Adapting to Change: A Northern District Builds its Capacity to Support Complex Needs Students
For some district teams, the change to SET-BC’s three-tiered service delivery model had initially necessitated facing some challenges around how the district would meet the needs of those students requiring intensive technology supports who were not going to be brought forward for SET-BC Tier 3 services. These teams also felt they needed to create a plan for supporting those common technologies (like laptops and iPads) that had been transferred to the district at the end of June 2015.
One of our smaller northern districts, as an example, had been concerned with the potential implications of the decrease in Tier 3 allocations and what that meant for their students with more complex needs. One of the key members of the district team, the district Physiotherapist, decided to call a meeting to address the ‘Changes to the Model’ and how to plan for the district moving from five student allocations to one Tier 3 allocation each year. The Physiotherapist also wanted to share how this was impacting her caseload, since, in the past when she worked with a former ‘SET Student’, she would send the SET-BC Regional Consultant an e-mail to advise of an issue and often then passed this to the consultant to address. She was feeling pressure to handle any equipment and/or training issues that might arise and felt that people would be looking to her for this type support moving forward.
The meeting had a very specific agenda: SET-BC HISTORY, EFFECTIVE SEPT. 2015, CHALLENGES, ACTION PLAN, FOLLOW UP. The following people came to the table: District Principal of Learning Services, Principal of Technology, Speech Language Pathologists, Vision Teacher, SET-BC District Partner, and the Occupational Therapist. The Physiotherapist asked that the Service Coordinator from SET-BC also attend to field any questions that might arise concerning the three-tiered model in general and Tier 3 support in particular.
The meeting participants worked through some challenging conversations about the potential impact and tackled the overall question of ‘Where do we go from here?’ When they reached the Action Plan discussion, each member at the table was able to offer something valuable and helpful to the district plan. The IT and Director of Special Ed decided there needed to be a line in their district budget called ‘Tier 3 Technology’. The other team members discussed how they could shift some of the roles within the district to accommodate the students who still needed individual support (usually at the beginning of the year and then troubleshooting during the year).
- The meeting came to a close on a very positive note with all team members feeling more connected and with an action plan that included:
Adding a funding amount to the Tier 3 Line of the budget for 2016/17 (projected from the average cost of SET-BC allocations over the last 5 years)
- Establishing a plan to support the needs of the teachers and students who are feeling the absence of one-on-one support from the SET-BC consultant (designating an Educational Assistant who currently supports technology and has worked closely with SET-BC provided software in past projects).
- Identifying a designated IT staff member who would specifically handle equipment that was transferred from SET-BC at the end of June 2015 and in the future.
At the end of this first planning meeting, team members set a date to meet again to develop their district’s internal Screening Criteria for bringing forward students with intensive technology needs.
Every school district in BC has worked hard to develop its own plan for accommodating the change to the SET-BC three-tiered service delivery model. We will be as supportive as possible as district teams establish their unique plans and will check back with this small northern district to see how their initial Action Plan has worked this year.