Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I register?
  2. What are the fees?
  3. What information do you need?
  4. What if my child is ill at school?
  5. What if my child needs medication at school?
  6. What if my child is going to be away?
  7. What if there is an emergency?
  8. Are staff trained for emergencies?
  9. What if my child displays significant behaviours?
  10. Is there a lunch program?
  11. Will my child be going on field trips?
  12. Will my Child participate in work experience?
  13. What will my child need for off-campus work?
  14. What is the curriculum?
  15. Are we following Alberta Education Guidelines?
  16. What Are Instructional hours?
  17. What else do you offer?
  18. Could there be anything else?
  19. What about specialized services?
  20. What about safety?
  21. What about Cold Weather?
  22. How do we communicate with the school?

1. What are the fees?

School fees have been standardized across schools by the Chinook’s Edge Board of Education.

1 to 6 - $60.00
7 to 9 - $75.00
10 to 12 - $100.00

Fees are broken into two groups:

  1. Mandatory School Fee (set by CESD)
  2. Optional Events Fee (School based)

The Mandatory Fee cover the costs of instructional materials, maintenance and repairs to instructional resources. Please note that if you have applied for a waiver, the school will be reimbursed for the costs of the Mandatory School Fee only. We would appreciate payment for the Optional Events Fee (which helps cover transportation costs)

The Optional Events Fee covers partial costs associated with curriculum-based field trips and work experience. Field trips will be planned and arranged by the teachers. Parents will be informed in writing, as to the educational purpose and any costs related to the trip. Parents must complete and sign an Acknowledgement of Risk form for each field trip. Parents are welcome to participate in field trips with their children.


2. What information do you need?

A package of forms is sent home annually.

The information requested enables us to update our files and provides us with the legal authorizations we require for your child to participate in school programs. We ask that these forms are completed carefully and that appropriate signatures are provided. The package should be returned at your earliest convenience. These documents may be sent directly to the Principal or School Secretary. Please include home, work and cell phone numbers for our files.

The school is required to have a copy of all birth certificates, custody orders or other legal documents governing the custody or guardianship of students.

Medical documentation (Doctors orders) will be required for those who require allergy alert/Epipen administration, and seizure protocols.
the custody or guardianship of students. These documents may be sent directly to the Principal.


3. What if my child is ill at school?

We have an obligation to provide a safe classroom environment for all students. We request that you cooperate in our efforts to protect the health of all students by keeping your child home if he/she shows signs or symptoms of being ill. If a child arrives at school ill, or becomes ill during the day, parents will be called and requested the child be taken home.

We consider sick children to be those having any of the following symptoms: excessive coughing or sneezing, vomiting, discoloured nasal discharge, throat or ear infections, fever or flu-like symptoms, a contagious disease or condition, pain or diarrhea. We recognize this list is not all-inclusive.


4. What if my child needs medica-tion at school?

CESD policy requires all students who need medication at school to have a completed Administration of Medication form completed and on file in the office. This includes all “over the counter” medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl or ointments. Students cannot be responsible for transporting medications to and from school. Please give the driver or attendant any medications you want delivered to the school.

All medication must be submitted in original containers and bubble packaged. We do not provide any medications.


5. What if my child is going to be away?
Please phone the school at 403-556-6310 to report your child's absences. The answering machine will record your message if you call before or after school hours. If your child is absent and we have not heard from you, we are required to contact you to determine your child's whereabouts. Please indicate to school staff if the student will be away for a lengthy period of time. It is very important to notify both the school and bus drivers if your child will be absent or if you have made any alternate transportation plans on any given day.


6. What if there is an emergency?

The school requires an Emergency Contact in the event we are unable to reach a parent/guardian. Please make sure the individual named on your forms is aware that they may be called to respond to an emergency. This could include picking the child up from school.

If your child is non-responsive, or demonstrating signs of severe illness, an ambulance will be called to the school and students will be taken directly to Olds Hospital at Parental expense. (CESD policy)


7. Are staff trained for emergencies?

All teachers, and support staff are trained and certified in emergency first aid, standard first aid, CPR, Epipen administration, and seizure response. In addition, specialized instruction is given by our SHOS Health Nurse, to individual staff who may be working with students requiring additional medical support.

Public Health issues will be addressed in consultation with Olds Public Health and families will be notified in the event of conta-gious diseases or infections identified in the school. Horizon School will follow Public Health Protocol and CESD Emergency Preparedness Protocols in case of infectious disease or epidemic.


8. What if my child displays significant behaviours?

All staff at Horizon School are trained and certified in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI). This international program promotes a preventative approach to dealing with aggressive or violent behaviours by emphasizing a pro-active, hands-off approach. If a student presents as being in crisis, we become “hands off”, meaning we will not physically engage a student unless they present a significant risk of harm to themselves, or other members of our com-munity. This approach is endorsed and practiced by CESD Schools.

Studio III, Low Arousal Approach: Horizon School is a pilot program in North America for the Studio III program practiced in England and in many European Countries. About 50% of our staff were formally trained in this new program and we are seeing remarkable results with our students.

When required, the school team and parents may be required to meet to develop a behaviour management plan to provide a procedure for safety of all students and staff.


9. Is there a lunch program?

In order to facilitate authentic learning, Horizon School has created a lunch program for those students whose IPP goals promote functional life skills. Students participating in the lunch program will be required to have weekly access to a bank-card in order to purchase food for lunch groceries.


10. Will my child be going on field trips?
We are very fortunate to have our own bus and take many opportunities to create learning within the community and natural social environments. Field trips will be offered approx. 1x per month and can include such activities as; bowling, trips to the movie theatre (private screenings), socialization at restaurants, participation in community/local events, travel to different swimming pools, farm activities, or malls.

