Welcome to Student Services for the Elementary Campus
Welcome to the Elementary Student Services Home Page — Fostering Gifted Education From the Inside Out.
Are you looking for more information on how to support your child outside of school? Please click here to open our Support Services document outlining suggested programs, phone numbers and websites.
Should you have questions about our department or need direction regarding services, please email Nicole Brayton, Student Services Coordinator @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole Brayton: Student Services Coordinator:
Mrs. Nicole Brayton received her Bachelors of Education in 2001 from the University of Calgary and is currently employed as the Student Services Coordinator at Westmount Charter School Elementary Campus. Prior to moving into Student Services in 2015, Nicole began her teaching career in 2001 in a grade one classroom at Westmount. After a year with the younger students, Nicole turned her attention to grade 3 where her primary focus included the development and implementation of an inquiry based, integrated program. It was from her experience in the classroom that Nicole developed a curiosity and passion for twice exceptional learners and the social emotional health of our gifted population. Once Nicole moved into Student Services, her training expanded to include course and certificated work in the following areas:
- Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training – 2018
- ASIST Suicide Prevention Training – 2018
- Social and Emotional Development of Gifted Children -2018
- National Association for Gifted Children – 2017
- Mindfulness Counselling Strategies – 2016
- Walking Through Grief – 2016
- Helping Children – Engagement and Support – 2016
- Autism – Strategies for Self Regulation – 2016
- Understanding Mental Illness in Children and Youth – 2016
- Wellness Strategies for the Helping Professional – 2016
- Understanding Anxiety – 2016
- Response to Intervention Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms – 2016
As Student Services Coordinator, Nicole is dedicated to supporting both parents and staff as they navigate their children’s school experience.
Kelilah Hughes: Student Services Specialist – Academic Lead
Ms. Kelilah Hughes received her Bachelors of Arts, with a focus in psychology, in 2010 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She immediately began working towards obtaining her Bachelors of Education. Kelilah received formal training in the United Kingdom in a school in London before graduating with the distinction of being placed on the Academic Dean’s List. Her first teaching position took her to a northern community where she worked with Aboriginal children at the elementary level. Her students found a great deal of success through a literacy recovery program that Kelilah implemented. She quickly discovered a passion for academic recovery and support and soon moved into the field of student services in a Southern Alberta school. In this new position Kelilah worked with at-risk youth to build both their social-emotional skills and literacy abilities. Through this process Kelilah honed her philosophy of teaching to the whole child and helping students achieve a growth mindset. After several years working with exceptional learners in an intervention setting, Kelilah is thrilled to have the opportunity to focus on the learning needs of our gifted population of students. Her holistic approach to teaching includes building relationships with her students and encouraging mindfulness. Kelilah is currently working on her Masters of Education with a focus on Educational Leadership. A few areas of her training and certifications include:
- Arts in Education: Creativity in the Classroom – 2018
- Multi-Age Education – 2018
- Computer Applications in Education – 2018
- Violent Risk Threat Assessment – 2017
- Reclaiming Youth at Risk – 2017
- Creating a Positive Classroom Culture – 2017
- Intergenerational Trauma – 2016
- PECS Training – 2016
- ASIST Suicide Intervention Training – 2015
- Little Cub Suicide Prevention in Children Certification – 2015
Kelilah is committed to working with and supporting both parents and staff to help create a learning community where all students can find success. She is excited to begin working as the Academic Lead in Student Services at the elementary campus of Westmount Charter School for the 2018/2019 school year.
Our TLA’s: Heather Lofthouse, Robyn Hamilton, Jacqueline Mercer-Livesey, Danielle Bernardin, Jackie Kondrat, Madhu Ramdaursingh, Kristi Slemko, Annika Stein-Harries.
Our Teaching and Learning Assistant Team stands out as one of the best with diverse backgrounds and a wealth of knowledge and training. To share, here are some of the expertise that our TLA’s bring to Westmount:
- Bachelors of Education Degrees
- Educational Assistants Certification
- Special Needs Certification
- In home support workers for kids on the spectrum
- Teaching English Abroad
- Training and Development in Gifted Education
- Specialized work in Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Autism, Anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder, Trauma Intervention, Learning Disabilities
- Former Students of Westmount
- Parents of gifted and twice exceptional children
Most importantly, our TLA’s are an invaluable resource for teachers, parents and students alike. Their profiles add to the make-up of our department and we are fortunate to have them on our team working towards building resiliency.
Supports We Provide for Our Students
Our Student Services team works collaboratively with teachers and families to support students who have additional diagnoses above and beyond their gifted code. Twice Exceptional Learners make up approximately 10% of our elementary student population and are supported either by classroom teachers and/or a Teaching and Learning Assistant. Students with Mild/Mod diagnosis or Severe diagnosis are entitled to accommodations outlined in their Psychological Assessments and will be facilitated by your child’s teaching team. Regular and frequent IPP meetings help inform parents about their child’s progress.
All students at Westmount have an IPP or an Individualized Program Plan. When students have a specialized designation or coding, Alberta Education requires a formalized document. The IPP helps teachers and students set goals around giftedness and/or other exceptionalities in order to promote and foster growth. Teachers at Westmount develop a student’s IPP in the fall, with parent input and observation. All IPP goals are reviewed in late winter and evaluated in June.
What can an IPP do for your child? An effective IPP is one that increases the understanding of a students’ learning needs and strengths, provides a snapshot of effective strategies and/or accommodations and enhances communication between teachers, parents and students.
For further information on the IPP please visit: https://education.alberta.ca/instructional-supports/individualized-program-plan-ipp/everyone/ippisp-overview/
Student Services is happy to support the Admissions process at Westmount Charter School. Click the here to go to the Admissions main page.
