The successful transition of exceptional students from one program to another or from one educational placement to another requires effective communication among all partners. Each transition begins with the registration of the student at the home school and the school team ensures the successful transition of information.
Consent to Exchange Personal Student information is required for the disclosure of personal student information to and/or from YRDSB. The signature of the parent(s)/guardian(s)/education designate(s)/student is necessary before information can be exchanged between all parties involved in the transition. Assessments completed by Regulated Health Professionals (e.g., physicians, or psychologists in private practice or in other school boards) are reviewed for compliance with Board standards and expectations regarding completeness, etc. and are generally accepted as they are. Students from other jurisdictions who arrive in our schools without an appropriate assessment are treated in the same manner as resident students with respect to the establishment of priority lists for Assessments. No copies of reports are provided to outside agencies or individuals without the expressed written consent of the parent(s)/ guardian(s).
School Principals are responsible for ensuring the successful admission or transfer of students from one program to another and can be supported by staff from Regional Student Services. In particular, Student Services Coordinators support the transfer of students requiring more intensive supports/programs, liaise with community organizations and agencies, and coordinate the services of CEC Interdisciplinary Teams.
Entry to School Procedures
The following section is divided into five components:
- Kindergarten Entry with Support from Early Intervention Services
- Preschool Programs for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Preschool Speech and Language Programs
- Students with Special Needs Entering YRDSB for the First Time
- Intensive Early Intervention Programs for Children with Autism
All children entering kindergarten in York Region are initially enrolled in their home school. When a child is identified as having special needs by their parent(s)/guardian(s) or by Early Intervention Services (EIS) personnel, a transition meeting is held prior to school entry. The meeting may be attended by:
- a school administrator;
- school staff – Kindergarten teacher, Designated Early Childhood Educator, Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT);
- York Region District School Board Student Services staff as required (i.e., Speech-Language Pathologist, Physical or Occupational Therapist, Special Education Consultant, Student Services Coordinator, BLV/DHH Coordinators, etc.;)
- Community personnel (i.e., EIS, Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Providers, if the child has been receiving service and parent(s)/guardian(s) have provided consent); and others (i.e. interpreters).
The purpose of the meeting is to exchange information about the child’s strengths and needs to facilitate the transition of the child to school. Information and assessment data about the child’s strengths, developmental milestones, level of skill development and individual needs are shared with school staff. With parent/guardian permission, EIS will share the Transition to School Report to guide the discussion/development of the Student Profile for Transition to School document. By working together, information can be used to proactively plan for experiences and programs that will maximize the child’s strengths.
The YRDSB and EIS have made a commitment to provide training to their respective staff to facilitate this process of transition to school. The Ministry document Special Education in Ontario Kindergarten to Grade 12 Policy and Resource Guide, 2017 is another resource to support the transition to school.
Early Intervention Services Transition to School Timetable
York Region Early Intervention Services (EIS) delivers programs that support families who have children with special needs in their homes or licensed child care settings between birth and school-entry. The Early Intervention Services Transition to School Timetable from the Community and Health Services Department of York Region outlines the transition support activities and approximate time period for these transition activities provided through the Infant and Child Development Services (I.C.D.S.) and the Inclusion Support Services (I.S.S.).
YRDSB offers an Early Intervention Preschool Home Visiting Program for children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing between the ages of 2-4 years. This program uses a family-centered approach to build skills in the areas of auditory management, listening, language, speech, school readiness, and social/emotional development. Specialist Teachers of Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (TSDHH), with additional training in auditory verbal and early intervention methodologies, provide support in the home and/or daycare setting. Program goals include collaboration with community organizations (i.e., Infant Hearing Program, Provincial Demonstration Schools, SickKids and Community Audiologists), and the school board, to facilitate a smooth transition into Kindergarten. This collaboration includes sharing information with families about special education processes in the Board (e.g. ISTM, IPRC, IEP), in addition to coordinating a transition meeting prior to school entry. The transition meeting allows parents/guardians to share information about student strengths and needs with the receiving school and for school teams to discuss educational placement, supports and services within the school system.
