Glossary of Terms

Adaptations - Strategies and/or resources specific to the strengths and needs of a student, to help the student meet the outcomes of Nova Scotia's PSP.  These may include, but are not limited to:  Organizational Strategies, Environmental Strategies, Presentation/Instructional Strategies, Motivational Strategies, Assessment Strategies, Resources such as assistive technology, various print formats, teacher-made manipulatives and models, mentors, and direct or indirect program support

Annual Individualized Outcomes - On an IPP, these are statements of expected achievement over a one-year period.  These statements are estimates of future performance based on past achievement, present performance, and priority areas of desired development.

Assessment - The process of gathering information on student learning, needs, strengths and/or difficulties. Assessment procedures may include the use of formal and/or informal strategies and instruments.

Assessment, Formal - Involves the use of standardized tests and is conducted by a person trained in the testing process.

Assessment, Informal - Includes any teacher developed curriculum-based assessment instrument (e.g. classroom tests, checklists, assignments, portfolios, etc.)

Assistive Technology (AT) – A term describing a range of strategies, services and low- to high-tech tools used to enable, improve, increase and maintain a student’s ability to meet the learning outcomes of the Public School Program (PSP) or of an individual program plan (IPP).   

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – A neurological disorder which affects social and language development and is characterized by specific behaviors.

Autism Support Specialist - A professional (teacher/SLP/other) who has been specially trained to provide services and support to students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Behaviour Support Specialist - A professional (teacher/school psychologist/other) who has been specially trained to provide services and support to students with behaviour disorders.

Career Exploration Program (CEP) - refers to a unique learning opportunity for students entering Grade 10 in six high schools within the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education. Students experience a combination of academic courses, hands-on elective courses, and Co-operative Education opportunities.…

Continuous School Improvement (CSI) – refers to a process in CCRCE built on the Continuous School Improvement Framework (, mandated by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.  Each of our schools is required to participate in the CSI process, setting goals for student improvement on a cyclical basis. That means that once one CSI process ends, the school will begin planning for another. The time it takes to meet the goals set out in schools' CSI processes varies from school to school.  

Co-ordinator of Student Services - The regional administrator responsible for providing leadership and co-ordination to all aspects of programming and delivery of services for students with special needs.

Co-Teaching - A teaching arrangement wherein two or more teachers work together in the same setting to provide instruction to students, using one or more of a variety of co-teaching formats.   Co-teaching teams vary in composition.  (e.g. Two or more classroom/subject area teachers, one or two classroom teachers and a Resource teacher, etc., etc.)

Curriculum Outcomes - Statements in the Public School Program (PSP) document that identify what students are expected to know and/or be able to do.

Differentiated Instruction (DI) - refers to instruction based on the premise that, since students differ significantly in their interests, learning styles, abilities and prior experiences, then teaching strategies, materials and pace should vary accordingly.

Educational Assistant (EA) - refers to a support staff member who, under the direction of a teacher(s), provides basic medical and personal care and/or safety/behaviour management to students with special needs in CCRCE.  The provincial term for this position is Teacher Assistant (TA).

Education Act - The document which describes the expectations for public education in Nova Scotia as determined by the Province of Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly on behalf of the people of the province.

Enrichment - Activities or assignments which add greater variety and/or depth to the curriculum provided for an individual, small group or larger group of students.

Essential Graduation Learnings - Statements describing the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of all students who graduate from high school.  The areas of learning are: aesthetic expression, citizenship, communication, personal development, problem solving and technological competence.

Evaluation - The process which follows the collection of information (assessment) including analyzing, interpreting and reflecting upon this information and making decisions and/or judgments based upon the information gathered.

Exceptionalities - Significant differences in growth and/or development in areas including cognitive, emotional, behavioural, social and emotional learning, physical disabilities and/or health impairments, learning disabilities, speech and/or communication impairments, sensory (including vision and hearing) impairments, multiple disabilities and gifts and talents.  

