The Ministry of Education and Training of Ontario has established an award for exemplary practice in integration.
This award recognizes exemplary educational programs or strategies that integrate students with exceptionalities into the regular classrooms and daily life of Ontario schools. This initiative is in keeping with the ministry’s policy that integration of students with exceptionalities should be the normal practice in Ontario schools.
The following is a short description of the award-winning programs that are planned to suggest some guidance and ideas to others, in their efforts to increase nominations for awards which were made by a
broad selection of groups and individuals that included:
· Speech/language pathologist,
· Community associations, parents,
· Correctional and treatment facilities,
· Day-care centres.
Decisions on granting the awards were made by the “Exemplary Practice in Integration Awards Panel” that was established by the Ministry of Education and Training. Decisions were based on the letter of nomination information provided by the nominated party and letters of reference. When essential, additional information on the nominated program was sought.
The panel’s recommendations were validated by the regional offices of the ministry. Award recipients have been selected at all levels of public education and have been provided with a certificate from the Ministry of Education and Training.
Criteria for Awards
Programs that won an award met a large number of the following criteria:
· Students are integrated in the regular classroom for most of their program.
· The regular classroom teacher has the primary educational responsibility for all students in the classroom.
· Special education support staff work in the regular classroom with students and regular classroom teachers.
· Parents have the opportunity to be closely involved with their children’s educational program.
· Integrated students are members of the local community.
· A peer support system is in place.
· Integrated students are included beyond the individual classroom level.
· Academic and social progress for all students is a constant focus of the program or strategy.
· Special education support staff work closely with regular classroom teachers in planning and monitoring individual programs.
· Accommodations are in place to help all students meet the learning outcomes for the course or program.
· A co-operative planning process based on individual student needs is in place.
· A collaborative team that includes parents is in place, and regular meetings of this team are held.
· Stakeholders beyond the school are involved in the integration program or strategy.
· In-service training and/or other professional support in the area of integration is available to teaching and support staff.
· Human and financial resources are made available to the integration program at a reasonable level.
· School staff shares a common educational philosophy supportive of integration.
· School administrators are supportive of the integration program.
Honourable mention certificates were granted to schools and boards in which an outstanding teacher was nominated and to schools and boards that met fewer of the criteria but whose efforts and achievements in integrating exceptional student’s merited recognition.
Assistance to Schools and Boards
Educational opportunities for Ontario students.
Award winners are willing to provide further information on their programs, strategies, and activities, and are willing to assist others:
· Hosting visitors;
· Participating in in-service meetings beyond their own schools;
· Providing mentorship opportunities;
· Maintaining public and professional awareness of their integration programs.
For further information on any program, please contact the school or school board directly.
For further information on Awards for Exemplary Practice in Integration from the Ministry of Education and Training: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/resource/awardf.htmlFor the results of the changes the Toronto Board made in 2010, please read my article below.http://knotmove.com/toronto-special-education-in-national/toronto-board-of-education-eaqo-results-review