The YRDSB Speech-Language Pathology department supports learners from entry into year one of kindergarten onward. Families who have concerns regarding their child’s communication skills are able to refer to the York Region Preschool Speech and Language Program (YRPSLP) on, or before, August 31st prior to entry into year one of kindergarten. Upon school entry, the preschool speech-language pathologist (S-LP), with permission from the parent/guardian, will advise the school of the child’s discharge from preschool services. The YRDSB S-LP ensures a smooth transition from preschool to school-based services through strong partnerships with families, kindergarten classroom educators and the school.
This section pertains to students with special needs who have not accessed Early Intervention Services (EIS) or Connections for Students (CFS). When a Principal becomes aware that a student with special needs will be entering school for the first time, the following procedure shall be followed:
- the Principal asks the parents/guardians for copies of assessment reports and any relevant information;
- The Principal reviews all relevant reports and consults with the CEC Student Services Coordinator to determine which Student Services staff are needed to support the transition;
- The Principal invites the required staff, parents and child to a transition meeting at the school and completes the Student Profile for Transition to School;
- The Principal encourages the parents to invite the community service provider as appropriate (i.e., Kinark, Kerry’s Place, Bloorview, the Children’s Treatment Network) when parents request a Community Class placement for their child and it is the recommendation of the Board through the CEC Student Services Coordinator that this would be an appropriate placement, an IPRC meeting will be held after the child is enrolled at the school; and
- Student Services staff and Special Education Consultants are available to provide additional program support as requested.
Entry to School Program (ETS)
The Entry To School (ETS) program helps children develop school-readiness skills and provides transition supports as they enter Kindergarten or Grade 1 for the first time. The program includes two main parts. The first part is a 6-month, half-day group-based, skill-building program, focused on helping children develop school-readiness skills. After completing the group-based part of the program, children start the second part of the program, which provides them with individual transition supports as they enter school. YRDSB staff collaborate with the Entry to School team and family to support the first 6 months of a child’s transition to school. To begin the transition process, the Entry to School team connects with the school administrator and educators. Once a transition meeting is held, families and educators can access consultation services from the Entry to School team as needed.
Connections for Students
The Connections for Students model is centred on interdisciplinary, student-specific, school-based transition teams that are established approximately six months before a child transitions from an Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Service Provider to a YRDSB school setting. Transition teams will develop plans tailored to the specific support needs of individual students and provide support for up to six months after a child leaves an OAP funded program.
The mandate of each team is to achieve seamless transitions to school by supporting students according to their individual needs. To facilitate this goal, there is a transfer of information about the student’s strengths and needs from the OAP provider to the school staff, enabling both the team members and the transition plans to be tailored to the specific support needs of individual students.
The Connections for Students Transition Process
Step 1 - A clinical decision is made by the OAP Service Provider to discharge the child/youth/young adult from the ABA program. They may then refer the student to the Connections For Students program through Kinark Child and Family Services.
Step 2 - If the student qualifies for the Connections for Students program as determined by Kinark, a Kinark behaviour consultant will contact the appropriate Student Services Coordinator to initiate the transition process.
Step 3 - After consultation with parent(s)/guardian(s) and YRDSB staff, and if required, the Student Services Coordinator, an appropriate placement will be determined. If required, an IPRC will be convened once the student is enrolled in the school. In some cases, the student may already have a placement in a YRDSB school and are using the support of Connections for Students while they increase their school hours to full time.
Step 4 - The school Principal or designate of the school in which the student will be transitioning establishes and leads an inter-professional transition team. The team includes a school administrator, parent(s)/guardian(s), teacher(s), Kinark School Support Program (SSP) Autism Spectrum Disorder Consultant, and other school and Student Services staff as appropriate.
Step 5 - Approximately six months prior to the planned date of admission to school or increase in school hours, the transition team develops and implements a transition plan that is tailored to the specific support needs of the individual student. The transition team addresses any specific needs to ensure school and student readiness for entry to school; and provides assistance to teachers as required to support the student’s transition into the classroom setting.
Step 6 - Once the student enters school full-time, the transition team meets monthly (or more frequently as needed) to address any issues related to the transition and program development and provides support for up to six months.
Step 7 - After the student has been in school full-time for six months, the Principal or designate, parent(s)/guardian(s) and teacher will continue to work together to monitor the student’s progress at key transition points in order to provide appropriate support.
