Supported Learning Class thriving after just three months
A Supported Learning Class being offered at White Pines Intermediate School has proved to be an ideal transition support for intermediate students who were entering the Life-Skills pathway of the D.A.R.E. program.
The D.A.R.E. (Developing Alternative Realistic Expectations) Intermediate Program is located beside the Grade 7 and 8 classes at White Pines, as they are part of the same family of intermediate learners. Teachers work closely together to plan meaningful learning opportunities for all of the intermediate students.
Three students from the program, Devin, Mason and Devon recently shared their personal experiences being part of the program.
“The White Pines Intermediate Supported Learning Class (SLC) opened this September. Our class is made up of 13 students - 11 boys
and 2 girls - who require a different way of learning to meet their individualized learning needs. Our program is part of White Pines Intermediate, which is part of the White Pines 7-12 School. Our school is warm, inviting and welcoming. “We Believe. You Belong.” is our tag line and we intentionally live by these words in our daily interactions with everyone in our school community.”
The program has a Life Skills and Social Skills component meaning students have an opportunity, for instance, to cook twice a week in a Foods Lab and learn important social skills in daily Community Circles. Students benefit from a hands-on approach to learning which is incorporated into many different learning opportunities such as Science experiments, hands-on Math, community excursions and daily physical activity (DPA). Students are integrated for part of the day into Phys. Ed., Healthy Active Living, the Arts, and X-block.
X-block is a specialized program that is delivered by a secondary school teacher with the assistance of an elementary school teacher and is unique to Algoma District School Board’s Intermediate programs. This term, D.A.R.E. Intermediate students are learning how to create digital portfolios using Photoshop technology and they are also taking Tech and learning how to build items out of wood.
Technology is embedded into daily learning opportunities with students and staff making use of iPads, computers, laptops and a digital projector for sharing online books or videos which enhance the learning experience.
Team-building activities are focused on to encourage learners to take risks and develop into confident learners and caring citizens. The White Pines D.A.R.E. Intermediate Program is designed for active learning and reflective learning with a "hands-on" side of the classroom and a "Book Nook" area for quieter learning.
According to Vice Principal Sandi Dal Cin, parent support for the program has been incredible. “We regularly communicate using a weekly newsletter and daily class communication books, along with our Class Dojo App. We are very pleased with the momentum we have gained in only three short months as a new program and we are excited to see where the students will take us next!”
Superintendent Kime Collver shared how the program is following the model of the former Spring Ahead program which was offered at Alexander Henry High School. A need was seen for a program to support intermediate students who were entering the Life-Skills pathway of the D.A.R.E. program.