Special Education

We at Hillcrest are committed to ensuring that:

  • All students with exceptionalities are welcomed, included and supported in our schools
  • Intensive programs and supports for students with unique strengths and needs are available insites across the TDSB
  • Effective collaboration and problem solving between staff, parents and students is a priority
  • Our facilities are fully accessible to students, families, staff and the community whenever possible
  • Research and effective practice guide us in our efforts to better serve our students

Special Education consists of a number of Acronyms. Please click here for a list of Acronyms and their meanings.


The Vision of the Toronto District School Board's Special Education Report is that students with exceptionalities be WELCOMED, INCLUDED AND SUPPORTED within well-resourced neighbourhood schools. Some students with unique strengths and needs (behaviour, communication, intellectual and physical) may require more specialized or intensive programs and supports. It is our goal that these intensive programs and supports will be available in sites that are equitably located throughout the District. 

COLLABORATION AND PROBLEM SOLVING among school personnel, parents and students are viewed as integral to the development of effective interventions. 

The Vision includes a commitment on the part of the Toronto District School Board to make, where possible, FACILITIES FULLY ACCESSIBLE to students, families, staff and communities. Guidelines on Accessible Education 

A further commitment is made to continue to search out effective practices as evidenced in research and practice in partnership with the Special Education Advisory Committee and the departments of the Board in order to better serve our students. 

Please see links at TDSB website: Special Education.

Hillcrest Special Education

In-School Support Teams and School Support Teams (IST/SST) 
The IST/SST creates an opportunity to collaboratively develop, review, monitor, and evaluate coordinated plans of action to best serve the needs of all our students. They are intended to support teachers, school administrators, and parent(s)/guardian(s) by facilitating appropriate interventions for students in regular and special education classes. Parent(s)/Guardian(s)/Student Involvement 

Active involvement of parent(s)/guardian(s) and students (who are 16 and older) enhances the effectiveness of the IST/SST process. Parent(s)/guardian(s) should be encouraged to feel that their contributions are valued as part of this process. The SST also makes the parent(s)/guardian(s) aware of their rights to request an IPRC meeting about their child. This request should be in writing through the school principal. In-School Support Team (IST) 

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by a particular student. It identifies learning expectations that are modified from or are alternative to the expectations given in the curriculum policy document for the appropriate grade and subject or course, and/or any accommodations and special education services needed to assist the student in achieving his or her learning expectations. 

Team meetings should reflect local school needs. Prior to the SST presentation, an in-school process, referred to as the "In-School Support Team" (IST) shall be in place in each school to review students and to provide the SST with information and a record of interventions that have been tried with a particular student to date. These IST meetings provide "front-line" support to the classroom teacher through collaboration between and among staff 

within the school to address understanding the needs of a student. Team members share expertise and a sense of ownership for meeting the needs of the students presented. School Support Team (SST) 

When the IST has done all they can to understand and address the student's needs, but has determined that more support is required, the student is referred to the SST. 

Referral to the SST enables the concerns about the student to be discussed by a broader team of representatives from Special Education and Professional Support Services (Psychology, Social Work, Attendance Counselling, Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, and Physiotherapy), parent(s)/guardian(s) and outside agencies and others, as required. All members bring complementary skills and knowledge to the team process to meet the local school's needs. 

The IEP also helps teachers monitor the student's progress and provides a framework for communicating information about the student's progress to parent(s)/guardian(s) and to the student on the Provincial Report Card. There is a clear link between what is reported on the Provincial Report Card and the learning expectations outlined on the various program pages of the IEP. The IEP must be reviewed and updated at least once in every reporting period to record any changes in the student's special education program and services that are found to be necessary as a result of continuous assessment and evaluation of the student's achievement of annual goals and learning expectations.