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FAQs Inclusive Education Policy (322)

Updated January 2014

1. How is Policy 322 being supported? The intention of Policy 322 is to set a standard of inclusive education for New Brunswick schools. There are aspects of the policy that, for some schools, may reflect a change in operations and procedures that imply a shift in how work is done. This shift in practice reflects a move towards a model of collaborative support in schools that builds capacity of teachers and strengthens comprehensive supports for students. The primary support required for this shift will be appropriate time to engage in collaborating and do the planning that is needed for schools, districts, and the department to develop new models of work. A focus on change management processes by leadership will facilitate a transition that respects the needs of schools and districts. Skill training is vital to understanding and developing this model of collaborative support and therefore underscores the importance of district training sessions that are occurring currently throughout the province. This training is identified as critical and is financially supported in the three year action plan, 2012-15. District leadership are collaborating in the training sessions and therefore building their capacity to continue a more sustained focus on skills training in the future. Standards documents as well as legacy materials (learning aids and modules) are being created to support future training. (January 2014)

2. How will we address the needed documents / templates to support the policy? Policy 322 sets a clear standard of Inclusive education for NB schools and full implementation requires transition planning that district leadership will engage in. Schools and districts will build on their current best practices and continue to ensure that inclusive education is a priority for all learners. (October 2013)

3. Are safe learning environments compromised in an Inclusive school? (5.1) Inclusive schools engage in collaborative problem solving to ensure that peaceful and safe learning environments are respected while considering the personalized needs of students. A school must balance the many elements of what makes their learning environment responsive, engaging, and safe. When safety is at risk, collaborative plans must be developed to ensure that both the needs of the individual and the collective are respected. (October 2013)

4. What is the Personalized Learning Plan (PLP)? (6.3) The Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) will be an updated version of the current Special Education Plan (SEP). The specifics of how it will look and be used are yet to be determined. The intention is that it will be more accessible (teachers/students/families in real time) and userfriendly than our current plan. (October 2013) 1

It will be the planning tool used to inform what additional supports a student needs and how to carry it out. The PLP will also provide for short term planning for any student requiring alternative arrangements, interventions, or accommodations to their learning situation. It will be more fluid and dynamic in its purpose, format, and duration of support. A consultation process has begun to determine the criteria and specific components that will comprise PLPs. (January 2014) 5. What is meant by robust instruction? (6.3.1, #1) Robust instruction is effective teaching by a classroom teacher who is well supported by the schools administrators and education support staff. The context of robust instruction is that highly effective instructional strategies based on research-based knowledge are fully used in the classroom. In this context it is acknowledged that classroom teachers benefit from collaborative support from other educators in the school or the district. The focus is on strengthening and enhancing the quality of instruction in classrooms, for all students. (January 2014)

6. Who is responsible for the SEP (PLP)? (6.3.2, 6.3.3) Classroom teachers are the educators who have primary responsibility for all students including those with exceptionalities. Best practice ensures that the classroom teacher works collaboratively with resource teacher(s), parents, students, the school-based ESS team and district staff to develop, implement and monitor Special Education Plans for the students with exceptionalities in the classroom. (October 2013)

7. Does Inclusion mean 100% of children in class 100% of the time? (6.4) Full participation in the common learning environment is the goal for all learners. However, responding to the individual needs of learners may necessitate times when the learner is not able to participate in the common learning environment. Such situations must be justified and reflect a collaborative problem solving process that attempts first to include the learner in the common learning environment. (October 2013) 8. How are variations to the common learning environment determined? (6.4) The overall intention of inclusive education is to provide learning experiences for students in common environments, with their peers. Decisions to vary from this goal must begin with clearly keeping this in mind. Exceptions and variations to this are considered in a diligent manner that makes use of a comprehensive and collaborative model of support and decision making. Any removal from the common learning environment must be justified by evidence of a thorough assessment of a students needs as well as a demonstrated effort to find solutions that would keep a student within the common learning environment. (January 2014)

