Supports for students with diverse abilities or special needs

Each child is unique with their own strengths and challenges. We strive for an inclusive education system that ensures students can succeed at school when learning suits their unique learning:

  • style; and
  • needs.

Some students have diverse abilities or special education needs. They may need more specific supports, modifications or adaptations to their learning.

We provide a range of supports so students can succeed at school and reach their goals. Support may be different for each student.

What is inclusive and special education?

Inclusive education refers to the idea that students with diverse learning abilities and backgrounds should have equal access to:

  • learning;
  • achievement; and
  • the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of education.

Inclusive education also encompasses students with special education needs. Students may be determined to have special education needs if they have 1 or more exceptionalities. These could be:

  • intellectual;
  • communicative;
  • behavioural; or
  • physical.
How are students with diverse learning abilities or special education needs supported?

We follow the Response to Intervention model to:

  • identify student needs; and
  • provide supports.

The Response to Intervention model is designed to:

  • identify students who need more supports early in their schooling; and
  • make sure the supports are working and the student is succeeding at school.

There are 5 steps in the Response to Intervention model:

  1. Identifying and assessing students who may need additional supports.
  2. Planning supports that will be effective for the student.
  3. Developing the learning plan for the student and how to put in place the supports.
  4. Evaluating and recording if the supports are working for the student.
  5. Reporting to families on the student’s progress with these supports in place.

How are supports determined?

  1. Teachers work with families to identify students who may need more supports. They determine if they can meet the needs of the student in the classroom with some adjustments.
  2. If the student needs more significant supports, the teacher will refer the student to the school-based team. A parent or guardian can also request a meeting with their school-based team at any time.
  3. The school-based team works collaboratively to identify the student needs and how they can be addressed. Input is provided from:
    • parents or guardians; and
    • our central Student Support Services unit as requested.
  4. The school-based team may also request a more specialized or formal assessment from a specialist. This process is also supported by our Student Support Services unit.
  5. The school-based team with the parent or guardian will create a learning plan for the student based on:
    • informal; and
    • formal assessments.
  6. Teachers and other support staff put in place the strategies and supports outlined in the student’s learning plan.
  7. Teachers report to families on:
    • the student’s learning progress; and
    • the effectiveness of the supports in place for the child.

What’s a school-based team?

A school-based team is a collaborative, problem-solving team that addresses a student's needs in their school.

The school-based team includes:

  • the student’s classroom teacher;
  • the principal or vice-principal;
  • a learning assistant teacher or other specialist teachers;
  • a school counsellor;
  • the parents and guardians;
  • the student (where appropriate);
  • consultants from Student Support Services; and
  • when needed, representatives from other community services.

School-based teams identify any extra supports a student may need with others, such as:

  • parents or guardians; and
  • students.

A parent or guardian may request a meeting with their school-based team at any time to discuss the child's:

  • needs;
  • supports; and
  • plans.
What’s a learning plan?

A learning plan outlines the supports a student may need at school, along with:

  • specific learning goals; and
  • outcomes.

School staff use 3 different plans to outline supports for students with diverse learning needs:

  • individualized educations plans (IEPs);
  • student learning plans (SLPs); and
  • behaviour support plans (BSPs).

Each plan is designed to ensure the right supports are in place for a student. No plan limits the type of support available to a student.

Individualized Education Plan

An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is for a student who’s found to have special education needs under the Education Act because of their 1 or more exceptionalities. These could be:

  • intellectual;
  • communicative;
  • behavioural; or
  • physical.

The plan describes:

  • the modifications to the curriculum’s learning standards the student needs;
  • how they’ll be supported;
  • their individualized learning goals; and
  • how their learning progress is tracked and reported to their family.

School staff must meet with parents or guardians at least 3 times each school year to discuss their child’s IEP. Staff must also provide 3 written progress reports per year with comments on the student’s progress related to the goals in their IEP.

Student Learning Plan

Student learning plans (SLPs) set out adaptations for students who, with additional targeted learning supports, can meet the outcomes of the regular school curriculum.

These students have not been determined to have special educational needs but do require:

  • specific learning supports; or
  • adaptations to maximize their potential.

An adaptation is a strategy or supports a student needs to be successful on a:

  • task;
  • assignment; or
  • exam.

