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Why teach at PALS Autism School?

PALS Autism School – a K-12 independent special education school in New Westminster – was started in 2007 by a group of parents who felt their children’s needs were not able to be met in traditional school programs. Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disability that significantly affects communication and social skills, and behaviour. Families choose to send their children to PALS because of our proven track record for providing individualized and inclusive education.

 

MISSION, VISION AND VALUES

The vision for PALS is to be a model learning environment that supports the needs of individuals with autism in small group formats, and 1:1 intervention. The mission of PALS is to provide year-round scientifically validated educational programs designed to encourage individual growth and personal achievement.

Draw for Employees

Our school provides abundant resources in the classroom, making teaching as low-stress as possible. With a strong fundraising base, staff are able to purchase appropriate technologies (i.e., Smartboards, iPads, etc.), curriculums and teaching materials for each classroom, as well as go on frequent field trips.

PALS has a high ratio of staff to student support so there are many highly trained staff available to help when challenging behaviours occur, allowing the teacher to continue working with the other students in the classroom. PALS also provides multiple therapies (i.e., ABA, OT, SLP) to each student, helping to address learning deficits and strengthen emerging skills, thus seeing consistent progress through the school year.

 

Why you’ll love it here

Staff choose to work at PALS because of the reputation the school holds in providing up-to-date evidence-based teaching for children with autism.

Community & School Culture

School community

PALS Autism School is one of 14 schools in the province designated by the Ministry of Education (MoE) as a special education school. This means that the MoE recognizes the teaching and resources provided by PALS goes above and beyond what is regularly available at non-special education schools. Students at PALS learn in small group formats with a low ratio of staff to student support.

Classroom teachers have up to 10 students in their classrooms, and students are supported in either a 1:1 or 2:3 ratio by trained educational instructors, a hybrid position combining the skills of both a behaviour interventionist and special education assistant. PALS focuses on teaching communication skills, social skills, academics, life skills, transition skills and behaviour intervention. The school employs special education teachers, behaviour analysts, a speech therapist and an occupational therapist. PALS uses a mobile app to communicate daily with families, including file sharing, which helps bridge the gap between home and school.

We offer a fun, fast-paced environment. Staff are like-minded individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of children with autism. We strive to create routine for our students who thrive on predictability, but we also make frequent changes to help keep rigidities at bay. This can go for both students and staff! PALS is a non-profit registered charity, with a heavy focus on fundraising for student bursaries. The school is open year-round to provide consistency for learning; however, there are several week-long closures spread throughout to give both staff and students a break to recharge.

Our community

PALS is located in the Queens Park neighbourhood in New Westminster. The school itself is a large heritage home on a quiet residential street, across from a beautiful green space, Tipperary Park, which hosts a weekly farmers’ market.

New Westminster is a family-oriented city, with many redevelopments to the downtown core, making it attractive for young people and young families who want more green space and more affordable housing compared to downtown Vancouver. It is a close SkyTrain ride away from other major cities like Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and North Vancouver. New Westminster has a hospital, a performing arts centre, a vibrant waterfront market, many large parks, shopping centres and outdoor swimming pools.

Salary and Benefits

Salaries for classroom teachers can range from $60,000-$65,000. We provide two weeks’ paid vacation time and five paid sick days. We give annual raises in addition to an annual performance bonus that is equivalent to one week of gross wages. PALS provides extended health and medical benefits.

With the school following a year-round calendar, PALS is closed for two weeks at Christmas, two weeks for spring break, two weeks at the beginning of July and two weeks at the end of August.

Professional development

We offer hands-on support to the staff with full-time behaviour consultants on staff and regular professional development opportunities. We have a robust professional development budget and provide monthly opportunities for teachers to receive additional training and support in areas of their choosing. We provide 24/7 access to an online learning portal called Relias Learning that has hundreds of hours in Applied Behaviour Analysis modules available.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Applicants must have experience teaching children with autism, with preference given to candidates who have experience using methodologies based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis