Supports for Students
Red Deer School Division provides inclusive programming and offers a wide range of supports for students with diverse learning needs. To honor the unique and changing needs of our students, we recognize the importance of ensuring supports are available to provide the most equitable learning environment. Red Deer School Division has a variety of models to support children, youth and families. These include:
Learning Support Teams
Sometimes the reason that students struggle can be quite complex. A team approach calls upon the knowledge and expertise of many individuals to come up with a plan to support the students and parents as they work to overcome difficulties that a student is having. The intent is to provide a wrap-around model that is able to provide suggestions from a multi-disciplinary lens that includes the educational, social, and emotional needs of the student.
When teachers identify students that are struggling, the way forward in helping the child may be beyond what normally happens in a classrooom. The Learning Support Team meets regularly to review and discuss referrals. A student is typically referred to the Learning Support Team by one of the school staff - often the teacher. They would provide initial background information that explains the area of concern and current supports and strategies being used. The team would then identify any additional members that should be invited to provide additional information and join in the collaborative process. Through discussion, collaboration, and exploring available resources, a plan is developed that may include the support or intervention of multiple individuals as needed. There is typically a point person identified from the school team to monitor progress of the plan and bring any concerns back to the Learning Support Team if needed.
All Red Deer School Division students will have access to services that support their learning needs in an inclusive school environment.
The type of service will vary depending on the needs of the individual. Below are the types of contracted services available:
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Psychological Services
- Speech Language Pathology
- Low Incidence Services which includes:
- Consultant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Consultant for Orientation and Mobility
- Consultant for the Visually Impaired
- Educational Audiology
Learning Assistance Teachers (LAT)
The LAT is one of several key person on the Learning Support Team to assist with all elements leading to furthering inclusive opportunities for all students in the school. The LAT works directly with district personnel, Community Liaison Workers, counsellors, and service providers to facilitate quality programming and wraparound services to students.
The role of the counsellor is to provide comprehensive support in the areas of educational, personal and/or career counselling for students. The school counsellor is a certificated teacher and member of the school team. Referrals to a counsellor can be made by school staff.
Community Liaison Workers (CLW)
The Red Deer School Division's Community Liaison Workers serve children, youth and young adults within their home, school and community. The goal of our CLW is to support the wellness of students and their families to create success in school.
Our CLWs are professional staff who are part of each school's Learning Support Team and are dedicated to helping children, parents, and families. The service focuses on early intervention and prevention that supports the social, emotional and mental wellness of individuals.
Behaviour Support Team
A Behaviour Support Team has been hired in Red Deer Public Schools thanks to a $706,000 grant through the Mental Health in Schools Pilot Program from Alberta Education. The funding is part of a $40 million grant program which will support 60 mental health pilots across Alberta.
Red Deer Public Schools has hired a registered psychiatric nurse, a teacher with 20 years of training in supporting mental helath and behaviour, and a registered social worker who are readily available to classrooms throughout the Division. The goal is to help children be successful in learning, and to work with our amazing school staff to ensure they receive the required mental health and behavioural strategies needed to support students. We want to ensure our schools are safe and caring spaces for all students and staff and this funding will help us support students with the highest level of complexity. This team will support students with complex mental health and behavioural needs by building capacity in staff who work with these students as well as following up with families.
This centralized team will travel to schools thoughout the Division as needed to help suport students, staff and families. The team will also be available to assist on site during challenging situations and can be at any Red Deer Public school within 10 minutes if needed, making them highly accessible.
Alberta Health Services, Mental Health and Addictions
Children’s Mental Health Therapists are assigned to each school by Alberta Health Services to assist with diagnosis and understanding or treating mental health disorders or issues. Services may take place at Alberta Health Services or in some circumstances, at the school.