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School Policy Review

Name of Reviewer: John Laing Educational Setting: Woods Homes School Based Treatment Learning Programs Information Sources: Alberta Education Woods Homes Case Management Policies and Procedures Manual, 2008 Personal Interviews of School Staff and Parents Date: Dec 14, 2008

1. Introduction to the Review Process The policy being reviewed in this document is based on Woods Homes Case Management Procedures. Woods Homes is a multi-service charity serving the most troubled youth in the community. Woods Homes operates 21 therapeutic programs designed to treat and educate the youth and the families they serve. Woods partners with many other agencies in the community to ensure the best treatment possible including; the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and the Calgary Catholic School District (CSSD). Woods Homes operates a number of School Based Treatment and Learning Programs in partnership with the CBE and the CSSD. Woods Homes is responsible for the clinical component while the respective school boards are responsible for the curriculum. In 2008, these programs are: 1. William Taylor Learning Center is a CBE/Woods Homes partnership that serves CBE students who reside in the community and attend the school program on a daily basis. 2. Our Lady of Lourdes is a CSSD/Woods Homes partnership that serves students who reside in the community and attend the school program on a daily basis. 3. The Program for at Risk Kids serves students transitioning back into their community school. This is a partnership with the CSSD, and is located at St. Marys High School. All students attending these programs have been coded by Alberta Education as code 42 severe emotional and behaviour disorder, and/or code 44 severe physical or medical disability. The intention behind this review process is to ensure that effective and efficient case management policies are in place to ensure that each students learning is individualized and maximized. It is important to have such a policy in place to ensure that all school personal are aware of how to effectively manage each students case and to provide a systematic guideline that can be followed. Furthermore, such a policy should help guide school administrators in their decision making on what referrals are the most appropriate. Information gathered for the review process was gathered from Woods Homes Case Management Policies and Procedures manual, 2008, Alberta Education, supporting literature and journal articles, as well as interviews of several schools personal and parents of children who have attended one of the schools mentioned above. 2. Description of Review Process I felt it was important to review case management policies for children in special education settings to ensure that a long term plan was outlined for each student and that their education needs were taken seriously. Children that attend Woods schools tend to have many issues outside their school environment as well. Woods schools provide many supports for the student and their family. I felt it important to review a policy that aims to ensure that all aspects of the childs development are being supported. In having a multimodal approach and

working in partnership with either the CSSD or the CBE, it is imperative that a unified case management policy is utilized. In my experience working with children who have a variety of supports and systems in place it has become evident that each system often does not work in collaboration with one another. This seems due to each system having their own set of policies and procedures independent from each other. Information was gathered by interviewing parents of children who attended a Woods school. I felt it was important to discover what parents thought about the management of their childs education by school personnel and other education professionals. I asked several questions of these parents pertaining to how much knowledge they had about how their childs case and information about their childs educational needs were handled. I also reviewed approximately 20 Parent/Guardian Satisfaction Surveys that were completed by parents of children who have been discharged from a Woods school program. I spoke to several teachers working within Woods schools, as well as school support staff. Interviews were conducted in hopes of gaining insight into how much teachers and School Support Counsellors know about proper procedure for managing their students cases beginning at the referral process. Policy and procedure documentation was reviewed from Alberta Learning and the CBE, as well as other Woods programs to ensure that Wood`s Homes School Based Programs Policy and Procedures are in line with and comparable to already existing case management policy. Specifically, I decided to review and analyze Case Management: School Based and Learning Resources: Non-Residential. Wood`s Homes Policy: A systematic process of case management occurs for all non residential clients receiving a combination of education and treatment services at Wood`s Homes. Policy Guidelines: 1. Request for Service. 2. Intake. 3. Process. 4. Assessment Definition. 5. Treatment Agreement. 6. Case Review Roles. 7. Case Review and IPP Reports (Parent-Teacher Interview). 8. Special Review 9. Transition from Day Treatment to Community School. 10. Consents: 11. File Closure.

