Today's Lesson

In our experience we have met 2 types of parents; parents looking for the best school (‘best’ based on a set of criteria predetermined well before they speak to us). And - the other type of parent.  Parents who are determined to find the best school for their child.


If you are the first type of parent, best of luck to you on your search. We are confident you will find an amazing school (as many do exist) and your child may (or may not) bask in their glow of excellence. Unfortunately, excellence does not breed through osmosis. We believe that one rather, should approach selecting their child’s school with a grain of realism. 


Which brings me to the most important question you can ask yourself to launch your search: “What is the best school for my child?”


At Wolff Educational Services we conduct needs assessments that breaks this criteria into 3 selection houses. They are the Social, Emotional and Academic Houses of your child’s success and achievement at school. We have broken these houses into realistic criteria based on actual achievement data (the learning skills) and are written in academic language (reflective of curriculum expectations). Once the assessment is completed, it is simply a matter of matching the results (your child's area of strength and need) with the schools that offer programming in these areas. The equation breeds student success and achievement. Its flawless in its design.


Parents, education today is comprised of these 3 houses working together in unity and harmony. Students must demonstrate learning in all 3 of these areas in order to be successful. The way the curriculum is taught and learned is not inherent of 20th century practices anymore. 21st century classrooms are much more layered in there design and learning platforms are reflective of differentiated instruction, individualized for your child to demonstrate learning and skills. 


Before you begin your school search, know what it is your are looking for. Know what your child's strengths and areas of need are in each area (house) of the learning platforms and how they relate to both the classroom and school. Understand what the classroom does and can do, map the landscape as you would any foreign environment. 


And if you feel like you need an education in all things education before you try and map out a route for your child - call us! We can help - however, we will only find the best school for your child….not necessarily what you think is the best school.


Until Our Next Lesson……


Time for IEP’s

In addition to the beginning of school, getting to know students and putting routines in place, Special Education teachers are beginning to plan and write Individual Education Plans. Here is what you can expect if your child is formally identified as an exceptional student or has an IEP for another reason. 

IEP: Individual Education Plan
What is it? An IEP is an individualized written plan describing the program and/or services required by a student and usually based on a comprehensive assessment using standardized tools. It is an accountability tool used in conjunction with the Provincial Report Card and connected to the Ontario Curriculum. 

Who gets an IEP?
All students who have been identified as exceptional at an IPRC (Identification, Placement, Review Committee) must have an IEP. However, there are situations where a student may not be formally identified, but has an IEP to address a particular area of need.

When is the IEP written?
Now!! The IEP must be completed within the first 30 days of school or 30 school days after a student is identified or placed in a special program.

Who writes an IEP?
It is the Special Education teacher’s responsibility to write the IEP, but it is always done in consultation with others (teachers, school staff, professionals and, if appropriate, the student). All parents whose child is receiving an IEP MUST be consulted in the process to provide information they feel is relevant to their child’s learning. “Principals are legally required to ensure that parents are consulted in the development of the IEP.” (The Individual Education Plan 2004) 

What is included on the IEP? 
• Strengths and needs
• Relevant medical/health information
• Assessment data
• Goals and specific expectations for the current term
• All staff who teach/support the student
• All subjects/courses to which the IEP applies and whether it is modified, accommodated or alternative (Program modifications are changes to the grade-level expectations while accommodations are supports and/or services that help a student access the curriculum and demonstrate learning at his/her grade level)
• Program description – the Special Education services that will be provided
• Transition Plan for students over the age of 14

Is the IEP good for the whole school year?
Because the IEP is a “working document” it must be reviewed regularly and learning expectations should be updated at the beginning of each reporting period. If there are modifications to grade level expectations or if a student is working on alternative expectations not represented in the Ontario curriculum, the IEP must be updated at least once during each reporting period.

Who gets a copy of the IEP?
A parent must sign the original copy of the IEP and return it to the school so copies can be made. The parent receives a copy as well as teachers who work with the student. The original is kept in the OSR (Ontario Student Record).

Until our next lesson,
Ann and Karen
Educational Consultants