Accommodations and modifications are both possible in French programs and must be put in place if the student’s learning needs require those steps. Please seek support from your school's Special Education team if needed.
Students in French programs may experience learning challenges or demonstrate the need for some additional support in meeting the curriculum expectations for their grade level. Those learning needs can and will be supported within the program of their parent’s choice (English program with Core French, French Immersion or Extended French). The most frequent and most effect supports will be delivered by the classroom teacher in an inclusive classroom setting.
The Ministry of Education policy document entitled Including Students with Special Education Needs in French As A Second Language Programs, 2015 states that “The foundational belief that all students can learn applies to students across all subjects and program areas.” (page 3).
Including Students with Special Education Needs in French As A Second Language Programs
Fact Sheet - Special Education & Inclusion in FSL Programs
This document also recognizes the need to provide appropriate programs and services to exceptional students that have been identified by an IPRC. TDSB's French as a Second Language Dept has adapted the following document from Ontario's Modern Language Council to help our teachers program adaptations for students with special education needs.
In the past, it may have been thought that students with Special Education needs should not participate (or would not thrive if they did) in French programs, particularly French Immersion and Extended French. Research on these programs and students with Special Education needs confronts that assumption and we know that students with Special Education needs can indeed benefit from, and thrive in French programs of all kinds. All efforts should be made to design and deliver a program that supports a wide range of learning styles and needs.
Teachers in French programs can and shall use assessment strategies to identify strengths and learning needs for all students and design a differentiated program to meet them. Learning experiences may be differentiated by content, process, product, environment or language complexity based on the strengths and needs of the students. Teachers in French programs can and shall develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan) if it is deemed necessary.
Inclusion in Core French Programs
Core French is a mandatory part of the Elementary and Secondary school program. For the majority of students, there will be no exemption from Core French. Please refer to the Operational Procedure PR597 for more information.
As a parent, you may receive an invitation to attend an IST meeting or an SST meeting. These are team meetings designed to discuss the needs of the child and identify particular strategies and a course of action to best meet those needs.
IST and SST - A Team Approach
In-School Support Team (IST)
The IST plays a significant role in helping the classroom teacher coordinate efforts and share information regarding students who require additional support in order to be successful in learning or to reach their potential for achievement. Valuable insights from the IST into possible interventions will help support the existing program strategies.
While parental permission and/or attendance at the IST meeting is not required for IST consultation to take place, teachers should have already communicated their concerns to parents/guardians and consulted with them about the student’s perceived needs and kinds of instructional interventions being used. If they are not participants in the IST consultation, parents/guardians should be informed about the recommended plan of action decided at the IST meeting.
School Support Team (SST)
When the IST has done all it can to understand and address the student’s needs, but determines that more support is required, the student should be referred to the SST.
Referral to the SST enables the concerns about the student to be discussed by a broader team of representatives from Special Education, Psychology, Social Work, Attendance Counselling, Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, parents/guardians/caregiver/students over 16 years of age, outside agencies and others as required.
There are stronger requirements around permission from parents for SST to discuss a student. Parents must be invited to, and are strongly encouraged to attend, the SST meeting.
Adapted from the TDSB IST and SST Manual 2019-2020