Westmount Charter Elementary School works closely throughout the year with both Providence and RCSD (Regional Collaborative Service Delivery) to support students with Speech, Occupational Therapy and Mental Health services. These services are provided by a team of workers that come to our school and support your child in a safe and familiar environment.
How does your child receive services? At the beginning of the year, students in grades 1-4 are observed by the classroom teacher. Should the teacher see a need, or there has been a recommendation from prior years for services, your child’s name will be forwarded to our Student Services team who will then generate a formal referral. Input on these referrals is required by both teacher and parents and consent is required in order for your child to be seen by one of the contracted practioners. Our kindergarten students are screened for Vision, Hearing and Speech in the first few weeks of school. Referrals for these supports are generated from Providence. Support for OT (Occupational Therapy) and Mental Health can be made via the classroom teacher should they feel it is warranted for either fine motor, gross motor or self-regulation development.
Both Providence and RSCD provide support at the classroom level as well. Whole Body Listening, We Thinkers and How Does Your Engine Run Programs are all taught to our K – 2 student body.
The Student Services team at Westmount is happy to support classroom teachers with Early Literacy Development. In Kindergarten and Grade 1, an LA class is added to the timetable in order to help those students who are struggling with Literacy acquisition early on. These classes are smaller in number and taught by the Student Services academic lead. Using an Inside Out approach, students build confidence and learn to risk take in a smaller setting. Students in grades 2-4, can receive support based on referrals from the classroom teachers.
When organizing for instruction, the goal is to match each English Language Learner to the most appropriate program or class and ensure teachers have access to the support and resources they need to meet the student’s learning needs. Instructional supports need to be responsive to the student’s academic and language learning abilities, needs and interests. These supports should be revisited and adjustments made when necessary, as student needs change.
For students who are coded as English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners, Alberta Education requires the completion of the ESL Proficiency Benchmarks. These benchmarks are completed annually by all teachers (K-4) during the month of December. All benchmarking is used to inform EAL pull-out or in class support for students.
For more information on Alberta Education’s approach to supporting EAL students and an example of the benchmarks please refer to:
Throughout the year, students who are both struggling academically and needing cognitive stretch due to their above grade level abilities, may be seen by our team via one to one support. Through this targeted intervention, students referred are scheduled into blocks of time in order to develop a lagging skill or enrich their learning. Academic support varies from grade to grade and is individualized to meet the needs of the students. Teachers identify those students requiring further support and/or stretch and complete a referral for service.
Student Services welcomes the opportunity to assist teachers in assessing students in Math and LA. Kindergarten assessments in literacy and numeracy are conducted at the beginning of each year in order to determine ‘just right’ reading and number levels. Our team may also conduct English As Another Language assessments on an as needed basis.
Social Emotional or Acadmic support can also be received through small group intervention. Should students struggle at the classroom level, your child may be referred for small group work once per week with our Student Services team. Referral cycles usually last between 4-6 weeks and have a specific area of focus.
Areas for which your child may be referred are but not limited to:
- Self Regulation
- Conflict Resolution
- Worry and Anxiety
- Focus and Attention
- Time Management
Welcome to Westmount is just one of the programs supported by our Student Services team and it kicks off once your child(ren) have been accepted to our school. Building community is at the forefront of this program and we want to ensure that families feel supported in their transition to WCS. In May, our staff hosts a Welcome to Westmount Evening where parents and children are invited to attend an evening of information and games. Come and mingle with other families from your community and start to build relationships with your child’s future classmates!
Once the school year begins, Student Services contacts families throughout the year to ensure you have all your questions answered and that your experience at Westmount is a positive one. Our department provides you with information about a specific programming and facilitates pointing you in the right direction should you require further support.
Westmount Charter Elementary proudly supports the Virtues Project as our school-wide character education program. Each month students are provided with targeted words in order to identify and practice virtuous behaviour in an effort to become effective members of a community.
Examples of these target words are:
Kindergarten: Leadership- the activity and ability to lead.
Grade 1: Excellence- giving your very best on any task or activity.
Grade 2: Unity- helping people live and work together
Grade 3: Idealism- you have beliefs that mean something to you and you follow them
Grade 4: Service- the act of giving to others to make a difference in their lives.
Interested in learning more? Please visit: www.virtuesproject.com
The Zones of Regulation is a program geared towards students identifying and recognizing their emotions, and their emotional impact on others. Learning about these zones, students will gain insights into four targeted areas and will learn different tools to help them in various situations and settings. This program is vital to the success of our students as we work to build resiliency and learn about achieving a growth mindset.
In addition to the Zones of Regulation program, the Superflex curriculum and it’s Unthinkables will be showing up in our hallways with strategy recommendations for all students in order to help build resiliency. While there will be no direct teaching of the Superflex Program in classrooms, teachers are asked to talk about them and their suggested strategies for regulation throughout the day. Resources and books recommendations are shared frequently with our school community throughout the year to support parents in facilitating these conversations at home.
Parent and Student Resources
Parents may find the following apps helpful. If you wish to try out one of these apps, simply do an Internet search for the name.
- CALM – Mindfulness and meditation
- Stop, Think and Breathe – Brings awareness to your emotions
- Breathing Bubbles – Helps kids practice releasing worries and focusing on good feelings
- Headspace – Guided Meditation – Promotes development and mindfulness of breathe, sleep, relaxation and focus
Zones – Helps kids understand and manage their emotions based on our social thinking curriculum
Parents may find the following apps helpful. If you wish to try out one of these apps, simply do an Internet search for the name.
- Snap Type – Allows for completion of worksheets using the camera on an iPad to create an image. Students can type answers on it
- Dyslexia Aid – helps with spelling and literacy with the aid of the ‘OpenDyslexic’ font and color overlays
- CLAROPDF – allows you annotate PDF files and have them read back to you with highlighting