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November 25, 2008 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
November 19, 2008

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, November 19, 2008, at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Helen Brown
Paula Murray
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Kathy McVety-Kavanagh, Special Education Program Coordinator
Dale Midwood, Supervising Principal
Mike Sewell, Program Leader, Skills Training & Technology
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services

The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who welcomed those present to the meeting.  She especially welcomed Supervising Principal Midwood and Mike Sewell, Program Leader, Skills Training & Technology, who were present to provide a Student Success Update.  As well, she welcomed Steve Ward, the new Vice-Principal at Educational Services, who is replacing Rob Pearson, who has moved to Sharbot Lake High School.

Supervising Principal Akey advised that Winton Roberts, a long-standing SEAC member, had passed away on October 29, 2008, at Great War Memorial Hospital in Perth.  She extended condolences to his family.

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 Nadine Carson, seconded by John Freeman, that the minutes of the October 15, 2008 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Student Success Update

Supervising Principal Midwood thanked the Committee for inviting Program Leader Sewell and himself to the meeting to provide an update about Student Success.  He said that the the purpose of the presentation is to provide an update on Student Success as it correlates with Special Education initiatives

Messrs. Midwood and Sewell provided the following information about Student Success Learning to 18:

Ministry of Education Strategic Directions

•       High levels of student achievement
•       75% of students will meet provincial standard for grade 6 reading, writing and mathematics by 2008; 85% graduation rate by 2010
•       85% graduation rate by 2010
•       Reduced gaps in student achievement (e.g. special education, boys’ literacy, aboriginal and ELL populations)
•       Increased public confidence and support for public education

Note:  These targets include students with special education needs.

Student Success 2008-2009


•       Education for All (Changing to Learning for All)
•       Success for All
•       Taking Student Success to the Classroom

Where We Are Going – 2008/2009

•       Deeper Implementation of existing policy directions and programs.
•       Programs to Support Every Student
•       Support for Every School/Every Teacher
•       Differentiated Support for Some Schools/Targeted Support

Student Success Succinctly

•       Assessment for Learning policy and practice including formative and second chance assessment fully accepted and implemented
•       Success Teams fully implemented in every secondary school
•       Transitions fully implemented throughout the district
•       Quality, accessible Expanded Opportunities for all students
•       Results (Indicator Data) support a breakthrough in terms of reaching every student and every teacher

Education for All: Necessary for some/Good for All

Guiding Principles (What)
•       All students can succeed
•       Differentiated Instruction effectively meets the needs of any group of students
•       Assessment and evaluation policy supports the demonstration of learning for all students
•       All classroom teachers are key educators for a student’s literacy and numeracy development
•       Each student has his or her own unique pattern of learning
•       Fairness is not sameness

Education for All/Success for All

Process Principles (How)
•       Engage all educators with a strong focus on supporting classroom teachers at both the elementary and secondary levels
•       Provide educators with effective tools to improve achievement levels and close gaps
•       Align key Ministry initiatives K to 12 (Student Success/Learning to 18, Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, Education for All)

Every Student Deserves a Good Outcome (K-12)

•       Increasing graduation and reducing drop out rates
•       Changing pedagogy and culture through strong, focussed leadership and ownership in schools and boards
•       Providing new and relevant opportunities
•       Building on students’ interests and strengths
•       Effective transitions from elementary to secondary school, between schools and from secondary to post-secondary destinations

8-9 Transition – Deliverables

•       a designated caring adult advocate
•       individualized timetables based on profiles of students’ interests and strengths
•       monitored and tracked progress
•       interventions and support throughout the school year

Successful Transitions

•       Transitions Sharing Form – Grade 8 to 9 (Specific information re: student learning styles, strengths, areas in need of attention)
•       Student Success/LPS Sharing Conference – First Class (Electronic sharing of student information for staff - student support profile/Individual Education Plan

Differentiated Instruction

•       Effective instruction that is responsive to the learning preferences, interests and readiness of the individual learner
•       An organizing structure or framework for thinking about teaching and learning
•       Responding to student needs with an awareness of the decisions that we make and taking deliberate action to meet the needs of all learners

Token Program – Rules/Respect

Taking Stock

Transitions Monitoring
•       Percentage of students in grade 9 designated as “at risk” or who are identified
•       Programming which includes caring adult, individualized timetable, strengths and needs based on student profile


Mr. Midwood provided an overview of the Intervention Plan, indicating that there are Student Success Teams in every school.

