Last week approximately 80 staff took part in our Special Education Assistants (SEAs) training events in Surrey and Duncan. What an amazing time it was! The new SEAs had the opportunity to meet with our SEA mentor, Carolyn Patterson, who shared with them the requirements and expectations of their roles. She also gave insight into the best practices for assisting and encouraging learners, enhancing communication, and being a student’s ‘external brain’.

Our high school SEAs had the opportunity to work with Andrew Easson, our High School Vice Principal, and colleague, Sue Collette, to become more equipped to assist their students with the Canvas platform and other high school-specific information. The elementary SEAs had time together to collaborate and share their expertise from on-the-job learning experiences and valuable resources for supporting their RCOA students in PIE, Community Classes, and home programs. It was especially inspiring this year to have SEAs Gretta Kennedy (Vancouver Island) and Peggy Hare (Mainland) lead us in a time of reflection, speaking from their hearts and God’s word, sharing encouragement, and focusing on our new RCOA motto, “Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge”.

RCOA’s Executive Admin team members, Dennise Croswell and Carolyn Langley, surprised our SEAs with a time of recognition to honour their service and dedication to our families. They also took the opportunity to welcome our new SEAs to our growing team and pray a blessing on their new journey with RCOA and the families that they will serve.

We had the pleasure of listening to Teresa Stewart, a gifted counsellor and passionate speaker. Teresa spoke about “diving deep” to embrace a family-centred approach to caring for our learners with diverse needs. She reminded us all of the far-reaching impacts and the unexpected and at times challenging journey that special needs parents go through as they raise and educate children. We feel privileged and honoured to walk beside parents on this incredible journey and to support them as they navigate the steep learning cliffs and deep valleys. With presentations by Shelley Lazarus, Donna Dick, and Dennise Croswell each person was inspired with new ideas, tips, and tools.

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to Pacific Community Church and Oasis City Church for allowing us to use their wonderful facilities. Your willingness to accommodate us and to provide exactly what we needed to help make these training days successful was such a blessing.

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