Family Interventionist – Refers to professionals integrated in a number of school communities in CCRCE through partnership agreements with various outside agencies.  Family Interventionists provide direct and indirect supports (related to behavioural and mental health concerns) to students and their families. 

Gifts and Talents - Refers to the features of an exceptionality wherein students perform at, or show the potential for performing at, high levels of accomplishment in one or more areas when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment. (Johnsen 2004, Renzulli and Smith 1978) These areas include leadership in specific academic fields as well as intellectual, creative, and/or artistic domains. Talents develop in stages over time within interest areas if an individual possesses the right combination of ability and aptitudes with opportunity, experience, support, and encouragement. Modern conceptions of giftedness recognize diversity, multiple forms of giftedness, and inclusivity. There is no single profile of a gifted learner. 

Guidelines - General directions or parameters within which actions are undertaken and/or decisions are made.

Individual Program Plan (IPP) - An educational plan developed by Program Planning Teams for every student for whom the provincial curriculum outcomes are not applicable and/or attainable.

Learning Centre - A teaching-learning area within a school which provides a variety of resources to support program planning and implementation for students with special needs.  Learning Centre is now used to describe spaces previously known as Special Education Classrooms, Life Skills Classrooms, and /or Extended Program Support Classrooms.  

Learning Disability - Learning Disability refers to one or more life-long, cognitive skill deficits which are present in an otherwise overall average (or better) cognitive profile that affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of information.  These cognitive deficits may include one or more processes from the following areas; knowledge and comprehension, fluid (non-verbal) reasoning, visual-spatial processing, short-term memory, long-term storage and retrieval, processing speed and executive functioning.  In the school setting the deficits may impact student success in oral language, reading, writing and mathematics.  These deficits also have an impact on social, occupational and leisure activities outside of the school setting.

Options and Opportunities (O2) - refers to a provincial high school program, which offers students more hands-on learning experiences with a career focus.

Policies - Directives adopted by the Chignecto-Central Region to chart a course of action for others. They tell what is expected, why and to what extent. Policies should be broad enough to give room for administrative action, yet narrow enough to give clear guidance. Policy is a governance matter and, therefore, the responsibility of the Chignecto-Central Region.  Following policies which have been passed into law in the provincial legislature is required of all CCRCE employees.

Positive Behaviour Support Team – Refers to a school-based team that meets for the purpose of discussing behavioural and/or mental health concerns/supports, behavioural systems and referrals.

Positive and Effective Behaviour Support (PEBS) – An initiative that helps schools create a positive, safe, and learning-rich environment

PowerSchool – Part of a province-wide initiative called iNSchool, which allows teachers and school administrators to use technology to manage data and information on student attendance, schedules, achievement, and behaviour.  PowerSchool includes a web-based Student-Parent Portal and an updated report card format.

Procedures - More detailed instructions, developed by administrators, for those responsible for putting policy into practice. Procedures describe how policy is to be implemented, by whom, when, where and in what form. Procedures are administrative in nature and, are therefore, the responsibility of the Regional Executive Director of Education and his/her administrative staff. 

Professional Learning Community (PLC) – Refers to a group of educators that meets regularly, shares expertise, and works collaboratively to improve teaching skills and the academic performance of students.

Public School Program (PSP) - Department of Education document which describes the curriculum, programs and services to be provided in Nova Scotia schools, and the expected learning outcomes for students.

Program Planning Team (PPT) - Refers to a group of people including the parent/legal guardian, classroom teacher(s), specialist teacher(s), school administrator, the student (as appropriate) and, as required, persons external to the school (e.g. Student Services staff members, agency personnel, etc.) who plan, implement, monitor and evaluate the educational program for a student with significant special needs.

Resource Teacher - A specialist teacher whose school assignment is to co-ordinate and assist with the planning, implementation, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of programs and support services for students who require additional supports.

Resource Classroom - A teaching-learning area within a school which provides a variety of resources to support program planning and implementation for students who require additional supports.  (In the past, many schools in CCRCE used the term Learning Centre to describe this space.  Learning Centres now have a more specific designation.  See above.)  

