Special Educational Needs Policy

    Whittier International School

    SEN (Special Educational Needs) Policy – 2015-2016

    1. Overview

    2. Philosophy

    3. Purpose of our SEN policy

    4. SEN policy in Practice

    l.   Overview

    Special Educational Needs are addressed with the help of our special education team (including speech therapist, occupational therapist, special education teachers, and school psychologist), Family Resource Schools therapist, classroom teachers, specialists (physical education teacher, music teacher, art teacher), Literacy/ELD team, and administrators.  Special Education staff work in the classroom, with small groups, or one-on-one  with identified students to meet their specific IEP (Individualized Education Plan) goals.   Additionally, there are identified students who qualify for Talented and Gifted services, and they are provided individual extensions as stated on their ALP (Advanced Learning Plan) goals as needed. Our TAG Coordinator may also meet with students in the classroom, in small groups, or one-on-one.  Our Special Education Team and TAG Coordinator are available to discuss children’s individual needs with families by appointment.  

    ll.   Philosophy

    In keeping with the philosophy of the IB, Whittier International Elementary School has adopted a differentiated model of learning support. This means that students with individual needs are supported within the general education class and all students are given access to the curriculum.  In addition to the general classroom instruction, some students are pulled into small group instruction to focus on their particular needs, and to comply with federal and state laws.  (For example, SPED students have specifications on their IEP’s and English Learners must have 45 minutes per day of specific English Language instruction).  We also use district literacy programs, such as Leveled Literacy Instruction (LLI), and other small intervention groups to target specific needs. Small group teachers collaborate regularly with the classroom teachers, to ensure students have continuity in their instruction and particular learning goals.  

    Teachers respond to the diverse learning needs and styles of the students through a variety of differentiation strategies to deliver the program. In cases where students’ barriers to learning preclude the development of age appropriate skills and additional support is required, classroom teachers may refer the student to the Special Education Team.  The referral process at Whittier International follows state and district requirements.

    lll.   Purpose of our SEN policy

    The purpose of our SEN policy at Whittier International Elementary School is to:

    • Meet the educational needs of all of our students

    • Ensure access to the Primary Years Program for all students

    • Explain the structures and systems used to support all students

    • Articulate resources and materials for all students

    lV.   SEN policy in Practice

    We provide the following practices to enhance the educational experiences for all our students at Whittier International Elementary School:

    • We support students by using the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) model.

    • We provide special educational services, including literacy and math support, occupational therapy, speech, TAG and behavior support for our students.

    • Differentiated Instruction:  We believe all students should receive instruction that enables them to succeed within the range of their skills, abilities and interests.

    • Flexible groupings in classrooms allow teachers to differentiate instruction based on students’ needs.

    • We support all students in moving through developmental constructs of the various subject areas.  

    • In order to support students acquiring English, teachers use sheltered instruction techniques including, but not limited to: vocabulary instruction; use of sentence frames; use of pictures, objects, gestures; clarifying directions; modeling tasks, thinking processes and strategies; building on background knowledge; and use of graphic organizers.

    We provide a variety of opportunities to affirm and support the diverse social and emotional needs of students:

    • School wide celebration assemblies focused on demonstration of the IB learner profile and PYP attitudes

    • Caught You cards given for individual excellence in demonstration of the IB Learner Profile attributes and IB Attitudes and other forms of recognition

    • Positive phone calls, emails and texts to families

    • School-wide Conflict Resolution Process (Peace Place)

    • Second Steps Curriculum

    • Small support groups, lunch bunch, social skills classes

    • Mental Health Therapist and Family Resources Coordinator on-site

    • Other foundational social/emotional practices (Passageworks, mindfulness, growth mindset, learning styles, brain breaks, etc.)