Student Services

Student Services is a team of professionals that support the development and provision of educational opportunities for children and youth with or without exceptionalities as they transition through the school system. Exceptionalities may include one or more of the following:

  • Cognitive
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Physical and/or other health concerns
  • Speech and/or communication disorders
  • Sensory
  • Giftedness

All students need the knowledge and skills to lead independent and purposeful lives.  Students will attain these to varying degrees depending on the interaction among several factors, including the nature and degree of the student’s exceptional needs, the motivation of the student, and the cooperation and communication among school, parents/guardians and community support systems.

Who We Are

Most students with exceptionalities can have their needs met in regular classrooms through the use of a variety of teaching and evaluation strategies, materials, and support personnel.  However, a small number of students may require an alternative classroom environment for success. Some students may require additional services on an ongoing basis for most of their school experience; others may require these services on a short-term or periodic basis.  

The number of personnel involved will vary according to the needs of the student within the school setting. Student Services’ involvement can begin within a student’s academic career as early as transitioning into grade Primary and may continue until the student transitions out of High School. Support at the school level should be available, when necessary, to assist classroom teachers in meeting the needs of students.  

School-based teams may include classroom teachers, resource teachers, school /Guidance Counselors, School Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Student Services Consultants, Autism Support Teachers, Learning Disabilities Support Teachers, Schools Plus staff, school administrators, board personnel and other relevant school staff providing support. Every effort is made to involve parents/guardians from the outset and throughout all aspects of service delivery, including identification, assessment, program planning and evaluation.  

The Student Services Department consists of:

Assistive Technology

The Assistive Technology department provides assessment and intervention to students experiencing difficulties accessing curriculum in grades primary to twelve.

Assistive Technology is a range of strategies and resources which includes services and tools used to enable a student to meet outcomes or to improve or maintain a student’s ability to meet outcomes. Assistive technology has the potential to increase a student’s control over objects, daily activities, age-appropriate experiences and subsequent learning. The use of AT should not be viewed as an activity in itself, but as a means toward achieving goals. The program planning process should be used to identify and utilize appropriate assistive technology to achieve outcomes and maximize student participation. (Supporting Student Success: Assistive Technology – 2006)

Assistive Technology ranges from simple apparatus, such as a single switch access button, to complex tools, such as computer aided speech devices (Augmentative Communication Devices). According to the Special Education Policy Manual, Policy 1.5, when a student with special needs is identified either through family supplied information or through school board personnel, the classroom teacher uses available material and human resources to explore a variety of strategies in the learning process. The following resource can help teachers with ideas for exploration of instructional strategies:
If it is determined that these strategies are not working effectively, it is then the responsibility of the Regional Centre to implement a program planning committee to assess the student’s needs and to determine the kind of programming and services that should be provided to that student. This involves consulting with and mediating among diverse stakeholders, such as teachers, parents, medical and/or psychological personnel, speech-language pathologists and advocacy groups. Many times, the result will be that students will require some type of assistive technology. All of these procedures are identified in the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture Special Education Policy Manual.
Assistive Technology in the Program Planning Process:

Assistive Technology may be considered at any stage of a student’s learning development. An assessment may be initiated by the school’s program planning team, which may include principals, classroom teachers, specialist teachers, parents/guardians and/or other professionals. To initiate an assessment, an Assistive Technology referral form must be completed in TIENET and forwarded to the Assistive Technology Consultant. The referral form is comprised of three components: school referral form, parental form, and a follow up form which is to be completed three months after the technology has been implemented. Assessments are done in the school setting by a member of the Assistive Technology team. Appropriate hardware and software is obtained through the cooperation of the Student Services Department, the Technology Department, and the school.
Gifted Education & Talent Development (Enrichment)
Program Planning Process


Policy 2.2: Program Planning Process

Each school board is responsible for establishing a process of identification, assessment, program planning, and evaluation for students with special needs.


The school board is responsible for the implementation of this process; therefore, each procedural step should be documented in the school board’s special education policy. School boards are encouraged to refer to the appropriate sections of the Department of Education’s Special Education Policy.

(Information taken from, The Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents and Guardians2016)