9. How will we allocate the 8-12 hours of tutoring for those out of school? How does this apply to suspensions? (6.4.4) The overall intention of Inclusive schools is to provide education supports for all learners within the neighbourhood school. Collaborative problem solving at the school and district level is required to ensure that the breadth of possible school-based interventions is provided for students. Tutoring outside of school should be regarded as the least favourable intervention that would only be provided when every other possible in-school intervention has been exhausted. Students who are excluded from school for more than two weeks, regardless of reason, are entitled to system support. (October 2013)

10. What about tutoring support for students who are out of school for lengthy periods of time? (6.4.4) There are aspects of the policy that require specific and targeted funding from the district and EECD. One example is the provision of tutoring support for students who are out of school for an extended period of time (more than two weeks). These situations of extended absence occur for a variety of reasons (medical, suspension, etc.). In such instances, a school would initially collaborate and problem solve to determine the most appropriate supports, depending on the individual circumstances of the case. School-based interventions are preferable when feasible, however, tutoring will be considered as one of an array of responses that will be drawn upon when other supports and interventions have been exhausted. Schools are responsible for each students planning and monitoring, whether they are receiving in school or out of school interventions. (January 2014)

11. Is grade retention supported? (6.7) Policy 322 indicates that grade retention is not a supported intervention for students. However, there is provision for retention if a school can demonstrate that they have exhausted all possible grade level interventions for a student and can provide justification that retention will meet the needs of the learner. Consideration for retention must represent a collaborative and informed process that is based on best practice. (October 2013)

12. Are adult education certificates included in the guidelines re: one diploma? (6.8.1) Representatives from some NB high schools are currently engaged in a high school renewal initiative that is looking at particular aspects of high school education experience, including graduation and diploma structures. Recommendations are expected in 2014. (October 2013)

13. What does Policy 322 mean for school graduation ceremonies? (6.8.3) High school graduation ceremonies are important events for students, parents and educators. Inclusive schools recognize diverse learners and celebrate achievement of diverse learners. At these ceremonies, students may be acknowledged publicly for awards, prizes, and distinctions. However, the way in which this is done needs to reflect respect for all students in terms of such matters as the order of receiving diplomas and how students are seated on stage, which should be alphabetical during this important and public recognition of all students who have achieved graduation status. (January 2014)

14. What does Policy 322 mean for other types of school recognition ceremonies? Inclusive schools recognize diverse learners and celebrate their achievements. Every school must create policies and procedures that celebrate success as well as balance the principles of respect and inclusion. Based on an understanding of motivation and learning, school leadership will make informed decisions that respect all students and families and take in to account developmental needs of the students. (January 2014)

15. Is the Education Support Teacher-Resource required to spend 60% of their time in the classroom? (6.11.3 #1) The intention is that 60% of the EST-Resources time is to be spent collaboratively supporting and strengthening instructional practice with classroom teachers in an inclusive environment. This part of their role includes: coaching (observing, modeling, co-planning, co-teaching, reflecting), collecting and analyzing data, and supporting PLCs through consulting and problem solving. This type of support would not occur just within classrooms. It is also recognized that the percentages for the various components of the EST-Resources role may vary slightly during specific times of the year. (October 2013) An inclusive model of support in schools requires that ESTs focus their work around the support of and collaboration with teachers. The activities that are part of this category are varied and are part of the coaching model where the classroom teacher and the EST-Resource are partners. The EST-Resource will engage in many collaborative activities and some of these activities will need to take place in other school settings. The model is intentional in focusing the work of the EST-Resource on supporting teachers so their inclusive classrooms maximize student learning. (January 2014)

16. How will students who require individualized plans be supported? (6.11.3 #2) The highly individualized needs of identified learners will continue to be supported. Planning for these individualized students will aim for maximum common learning environment participation and clearly identify any specific interventions that may warrant alternative environments. (October 2013)

17. For ongoing questions about Policy 322, to whom would we direct our questions? At EECD, Policy and Planning and Senior Management are collaborating to provide ongoing support of Policy 322. District leadership will be engaged in this process. Specific questions can be directed to district leadership and provided to EECDs Policy and Planning personnel. (January 2014)