Student Success Teams
5 Deliverables: 2007-08

1.      Develop and use a system for monitoring and tracking students at risk.

2.      Execute a coordinated timeline that ensures there is a plan in place for students at risk.

3.      Clarify roles and responsibilities within the team.

4.      Execute a staff development and communication plan to encourage shared responsibility within the staff.

5.      Measure its team effectiveness in improving student achievement.

Mr. Midwood reviewed the Credit Intervention Strategies.

Credit Recovery

•       Credit recovery programs are available in every school for any student where it has been determined by the School Council Recovery Team to be the appropriate way for a student to regain a credit.

•       All credit recovery programs are based on current Ministry of Education approved courses.
Student Success Update (continued)

•       Credit recovery enables students to recover credits that have been lost by meeting the overall expectations of the course.

Success Team Visit Guide

•       Success Team meeting schedule
•       Success Team roles and responsibilities
•       Transitions activities
•       Prevention/Intervention/Rescue Recovery
•       Alignment – Indicator Data/Assessment
•       Pathways
•       Taking Student Success to the Classroom
•       Targeted Supports

Mr. Midwood stated that the four pillars of Student Success include: Literacy, Mathematical Literacy, Community, Culture and Caring, and Pathways.


Literacy Test
Literacy Course
        •       OSSLC can be used as a compulsory English
        •       OSSLC fulfills the graduation literacy requirement

Mathematical Literacy

All students can learn Mathematics, with enough support, resources, and time, and we must ensure that they do.

Community, Culture, Caring

“Be more understanding.  Be more flexible.  Be more proactive.”  (Dr. Bruce Ferguson)


Mr. Sewell reviewed information about the Program Pathway, noting that a student’s program pathway is his/her educational program and it reflects the goals that help motivate him/her to complete secondary school.  It is designed to prepare the student for a successful transition to an initial post-secondary destination.

Ontario Skills Passport

A bilingual web-based resource that:

•       describes the Essential Skills and work habits important in work, learning and life; and
•       has tools to help students build these skills and work habits and create a great résumé.

Helping Students Be Successful

•       myBlueprint Program Planner
•       Employer Registry (KEYS)
•       Exploring the Possibilities (A Program Pathway Planning Guide for Grade 8 Students and Parents)
•       Destinations of Choice
•       Certifications
•       MTEL (Managing Technology fo Experiential Learning)
•       Skills Competition

Expanded Opportunities

Focus Programs

•       Broad-based Technology
•       Career/Unique
•       OYAP
•       Referral
•       46 Programs

Mr. Midwood reviewed information about the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Program.

Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)

Supervising Principal Midwood stated that the Specialist High Skills Major is a significant initiative with the Ministry of Education.  He reported that the Limestone District School Board is in its third year of this initiative.  He advised that the Special High Skills Major (SHSM) program offers students the opportunity to explore a specific area or career of interest and to acquire the skills and experiences that will assist them in their post secondary destination of choice in one of the four pathways: Apprenticeship Training, College, University or the Workplace.

Supervising Principal Midwood advised that the Board currently offers SHSM programs in Manufacturing, Hospitality & Tourism and Construction.  He advised that a fourth SHSM program, Arts & Culture, will be launched in the near future.

