Support Structures

School Learning Services Teams

What is a School Student Services Team?

Each school in Saanich School District has a Student Services Team that reviews the general developmental and learning needs of students in the school and services for those students with special needs. The Student Services Team has the capacity to respond to requests for direction regarding students who may not have a Ministry designation, but about whom there may be questions regarding the possibility of additional support.

Who is on the Student Services Team?

The composition of the Student Services Team may vary from school to school and differ at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. The teams generally consist of a core group that includes: an administrator, the school's support teachers, and other people who may be invited as needed.

What does the Student Services Team do?

  • The core members of the Student Services Team meet regularly throughout the school year to review services for all students with special needs and staff caseloads.
  • The team accepts referrals regarding individual students and ensures pertinent information is made available. If the student does not have a case manager, one is appointed by the Student Services Team. The case manager serves as a liaison between the Student Services Team and the School-Based Team identified to support that particular student. For more information regarding referral processes, please see Support Structures: Referral Processes at the bottom of this page.
  • Provision is made for the periodic evaluation of the functioning of the Student Services Team. At such times, the team identifies the need for changes in structure, training of members, the need for consultant support, and ways to monitor and strengthen team effectiveness.
  • The team may assist administrators and members of staff as they develop and implement processes to respond to the diverse needs of learners and plan ahead for ways and means of addressing students' needs in the following school year.

Student's School-Based Teams

What is a Student's School-Based Team?

A School-Based Team is an on-going team that supports an individual student with special needs. The team coordinates resources for the student and assists in the development and implementation of instructional and/or management strategies.

Who is on the team?

A case manager, designated by the School Student Services Team, brings together those people most closely involved with the student. While composition of the team will differ on a case-by-case basis, a student's School-Based Team generally includes: the child's parent/guardian, the classroom teacher(s), a support teacher, and an administrator. The team may also include: other school personnel, and-as appropriate-the student, District resource staff, and/or representatives from community services, regional authorities, or other ministries.

What does the team do?

The team identifies the student's needs, considers possible instructional/behavioural strategies, and determines how interventions can be implemented, and by whom. The team may recommend the need for additional services and/or initiate referrals to access other school, District, community or regional services. The School-Based Team can also initiate or facilitate inter-ministerial planning and service delivery. Students who meet the Ministry of Education's criteria for designation require an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The School-Based Team works together to develop and discuss the plan; and to monitor, document, and evaluate progress.

What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?

An IEP is a documented plan developed for a student with special needs that describes individualized goals, adaptations, modifications, the services to be provided, and includes measures for tracking achievement.Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines (2013), p. 16

For additional information, refer to:

Referral Process

When You Have a Question or Concern

When you, as a parent/guardian, have questions or a concern about your child and his or her developmental or learning needs, you are encouraged to contact your child's teacher(s) or consult with a school administrator. The teacher(s) or administrator may then consult with the school's Learning Services Team to request their counsel and direction. Specialists within the school or District, or committees designated to deal with particular kinds of student needs, may be consulted and a referral for services may be made. Referral processes differ on a case-by-case basis. A brief description of the kinds of referrals follows.

Referral for Consultation with the Student Services Team

When a student appears to require support beyond that which can be provided by the classroom teacher(s), a request for consultation is made to the Learning Services Team at the school. The request may be made by a parent/guardian, teacher, an administrator, or another member of the school staff. If warranted, a referral may be made, in which case the Learning Services Team will appoint a case manager to convene a School-Based Team meeting to develop a student learning plan (an informal plan created for a student who requires individual classroom adaptations or considerations).

If formal assessment/evaluation or counseling support is recommended, consent of the parent/guardian will be obtained. The School-Based Team Conference section of the Learning Services Referral Form is completed and signed by the student's parent/guardian prior to provision of services.

Referral for District Services

If the school's Learning Services Team or student's School-Based Team concludes further consultation or additional assessment/evaluation or support is required, the appropriate sections of the Learning Services Referral Form will be completed and written consent of the parent/guardian will be obtained in order to request:

  • consultation or assessment/evaluation services of District specialists (e.g.: Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, School Psychologist, SET-BC Representative, Speech-Language Pathologist, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Vision Support Teacher).
  • consultation with the District (Elementary) Behaviour Support Team.
  • that the District Screening Committee review the Referral form and relevant documentation to determine if the Ministry of Education criteria for designation as a student with special needs are met.

District Screening Committee

The District Screening Committee is comprised of the Assistant Superintendent (Learning Services), the District Principal (Alternate Programs), the District Instructional Support Teacher (Learning Services), a psychologist, two teacher representatives and a school-based administrator.

The committee considers submissions from schools' Learning Services Teams on an ongoing basis. The committee meets regularly to review documentation from the school associated with each referral form to determine whether a student meets (or does not meet) the Ministry of Education criteria for designation as a student with special needs. The committee's recommendations in this regard are documented, kept on file in the Learning Services department, forwarded to the student's school, and reviewed regularly.

Designation of students can enable the District to access additional resources and/or secure District funding to support students' academic, behavioural, and physical developmental or learning needs. In the case of older students, designation is necessary for the adjudication of provincial examinations.

For information regarding Ministry designations, refer to Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines (2013), Section E: Special Needs Categories, pp. 40–89.