3. Findings and Critical Analysis Policy Element Analysis of Policy Research Evidence and Literature CBE schools follow a Program Planning Process Model to refer students for specialized assessment and services. Referral procedures include: a student concern is identified; concerns are first addressed at the Classroom Level of Screening/Planning; referral to School Learning Team; and School Learning Team Meeting (Calgary Board of Education January 1, 2008 3003 - Special Education Programming). Staff at the school follow Calgary Board of Education written procedures to refer students for specialized assessment and/or services based on a variety of indicators such as review of the student record, teacher assessment, observation, parent information, previous specialized assessments and recommendations (Calgary Board of Education January 1, 2008 3003 - Special Education Programming).

1. Request for Service

Referrals to Wood`s Homes School Based Treatment and Learning Resources come directly from the respective school board to school personnel.

2. Intake

An information package is given to the School-Based Treatment and Learning Resources and reviewed by the Team Leader, Principal and Clinician. The family is called for a visit and/or an appointment. Within a week of the request for service, an initial assessment meeting is scheduled in the home by the clinician and attended by the clinician and/or School Support Counsellor and the Family Support Counsellor. The Day Treatment Questionnaire is completed during one or more face to

face interviews in order to assist clinicians and program staff with a preliminary perspective of the student, to collect new information, to assess any immediate risk or concern, and to determine the compatibility of the program mandate and student needs. School personnel and parents interviewed agree that the intake process is generally quick and efficient and can be completed without much difficulty. 3. Process Typically this information is found in the CBE or CSSD student file. No student is admitted to these programs without a current (within two years) psychological assessment. No clinical assessment is completed by a Wood`s Homes clinician. School psychologists, Principals and teachers said because of demand for a placement, often students are accepted into the program without a current psychological assessment. According to the Standards for Special Education, Amended June 2004, school boards must: a) Use qualified professionals to conduct specialized assessments, Interpret results, and provide program recommendations to parents, teachers and others involved with students programming. b) Work collaboratively, when appropriate, with other service providers and/or appropriate professionals to complete the specialized assessments c) Complete, when required, specialized assessments within a reasonable time. d) Follow the expectations outlined in Alberta Learnings Standards for Psychoeducational Assessment and by the standards and guidelines set by professional

organizations for their members. 4. Assessment Definition School Based Treatment and Learning Resources defines assessment as an estimation of resiliency factors and difficulties experienced by a student and/or family that is formulated through interviews, visits, clinical sessions and the incorporation and careful review of the following information: 1. Previous psychological or psychiatric assessment information 2. Any other systems knowledge, reports, etc. (children`s services, outside therapists, previous education placement) 3. Other assessments previously competed 4. Parental/Caregiver and student comments School personnel report having difficulty in retrieving information from outside agencies in a timely manner. The majority of parents and students interviewed said that they were given very little opportunity to provide their input or School boards must: a. use a number of assessment strategies and data to determine eligibility for special education programming and services b. report results of assessments to parents, teachers and others involved with students programming c. use results of assessments to make decisions, develop Individualized Program Plans (IPPs), assign support services and/or determine adapted or modified programming for students d. use assessment data to develop, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of programming and services provided to students with special education needs (Standards for Special Education, Amended June 2004).

