June 26, 2017: Board Meeting: District Facilities Plan & Enrolment Priorities

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You [and I] will not know how many children in a particular class or school are designated “Intensive Behaviour Interventions or Serious Mental Illness (or any designation, as BC School Districts no longer provide class size and composition reports. The last report on the Vancouver SD site was 2013.)

Children and youth with this designation – achieved after 100s of hours of school counsellor and other staff paperwork including daily documentation, interdisciplinary liaison and extreme pre-application for designation effort and accommodation the school level, and taken forward only with parent consent, which is sometimes withheld, resulting in zero funding for support – need much more support than the Ministry funds them for.  And some struggling students will not be designated until all the considerable documentary and  other paperwork is done, which can take months, meaning no funded staff to help them.

So, think about where the funding for the support might come from, in the interim.

We all need to advocate for better funding for students with special needs in inclusive education.

Here is the protocol [based on Ministry of Education criteria and accepted in all BC public schools] taken from from the SD85 website, for Students with Intensive Behaviour Support Needs / Severe Mental Illness in the School District #85 Vancouver Island North Special Services Handbook Revised 2012: Designation of Students who have Intensive Behaviour Support or Serious Mental Illness.This is how it works everywhere BC.

Students identified in this category are those most in need of intensive interventions. They are expected to be less than one percent (1%) of the student population province-wide. [Some schools have many more children designated in this category than this statistic presents, eg. 10 or more in one  small school, far above 1% of the school population.] These students should have access to coordinated school/community interventions, which are based on inter-service / agency assessment processes that are required to manage, educate, and maintain the students in school and in their community.

Students Requiring Intensive Behaviour Interventions are eligible to be reported in this special education funding category if they exhibit:
antisocial, extremely disruptive behaviour in most environments (for example, classroom, school, family, and the community); and
· behaviours that are consistent/persistent over time.

In addition to meeting one of the conditions above, to be eligible for special education funding, these behaviour disorders and or illnesses must be:
serious enough to be known to school and school district personnel and other community agencies and to warrant intensive interventions by other community agencies/service providers beyond the school [if there is no “outside agency involved, the school will not get funding for a support person. Some parents choose not to get “outside help” ie a psychiatrist or counselling] ; and

a serious risk to the student or others, and/or with behaviours or conditions that significantly interfere with the student’s academic progress and that of other students; and

beyond the normal capacity of the school to educate, provided “normal capacity” is seen to include the typical special education support / interventions such as school-based counselling, moderate behaviour supports, the use of alternate settings, and other means in the school environment. [School personnel / teachers have to go far beyond the “extra mile” to show that the school cannot educate the student without additional support.] Reduction in class size or placement in an alternate program or learning environment is not by itself a sufficient service to meet the criteria. “Beyond the normal capacity of the school to educate, provided “normal capacity” is seen to include the typical special education support / interventions such as school-based counselling, moderate behaviour supports, the use of alternate settings, and other means in the school environment.”

It is possible the school will get no funding for support, if parents refuse services of community psychologist or psychiatrist.

Then what?

And how would funding come to these students and others currently designated as within  funded category by the Ministry of Education, if funding categories for “special needs” is replaced by something else? Like this 2013 pprocedure for funding from Alberta:

 With the implementation of the new inclusive education funding model,  school jurisdictions are no longer required to conduct formal, specialized, diagnostic  assessments  every  three  years.  This  requirement was  part of the severe  disabilities  funding process and  the audit  procedures which  no longer apply to school jurisdictions. Schools are encouraged to use a variety of assessment  techniques  and   strategies  – including  functional   assessments – to  support the provision of programming for students who require adaptations and / or modifications.