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April 21, 2010 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
                 April 21, 2010

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue,Kingston, on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, at 6:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Paula Murray
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services        
Present Other:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
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
Joan Young, Student Trustee
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Kathy McVety-Kavanagh, Special Education Program Coordinator

        The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who welcomed those present to the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the March 24, 2010 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising from the Minutes

        Ms. Akey stated that because of a letter received from Julie Williams, Acting Director, Special Education Policy and Programs Branch, Ministry of Education, wherein the Ministry had requested that feedback from SEACs as a group, be provided with respect to its SEAC e-learning website (, she asked SEAC members to view the website and to send their comments to Co-Chair Kathy Bennett.  Ms. Bennett indicated that she would collate them and send them to the Ministry, noting that at the May 27th SEAC meeting, Committee members would not have time to discuss this matter, as the May 27th meeting is a joint meeting with the Hastings-Prince Edward DSB and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB.

        Kathy Bennett stated that she believes that the website is well designed, noting that there are five units that will need to be reviewed.  She said that the history of special education in Ontario, found on the website, is very interesting.

Special Education Plan – Review Process

        Mrs. Akey said that, as in the past, boards are not required to do a new Special Education Plan this year, they only have to update their Special Education Plans.  Committee members agreed to take copies of the Board’s updated Special Education Plan and review sections.  Mrs. Akey asked that any feedback be provided to either Scot Gillam, Steve Ward or herself by the May meeting.

        Mrs. Akey said the we fully expect the Special Education Plan as it currently exists, not to exist in same way in the future.  She indicated that Special Education Goals will be included in the Board Improvement Plan.  She reported that she has been invited to Toronto on May 5, 2010, to talk about how Special Education Goals fit into the Board’s Improvement Plan.  She said that in the future a Special Education Report may be posted on the Board’s website or a set of units talking about what is going on in Educational Services may be posted electronically for people to see.

Special Education Funding 2010-2011

        Mrs. Akey stated that the funding information is coming to the Board, and she wanted to share where the Board is and some of the information that is being shared with the public.

        Mrs. Akey provided the following information, regarding the Special Education Budget 2010-2011:

•     The Ontario Ministry of Education continues to see improved achievement results for students with special education needs – “we are closing the gap and we are raising the bar.”

Special Equipment Amount (SEA)

•     SEA allocation would be made up of two components: a SEA Per Pupil Amount and SEA Claims-Based Amount.

•     The new SEA Per Pupil Amount would be part of a five-year plan to provide boards with greater flexibility and predictability by converting part of the SEA allocation (approximately 85% of funds) into a single SEA Per Pupil Amount for all school boards by 2014-15.

•     The calculation for the SEA Per Pupil Amount would transition school boards from a 2010-11 school board-specific per pupil amount that is based primarily on each board’s historical access to SEA funding, to a single provincial per pupil amount by 2010-15.

Special Education Funding 2010-2011

•     In 2010-11 each school board would receive the SEA Per Pupil Amount, comprised of a base of $10,000 plus an allocation based on a board-specific per pupil amount.  It is anticipated that by 2014-15 the SEA Per Pupil Amount would consist of a base of $10,000 for each school board plus an allocation based on a provincial per pupil amount.

•     SEA Per Pupil Amount would provide school boards with greater flexibility to meet students’ needs; phase-in a simpler funding process that reduces administrative burden; provide funding in a predictable manner; provide greater equity among all school boards; balance appropriate processes and documentation with less administrative burden; and maintain approximately 15% of all SEA funds on a claims-based process which ensure continued support for special equipment needs that are not computer/technology related.

Special Incidence Portion (SIP)

•     The Ministry will continue to fund claims approved through the process which will be set out in the SIP Funding Guidelines, Special Education Funding Guidelines, Special Incident Portion (SIP), 2010-11.

•     It is intended that, beginning in 2010-11, approved health claims will be considered for a three-year renewal period in order to reduce administrative burden to school boards, a new form will be introduced relating to SIP claims made on behalf of students with a safety or health and safety claim, as an information gathering process, in order to better understand the characteristics of these students and to reduce administrative burden the documentation requirements for all SIP claims would be reduced.

High Needs Amount

•     For the past three years school boards declining in enrolment have been stabilized with respect to their HNA funding and boards increasing in enrolment have had their enrolment increase reflected in their HNA funding.  This transitional stable funding approach would continue for declining enrolment boards in 2010-11, but would be based on 50 percent of the board’s HNA stabilization amount.

•     Continuing in 2010-11 school boards would receive approximately 95% of their HNA base and the remaining 5% or approximately $50 million would be allocated based on the Measures of Variability (MOV).  The MOV would be expanded to include 23 factors, using the most recent data available, to better reflect the variability of students’ high needs and boards’ ability to respond to these needs, without relying on a claims-based process.

