Student Services Information for Parents
Parents play a vital role in the education of their children with special needs by working in partnership with educators and other personnel. Manitoba Education resources are available to ensure students with special needs are participating members of a school community.
Student Services/ Special Education
Students with special needs have disabilities of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional, or behavioural nature, or have a learning disability. The purpose of Student Services/ Special Education is to enable the equitable participation of students with special learning needs in the Manitoba school system.
The Amendment to the Public Schools Act: Appropriate Educational Programming provides the regulation to guide policy and programming for all students, particularly those with special learning needs, in receiving the appropriate educational programming they require. The regulations confirm in legislation that all students in Manitoba are entitled to receive appropriate educational programming that fosters student participation in both the academic and social life of the school. The legislation supports Manitoba’s philosophy of inclusion.
Inclusive schools provide a learning environment that is accessible to all students as a place to learn, grow, be accepted and enjoy all the benefits of citizenship.
In an inclusive school, all students are provided with the supports and opportunities they need to become participating students and members of their school communities. Collaboration among home, school and community is imperative. Core values and beliefs include:
- All students can learn, in different ways and at different rates.
- All students have individual abilities and needs.
- All students want to feel they belong and are value
All students have the right to benefit from their education. Students learn in different places and locations.
Legislation and Standards
- Appropriate Educational Programming Regulation 155/2005 ( 122 KB)
- Appropriate Educational Programming in Manitoba: Standards for Student Services
( 130 KB)
The broad areas covered by the regulations include:
- General Obligations
- Assessment of students
- Individual Education Plans
- School-related Activities
- Transition into school
- Discipline, suspension, expulsion
- Dispute Resolution
Special Learning Needs
Students with special learning needs have disabilities of an intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional, or behavioural nature.
Programming and Planning for students with special learning needs
School-based student support teams support all students, including those with special learning needs. Students with special learning needs are those who may require student specific support because they experience challenges that affect their ability to learn.
School-based student support teams vary in size and composition based on the needs of individual students. Teams may include a principal and/or vice principal, resource teacher(s), counsellor(s), classroom teacher(s), parent(s), school clinicians and others who have responsibility for students with special learning needs. The student may also participate as a member of the team, as appropriate. The school student support team plans and monitors the development and implementation of an individual education plan (IEP), which can involve one or many aspects of the student's school life.
Each school division has a Student Services Administrator who coordinates the delivery of services and supports for students with special learning needs.
For more information see: Student-Specific Planning: A Handbook for Developing and Implementing Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
Processes for Resolving Differences
In making decisions about educational programming and placement for students, school teams, including parents, work together. In some situations, differences of opinion will occur. Usually these differences can be resolved by the people directly involved. However, some differences may require a more formal dispute resolution process.
Manitoba school divisions, in collaboration with parents, are required to make every reasonable effort at the school and division levels to resolve concerns. Parents should work with school division staff to arrive at reasonable solutions. If there is a dispute about the education of students with special learning needs, the parties involved have several options:
- Resolution at the school level: An attempt to resolve differences at the local school level is typically the best approach. It offers the possibility of a solution that is acceptable to everyone in a reasonable period of time. This would involve the teacher, other in-school personnel and the principal.
- Resolution at the school division level: This usually involves divisional staff or the superintendent. A formal appeal to the school board that results in a board decision would be the last step in the process.
- Resolution at the departmental level: This level of dispute resolution involves contact with the review coordinator and a formal review of the school board decision by a review committee appointed by the Minister of Manitoba Education.
Dispute Resolution FAQ
Cross Government Protocols
Ongoing collaborative planning and information sharing between parents, school divisions, partner departments and respective service jurisdictions will greatly improve educational outcomes for children. The following protocols have been developed collaboratively to support students, families, schools and communities towards appropriate educational programming.
- Guidelines for Early Childhood Transition to School for Children with Special Needs
- Bridging to Adulthood: A Protocol for Transitioning Students with Exceptional Needs from School to Community
For more information: Planning with Partners
Funding for Student Services/Special Education
In Manitoba, all students are entitled to receive appropriate educational programming. Every school division is unique in how a continuum of supports is provided for students with special needs. If you want more information about how funding and supports are provided, talk to your school or school division administrators.