It could also be another way of showing how they meet the standards of the regular school curriculum.

Examples include:

  • allowing the use of a calculator in math to support numeracy;
  • providing access to audiobooks to support literacy;
  • allowing more time on assignments, tasks or exams for processing information; or
  • other more intensive supports such as assistive technology, speech or occupational therapy, depending on the needs of the student.

The adaptations or supports provided must successfully address the student’s need. They may evolve over a student’s schooling as they grow as a learner.

School staff report to families on the success of the adaptations outlined in their SLP through:

  • formal report cards; and
  • informal updates (such as in-person meetings) that are required for all students across the school year.

They may also meet with parents or guardians in separate meetings outside of the regular reporting periods.

Behaviour Support Plan

Behaviour support plans (BSPs) are for students who show behaviours that are not expected in the school environment but are not deemed to be the result of special education needs.

A BSP identifies supports and interventions to help a student:

  • develop positive behaviours; and
  • to independently self-regulate.

Students can complete the regular school curriculum on this plan with proper supports and interventions in place. For example, scheduled breaks throughout the day.

School staff report to families on the success of the supports and interventions outlined in their BSP through:

  • formal report cards; and
  • informal updates (such as in-person meetings) that are required for all students across the school year.

They may also meet with parents or guardians in separate meetings outside of the regular reporting periods.

If you have questions about whether your child will graduate on a learning plan

The graduation years are from grade 10-12. Teachers start assessing whether a student will meet the specific credit and course requirements for graduation in grade 10.

Every child is unique. Talk to your child’s teacher, school counsellor or school principal to learn if they are on track to graduate.

Learn more about the credit and course requirements for graduation. 

What are the legal protections in place to ensure your child gets the supports they need?

A child’s right to an education program that meets their needs is enshrined in Yukon’s Education Act.

The Education Act, under Division 2, Special Education, provides that an IEP is required for students who have been determined to:

  • have special education needs; and
  • require a special education program.

Not all students who need additional support at school require an IEP. The Education Act, under section 10, ‘‘Right to education’’, outlines that all students are entitled to receive an education program that is appropriate to their needs.

These provisions of the Education Act set our legal responsibility to ensure all students have the supports they need at school.

We have an obligation to provide the supports that are outlined in a student’s learning plan. We also have an obligation to:

  • track these supports year-over-year;
  • report to parents or guardians on their child’s learning progress with supports in place; and
  • notify families of any changes to their child’s plans and supports.

If you feel your child is not getting the support they need

If you feel your child is not getting the support they need, your 1st step is to contact your child’s teacher.

You can also call a meeting of your child’s school-based team at any time to discuss your child’s needs.

If your concern is not resolved, there are steps you can follow to ensure your concern is addressed. You can raise your concern until it is resolved in the following order:

  1. If not resolved with your child’s teacher, you can raise it with the school principal or vice-principal.
  2. If not resolved at this level, you can raise it with the superintendent or school council.
  3. If not resolved at this level, it may be raised with the assistant deputy minister of Schools and Student Services.

These steps follow the dispute-resolution process to ensure the concerns of families are heard and addressed.

You may also consider following the Education Appeal Tribunal process in cases where you disagree with:

  • the determination of whether your child has special educational needs; or
  • the Individualized Education Plan established for your child.
If you have questions about supports or plan

If you have questions about the plan your child is on or the supports in place for them, you should contact your child’s teacher.

We follow the Response to Intervention model to:

  • identify student needs; and
  • provide supports.

The Response to Intervention model is designed to:

  • identify students who need more supports early in their schooling; and
  • make sure the supports are working and the student is succeeding at school.

There are 5 steps in the Response to Intervention model:

  1. Identifying and assessing students who may need additional supports.
  2. Planning supports that will be effective for the student.
  3. Developing the learning plan for the student and how to put in place the supports.
  4. Evaluating and recording if the supports are working for the student.
  5. Reporting to families on the student’s progress with these supports in place.

How are supports determined?

