“We take a team approach for at risk students so failure is rare in our system.”
By Kevin Woodhouse
Mario Mazzarelli has been an educator for the last 30 years and within the last six, has moved away from the classroom to work as a consultant at the LBPSB on education and evaluation. To get a better understanding of the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s policy on holding students back who do not complete the academic requirements of moving on to the next grade level.
“The board does have a fail policy,” Mazzarelli told The Suburban. “We take a team approach for at risk students so failure is rare in our system.”
Mazzarelli is referring to the board’s process of identifying at risk students and, if need be, placing them on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) “to help the student with his or her needs to succeed. We take a team approach with the school’s resource department and bring in experts such as the teacher, special needs consultants and child psychologists so that we can determine what can be done to help with a student’s particular learning disability.”
The board also offers the at risk students with “support services that are not just in the academic realm such as emotional support through the resource department or through the use of planning room technicians who can work with the student on a one to one setting,” Mazzarelli said.
Another measure that the board has in place for students who did not make the academic cut for a course can “be recommended for summer school to try and bridge the missing learning gaps as most summer programs run for two or three weeks. If the student is successful in summer school, then they can be promoted but if they are urged to go to summer school but refuse, they could be held back in for that class.”
Mazzarelli was pleased to note that in the board, “our failure rate is relatively low as we have a high 80 percentile for graduating students.”
For students who “are really struggling and are at risk to not achieve their high school leaving certificate, another option is a work oriented training pathway, such as vocational training, that the student can take after grade nine.
“For some kids, academic success might not be possible but we try to integrate the students with the other students in class so we can set individual goals for them down the line,” said Mazzarelli.
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