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June 9, 2010 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
                            June 9, 2010
A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at 6:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Paula Murray
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Kristin Check, School-to-Community Coordinator
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Kathy McVety Kavanagh, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal, Educational Services        
Present Other:
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington
Joan Young, Student Trustee
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
John Freeman, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Pat LaLonde, Autism Society
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

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

Presentation – Let’s Talk, Let’s Listen, Take a Stand

        Christine Herron, Educational Services, was present.

        Supervising Principal Akey introduced Christine Herron, Educational Services, advising that she will speak to an initiative that she and Laurie Labrie, a teacher at LaSalle Secondary School, have been working on in response to students and staff as it relates to students and staff and the importance of reporting concerns of abuse, bullying, harassment, or other concerns that may worry a child.    

        Ms. Herron stated that she and Laurie Labrie have worked on the Let’s Talk, Let’s Listen, Take a Stand, an LDSB initiative to address the reporting of concerns of abuse, bullying, harassment. She advised that this initiative also addresses how to report concerns and the different avenues one can go through, as well as how to access support once a person reports an incident.  She said that we want to encourage careful and open lines of communication among students, staff and the community at large.

        Ms. Herron stated that unfortunately Ms. Labrie was unable to attend this evening’s SEAC meeting.

        Ms. Herron provided the following information about this initiative:

Ms. Herron reviewed the following obstacles:

1.      “RAT” mentality
2.      Don’t want to get involved
3.      Someone else will do it
4.      How to get the message to entire school community
5.      Anonymity

        Ms. Herron reviewed the process, advising that originally there was a committee of about 30 people where they talked through the concerns.  She said that the work team was whittled down to Laurie Labrie and herself, noting that they then had a focus group of students from Grades 9 to 12 and from across all socio-economic areas.  She said that the students were asked how they would feel most comfortable reporting their concerns.  She indicated that they also gathered community agency information.  Ms. Herron said that the focus group students indicated that they believed that we need to use technology more and that an e-mail account be set up for students to where they could e-mail their concerns .

        Ms. Herron stated that the message they wanted to get out was that everyone has the right to live, learn, work and play in a safe, caring, welcoming and respectful environment free from fear.  She said that they wanted to advise communities about their responsibility to report incidents where it appears that a child may be suffering from abuse, neglect and/or risk of harm, and that this applies to any child who is, or appears to be, under the age of 16 years.  Ms. Herron said that they wanted to ensure that the community understood, as citizens, they have a duty to report.

        Ms. Herron stated that we are looking at bullying, harassment and abuse, and as we move forward, we will also look at racism, and homophobia.

        Ms. Herron indicated that the message will be delivered through posters, pamphlets, a paragraph in student agendas, community newsletter, as well as through the Board’s website, a tip line and e-mail contact.  Ms. Herron stated that the poster was designed by a LaSalle Secondary School student, and recognized her for her efforts.  She said that they are in the process of getting information out to people.

        Ms. Herron reviewed the next steps, as follows:

  •         Presentations to stakeholders
  •         Information sharing
  •         Print materials distributed
  •         Agenda paragraph included for agenda printing
  •         Poster to be displayed in school
  •         Pamphlet available for parent/teacher interviews
  •         Newsletter included in mail-outs
  •         Print resources available on-line
  •         Technological implementation
  •         Review
        Ms. Herron stated that they wanted to ensure students that the tip line or e-mail contact would not be a 24 hour line, but that it would be checked every 24 hours.

        Trustee Murray said that the initiative is a great idea, and she suggested that it be extended in an age appropriate way to students in the primary and junior grades.

        Chair Crawford thanked Ms. Herron for providing the above-noted information about the LDSB Let’s Talk, Let’s Listen, Take a Stand initiative.

        Ms. Herron withdrew from 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 May 27, 2010 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

        Mrs. Akey introduced Katherine Hill, a teacher in the Board, who is participating the ETFO Special Education course, who was a guest.

LDSB Special Education Budget 2010-2011

        Mrs. Akey reported that preliminary budget information regarding the Special Education Grants (SEG) was shared with SEAC on April 21, 2010, including Special Equipment Amount (SEA), Special Incidence Portion (SIP), High Needs Amount (HNA) and Special Education Per Pupil Amount (SEPPA).  She further reported that information about the Behaviour Expertise Amount (BEA) and sector discussions was also shared.  

        Mrs. Akey advised that a subcommittee of SEAC prepared a presentation for the Budget Consultation Committee meeting of the LDSB, held May 3, 2010.  She distributed copies of the letter.

