Toronto District School Board
Skip to main content

Supporting Students with Special Education Needs

The TDSB will continue to focus on the support of students with special education needs as schools reopen. Special Education students can attend school in-person or remotely though the Virtual School. 

Special Education Learning Model – Elementary

  • Intensive Support Programs (ISP) classes (excluding Gifted) are capped between 6-16 students depending on the program. Students will attend school 5 days per week, with one cohort/group for the full day, including recess and lunch.
  • This includes our six Elementary Congregated Sites: Beverley School, Lucy McCormick Senior School, Park Lane Public School, Seneca School, Sunny View Junior and Senior Public School, and William J McCordic.
  • Some students may face challenges with the enhanced health and safety protocols in place to help maximize physical distancing.  To address these concerns, schools will work with families and Special Education & Inclusion Consultants to explore strategies to best support students and staff during this time.

Special Education Learning Models – Secondary

  • Classes in Secondary Special Education Developmental Disabilities (DD) ISP are capped at 10 students. Students are able to attend school daily as they are grouped as a cohort and can take all of their special education classes together. Students will follow the semester model.
  • Secondary students in ISP classes with Integration (including Gifted) who are typically timetabled into special education classes and regular school courses will attend school following the quadmester secondary school model in order to ensure on-going integration with their peers.
  • Secondary ISP are capped at 6-16 students. Students are able to attend as one cohort taking special education courses. Typically, these ISPs would include MID, LD, ASD, DHH and PD and would be cohorted with their peers for non-special education courses.
  • Gifted ISP classes are capped at 30 students and will be divided into two cohorts for special education and non-special education classes. This may change locally based on school needs.
  • The six congregated secondary school sites where students can attend daily will follow the semester model. The congregated secondary school sites are Central Etobicoke High School, Drewry Secondary School, Frank Oke Secondary School, Maplewood High School, Sir William Osler High School and York Humber High School.

Virtual School (Special Education Elementary and Secondary)

  • Parents/guardians who want their children to learn from home can choose the remote learning option. Learn more about Elementary and Secondary virtual learning.
  • Should parents/guardians decide to begin with remote learning and decide to return to in-school learning, students will not lose their ISP placement.
  • There will be opportunities to enter the Virtual School or to return to in-person learning at key dates during the school year. See the dates for elementary and secondary transitions.
  • If a switch is required outside of the designated times, exceptions may be made and will be reviewed by Principals on a case-by-case basis.

Student Transitions

The Ministry of Education’s Guide to School Reopening directed school boards to provide a transition to support students with high special education needs within the first two weeks leading to school reopening. In support of this direction, TDSB schools were directed to contact families whose children were in an ISP classes with high special education needs to invite them into the school for  a transition opportunity.

With the change of Ministry direction to staggered entry, schools adjusted their timelines in reaching out to families. The transition will allow students returning back to school after an extended time away who may require additional support to re-learn and adjust to new routines associated with the measures from Toronto Public Health, as it relates to social distancing, cohorting and changes to school and classroom settings and routines. 

Additional Information and Support

Enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and PR 699: Ongoing support and training will be provided in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCPI) and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided; Safety Plans will also continue on a needs basis.

Students with Medical Complexities: Schools will continue to work  with their respective Community Care Coordinator and  Service Providers (SE Health and VHA) to ensure timely and appropriate scheduling for the students who require nursing as part of the return to school transition (e.g., scheduling of students that requires time sensitive nursing interventions such as diabetic injections and g-feeds).

Individual Education Plan (IEP): Schools will follow the requirements to provide students with their IEPs in collaboration with the IEP team and parents/guardians. Changes in the school environments and/or remote learning needs will be considered when creating and updating the IEPs.

In School Team (IST) Meetings, School Support Team (SST), IPRC and SEPRC meetings will continue either face to face and/or remotely using an AODA platform. Professional Support Services and other members of the team will be included as usual (e.g. SW, psych, special education inclusion consultant) to be in attendance.

Itinerant Staff: Regional Support Services (e.g. Autism Services (ASD) Team Referrals, Behaviour Regional Services (BRS) Team Referrals, Itinerant Blind & Low Vision (BLV) and Deaf & Hard of Hearing (DHH) will continue to support both remotely and in person following physical distancing guidelines and a Tiered Approach based on a student’s IEP.

Special Equipment Amount (SEA): Students will continue to access SEA equipment/assistive technology and staff will continue to be supported with SEA equipment training to enhance student access to learning.

© 2014 Toronto District School Board  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy   |  CASL