Supporting a Diverse, Inclusive Community
NIST is inclusive. Our diverse, proactive and responsive community is driven by our mission, vision and values. We embrace individual differences as representative of society and we believe that we are stronger as a result. As such, we create a learning environment that supports the students in our care to thrive both in terms of learning and wellbeing. We have established pathways to ensure every NIST student can be successful and prepared for life beyond graduation. Therefore, we start with the whole student in mind.
Inclusion elevates all.
Every learner is different; we all possess strengths that shape our experiences and perspectives. To address the uniqueness of each learner at NIST, we provide support services that encourage, guide and reinforce learning to assist all students to fully access our learning programme.
All students deserve to be appropriately challenged and this requires that the learning programme be well-differentiated. Our approach is responsive and collaborative. Each student’s growth is monitored, documented and informs the next steps in the learning process. When a student gives us pause for thought, we delve deeper. We use evidence-based dialogue to guide decisions to ensure our students are provided with the support they need.
The NIST Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS), aligned to our inclusion policy, is a transformative, whole school approach designed to collaboratively meet the needs of all students. NIST provides students with rich, high-quality curricular experiences which are facilitated through a range of learning environments. Some students require additional, targeted support for short-term or longer-term individual needs. MTSS is proactive, data driven and responsive to these needs.
When an individual does not appear to be thriving we delve deeper. We want every student to be excited about their learning, to feel safe, secure and supported at school. We need to ensure that they are in the right learning zone, a place where they feel appropriately challenged, are willing to take risks and are excited to experience new things: a place where they feel successful as a learner.
Through a referral process we provide a multi-tiered system of support that considers the student’s individual needs and interests. Our learning support specialists provide a variety of individual and group support including push-in (classroom) and pull-out models that focus on a strength-based approach. Collaborative planning with homeroom and subject teachers occurs regularly to support differentiated instruction for a wide range of learners. A range of service delivery options are implemented based on the developmental needs of our students. Therefore, some approaches will be different between the elementary and secondary schools.
Elementary Learning Support at a Glance
- A range of strategies and interventions are utilized to best support the individual student’s learning needs using a strengths-based approach.
- Homeroom and learning support teachers regularly communicate and collaborate to support students through the learning process. All students have clear learning goals that are tailored to meet specific needs for growth.
- Support is delivered in various ways: co-teaching, in-class support, pull-out support, one-on-one, small group, and check-in sessions. These are tailored for the individual student’s needs.
- Some students may require a short-term support plan or differentiated learning plan. The individualized learning plan is informed by data and ensures there are additional targeted levels of support which address the specific identified area/s of need.
- The support manager communicates with parents, students and other faculty, as well as outside agencies as needed.
Secondary Learning Support at a Glance
- Subject and learning support teachers share responsibility to create an environment that supports the needs of all students.
- Student learning needs are supported by differentiated instruction, development of learning strategies and after-school support.
- Differentiated learning plans are written in conjunction with students receiving tier 3 support and they are used to track progress.
- The learning support teacher communicates with parents, students and other faculty, as well as outside agencies as needed.
- An after-school learning support centre provides supervised sessions for students to access support in all academic subjects.
- Students requiring additional support may join the integrated studies (IS) class for specific support tailored to meet their needs. Pre-teaching and review of material takes place during IS classes.
Additional Support Services
Some students may also benefit from specialist interventions from allied health professionals or assistance from a student support coach. All interventions are determined based on the individual student’s specific learning and wellbeing needs. Any recommendation for additional one-to-one (1:1) support is made in consultation with the support manager and the student’s parents. These 1:1 sessions, some offered on campus and others provided through a range of external specialists, do incur an additional cost, but financial support is available through the EA Learning Enrichment Fund.
- Speech & language therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Student support coaching
- Other services (educational psychology, therapy, etc.)
Created through the generous contribution of a NIST family and supported by many other donors, the EA Learning Enrichment Fund ensures that students who require additional support services have the opportunity to benefit from a learning enrichment fund subsidy.
NIST believes that all students have the right to learn within their individual zone of proximal development, or what is more commonly known as their learning zone. This is the place where students are excited to learn and willing to take risks, and feel exhilarated and appropriately challenged.
Our highly able learners are catered for in the mainstream classroom where homeroom/subject teachers work in collaboration with our enrichment support teachers to provide appropriately challenging learning experiences. Students who consistently show high ability or performance in one or more specific domains may benefit from cluster grouping opportunities. These would be short-term interventions involving a small group of like-minded students working on a specific enrichment task. For any individual student formally identified as a gifted learner, a differentiated learning plan may be required which is a targeted longer term individualized intervention. This is in consultation with the student and parents/guardian.
Service delivery includes:
- Providing enrichment and/or extension opportunities in consultation with homeroom and/or subject teachers
- Co-planning and co-teaching to model and provide differentiated instruction for highly able learners
- Attending and collaborating in year level team meetings as advocates for rich, extended learning experiences
- Teaching small, flexible groups with a focus on: academic, social, emotional and functional development
- Conducting and analyzing observations and assessments to support a data-driven approach to differentiated instruction
- Coordinating the provision of internal and external opportunities
- Offering individual conferences to support the individual needs of the learner
- Communicating with parents, students and other faculty as well as outside agencies
- Participating in student-focused meetings to ensure awareness of a learner’s needs