The Learning Support (LS) programme at ISA is designed to support the learning needs of students who are experiencing difficulties in accessing the curriculum. The majority of the students who are currently supported in the programme have diagnosed specific learning differences and typically receive long-term support. However, students must be capable of being mainstreamed in the regular classroom for 80% of the instructional time.
In the Middle School and High School, Learning Support is a regularly scheduled class. The overall emphasis at this level is to provide curriculum support. Skill lessons are aligned with the expectations and goals of the core curriculum and provide the students with tools that will be used in their regular classes.
The Learning Support teachers communicate regularly with the subject teachers and as a team we address the individual’s needs. Teachers do not modify curriculum at the High School level, but we do make accommodations as to how the child is assessed or how he/she is instructed based on learning difficulties to allow the student to access the set curriculum. Our students are expected to meet the demands of our university prep curriculum with these accommodations in place.
At the Elementary School level, we work with the children on an individual basis three to four times a week depending on the grade level. Students are supported either in the regular classroom or they come to the learning centre where they receive 1:1 instruction and work in small groups. Most often, elementary support is focused on math and literacy skills; however, individual goals are tailored to each student’s needs through regular conferencing with the classroom teacher. At times, a student is enrolled in the ISA Elementary School who needs more support than can be provided by the school’s resources. In this situation, and based on administrative recommendation, a teaching assistant may be employed to work with the student in the elementary classroom. The expense of the assistant in these situations is typically met by the parents' (or guardians') employers.
Students with diagnosed learning difficulties have an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The goals of the IEP are determined by team conferences with parents, core teachers, counsellors and the student, with a formal review process once a year. Short-term goals are established for those students who are receiving temporary support. Communication and coordination with all members of the team are vital elements of our programme. Exceptional learning needs require exceptional parent support and involvement.