comments during the process. 5. Treatment Agreement Within 30 days of the initial assessment meeting, a Treatment Agreement is completed. The Treatment Agreement is a contract between the student, the family and the school, that outlines responsibilities, goals, expectations and accountabilities of all parties for a specific period of time. The student, the family or caregivers, the teacher, and the school support counsellor attend the Treatment Agreement meeting; the clinician chairs. Other invited include: stakeholders, such as the principal; program manager; team leader; probation officer; representative from Children`s Services; and/or the Mental Health system. The Treatment Agreement meeting: 1. Reviews the results of the assessment process and sets individual/family therapy goals as well as school goals 2. Outlines the details of clinical involvement 3. Organizes any outstanding child In the last 25 years, virtually every system has begun to use some version of team based planning. Some of these models are single system focused, some are collaborative, and some are integrated. Positive Behavioural Support Teams is a model which involves the definition of child and youth positive behavioural goals, and acceleration of positive behaviours over reduction of negative behaviours. This primarily school based model has been used in thousands of schools to form a small team of pupil, teacher, other school personnel, and parents to focus on behaviour goals, and creation of an individualized consistent plan to increase positive behaviours. It uses school and pupil strengths, and creates a highly individualized plan that often carries over into the home environment. Many families who are served through the `wraparound` process have needs which have traditionally been met by more than one services system or schools. These services systems and schools agree to the principle of Collaboration, working together and moving to Integration where all parties

welfare, educational and judicial requirements 4. Sets a tentative discharge date 5. Ensures the student knows what needs to happen (goal attainment) prior to returning to their community school 6. Sets the review dates and parent teacher interviews for the months of August, October, December and March

work in a team with the family and design and implement one plan (Vroon VanDenBerg, 2007).

Informed consent exists when parents are provided with and understand all information 8. Ensure a photograph relevant to the activity for of the student is taken which consent is sought. Parents voluntarily agree, in At the same time the CBE staff writing, to carry out the develop an Individual Program activity and may withdraw Plan to address academic and consent at any time. School behavioural needs. authorities must obtain parents written, informed consent for specialized assessments or referrals (Standards for the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education) The placement of students is determined, in part, by the level of need outlined by his/her IPP. The student would be placed in an environment where the

7. Ensures that all parties sign the agreement

resources were located to appropriately accommodate their IPP (Jordan, 2007). Individually and developmentally appropriate programming means programming designed to meet the special education needs of individual children within a developmentally appropriate program. Individually and developmentally appropriate programming emphasizes the targeting of specific goals and objectives throughout the day, carefully planned instruction and ongoing evaluation (Standards for the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education). 6. Case Review Roles The School Support Counsellor is responsible for the completion of Daily Logs. Daily Logs track the in-class on-task behaviour, positive incidents, number of contacts with family and supports, groups attended and incidents involving risk for each young person for whom they are responsible. The Family Support Counsellor completes a Visit Note about in-home visits. These contribute to the case review document and transition summary, as well as assisting the clinician to complete the case review report. All schools are required to develop specific procedures for the evaluation of student progress in accordance with Alberta Education and Calgary Board of Education policy and guidelines. It is expected that the student evaluation procedures developed by schools will serve the following purposes: a. For the student: to provide information about academic, social, and physical development in order to identify personal strengths, achievement and educational needs. b. For the teacher: to provide information for use in the planning and modification of learning experiences in order

The Clinician is responsible for their own Session Notes and the Case Review Report, as well as completing any special documentation such as a Protection of Children Abusing Drugs application, Secure Treatment applications, etc.

7. Case Review and IPP Reports (Parent Teacher Interview)

Parent/teacher interviews occur four times in a school year. At this time the IPP is reviewed. As well, the Case Review Report created by the clinician is also presented to the family and the student. A copy of the Case Review Report and the IPP is given to the Parent/Caregiver and the student. The IPP is placed in the school student record file. The Case

to ensure maximum attention to individual student needs. c. For parents/guardians: i. to provide information about the academic, social, physical development, achievement and educational needs of their children, as determined by the school; and ii. To provide information needed to support and encourage the student's progress. d. For administrators: to provide information about student achievement for use in the assessment and planning of school (or system) educational programs and activities. e. For appropriate authorities and institutions beyond the school system: to provide information about student progress and achievement as requested (Calgary Board of Education 3062 - Student Evaluation). School boards must: ensure that IPPs are developed, implemented, monitored and evaluated for all students identified as having special education needs; ensure principals identify teachers whose responsibility it is to coordinate, develop, implement, monitor and evaluate student IPPs; ensure the school has a process and learning team to provide consultation, planning and problem-solving relating to

