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Allocation of Educational Assistants in Schools

Resolution Number: 2011-03
Submitted by: Merritt E Callaghan Home and School Association

WHEREAS while most students will have their educational needs met in the classroom, some situations will require assistance beyond what classroom/subject teachers can provide, and

WHEREAS driven by societal change and with the help of more sophisticated identification processes and medical interventions, greater numbers of students with special educational needs are attending school and being included with their peers, and

WHEREAS the nature of these special needs has also changed significantly resulting in the need for a wider range of versatile, multi-skilled support staff to assist educators, especially with the significant rise in statistics of students diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and

WHEREAS the current ratio is 1 instructional position assigned for every 14 students who are determined core high needs and 1 instructional position be assigned for every 500 students to address general lower needs;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEIHSF requests the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development to actively pursue a better Educational Assistant ratio/formula that will support regular classroom/subject teachers and the rising numbers of identified students with special needs thereby increasing overall success for the inclusive classroom environment

Status: Passed
Saturday, April 16, 2011

Destination:Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
English Language School Board
French Language School Board

Education and Early Childhood Development:  The Minister's Directive referenced in this resolutioni is for the staffing formula used to allocate special education/resource teachers, but not for Educational Assistants.  Our department has responded to the needs of the school boards to the best of our fiscal capacity.

The number of support staff in schools has grown from 112 positioins in 1997 to 406 full time equivalent (6 hour) positions in 2010-2011.  This dramatic increase has occurred while studentn enrolment has declined significantly.

The actual ratio is now approximately 1 support staff for every 50 children which is one of the lowest in the country.

Eastern School District:  The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the District/Boards operating under it do so within a non-categorical approach allowing schools to address student needs without requiring diagnosis.  The exception to this is the service provided by the Autism Consultants.

Moving towared a funding index model coudl negatively impact students and further restrict access to existing supports.  The current model allows school sto respond in a flexible manner to behaviours and learnign needs when they rise – without waiting for a diagnosis that may or may not be attainable and in some cases may eliminate the students' eligibility for the support they need.

The Eastern School District will continue to collaborate with the Department of Eeucation and Early Childhood Development to successfully meet the goals of all our students.

Western School Board:  The Western School Board is a strong advocate of inclusive education practices and will continue to work with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development in the allocation of Educational Assitants for the purpose of successfully meeting the programming goals for our children with special needs.