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Learning Assistance – Introduction

Learner Needs Profiles Designations Documentation/Forms

Who is the Learning Assistance Teacher?

Definition: Learning Assistance is a school based, non-categorical service designed to support teachers and their students. Clientele may embody the full range of diversity, ranging from mild to moderate learning and adjustment needs. In smaller districts, this could embrace students with both low and high incidence disabilities, depending on the number of students and the number of specialists the district is able to hire. (Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines)

A Quick Guide to Learning Assistance Terms

What qualifications does a LAT have?

LATA supports the following qualifications as outlined in the Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines manual:

  • strong interpersonal, communication and collaborative skills
  • expertise in a wide range of teaching and management strategies
  • knowledge of methods for evaluating and selecting instructional materials suitable for students with a variety of special needs
  • ability to carry out a variety of assessments, including classroom observation, administration and interpretation of norm-referenced assessment instruments to curriculum-based assessment and diagnostic teaching methods
  • ability to contribute to the development, implementation, and evaluation of an IEP in consultation with classroom (teacher(s), parents, students and district and community resource personnel
  • broad knowledge of B.C. Curriculum

As well, LATA strongly suggests that we work toward:

  • all LATs having a minimum of two full credit courses in Learning Assistance
  • all LATs new to the position having a two-year graduate diploma in Learning Assistance
  • comprehensive in-service support be available to all teachers. Such opportunities are critical to keeping up with changes in education.

Also, see Manual of Policies Procedures and Guidelines Special Education Services of B.C. for qualifications suggested by the Ministry of Education.

What does a LAT do?

When a teacher notices that a student is struggling and a referral is made to the LAT, support may include:

  • Writing adapted and modified IEPs
  • Meeting with parents, teachers, counselors, administrations, special services personnel, outside agencies and other community programs coordinators
  • Observing the student, administering curriculum-based and/or Level “B” assessments
  • Collaborating with teachers and helping staff
  • Chair the School Based Team
  • Offer extra help before school and during lunch
  • Provide small group instruction/support in the classroom depending on school’s model
  • Be prepared to adapt and modify materials and know the curriculum
  • Be familiar with “tried and true” resources that can be used for adapting/modifying curriculum
  • Set up meetings with specialists ie. School Psychologist, speech/language pathologist
  • Other activities such as overseeing the One-to-One Literacy program and school-wide reading assessments.
  • Checking student records and preparing file-summaries

See Learning Assistance Description.

See Student Advocacy.

What does “service delivery” look like?

See Learning Assistance Service Delivery.

What should I do if the student I work with continues to struggle?

See Identification/Designation Process.

How often are reports to parents given?

  • 3 formal written and 2 informal reports to parents
  • informal reports may include conferences, telephone conversations, notes, etc. (Ministry Guidelines for Student Reporting)

What does the Learning Assistance Teacher’s Timeline looks like?

See Learning Assistance Timeline PDF file; Acrobat Reader required.

Updated June, 2015

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