Welcome to the SPECIAL EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
Department Head: Mrs. A. Cruess
The Special Education Department at Pine Ridge Secondary School serves over 300 formally identified students with special needs. The number of identified students accounts for approximately 19% of Pine Ridge's student population. Students are in three types of placement: indirect support on a teacher consultative basis with the Academic Resource teachers; partial integration through our regional Multiple Exceptionalities-Life Skills Program and two Practical Learning Programs; and full time in a Special Education class through our Developmental Class Program.
The Academic Resource room is available full time to students who needs clarification, assistance with work completion, use of a computer, an alternate learning environment or extra time to complete tests or assignments. During provincial testing (EQAO) for numeracy (in grade nine) and literacy (in grade ten), Academic Resource provides accommodations such as a small setting, up to double time, use of a computer and/or CD ROM versions of the test.
The Multiple Exceptionalities-Life Skills Program offers a small class placement for students to develop social skills, life skills and academics. Students in the Multiple Exceptionalities program have more than one exceptionality whether it is a combination of behavior and a learning disability; physical and behavior; autism and behavior, autism and a learning disability, developmental disability and physical disability, or mild intellectual disability and behavior. The students in our Multiple Exceptionalities-Life Skills Program are working towards either a Certificate of Accomplishment or Education through K-level courses. The Multiple Exceptionalities-Life Skills Program focuses literacy, numeracy, the development of independent living skills and employability skills. Students in the Multiple Exceptionalities- Life Skills Program do a variety of work experience placements in the community.
There are two Practical Learning Programs at Pine Ridge and each provides a slightly different focus, The Practical Learning Program I (PLP I) provides a small class placement focusing on meeting the individual needs of students through a blend of work experience, integration, partial credits, and K-level courses. In addition, the program has a focus on functional literacy and numeracy. The Practical Learning Program II (PLP I) provides a small class placement focusing on meeting the individual needs of students through a blend of social skills, self-help skills, communication skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and and shortly, work experience. In addition, the programs have a focus on functional literacy and numeracy.
The Special Education Department currently serves students with all twelve exceptionalities and multiple exceptionalities. The majority of Pine Ridge's students with special needs are identified as having the Communication-Learning Disability exceptionality.
The Special Education Department staff is comprised of 2.2 full time equivalent Academic Resource teachers, 1 Multiple Exceptionalities teacher, 2.6 Practical Learning Program teachers, 1.3 Developmental teachers and 17 Educational Assistants. Educational Assistants work with classroom teachers to accommodate and/or modify curriculum for students. Educational Assistants also provide scribing support, social skills, note taking and behavior management strategies to students.
The Special Education Department works with a variety of community agencies such as Community Care Access ( occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech and language pathologists), Grandview Treatment Centre, Kinark, Holland-Bloorview Centre (includes medical professionals and rehabilitation therapists), Children's Aid Society (CAS) and to school board personnel (social workers, psychological services, hearing resource, vision resource, speech and language pathologists, and Special Education facilitators).
Special Education is a team approach at Pine Ridge. The team includes parents, students, Special Education teachers, Academic Resource teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, guidance counsellors, cooperative education teachers, Educational Assistants, board personal and outside agencies. Special Education permeates through all levels of curriculum at Pine Ridge from enrichment courses for our gifted students to K-level courses for our non-credit bound students. In other words, Special Education is school-wide.