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Complex Learners

Diversity is our oxygen!

This statement highlights North Vancouver School District’s commitment to celebrating and supporting the many ways in which diversity is richly expressed in our classrooms and school communities.

We believe every student brings with them to school each day a special and unique way of being in the world that meaningfully contributes to this diversity. Our children’s earliest experience of school awakens within them an appreciation for how individual differences make the surrounding world more meaningful. It is the beginning of understanding that diversity, and each individual’s contribution to it, represents an essential life force for learning and living together as a community.

Alongside this celebration of diversity is the need to support individual differences in ways that ensure academic success and an authentic sense of belonging for every student. One aspect of this diversity is represented by students who have a complex learning profile as a result of a pervasive developmental disability. Through meaningful adaptations to curriculum, instruction and assessment these students can achieve academic success and a genuine sense of belonging within their classroom and school community.

7 core concepts: Enhancing Professional Skillset, Nurturing Social/Emotional Development and Mental Health, Keeping Complex Learners Safe, Strengthening Home-School Partnerships, Designing Quality Education Plans, Supporting Student Transitions, Celebrating the Unique Me

The Seven core components indicated above were developed through an initiative undertaken by NVSD’s Office of Inclusive Education that involved extensive and ongoing consultation with parents, school district personnel, experts in the field of education, and community-based agencies. The overarching framework is intentionally constructed to reinforce the notion that our understanding of how best to support complex learners is ever-evolving. Essential to this is a commitment that further development and re-framing of these components be meaningfully informed by the people who directly support these children and young people on a daily basis. To this end, each component is overseen by one or more district or school-based administrator(s) along with a parent consultant who meet regularly to consider how the component is evolving and what steps are needed to support its effective implementation across all schools.

The Seven Core Components for Celebrating and Supporting Complex Learners

Our priorities for focus in relation to the Core Components are to: 1) Establish consistency of practice in our schools; 2) Building strong parent and school partnerships informed by the Core Components; and 3) Modernizing the Curriculum for all students. Each priority and related goals are outlined below.

Priority One: Establish consistency of practice across each of our schools

This priority has an educator focus and orientation that includes developing the understanding and skill enhancement of practitioners in relation to the seven core components for celebrating and supporting complex learners. We want the core components to be embedded into the practice of each school community.

Goal: Develop the awareness and the skill sets of professionals and para-professionals in the Core Components within all schools and invite their feedback to inform further development of the framework.

Measure of Success/Indicator of Progress:

  • Each complex learner is experiencing academic success and a sense of belonging that is supported by the Core Components
  • Case managers of complex learners will receive an annual questionnaire that requests their feedback, and gauges their understanding and satisfaction across the core components
  • Para-professionals will provide feedback to their understanding of the Core Components and this will be reviewed by the school administrator

Key actions:

  • Development of the online web-based repository that will be used as a fundamental building block for capacity building
  • EA Training and Mentorship
  • On-going field participation in the development of the components
  • The Core Components are embedded in the practice of the Directors of Learning Services in their management of educational issues
  • Focused professional development for EAs, and educators
  • FOS Leaders will use the Core Components in their work with Families and Schools

Priority Two: Strengthening home and school partnerships through the Core Components

This priority has a parent focus and orientation that includes building awareness, promoting understanding and inviting feedback from our parent community in support of their children. The ultimate objective is to have the core components to form the foundation of our relationships with parents.

Goal: Extend awareness of the Core Components among parents and advocates for students with complex needs to develop their understanding and invite their feedback to further inform the development of the framework.

Measure of Success/Indicator of Progress:

  • The seven core components serve as a framework to assist parents, case managers, and classroom teachers in their support of complex learners
  • Parents of complex learners will receive an annual questionnaire that measures the implementation and usefulness of the seven core components and invites their feedback to inform further development of the framework
  • Greater understanding and satisfaction of parents with regards to their child’s educational plan and reporting of progress

Key actions:

  • Development of the online web-based repository that will be used as a fundamental building block for capacity building
  • Providing workshops to parents to further develop their understanding of the core components
  • Eliciting on-going parent feedback to inform further the development of the core components

Priority Three: Modernising curriculum, instruction and assessment for all learners

This priority has a classroom teacher focus and orientation that concentrates attention on BC’s new curriculum with a purposeful emphasis placed on the meaningful inclusion of all learners. The modernising of the curriculum is foundationally situated on the premise of a student-centred focus, supported through teaching to diversity in a manner that shapes curriculum, instruction and assessment to ensure the success for all learners, including those with complex needs.

Goal: Implementation of BC’s new curriculum and competency-based IEPs in a manner that supports classroom teachers in their efforts to ensure the success of all learners.

Measure of Success/Indicator of Progress:

  • Classroom teachers have a greater understanding and skill in using the new curriculum and competency-based IEPs to adapt curriculum, instruction and assessment to ensure the success of all students
  • Data to be collected from elementary and secondary classroom teachers to determine if the new curriculum is impacting their practice in a manner that better serves the needs of diverse and complex learners
  • A sampling of report cards to be reviewed with respect to the outcomes for complex learners and the new curriculum
  • Increased implementation of a competency-based IEP

Key actions:

  • Director-led focus on implementing BC’s new curriculum in a manner that is genuinely inclusive of complex learners
  • Alignment of services provided by Directors, District Principals, FOS leaders, Teacher Leaders to support classroom teachers in their efforts to include complex learners in the new curriculum
  • Recruitment of Shelley Moore to provide district-wide in-service on classroom-based adaptations to curriculum, instruction and assessment to support complex learners
  • The direct in service and development of classroom teachers in modern pedagogy that enables implementation of the new curriculum for all learners
  • Classroom teacher participation in designing curriculum implementation and instructional practices for diversity

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