Holy Family

The Durham Catholic School Board is responding to concerns from parents at Holy Family in Beaverton after word spread that the school would be losing its educational assistant.

In a series of e-mails Thursday (June 1) North Durham Trustee Kathy Lefort acknowledged that she’s received a handful of calls from parents thus far.

“Educational assistants are assigned to the school based on the needs of individual students. All students with special education needs receive an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which details the special programming they need to be successful. Students with an IEP receive individualized support first and foremost from their classroom teacher. These students also receive assistance from the program support teacher, who is a qualified special education teacher. A small percentage of students with an IEP require additional support from educational assistants to help them access the curriculum. Not all students with an IEP require an educational assistant,” Lefort said.

“The individual students that were supported by the educational assistant this year at Holy Family will no longer be students of Holy Family CS in September and none of the new students who have enrolled require this type of individualized support. Thus, the EA allocation at Holy Family went down for (this coming) September. This is a common occurrence throughout the board, as the needs of students in schools change over the course of the year, so do the requirements for educational assistants. The allocation at some schools goes up, while the allocation at other schools goes down or remains the same.”

Lefort said that pending any changes, the current EA at Holy Family will be reassigned to another school within the board.

“The board was very fortunate this year to receive funding for an additional 8.5 educational assistants to be allocated across our system.  I can tell you that as the trustee representative on the Special Education Advisory Committee, this funding announcement was greatly appreciated,” she said.

“Although the educational assistant at Holy Family may have been at the same school for a number of years, rest assured that there are human resource processes to deal with the change in EA allocations at schools. The educational assistant will not be without a job, as there are plenty of openings across the board.”

She added that there is a possibility that a designated early childhood educator (DECE) will join the kindergarten program at Holy Family if enrolment exceeds 15 students.

“We are hopeful that this will be the case. The board follows specific staffing timelines, and as such no specific person has been assigned yet,” she said.

“Student enrolment at all our schools is regularly reviewed and assessed. Students’ needs change and families move in and out throughout the year. Our students will be fully supported just as they have always been. Wonderful things happen at Holy Family. This school is close to my heart and it is considered a jewel within our board.”