Dual Credits

•       Dual credits provide a reach-ahead opportunity to college and apprenticeship programs.
•       The focus in on early engagement of students heading to college and who might face challenges in graduating.
•       4,500 students in all 70 eligible boards and all 24 colleges in 171 dual credit programs in 2008-09
•       IMC@SLC, Triple Play, Photography & Culture, Community Service Worker, Law & Security

Enhanced Co-Op

•       Continuous Intake Co-Op
•       Co-Op is working
•       2 Co-Op credits – compulsory credits
•       OYAP Program
•       Specialist High Skills Major Program
•       Specialized Co-Op for students with special education needs
•       Virtual Co-Op
•       Summer Co-Op

e-Learning Ontario: Working in Collaboration

•       Credit Intervention supports
•       Credit Recovery
•       OSSLT support
•       Supports DI
•       Easing transition into high school
•       Electronic and classroom resources
•       Credit courses

Mr. Midwood stated that the Board is hoping for sustainability of these programs.  He reviewed the School Improvement Cycle, stating that we are working together to serve our students.

Student Success Team Web Resource Bank

In response to a question from Mr. Williams asking what is in place for community organizations to assist the Student Success Teams in transitioning students, Mr. Sewell stated that representatives from community organizations would be welcomed to the Student Success Team Advisory Committee.

Im response to a further question from Mr. Williams regarding a structure in place for children at risk, Mr. Midwood stated that the structure in place is that the Student Success Teams do include Learning Program Support teachers.  Mrs. Akey stated that when staff meets to transition a child from Grade 8 to 9 to talk about the needs of that child, there may be staff from community agencies in attendance at the meeting.

Mr. Williams referred to high school students with learning disabilities having behavioural problems, and where there is no opportunity to join a Success Team, and there is no community partner involved, asking how easy would that be to facilitate.  Mr. Midwood stated that it would be on an as needed basis.  There could be for example, an Adolescent Care Worker or representative from KAIROS or Lennox and Addington Addictions present.  He said it would be an ad hoc possibility in the existing structure.

Ms. Bennett thanked Messrs. Midwood and Sewell for providing an update on Student Success.

Messrs. Midwood and Sewell withdrew from the meeting.

Educational Services Update

Mrs. Akey advised that Chair Goodfellow, Trustee Brown and she had attended the memorial service for Winton Roberts, and that they expressed their thanks for his support on the SEAC Committee.

Mrs. Akey stated that Educational Services held another SST/LPS Training earlier in November, and that the Speech Language Pathologists and Clinical Consultants had joined.  She reported that the representatives from the Regional Assessment Resource Centre (RARC) for Queen’s University came to speak about LD programs.

Mrs. Akey stated that Threat Assessment initiatives continue.  She said that staff are excited about their work regarding the protocol, stating that partners from the Family Resource Centre on the Base and from the Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board have joined us.  Mrs. Akey said that Traumatic Events System Training took place and at that partnership there were 140 people present, including LDSB staff, partners from the community and other agencies.  Mrs. Akey reported that Kingston City Police completed Level 1 training, and the Community Threat Assessment Steering Committee talked about next steps.  She further reported that Hotel Dieu Hospital had their own assessment protocol in place.

Mrs. Akey advised that Educational Services staff continue with trainings.  Training for bus drives will take place, and one session will include supporting children with autism on the bus.

Mrs. Akey reported that new staff were welcomed, indicating that a teacher for the secondary autism program at LCVI was hired, as well as clinical consultants, and casual educational assistants and student support counsellors.

Mrs. Akey reported that the Autism and School-to-Community Curriculum Councils continue to meet.  She said that they have started to work on improving transitions practice.

Mrs. Akey said that Educational Services staff are working on their strategic goals to integrate them into the Board’s goals to develop a strategic plan that will make sense.

CODE and OPA Update

Mrs. Akey reported that the CODE project is ending.  She said that the Ministry of Education has congratulated the Board on the work it did.  She said that the Ministry has indicated that it expects Boards to do their Special Education Plans more like Strategic or Improvement plans.  She suggested that our Special Education Plan will be part of the Board’s Improvement Plan.

Mrs. Akey stated that we will now look at what we will do as a result of the learning of the CODE and OPA projects.  She said that we are now ready to mobilize our knowledge and continue to move forward.