Review Report and the IPP are programming for students placed in the student`s with special education needs; Wood`s Homes file. ensure teachers, involve parents and, when A Review Meeting can be held appropriate, students and at any time and anyone can other professionals in the request this process. development, implementation, monitoring Teachers interviewed and evaluation of students reported that attendance of IPPs; document, in the IPP, parent/teacher interviews by the formal review of students parents is minimal. Parents progress, at regularly reported that they felt scheduled reporting periods; ignored when they asked for a throughout the year, provide Review Meeting if at any time feedback during informal other than the pre-arranged reviews to parents and, when meeting date and time. appropriate, students; make changes to the IPP, as required; and ensure IPPs are placed in student records (Standards for Special Education, Amended June 2004). 8. Special Review Transition to a community school is arranged at least one month prior to the end of treatment and includes school-assigned area and behaviour specialists. Transition visits are supported by the School Support Counsellor and/or the Family Support Worker. According to school personnel transitions into community schools are arranged on average 6 weeks prior to discharge. Parents also reported they had sufficient knowledge of their child`s transition plan. Students with special education needs who will be attending a Calgary Board of Education school or program may be permitted to visit their prospective school or program for transitioning purposes as set out in Administrative Regulation 6094 - Student Visits, Exchanges and International Students (Calgary Board of Education January 1, 2008 3003 - Special Education Programming).

9. Transition from Day Treatment to Community School

A school Discharge/Transfer Report is written by the School Support Counsellor for the Wood`s Homes file. This summary includes the student`s treatment progress, the family`s treatment experience, significant achievements and any follow up recommendations. School Support Counsellors reported that they often feel overwhelmed when it comes to completing the Discharge Summary on time. Most agreed that it was due to other demands placed on them because of high student enrolment in the schools. Parents stated they were frustrated because they did not receive a copy of the Discharge Report.

It is required that all teacher assistants work under the direction of a certificated teacher to realize students goals, as outlined in their IPPs. School Support Counsellors should therefore, base the discharge/transfer summary on the students` IPP (Standards for Special Education, Amended June 2004).

10. Consents

Case Managers and others involved in the case management process will be aware of all consents required and/or requested for each client/family and necessary for Wood`s Homes accountability practices. School personnel interviewed stated that they have a clear understanding of all consents required as they are outlined in the intake package.

Calgary Board of Education January 1, 2008 3003 - Special Education Programming states, informed consent means that the individual (i) has been provided with all information relevant to the activity for which consent is sought, and (ii) understands and agrees, in writing, to the carrying out of the activity for which the individuals consent is sought, and ( iii) understands that if consent is given for assessment, the

results of the assessment will become and must remain part of the student record in compliance with the provincial regulation on Students Records, and (iv) understands that the granting of consent is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time for any future action but may not be withdrawn for any action that has already occurred. 11. File Closure Closed files are stored in the school building for six months after the student has been discharged. Files are archived after six months through the Wood`s Homes archiving system. The majority of parents interviewed were unaware where their child`s records are held. School staff reported that many closed files remain in the school building for one year or more. 4. Implications and Recommendations for Future Development Although the Case Management Policy reviewed in this report is intended to ensure that all students are receiving the best available education, several areas of concern were highlighted. According to the plethora of school personnel interviewed, many students referred to one of the three Wood`s Homes schools did not have a recent psychological assessment completed. Teachers, School Psychologists, Principals and School Support Counsellors all reported that attaining information from outside agencies proved to be a slow and difficult process. In particular, school personnel cited the most difficulty with receiving pertinent information from Children`s Services and the Calgary Health Region. Outlined in Wood`s Homes Case Management Policies and Procedures Manual, 2008.

Many of the parents and students reported, either through interview or review of Satisfaction Surveys complete upon discharge, dissatisfaction with the amount of choice and voice they had in the intake and discharge process. Throughout the review process it was unclear whether or not the Discharge/Transfer summaries were distributed to appropriate agencies or personnel after the student was discharged from the school program. It appeared as though the summaries were merely placed in the student`s file and archived after discharge.

