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UCDSB Power Up Program Empowers Students with Disabilities
UCDSB Power Up Program Empowers Students
Posted on 12/02/2022
CPHS Power Up Program

December 2, 2022 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an annual observance on December 3, with the aim to promote understanding of disability issues and increase support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of those with disabilities.

Within the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), this is an area of focus throughout the entire year. The UCDSB’s mission is to prepare all students for a successful life, and students with physical or cognitive disabilities are provided with adapted programming, individualized resources and supports to ensure they get equitable education experiences. The UCDSB strives to empower students with disabilities and to teach all students about inclusiveness.

In 2019, the UCDSB launched a special education program called the Power Up Program. The Power Up Program is a specialized program for students who require intensive academic support and alternative programming. Students work with a dedicated special education teacher and educational assistant in small groups for part of, or all of, their school day, depending on their individual needs.

At Carleton Place High School (CPHS), the Power Up Team, comprised of Special Education Teacher Devon Sicard and Educational Assistants Emily Starks and Brittany Schonauer, collaborate to develop, implement and monitor academic and alternative programming tailored to each individual student’s needs.

With a flexible, yet structured day of group activities such as social stories and sensory bins, and individual math and literacy activities at their skill level, students gain both the skills and confidence they need to be successful.

Grade 7 student Brock Parisien says that his favourite part about his classroom experience is Pokémon Club and creating Pokémon cards during art. He also enjoys when the class does activities on the computer.

Classmate and Grade 7 student Addison Campbell says that Lego is her favourite activity to do at school and enjoys the sensory bin activities involving cars.

AddisonThe CPHS Power Up Team recently adopted the D2L Monster Portfolio, an interactive way of tracking and assessing classroom learning. A classroom iPad app allows for photos to be taken of the learning project and voice recording explaining the activity. The goal is to have students take their own pictures and voice recordings.

“We’re proud of the work being done in the CPHS Power Up Program, and how this program is benefitting students across our board,” says UCDSB Special Education Principal Julie Symonds. “It’s important that we meet students where they are at and provide individualized support to promote skill development. Support for students can occur in a variety of settings and with a collaborative approach between school, family, and system team members.”

This district-wide program has had a positive impact on students, including increases in literacy and numeracy results, and fewer behavioural issues. For the 2022-2023 school year, the UCDSB has allocated $50 million to specifically invest in special education across the school board.


For media inquiries, please contact:

April Scott-Clarke
Manager of Communications
Upper Canada District School Board
[email protected]

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