Programs & Services

Most students who are identified as exceptional are placed in age-appropriate classes with Special Education programs and services available at each school. At each school site, Special Education teachers assess students’ learning skills, assist the classroom teachers with programming, teach individual students or small groups, and participate in the Identification, Placement and Review process.

Early Intervention Program

  • Program for kindergarten students who may require intensive interventions
  • Emphasis is on language and social development as well as literacy and numeracy skills

Life Skills Centre Program

  • Emphasis on literacy and numeracy, communication, social, life skills, age-appropriate behavior
  • Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely and chosen from the following domains: behavior, communication, fine and gross motor skills
  • Programming is based on the expectations of the IEP

Evaluation Methods in Life Skills Centre

  • Assessment and evaluation are on-going throughout the year.
  • Student progress is formally reported per the reporting structure of the TBCDSB.
  • Student progress is formally reviewed annually by an IPRC.
  • It is expected that the students will integrate into the mainstream to the greatest degree possible.

Learning Disability (Empower Reading Program)

  • Empower Reading Classes are provided for students with perceived average ability who continue to struggle with foundational reading skills.

Gifted Programming

Students identified as Gifted through the IPRC process receive programming in the regular classroom from their classroom teachers. Students who are gifted and talented may be found in any classroom. They need an appropriately differentiated curriculum designed to address their individual characteristics, needs, abilities, and interests.

As a group, gifted students comprehend complex ideas quickly, learn more rapidly and in greater depth than their peers, and may exhibit interests that differ from those of their peers. A program that builds on these characteristics may be viewed as qualitatively (rather than quantitatively) different from the basic curriculum; it results from appropriate variation of content, process, environment, and product.

The delivery model for gifted programming encompasses the following:

  • Training for teachers of gifted children such as Differentiated Instruction resources, etc.
  • The provision of key learning resources at the school and system level
  • Connecting gifted students with system level activities that are consistent with their individual needs such as Math Olympics, Writer's Workshops, Scrabble Magic, Science Fair, etc.
  • Where possible, developing links with community partners such as Lakehead University, Confederation College, etc.
  • Accessing the support of school and system staff such as Resource Teachers, Special Education teachers, teacher librarians, etc.

Behaviour Programming

Students with behavioural needs are served in a variety of ways. The Board may purchase services from external resources i.e., consulting psychologists, social workers, therapists. Additionally services are accessed through community agencies i.e., The Children’s Centre of Thunder Bay (CCTB), the Autism School Support Program, Options Northwest, the Child and Community Resources (CCR) and Dilico.

Ongoing professional development for teams in the following areas also supports students with behaviour needs: Non-violent crisis intervention, Behaviour Safety Plans, Functional Behavioural Assessments. The Board also purchases equipment and modifies its facilities to accommodate students (sensory and/or calming rooms, personalized equipment.)

Visually Impaired/Blind Programming

Students placed in this program by the IPRC receive either of two types of service. In the vision impaired program regular visits to the school are scheduled to teach the student compensatory skills, check the working proficiency of visual aids, advise the class teacher on teaching strategies, and liaise with community ophthalmological services and the CNIB. In the blind program regular visits to the school are scheduled to teach the student using Braille.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programming

Students who are deaf and/or hard of hearing will receive programming, accommodations and resources as recommended in consultation with a registered Speech Pathologist and Audiologist.

Students with Communication Exceptionalities

Speech and Language Therapy (Service)

School Health Support Services provides speech therapy to full-time students of all ages in the schools. The Board provides language therapy for students in SK-Grade 3, and consultation and mediated therapy for others.

Empower Reading (Program)

Empower Reading classes are provided for students with perceived average ability who continue to struggle with the foundational reading skills. The purpose of the Empower Reading class is to provide intensive remediation in reading, written expressive skills, and organization. Students attend Empower Reading for a daily block then return to their home schools for the remainder of the day


When Needs of Students Cannot be Met within the Board

Occasionally, students have needs that cannot be adequately addressed by the special education programs and services offered by the Board. When this is the case, the Board may purchase programs and services from the coterminous board if they have space in their programs or services that will meet the needs of the student.

Other options might include a referral for placement in one of the Section 23 programs operated in partnership with The Children’s Centre Thunder Bay and Dilico Anishinabek Family Care that provides programming for students with significant behavioural and emotional needs. Students might also be referred to any of the Provincial Demonstration Schools for students with specific exceptionalities. These options would be presented to parents through the ongoing communication indicated in the Resource/Intervention Process.

© Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board 2023