The Process 
Stage 1Screening and identification (getting information) 
Who is involved? You, your child (when appropriate), your child’s teacher(s), school board based support staff, others who may be involved with your child as appropriate What happens? By working closely with your child in the classroom, the teacher may notice that additional planning is needed to meet your child’s needs. The teacher will contact you to discuss their observations and may ask you to provide any information that may help them better understand your child. If your child has diagnosed special needs, the process may go right to Stage 3. Why? In this stage, the teacher needs to develop a full understanding of your child’s strengths, challenges, and interests in order to support your child in meeting the Public School Program curriculum outcomes. 
Stage 2:  Exploring instructional strategies 
Who is involved? Your child’s teacher(s), your child (when appropriate), others who may offer ideas What happens? The teacher will try different strategies to support your child in the classroom. You will be informed that these strategies, called “adaptations,” are being explored. The teacher will keep track of what works or does not work for your child, and will make changes or try new ideas as needed. Adaptations are documented on a form that the teacher fills out in TIENET (Technology for Improving Education Network), the provincial online student information system for managing student services information. You will receive a copy of the form. Why? Trying different ideas in the classroom will give the teacher a better understanding of what is helpful for your child. Sometimes, these in-class changes are enough to help your child succeed and the process will not need to move beyond Stage 2. If the adaptations aren’t meeting your child’s needs, it may be time to talk about additional supports in Stage 3. A diagram of the Program Planning Process can be found in Appendix 1. Adaptations are monitored on an ongoing basis and are reviewed at least once a year or once a semester. All adaptations are documented in TIENET. 6 The Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents and Guardians 
Stage 3: Program Planning Team referral (sharing information and ideas) 
Who is involved? You, your child’s teacher, anyone with responsibility for your child’s learning What happens? The teacher fills out a “Referral to Program Planning Team” form for the principal. The principal forms a Program Planning Team that can support your child. The principal can provide information if you have any questions or concerns about the referral or the Program Planning Process in general. Why? A referral to a Program Planning Team may occur when y your child has a diagnosed special need, needs support before starting school for the first time, or is transitioning from another school y Stage 1 indicates your child has an immediate need for a referral y Stage 2 adaptations have not been enough to enable your child to meet or extend the Public School Program curriculum outcomes 
Stage 4: Program Planning Meeting (collaboration) 
Who is involved? The Program Planning Team What happens? The team will meet to talk about your child’s strengths, challenges, and interests. Together, the team may decide to y try different adaptations y get more information from doing more assessments or refer to other professionals y develop an Individual Program Plan (IPP) (See Stage 5.) Why? The meeting is a time when team members share information, collaborate, and decide on future actions. Your child may need a combination of both adaptations and IPP. You can bring a support person (advocate, Elder, etc.) with you to program planning meetings. You should let the principal know if you are bringing someone. The Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents and Guardians 7
Stage 5: Developing adaptations and/or an IPP 
Who is involved? The Program Planning Team What happens? The Program Planning Team will create an IPP for the school year, or semester, that addresses your child’s strengths, challenges, and interests. The IPP Template on page 23 lists the criteria needed to be met before developing an IPP. Annual and Specific Individualized Outcomes are developed in one or more of the following areas: y Academic y Enrichment y Life Skills y Social Development Transition needs are considered when developing adaptations and IPPs. Why? An IPP is developed and implemented for students for whom Nova Scotia’s public school program curriculum outcomes are not applicable or attainable. An IPP changes what your child is expected to do in school or in certain subjects. It also documents supports provided by your child’s teacher(s) and others. 
Stage 6: Implementing the adaptations and/or an IPP (putting the plan in place) 
Who is involved? Anyone assigned responsibility as noted in the Documented Adaptations form (see templates on pages 20–22) and/or IPP (see IPP Template on pages 23–24). What happens? Your child’s teacher(s) implements the plan, evaluates your child’s progress, and shares information with you. You are encouraged to stay in touch with your child’s teacher(s) to update them on progress, and to share concerns and successes. Why? It was determined by the Program Planning Team that the adaptations and/or an IPP was appropriate to support your child’s needs. Specific Individualized Outcome(s) are statements outlining steps that lead to the attainment of the Annual Individualized Outcome(s). 8 The Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents and Guardians
Stage 7: Monitoring adaptations and/or an IPP (checking in and following up) 
Who is involved? The Program Planning Team What happens? Your child’s progress is monitored throughout the year or semester. If needed, minor changes may be made to Specific Individualized Outcomes without the Program Planning Team’s input. Such changes are documented and the teacher(s) will keep team members up-to-date on the changes. The Program Planning Team is involved if an Annual Individualized Outcome needs a change. Adaptations are also regularly monitored to ensure they are helping your child meet outcomes in each subject. Why? Checking in on your child’s progress, and keeping the Program Planning Team informed on successes and challenges, is important to ensure the IPP is meeting your child’s needs. 
Stage 8: Reviewing Adaptations and/or an IPP
Who is involved? The Program Planning Team What happens? Adaptations and IPPs are reviewed for their effectiveness in meeting your child’s needs. Adaptations are monitored on an ongoing basis and are reviewed by the team once a year for grades primary to 9, or once a semester for high school. IPPs are reviewed at least twice a year or once a semester. Why? This gives everyone an update on how the implemented adaptations and/ or an IPP are working and identifies where changes may be needed. It may also be an opportunity to consider removing your child from an IPP.
Resource Programs

Resource services are available for all students in the Tri-County Regional Center for Education. The time for allotted resource services and the frequency of intervention varies according to the needs of the student.

Resource programming operates within a model of collaboration and consultation: co-planning, co-teaching, assessment and provision of services. For information on service delivery models please visit this link, (pages 17-21). 

Students can be placed in a resource program in a number of ways. Initially they are referred to their school Program Planning Team, by either teacher, parent or outside agency. Placement in resource programs will be reviewed throughout the year.

The program planning team considers each referral individually. Team members are those who have responsibility for the student’s learning. The team includes the principal or vice-principal, teachers directly involved in teaching the student, and parents (see Policy 2.4). These members form the core of the student’s program planning team. The selection of additional members depends on the needs of the students and on the personnel resources of the school board and community. A team meeting provides an opportunity for members to come together to clarify, given all available information, the student’s strengths and challenges and to decide on future actions to be taken in terms of program planning. For further information on parent’s role in program planning, please refer to the Program Planning Process: A Guide for Parents.


An intervention plan will be designed on the strengths and challenges to have them successfully meet their outcomes (goals). An intervention could last anywhere from 20 weeks to 2 years, followed by a period of transitioning and monitoring to ensure the student is using the strategies that were taught.

Other Links


Document Downloads

View our documents available for download by clicking the button below.

Kathy Hart

Coordinator of Student Services


Sandra LeBlanc

Student Services Administrative Assistant


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This