Yesterday, I wrote about the excellent presentation on Individual Education Plans that I heard at the conference hosted by BC Parents of Special Needs Children. The facilitators provided a lot of tips for ensuring that the IEP process was responsive to the concerns of parents and a truly meaningful consultation.
Yet I continue to have concerns about how that process will be affected by BC’s New Curriculum. I keep looking, but I still haven’t found an explanation of how children with special needs will be accommodated, and the place of IEPs in achieving that accommodation. But I did find a statement by a School District Superintendent that gives me pause for thought.
My next workshop is April 23rd in School District 63, Saanich. I’ve been reading about the district’s resources, and I discovered a page dedicated to the New Curriculum with a PowerPoint presentation by Superintendent Keven Elder entitled BC’s New Curriculum: What is it and why now?
There is one slide that explains the approach resulting from collaboration between the BCTF and the BC Ministry of Education. That new approach is, apparently:
Students designing much of their own learning in partnerships with other learners and with teachers, not an IEP for every student, but different pathways.
What does this mean, exactly? Will students with special needs be designing their own learning? If there is not an IEP for every student, who will get an IEP? How will special needs children be accommodated on these different pathways?
There are 40 slides in the presentation but not one of them answers my questions. Of course, there was discussion during the original presentation and perhaps someone asked about special needs then. Perhaps there was even a question about children described as gifted. But no discussion issues were captured in the PowerPoint presentation so we can only analyse what we see.
One of the main purposes of my advocacy workshops is to bring together parents in particular school districts. When we meet in Sidney in SD 63, the Superintendent’s words will be one of the discussion topics, and perhaps we will also discuss ways of asking the Superintendent to clarify his position with regard to children who are described as gifted. Please register if you wish to join us.