How the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division educates students with intensive needs was a focus during the board’s meeting on Monday night.
Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division’s recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud’s report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region.
“It was really well received–really good information and good questions…. The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said.
Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students.
In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants.
Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA.
Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton.
“There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing…. There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said.
“It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained
The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division.