Effective Date: September 2012
Responsibility: Superintendent of Program and Schools (Secondary)
July 2018 - Please note that this administrative guideline is currently under review.
SUPERVISED ALTERNATIVE LEARNING AND OTHER EXCUSALS FROM ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL
The Near North District School Board is committed to providing learning opportunities for all students in our Board and recognizes that some students require alternative learning opportunities in order to increase student achievement and thereby increase the likelihood of completion of secondary school.
As some students may have difficulty attending or succeeding in a regular school program, alternative programs are offered for students under the age of 18 under the Education Act Regulation 374/10: “Supervised Alternative Learning and Other Excusals From Attendance at School” (SAL). The Near North District School Board SAL programs assist eligible students in achieving their educational goals in an alternative educational program until they are able to reintegrate and re-engage into regular school programming.
This procedure outlines how NNDSB carries out these alternative programs, and includes information on:
• The structure and duties of the SAL Committee;
• Steps for application and approval;
• Dispute resolution process;
• Attendance reporting requirements;
• Reporting requirements.
2.0 REFERENCES AND RELATED DOCUMENTS
2.1 The Education Act
2.2 Regulation 374/10 (Education Act): “Supervised Alternative Learning and Other Excusals From Attendance at School” under the Education Act outlines specific duties and processes to be used for SAL. This regulation should be consulted for specific details about the requirements.
2.3 Bill 52, Learning to 18
3.0 TERMS AND DEFINTIONS
3.1 SAL: Supervised Alternative Learning
3.2 SALP: Supervised Alternative Learning Plan
4.0 ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE
4.1 SAL COMMITTEE
4.1.1 The Board shall establish a SAL Committee annually. The Committee shall consist of:
- A Trustee;
- An Academic Superintendent or Designate;
- Representation from the Student Services/Attendance Counsellor group;
- A Community Representative;
- Representation from a secondary school or Principal.
4.1.2 A Secretary will be appointed by the Committee. The Secretary will maintain records of Committee meetings, applications, and follow-up.
4.1.3 The academic Superintendent or Designate responsible for SAL will normally act as Chair of the Committee. The Chair will establish meeting times and will report to the Board on the activities of the Committee as needed.
4.2 APPLICATION PROCESS
4.2.1 At the school level, students experiencing attendance problems will be referred to the Student Services/Attendance Counsellor by the school principal. The Student Services/Attendance Counsellor will assist with determining the appropriateness of a referral to SAL.
4.2.2 The principal of a school at which a pupil is enrolled shall refer the pupil to the Committee if:
- In the principal’s opinion it would be in the pupil’s best interest to participate in Supervised Alternative Learning; or
- A parent of the pupil submits a request under subsection (2). O. Reg. 374/10, s.7.
4.2.3 The Student Services/Attendance Counsellor will:
- Consult with the school regarding potential applicants;
- Assist parents/guardians;
- Forward all applications to the designated Student Services/Attendance Counsellor(s).
4.2.4 Prior to referral to SAL, the home school must follow Provincial/Board regulations for identified students if the referred student is formally identified.
4.2.5 The SAL Committee Meetings in the Parry Sound, Almaguin and North Bay regions will be held in September, November, February and April at a pre-planned date at the beginning of each school year. (Emergency SAL Committee Meetings can be held at the discretion of the Chair)
4.3 APPROVAL PROCESS
4.3.1 The SAL Committee shall consider any oral or written submissions regarding the application. The Committee may also request further information from the principal or other employee of the Board. Telephone or teleconferences may be used for discussion with the student, parent/guardian or school staff.
4.3.2 The Committee shall hold a meeting to consider a referral within 20 school days of receiving a referral.
4.3.3 The parent/guardian may examine any written report in respect of the student.
4.3.4 The Committee shall either:
- Reject the application, in which case the student shall attend school as required;
- Approve the application and review the SALP (SAL Plan) provided by the principal.
4.3.5 The secretary of the Committee shall communicate to the principal, the parent/guardian, the student, and the school attendance counsellor whether the student is to be enrolled in the SAL program per the decision of the Committee. This decision will be communicated within 5 school days of the Committee meeting. The student will then be added and tracked via the SAL database.
4.3.6 The principal of the home school of the student shall cause a plan (SALP) to be developed prior to the student being referred to the Committee
4.3.7 The SALP (SAL Plan) shall include the following information:
- The pupil’s education and life goals;
- A description of the activities in which the pupil shall participate under the plan;
- The name of the pupil’s primary contact person;
- A transition plan for when the SALP expires or is terminated;
- The expiry date of the plan (the expiry date of the plan shall not be later than June 30 in the school year to which the plan applies.
4.4 RECONSIDERATION OF COMMITTEE DECISION
4.4.1 The parent/guardian may make a written request of the Committee to reconsider the decision within 10 school days of receiving the Committee’s written decision.