We believe that social/community awareness and safety skills need to be practiced across a variety of environments.

You will be notified in advance for any additional fees.


11. Will my Child participate in work experience?

At each IPP meeting, the educational team and parents will determine appropriate activities to promote functional life and pre-employment skills. At our school, we initially work on “in-school” work related activities and with increasing student independence and success, we make decisions regarding “off campus” work experiences. Opportunities for work experience may be offered up to 4 days per week and are based on the individual.


12. What will my child need for off-campus work?

Your child will be required to dress appropriately for safety and hygienic reasons when representing our school in the community. Some safety equipment will be supplied (work gloves, safety glasses, hats, shoe/ice grippers). Appropriate footwear will be needed at all times when doing work experience.


13. What is the curriculum?

Horizon School staff provide instruction using “structured teaching” methodology and TEACCH intervention strategies. (see

We use a functional curriculum based on providing individualized opportunities for student growth in areas such as: independence, communication, functional life skills, functional academics, work experience, physical health and mobility, community involvement and socialization/leisure development.

Functional assessments (parent and school data) are utilized to identify a baseline on which all growth is measured. School teams, including parents, (and students when possible) gather 3x per year to develop, assess and evaluate IPP goals.

All curriculum and programming follows the Alberta Dept. of Edu-cation and CESD Guidelines.


14. Are we following Alberta Education Guidelines?

We provide 990 instructional hours per year based on a 180 day, year-round calendar. (August to June). As we are an ungraded school, we follow the CESD instructional hour allotments for elementary / jr. high schools. All schools in CESD operate on 180 day traditional calendar providing 960 instructional hours for elementary and jr. high school programming. Alberta Education requires 950 instructional hours at this level.


15. What Are Instructional hours?

All student programming at Horizon School is based upon Individualized Program Plans (IPP) developed in conjunction with the educational team and parents. We define instructional hours as those where instruction and/or supervision is related to an individual student’s needs and IPP goals. We plan daily for less structured activities and events, “sensory” or “sleep” breaks, group activities or work experiences as related to each individual. These breaks may be offered at different times throughout the school day, and may be increased or decreased depending upon student health, engagement or “unplanned” events.


16. What else do you offer?

At Horizon School we are fortunate to have many on-site facilities for student programming. We have an updated (2011) Multisensory Room, an active Greenhouse, an updated fitness/equipment room (2011) a gymnasium with adapted equipment, a full kitchen with 2 home-ec. stations, laundry facilities, a music room, a new ( 2011) “special education” library, an updated (2011) computer lab, with IPads, and Smartboards, a new (2011) indoor swing room, wheelchair accessibility lifts/washrooms, a wood shop, and our own wheelchair lift bus.


17. Could there be anything else?

Our school rents the Olds Aquatic Center, offering our students the opportunity to swim in a less crowded and safer environment. At no cost to families, we transport our students to swim 1x week (Fridays) for 22 weeks. During this time, our staff and students swim together. We hire 3 lifeguards and provide Physiotherapy programming as recommended by our REACH therapist. As per Olds Aquatic Center preference, we do not send menstruating students to swim.

In addition, we have weekly free access to the CLC Fitness center, located in the Olds High School / Community Learning Campus. During the winter we take groups of students to the indoor track to walk laps, use the fitness equipment and/or socialize with others up to 3x per week.


18. What about specialized services?

CESD contracts REACH services to provide access to Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, Speech and Language therapists, Educational Psychologists, and Vision Teachers.

These professionals are highly trained and experienced in working with special populations and families within Southern/Central Alberta.

REACH provides our school with class consultations, assessments and recommendations to be delivered by Teachers or EA staff. All programming is supervised and monitored by Therapists. The school does not provide 1-1 therapy. Families requiring extra assistance must access private services, Alberta Health or FSCD.


19. What about safety?

We are very concerned about the safety and security of our students, as they are a very vulnerable population.

In order to provide parents and staff with extra precautions, we follow CESD safety protocols and also work closely with the CESD Safety Officer.

Our school doors are locked externally during the day, with access to the front door through the use of the doorbell.

The inside school doors are open 10 minutes before commencement of classes and 10 minutes after dismissal. During inclement weather, the front vestibule will remain open during these times and when the school Secretary is absent from the office area.

All Visitors will be required to sign in and out of the school - providing a reason for their visit.

Fire regulations require all those in the school to have signed in/out in case of emergency (staff included).

Unscheduled visits or visitors will have access to the school only with permission of the School Principal. (The School Act Sect 27 Prohibited Activities)

As per FOIP Guidelines, all staff, students and families have the right to privacy during their working day.

Parents who would like to visit the school are encouraged to call and make an appointment with the Teacher or Principal.

When parents or family members are dropping off forgotten items, they will be asked to give them to the Secretary for distribution.

School volunteers are always welcome and encouraged. They will also be required to sign in/out, but in addition, they will be required to wear a visitor badge assigned by the school Secretary.

Our school is a nut-safe environment, but due to many students with nut-severe allergies; we ask that you refrain from sending nut related products.


20. What about Cold Weather?

The CESD policy regarding inclement weather applies to our School. However, our buses do not run when the actual temperature is –25 C. Our school will remain open for instruction unless directed by the Superintendent of Schools.

For further information please visit our division website at: under Policies and Administration Procedures Manual:
Section 1-13/ Inclement Weather


21. How do we communicate with the school?

We like to hear from please feel free to call the school during school hours or leave a message after hours and someone will return your call as soon as they are able.

We will also have a school email address working soon.

Students have individualized home/school communication books in which you may send us daily messages. We will also send you information regarding your child’s day, activities completed, fun events, medical concerns or just general information. Please initial daily so that we know you have read the book, even if you don’t have any comments to share. We will use this book as a means of transferring information or notes to you.