International School of Estonia Student Support Policy

In order to ensure that the learning opportunities are available to meet a variety of needs within a diverse population, differentiated tasks and assessments are required, as well as accommodations, adaptations, alternative resources and specialist teachers to ensure all students have access to a curriculum that is “relevant, engaging and challenging” and developmentally appropriate to the individual students.

To this end, in partnership with the ISE community, the Student Support Team at ISE works to meet the diverse needs of every student to reach their full potential.

ISE strives to realize its philosophy into practice throughout our continuum of programs. The on-going development of learning support resources and the documentation of that process by means of this policy is evidence of our commitment to making it visible to stakeholders.

Inclusion/Special Educational Needs

In the publication “Learning Diversity in the International Baccalaureate Programmes” (2010), the IB states, “Inclusion is an ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning for all students by identifying and removing barriers. This can only be successfully achieved in a culture of collaboration, mutual respect, support and problem solving.  Inclusion is the learner profile in action, an outcome of dynamic learning communities.”

“In IB World Schools, all students in the IB programmes should have meaningful and equitable access to the curriculum.  IB programme principles and practices call for schools to be organized in ways that value student diversity and respect individual learning differences.  Valuing diversity and difference is a key aspect of becoming more internationally minded and is an important goal of all IB programmes.” (From Principles Into Practice:  Learning Diversity and Inclusion, 27-28)

In concurrence with IBO guidelines ISE aims to offer an inclusive IB programme that can cater to the needs of all students.  From the IB “Principles into Practice” students with learning support requirements may:

  • Display difficulties or live with conditions that are a barrier to learning
  • Display a higher than average aptitude in one or more subjects
  • Have the aptitude to meet all curriculum and assessment requirements but require support to reach their full potential
  • Require support to access teaching and learning

Student Support Services Philosophy

ISE honors each student’s right to learn and grow in a collaborative student/teacher/parent partnership.  In order to meet the unique needs of our diverse learners, we will educate, support and counsel students in the most appropriate and inclusive setting possible, within the capacity of the school’s facilities, resources, and support personnel.

The International School of Estonia supports the policy of inclusion and accepts students with mild (and after consideration by our Student Support Department, possibly moderate) learning needs, under the condition that he or she is able to meet the academic requirements of the educational programme with support outlined in this policy.  The Student Support Department cannot provide services for students that require more specialized interventions and accommodations.

ISE only offers learning support services to Mild SEN students. These are identified students who need some support/accommodations. Typically these students have a range of achievement from on or above grade level to below grade level by about one year.  Under exceptional conditions, moderate needs may be considered.

Any SEN admissions are on an individualized basis.  Please note the Admissions Committee will consider applications throughout the year, however, during the summer Admissions of SEN students may be delayed until August, or until the Committee has a chance to meet when school begins.  We do not serve students who require one on one full-time pullout.

There is no general admissions test.  However, to ensure that ISE can meet a student’s learning needs, comprehensive information must also be provided along with the Admissions application.

This information is to include:

  • Confidential Teacher Reference Forms
  • Progress Reports for the last two years
  • Completion of Health and Data Forms
  • Identified ELL or SEN needs
  • Individualized Learning Plan (IEP/ILP/504(USA) or appropriate educational plan)

All reports required must be in English because this is the medium of instruction at ISE.  ISE (with parental permission) may contact the previous school of potential student(s) with specific questions as to how the child functioned.

Aims of ISE Inclusion Policy

ISE Inclusion Policy Aims are:

  • To provide parents clear expectations about what ISE can and cannot do to support students with learning difficulties.
  • To ensure teaching practices and learning opportunities provide students with diverse needs access to the curriculum content to the extent possible.
  • To provide students with opportunities to progress throughout the school programme and report that progress to relevant stakeholders.
  • To build awareness and foster respect throughout the school and surrounding community of the prevalence of learning diversities and special needs no matter what their origin.
  • To create an atmosphere of trust and open, respectful communication when discussing individuals with learning diversities; including those with social, emotional, physical and other challenges.

Rationale for Aims

Students make more progress when teachers supporting them work collaboratively as an effective team.

  • Assessment tools provide insight to parents and students for setting goals and designing appropriate activities in line with their needs and abilities.
  • Curriculum to be differentiated to address students’ learning needs and fill gaps.
  • All stakeholders (teachers, parents and the students) have a shared understanding of the learning needs.
  • Relevant information on student progress is communicated in a timely manner.
  • Teaching and learning is multi-sensory ad practical and can take account of individual profiles and learning styles to the extent possible.

Student Support Team

The role of the Student Support Team (SST) is to determine whether or not children with a range of learning difficulties will benefit from the ISE educational program and whether a child should be referred for education or other formalized testing.  The International School of Estonia does not have the ability to offer formalized educational testing for special needs students. Students are referred to local Educational or Psychological Agencies and tested by a Certified Educational Diagnostician.

The Student Support Team (SST) consists of the Student Support Coordinator, the ELL teaching specialist, the school Psychologist, the Dean of Students, the classroom teacher, the respective divisions Principal (PYP, MYP and DP) and the Director.

The Committee makes recommendations for differentiated strategies or accommodations to support the children with learning difficulties and special needs in our care.  The Committee may determine that a child with mild special needs can manage the academic program with the support of a classroom assistant or “shadow”. In such circumstances, parents are required to subsidize all of the cost of the personnel serving as a child’s assistant.