Recommendations for Improvement: Hire, train and retain clinicians that are qualified to complete a Psycho-educational assessment of children that have been identified as at risk. The CBE and CSSD work in collaboration with Wood`s Homes in many other areas of student development; providing Wood`s clinicians with appropriate training to complete assessments of identified students could reduce wait times for students requiring an assessment. Policy makers, Directors and Senior Managers of all the agencies in Calgary need to work in collaboration to develop a system that is conducive to the expedient flow of relevant information between agencies. Families and students need to be at the center of all decision making whenever possible. Although this is stated in the existing policy, school personnel need to ensure that the family`s voice is heard and they have input into the education and therapy of their child. Clinicians should incorporate into their reports a framework/format for ensuring the family`s/child`s opinions are being heard. Discharge/Transfer summaries should be completed for each student and a copy should be sent to all personnel/agencies involved in the well being of the child/family, i.e., parents, future school placement, therapists, etc. Case management is vital in ensuring that each student`s needs are being met. Proper case management ensures that students and their families receive the best possible treatment and that intervention and plans for success are individualized and comprehensive. I feel that Wood`s Homes Case Management Policy does a good job in detailing and outlining requirements for effective case management, education and therapy for students and their families. Any further development or changes to Wood`s Homes Case Management Policies should be done in collaboration and consultation with the CBE and the CSSD. Systems of Care have evolved over the past 25 years. Few families in need can have all their needs met by one System of Care. Child welfare, juvenile justice, schools, mental health, and others must work together to ensure that at risk students` and their family`s needs are being met effectively and efficiently. Yet, frequently little actual collaboration or integration exists between systems. In addition, most systems realize that they cannot do their mission without the participation of the broader community. Therefore, many System of Care efforts should include participants from other community agencies (Vroon VanDenBerg, 2007). 5. Reflective Evaluation

I felt that the review process of an existing policy was both challenging and interesting. Because I chose to evaluate a Case Management Policy I found it difficult to find supporting literature for why such a policy would be developed. Because of this I decided to look at how Wood`s Homes Case Management Policy for School Based and Learning Resources aligned with Alberta Education Policies and the CBE. I found it interesting to discover that Wood`s policies and procedures seemed to be derived from and in line with Alberta Education Policies, as well as the CBE. Perhaps if I focussed on best teaching practices or intervention for a specific population of special education students, I would have been able to expand my supporting literature base. However, I found the Alberta Education and CBE literature extremely interesting in that they seemed to strictly influence the development of Wood`s Homes Case Management Policy. Because I do not work in a school setting and do work for Wood`s Homes, I felt it would be beneficial for me to incorporate both Wood`s Homes Policies and Special Education Polices into my policy review. In keeping with my goal of professional development within Wood`s Homes, I learned how Wood`s policies are developed in accordance with other community agencies and systems of care. I found the process time consuming, but worthwhile as I experienced how difficult reviewing a policy can be. I learned more about the agency I work for, as well expanded my basic knowledge of special education. I also realized that policy and procedure dictate the work we do everyday regardless of being aware of any particular policy.


Alberta Education (2006). Standards of the Provision of Early Childhood Special Education. Retrieved December 10, 2008 from: Alberta Education (2004). Standards of Special Education, Amended June 2004. Retrieved December 7, 2008 from: Calgary Board of Education (2008). Administrative Regulation 3003 Special Education Programming. Retrieved December 10, 2008 from: Calgary Board of Education (2003). Administrative Regulation 3062 Student Evaluation. Retrieved December 10, 2008 from: Jordan, A. (2007). Introduction to Inclusive Education. Mississauga, ON, Canada: John Wiley and Sons. Vroon VanDenBerg, J. (2007). Systems of Care and the Child and Family Team Process. Retrieved December 12, 2008 from: Wood`s Homes Policies and Procedures Manual, 2008.