Manitoba Education publishes the Funding of Schools booklet each year which outlines the base support grants and categorical grants provided to school divisions. There are some grants that support students with special needs specifically, for example the Student Services Grant. This grant is used by school divisions to provide a continuum of supports for the students with special learning needs in their division.
The Student Services Grant was designed to assist students:
- with mild to moderate academic or learning needs
- who are considered “at risk” due to social, emotional, behavioural, or physical factors that impact on their ability to succeed in school
- who require behaviour intervention in the early years
Ask your school division about the continuum of supports in your school division.
In addition, there are also categorical grants that are student specific. School divisions can submit applications for those students who meet specific criteria of the low incidence funding Level 2 and 3. The Level 2 and 3 criteria is for students with severe to profound intellectual, physical, sensory, or social/emotional disabilities.
Low incidence funding grants Levels 2 and 3 are only part of the funding school divisions receive to support students with special learning needs. School divisions use the Level 2 and 3 funding criteria information to determine if a student meets eligibility and then submits an application if appropriate. The Funding Review Team uses the Level 2 and 3 Funding Criteria to determine eligibility and documents the decision on a Funding Decision Form.
For more information: Funding for Student Services/Special Education
Appropriate supports for programming are determined by school divisions and school teams in consultation with parents. Talk to your school or division about programming and the supports your child needs.
Student Services/Special Education Resources Documents
Below are a few resources written specifically to support parents and families including information on how you can establish a collaborative relationship with the educators who work with your child.
- Working Together: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs in School
This document highlights the importance of the diverse and changing learning needs of students with special needs. It also describes some of the services and activities that might be used to meet individual student needs at school.
- Working Together: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs in School [Brochure] ( 796 KB)
This brochure is a brief overview of the information for parents of children with special needs available in the handbook Working
Together: A Handbook for Parents of Children with Special Needs in School
- Services for Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
The information in this guide will help Manitoba families and schools support students who are blind or visually impaired from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
- Working Together: A Parent's Guide to Transition from School Community
This guide includes information to assist families in participating in transition planning for their son or daughter. It is intended for parents, guardians, foster parents and caregivers.
- Working Together: Safe, Caring Schools, Families and Communities [Brochure] ( 127 KB)
This brochure is a brief overview of information for parents about children safety in school and the
- Working Together: A Guide to Positive Problem Solving for Schools, Families, and Communities
The purpose of this document is to "... give everyone -- parents, educators, and community members -- the information to take part in the co-operative, creative problem solving process of informal dispute resolution. It is intended to serve as resource support to local school and school division dispute resolution policies and practices."
- For more information: Student Services Documents
Safe and Caring Schools
Manitoba Education schools are committed to providing safe learning environments for all children and youth. Utilizing a whole school approach to safety and belonging, educators, parents and students work together to address the serious issues that are recognized as 'bullying' and school violence. Healthy school communities, where positive relationships are established, are known to prevent and respond to issues of school safety.
If your child is having a problem feeling comfortable and safe at school, it is important that you communicate with and work with the school team to solve the issue as quickly as possible.
The ‘communication protocol’ recommended follows these guidelines:
- Listen to your child to determine the issue’s severity and identify his/her needs.
- Contact your child’s teacher and/or school counsellor to seek solutions. Ask how you can be a part of the solution. The teacher or counsellor may involve the principal if the incident warrants.
- If the issue is not resolved, contact your school principal and ask for follow-up. Request that the school principal communicate the plan to you.
- If your child continues to experience problems ask the school principal if there are other resources in the school division or community that could assist in a resolution.
- If a resolution is not found or you are not satisfied with the school response, contact with your School Division’s Superintendent to explain your experience and request resolution.
- If the problem still has not been resolved, contact the Board of Trustees of your School Division. Your elected school trustees can assist you with this process.
For more information: Safe and Caring Schools
Program and Student Services
Toll Free in Manitoba: 1-800-282-8069, ext. 7907