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(Canada) Wolf Creek, Alb.: 80 additional "severely complex special education students"

Sept 28, 2017, Red Deer News Now (Alberta, Canada): Wolf Creek Public Schools hires additional staff to work with severely disabled students http://rdnewsnow.com/article/554249/wolf-creek-hiring-additional-staff-work-severely-disabled-students Wolf Creek Public Schools is hiring additional staff to deal with a sharp rise in the number of students in the division with severely complex special education students. Since September 2016 the division has seen approximately 80 additional such students enroll in its schools. “What’s different from past years is the students we’ve received really do have severe, very particular learning needs that are well beyond what we would typically see. It caught us by surprise, for sure,” admits Jayson Lovell, Superintendent for Wolf Creek Public Schools. Wolf Creek had previously allocated 144 Educational Assistants throughout its system for this school year. The Board of Trustees approved the addition of seven more to help deal with the influx of special needs students and meet Alberta Education mandates. “Our budget is tight this year. We’ve certainly had some challenges around ensuring that we are supporting all areas of our operation,” he noted. “We do our best to try and distribute that support in a way that we can meet the needs of those students.” The division currently spends over $7,000,000 additional dollars on Inclusion supports than what is received from the province. Lovell says hiring staff that are adequately trained to work with student with severe disabilities can be a challenge. “If they are autistic, for example, then there’s a very specialized skill set needed in order to work with that student. The one we have done, and are incredibly proud of, is supporting our staff with professional development. We have sessions where we bring our staff together to learn and understand strategies to work with students who have very severe and specialized diagnoses.” ...