        Mrs. Akey reviewed the following information concerning SEPPA and HNA:


2007-08 $26, 415,000
2008-09 $27,125,000
2009-10 $27,081,000
2010-11 $27,212,000

        Mrs. Akey reported that 97% of special education expenditures are compensation, noting that funding needs to allow for a 3% increase to comply with collective agreements.  She advised that Measures of Variability (MOV) were introduced in 2009-10.

        Mrs. Akey reviewed the following enrolment information:

  •         Elementary + 46.5
  •                 October 2009 – actual 12,172
  •                 October 2010 – projected 12,218.5
  •         Secondary – 488.38
  •                 October 2009 – actual 8,676.38
  •                 October 2010 – projected 8,188
  •         Total Projected October 2010 – 12,218.5 + 8,188.0 = 20,406.5
        Mrs. Akey reviewed the following Revenue information:

SEPPA   $11,222,038
SEA     $     774,286   ($564,289 + $10,000 + $200,000)
HNA             $15,589,458     95% of ($15,595,238 + $791,137 = $16,386,375)
SIP             $     400,000
FA              $  1,598,450
BEA             $     132,149

Total           $29,716,381

        Mrs. Akey reviewed the other revenue information as follows:

Early Learning Program Special Education                $116,372
Autism Supports and Training                            $  41,674
(Student Support Leadership Initiative – SSLI)        our share of $96,352
(Differentiated Instruction – DI)                             ($ 21,506)
(Student Success – Cross Panel Work)          ($ 25,015)

        Mrs. Akey stated that we were able to maintain a significant amount of our service delivery with some shaves to the number of educational assistants in the system and teacher support in the system that is related to declining enrolment.  She said that any funding that does come forward will into our educational assistant line to support our students with special education needs.

        Mrs. Akey advised that the educational assistant placement meeting will be held earlier this year.  She said that the team considered the needs of the system right now in the allocation process.  She said that the allocations will be reviewed in September to see what other needs we have.

2010-2011 Special Education Plan

        Mrs. Akey said that the 2010-2011 Special Education Plan continues to be in draft form.  She said that we are still working through the addition of some further indicators of exceptionalities for the Communications category – Learning Disabilities

        Mrs. Akey said that the plan will be amended and posted on the Board’s website.  It does not have to be submitted to the Ministry of Education this year as a plan, but as a report.  She indicated that next year the Ministry will provide information about how boards would like to share information.

2010-2011 Accessibility Plan

        Mrs. Akey reported that the Accessibility Plan comes to the Property/Operations Committee and then to the Board for approval.  She said that the Accessibility Plan is also presented to the Special Education Advisory Committee for information.

        Supervising Principal Akey reviewed the Annual Accessibility Plan, September 2010-August 2011.  She advised that the Executive Summary talks about the purpose of the Ontarians for Disabilities Act 2001 (ODA 2001), which is to improve opportunities for people with disabilities and to provide for their involvement in the identification, removal and prevention of barriers to their full participation in the life of the province.  To this end, the ODA 2001 mandates that each school board prepare an Annual Accessibility Plan.  On June 13, 2005, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA, 2005) received Royal Assent and is now law.  The purpose of the AODA, 2005, is to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities by providing for the development, implementation and enforcement of mandatory accessibility standards respecting food, services, facilities, accommodation, employment and buildings by January 2, 2025.

        Ms. Akey said that for the 2010-2011 year, the LDSB has again committed itself to the continual improvement of access to school and board premises, facilities and services for students and staff with disabilities; the participation of people with disabilities in the development and review of its annual access plans, and the provision of quality services to all students, parents and members of the community with disabilities.  It has committed to work on not only the identification and removal of Physical and Architectural barriers, but also to identify at least one barrier in each of the following areas: Informational, Communicational, Attitudinal, Technological and Policy or Practice.  Ms. Akey thanked Manny Brandao, and Facility Services staff for their work.  She said that more Human Resources and Educational Services staff are involved in the Working Group for the 2010-2011 Plan.

        Ms. Akey advised that as part of the communication of the plan, it was presented to the Property/Operations Committee on May 25, 2010, and it is being shared with the Special Education Advisory Committee this evening.  Once it has been approved by the Board, it will be posted on the Educational Services Department and public area of the Limestone District School Board web-site.  It would be available in very school to be shared with School Councils.

        Ms. Akey reviewed Appendix A, which lists the Barrier-Free Accessibility Projects; Appendix B which includes the Transition to School Profile, and Appendix C which lists the Status of 2009-2010 Goals, as well as the Goals for 2010-11;

        Ms. Akey stated that in the Communicational Goal, the Committee did create the “Open Doors” Award, which is a new strategy for recognizing students/staff who support an inclusive school environment for students.  The Open Doors Award for staff will be developed in the fall of 2010.  She said that they would like the membership on the Accessibility Committee enhanced, and that they have invited members of the SEAC Committee to join the membership committee.  She said that we will continue to work in compliance with the standards as developed by AOD Directorate Information and Communication, noting that we will continue to provide feedback to the Directorate, as requested.

