Rands presents to school board 0
Rochelle Rands, director of students services for the Portage la Prairie School Division, spoke to the board of trustees, Thursday to give them an update the various services she oversees. (ROBIN DUDGEON/THE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)
Director of Student Services Rochelle Rands presented to the board of trustees of the Portage la Prairie School Division, Thursday, on the many updates to student services in the division.
She introduced the team of individuals that work on student services in the division and then she let the trustees know what her plan is month to month over the year. She plans to update the board month to month on her department's activities.
“I think it’s a good way to share all of the different things that me and the student services team do for students and staff in the division. We have a very strong student services team that works in partnership with the school, counsellors, resource teachers, and the principals,” said Rands following Thursday’s meeting. “I think by giving them a snapshot of a year at a glance going month by month it lets everybody see all of the work that everybody does in that capacity.”
The student services department objectives include: providing clinical services to meet the diverse needs of students; assisting school teams in guiding and supporting the programming and planning for all students; working closely with parents and school personnel to identify, assess and intervene to support students with speech and language difficulties, social/emotional problems and other learning difficulties; working cooperatively with local agencies and community groups to establish effective community-based supports for students; and promoting prevention programs both within the school and at a community level.
“I feel we’re doing a very good job. We have a number of special programs in the division and those programs help to support students and to provide them with an opportunity to be successful in all areas,” said Rands.
Rands spent a considerable amount of time talking to the trustees about the division's Unified Referral and Intake System (URIS), which encompasses nearly 200 students with medical conditions in the division.
"Basically they are plans that are made to support children with special health care needs when they are away from their parents are guardians," said Rands. "When they are at school there are plans established in regards to their health care needs."
That number has increased over the years to now include 193 students covering different needs like asthma, seizure disorders, life threatening allergies, and diabetes.
Rands does agree that numbers have been going up over the years for different reasons.
"I think it's a variety of factors. I'm not a health expert but I do think that there are a number of environmental issues that may be causing some of the increase," said Rands.
She also added that the awareness from parents advocating for their children, and the partnership between the Regional Health Authority and the School Division may also have helped to increase the number of kids being cared for in the program.
“I think there’s a few changes coming to URIS because of the new amalgamations of the RHAs. I think the move is to be in partnerships with the RHAs and that the RHAs carry out the programming. That will change as the new RHA authorities begin to look at their service delivery. I think that will be for the better because there will be standards across the province that everybody follows,” said Rands.