Special Education

Our Special Education Department focuses on programs and supports for exceptional students to support their access of Ontario Curriculum, encourage their independence, and to help them reach their highest possible potential.

Our team consists of several Special Education Resource Teachers, Educational Assistance and Autism Spectrum Workers.

Some of our key supports include:

Our department also includes the following specialized programs:

Centre of Autism Spectrum Assistance

A CASA classroom is an alternative classroom placement for which students identified Communications: Autism can learn and practice alternative skills and strategies that will allow them to manage successfully in their home school setting. Staff in the CASA classroom includes a special education teacher and autism spectrum disorder workers. A Special Education consultant and a Speech and Language Pathologist support the classroom. CASA students have daily access to a Snoezelen room.

CASA programming focuses on specialized skills including development and support in the following areas:

Who is Eligible?

Students identified as Communications: Autism who are having difficulty making meaningful gains in the specialized skills noted above may be considered for the program.Students who meet the eligibility criteria are discussed at the school resource team meeting.

Parents provide consent for observation and consultation for the CASA program. Eligibility for the placement is approved by the Superintendent of Special Education Services. Placements are limited. When a placement becomes available, a candidate is selected by the CASA team from the pool of approved candidates.

Learning for Living

Our Learning for Living classroom is a specialized classroom for students with exceptional needs. Students in this classroom are non-credit earning or partial credit earning. The focus in this classroom is on practical, life skills and purposeful learning experiences. At Holy Cross C.S.S., students in the Learning For Living Program focus on developing Life Skills, Social Skills and Independence along with purposeful Literacy and Numeracy skills.

Although the primary goal, in the Learning For Living program, is to develop these essential life skills, it is also important for students to integrate into classes of interest to them and to further develop social skills. These courses are limited based on suitability, class size, safety and availability. Students are integrated into 1 elective course each semester and spend the remaining 3 periods each day focusing on IEP goals and K-Courses (see note and chart below) in the Learning for Living program.

In order to provide each student with an enriching school experience, we attempt to integrate students into classes such as; Culinary Skills, Physical Education, Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts, and some Technology courses. These courses are selected based on availability and suitability of the individual student.

Based on age and individual readiness, students may be involved in various work placements. These are most often ½ day programs which begin in the latter years of the student’s secondary school experience building on their independence, social and life skills.

Students in our Learning for Living program may also participate in Special Olympics teams, Amigos Peer Group and various other community excursions.

*K-Courses are non-credit courses delivered through the Special Education Department or a Subject Teacher. All Ontario Secondary School Course codes have five characters as mandated by the Ministry of Education's Common Course Codes. The following chart is an example of possible K-Courses offered at the Grade 9 level. Each grade has specifically coded K-Courses.

Sample Grade 9 K-courses