•     For the 2010-11 school year the Ministry would enhance the HNA MOV amount by providing a new $10 million  investment to support the introduction of a MOV Special Education Statistical Prediction Model developed by Dr. D. Willms, University of New Brunswick, Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy (UNB-CRISP).  The logistic regression MOV prediction model drew from Ontario Ministry of Education anonymized student data merged with UNB-CRISP census indicators from the 2006 Canadian Census data and other data sources to predict the number of students likely to receive special education programs and services in each school board.

Behaviour Expertise Amount (BEA)

•     The BEA has been introduced as part of the Special Education Grant.  This allocation will provide $10.8 million in funding to boards to build capacity by hiring staff with Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) expertise.

•     School board personnel with ABA expertise would provide and coordinate training on ABA instructional methods and resources at the board and school level to increase capacity within the publicly funded school system to use ABA methods.  They will support deeper implementation of Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 140, incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  The services provided by ABA expertise professionals would be applicable to all students and have been found to be specifically effective in working with students with ASD where appropriate.  In addition, ABA expertise professionals continue to play a role in the successful implementation of the Connections for Students model for students with ASD.

Sector Discussions

•     To continue to encourage effectiveness and efficiency in the use of existing resources, the Ministry will initiate a discussion with the sector on the relationship among: special education funding, the delivery of programs and services, and student achievement.  As all of us are well aware, a primary goal of Ontario’s education system is to ensure that all students have equitable access to the programs and services they need to be successful as students and as members of the community.  Within the current economic and fiscal context and with more school boards seeing lower enrolment, Ontario’s education system must adapt and evolve so that the important goal of improving educational outcomes for all students continue to be met.

        Mrs. Akey commented on much of our funding being tied to enrolment, and the Board’s decreasing enrolment situation.

        SEAC members decided to establish a working group, consisting of Charlene Whalen, Brad Shoniker, and Kathy Bennett, with the Supervising Principal acting as a resource, to provide a written submission at the May 4, 2010 Budget Consultation Meeting of the Limestone District School Board.  The group will meet on Tuesday, April 27, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. at the Limestone Education Centre.  SEAC members are welcome to attend the meeting, or to submit comments to the working group, to be included in the submission.  The submission will be e-mailed to SEAC members for their approval.

Educational Services Update
        Principal Gillam provided the following update:

Professional Learning

•     Student Support/Learning Program Teacher (SST/LPS) Course – Spring 2010
•     ETFO Additional Qualifications – Special Education Part 1
•     Learning for All – April 15 – Elementary Vice-Principals and SSTs and April 19 – Educational Staff
•     Differentiated Instruction – April 20 – Secondary New Teachers – flexible groups, graphic organizers and linking Differentiated Instruction to planning
•     Risk/Threat Assessment Training – Custodial and Facility Services Staff - March Break
•     Mental Health – Clinical and BAT Team Training – March 31 – Dr. Duncan Scott from Queen’s University/Hotel Dieu Hospital – focus on mental health issues in 18-21 year olds.
•     First Responders Training – March 31 – Invista – Dennis Debbaudt – Autism Awareness and tips for dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder in emergency situations
•     ABA Approaches to Transition Planning – Geneva Centre – Lorna Jean Astle was the keynote – April 16th
•     Understanding Behaviour in ASD – Geneva Centre – April 23rd
•     ABA Core Training – Geneva Centre – May 13 and 14
•     Deaf/Hard of Hearing PD – Symposium East – April 27 – Communication Focus – Elizabeth Morris and Gael Hannan

April 30th PA Day

•     Elementary Teachers – ETFO, LDSB, and Queen’s – PD for the afternoon – “Working Together: Achievement for All”
•     Kristin Check and Alexis Stefanowich-Thomson – Supporting Students with ASD, A Practical Approach
•     Educational Assistants and PSSP Staff – Kevin Cameron – one day session
•     District Learning Centre Teachers and Section 23 Teachers – Dr. Kahn and Dr. Blais from Hotel Dieu Hospital will be presenting on working with students with Mood and Anxiety Disorders – in the afternoon the Section 23 teachers will continue their work on Essential Elements

Curriculum Council

•     Joint Autism and School to Community Curriculum Council – Wednesday, April 28th – focus on Sensory Integration
•     Heather Fairburn – Occupational Therapist with Compass will be joining SCS and Autism teachers

Ministry Updates/EPOs

•     Connections – Transition Team Survey 2nd Round – Provincial Advisory Team to compile results and share – memo out on April 1st – Connections should be in place in all boards and the 16 leads are available for support
•     A4 – Teacher Resource Draft completed
•     CODE JK-1 – Regional Project Draft completed
•     LDSB CODE JK-1 – result of work of Literacy Advisory Committee (LAC)
•     100 K-1 Teachers – two sessions – Embedding Phonological Awareness into the Comprehensive Literacy Program

Early Learning Program Update

        Supervising Principal Akey provided a brief update about the Early Learning Program.

        Ms. Akey reported that on March 4, 2010, school boards were asked by the Ministry of Education to begin planning for Year 2 Early Learning Program implementation, noting that they were required to submit to the Ministry the Year 2 School Selection by April 16, 2010.  She indicated that the Board sent in its template on April 16th, and that we should hear by May 21st if our site selections were approved.

        Ms. Akey advised that we have continued our collaboration with our co-terminus district school boards (Hastings-Prince Edward DSB and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB).  She advised that the supervisory officers of finance and human resources have met to do collective work regarding the hiring and staffing processes.

        Ms. Akey reported that we have continued collaboration with the Consolidated Municipal Service Managers, and local Best Start Networks.  She indicated that she sits on the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Child and Youth Services Steering Committee and that committee continues to meet.  She said that the subgroup of that committee is the Early Learning Program Special Needs Working Group, which supports our children with special needs.  

        Ms. Akey advised that the draft Full-Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program document is available on the web at  She advised that with that comes Board team training, noting that an Adobe Connect Training Session will be held at the LDSB on April 27, 2010, and a Board team will go to Ottawa May 19 and 20th for training.  The team will consist of: one Board representative with responsibility for Full-Day Early Learning, one elementary administrator, two kindergarten teachers, two early childhood educators if currently employed (not in the LDSB’s case) and one grade 1 teacher.  She said that the College of Early Childhood Educators will provide local early childhood educator representation.
        Ms. Akey advised that with regard to the Early Learning Program Leads for the Ottawa Region, a committee meets regularly to share information, to form a regional network, work to resolve common issues and concerns and to describe successful practice.  The committee focuses on what boards need to do to prepare for a successful startup in September (program, finance, human resources, extended day, etc.).  The committee met on April 7 and will meet again on May 6, 2010 at the Limestone Education Centre.

        Ms. Akey reported that a Early Learning Kindergarten Program information session for interested teachers will be held on April 27, 2010 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

        Ms. Akey stated that this year we expect, if all classes are full, 364 four and five year old children coming in full time.  She said that next year we would expect another 184 children full time.  She said that there will be 26 children in a class with one teacher and one early childhood educator, and that there may be educational assistants in a class, in addition to the teacher and early childhood educator.

        Mr. Gillam provided the following information:

Technology Talk

•     OSSLF – 6 Compass Occupational Therapists (Ots), 5 Placement OTS and Hazel MacDonald – deployed in six secondary schools on April 7th and to assist with the assistive technology requirements of the OSSLT

•     QECVI Pilot Project – 5 OT Placement Students – working with LPS, LST – building teacher capacity with assistive technology

•     April 30th PA Day – Sydenham HS, Bayridge SS and Frontenac SS – Compass Solutions – professional development for teachers and assistive technology

•     SEA – 400% increase in last three years – Ministry changes for 2010/11

•     IEP Review – May 6th and May 26th – continue to work with Steering Committee to provide direction for Professional Learning in 2010/11

Information Items

•     Building Bridges – April 8th at Cataraqui Woods ES – supporting studens with ASD as they transition into Grade 9

•     LDSB Outstanding Service Award Recipients – Ricki Barrett, Educational Assistant at the Active Learning Centre, Rideau Heights PS, and Dr. Nasreen Roberts and Peter Kennedy, Hotel Dieu/KGH Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department

        Kathy Bennett thanked Principal Gillam and Supervising Principal Akey for their udpates.

IEP 101 for Parents and Students

        David Williams advised that the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario and the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch of the Ministry of Education have announced IEP 101 for Parents and Students, which is an IEP 101 Online Workshop to help parents and students to understand their role in the IEP process.  He reviewed the online information.

        Kathy Bennett thanked Mr. Williams for providing an overview of the IEP 101 online workshop information.

Ministry of Education’s Refreshed Website

        Mrs. Akey reported that the Board had received a letter from the Acting Director of the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch, Ministry of Education, asking for feedback on their refreshed website concerning special education.  She said that boards have been asked to notify parents that this website has been refreshed.  She indicated that if SEAC members would like the information to be posted on the LDSB website, we can make it LDSB friendly.  We could also ask Principals to post the information on their school websites, and we can provide the link to get more information about special education.
        Mrs. Akey demonstrated how the information could be linked to the Board’s special education website.  SEAC members agreed that the information be posted on the LDSB website, and school websites, as well as having the information disseminated at the Principals’ Meeting.

        Mrs. Akey advised that the Ministry of Education special education public webpage can be accessed at
Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, 2010 (fourth Thursday).  This meeting is a Joint Meeting of the Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, and it will be held at the Hastings-Prince Edward DSB office, Belleville.  Dinner will be provided at 5:45 p.m., and Dr. Nasreen Roberts will provide a presentation at that meeting.  Transportation is being arranged, and a bus will leave the Board Office at 4:30 p.m., with stops at the Hwy. 38 Carpark and at Smiling Wilderness, Napanee.

        The June meeting is scheduled for June 9, 2010 (second Wednesday), at 7:00 p.m. at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.


        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, that the meeting adjourn at 8:30 p.m.–Carried