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February 20, 2008 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
February 20, 2008

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room on Wednesday, February 20, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Paula Murray

Barb McLaren
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
David Allison, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
JoAnne Payne, Senior Administrator, Educational Services
Present Other:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen's University)
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Nicole Eddington, C.N.I.B.
Lori Gammeljord, Member-at-Large (Chamber of Commerce)
Nicholas Kaduck, Parents for Children’s Mental Health
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
Winton Roberts, Community Living - North Frontenac
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children's Services, Lennox and Addington

Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Kathy McVety Kavanagh, Special Education Program Coordinator
Rob Pearson, Vice-Principal, Educational Services
Lauren Wale, Educational Services Coordinator
The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett. She welcomed those present to the meeting, especially Nadine Carson, the new representative from Epilepsy Kingston.

Approval of the Agenda

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by David Williams, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by David Williams, that the minutes of the December 12, 2007 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

LDSB and Community Threat Assessment Protocol. A Collaborative Response to Student Threat Making Behaviours

Ms. Akey introduced JoAnne Payne, Senior Administrator at Educational Services.

Ms. Payne thanked the Committee for inviting her to present this evening, stating that it is a pleasure to attend the meeting to provide an overview of the Community Threat Assessment Protocol, A Collaborative Response to Student Threat Making Behaviours.

Ms. Payne stated that the Community Threat Assessment Protocol is a collaborative document that was put together by the Limestone District School Board’s community partners, noting that the LDSB was the lead agency.

Ms. Payne presented the following information:

•       Remove, or reduce any threats to the safety of students, school staff and parents
•       Communicate student information between agencies and the school boards
•       Develop a multi-disciplinary community response
•       Collaborate to develop supportive plans for students at risk for self harm and/or at risk for harming others

Community Partners

The LDSB will be the lead agency.
•       Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
•       City of Kingston
•       Frontenac Paramedic Services, County of Lennox & Addington EMS
•       Children’s Aid Society for County of Frontenac and City of Kingston
•       Family and Children’s Services – Lennox & Addington
•       Greater Napanee Fire Department
•       Hotel Dieu Hospital/Kingston General Hospital
•       Dr. Margaret Joynt
•       Kingston Fire and Rescue
•       Kingston Police
•       Kingston Police Services Board
•       Ministry of Child and Youth Services – Youth Justice Division
•       Ontario Provincial Police – Napanee and Frontenac Division
•       Pathways for Children and Youth
•       St. Lawrence Youth Association
•       Youth Diversion Program

Protocol Development
•       Meetings with community partners
•       LDSB/Community partner committee training
•       Threat Assessment training with community partners, staff bargaining units, Educational Services
•       Consultation with Board lawyer and Ministry of Child and Youth Services lawyer

Signing Ceremony – January 31, 2008
•       Agency and Board commitment
•       Press Release
•       Press Coverage – print media, radio, television

        Ms. Payne provided a excerpt from The Kingston Whig-Standard, “School board initiative aims to help troubled youth”.

Key Approaches
•       The sharing of relevant information between partners on a proactive basis
•       Investigative Mindset:
        •       thoughtful probing
        •       healthy skepticism
        •       connecting the dots
        •       paying attention to worrisome behaviours
•       Early Intervention
•       Building Capacity

Supportive Intervention Planning
•       Parental Input
•       Student Input
•       Victim Input/Needs

Also consider:
•       level of risk
•       suicide risk
•       daily-weekly check-in
•       staff communication/support
•       special education/diagnostic profile
•       modified programming
•       Safety Plan development
•       community supports
•       precipitating/aggravating circumstances
•       safe schools implications

Implementation of Community Threat Assessment Protocol
•       Threat Assessment/Crisis Response Training – from 2004-05 to 2008
•       Development of LDSB/Community Threat Assessment Advisory Committee
•       Protocol Development/Writing
•       Consultation with Crown Attorney – Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
•       District Principals’ Meeting – February 2008
•       LDSB Special Education Advisory Committee – February 2008
•       LDSB Education/Human Resources Committee – February 2008
•       Ministry of Education/Community Partners meeting – March 6, 2008
•       Agency/school staff training – April 2008
•       School-based leadership team planning – April 2008
•       Educational Services Staff Training – April 2008

Ms. Payne stated that early intervention is the Limestone District School Board’s way so that we do not have to deal with a tragic event. She noted that building capacity is a big part of this initiative to build understanding within the community.

Kathy Bennett thanked Ms. Payne for providing information about the LDSB and Community Threat Assessment Protocol.

Ms. Payne withdrew from the meeting.

CODE, OPA Update

Ms. Akey advised that Tiffany Mountenay, Principal of Special Projects, has sent her regrets.

Ms. Akey reported that the CODE and OPA projects have become intertwined, noting that there is a continued focus on improving student achievement and increasing teacher capacity.

Ms. Akey advised that teachers in the Behaviour Centres are involved, and that they are linked with classroom teachers and literacy projects in the regular classroom.

Ms. Akey advised that Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings are held to talk about best literacy practices, linking best practice with teachers in the regular classroom and differeniated instruction.

Ms. Akey advised that Smart Board training continues, and school-based team meetings are held to discuss assessment results and to make program changes. She reported that more training will be provided for teachers in the Spring.

Ms. Akey indicated that last year’s CODE report is available. She indicated that another update will be brought to the Committee in May, which is when the projects are to be completed.

Assistive Technology Presentation

Mr. Allison introduced Rebecca Cabell, Lisa Delaney, and Heidi Cramm, Occupational Therapists who are part of a company called Compass Occupational Therapy Solutions. He said that they go into schools once SEA (Specialized Equipment Amount) computer equipment arrives for a student, noting that their focus is to do training around the software.

