Diverse Learning Needs

The CBE provides appropriate programming for students with diverse learning needs in all of our community schools. In some cases, students may be referred to our specialized classes and/or unique school settings to meet their needs. We provide programming at various sites to meet the specialized needs of some students with:

  • Autism Spectrum, Cognitive/Developmental Disabilities, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum
  • Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH)
  • Giftedness 
  • Gifted and Talented Education
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mental Health and Wellness (social/emotional/behavioural challenges) 
  • Physical and Medical Disabilities
​For more information visit the Diverse Learning Needs page​ on the CBE website. 

Program, Focus & Approach

Dr. Oakley School is a congregated setting within the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) whose program focuses on literacy development for complex learners in Grades 3 to 9 through the creation of rich literacy learning experiences. Dr. Oakley school offers a teacher-pupil ratio of nine students to one teacher. The school operates on a modified school year. It is a short term intervention program (2 years) aimed at helping students develop skills and strategies to become independent learners who are then able to return to their community schools. Specifically, Dr. Oakley provides intervention for learners who have difficulties in reading, writing, oral language and organizational skills. Multi-aging, team teaching, flexible instructional groupings, multi-disciplinary consultations and integrated curriculum strategies are all organizational strategies employed to create positive learning experiences.

Students enter Dr. Oakley through a screening process involving the community school, parents, and Student Services Support Specialist.

Our Mission is to engage in learning and teaching practices that are embedded within a literacy learning context.

Attending Dr. Oakley School

Students who attend Dr. Oakley School have complex learning difficulties and significant delays (more than 2 years) in reading and writing. Dr. Oakley School provides an intensive literacy program with the goal of transitioning the students back into their neighbourhood school in two years. Students must have a diagnosis done by a psychologist of a Learning disability and an Alberta Education Code 54.

How Do I Get My Child Into Dr. Oakley School?

Decisions around a child coming to Dr. Oakley begin with a child's school and parents in a School Learning Team conversation. The Area Learning Team will need to be involved in a conversation around the child's needs and areas of growth. Only through a group decision may an application be made by the school. Students will be brought forward to a placement meeting for consideration. Placement meetings generally occur in February and March of any given year. Students accepted via the process will be offered placements for the following August.

Class Organization & Student/Teacher Ratio

Students are grouped into seven multi-aged teams. There are 24 students in each team with two teachers. The student-teacher ratio is 1:12 and in literacy groups 1:8. There is a part-time Physical Education specialist, and two full-time Literacy Learning Leaders and a full-time Math/Technology Learning Leader. These specialists work with the teams on a daily basis, further reducing the student-teacher ratio during those times.


Dr. Oakley School provides an intensive literacy program. Our focus is on reading and writing. The Mathematics curriculum is followed. Science and Social Studies curriculum are not completely covered during the two years students spend at Dr. Oakley. 


Technology is used extensively at Dr. Oakley School with an emphasis on Inclusive Technology. Each student has a one-to-one laptop that they use daily for their learning. Students frequently use the G Suite and access Inclusive Technology including speech-to-text (Voice Typing) and text-to-speech (Read & Write).


Parents are encouraged to discuss their child’s daily school activities and to review together any books or assignments that are brought home. Parental interest in schoolwork is an important and motivational factor in a child’s success.

As Dr. Oakley focuses on building the essential skills for reading and writing, all students are expected to participate in a daily home reading program. We encourage that the parents support us with this program as research has shown that “Children learn to read by reading.”…..Kenneth Goodman and practice is critical to your child’s growth as a reader and writer. Books are chosen together with the teacher in order to ensure independent student success with the reading activity. Books and reading logs will be sent home on a daily basis and should be signed and returned to the teacher each morning. We know that students who practice reading with their families on a daily basis, experience significant growth in both reading and writing.

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​​Middle Years at the CBE

Middle years learning refers to education offered to students between the ages of 10-15. These years are critical in keeping our students on the path to high school completion and their career futures. Keys for student success include: participating in hands-on, purposeful and relevant learning; creating positive relationships with peers, teachers and other adults; and being actively involved in the community and feeling supported by family, businesses and other organizations that surround them.

Learn more about our students in their middle years, including how their learning will change and how you can support your child, visit the CBE website.​