Welcome to Bowness High School (BHS), home of the Trojans! At BHS, we pride ourselves on meeting our students learning needs through the personalization of learning. This brochure is designed to give a general introduction to student and parents of the IPP process at Bowness High School.
Why do we Focus on Self-Advocacy, Self-Awareness, and Self-Actualization in the IPP Process?
Many students who are on an Individual Program Plan (IPP) have an “invisible disability”, meaning that their struggles are not immediately observable or apparent to others. Being able to communicate their learning differences, challenges, needs, etc. to others is a valuable skill for students to acquire. We start the process of developing these skills by fostering the students’ ability to be:
- Self-aware by having a good idea of what their disability is and how to describe it, what kind of learning style they have, and their strengths as well as weaknesses.
- Able to self-advocate and inform others of what accommodations are needed.
- Able to self-actualize or achieve their full potential by taking ownership of their learning through self-awareness and self-advocacy.
Many parents are surprised to learn that when their child turns 18, Alberta Freedom of Information and Privacy (FOIP) laws prevent schools from disclosing information about the newly turned adult to anyone without the student’s consent – even students who are on an IPP. This means that adult students are responsible for requesting their own accommodations whether they are in high school or post-secondary. It is important that before a student turns 18 that they are practiced at self-advocating for their learning needs.
What Types of Parental Involvement is there in the IPP Process?
Parents are encouraged to participate in the IPP process by meeting with school staff as we work towards creating an IPP goal that reflects the findings indicated the student’s Psycho-Educational Assessment. This can be achieved by:
- Booking an appointment during regular school hours with school staff.
- Briefly meeting with the IPP Coordinator during our Meet the Teacher or Student Progress Conference evenings.
Reminders to get involved in your child’s IPP are sent home with report cards and through school newsletters. Completed IPPs are sent home in late May for parents to keep in their records.
What are Accommodations?
Most students on an IPP require accommodations to advance their learning. Accommodations preserve the learning outcomes of the Program of Studies while addressing the special education learning needs of the student to reduce the impact of the learning difficulties. The goal of an accommodation is not to advantage the student but to remove obstacles that are inequitable; in other words to give students the same opportunity to succeed as other students in their class. It is important to balance the use of accommodations with the teaching and practice of basic skills to ensure students continue to master new skills and become more independent learners.
Alberta Education lists three types of accommodations, they are:
- Classroom/physical accommodations; such as, preferential seating, etc.
- Instructional accommodations; such as, providing copies of notes, etc.
- Evaluation/testing accommodations; such as, extra time, scribe, tests on CD, etc.
What is the BHS Learning Team?
Our Learning Team consists of classroom teachers, guidance counsellors, resource teachers, and school administrators who collaborate to identify the causes of student academic, social or behavioural struggles, as well as strategize possible interventions and supports.
What Supports and Services are Offered to Students?
Bowness High School has a variety of supports and services that we offer to promote and facilitate student learning. These supports include but are not limited to:
- Student Services Counsellors are available to discuss programming needs, scholarship opportunities, learning concerns, post-secondary entrance requirements, etc.
- Career Practitioner is available to support and assist with: career planning; job interview preparation; cover letters, resume writing, etc.; scholarship opportunities; post-secondary information; etc.
- The school administration team support learning by: monitoring students’ academic progress; meeting with student and parents to discuss strategies that encourage academic success; mentoring students in making appropriate decision that support learning.
- Education Assistants are available in various classes and the Learning Commons to provide opportunities for small group or one-to-one instruction.
- Resource teacher oversees the implementation of Individual Program Plans (IPP) and facilitate supports needed to advance learning.
- English Language Learners (ELL) coordinator offers specialized classroom instruction and support.
- School Nurse is available to meet with students and answer any medical related concern they may be having.
- A variety of assistive technologies are available, such as: digital textbooks; audio textbooks; Text to speech software (Read and Write Gold, PDF Aloud); Speech to text Software (Dragon Naturally Speaking); Desire to Learn (D2L) support for classroom and homework management; iPads; word processors; smartboards.
- Bring your own Device – school’s network is equipped to allow students to bring their own personal electronic devices.
- Career Cruising (online high school learning and post-secondary planner).
What Changes can Students Expect in the IPP Process?
- Teachers are responsible for securing learning accommodations.
- Scribes and Readers can help and prompt students to formulate answers on tests and quizzes.
- Student information is accessible by parent and student.
- Social promotion allows students to move up the grades regardless of marks and passing courses.
- A modified program can be created for a student that has learning outcomes that are significantly different from the provincial program and specifically selected to meet a student’s special learning needs.
- Self-advocacy, self-awareness, and self-actualization goals in the IPP encourage the student to increasingly take responsibility for securing accommodations and requesting support. Students are responsible for applying to Alberta Education for diploma exam accommodations. Only accommodations that are used regularly are provided on final or diploma exams.
- Scribes record student answers exactly as they are provided. Student is responsible for demonstrating curricular knowledge, spelling, punctuation, mechanics, etc. All scribing sessions are recorded. Students can access material in the form of an audio file (CD, MP3, etc.)
- If Student is under 18 years, student information is accessible by parent and student. If Student is 18 years or older, the student controls who can access their information.
- Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the learning outcomes from the Program of Studies as evident by a mark of 50% or higher in order to move to the next level.
- Students who are on a modified program receive a Certificate of High School Completion, not a High School Diploma.
- Students must self-advocate, self-actualize and demonstrate their self-awareness by registering with the school’s disability resource centre and requesting accommodations in advance. Student may be responsible for any financial costs associated with accommodations.
- Varies depending upon the school. The student may be financially responsible for the cost of a scribe and audio formats of materials.
- Student information is accessible by student.
- Student is responsible for own success and must pass courses.A modified program can be created for a student that has learning outcomes that are significantly different from the provincial program and specifically selected to meet a student’s special learning needs.Students who are on a modified program receive a Certificate of High School Completion, not a High School Diploma.Select post-secondary institutions offer courses for modified programs graduates.
- Student is responsible for own success and must pass courses.
- Select post-secondary institutions offer courses for modified programs graduates.
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