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February 18, 2009 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
February 18, 2009
A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limetone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, February 18, 2009, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Helen Brown
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen's University)
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children's Services, Lennox and Addington
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Mary-Lynne Cousins-Brame, SSLI Coordinator
The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who welcomed those present to the meeting.  

Approval of the Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the minutes of the January 21, 2009 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Student Support Leadership Initiative (SSLI) Presentation

Supervising Principal Akey introduced Mary-Lynne Cousins-Brame, SSLI Coordinator.

Ms. Cousins-Brame stated it was a pleasure to be in attendance at this evening’s meeting to provide information about the Student Support Leadership Initiative.  She presented the following information:

History of SSLI

Ministry of Education – Amendments to safe school provisions and related Policy/Program Memoranda

Ministry of Child and Youth Services – A Shared Responsibility: Ontario’s Policy for Child and Youth Mental Health

Ministry of Education

•       February 1, 2008 amendments to safe schools provisions of the Education Act came into effect
•       Amendments related to Policy/Program Memoranda
        •       Programs for Students on Long-Term Suspension – PPM 141
        •       Programs for Expelled Students – PPM 142
        •       Bullying Prevention and Intervention – PPM 144
        •       Progressive Discipline – PPM 145
        •       Code of Conduct – PPM 128
•       Goal to effectively combine discipline with opportunities for students to continue their education
•       School boards were encouraged to form partnerships with community agencies to provide non-academic support for students that promotes positive student behaviour

Ministry of Child and Youth Services

•       November 2006 the government released A Shared Responsibility: Ontario’s Policy Framework for Child and Youth Mental Health
•       Policy framework identified the following principles:
        •       Child, youth and family-centred
        •       Community driven – as close to home as possible
        •       Accessible
        •       Coordinated and collaborative
        •       Evidence-based and accountable
•       Framework aims to foster collaboration among all child and youth-serving sectors who share responsibility for the healthy development of Ontario’s children and youth

Common Themes

•       Shared responsibility in terms of child and youth mental health and ensuring safe schools
•       Prevention, early identification and intervention
•       Promotion of protocols and linkages
•       Ministry collaborations
•       Continuum of flexible services and supports
•       Engagement of family
•       Increased understanding and knowledge
•       Evidence-based practices

SSLI Purpose

•       To foster leadership within and across school boards and community agencies to establish or enhance local partnerships that will better meet the needs of students and families through collaborative planning, coordination and referrals.


•       SSLI:           

        Establishing and enhancing effective and sustainable partnerships between school boards and community agencies to better meet the needs of these students and their families

•       KFL&A Child and Youth Services Steering Committee:
        We want a service system that is supportive of children, youth and families that is easily accessible and seamless.  We want all of the children/youth in our community to reach their full potential.  We want them to feel valued, loved, safe and secure.

•       Hastings-Prince Edward Children Services Network:
        A community where there is a children’s service system that is effective, integrated and responsive in order to advance the well-being of children/youth and families and where children/youth are valued.

Goals for SSLI

1.      Improved understanding of each cluster member’s services.
2.      Improved joint decision-making process.
3.      Improved access to existing services and supports for students and families.
4.      Cluster 20 additional goal: Explore ways to enhance current protocols.

Coordinator’s Role

•       Support the building of partnerships between school boards and community agencies to:
        1.      Maximize local resources
        2.      Share expertise
        3.      Improve decision-making through collaborative planning mechanisms
        4.      Establish and enhance referral mechanisms
        5.      Increase access to services and supports for students and families
        6.      Improve a student/family’s ability to understand, navigate and use the services and supports available to them.


•       An inventory of existing services and protocols will be created.
•       Assist in the creation of a concrete communication strategy between agencies and boards.
•       Develop concrete forums, including training opportunities to enhance relationships between school board staff and community agencies.
•       Identification of barriers and challenges.
•       Gap analysis
•       Assist in the development of detailed joint action plans to address the barrier, challenges and gaps.
•       Production of a Best Practice Document.

Chair Bennett thanked Ms. Cousins-Brame for providing information about the Student Support Leadership Initiative.

Educational Services Update

Mrs. Akey advised that regrets were received from Principal Gillam who had another commitment this evening, Vice-Principal Ward who was presenting at a Safe Schools Conference, and Kathy McVety-Kavanagh who was running the course for Educational Assistants this evening.

Mrs. Akey advised that transitions planning for pre-school to school children is beginning.  She reported that other transitions are ongoing, noting that the Building Bridges Program and Grade 8 transitions to secondary continue, as well as the school-to-community process.

Mrs. Akey reported on the Regional Special Education Committee (RSEC) meeting the Board hosted on January 30, 2009 for administrators and special education educators in eastern Ontario district school boards.

Mrs. Akey reported on the “Effects of Deployment on Children” presentation that was provided at a recent Principals’ Meeting.  She suggested that this presentation be given at the SEAC meeting the LDSB is hosting for LDSB, Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board Special Education Advisory Committees.

Mrs. Akey advised that the Easter Seals Telethon is taking place on April 5, 2009.

Mrs. Akey provided information about a professional growth opportunity, primarily for teachers in Professional Learning Networks.  She indicated that special education teachers are part of the group who will be taking training, noting that there are three training sessions.

Mrs. Akey indicated that three sessions on Differentiated Instruction Training will be held before the end of April, the Educational Assistant Course has over 40 participants, with 20 participants taking part via videoconferencing in the Sharbot Lake/North Addington areas.  She reported that Building Bridges training took place last night, noting it supports children transitioning from elementary to secondary school.

Mrs. Akey reported that in January, boards were directed by the Ministry of Education to make amendments to their existing Special Education Plans.  Therefore, the process will be much the same as in the last few years.  She said that it will be a report of what the Board has done, rather than generating a new plan.  She indicated that if Committee members wished to be included in the review of the Plan to please let her know.  She advised that over the next two SEAC meetings, the revisions being made to the Plan will be brought to the SEAC Committee, and that the Plan would be brought to the June meeting for approval.

Chair Bennett thanked Mrs. Akey for providing an Educational Services update.

Association Updates

Autism Society

Ms. LaLonde reported that April is Autism Awareness Month.  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.

Ms. LaLonde stated that Autism Society Ontario is organizing a Town Hall meeting with Ms. Wynne, Minister of Education, and Mr. Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth Services. She advised that the meeting will take place in Toronto, and the Kingston Chapter is looking to have it as a video conference in Kingston.  They hope that the meeting will be arranged for May.

Ms. LaLonde commented on the “Together for Autism” information, noting that they hope to bring awareness about autism, that it is not only about fundraising.

Other Business

In response to a question from Pat LaLonde, Mrs. Akey stated that the Board is targeting to hire 40 contract educational assistants.  She indicated that the hiring is a human resources process, and it is also part of the collective bargaining process.

Marg Akey suggested the following agenda items for the upcoming meetings:

April 1 Update on “Roots of Empathy” (program touches on empathy and understanding)

April 15        SEEDS project at Queen’s University
                Meeting to be held at Calvin Park Public School

May 20  Host a SEAC meeting (invitation to Hastings-Prince Edward DSC and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB) at the LDSB Education Centre with a presentation “Effects of Deployment on Children”
                Special Education Plan Review
                Student Success Leadership Initiative Update

June 17 Special Education Plan Approval
                Accessibility Plan

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at 7:00 p.m., at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.


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