Mrs. Akey advised that at the CODE Summit Conference, our Board was interviewed about our projects.  Staff shared how clinical consultants are working to support teacher friendly language in the IEP.  She said of the 72 district school boards, probably only 16 were interviewed.

Mrs. Akey stated that EQAO results saw students with special needs doing well.  She said that the goals for public education are: increasing achievement, closing the gap, and public confidence. She said that doing better and closing the gap are significant accomplishments.  She said that we hope the results are increasing public confidence in education in both Ontario and the Limestone District School Board.

Mrs. Akey commented on the OPA document, “Sharing Promising Practices”.  She said that the Educational Services’ plan is to look at it from both the OPA and CODE projects to articulate what we will do with that knowledge.  She said that this matter could be placed on a future agenda.

Mrs. Akey stated that with regard to the CODE project, there is information available on CDs, and that there is a lot of printed information as well.

Mrs. Bennett thanked Ms. Akey for providing the above-noted information.

(a)     From the Durham District School Board, a letter addressed to the Minister of Education, regarding High Needs Amount funding.

Mrs. Akey stated that the Ministry continues to increase funding in Special Education in Ontario and allows us to access SIP funding more easily.  She said that at the Regional Special Education Committee, committee members identified concerns to an individual from the Minister of Education’s office so that he could brief the Minister.  She commented that the number of children with autism attending school is increasing.  She said that last year, we accessed SIP claims for 20 students, of which 8 were for children with autism.  She said that claims for assistive technology have increased.
(b)     “Enhancing Services; Enhancing Success” pamphlet, OSSTF Education Watch brochure, October 2008, Issue #14, which includes research that supports professionals and paraprofessionals in their services for children.

Mrs. Akey suggested that Educational Services and the Limestone District School Board have already developed and managed many of the protocols listed in the brochure.

Association Updates

Autism Society

Ms. LaLonde commented on an ASO meeting she had attended wherein it was mentioned that SEAC training is to be provided for SEAC members at the school board level.  Ms. Akey stated that she will investigate this matter.  Kathy Bennett suggested that this could be talked about at the January SEAC meeting.  Ms. LaLonde stated that she would provide the information about this to the Co-Chairs
Epilepsy Kingston

Ms. Carson advised that the Homework Club, started in September, is running well.

Ms. Carson stated that Epilepsy Kingston has expanded, noting that a satellite office has opened in Brockville this month.  She said that Epilepsy Kingston is considering changing its name because it is not just representing the Kingston area.

Ms. Carson reported that there have been lots of presentations at schools around epilepsy awareness.  She said that the Executive Director is also trying to get epilepsy education to employees in their workplaces, and to educate employers as well.

Ms. Carson commented on the Purple Day initiative that a young girl in Ontario has created.  She is trying to get information to the public about how epilepsy affects her. The website is  She wants to create a day annually that will mark epilepsy.

Ms. Carson advised that the Starry Night Gala will not happen this year, but something will be held in its place, perhaps a Masquerade Ball.

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Mr. Williams advised that the LDAK workshops for parents, held October 29 and November 5, 2008, were successful.  He further advised that the workshop, “Yakity-Yak, Don’t Talk Back!”, was successful.

Mr. Williams reported that the Trillium funding LDAK received is being spent on resources for its Lending Library.

Other Business

The following topics were suggested to be presented during the next year:

•       CODE and OPA projects – Now what?
•       Educational Services Goals and integration with Board Improvement Plan
•       Accessibility Plan of the Board for feedback from agencies
•       SEEDS Project – Enriched Programming
•       Resource Manual for Students with Hearing Los
•       Visit LEAP Program
•       Hold one meeting at the Sharing Centre
•       More information about the IEP Review
•       SEAC Training
•       Student Support Leadership Initiative

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for December 10, 2008, at 5:00 p.m., at the Smiling Wilderness Restaurant in Napanee.


MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Charlene Whalen, that the meeting adjourn at  8:35 p.m.–Carried