Ms. Cabell, Ms. Delaney and Ms. Cramm spoke about occupational therapy and assistive technology for those students having mental health issues, neurocognitive/neurobiological disorders, such as learning disability, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyper Sensitivity, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, etc. Ms. Delaney said that the brain is wired differently in people with neurocognitive disorders. She stated that executive functioning skills are critical for success. She said that low executive functionality translates into: inefficiencies, low accuracy and low speed. Ms. Delaney said that because students with low executive functioning skills have learned over the years that their effort is useless, they need to be encouraged to try the assistive technology as they believe they will fail.

Ms. Cabell stated that students with low executive functionality need to learn to cope with their disorders, and use the technology tools required to be successful. She said that these students will not grow out of their disorders; therefore, they need to use the technology as a tool, not as a fix or cure. She stated that increased participation is a big picture goal. We need to build an environment to support a student’s participation and access. We want to increase the effectiveness of a student, how a student can successfully do a task, and how the environment supports the student to successfully engage in the task.

Ms. Cramm commented on the assistive technology assessment process. Using the technology as part of the assessment helps to socialize students to the future with technology. Students with neurocognitive disorders need to use the assistive technology tools so that they can grow into their disorder and move forward with the tools they need. Ms. Cramm stated that the tools allow students to objectively see the difference in their performance, to reduce the risk of failed technology uptake.

Ms. Cramm commented on the common recommendations as follows:

Reading Comprehension/Speed: Kurzweil
Dictation: Dragon/Speak Q
Word Prediction: Word Q/Co Writer/ Premier Predictor

Ms. Cramm commented on some of the other software available to help students with neurocognitive disorders, as well as on the expectations.

Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. Cabell, Ms. Delaney, and Ms. Cramm for providing information about assistive technology.

Ms. Cabell, Ms. Delaney, and Ms. Cramm withdrew from the meeting.

Bill 212 (Safe Schools) Presentation

This item is deferred to the March meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee.

Educational Services Update
Mr. Allison advised that Lauren Wale, Kristin Check and Eva Carlin, Educational Services staff, did a Transitions to School Presentation at the Child Development Centre. He said that a number of agencies, and a large parent group were in attendance, noting that the session was very informative. He said that Educational Services staff shared information around the Board’s practice to bring children with special needs into our system. He indicated that the parents appreciated the information as it promotes a successful transition into junior kindergarten.

Mr. Allison indicated that Educational Services staff held another “Nuts and Bolts” session today for Principals and Vice-Principals, sharing best practices around special education. He said that a previous session was held on February 14th, noting that the sessions were well attended.

Mr. Allison stated that Educational Services continues to move forward with the implementation of Policy/Program Memorandum 140, Incorporating Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He said that the Board has partnered with Pathways for Children and Youth, and will offer three two-day sessions with regard to training.

Mr. Allison reported that the Developmental Disabilities Course for teachers and administrators is ongoing.

Mr. Allison advised that on April 9, an Autism Spectrum Disorder Course will be offered, noting that the Board has partnered with the School Support Program.

Ms. Bennett thanked Mr. Allison for providing an update on the activities at Educational Services.


Marg Akey advised that the following piece of correspondence was referred from the January 16, 2008 LDSB Board meeting to SEAC:

From the District School Board of Niagara, a letter asking the Board to endorse its motion of November 13, 2007, as follows, by making the LDSB’s views known to Mr. George Zegarac, Assistant Deputy Minister, Special Education Strategic Planning Branch, Ministry of Education, 900 Bay Street, Mowat Block, 4th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1L2:

“That the Ministry of Education amend the current funding formula determining the level of funding for the High Needs Amount (ISA 2 and ISA 3) section of the special education grant to reflect current realities.”

The Committee directed Ms. Akey to write a letter on behalf of the Co-Chairs to Mr. George Zegarac, Assistant Deputy Minister, Special Education Strategic Planning Branch, Ministry of Education, 900 Bay Street, Mowat Block, 4th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1L2, requesting that the Ministry of Education amend its current funding formula for the High Needs Amount.

Association Updates

The Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Mr. Williams advised that a series of Bluegrass concerts are being held in support of the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston. There is a concert taking place this evening, and the next concert is being held on March 12, 2008, followed by another one on April 23, 2008. The concerts are taking place at The Christ Church Parish Centre, 990 Sydenham Road, Kingston, and tickets are $20 in advance, or $23 at the door. He advised that band accommodation is compliments of LaSalle-Travelodge, Kingston. He indicated that all proceeds are going to The Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston.

Epilepsy Kingston

Nadine Carson reported on the Be Heard Program, noting that the Epilepsy Alliance of Ontario received a $225,000 Trillium grant from the Province of Ontario. She said that 30 students who have a knowledge of epilepsy are to be selected to attend a training session so that they can go into schools to talk about epilepsy to reduce the stigma attached to it.

Ms. Carson advised that radio spots are being aired to raise awareness about epilepsy. The spots will be aired on CLFY 98.3 and 98.9.

Ms. Carson advised that Tim Eichholz, Executive Director of Epilepsy, will be contacting the Board with regard to implementing a program whereby Grade 5 students are presented with information about the brain and neurological composition, to raise awareness of epilepsy.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the SEAC Committee will be held on Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board Office, 151 Dairy Avenue, Napanee. Supper will be at 5 p.m. Kevin Cameron will present from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

The next regular meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, March 26, 2008, at 5:00 p.m. at the Board Office.


MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by John Freeman, that the meeting adjourn at 8:40 p.m.–Carried