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January 21, 2009 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
January 21, 2009

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, January 21, 2009, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Helen Brown
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Eva Carlin, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Resource Teacher
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Hazel MacDonald, Computer Resource Teacher
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Autism Resource Teacher                                     
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services

Present Other:
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
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingstonr
The meeting was chaired by Trustee Crawford, who welcomed those present to the meeting.  

Approval of the Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Trustee Brown, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the November 19, 2008 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Election of Agency Co-Chair

Chair Crawford advised that Kathy Bennett had indicated that she would allow her name to stand for the Agency Co-Chair position.

MOVED BY John Freeman, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that Kathy Bennett be elected to the position of Agency Co-Chair for the session December 1, 2008 to November 30, 2009.

MOVED BY Trustee Brown, seconded by Charlene Whalen, that nominations be closed.–Carried

Chair Crawford declared Kathy Bennett duly elected as the Agency Co-Chair.

Agency Representatives

Marg Akey is to contact the agencies to confirm the names of their representatives and alternate representatives for the period ending November 30, 2010.

John Freeman confirmed that he will remain as a member-at-large.

Educational Services Update

Principal Gillam stated that the start to the new year has been great.  He thanked Steve Ward, who has joined the Educational Services team as Vice-Principal, for his work, noting that he has been instrumental in streamlining some of the things being done for secondary students with special needs.

Principal Gillam reported as follows:

Preschool Transitions

•       Kristin Check – School to Community, Acquired Brain Injuries & Physical Transitions
•       Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson – Autism
•       Eva Carlin – Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Blind/Low Vision
•       Main goals – identify, transition planning with home schools and key support staff

Program – Kathy McVety-Kavanagh

•       Resource Manual for Students with Hearing Loss has been distributed to the system.
•       EA Exceptionality Course – 30 Educational Assistants from across the district (four through Video Conferencing from NAEC).  The next EA course is scheduled for February and March.  This time, 14 EAs will be using video conferencing.
•       Student Support Teachers (elementary), Learning Program Support teachers (secondary), Clinical staff, Speech-Language Pathologists, School-to-Community, Deaf/Hard of Hearing itinerant teachers in-service on January 15, 2009
•       Topics – Phonological Awareness, Sound Skills Program, Threat Assessment, OPA & CODE updates, Delegated Tasks, and IEP Phase 2 – Measurable Performance Tasks
•       New Teacher In-Services – February, March and April – focus on strategies to support students with special education needs

School to Community – Kristin Check

•       Kristin Check – presentation to Community Living Kingston on January 20, 2009 – School to Community services update
•       Preschool Transitions beginning

Computer Resource Teacher – Hazel MacDonald

•       Upcoming Workshops
•       February 4, 2009 – Hazel MacDonald and Eva Carlin (Deaf/HH & Blind/Low Vision Resource Teacher) – “Accessing the W. Ross MacDonald Resource Library Services”
•       February 10, 2009 – Clicker 5
•       February 11, 2009 – Kathy Marrocco and Jen Murphy (Behaviour Learning Centre teachers) – “Using a Smartboard in Your Classroom”
•       February 25, 2009 – Premier Accessibility Suite

Learning Disabilities   

•       Winter admissions for Learning Disabilities Support Program completed – Spring applications will be due in early Spring
•       Sagonaska applications and transitions ongoing

Autism Supports

•       Building Bridges Program – Grade 8 transitions to secondary
•       ASD-SSP Workshops for February – Motivation & Reinforcement (February 2 - Loughborough PS, February 5 - NAEC, February 10 - LCVI)
•       EA Training – ASD Core Curriculum – April 27 and 28 for 50 Educational Assistants – Elective Training for 50 EAs on ASD – April 27th
•       Educating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: from Theory to Practice
        •       February 18 – Ziggurat Model
        •       February 19 – Princeton Model
        •       February 20 – Cabas Model
        Workshops are being presented by Autism Ontario – Ottawa Chapter in partnership with CHEO – several Autism Team members will be attending some or all of the sessions.
•       ABA Training – Administrators, Teachers, EAs and other support staff – April 2 & 3, 2009 by the School Support Program staff from  Pathways for Children and Youth
•       Preschool Transitions beginning
•       Program Transitions
•       Curriculum Council – January 21, 2009
•       Pervasive Developmental Disorders with Comorbid Learning Disorders – January 28, 2009 at Hotel Dieu – Alexis to present along with experts from the field (Dr. J. Leverette, Dr. S. Hughes, and Dr. N. Roberts)

Senior Administrator – Information

•       Risk and Threat Assessment Seminars – all elementary and secondary Behaviour Learning Centres, all secondary alternative off-site programs (e.g. Street Smart, Jeopardy) and Adult Education Centre teachers and program EAs will be invited – January 29 and 30, 2009
•       District Aboriginal Student Resource Worker – will provide culturally sensitive support for Aboriginal students in the elementary and secondary school systems within the LDSB

Regional Special Education Committee (RSEC)

•       Next RSEC meeting in Kingston, January 29, at the LDSB Education Centre
•       Agenda Items – Regional Update, various speakers including CHEO, Children with Complex Mental Health Needs Case Studies with staff from Hotel Dieu Hospital, and an opportunity for Board sharing of best practices

Chair Crawford thanked Mr. Gillam for providing the above-noted information.
CODE and OPA Update

Mrs. Akey reported that previously Tiffany Mountenay had provided information about the CODE and OPA projects, noting that there were completed last year.  She said that both CODE and the OPA determined that the existing strategies were valuable and should be continued.

Mrs. Akey stated that information about the Sharing Promising Practices conference and guide was provided.  She said that we continue to link people who have been involved in both of these projects.  She said that Kathy Marrocco and Jen Murphy, LDSB teachers, presented at the Code Summit a summary of the work the LDSB did.  She said 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 said that the CODE project is continuing through the use of technology e.g. CODE Chronicles, an on-line magazine and Webinars.  We are learning how to sustain our new knowledge.  The OPA project did provide some funding to assist with sustaining the project work through 2009 to address the original four principles.  She said that the Board is now planning for the next stages.

Trustee Crawford thanked Ms. Akey for providing the above-noted information.

Chair Crawford advised that a card was received from the late Winton Roberts’ children and one was also received from his wife, thanking SEAC for the flowers Mr. Roberts received at the hospital, and for the donations made in his memory.

Association Updates

John Freeman

John Freeman advised that he will not be starting his sabbatical until July 2010 as he has undertaken a new role at the Faculty of Education.  Chair Crawford congratulated him on his new position.

Autism Society

Ms. LaLonde reported that February 8, 2009 has been designated Autism Sunday in the United States.  She further reported that the Kingston Chapter hopes to hold a hockey tournament in April with the proceeds supporting the Kingston Chapter and the Autism Foundation.  She stated that the Kingston Chapter is also trying to arrange a workshop to be held in the spring.
Epilepsy Kingston

Ms. Carson stated that the death of John Travolta’s son was very tragic, indicating that the news release stated the seizure was the result of epilepsy.  She said that the Kingston chapter has received many calls from concerned individuals regarding seizures, and they are trying to put people’s minds at ease.

Ms. Carson stated that March is Epilepsy Awareness Month.

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 take place on March 21, 2009.

Ms. Carson stated that epilepsy affects over 50 million people world wide, which is more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s Disease combined.

Other Business

Mrs. Akey advised that the Accessibility Committee has offered its services to agency groups to talk about the Accessibility Plan.  She said that the Accessibility Committee was getting very little feedback regarding the Plan.  The Committee was directed by the Ministry to comply with the standards as they come forward.

Mrs. Akey advised that the Ministry of Education has directed boards to revise their Special Education Plans again this year.  Therefore, the process will be much the same as in other years.

The Committee agreed that the LDSB SEAC invite the SEACs from Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board and the Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District Board to the April or May meeting, and suggested that a presentation about Autism be provided at that meeting.

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

•       Update on “Roots of Empathy”
•       Student Support Leadership Initiative Update
•       LDSB Initiatives re gifted students
•       Visit LEAP and Challenge Program, and perhaps the ATLAS Program at Calvin Park PS
•       SEEDS Project – Enriched Programming
•       Visit the Sharing Centre at Fairfield Elementary School
•       Accessibility Plan
•       Ministry Projects Update
•       Special Education Plan and Budget Plan

Mrs. Akey stated that previously SEAC member training had been discussed. She said that she and Pat LaLonde are waiting for a response, and they will provide information once a response has been received.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, February 18, 2008, at 7:00 p.m., at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.


MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Charlene Whalen, that the meeting adjourn at  7:50 p.m.–Carried