Across the Boards – Fall 2018 Feature

Superior Greenstone District School Board

Superior-Greenstone Modernizing Special Education

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Will Goodman

Over the past couple of years Superior-Greenstone District School Board staff and students have been re-imagining Special Education in order to create equitable and inclusive environments for all learners.  We knew that if we wanted to create learners who can thrive in turbulent, complex times, apply thinking to new situations, and change the world, we must reimagine learning. (Deep Learning, Engage the World Change the World)  The shared work between education staff, community partners, families, students and SGDSB plant services has enabled our vision to take form in each of our schools.

Developing a greater understanding of our learner strengths was a priority area for our educators.  In partnership with the Critical Thinking Consortium and the Ministry of Education, SGDSB supported the development and application of “Learning for All K-12 Professional Learning Facilitator’s Guide”.  This learning was first done with Ministry Leaders and our Senior Admin team in order to model cohesive learning and also to better understand the work that was needed.  The launch of Module 1 “Knowing the Learner” not only has allowed school teams to dig deeper into our understanding of student cognitive processes but also to use effective strategies that are based on strength based profiles.  From this learning, educators are effectively using assistive technology, creating safe and inclusive environments and becoming responsive to student needs.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Will Goodman

The enhancement of our programs also required our physical environments to meet the needs of our learners.  On a cold February day our Education, IT, and Plant leaders loaded into a truck and embarked on a 5 day, 2000 km journey in order to plan and coordinate future renovations that will positively impact student learning.  The coordination and sharing over the course of those days allowed each department to understand each other but also learned how each can complement the other.  The outcomes have been impactful and our schools have seen the development of sensory rooms, student success environments, and accessible washrooms that meet the needs of all.

As our district continues to transform, we are all committed to the moral imperative that is to improve outcomes for all learners in our schools.  Continuous enhancements and engaging in professional learning are at the heart of our change.  Superior-Greenstone continues to lead in the North as they are facilitating the Ontario Principals Council Special Education for Administrators Additional Qualification  36 Northwestern Ontario Principals’ across the region have all begun this learning journey in pursuit of improving the outcomes for “All” learners.

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