Education and Community Partnership Programs (ECPP)
Education and Community Partnership Programs (ECPP), formerly known as Care and/or Treatment, Custody and Corrections Programs (CTCC) are voluntary, formal, collaborative partnerships between Ontario school boards and government approved facilities such as children’s mental health agencies, and hospitals. Ministry funding for these programs requires that a written agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, be negotiated on an annual basis. Provincial policy and Legislative Grant Regulations have established guidelines for the programs.
ECPPs are designed to provide critical support to meet the needs of children and youth who cannot attend school due to their primary need for care, treatment and/or rehabilitation and to facilitate transitions to future educational success. YRDSB has Memorandums of Understanding with 6 agencies to offer 26 classrooms across 9 program locations. These low ratio classes provide education programs for children and youth who require intensive support from multi-disciplinary treatment and education professionals from early primary through to grade 12.
YRDSB also collaborates with other ECPP programs across the province for the purposes of specialized programs not available in York Region and to facilitate transitions for students when out of region programs are accessed.
When a student is thought to have care or treatment needs, the school team will hold an In-School Team Meeting (ISTM) with appropriate YRDSB support services staff to review the student’s profile and chronology of interventions. School teams, along with families/guardians collaborate to make referrals to the York Region Central Intake committee or the individual partner agency through the Principal of Education and Community Partnership Programs. YRDSB staff can access referral forms through the internal Student Services Network system.
Once a referral has been generated, the Principal of Education and Community Partnership Programs will arrange a meeting with the school and family to complete the referral.
Some agencies also accept referrals directly from the parent/guardian and/or community based professionals.
A student is admitted to a day treatment program through the agency’s admissions process. Relevant information is shared by the sending school with the receiving day treatment team. Involvement of the parent/guardian is critical both to the acceptance of the student and the ongoing success of the student in the program. Once admitted into the day treatment program, the student is placed on the York Academy school register.
ECPP programs are also known as Day Treatment Programs. The main objective of these programs is to provide a safe and structured environment in which each student’s individual treatment, social, emotional and educational needs can be met.
These programs provide stabilization and treatment and work in collaboration with the home school to develop supportive transition plans/programs upon discharge. Each student is on an individualized and flexible program with respect to academics, length of stay, and treatment goals. Day treatment programs are intensive, time bound placements. The ultimate goal for each student is successful re-entry to a school or transition to post-secondary education, job training or employment.
Collaborative interdisciplinary teams, including the parent(s)/guardian(s), student, school and community based mental health and dual diagnosis service providers develop treatment and educational goals and plans and develop a program that addresses both the treatment and educational needs of the student.
Academic programs are individualized, flexible and integrated with the treatment plan. Credit and non-credit courses are available to secondary level students. The teacher, as a member of the treatment team, is responsible for the educational assessment of, and program planning for, students. In most cases, class sizes range from 4-8 students per class with staffing from YRDSB and the partner agency.
Some day treatment programs offer a summer program.
Regular case conference/ review meetings are scheduled by the treatment program and attended by appropriate YRDSB staff as well as parents/guardians. These meetings provide opportunities for YRDSB staff to remain supportive of the students program and prepare for their return to school at the completion of the treatment program.
Provincial Guidelines for Approval and Provision of an Education and Community Partnership Program (ECPP) 2020-21 outline expectations for transition planning that is personalized and precise. YRDSB and ECP staff collaborate with caregivers and students to develop a re-entry plan that reflects the strengths, interests and needs of the child and supports the continuity of education and treatment services upon exit from the ECP. Extensive collaborative planning is ongoing while the student attends the treatment program and culminates in the development of a Re-entry plan. If required, an IPRC meeting is scheduled when the student returns to a school board placement.
Transportation to ECPP programs is provided by the Board.
YRDSB does not receive funding from the Ministry of Education to support programs for students in custody or correctional facilities. Facilities (outside of York Region) who may be providing support for a student, or looking to transition students from a correctional facility are responsible to connect with the student’s school for information to support the student’s educational needs or start in school. School administrators with the support of their school-based staff are available to support the transition of any student and their educational and well-being needs. YRDSB school administrators are responsible to contact the Principal of Caring and Safe Schools for students who may have discipline processes which are still ongoing.
