The Observation class is a congregated setting within a regular school. The purpose of the placement is to determine the most appropriate educational program for students with severe and complex learning profiles. The program allows for enhanced monitoring and assessment. Integration into the regular program is gradual and based on the student’s Learner Support Plan.
Diverse Learning Needs: Learning Disabilities
The Learning Disabilities Programs offer programming for students in Grades 4 to 9 who have a diagnosed Learning Disability affecting one or several domains and whose academic achievement is significantly impacted. Students accepted into this program are able to access a range of supports including learner support plans, small class sizes, educational assistants, adaptations, remediation, assistive technology and assistance from a student support worker and/or counsellor. St. Anthony School is a congregated school setting, while the programs at Father Scollen, St. Jean Brebeuf, and St. Bonaventure provide a specialized classroom setting embedded within regular junior high schools. Students in these settings are integrated into regular classes for specific subjects. There is an emphasis across all the LD Program settings upon understanding oneself as a learner, developing skills related to their learning strengths, gaining skills in organization and time management, developing independent learning skills and, and self-advocacy.
The program offers small classes, up to 15 students per class, and provides appropriate learning accommodations matched to individual student needs. There is a strong focus on skill acquisition in the core subject areas. Students in the program are integrated into regular education for all other subjects.
There is a diverse learning coordinating teacher in each school. These teachers are assigned to support students with diverse learning needs. They also support staff through our professional development model so that all staff are able to support students with diverse learning needs.
The Learning Team Handbook for Parents
Unlocking Potential: Programming for Students with Learning Disabilities
The Inclusive Education Library
Satellite programs for junior high students with learning disabilities:
Father Scollen (Gr. 7-9)
St. Bonaventure (Gr. 7-9)
St. Jean Brebeuf (Gr. 7-9)
Congregated schools for students with learning disabilities:
St. Anthony (Gr. 4-6)
Diverse Learning Needs: Cognitive Disabilities
Students with cognitive disabilities are integrated into the regular education program with age-appropriate peers, according to individual strengths, needs, and skills. There are three different Educational Support programs (ESI, ESII, ESIII) depending on the cognitive level of the student.
The Educational Support I (ESI) programs are provided for students with mild cognitive disabilities. In elementary, students usually receive instruction in one or more core subjects within the congregated ESI classroom. Student learning is enhanced through repeated practice with a variety of hands-on materials.
The junior high program provides instruction in academic and life skills with a focus on language arts and mathematics instruction. Time is also spent on social skills training.
For senior high, ESI is a three-year program which combines practical academic instruction and work experience opportunities in the community. Students graduate from this program with a certificate of completion, but do not receive a high school diploma.
Schools that offer the ESI programs:
Msgr. A.J. Hetherington
Our Lady of Fatima
St. Vincent de Paul (Elementary/Jr. High)
Junior High Schools
St. Vincent de Paul
Senior High Schools
The Diverse Learning Class
The Diverse Learning classes in our satellite communities may include students with both mild and moderate cognitive disabilities. Given the complex needs of these students, they may be also be coded for severe disabilities. Student learning is designed according to their Learner Support Plan. Students receive instruction in one or more core subjects as well as life/adaptive skills. Participation in the regular classroom setting for other subject areas is considered as per the Learner Support Plan.
Schools that offer Diverse Learning Classes:
Our Lady Queen of Peace (DL-1 Gr. 1-8, DL-II Gr. 1-8)
Our Lady of Wisdom (DL – Gr. 1-6)
Holy Spirit (DL – Gr. 1-6)
St. Martin de Porres (DL – Gr. 9-12)
The Educational Support II (ESII) programs are provided for students with moderate cognitive disabilities. These programs emphasize the development of essential and supportive skills including communication skills, motor skills, academic skills, and life skills. Students may require assistance for personal care and safety as well as close supervision and one-on-one intervention. Students may have significant communication and motor delays necessitating consultation with speech, physical and/or occupational therapists. Integration with age-appropriate peers occurs according to individual student need, interest, skills, and abilities.
In elementary, students receive support with communication and academic skills based on their learner profile.
For junior high, the focus is on daily living skills with an emphasis on the functional application of academic skills.
In senior high, social skills and where appropriate, job skills training are emphasized. Appropriate work placements may be part of each student’s yearly program.
Schools that offer ESII programs:
Msgr. E.L. Doyle
Msgr. Neville Anderson
St. Brigid (Elementary/Jr. High)
St. Matthew (Elementary/Jr. High)
Junior High Schools
St. John XXIII
Senior High Schools
The Educational Support III (ESIII) programs are designed for students with severe cognitive disabilities and are available for students from Grades 1 to 12. These programs emphasize the development of essential and supportive skills including communication skills, motor skills, life skills, and functional academic skills. The program provides community based instruction to allow students the opportunity to practice and transfer skills taught in the classroom to other environments.
The majority of students in this program are non-verbal, and many have severe physical and medical disabilities. Placement is generally long-term with integration into regular education program activities according to individual student needs. Upon high school completion, these students continue to require support in order to participate in vocational and recreational activities within the community.
Schools that offer ESIII programs:
St. Benedict - Elementary School
St. Gregory – Junior High School
Bishop Carroll - High School
Diverse Learning Needs: Emotional/Behavioural Disabilities
For students identified with emotional/behavioural disabilities, the district provides a variety of programs to meet the emotional and behavioural challenges facing students.