  1. Teachers work with families to identify students who may need more supports. They determine if they can meet the needs of the student in the classroom with some adjustments.
  2. If the student needs more significant supports, the teacher will refer the student to the school-based team. A parent or guardian can also request a meeting with their school-based team at any time.
  3. The school-based team works collaboratively to identify the student needs and how they can be addressed. Input is provided from:
    • parents or guardians; and
    • our central Student Support Services unit as requested.
  4. The school-based team may also request a more specialized or formal assessment from a specialist. This process is also supported by our Student Support Services unit.
  5. The school-based team with the parent or guardian will create a learning plan for the student based on:
    • informal; and
    • formal assessments.
  6. Teachers and other support staff put in place the strategies and supports outlined in the student’s learning plan.
  7. Teachers report to families on:
    • the student’s learning progress; and
    • the effectiveness of the supports in place for the child.

What’s a school-based team?

A school-based team is a collaborative, problem-solving team that addresses a student's needs in their school.

The school-based team includes:

  • the student’s classroom teacher;
  • the principal or vice-principal;
  • a learning assistant teacher or other specialist teachers;
  • a school counsellor;
  • the parents and guardians;
  • the student (where appropriate);
  • consultants from Student Support Services; and
  • when needed, representatives from other community services.

School-based teams identify any extra supports a student may need with others, such as:

  • parents or guardians; and
  • students.

A parent or guardian may request a meeting with their school-based team at any time to discuss the child's:

  • needs;
  • supports; and
  • plans.

A learning plan outlines the supports a student may need at school, along with:

  • specific learning goals; and
  • outcomes.

School staff use 3 different plans to outline supports for students with diverse learning needs:

  • individualized educations plans (IEPs);
  • student learning plans (SLPs); and
  • behaviour support plans (BSPs).

Each plan is designed to ensure the right supports are in place for a student. No plan limits the type of support available to a student.

Individualized Education Plan

An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is for a student who’s found to have special education needs under the Education Act because of their 1 or more exceptionalities. These could be:

  • intellectual;
  • communicative;
  • behavioural; or
  • physical.

The plan describes:

  • the modifications to the curriculum’s learning standards the student needs;
  • how they’ll be supported;
  • their individualized learning goals; and
  • how their learning progress is tracked and reported to their family.

School staff must meet with parents or guardians at least 3 times each school year to discuss their child’s IEP. Staff must also provide 3 written progress reports per year with comments on the student’s progress related to the goals in their IEP.

Student Learning Plan

Student learning plans (SLPs) set out adaptations for students who, with additional targeted learning supports, can meet the outcomes of the regular school curriculum.

These students have not been determined to have special educational needs but do require:

  • specific learning supports; or
  • adaptations to maximize their potential.

An adaptation is a strategy or supports a student needs to be successful on a:

  • task;
  • assignment; or
  • exam.

It could also be another way of showing how they meet the standards of the regular school curriculum.

Examples include:

  • allowing the use of a calculator in math to support numeracy;
  • providing access to audiobooks to support literacy;
  • allowing more time on assignments, tasks or exams for processing information; or
  • other more intensive supports such as assistive technology, speech or occupational therapy, depending on the needs of the student.

The adaptations or supports provided must successfully address the student’s need. They may evolve over a student’s schooling as they grow as a learner.

School staff report to families on the success of the adaptations outlined in their SLP through:

  • formal report cards; and
  • informal updates (such as in-person meetings) that are required for all students across the school year.

They may also meet with parents or guardians in separate meetings outside of the regular reporting periods.

Behaviour Support Plan

Behaviour support plans (BSPs) are for students who show behaviours that are not expected in the school environment but are not deemed to be the result of special education needs.

A BSP identifies supports and interventions to help a student:

  • develop positive behaviours; and
  • to independently self-regulate.

Students can complete the regular school curriculum on this plan with proper supports and interventions in place. For example, scheduled breaks throughout the day.

School staff report to families on the success of the supports and interventions outlined in their BSP through:

  • formal report cards; and
  • informal updates (such as in-person meetings) that are required for all students across the school year.

They may also meet with parents or guardians in separate meetings outside of the regular reporting periods.

If you have questions about whether your child will graduate on a learning plan

The graduation years are from grade 10-12. Teachers start assessing whether a student will meet the specific credit and course requirements for graduation in grade 10.

Every child is unique. Talk to your child’s teacher, school counsellor or school principal to learn if they are on track to graduate.

Learn more about the credit and course requirements for graduation. 

If you have questions about the plan your child is on or the supports in place for them, you should contact your child’s teacher.