Response to Intervention (RTI) - A multi-tiered approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the classroom setting.

Restorative Approaches – Founded on the belief that in order to build safe and healthy school communities, we must strengthen and support our social relationships through community participation, respectful dialogue, sustainable processes that build and strengthen relationships and opportunities for all school community members to feel empowered, engaged and participate meaningfully. A restorative approach is a relational approach.  See also, Restorative Approaches in Schools Project Fact Sheet.

School Advisory Council (SAC) - A volunteer advisory body of parents, community members, the school principal, teachers and support staff, established by the Nova Scotia Education Act.  SACs advise the school principal and the Chignecto-Central Regional Centre for Education on a wide range of issues. They participate in the ongoing efforts of the school to continuously improve student achievement and school performance.

School Insurance Program (SIP) – A not-for-profit organization that manages all aspects of property and casualty-related insurance for the school boards of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC).

SchoolsPlus – A collaborative service with sites in selected schools in each of Nova Scotia’s eight school board regions.  Each regional advisory committee includes representatives from various government departments such as Justice, Health, Community Services, Education and Health Promotion and Protection. The advisory committees help identify gaps in services or resources and help come up with solutions.

School Psychologist - The professional who provides psychological services and support to schools, students and parents / guardians in the areas of assessment, intervention and program planning.

Site-based Support Team (SBST) - A school-based "standing committee" including a school administrator (Principal or Vice Principal), the Resource Teacher, at least one classroom teacher, Guidance Counsellor (as appropriate) and department head (as appropriate). The team provides leadership and support in areas such as allocation of resources and prioritization for assessment. The referring teacher is always expected to be present at the SBST meeting where the referred student is discussed.  

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) - The process of acquiring and effectively applying the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to recognize and manage emotions; developing caring and concern for others; making responsible decisions; establishing positive relationships; and handling challenging situations capably.

Special Education Policy, 2008 - The Department of Education document which articulates the Department's policies and expectations related to programs and services for students with special needs.

Specialist Teacher - A teacher whose teaching assignment is in an area generally referred to as a "specialist" subject (e.g. Music, Physical Education, Resource, French, Art, Family Studies, Production Technology, Drama, etc.)

Specific Individualized Outcomes - Statements outlining specific steps which lead to the attainment of the broader outcomes. Specific outcomes are the basis for evaluation of a student's progress toward the attainment of the annual individualized outcomes.

Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) - The professional who provides assistance and support to students, schools and parents/guardians in the areas of identification, assessment, intervention, and program planning for students with communication disorders and/or challenges with early literacy skills.

Student Services Consultant - The professional whose role it is to provide leadership and support to schools related to all aspects of programs and services for students with special needs.

Student Information System (SIS) - The PowerSchool - Student Information System, an internet-based portal which allows students, parents and guardians to see attendance, grades, assignments, teacher's comments and upcoming school events online.

Students with Special Needs - Those students who exhibit exceptionalities (see definition above) which may require adaptations or changes to curriculum, learning materials, methodology, facilities, equipment and/or support services to meet their individual learning needs.

Teacher Assistant (T.A.) - A support staff member who, under the direction of a teacher(s), provides basic medical and personal care and/or safety/behaviour management to students with special needs.  The CCRCE term for this position is Educational Assistant (EA).

Technology for Improving Education Network (TIENET) - An electronic case management web-based tool designed to manage information for our NS students receiving student services support, to facilitate the 8 stages of the NS Program Planning Process, and to support the SchoolsPlus processes.

Transition - The movement of students from one key stage of growth and development and/or placement to another (e.g. home to school, grade to grade, school to school, school to work or post-secondary institution).

Universal Design For Learning (UDL) - “A set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs” (UDL Center).  UDL is not only a set of principles but a mindset that all administrators, teachers, resource teachers and support workers are encouraged to adopt. The essence of UDL lies in 3 main principles: 

  1. Providing multiple means of representation of information to students,
  2. Providing opportunities for multiple means of expression by students, and
  3. Providing multiple means of engagement.