Special Education Program

Education Assistants (EAs)

The Ministry of Education has provided funds for the Distributed Learning (DL) Special Education program for your child. It is a privilege to have an Education Assistant (EA) working in your home.  HCOS values the commitment that Education Assistants make to students/families.

Parental/Guardian Expectations
  • A parent/guardian is required to be present in the family home during EA sessions. EAs are not permitted to work in their own home with a student.
  • EAs may work in a public setting like a library, if sessions are not feasible in the family home.
  • Ensure that siblings are supervised during EA sessions to avoid distraction and disruption.  EAs are not responsible for the care/supervision of siblings that are not under contract with HCOS for EA support.
  • Ensure the student is ready for services upon arrival of the EA, including having the necessary materials ready. 
  • If an SE student is supported by an EA at Community Connections or a Learning Group, notify the EA when the student will not be in attendance.
  • Inform the EA of sickness in the home in advance of the EA’s arrival.  A mutually agreeable standard should be in place around cancelling sessions when an EA, student or other family members are sick.
  • Parents/guardians cannot dismiss an EA. They are a contractor of HCOS. If there are personnel related problems, contact your SE teacher immediately.
Education Assistants - Scope of Work

The Education Assistant is contracted to provide the following services, as requested by HCOS:

  • Participate in the creation of the IEP, and if necessary, be available for collaboration on term reviews with the SE Teacher.
  • Perform and comply with the duties listed in the IEP and with any other reasonable requests from HCOS administration considered to be normal relational responsibilities between the SE Teacher, the EA, the child(ren), and the parents/guardians of the child(ren).
  • Collaborate with the SE Teacher/parent on the acquisition, organization and modification of instructional material.
  • Be in weekly contact with the SE Teacher around student progress
  • Attend EA meetings as required
  • Give advance notice to the family and the SE Teacher if unable to complete their duties for a specific period of time (i.e., vacation, etc.).
  • Create guidelines around provision of service pertaining to sickness of the EA, student or other family members.
  • Follow the time-sensitive behaviour/incident reporting protocols.
  • Collaborate with parents/guardians of the student in a respectful manner and as a team member.
  • Prioritize the needs of the student.
Cancelled Sessions

It is vital that we are good stewards of the resources and people that are in place to assist in the education and support of students.

The following policies are in place around cancelled sessions. 

  • Cancelled sessions are billable - hours per week as outlined in an EA’s addendum/invoice are billable if the session is cancelled or if session time is shortened by the parent/guardian. 
  • The EA is not obligated to reschedule a cancelled session. 
  • EAs will use cancelled sessions for lesson preparation, completing student reporting in FileMaker, teacher communication, professional development and any other administrative type tasks.
  • An EA cannot invoice for scheduled sessions that fall on a statutory holiday, unless those hours are worked.
  • The EA must report all cancelled/shortened sessions on their invoice. 
  • In the event of inclement weather where school is cancelled in the local school division and/or buses are not running, HCOS will deem it unsafe for an EA to drive. The scheduled session can be cancelled and hours invoiced.
  • It is the responsibility of the Education Assistant to give a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for any sessions that must be cancelled with a student (outside of sudden illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Unless session time is rescheduled, these hours are not billable.

If there is a consistent pattern of cancelled EA sessions by the parent/guardian, this may result in the reduction or cancellation of EA services.

  • The final day of EA services for any given school year is June 15.
  • EAs do not provide services during the summer months.
  • EA invoices are sent via email to parents/guardians mid-month. Parents are required to verify EA sessions and respond to the EA office with their confirmation of hours, or to report discrepancies.

Special Education

Special Education (SE) Program

Our SE Program works with students who receive additional funding to help build specialized programs that aid in their success as learners. Our diverse and robust program is made up of British Columbia certified teachers who specialize in SE education, Education Assistants (EAs) who work directly with students in home, an experienced office support team, and a wide variety of community-based support services throughout the province. If you would like more information on our SE Program, please visit the SE Program page.

Learning Services (LS) Program

We also offer an LS Program for students who are not designated SE students but would benefit from specialized planning and, where possible, some additional support. Some students may have learning challenges that are outside of SE designations; these include but are not limited to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, speech difficulties, giftedness, and written output delays. If you suspect your child would benefit from extra help and are seeking advice with regard to their learning, please contact your support teacher with your concerns. The support teacher will then contact our LS Team to discuss how best to offer support. For more information on our LS Program, please see this page: LS Program.

Individual Education Plan

In addition to a Student Learning Plan (SLP), which all students receive, students in our SE Division and some LS supported students also have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that outlines specifically how their education program will be adapted to help them succeed. Teachers work closely with parents and other support team members to write the IEP.

What is Read&Write?

Read&Write is a support tool HCOS is providing for students who can use this as universal support.


What is Read&Write?

Read&Write is an extension to Google Chrome that allows students to use many different tools such as Text to Speech, Vocabulary, Picture Dictionary, Note Taking, Text Prediction, Screen Masking, Hover Speech, Talk and Type, and Practice Read Aloud and more.

Please check this link with the video about Read&Write at the bottom of the page.  You can also install a 30day trial from this link, but if it looks like the correct tool for you, please follow the instructions below as the trial is limited in time and tools.  Having the HCOS Read&Write account also gives access to more tools and connected to a school account.

How do I get Read&Write for my enrolled students?

To get Read&Write a student will need a HCOS G-Suite account as well as adding the Read&Write extension in Google Chrome.  To request a HCOS G-Suite account and access to Read&Write, please complete this form. 
HCOS G-Suite and Read&Write Request

For instructions on installing and using Read&Write, please follow this link.


Installing and Using Read&Write

Written Instructions

Written Instructions for installing Read&Write in your Google Chrome Browser

Video Instructions

  1. Brief Description of Read&Write from HCOS' point of view
  2. Downloading Chrome
  3. Logging into Chrome with HCOS Student Account
  4. Adding the Read&Write Extension
  5. Google Drive - part of your HCOS Account
  6. Basic Functions of Read&Write

    1. Check It
    2. Word Prediction
    3. Dictionary (can read aloud)
    4. Picture Dictionary
    5. Text-to-Speech Tools
    6. Screenshot Reader
    7. Audio Maker
    8. Web Search
    9. Screen Mask (for students with visual tracking issues or Irlen syndrome)
    10. Talk&Type
    11. Translator
    12. Highlighter, Clear Highlights and Collect Highlights
    13. Vocabulary
    14. Voice Note
    15. Practice Reading Aloud


Quick Reference Chat - might be worthwhile printing



Video recorded May 8th as part of pilot training with some HCOS teachers.  Please watch if you want more in-depth training to support your child/student.

Documents from the training