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As Director, I offer my welcome to the Provincial Schools Branch. In partnership with students, their families, district school boards and communities across Ontario, we are committed to supporting students who are Deaf/hard of hearing, blind/low vision, deafblind and who have a learning disability, to develop to their full potential and succeed in school.
Provincial Schools holds a rich history within Ontario that is a true source of pride in this province. Our first site in Belleville opened in 1870. The Sir James Whitney, Ontario School for the Deaf, celebrated its 140th anniversary with students, alumni, school staff and Ministry of Education officials last year.
The W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind opened in 1872, with the Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf opening in 1963 and the Robarts School for the Deaf opening in 1973. Further expansion of services included the opening of the Demonstration Schools for students with learning disabilities and Centre Jules-Léger, our French Language school in Ottawa.
Our Resource Services/Outreach program has grown quite significantly in recent years, as the request for pre-school home visiting and support to district school boards has increased. We greatly value these strong ties with families and schools in meeting the needs of our students.
Another source of pride for Provincial Schools is our Alternate Educational Resources of Ontario (AERO) initiative. We provide textbooks in accessible formats including Braille, digital audio, PDF and other options to ensure students across Ontario can access appropriate learning materials.
Our 2015-2016 school year holds promise of future growth within a positive and supportive learning environment that shows appreciation and respect for the culture and history of our schools and programs. We embrace the abilities of our students and staff to contribute to a collective responsibility for success!