4.4.2 Within 20 school days after the day the Committee receives a request, the Committee shall hold a meeting to reconsider its decision.
4.4.3 The Committee shall notify, in writing, the principal, school attendance counsellor, the student, and the parent/guardian of the decision of the Committee.
4.5 ADMINISTRATION OF SUPERVISED ALTERNATIVE LEARNING - PRINCIPAL
4.5.1 The student shall comply with the program prescribed by the Committee.
4.5.2 The student is excused from full-time or half-time attendance as determined by the Committee.
4.5.3 Supervised alternative learning programs in respect of a pupil that is approved by the Committee must be outlined in the students’ SALP (SAL Plan) and may include one or more of:
- Participation in Board sponsored alternative programs;
- Such continuing studies or other activity directed toward the pupil’s needs.
4.5.4 If a pupil’s SALP is to include an activity at a place that is not a school site, the principal of the pupil’s school shall ensure that a member of the staff of the school or the Board visits the site before the pupil begins participating in the activity unless in the opinion of the principal the visit is not necessary at that time.
4.5.5 If a pupil’s SALP is to include employment, the principal shall send a letter to the employer stating:
- That the employment is to be part of the pupil’s participation in supervised alternative learning;
- That the pupil is excused from school for the purpose of participating in supervised alternative learning.
4.5.6 A principal shall issue a report about the progress of each pupil enrolled in the principal’s school who is participating in SAL at the same time the principal issues reports for other pupils.
4.6 ADMINISTRATION OF SUPERVISED ALTERNATIVE LEARNING – PRIMARY CONTACT PERSON
4.6.1 The primary contact person of a pupil participating in SAL shall monitor the pupil’s progress.
4.6.2 The primary contact person shall contact the person at least one time in each month.
4.6.3 The primary contact person shall keep records of the observations made in monitoring the pupil’s progress.
4.6.4 The primary contact person may make modifications to the plan at any time as long as the plan remains substantially the same and there is input from the pupil and the parent.
4.6.5 If the plan is modified, the principal, parent and pupil will be notified.
4.7 ADMINISTRATION OF SUPERVISED ALTERNATIVE LEARNING – ATTENDANCE COUNSELLOR
4.7.1 An attendance counsellor shall have the same powers and perform the same duties in respect of pupils enrolled in SAL as the counsellor has in respect of other pupils, as may be applicable.
4.8 REVIEW OF PLAN
4.8.1 The pupil’s primary contact person shall provide the principal with at least one written report before the plan expires that includes:
- Observations of the progress made by the pupil;
- An overall review of the appropriateness and impact of the plan;
- Recommendations regarding whether, after the plan expires, the pupil should continue to participate in SAL.
4.8.2 The primary contact person shall give the principal a minimum of one report at least 15 school days prior to the expiration of the plan.
4.8.3 The principal shall provide a copy of each report to the pupil and the parent/guardian of the pupil.
4.9 RENEWAL OF PLAN
4.9.1 Before the expiry of the plan, if in the opinion of the principal in the student’s school it would be in the pupil’s best interest to continue to participate in SAL, the principal shall:
- Submit a recommendation to the Committee to renew the plan with written consent of the parent;
- Refer the pupil to the Committee as per section 4.3 of this procedure.
4.9.2 Within 20 school days after the day the Committee receives a recommendation for renewal, the Committee shall:
- Renew the pupil’s plan;
- Renew the pupil’s plan with modifications;
- Require the principal to refer the pupil to the Committee for consideration for SAL as per section 4.3.
4.9.3 The Committee may only renew the pupil’s plan for a maximum of one school year or two consecutive semesters in total.
4.10 TERMINATION OF PLAN
4.10.1 A plan may be terminated if any of the following circumstances exist:
- The pupil provides the principal with a written statement that they wish to return to school;
- The pupil’s primary contact person provides the principal with a written statement that the pupil is not participating in the plan and the principal determines, with the agreement of a supervisory officer, that termination is in the pupil’s best interest.
4.10.2 A principal shall send written notice of the termination of a plan to the pupil, parent/guardian of the pupil, the Committee that approved the SALP and any other individual who may have been involved in the implementation of the plan
4.10.3 A principal shall ensure that a transition plan has been developed for helping a pupil whose SALP has expired or has been terminated.
4.11 EXCUSAL FROM FULL-TIME SCHOOL ATTENDANCE – COMPASSIONATE GROUNDS
4.11.1 A principal may authorize a pupil who is at least 16 years old to be excused from attendance at school on a full-time basis if all of the following circumstances exist:
- The principal believes that there are compassionate grounds that justify the excusal;
- The principal requires the pupil to attend school on a part-time basis;
c) The purpose of the excusal is not to enable the pupil to be employed during school hours;
d) The pupil is not excused for more than one school year in total.
5.1 Appendix “A” - Template for a Supervised Alternative Learning Plan (SALP)