Programming & Placement Policy
Standards for Special Education, Amended June 2004 supports Alberta Learning’s Business Plan goal to have high quality learning opportunities that ensure the learning system meets the needs of all learners and society.
Special education refers to the education of students with mild, moderate, or severe disabilities and those who are gifted and talented. It is founded on the belief that all children can learn and reach their full potential given opportunity, effective teaching and appropriate resources. Instruction, rather than setting, is the key to success and decisions related to the placement of students are best made on an individual basis in a manner that maximizes their opportunity to participate fully in the experience of schooling.
In Alberta, educating students with special education needs in inclusive settings is the first placement option to be considered by school boards in consultation with parents and, when appropriate, students. Inclusion, by definition, refers not merely to setting but to specially designed instruction and support for students with special education needs in regular classrooms and neighbourhood schools.
The placement of students with special needs in general education settings is based on a philosophy of equality, sharing, participation, and the worth and dignity of individuals. Most Albertans agree that students with special needs must be full participants in school and society. These students have the right to take part in typical school activities, and when they do so, they have a better chance of developing their full potential. School boards are ultimately responsible for making placement and programming decisions that are in the best interests of individual children and of all the children they serve. Placing students with special education needs in general education classrooms in their neighbourhood schools benefits all students. Successful placement depends on such factors as adequate teacher training, learning resources and guidance by administrators.
Student programs will be designed to meet individual student and family priorities in consultation with the Learning Services Support Team. Where it has been determined that outcomes or interventions designed for an individual student cannot be optimally met in the classroom setting, alternative settings including common school spaces, learning services spaces and community based settings will be utilized.
Services and student programming delivered outside of the general education setting will be justified and agreed upon by all team members, including the parents/guardians and the student, if appropriate.