School Overview


The programming at Horizon School is designed to meet the individual needs of every student. Each student has an Individual Program Plan (IPP) designed collaboratively by community schools, Horizon School, parents, and specialists. 

Several key areas of focus across all of our programming are:

  • developing the highest level of independence for students 
  • social emotional well-being
  • cultivation of authentic relationships
  • sensory and self-regulation
  • self-help and self-advocacy skills
  • functional communication skills
  • employability and workplace skills


Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the fees?

  • At Horizon, we charge a Life Skills Program fee of $50.00 which covers materials used in life skills programming
  • An annual Field Trip fee of $20.00 which covers costs of in town and special field trips throughout the year
  • An Art & Crafts fee of $10.00 and a Bulk School Supply fee of $20.00; totaling $100.00.

2. What information do you need?

  • The information requested in our information package 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.
  •  This package needs to be returned within the first week of school.
  •  These documents may be sent directly to our Office Administrator, Miss Debbie. Please include home/work and cell phone numbers, email addresses and emergency contacts for our files.
  •  All schools are required to have a copy of all  birth certificates, custody orders or other legal documents governing the custody or guardianship of students.
  •  The school requires an EMERGENCY CONTACT within close proximity to Olds 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.
  •  Medical documentation/protocols (Dr. orders/signature) will be required for those who need Epipen and medication at school.

 3. What if my child is going to be away?

  • Please phone the school at 403-556-6310 and your bus driver to report your child’s absences. The answering machine will record your message. If your child is absent and we have not heard from you, we are required to contact you to determine your child’s whereabouts.

4. 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. 

If parents are unavailable by phone or text, we will:

1. Call emergency contacts

2. followed by either taking your child to the Olds Hospital Emergency room

3. and/or contacting Child and Family Services

  • Students taken directly to Olds Hospital via ambulance will be at Parental expense (CESD policy)
  • An ambulance will be called for seizures lasting more than 4 minutes.
  • We consider sick children to be those having any of the following symptoms: excessive coughing, throat or ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, fever or flu like symptoms and when a child’s temperature is at 38, a contagious disease or condition, or pain. We recognize this list is not all inclusive.
  • Public health issues will be addressed in consultation with Olds Public Health and/or HealthLink Alberta. Families will be notified in the event of contagious/infectious diseases identified in the school.
  • Horizon School will follow Public Health Protocol and CESD Emergency Preparedness Protocols in case of infectious disease or epidemic.

5. Are staff trained for emergencies?

  • Teachers, and Support Staff are trained in first aid response as per CESD requirements. An ambulance will be called for serious medical emergencies or situations.

6. What if my child needs medication at school?

  • CESD policy requires all students who need medication at school to have an Administration of Medication form on file at the school. This includes all ‘over the counter’ medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl or ointments. We do not supply medications.
  • ·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 (to be kept in a locked bag)
  • All medication must be submitted in original containers and prescription medications are to be bubble packed.

Please note that our school-based Health Care Aide will administer, monitor and manage student medications.

7. 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 community. This approach is endorsed  and practiced by CESD Schools.
  • We also practice Studio III: Low arousal approach.
  • 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.
  • School programs may be “stopped” for a child until the school and parent teams can develop appropriate interventions.
  • Traditional school suspensions may be considered should student/staff safety be significantly compromised.

8. Is there a lunch program?

  • In order to facilitate authentic learning, Horizon School has created an optional 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.

9. 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 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. (No cash will be accepted)

10. Will my Child participate in Work Study ?

  • 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  begin with “in-school” work related activities and with increasing student independence, age and success, we make decisions regarding “off-campus” work study. Opportunities for work experience may be offered up to 4 days per week and are based on the individual.

11. 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. (May include steel toe shoes).

12. 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 Education and CESD Guidelines.

IPP Dates:

Meeting #1-establish goals for school years

Meeting #2-report progress and /or adjust goals

Meeting #3-Summary of progress and transition plan

13. What are instructional hours?

  • Our school hours are from 8:50 –3:00 with required student breaks. We define hours as those where instruction and/or supervision is related to an individual student’s needs and IPP goals.

14. What is student programming?

  • 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” 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.
  • Students may be working toward AB Education Curricular outcomes, or working on functional academic and life skills programs depending on developmental level.

15. What else do you offer?

  • At Horizon School we are fortunate to have many on-site facilities for student programming. We have a Multisensory Room, an updated fitness/equipment room, a gymnasium with adapted equipment, 3 full kitchens, laundry facilities, a specialized library, iPads, Smartboards, a multi purpose room, a Sensory and Feelings Room, our own wheelchair accessible buses and an adapted playground.


16. Could there be anything else?

  • Olds Aquatic Center is rented to offer 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 a week (Fridays) for 20 weeks. During this time, our staff and students swim together. We have three lifeguards on deck. As per Olds Aquatic Center preference, we do not send menstruating students to swim and non swimmers must wear lifejackets.
  • In addition, we have unlimited access to the CLC Fitness center, located in the Olds High School. We take groups of students to the indoor track to walk laps, use the fitness equipment and/or socialize with others.
  • These activities are provided by your fundraising dollars and donations through the Horizon Parent Society.

Family School Wellness: the Family School Wellness Program is a confidential, voluntary, preventative service offered to children, youth and families. Family School Wellness is available year round and free of charge. Services can be offered through the school, at your home or in the community.

Referral: Any member of the school community requiring family related support or information may access the program. One visit is allowed prior to parental or guardian consent.

17. 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.
  • 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 so as not to interrupt student programming.
  • School volunteers are always welcome and encouraged. They will be required to sign in/out, and wear a visitor badge assigned by the school Secretary. Volunteers need to submit a current criminal record and child welfare check and are required to sign confidentiality oaths.
  • Our school is a nut-safe environment: we ask that you refrain from sending nut related products.
  • Students and staff are required to wear photo identification for off-site activities. Emergency and medical information is included with all student ID.

18. What About specialized services?

  • CESD has its own team of enhanced service providers consisting of: Clinical Psychologist, Occupational Therapist and Speech-Language Therapist. These professionals are highly trained and experienced in working with complex and diverse student populations and families. Our Therapists provide our school teams with whole-class and individual consultations, assessments and recommendations to be delivered by Teachers with the support of 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 through FSCD.

20. What is our Transition Planning process?

  • At the end of each year teachers plan for transition by meeting with parents to discuss strategies that have been successful, supports and services required for the upcoming school year and collaborate with parents to identify goals.

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. Monthly newsletters will provide a summary from each classroom regarding programming, special events and/or updates from your child’s teacher.

22.  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.
  • Yellow days – the days when busses might not run but Horizon school remains open. On Yellow days, we anticipate that the majority of people will be able to drive to Horizon school and that learning will proceed as it normally does. Here is an example of a Yellow day: Days when there is an ambient temperature of -25 degrees temperature or below in the morning, but the weather is relatively fine for the rest of the day. This type of weather may disrupt bus service, but our staff and our parents can often travel safely simply by arriving a little later.
  • Red days – Horizon School will be closed on the days when we are faced with a full blown blizzard, if we are experiencing freezing rain, fog, or when we still have a combination of heavy snow, highwinds, and very low visibility. On Red days, to ensure the safety of everyone at Horizon, we will close the school not only for students, bus also for staff. School closure days will be communicated the evening prior or early in the morning, before 6:30 a.m. whenever possible, through local radio stations, through Alert Solutions announcements directly to parents, through our Chinook’s Edge website, Facebook and Twitter.
  • For further information please visit our website at: under

                     Policies and  Administration Procedures Manual:

                    Section 1-13/ Inclement Weather