Learning Supports and Services

Students come to school with diverse learning needs. Establishing an authentic sense of belonging is essential to the success and wellbeing for all. In Lethbridge School Division we are committed to creating a learning environment that is inclusive and provides choices to students and parents. Through a collaborative team based approach we work with families and community agencies towards success for each student. We focus on the development of a continuum of supports, services and programming options that are intended to address student needs across a variety of settings. Through differentiating instruction and individually identified supports and services, the diverse learning needs of students are met within the context of the regular classroom to the greatest extent possible. Specialized programming is provided to those students who require a different curricular focus or who require a more structured setting.

English Language Learners (ELL) come from a range of cultural backgrounds and bring with them a variety of educational, social and personal experiences. English Language Learners may have recently immigrated to Canada or they may have been born in Canada and live in homes in which the primary spoken language is not English. 

English as an Additional Language (EAL) programming is provided to assist students who have insufficient fluency in English to achieve grade level expectations in English language arts and other subjects. Support for English Language Learners depends on the needs of the students, the nature of the school’s programming and the number of English Language Learners in the school. English Language Learners in elementary and junior high schools receive additional language and content instruction from their teachers while placed in age-appropriate classrooms with their peers. High school English Language Learners meet with counsellors to design a program which accommodates them in an ELL instruction block, options and/or core curriculum subjects. Beginning language learners may also receive small group instruction for a portion of the day and/or support from teacher assistants.

When an English Language Learner arrives at school, information is gathered about English language proficiency, academic achievement and recent experiences that can affect schooling. This information, plus any other documentation, is used to place the student in the appropriate grade and to determine what type of EAL support is needed. Although all English Language Learners receive report cards, grades are not reported in those areas in which language proficiency interferes with meeting graded outcomes. 

High School/Middle School EAL Refugee Intake Centre

Refugee English language learners face significant challenges as a result of the circumstances of their migration and their limited opportunities for schooling prior to coming to Canada. These students arrive with little or no literacy in their first language, significant gaps in their academic knowledge and social/emotional needs. They require instructional strategies and interventions beyond what is available through regular high school classes and general ESL supports.

Located at Wilson Middle School and Winston Churchill High School we have Intake Programs for refugee students. The intake programs assist in assessment of students to determine literacy levels and years previous formal school. Students then receive intensive literacy and numeracy instruction. Students are taught in a supportive environment that also assists in their cultural and emotional adjustment. When students have a solid foundation they receive a supported transition to regular ESL and curricular programming in their home school.

Admissions and Registration

The Administrative Professional in Instructional Services registers all students new to Lethbridge School Division who are NOT Canadian citizens except those who are fee-paying students approved through the International Student registration process:

  • Landed immigrants (Permanent Residents)
  • Children of individuals who are lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent or temporary residence, or non-residents

To register, you will need to provide legal proof of your child’s name, date of birth, and citizenship status in Canada. The following documents are required/ acceptable

  • Student’s Study Permit or Visitor Record
  • Passport Page for Parents/ Guardians and Students
  • Birth Certificate for Students
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence or Record of Landing or Permanent Resident card for Parents and Students
  • Parents' valid Work Permit / Study Permit / Visitor Record
  • A proof of Address (Eg. Latest Utility Bill or a signed lease agreement)

Lethbridge Family Services – Immigrant Services provides settlement support to newcomers to Canada that promotes independence, integration and active participation in Canadian society. The School Based Settlement Support Workers work directly with the school district staff to help newcomer students be successful in school. For more information see http://www.lfsfamily.ca/IS/immigrant.php

Language Proficiency Levels

Students who are identified as English Language Learners are assessed regularly by their teachers. Progress in acquiring the English language is measured by using English Language Proficiency Benchmarks. Progress in listening, speaking, reading and writing is reported on both the regular report card and an English Language Progress report.

Students with Limited Formal Schooling have a separate set of benchmarks. After they are proficient in Level 1 (Beginning or Acquiring) they can begin the process of transitioning to regular EAL programming. 

English Language Learners are identified as:

  • Limited Formal Schooling Benchmarks
    • Early
    • Emerging
    • Acquiring
    • Transitioning
  • Level 1 – Beginning
  • Level 2 – Developing
  • Level 3 – Expanding
  • Level 4 – Bridging
  • Level 5 – Extending

For more information see http://education.alberta.ca/teachers/program/esl.aspx

For information on EAL programming, supports and services please contact:

Jackie Fletcher, Director of Inclusive Education
Lucie Panchoo, Administrative Professional, Instructional Services
Phone: 403-380-5298


High School EAL Intake Procedures

Registration Process for High School EAL

Parents wishing to register their children for school must first place a call to Lucie Panchoo (Administrative Professional, instructional Services) at 403-380-5298 to discuss their current immigration status and learn about the registration process for Foreign-Born Students. 

If you are a family receiving services through Lethbridge Family Services Immigrant Services, you will receive assistance with the process of EAL Intake and subsequent school registration. A translator will be provided for you. (To determine your eligibility for this support, please contact Lethbridge Family Services directly.) 

During your phone call with Instructional Services, it may be determined that the student requires an assessment to determine school and program placement. After assessment, the school will be notified that your child is coming and at that point, an orientation and school start date will be discussed with you.

Intake Procedures

To determine the level of English proficiency that your child presently has, an evaluation may be completed. The evaluation may occur at the Education Centre or in your child's home school. The Lethbridge School District uses a variety of testing methods for determining English proficiency that include:

  • PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test)
  • EVT (Expressive Vocabulary Test)
  • Word Jorneys - Spelling Evaluation
  • Jerry Johns Reading Inventory

The results from the English language proficiency assessments will help us place your child in the appropriate school program. Each of the Lethbridge School District high schools has ESL programming where your child will receive direct language instruction. As your child progresses through their language growth, teachers and administrators will help him/her begin the transition to mainstream classrooms.


Alberta Education ESL Link

Learning Teams

Each school in Lethbridge School Division has a Learning Team process. The team, for each identified student, is group of individuals, including family members and where appropriate the student, who works collaboratively toward the success of the child or youth and their family. The focus of the Learning Team is on promotion, prevention and Intervention strategies to support individual learners. The goal is to identify necessary supports and services and ensure that they are consistently and effectively implemented within an inclusive school environment.


There are two major purposes of assessment: planning interventions and evaluating outcomes. Through assessments school Learning Teams work collaboratively to:

  • ensure that instructional supports and services are in place
  • plan for and support appropriate interventions
  • engage in continuous monitoring
  • assist in the process of ongoing documentation
  • assist in the decision making of the collaborative team
  • communicate with parents
  • provide support in developing and reviewing interventions and strategies

Division Consultation and Assessment Services

Through the school based learning team Division staff work with a multi-disciplinary team to identify the necessary supports and services for students to be successful. This team based approach ensures that the supports and services are consistently and effectively implemented, managed and measured.

  • Counselling Services
  • Mental Health Capacity Building (Making Connections)
  • Student Support Worker
    • Saajan Sapkota
  • Psychologists
    • Christie Archer
    • Melissa Gleeson
  • Preschool and Kindergarten Speech and Language Therapists
    • Robyn Henderson
    • Kaitland Heyland
    • Amanda Manning
    • Lacey Mueller
    • Kara Reimer
    • Kim Taylor
  • Occupational Therapist
    • Megan Martineau (On Leave)
  • Children`s Allied Health
  • Child and Adolescent Addiction & Mental Health
  • South West Collaborative Support Services (SWCSS)

Children’s Allied Health

Children’s Allied Health supports children with developmental challenges, by identifying their needs and building on their strengths and abilities. Services include tests and treatment, education, family support and assistive technology. Services include:

  • Audiologists
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Social Workers
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Assistive Technology Consultation Services

More Information

South West Collaborative Support Services (SWCSS) 

SWCSS mission is to provide for a continuum of supports and services to meet universal, targeted, individualized and complex needs for all children/youth. Equitable access to supports and services is provided for children/youth and families, regardless of where they live within the SW RCSD region.

The SWCSS framework has been designed to ensure children and youth within the region receive the supports and services required by:

  • Improving access to the right supports and services at the right time in the right place through regional collaborative service delivery;

  • Building capacity of stakeholders through regional collaborative service delivery;

Improving integration and co-ordination of supports and services through regional collaborative service delivery.

SWCSS services that may be provided through consultation with the Division include physiotherapy support, teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing and support teacher for the blind and visually impaired. 

The Student Engagement Consultant is available to individuals, parents and youth who need information or support in identifying and accessing the most appropriate educational programming within the Division. Student services are available to students, parents, schools and their respective administrators, counsellors and teachers regarding students with attendance concerns, those involved with the justice system or those students under the care of a government agency. 

Working directly with Human Services, Justice and the Attendance Board, the SRP Consultant facilitates collaboration in order to blend perspectives, expertise, resources and shared accountability with the ultimate goal of improving success for all children, youth and their families. 

Success in School for Children and Youth in Care-Provincial Protocol Framework

The Provincial Protocol Framework (PFF) is a joint initiative between Alberta Education and Children and Youth Services (CYS) to support improved school outcomes and high school completion rates for children and youth in provincial government care. The Student Resources and Placement Consultant (SRP) serves as the district contact for students in care. All students in government care registering with Lethbridge School District 51 should be referred through the SRPC. The SRPC will ensure that all information related to previous school attendance is gathered and will inform the school point person of necessary information. The SRPC will ensure that all school point people are trained and supported in the registration process and the development, implementation and celebration of success plans and will serve as a liaison with the identified case worker where required. The role of the PFF is to ensure a collaborative working relationship to develop a plan that incorporates academic, social, behavioral, cultural, and emotional and recreational/physical interests, strengths and needs of the child or youth. Through a collaborative team based approach we can work on a child or youth’s strengths and customize necessary supports and services to help each student in care achieve their goals.

For further information please contact:

Jim Kerr
Phone (403) 380-5315
Email: jim.kerr@lethsd.ab.ca