class.
Regular Class Placement
Most students identified as exceptional learners can be appropriately supported in a regular classroom setting through the development of an Individual Education Plan, school-based special education teacher support and when required, professional support services available to schools on a referral basis.
Regular Class with a specified support setting describing appropriate special education services, the IPRC placement decision for students with special education needs for whom more than 50% of instructional time is delivered by a regular class teacher in a regular classroom. The IPRC can choose from three Regular Class support settings – Indirect Support, Resource Assistance and Withdrawal Assistance.
- Regular Class with Indirect Support The student will attend a regular class for the entire school day and receives direct instruction from a regular classroom teacher, who receives specialized consultative services from a special education teacher.
- Regular Class with Resource Assistance The student will attend a regular class and receive direct, specialized instruction, individually or in a small group from a special education teacher within the regular classroom.
- Regular Class with Withdrawal Assistance The student will attend a regular class and receives instruction outside the regular classroom for less than 50% of the school day from a special education teacher.
For elementary school students, Regular Class placement is at the neighbourhood school with support delivered through Resource. Indirect support and in-class or withdrawal assistance is provided by a special education teacher on staff. The model of resource assistance is responsive to students' needs.
In secondary school settings, regular subject teachers liaise with the school’s Special Education Curriculum Leader (CL) or Assistant Curriculum Leader (ACL) about student needs and are expected to support students through strategies outlined in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Special course options for students on IEPs include Secondary Resource Program (RSE) and Secondary Learning Strategies (GLE). Withdrawal assistance can be provided by a special education teacher on staff as part of school-based Special Education Resource. Support can also include course modifications that permit credit accumulation and access to locally developed, compulsory and/or optional credit courses designed to provide an opportunity for students to upgrade knowledge and skills.
Special Education Class Placement
The new OHRC Policy on Accessible Education for Students with Disabilities confirms the need for special education setting options:
“At the primary and secondary levels, before considering placing a student in a self-contained or specialized classroom, education providers must first consider inclusion in the regular classroom.  In most cases, appropriate accommodation will be accommodation in the regular classroom with support. However, every student with a disability is unique. To provide appropriate accommodation to all students with disabilities, education providers must, with the assistance of parental input, assess each student’s particular strengths and needs, and consider these against a full range of placements, programs and services. Ultimately, appropriate accommodation will be decided on an individual basis.”
Special Education Class is the IPRC placement decision for those students with special education needs for whom 50% or more of instructional time is delivered by a special education teacher in a special education classroom, where the pupil-teacher ratio conforms to Regulation 298 (R.R.O.1990, Section 31).
There are two settings for Special Education Class placement – with Partial Integration or Full Time.
- Special Education Class with Partial Integration The student will attend a special education class and is integrated with a regular class for parts of the student’s instructional program (a minimum of one instructional period daily).
In TDSB elementary schools this placement can be delivered through a special education class Intensive Support Program (ISP) with daily opportunities for integration.
In TDSB secondary schools, an IPRC decision for Special Education Class with Partial Integration is recommending placement in a special education program at an integrated site with both regular and special education programs. In addition to the Secondary Resource Program (RSE) and Secondary Learning Strategies (GLE) courses, this placement may include access to locally developed, compulsory and/ or optional credit courses, developed at the school to provide students with the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
- Special Education Class Full Time The student will attend a special education class for the entire school day.
For TDSB elementary school students, these Intensive Support Programs (ISPs) are characterized by small class sizes (with prescribed pupil-teacher ratios) and appropriate support staff personnel. They serve instructional groupings of learners who have large skill and knowledge gaps and similar kinds of specialized, exceptionality-related resource and/or service needs. They offer programming and instruction targeted to the individual and shared needs of the students in the class and the specialized resources/services designed to address those needs. The location for a full time special education class may be other than the student’s home school.
In most cases, student need for Special Education Class placement is expected to be of limited duration, to be reviewed annually. Successful reintegration into the regular program is the potential goal. Throughout a full time placement, efforts are made to increasingly integrate the student in the regular school programs and activities.
Special Education Class placements are typically located in neighbourhood schools. The number and location of the classes are determined by the profiles and numbers of students requiring them across the system. In some cases, IPRC placement in a Special Education Class Full Time may be in a congregated school setting. These programs support communities of learners whose complex educational needs require alternative curriculum and specialized services, facilities and resources. The goal is to maximize student independence.
For more information speak to your school Principal or visit Special Education visit the Ontario Ministry of Education website.