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As a role model, teachers play an important role in the life of a child. The knowledge, skills and expertise of our central special education staff combine to make Rainbow Schools great places to learn.

We thank our team of special education professionals who make a significant difference in the lives of their students.


Early identification is crucial in determining children’s strengths and learning needs as well as in fostering/facilitating growth and development. Early identification procedures and intervention strategies are part of a continuous and ongoing assessment and program planning process, which is initiated when a child first enrolls in school. This process will assist children in becoming successful in the early years of schooling and in developing skills for life-long learning. Formal identification of the student as exceptional is less important in the early years than identifying and understanding the student’s learning needs.

Rainbow District School Board recognizes that all children benefit from highly diverse environmental, social, cultural and linguistic experiences. As a result, children come to school with vastly diverse individual learning experiences. Reflection and analysis enables the identification of student strengths and needs.

Cognitive research directs us to focus on strengths, and not so much on deficits. We stress the importance of fostering nurturing learning environments created by adult support teams.

Rainbow District School Board promotes and maintains high expectations for all students. It fosters teamwork, collegiality and collaboration among staff that support early identification and intervention. Teachers analyze assessment results, provide teaching opportunities and monitor student progress. Teachers provide instruction that recognizes each child’s place on a developmental continuum and set goals in relation to next steps on that continuum.

Principals on that continuum encourage staff to use data analysis to improve instructional practices. They assist staff in setting targets and using evidence-based planning for effective instruction.

In the process of early identification, each student undergoes a set of system-wide screening assessments. This helps teachers in the evaluation of students’ prior learning and determination of subsequent steps in program planning. Student reflection and self-assessment is encouraged. Exemplars and rubrics are used to develop each child’s belief in his/her personal competence.

Literacy rich classrooms promote continuous improvement through the integration of assessment and programming. The development of critical thinking skills based on the “Dimensions of Learning” and “Bloom’s Taxonomy” are critical to the development of fully actualized learners. Explicit instruction is provided. Programming is reciprocal, stimulating, and enables the shift from prior knowledge to new concepts. The teacher expects and welcomes the range of individual differences that exist within inclusive classrooms. Teachers offer balanced literacy programs, which teach students that they are competent before they experience failure. Failure is transformed into a learning opportunity.

Teachers involve parents as collaborative partners. Communication with community partners creates support networks, which enhance the development of literacy among all students.

Working with Interpreters

Responsibilities of the Teacher When Working with an Interpreter

  • The teacher must understand the role of interpreters and facilitate the effective use of interpreting services. The classroom teacher:
  • Ensures interpreters have access to all materials necessary for adequate preparation
  • Needs to be available on a regular basis for consultation and collaborative planning with the interpreters.
  • In collaboration with the interpreter ensures that the student is able to make effective use of interpreting services (Ministry of Education, 1990, p. 12).
  • Respects the individuality of the d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing student, while maintaining the same expectations for behaviour and performance for all students.
  • Accepts responsibility for classroom management of ALL students.

Suggestions for Teachers Working with Interpreters

  • In order for the student to participate fully in the mainstreamed setting, the teacher should:
  • Be aware that interpreters will interpret using the first person, using “I” to identify the speaker d/Deaf or hearing
  • Address the d/Deaf student directly in order to establish rapport
  • Speak at a normal rate. This enables the interpreter to provide smooth interpretation
  • Avoid movements which distract or block the student’s view of the interpreter or teacher
  • Provide the d/DEaf student and the interpreter with information on program structure and content in advance. This will facilitate the student’s ability to follow the process and comprehend the information. This also allows interpreters to research vocabulary and interpret content accurately.
  • Use visual aids such as the blackboard and overhead projectors as they provide additional information for students and interpreters
  • Not say things to the interpreter in the presence of the d/Deaf student that you do not want interpreted.
  • Make provisions for note taking for the d/Deaf student during class lectures. It is impossible for the student to watch the interpreter and take notes at the same time.
  • During group discussions identify speakers and repeat questions before answering, to enable the d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing student and the interpreter to know whose answers or comments are being interpreted
  • Be aware that d/Deaf students may not notice that you have begun speaking if you and/ or the interpreter are not in their line of vision
  • Be aware that if someone speaks inaudibly or more than one person speaks at the same time, the interpreter may need to intervene for clarification. The interpreter does this by making clear that it is the “interpreter” who is requesting clarification and repetition of information. (An interpreter will also identify to the d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing students that it is the interpreter who is asking for clarification).
  • Be aware that the interpreting process requires intense concentration and stamina. Interpreters require a 5 to 10 minute break each hour. If lectures exceed one hour without a break, a team approach (using 2 interpreters) should be used.

AVLIC 1992
(Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada)