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April 15, 2009 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
April 15, 2009

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held at Calvin Park Public School, 153 VanOrder Drive, Kingston, on Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Helen Brown
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Dawn Diamond, Teacher, LEAP Program, Calvin Park PS
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Helen Peterson, Principal, Calvin Park PS
Mark Ryan, Teacher, ATLAS Program, Calvin Park PS
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
John Pierce, Director, Enrichment Studies at Queen's
Lise Alban, Manager, Enrichment Studies at Queen's

The meeting was chaired by Trustee Crawford, who welcomed those present to the meeting.

        Marg Akey introduced Helen Peterson, Principal at Calvin Park Public School.

        Ms. Peterson said that Calvin Park Public School is a special school, noting that she has been Principal at the school since January 2009.  She said that amazing things occur at the school on a regular bases.  There is a core program and three Choices at 7 programs – Challenge, LEAP and ATLAS.  Ms. Peterson commented that the students benefit from the enriched academic opportunities at Calvin Park.

        Ms. Peterson advised that Mark Ryan will speak to the ATLAS program, noting that the majority of the students have a learning disabled identification in the communication area.  She said that the program has modifications in place to help students be successful, despite that identification.

        Ms. Peterson reported that Dawn Diamond will speak to the LEAP program, noting that the program is exemplary, accommodating to all different kinds of learning styles.  It caters to the students’ intelligences in the area of the arts.

        Ms. Diamond provided an overview of the LEAP program, noting that it integrates math and music, math and visual arts, math and dance and math and drama.

        Mr. Ryan provided an overview of the ATLAS program, stating that it is not a learning disabled program, but an environment is created that is conducive to learning.  He said that the program is for students who are average to above average intelligence who are experiencing some difficulty in grade 6 and/or previous grades.  It is for those students who could be achieving higher, who may demonstrate low self esteem.  The student must be a willing partner in the learning process.

        Mr. Ryan reported that ATLAS offers a period of up to two years of focused support at the grade 7 and 8 levels that has an emphasis on computer technology skill development; direct and remediated instruction, varied instruction to complement learning styles; strategy and self advocacy instruction and social skill development and completing a regular Ontario curriculum.  Mr. Ryan advised that the program offers more one on one assistance, daily use of information technology, smaller class size, and a full-time program educational assistant.  The program also offers special learning opportunities, such as Skills Canada Lego Robotics, Skills Canada Workshops, and First Lego League.

        Trustee Crawford thanked Ms. Peterson, Ms. Diamond, and Mr. Ryan for providing the above-noted information.

        Ms. Peterson, Ms. Diamond and Mr. Ryan withdrew from the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Charlene Whalen, that the minutes of the April 1, 2009 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Enrichment Studies at Queen’s University Presentation

        Vice-Principal Ward introduced John Pierce, Director, and Lise Alban, Manager, from the Enrichment Studies Unit at Queen’s University, indicating that they would provide an overview of the programs in the Enrichment Studies Unit at Queen’s.

        Mr. Pierce thanked the Committee for inviting Ms. Alban and himself to the meeting in order to speak to the programs in Enrichment Studies at Queen’s.  He advised that he is also an Associate Dean of Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science.

        Ms. Alban said that she is the Manager of the Enrichment Studies Unit at Queen’s, advising that she takes care of the daily operational functions of the unit which involves everything from staffing to what is in the programs to what students are receiving from the programs.

        Ms. Alban provided information as to how the programs are developed, advising that they focus on the whole student to ensure that their personal, academic and social needs are being met.  She also provided information regarding the different aspects of the program and how they are developed to meet the needs of the students.  Ms. Alban talked about the student coordinators and instructors.

        Mr. Pierce indicated that the following academic programs are offered: e=mc2, Seeds, S.I.R. and ABC.  Ms. Alban reviewed information about the programs offered, as follows:

e=mc2 (Enrichment Mini Courses)

•       Grades 9-12
•       For residence and day students
•       Offered May: 6 days, 5 nights
•       Wednesday a.m. workshops
•       Sample of courses: Anatomy, Experimental Psychology, Global Perspectives, Intro to Canadian Law, Robotics

Seeds (Seven-eight Enrichment Days)

•       Grades 7-8
•       Local students: 3 days
•       Offered December and February
•       Sample of course tracks: Criminology, Engineering, Dance and Drama, Digital Recording, Spanish

SIR (Students in Residence) (Seven-Eight Enrichment Days in Residence)

•       Grades 7-8
•       Residential, 4 days, 3 nights
•       Offered May
•       Activities addressing Personal & Social development
•       Course tracks: Criminology, Engineering, Dance an Drama, Digital Recording, Spanish

ABC (Above & Beyond the Curriculum)

•       Grades 5-6
•       Day students: 1-day programs
•       Offered November, April and June
•       Courses: Arts and Science of Sports, Glass Painting, Robotics, To Infinity and Beyond, Human Anatomy

        Mr. Pierce reviewed information about Queen’s partnership with the Board, as follows:

•       Provide individualized support to board/school/parents by mutual agreement
•       Programs that are current and meaningful
•       Input and feedback to improve produce
•       Program endorsement to schools/parents
•       Dispersion of materials to schools/parents

        In response to a question, Ms. Alban indicated that approximately 600 students are accepted for each session.

        Chair Crawford advised that she has had parents contact her expressing their concern that their children did not get accepted into the program.  Mr. Pierce stated that the Enrichment Studies Unit staff are looking at that concern, indicating that they will have to adapt to that situation.

        Chair Crawford stated that the programs are wonderful opportunities for young people.

        Charlene Whalen asked if any program was offered during the summer.  Ms. Alban reported that no program is offered after May.  She said that they could consider running programs during the summer; however, it would be difficult as all of the student supervisors would be involved in jobs then, and a lot of the instructors do research during the summer.  She said that if there is enough interest for a program during the summer, they would consider the matter more.

        In response to a question from Ms. Alban, Ms. Whalen said that she was thinking about programs for Grade 5,6,7 and 8 students.  Ms. Whalen said that the programs are great opportunities for students.

        Ms. Alban reported that the high school program began in 1987, Seeds in 1995, Seeds in Residence in 2001, and ABC in 2003.  She said that when OAC ceased to exist, they now see more Grade 9 and 10 students and Grade 7 and 8 students considering what they want to do in their future. She said that she believes that is part of the reason the Grade 7 and 8 program is so popular.  Ms. Alban indicated that the Seeds in Residence program accepts Grade 6 students, noting that they have them intermingled so that no one stands out.

        Mr. Pierce asked if there was any way they could make it easier to facilitate awareness of the program.  Ms. Alban stated that as Manager of the Unit she has seen a decline in the number of participants from LDSB for the high school program.  She asked if the program was viable for the Board’s student population.  She said that sometimes students are selected as a Board directive, and sometimes schools are involved.  Also, sometimes parents look for programs for their children.  She said that 50% of the students in the residence programs come as individuals.  She said that this year, for those individual students applying, their most current report card is required in order to see if the student is appropriate for the program.  Ms. Alban remarked that when a school or board is involved in the selection of students for the program, a report card is not required.

        Chair Crawford thanked Mr. Pierce and Ms. Alban for providing the above-noted information, stating that their presentation has been very informative.

        Mr. Pierce and Ms. Alban withdrew from the meeting.

Educational Services Update
        Ms. Akey reported that a “Leading for Success” Conference for Principals and Vice-Principals will be held the next couple of days.  She advised that Kathy McVety-Kavanagh would be presenting a Differentiated Instruction workshop.

        Ms. Akey advised that the next Regional Special Education Committee will take place next week in Ottawa.

        Ms. Akey indicated that the budget will be impacted because of the change in the high needs amount from which special education is funded.  She said that the Ministry of Education has taken 5% off the high needs amount of every board in Ontario and reallocated it.  Ms. Akey remarked that the SEPPA amount will go down because of declining enrolment.  She said that budget information will be provided at the May/June meeting.

        Supervising Principal Akey commented an update on the SSLI will be provided, as well as on the Collaborative Services Delivery Model a the May SEAC meeting.

        Ms. Akey remarked that the Minister of Education has asked for input into the Ministry Advisory Group on Special Education.  She said that last year, 10 schools in LDSB were surveyed around PPM 140 (ABA) with regard as to how it was being implemented.  This year, the Minister is asking us to survey all schools.  She indicated that the survey will go out next week.

        Ms. Akey reported that the Ministry has asked for survey information on Shared Solutions.

        Chair Crawford thanked Ms. Akey for providing an Educational Services update.


        There was no correspondence.

Association Updates

        There were no Association updates.

Other Business

        Ms. Akey circulated the Realizing the Promise of Diversity ... Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy document.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, at 7:00 p.m.  The SEACs from the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board will be our guests.  Guest speaker Stacey deSavoye, Kingston Military Family Resource Centre will speak about the “Effects of Deployment on Children”.  Also, the agenda will include a Student Success Leadership Initiative (SSLI) Update from Supervising Principal Woodley and Mary-Lynne Cousins Brame.


        MOVED BY John Freeman, seconded by Charlene Whalen, that the meeting adjourn at  8:30 p.m.–Carried