Our School

Photo Crystal Bay

We acknowledge that we live, learn, work, and play on the unceded and unsurrendered homeland of the Algonquin people. We recognize their enduring presence on this land and commit to expanding our learning.

Our School

Crystal Bay Centre for Special Education was founded in 1972. The Centre is located in the west end of Ottawa and supports students with profound Developmental Disabilities. Our students are selected through an admission process which includes psychological reports and medical diagnosis.

Our Students

Crystal Bay has an enrolment of 96 students each with unique skills and abilities from various multicultural backgrounds. The students range from 3.8 to 21 years of age. All students at Crystal Bay are placed by an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee and are identified as exceptional developmental disability. Some students have a dual diagnosis of autism coupled with a developmental disability; other students may also have a developmental disability coupled with either a physical, hearing or visual impairment. Some of our students are epileptic and may have other congenital health related issues.

All students at Crystal Bay Centre are on an individual education program to meet their needs. Our main focus is on daily living skills, augmentative communication, self-control, social and communication skills. At the same time, we focus on sensory-motoric stimuli as well as gross and fine motor development through our swimming program, sensory motor activity room and physical education program. We also offer our older students various work experience opportunities (working in our kitchen; crushing cans; recycling; doing laundry; and, growing plants in our greenhouse). The school has a Sensory Motor Activity Room also known as our SENSroom. In September, we opened a fitness room for our students.

Our Staff

There are 15.69 teachers and 43 educational assistants all with a very special interest in helping and assisting students to achieve their highest potential. This group of dynamic individuals comes to Crystal Bay with a vast background of experience and interests. We also access the services of a Psychologist, Social Worker, Speech and Language Pathologist, a Communicative Disorders Assistant, as well as services from a nurse, occupational therapist, and physiotherapist. We also network with Service Coordination of Ottawa. The staff is totally committed and dedicated to assisting students in their continued quest for independence in life. Ongoing professional growth is a priority in order for staff to best meet the diverse needs of our students. Most of our educational assistants have a background in nursing, Developmental Service Work or Early Childhood Education.

Our Community

The role of the members of the School Council is to act as an advocate for our children. They stay connected to the staff, curriculum developments and important political and budget changes that affect our children. They also do considerable fundraising. The School Council fully supports programs in the classroom.

Mission Statement

We offer a caring and individualized approach to meet the diverse needs of our students. We believe in, advocate for and are committed to their independence, dignity and future successes.

Facilities and Resources

Crystal Bay is very fortunate to enjoy a commercial kitchen that provides work experience for many intermediate and senior students. There is a living skills area that includes a working kitchen and laundry facility. This is to provide students with life skills required for independent living. Physiotherapists, in conjunction with staff, have established a fitness room. The school has a greenhouse where students grow and take care of plants then sell them to local businesses as a fundraiser. We have a wonderful, interactive Snoezelen Room that is used by each classroom. Our Sensory Motor Activity Room continues to be a popular room where our primary and junior classes work on gross motor skills. In September 2007, the school received a grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa to enhance our physical education program. A grant from the Grocers Foundation allowed for the creation of an exercise room. Our play structures have been updated and a wonderful wheelchair-accessible play structure including a disc swing was added. We are looking forward to the addition of a wheelchair accessible swing (coming soon). The flooring under the swings and one of the play structures is made of rubber to provide safety for our students.


Programs and Services

Academic Programs

Programs for students with developmental disabilities are specialized and are designed to meet the specific and varied needs of students. Parents and staff work collaboratively on establishing the goals for students. The staff develops the student’s Individual Educational Program (IEP) based on those needs. The foci are on communication skills; functional Numeracy/literacy; life skills; and self-regulatory skills.

Classroom Organization

Crystal Bay has 12 classrooms. The program is delivered by a qualified special education teacher who works in collaboration with 3 educational assistants who provide support for student programming and needs. Our school is currently organized into 3 pods of four classrooms each.

Special Education and Multilingual Learner Programs

All of the students have special needs and have been identified as exceptional by the IPRC process. Programs are individualized and designed to meet the educational and social needs of the students. Crystal Bay receives consultative or direct services from the Champlain Community Care Access Centre for occupational therapy, physiotherapy, nursing, and nutrition. The OCDSB provides service in the area of speech and language, social work, and psychology.

Clubs and Activities

The students take part in various activities depending on their needs as described in their IEPs (Individual Educational Plan). Some of these programs could include:

  •  Therapeutic swimming and cycling;
  • Snoezelen room for multi-sensory therapy;

    • Sensory Motor Activity Room for vestibular, proprioceptive, tactile stimulation;
    • Living skills room for work experience;
    • Exercise room for fitness and health;
    • Community outings for socialization and community awareness and;
    • Greenhouse and the commercial kitchen for work experience

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