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Date - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
April 16, 2008

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Paula Murray
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Dale Midwood, Supervising Principal
Anne Nahorny, Secondary Program Consultant
Rob Pearson, Vice-Principal, Educational Services       

Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Nicholas Kaduck, Parents for Children’s Mental Health
Winton Roberts, Community Living - North Frontenac
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

David Allison, Principal at Educational Services
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Lauren Wale, Educational Services Coordinator

Approval of the Agenda

MOVED BY Charlene Whalen, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Charlene Whalen, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the minutes of the March 26, 2008 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Student Success Update

Ms. Bennett welcomed Supervising Principal Midwood and Ms. Nahorny, thanking them for attending this evening’s SEAC meeting to provide an update on Student Success.

Mr. Midwood introduced Ms. Nahorny, Secondary Program Consultant.  He thanked the Committee for inviting Ms. Nahorny and himself to the meeting.  He distributed copies of the Ministry of Education’s “More ways to success in high school: a booklet for parents and students”, as well as the Board’s “Exploring the Possibilities!” booklet.  As well, copies of the Demographics and Grade 8 Student Information sheet, the Successful Transitions Sharing Form, Grade 8 to Grade 9, and My Blueprint Education Planner were distributed.

Mr. Midwood provided an overview of the Student Success Initiative, noting that it encourages new ideas and innovative approaches to helping students graduate from high school.  He said that it helps students, noting that when teachers learn about new opportunities, they are better able to give students choices and match students with an appropriate alternative to regular classroom learning.

Mr. Midwood said that in the fall, a Ministry of Education initiative was implemented and now there are Student Success Teams in each of the Board’s secondary schools.  The teams are made up of administrators, teachers, guidance counsellors, Adolescent Care Workers, Learning Program Support teachers, and include members of the Transitions Team.  The teams provide extra attention and support for individual students when needed.  Student Success Teams identify and support struggling students, provide more options for learning, and track students’ progress.  Mr. Midwood advised that the Transitions program includes Grades 7-12 .

Mr. Midwood advised that the key link is the Sharing Form for those students identified in elementary school who are getting ready to move to secondary school.  Teachers will fill out the Successful Transitions Sharing Form (Grade 8 to Grade 9), and the form is then used by the Student Success Teams at the secondary level.  The teams help those students with low literacy and numeracy skills, and a one page student profiel for each student goes to every grade 9 teacher in September.  He said that there is also a tracking mechanism to support students at risk.

Mr. Midwood advised that there is a career planner for all students and a credit tracker.  He said that feedback about the career planner and credit tracker have been positive.

Mr. Midwood stated that the “Exploring the Possibilities!” booklet explains in detail what students and parents need to know in terms of programming.  

Mr. Midwood commented that there are many supports in place for at-risk students and for students with special needs.  He said that the Transition Teams and the Success Teams pick up on where students are when they come to high school and help with placement in whatever program suites them.  They also help with program differentiation by the classroom teacher.

Mr. Midwood commented that the “Student Success Team Deliverables” document includes strategies applicable to all students, including students who learn differently.

Ms. Nahorny stated that we have completed training for Transitions Teams in schools.  The training was for Grade 8 teachers, elementary administrators, Student Success Teams, and others, as we want to be consistent with our process.

Ms. Nahorny reviewed the MISA data sheet, and the Successful Transitions Sharing Form, Grade 8 to Grade 9, and the MyBlueprint Education Planner.

Mr. Midwood reviewed information on the roles of the Student Success Leaders, Guidance/Student Services, Adolescent Care Worker, and Learning Program Support teachers.

Mr. Midwood thanked Educational Services staff for their work on the Transitions Team.

Trustee Crawford thanked Mr. Midwood and Ms. Nahorny for providing the above-noted information.

Special Education Plan Revisions

Ms. Akey advised that the Ministry has directed that the Special Education Plan be revised and updated this year.  She reviewed the areas to be revised, and asked if anyone would like to participate in the process.

Pat LaLonde stated that she would participate in the area of staff development, and staffing.

Ms. Akey stated that the revised Special Education Plan would be brought to the May 14, 2008 SEAC Committee meeting for review, and the revised Plan is due at the Ministry by July~15,  2008.

Educational Services Update

Mr. Pearson advised that as part of Educational Services’ last staff meeting, a presentation on Custody Access Issues Relating to Parent Contact, Access to Information and Decision Making was given by Hilary Warder, a lawyer from Cunningham Swan.  He further advised that Kevin Hulton provided an update regarding the work of the District Character Education Committee, as well as a MEND update.

Mr. Pearson reported that the Autism Spectrum Disorder Teacher and Administrator Professional Learning Course is holding its second session this evening.  It is being led by Kathy McVety-Kavanagh and Kristin Check with guest speakers from the School Support Program of ASD from Pathways and parents.

Mr. Pearson reported that a SST/LPS meeting will take place tomorrow.  Clincial staff, Speech/Language Pathologists, Student Support Counsellors and Student Attendance Counsellors will also be taking part in the day.  The agenda will include a Bill 212 (Safe Schools) update.  The afternoon sessions will include ADHD updates with Peter Chaban (Toronto Sick Kids) followed by a presentation by Dr. Susan Buchanan (Hotel Dieu Hospital) regarding Anxiety and Depression.

Mr. Pearson commented that April 25th is a Professional Development Day and the focus for the day will be Improvement planning: Instructional/Assessment Strategies to Improve Student Outcomes in Numeracy.  Special Education teaching staff are invited to attend school-based sessions.

Mr. Pearson advised that Sagonaska Demonstration School applications are due May 15, 2008 for the September 2009-2010 school year.

Mr. Pearson advised that Autism Spectrum Disorders  training for educational assistants will be provided by Geneva Centre staff on April 24 and 25 at the Italo-Canadian Club.

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

Association Updates

Autism Society

Pat LaLonde indicated that the Autism Society of Ontario , Kingston Chapter, is looking for new members.
Trustee Crawford thanked Ms. LaLonde for her update.

Other Business

Kathy Bennett congratulated the organizers of the Skills Competition on the success of their event, which was held at St. Lawrence College.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. at the Board Office.


MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by John Freeman, that the meeting adjourn at  7:35~p.m.–Carried