All children deserve the right to read - The Fight Continues
COVID-19 was something that we never planned for. The Minister of Education /Premier Doug Ford announced on March 12,2020 that the Schools in Ontario would close for two weeks as precautionary measures. After the two weeks schools had to pivot to online learning and they closed for the remainder of the school year.
For most families this has created many issues as the type of learning provided and the formats used had to change 360 degrees. Many families are now struggling with school and many students and parents find this new format extremely difficult.
Let’s add another element.... your child has a severe learning disability and they are registered in a residential school program. They are told to pack a bag and are sent home for the remainder of the school year.
These students were all attending a one-year residential program; which would focus on literacy, reading and building skills they would need to succeed. Many of these students were reading at a much lower grade level than their peers- in some cases 4-5 grades below their peers. This program was to provide them with the resources and tools to make significant gains. All of these students have lost valuable time and many will not reach their goals. End of year testing could not be completed, and transition meeting have been cancelled or postponed.
We are hoping that the MOE will understand the uniqueness and value of these programs and offers these students the following opportunities:
All students presently enrolled in a PDS be allowed to repeat their year to allow for maximum learning and gains.That they increase the number of students who can attend these schools so that they can accept all first year applicants.They offer a day program for students who live in close proximity to attend these schools to continue their learning.That they continue with their residential program to look after and monitor the development of the “ whole child” and monitor mental health issues. This would include teaching leadership, problem solving, advocacy, independence and communication.That all students be tested to see where they currently are and how the four months of online learning has affected their progress.That resources be made available to assist students and families with the transitions back to their home boards.
The MOE can and should accommodate all of these requests. There is capacity at all of these schools- the only question is will they ?
Many stakeholders are involved and working together to ensure that the special needs of these children are taken into consideration. There is even documentation that supports our cause: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-accessible-education-students-disabilities
Join us to create awareness and ensure that “No Child is Left Behind”!
The Provincial Demonstration School Advocacy Committee is a group of concerned past and present parents and students, who's lives have been touched by Demonstration Schools in Ontario. These schools and their programs give children with severe learning disabilities the chance to learn to read, grow and reach their fullest potential when they return to their home schools.
We are here to help raise awareness for parents, schools and teachers - so they are aware of options available for children who are struggling to learn to read.
Please help us make these schools known in the Province of Ontario as exceptional Educational Options for children with Severe Learning Disabilities!
We've started a province wide campaign to encourage people to engage in discussions about these great schools and what they have to offer. Click here to learn more!