Students Services at St. Thomas Aquinas has a Special Education Coordinator who oversees the placement of students with special needs into appropriate programs.
Recognizing that each individual has a range of abilities and needs, an Individual Program Plan is developed with the cooperation of the classroom teacher and parents. Goals are developed that ensure high and appropriate expectations that will assist students in experiencing success and build a firm foundation while continually developing a repertoire of skills and knowledge.
Educational Assistants work with the Coordinator and the classroom teacher to implement the students’ Individual Program Plan goals. Their role is to provide support to students through exam accommodations, instructional review, and other program supports.
Knowledge and Employability Program
Knowledge and Employability courses are available to students in grade 9 through 12. The courses include and promote:
—Workplace standards for academic, occupational and employability skills.
-Practical skill applications through on and off campus experiences and/or community partnerships.
-Development skills for exploring careers, assessing career skills and developing a career-focused portfolio.
-Success through experiential learning activities that focus on reading, writing, mathematical literacy, and essential employability skills in occupational contexts.
Characteristics of Knowledge and Employability Courses
Each Senior High student will have the opportunity to:
-Take courses at his or her highest level of achievement.
-Select courses to meet individual learning needs and to meet secondary, continuing education, and training and career goals.
-Transition from Knowledge and Employability courses to other courses where appropriate with a 70% or better average.
-Earn a Certificate of High School Achievement with a minimum of 80 credits or, as appropriate, an Alberta High School Diploma (minimum of 100 credits).
Each Junior High Knowledge and Employability Student will have the Opportunity to:
-Participate in smaller class settings for Language Arts 9 and Mathematics 9, with differentiated instruction within the regular grade 9 Social and Science classes.
-To write the Knowledge and Employability Provincial Achievement Tests.
Academic Life Skills Program
Academic Life Skills Programming assists students with moderate cognitive disabilities who experience significant delays in all or most areas of development. Programming provided in inclusive settings assists students to gain:
-Basic reading skills.
-Knowledge of the community and world.
-Work skills and work ethic.
-Domestic, personal, social, leisure, citizenship, recreation and independent basic life skills.
By grade 12, a student who has participated in the Academic Life Skills Program is eligible to receive a Certificate of School Completion if they meet the following criteria;
-Have been a student for at least twelve years (and is 17 years of age by March 1 of the current year).
-The school year in which the nomination is being submitted is the student’s last year of school programming.
-The student has a significant cognitive delay and has participated in special education programming.
-Has worked toward goals and objectives in an IPP that is consistent with Alberta Education requirements.
Regular Jr. High/High School Inclusive Program
Students requiring accommodations to their regular program will have an Individual Program Plan (IPP) developed based on provincial learner outcomes. It will be individualized to address the specific needs of each student based on previous academic and/or psychological assessments that identify the student’s strength in learning, as well as areas that require growth. This IPP will identify the resources, supports, and services that the student requires in order to achieve their maximum learning potential.
Students will be immersed in the regular junior/senior high school program with supports in place where they are determined to be needed. The classroom teacher will work with the student and the Special Education Coordinator in choosing goals that encourage growth and are specific to their subject area.