The Ministry of Education in New Brunswick has a team conducting school improvement reviews in the Anglophone schools of the province. The director of the project is Inga Boehler and she reports that to date they have reviewed 24 schools. The project has already produced some generalizations on school programs and practices. Some of them have to do with inclusion in schools. We will seek a more thorough update from this team at a latter date.
Here are a few of the preliminary findings:
Observations on Inclusion
- Elementary schools flag and respond to learning challenges more quickly
- Schools are less well equipped to manage severe behaviour challenges
- Pyramids of academic and behaviour intervention are not systematically established in many schools
- Student Services Teams are not equally able to mobilize services and supports Use of Personnel: Resource & Methods Teacher (R&M)
- R&M not in classrooms; pull-outs only vs. R&M teacher in classrooms monitoring individual student progress and working with the teacher
- R&M teacher is less effective when student services team is not working collaboratively with teachers (admin, guidance, R&M) Use of Personnel: Teacher Assistants (TA)
- TA is primary person working with a student vs. TA is part of team planning for students with exceptionalities
- TA schedules do not meet student needs Instructional Practice & Differentiation
- In many classrooms can’t tell which student has an Special Education Plan;
- Student acceptance of all peers and varied assignments among students (observed at all levels of the system) and willingness to help when help is needed
- Very little differentiated instruction; whole-class instruction is still the norm
- Grouping/re-grouping is not yet carried out well; multi-age groupings are not being used effectively
- Pyramids of intervention not entrenched; need school-wide and strategic approach.
- Not clear about what is streaming and what isn’t – sometimes still within-class exclusion Behaviour & Bullying
- Lack of resources for students with high behaviour needs (SIW, Guidance); safety issues Other Observations re: Inclusion
- Greater awareness (staff and students) of particular types of student conditions/challenges
- Some high schools finding ways to foster independence and build school belonging
- Outside agencies sometimes not providing needed supports and attending meetings Information based on notes from the NB School Improvement Review Team, March 2011.