Ministry of Education
Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch

Provincial and Demonstration Schools Criteria

Admissions Overview

The Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities (PCLD) governs the admissions process for Demonstration Schools. The admissions criteria and procedures for a demonstration school are outlined in Policy/Program (PPM) 89: The Residential Demonstration Schools for Students with Learning Disabilities: General Information and Details of the Referral Process.
Applications for students to attend a demonstration school program are made by district school boards in accordance with PPM89.

In addition to the admissions criteria outlined in PPM89, the PCLD looks for the following characteristics in applicants which experience has shown are most appropriate for the programs offered at demonstration schools in terms of needs and strengths.

  • Pervasive language difficulties involving the use of language for learning, thinking, remembering, conversing; such students demonstrate severe difficulties in a general sense with the listening/learning/memory demands of the classroom, particularly in the later grades; for some, verbal expressive abilities may appear more intact;
  • Marked weakness in phonological awareness, the most powerful predictor of reading success and regarded as the core deficit in severe reading disorder, or dyslexia;
  • Very weak academic achievement, particularly in reading skills (mostly grade equivalents of 1 to 3 on standardized tests) despite many years and methods of remediation; in some students reading comprehension is somewhat higher but basic decoding skills have remained very weak and make reading a very slow and onerous process;
  • Spelling and writing skills far below grade expectations;
  • Somewhat higher achievement in mathematical skills (mostly grade equivalents of 3 to 5);
  • Sometimes additional difficulties in such areas as fine- and gross-motor coordination, visual-motor integration, concentration/attention;
  • At least average learning skills when information is visually, rather than language, mediated; also, more success in hands-on learning situations such as mechanics and sports;
  • Emotional reactions secondary to the chronic deprivation of success in their school histories; these could include low motivation, discouragement, embarrassment, task avoidance, poor self-esteem, and over-dependence on assistance;
  • Most students between the ages of 11 and 15 at the time of application.

Application Process

  1. Consultation
    During the consultation phase, a Resource Services Teacher from the demonstration school will conference (phone or in-person) with the school team and parents/guardians to discuss the student’s profile and academic history. The purpose of the consultation is to assist with educational programming. To facilitate this process a Consultation Package and Consent Forms are submitted to the Resource Services staff.Consultation packages can be forwarded at any time during the school year.
  2. Phase 1 Application
    Consultation is mandatory before proceeding to the Phase 1 application. The Phase 1 application package provides the Resource Services staff with information from the Ontario Student Record (OSR) as well as supporting documentation from support services staff (e.g., psycho-educational assessment, speech-language pathology assessment, etc.). Once received, the package is reviewed and the Resource Services staff will schedule and administer an educational assessment for the student. A confidential educational assessment report for the student is provided, which will include recommendations for programming.
  3. Binder Application
    The binder application phase is the formal application which will be presented to the Provincial Committee on Learning Disabilities (PCLD). The binder application contains an in-depth student profile, family history, medical information and educational data. Based on this information and a family interview, the PCLD will make recommendations for admission. Interviews are conducted in the spring.
  4. Submission of Application
    To submit an application, district school boards should contact the Resource Services staff at one of the following demonstration schools in the school board’s catchment area:
    • Amethyst Demonstration School
    • Sagonaska Demonstration School
    • Trillium Demonstration School