Ministry of Education
Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch

Short Term Programs

2022-2023 Short Term Programs

W Ross Macdonald School

Welcome back! W Ross Macdonald School is excited to announce a full 2022-23 school year of Short Term Programs. In conjunction with continued virtual opportunities, we are also anticipating the return to full capacity weekends – while still focusing on student safety and adhering to all health protection standards and current mandates. With these things in mind, we look forward to another exciting year of STP!

What are Short Term Programs?

Short Term Programs are provided for students throughout Ontario who are blind and visually impaired. These weekend programs are FREE of charge for students, with no cost to parents or school boards. Students arrive Friday evening at the school and stay in residence until Sunday after lunch. Meals and snacks are provided!

Short Term Program weekends span far beyond the traditional academic curriculum and can help to support a student’s beginning steps towards independence. We provide students with a safe and supportive place to explore independence, practice life skills, and to develop self-awareness and self advocacy skills. These weekends are also a great opportunity for students to socialize with peers who are visually impaired and make lasting friendships. Each weekend has a different theme geared towards the unique needs of students with visual impairments. Students leave each weekend feeling proud of themselves for succeeding on their own, and it is not uncommon for students to say they want to stay longer!

Short Term Program staff are trained to work with students who are blind or visually impaired and have experience in the areas of independent living skills, orientation and mobility, education etc. Staff are on duty 24/7 (including overnight) with the appropriate student to staff ratio at all times. Along with weekend Short Term Programs we are offering monthly “virtual” programs over Zoom. These programs are open to all ages and abilities and offer students the chance to connect from the comfort of their own homes. These online programs are often a great opportunity to try out STP and ask questions before committing to a full weekend program. Invitations links are sent the evening prior to programs.

To register for one of the programs below, download the application form here:

2022-2023 Short Term Program Schedule

Oct. 13Virtual “Welcome Back to STP!” (7:00-8:00PM)
Oct. 21-23
All Ages
Parent’s Weekend:
Parents/Guardians are invited to attend this weekend program with students. While students are participating in variety of fun activities at the school, parents will have the opportunity to attend sessions focusing on their children’s education (IEP, IPRC, etc)
Nov. 10Virtual STEM Program (7:00-8:00PM)
Nov. 18-20
Age 12+
STEM Weekend:
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. During this STP, students will be encouraged to experiment, build, create, explore and problem solve as we tackle fun and
interesting hands on projects!
Dec. 8Virtual Creative Arts Program (7:00-8:00PM)
Dec. 16-18
Ages 10+
Creative Arts Weekend:
Students will explore their creative side through visual arts, music, drama, and dance. Each student will have an opportunity to engage, discuss and participate in a safe-accepting environment that best reflects who they are.
Jan. 19Virtual “New Year” Program (7:00-8:00PM)
Feb. 16Virtual Sports Program (7:00-8:00PM)
Feb. 24-26
Ages 12+
Sports Weekend:
In partnership with Canadian Blind Hockey, students will have the opportunity to get in full hockey gear for some on ice fun! Along with hockey, we will also be exploring goalball, judo, and other sports opportunities during this high energy weekend.
Mar. 9Virtual Cooking Program (7:00-8:00PM)
Mar. 24-26
Ages 10+
Cooking Weekend:
Students are getting in the kitchen where we will learn about kitchen organization, safety, and meal preparation. Using these new skills, we will prepare a feast to be enjoyed among friends.
Apr. 20Virtual Music Program (7:00-8:00PM)
Apr. 28-30
Age 10+
Music Weekend:
Explore a variety of musical opportunities including vocal, instrumental, and music production. Music can have immense benefits on our wellbeing, let’s discover everything it has to offer!
May 18Virtual “Big Night Out” Program (7:00-8:00PM)
May 26-28
Age 16+
“Big Night Out” Weekend:
Focusing on independence, students will plan their own “big night out”! This is a great opportunity for students to practice their independent living skills, and enjoy a night out on the town!
June 15Virtual Outdoor Recreation Program (7:00-8:00PM)
June 23-25
Age 12+
Outdoor  Recreation Weekend:
An off campus outdoor learning experience, including ropes course and team building activities. Say yes to adventure!
Group picture of people in hockey rink

STP Frequently Asked Questions

Can students attend multiple weekends?

Students can attend multiple weekend if space is available, however priority is given to
students who have not previously attended or have expressed interest in a specific weekend. It
is recommended that students apply for weekends they are genuinely interested in, or clearly
indicate in the application what weekends are preferred.

When can students expect to know if they’ve been selected for a particular weekend?

Approximately one month before attendance, student will receive an email indicating whether
they have been selected to attend the program or if they have been placed on the waitlist. After
students have confirmed their attendance more information regarding weekend specifics will
be sent out closer to the date.

What happens when a student is not selected to attend a weekend they applied for?

Students that are not selected to attend a weekend they applied for are put on the waiting list.
If a successful applicant is unable to attend, a student from the waitlist will be selected to fill
their place. On this note, if a student is unable to attend a weekend they have been selected
for please let us know as soon as possible so that vacant spots can be filled successfully.

Are there any costs associated with attending?

Lodging, program activities, and meals are all provided at no cost to the student.

Are STP weekends all ages?

Weekends are typically geared towards a particular age range, however occasional weekends are open to all ages.

How independent must students be to attend?

STPs are an inclusive environment, however students will need a reasonable amount of independence in order to attend in-person weekends. This means:

  • Students must be independently mobile (this does not include sighted-guide assistance)
  • Students must be able to perform their own personal care
  • Students must have clear communication skills with minimal assistance
  • Students must be able to participate with minimal intellectual support

Please keep in mind students are supported in a group environment, meaning that one-to-one support is not an option. If you have any questions please contact for more information.

Are virtual STPs open to everyone?

Yes! Our virtual STP opportunities are open to all students regardless of age or ability

Can parents attend with students?

Occasionally we host STP programs that are geared towards both students and their parents/guardians, however students should be able to participate in a full weekend program without the support of a parent.

Do you provide transportation to the program?

On occasion we are able to provide transportation for select students. This is not a guarantee, however students in need of travel accommodations are encouraged to submit applications with a clearly marked request for transportation. Once we have the submitted travel requests, we will do our best to accommodate when possible.