New Specialized Support Classroom to be Piloted by School Divisions

Saskatchewan school divisions will soon be piloting a new specialized support classroom focusing on helping staff manage and de-escalate behavioural incidents. The Government of Saskatchewan is providing a $3.6 million investment to fund the pilot in eight school divisions, which begins this February and runs until the end of the 2024-25 school year.

“We have heard from Saskatchewan teachers that they need to spend more of their time teaching rather than managing disruptive behaviour,” Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill said. “This pilot aims to support students to continue their studies uninterrupted but also assists students who need targeted interventions in the short-term.”

The pilot will provide a classroom with specialized supports to help students practice self-regulation skills while also addressing the impacts of disruptions in the home classroom. The specialized support classroom setting will be staffed by a minimum of one teacher and two educational assistants. The space will have capacity for 15 students and may use other supports from staff as needed, like psychologists and counsellors.

The pilot is also expected to provide long-term solutions to evaluate targeted intervention methods and increase teacher capacity to manage complex classrooms.

“Light of Christ Catholic Schools is excited to be selected as one of the eight school divisions to participate in this pilot,” Board Chair Glen Gantefoer said. “We are pleased to announce that St. Mary School will be our chosen site for the pilot in our division. We look forward to working with the Ministry of Education during this pilot as we discover a new support mechanism that will result in a positive experience for students and staff.”

“We are excited to be part of the specialized support classroom project and appreciate the additional resources that will be provided to the school division to implement this initiative,” Saskatoon Public Schools Board Chair Kim Stranden said. “Our staff is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Ministry of Education to develop a plan that supports our students. We know this project will have a positive impact on teaching and learning in one of our elementary schools. We are working with our team at Saskatoon Public to determine which elementary school will be part of this pilot.”

All of the school divisions selected are in urban areas and they will choose their participating schools.

The Ministry of Education is working closely with the school divisions as they develop plans to meet the needs of their students within their local context. Participating schools will have procedures in place to identify the behaviours and interventions, and engage and inform parents/guardians of students who are being supported by the specialized support classroom.

This investment to support classroom complexity is in addition to the $40 million funding school divisions received to support enrolment growth and class complexity in June 2023.

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