After reading a few parent placement letters I think it important to share a little about the IS (Integrated Services) program housed at Westgate. The IS program offers a rich and diverse learning environment for all children. It is truly a unique program that is not found in many public school districts. Independent of the IS program, a typical public school environment offers children and families the opportunity to interact with a variety of people, abilities, and values. More importantly, the IS/ Buddy Class relationship offers students an opportunity to strengthen empathy, resilience, and perseverance. The IS program is an integral part of the Westgate community.
Westgate houses the district’s self-contained special education program for grades one through five, and uses an integrated model. Identified special education students are placed in the IS classroom at each grade-level. Students in the IS classroom have IEP (Individual Education Plans) and receive special education services. The IS classroom integrates with a Buddy classroom (a general education classroom) to form a unique community of learners. The IS and Buddy classroom relationship offers inclusive services for students with special needs and the opportunity to provide a diverse learning environment for all students. This classroom configuration also increases the number of teaching professionals within a classroom setting which benefits all students.
The IS program has been a part of the Westgate community for over 10 years. We are fortunate to “house” this unique program that contributes to our diverse learning environment. Students in both the IS and Buddy classrooms learn through activities, situations, and each other. The social components and differentiated instruction benefits students in both the IS Classroom and Buddy Classroom. Parents may not “opt” out of a Buddy Class. However, individual consideration is given to students who previously participated in a Buddy classroom. As a school community, our goal is to support diversity, celebrate the gifts of all children, and nurture diverse learning environments that prepare children for their future.
Please remember that parent information will play a part in the placement process. Similarly, teacher and staff recommendations will play a significant role within the placement process. As in the past, using a variety of information about a child, we will create diverse learning cohorts.
We thank you in advance for your support,