Salmon Arm District Education Support Centre. (File photo)

School district puts hold on alternative education program for Enderby, Armstrong.

Questions raised about effectiveness of in-classroom supports for struggling high-school students

Proposed plans for an alternative education program, similar to Salmon Arm’s Storefront School, to serve Enderby and Armstrong were put off at a recent School District #83 board meeting.

Alternative education in Enderby and Armstrong will continue to take the form of in-classroom supports for the time being, but questions were raised about how well these programs meet the needs of students with academic and behavioral challenges.

At the meeting, director of instruction Carol-Ann Leidloff explained to the board of trustees that a plan was considered to reduce staffing in Salmon Arm by one full-time equivalent (FTE) teacher and assign that teacher to Pleasant Valley Secondary in Armstrong to create an alternate program for students in Armstrong and Enderby.

“However, after discussion with staff and principals, we have decided to slow our process down and move into consultation process,” Leidloff said.

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Leidloff said information on other successful alternative education programs around the province will be gathered and compiled for a made-in SD #83 solution. The district will look at student needs, space requirements and other considerations as they leave themselves more time to develop the plan. Leidloff said they hope to have a plan in place for Armstrong and Enderby by September 2020.

According to Leidloff, at one point, the district had alternative education programs attached to the secondary school in each of its communities. These programs were abandoned in favour of inclusive support programs (ISPs) which focused primarily on additional assistance for students in a regular classroom setting with some skill development in a separate classroom as needed.

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Leidloff said the ISPs in Enderby and Armstrong support students from Kindergarten to Grade 8, but there are few academic and behaviour supports available for Grade 9-12 students whose needs are not being met effectively within the regular school program.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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