Please note that FOCUS placements are determined through a criteria-based process through the Elk Island Public Schools Central Office. Please contact Supports for Students if you require additional information on the placement process (780-417-8219).
The FOCUS Program is a system program designed to meet the needs of students in grades 7-12 with complex issues including severe psychiatric disorders, mental health issues and related learning difficulties. Students are supported through a safe and structured classroom environment with predictable and clearly articulated routines, procedures and expectations. There is a strong focus on goal-setting, problem-solving and coping skills, support networks and social skill development. Core subject areas and optional courses are available through a variety of instructional options including integration into regular programming and/or small group instruction, allowing students to experience success. Flexible and responsive instruction is guided by an Instructional Support Plan (ISP), builds on individual strengths and needs, and follows the Alberta Education Programs of Study, with adaptations as necessary. Students are able continue the FOCUS Program into high school where they work towards a High School Diploma, or a Knowledge and Employability Certificate.
- What is the criteria for application to the program?
The FOCUS program is a system special education program designed to meet the needs of students with complex issues including diagnosed mental health disorders, mental health issues and related learning difficulties.
- What is the instructional focus of the program?
Learning and coping strategies, social skill development and support networks are key areas of focus designed to assist students in the school environment and beyond. There is a strong focus on assisting students with goal setting. A combination of small group instruction and integration are available based on individual student needs. Core subject areas and optional courses are available through a variety of instructional options allowing students to experience success. Instruction is guided by an ISP and builds on individual strengths and needs. Programming is based on the Alberta Program of Studies following key learner outcomes but all outcomes may or may not be covered in a given year.
- Who are the support services attached to the program?
The FOCUS program has one teacher and two Educational Assistants.
- Where are similar programs to yours at different levels located in our school systems?
Bev Facey Community High has a High School FOCUS program and many of the FOCUS students at F.R. Haythorne transition to the FOCUS program there.
- What opportunities do students in your program have to be included with other students in the school? What does inclusion look like for your students?
Students in the FOCUS program can be integrated in as many or as few classes as required to best suit their individual learning needs. Some students currently have a full integration schedule and only use the FOCUS classroom as a place to do schoolwork if they are overwhelmed, falling behind or in need of some additional assistance. Other students are currently working towards getting into some integration classes and will transition once they have the required skills and strategies to be successful. Outside of academics, students have the opportunity to get involved in lunch time activities, clubs and sports teams.
- Program highlights
We are a small group that focuses on teaching and incorporating skills and strategies to meet the needs of individual students. When immersed in a safe and caring environment students begin to understand their individual challenges and develop a skill set that allows them to grow in areas including but not limited to: interpersonal relationships with peers and staff, organization, problem solving, attendance and managing mental health. Success follows not only in the classroom and school but also in their families and communities.