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The Personal Program Plan: Exploring Educational Support Teachers’ Perceptions of a New Template



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A Personal Program Plan (PPP) is a document that outlines a student’s strengths and needs. It is used for three reasons: to support students who require greater assistance than what is provided through the Adaptive Dimension; when learning outcomes within a grade differ from the provincial curricula; and to facilitate individualized programs for students identified as a Level I or II intensive need student (Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, 2007). The PPP includes measurable goals that outline supports which will help the student participate and succeed within the mainstream classroom. The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division (SRSD) has a different vision of what a PPP should measure than what is suggested by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. In August 2008, the SRSD proposed an action research project to the Ministry of Education to create a new PPP template. The new template focuses on the Understanding by Design (UbD) format using a Performance Task (PT) (an authentic task used to demonstrate understanding) instead of only SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) and offers two options regarding the document’s focus: a PPPI (for those who follow regular curriculum but have behavioural issues) or PPPII (for those not able to follow regular curriculum). This qualitative study opens with a brief timeline of the history of Special Education within Canada, with special attention focused on Saskatchewan (SK), as well as a comparison of the SK PPP template to other templates around the world. By using content analysis, categories of analysis explored patterns and trends that emerged from six SRSD Educational Support Teachers (ESTs) responses to a semistructured style questionnaire. Six main themes emerged with respect to the research question: (1) a team approach including teacher and parent involvement; (2) a monthly timeframe; and (3) the expectation of student achievement with regard to a rubric component and how this rubric connects to student achievement; (4) the concept of time, specifically focusing on apprehensions with the amount of time expected of the participants, implementation difficulties, and monthly time commitments; (5) teamwork difficulties, regarding working with teachers and parents; and (6) the steep learning curve that accompanied the new PPP template and the UbD format. Numerous recommendations also arose in response to the research question with respect to: (a) adding more personal information to the template; (b) attaching an adaptations checklist to the template; (c) fixing the technical glitches; (d) reevaluating the expectations of the workload; (e) identifying who has ownership of the template; (f) determining involvement of the team; (g) establishing time commitments; (h) providing training for the team; (i) and having a team-based understanding of the provincial template.



Personal Program Plan (PPP) intensive need student Saskatchewan Rivers School Division Understanding by Design (UbD) Performance Task (PT) SMART goals PPPI PPPII qualitative history of Special Education Special Education in Canada Saskatchewan (SK) content analysis categories of analysis patterns trends Educational Support Teachers (ESTs) themes team teacher parent student achievement time rubric learning curve template



Master of Education (M.Ed.)


Educational Psychology and Special Education


Educational Psychology and Special Education


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