The School Based Team
The Ministry of Education defines a School Based Team (SBT) as “an ongoing team of school-based personnel which has a formal role to play as a problem-solving unit in assisting classroom teachers to develop and implement instructional and/or management strategies and to co-ordinate support resources for students with special needs within the school” (Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines–September 2013. The Principal of a school is responsible for ensuring that a School Based Team is functioning effectively within a school.
Core School Based Team
In order to prevent students from slipping through the cracks, the on-going team, also referred to as the Core School Based Team, manages concerns about students and delegates tasks to work toward problem resolution. The Core School Based Team should consist of the Resource Teacher, Counselor, and Administrator(s). Other school staff who have a role with the larger student population may also be members of the Core SBT.
One of these Core members should be designated as the School Based Team Chair. The SBT Chair reminds members of meeting dates and times, records minutes and keeps the meeting moving, as it is typical for several students to be briefly discussed during one meeting. The SBT Chair is often the Resource Teacher, but the role can be flexible to meet the needs of each school.
Additional school staff members, or school district staff personnel, such as the Speech and Language Pathologist or School Psychologist, may attend a Core SBT meeting if they have information or updates regarding specific students. A Core SBT meeting is not the place to provide detailed information about one specific student. (See Extended School Based Team below).
The Core SBT should meet weekly or every second week, as a problem solving “clearing house”, to follow up on referrals made by school staff, actions recommended at previous meetings and progress made toward problem resolution. Meetings can take place at a mutually agreed upon time and location that works for all members.
The Core SBT is a consistent multi-disciplinary team of personnel who understand the needs of the students. The Core SBT needs to be familiar with:
- Ministry of Education, School District and legal policies, procedures and guidelines related to supporting students with special needs.
- District policies or procedures related to outside agencies such as the Ministry if Children and Family Development, Child and Youth Mental Health, Northern Health, etc).
- Available district and provincial resources and their allocation to schools and specific students (ie. Speech and Language, SET-BC, POPARD, etc)
- Current evidence-based practices to support all students, and particularly those with additional needs.
The Core SBT team must be capable and prepared to:
- Assign case managers to specific students
- Monitor IEP and/or SIP development
- Refer or initiate referrals to outside agencies or Learner Support services
- Plan or coordinate school-based services and support (ie. SSA support, school-based assessments, counselling, learning support).
- Keep records of minutes, correspondence and other documentation about specific students
Core SBT Referrals
Referrals to the Core SBT should be made in writing so that there is documentation of the referral. Referrals can be made by anyone who is concerned about a student, including teachers, EAs, parents or staff from outside agencies. Ideally, referrals from school staff will be made after there have been attempts to resolve the concern, if appropriate. Some schools choose to use an SBT referral form while others are small enough to manage through email or verbal referrals. Again, written referrals are preferred and promote best practice.
Extended School Based Team
As needed, the Core School Based Team can expand to include more individuals in support of specific students, and not all members of the Core School Based Team may need to be part of an Extended SBT . When extended planning is required for a student, parents or guardians, school staff, district staff and the student may be present. An Extended School Based Team Meeting form is be used for such meetings. If members from outside agencies attend the meeting, an Interagency Care Meeting form is used to document the minutes. At these longer meetings, the student’s strengths and challenges should be noted along with the discussion, recommendations and strategies, indicating who is responsible for next steps in the action plan.