Positive relationships have been established between the Board and partnering Societies through our participation on York/Durham Ontario Education Championship Teams for Children who are in Extended Society Care (OECTCEC) and through the Joint Protocol for Student Achievement Committee. As per the JPSA protocol, schools and protective services can contact the Board JPSA Leads (Student Success Lead and Chief Social Worker) to enter into discussions regarding whether it is in the best interests of a student, who is moving to a new home, to temporarily remain in their current school. Once a need is identified, Board Leads work with our Transportation Department to determine the best options for transportation. Most of the time, child protection agencies are able to arrange transportation through their own channels (i.e. volunteer drivers) and then apply to YRDSB for reimbursement.
In order to determine the number of eligible students for this application, the Student Success Lead contacts all the Child Protection Agencies within York Region and in the surrounding area. Communications are maintained so that all partners are able to collaborate on processes for arranging for transportation and stability supports and for determining need.
Our Child Protection Agency Partners:
- York Children’s Aid Society (CAS)
- Toronto CAS
- Toronto Catholic CAS
- Jewish Family and Child Service
- Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services
- Durham CAS
- Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions
As a result of our application to the Ministry of Education, YRDSB has now received funding to support transportation for students in care to remain at their current school when transitioning to a new residence outside the catchment area. The funding also covers stability supports which may include:
- Tutoring services for students, where required for maintaining or improving academic outcomes;
- Technology hardware and software for continuity of online learning, if determined to require more than what is provided by the school and/or other funding is not available; and
- Cultural supports with specific focus for First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) and racialized youth.
When a student transitions to another school board within Ontario:
- The OSR and SEA equipment will be sent to the new school upon request by the new/receiving school.
When a student transitions to a school outside of Ontario:
- The OSR and SEA equipment are not sent out of province;
- Parents are encouraged to provide copies of assessments, the IEP and report cards to the new school; and
- A letter from the current school staff, reviewed by the administrator, may be written to outline key student learning strengths, needs and program strategies.
Children’s Treatment Network/YRDSB
The Children’s Treatment Network (CTN) Model
Children’s Treatment Network is a partnership of agencies and organizations committed to providing comprehensive home and community rehabilitative care and coordinated services to children and youth with multiple special needs who live in York Region or Simcoe County. York Region District School Board is one of over 50 healthcare, education, recreation, social services and community organization partners that comprise the Children’s Treatment Network. Under our hosted partnership, York Region District School Board is responsible for the provision of home and community rehabilitation services, augmentative communication services and coordinated service planning for school aged children who meet the criteria for these programs within The Children’s Treatment Network.
Families who access the coordinated service planning services, may have professionals from Network partner organizations and York Region District School Board work together with a family to develop a Coordinated Service Plan that adapts to a child’s changing needs. The Children’s Treatment Network supports a shared electronic record and common assessments for regulated health care professionals involved in the child’s care. This allows professionals on the child’s team to share clinical information, coordinate services and monitor the child’s progress through all the stages of their development.
The Children’s Treatment Network is funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and works in close collaboration with agencies and organizations funded by the Ministries of Education and Health and Long Term Care.
The Network provides the following services to clients of CTN:
- Coordinated care plans and services for children who meet the criteria for this program
- Occupational therapy
- Feeding and swallowing
- Inclusive recreation
- Seating and mobility
- Augmentative and alternative communication
- Additional medical and child development services
YRDSB Hosted Services/Program Delivery
As a result of the partnership with the Children’s Treatment Network, additional YRDSB staff have been added to the Student Services staffing complement to provide the following services:
- Enhanced Rehabilitation Services (home and community based occupational therapy and physiotherapy)
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication Consultation Services
- Service Coordination (speech-language pathology and occupational therapy)
- Developmental Assessment and Consultation Services (psychology)
CTN staff support students and families with the following:
- Consult and provide resources to the family with regards to its vision and goals for the child;
- Consult, liaise and collaborate with school staff, Student Services staff (where appropriate) and community agencies regarding the child’s needs;
- Participate in meetings around the Coordinated Service Plan;
- Maintain electronic record and share assessment information with school staff to assist in the development, implementation and evaluation of the Individual Education Plan for the client;
- Facilitate family connecting with community services if appropriate;
- Conduct assessments appropriate for the identified services (e.g., hosted rehabilitation program augmentative communication etc.) to identify client strengths and needs to address child/family visions within the Coordinated Service Plan; and
- To provide direct services to children and families within the mandate of CTN Services.