Starting Points (Grades 1-6)
The Starting Points program is a congregated setting within a regular school. The program provides highly structured specialized support designed specifically to address issues of significant externalizing behaviours. The goal of the program is to assist the students in acquiring the necessary behavioural skills in order to integrate back into their home schools or other designated programs.
Schools that offer Starting Points:
Ascension of Our Lord
St. Albert the Great
St. Maria Goretti
St. Thomas More
Transitions Programs (Grades 4-12)
These programs provide an opportunity for students with severe mental health difficulties, who have a history of being unsuccessful in a regular educational setting, to work in a safe treatment focused classroom environment that assists them in identifying their own emotional issues while allowing them to learn more acceptable coping strategies.
Schools that offer Transition Programs:
Light of Christ - Junior High
St. Joseph - Junior High
St. James (2 programs) – Elementary & Junior High
St. Martin de Porres (Airdrie)
Bishop Carroll - High School
St. Mary (2 programs) - High School
Congregated Behaviour Setting – Our Lady of Lourdes
Our Lady of Lourdes School (Gr. 1-12) is designed to meet the needs of students with complex social, emotional, family and/or academic and behavioural challenges. Students are referred to Our Lady of Lourdes by the school district because they have not been successful in their community school setting. The special needs of the students dictate a focus on adapting and modifying the school day in ways that enable them to be successful. Through a process of integrating educational and therapeutic supports, the staff at Our Lady of Lourdes work closely with students and parents to address individual learning needs and maintain consistency in the message that students receive from school and home. Each student’s educational and therapeutic program is planned and implemented in partnership with parental and student input and keeps students connected with their local school and community when appropriate. The program is consistent with Alberta Education mandates, regulations and programs of studies.
Students arriving at Our Lady of Lourdes may have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or an Emotional Behavioural Disability. Each student placed at Our Lady of Lourdes School has a history of difficulty in regular school settings, and may have a learning disability as well. The goal in every case is to assist the student in developing a repertoire of strategies that will assist the student upon his/her return to a regular school setting.
For additional information:
Essential Components for Programming for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Society for Treatment of Autism
Next Step Program
The Next Step program provides a transitional setting for students from Our Lady of Lourdes School. As a transitional program, the ultimate goal is to have the students return to their home school for full integration within a reasonable time frame. Students in Next Step have demonstrated the necessary behaviours and attitudes to meet the expectations of a regular school setting. Students in the program will continue to expand upon their academic and behavioural goals while adjusting to an increasing amount of program integration in a regular education setting. Next Step is located at St. Monica School.
P.A.R.K. Program (Program for At Risk Kids)
The P.A.R.K. program is designed to support senior high school students who have a history of social, psychological, physiological and academic concerns; an inability to cope within the traditional classroom setting and are at risk of dropping out of school. The program’s day-to-day activities revolve around therapeutic interactions, discussions, and decision-making sessions encouraging students to share their own experiences and seek solutions to social and educational challenges. Through the coordinated support of the P.A.R.K. Teacher, Family Support Worker, and outside agencies, they work together with the student and parent(s) to re-engage in school and the community. P.A.R.K. Programs are located at Bishop McNally High School and St. Mary’s High School.
Fresh Start Outreach
There are two Fresh Start Outreach programs in Calgary Catholic. The Junior High Fresh Start Outreach Program provides a different type of structured learning environment, based on individual student learning needs that creates opportunities for students to receive support and services that encourage personal success. It is located at Bishop Kidd School.
The High School Fresh Start Outreach Program serves those students who find it very challenging to be successful in a traditional learning environment. This outreach program provides new and different opportunities for students to engage in a learning environment that offers a flexible schedule of continuous enrolment while focusing on the individual needs of the student. It is linked to the St. Anne Academic Centre.
The Sanctuary outreach program is a mental health classroom designed to assist senior high school students who may have been out of school for a period of time. The program serves as a bridge for these students to gradually integrate into regular senior high school programs. Students receive instructional support, including direct teaching, in all content areas as well as opportunities for a full range of courses, as appropriate and available. The program offers a flexible educational environment with flexible timetabling however, regular attendance is expected and monitored. It is located at Father Lacombe High School.
Diverse Learning Needs: Congregated Gifted
The Congregated Gifted program, one of various gifted programming options available in the Calgary Catholic School District, is designed for gifted students at the junior high level. Students are identified as requiring specialized support to meet their unique learning abilities.
The Congregated Gifted program is currently housed at Blessed Cardinal Newman (Gr. 7-9) and St. Jean Brebeuf (Gr. 7-9). It provides an opportunity for gifted students to work in a dynamic and collaborative environment that supports their individual needs. The program offers smaller classes and provides appropriate learning accommodations matched to individual student needs including compacted curriculum and independent learning opportunities. In addition, extension activities such as workshops, guest speakers and field trips are used to support and enrich the curriculum.
In collaboration with all schools, gifted students identified under the provincial student identification system at the district level are potential candidates for the Congregated Gifted setting. Students eligible for the program have the opportunity to register in the congregated setting in the spring of their Grade 6 year.
CCSD Congregated Gifted Program Brochure
Students Who Are Gifted
The Journey: A Handbook for Parents