        Ms. Akey stated that we are excited to offer training to eight to ten new schools for the Roots of Empathy program.  She said that with regard to the Technological Goal, LDSB submitted a record 342 SEA claims for the 2009-2010 school year, and that for 2010-2011, we will continue to process SEA applications as per new/revised MOE SEA Funding Guidelines 2010-2011, and that we will continue to provide training for staff and students in the use of assistive technology and differentiated instruction.  She said that Compass OT has been contracted to deliver training to students in the use of Assistive Technology in LDSB secondary schools.  She said that the QECVI Assistive Technology Pilot Project was developed, implemented and is successful.

        Ms. Akey reported that with regard to the Policy/Practice Goal, we were compliant with Ontario Regulation 429/07 --  Customer Services.

        Ms. Akey reported that the Attitudinal Goal is closely linked to the Communicational Goal.

        Ms. Akey advised that Appendix D includes a Sample Occupational Therapist Report; Appendix E includes a Sample Request for Renovation; Appendix F includes the Accessibility and Accommodation Survey by Family of Schools; Appendix G includes the Overview of Schools Requiring Accessibility Upgrades; Appendix H includes the Accessibility and Accommodation Status Report by Family of Schools (April 2010); Appendix I includes information about the Consultation Session for the Accessibility Plan – January 2010; Appendix J includes a list of all In-Service and Training by lead staff to their teams.  It also includes a memorandum and description of the Open Doors Award.

        Ms. Akey reported that Appendix K includes Compliance Information Regarding Customer Service Ontario Regulation 429-/07, as well as LDSB Accessibility Standards for Customer Services.

Crown Ward Championship Team Update

        Mrs. Akey indicated that the Crown Ward Championship Team is made up of representatives from:

  •         Hastings Children’s Aid Society
  •         City of Kingston and County of Frontenac Children’s Aid Society
  •         Lennox and Addington Family and Children’s Services
  •         Prince Edward Children’s Aid Society
  •         Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB
  •         Hastings-Prince Edward DSB
  •         Limestone DSB
  •         St. Lawrence College
  •         Loyalist College
  •         Queen’s University
        Mrs. Akey reviewed the goals of the Crown Ward Championship Team, as follows:

1.      Establish a partnering agreement and regular renewal process with the goal of supporting the educational/employment success of youth with Crown ward/ECM status.

2.      Create and maintain an understanding among all the partners of the processes, pathways and resources in each of our organizations that are available to engage youth in exploring educational and employment opportunities.

3.      Develop mechanisms to identify and track data regarding Crown wards in the relation to education and employment.

4.      Provide experiential learning opportunities that expose youth and their caregivers to a range of post-secondary education, employment training and workplace options.

Implementation of P/PM 140 (Incorporating Methods of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) into Programs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by School Boards 2010

        Mrs. Akey reported that initial scanning of the Board roll-up results show us that over 80% of our schools feel that they do 20 of the indicators all or most of the time. They do feel that they do the other 20 indicators some of the time.  She reported that we have had five responses to the Parent Survey.  A more in-depth look at the results in the fall will help to inform our sevice delivery in the next school year.

Educational Services Update

        Mr. Gillam reported that Educational Services is involved in staff at both the elementary and secondary levels at this time.  He further reported that one of the Behaviour Learning Centres is losing one of its teacher to a vice-principalship, and that the vacancy has been filled.

        Mr. Gillam stated that Educational Services is completing its renewals with its partner agencies, regarding Section 23 programs.

        Mr. Gillam indicated that he visited H.H. Langford Public School during its track and field meet, and he commented on the wheelchair races at the school that the students and staff took part it.  He commented the staff at the school for providing the students with an opportunity to be part of inclusiveness at the school.

        Mr. Gillam provided the following update:

Professional Learning

  •         CODE K-1 – Embedding phonological awareness into the Comprehensive Literacy Program
  •         Geneva – ABA Training – May 13 and 14, 2010.  Lorna Jean Astle presented at the training session
  •         Geneva Summer Institute – Introductory and Advanced Sessions – 15 people in each
Curriculum Council/Affinity Information

  •         School to Community – celebration of Tammy Onyskiw’s career
  •         Autism – May meeting – Laura Carroll – using Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking work in her class.  Using “Superflex” program – develop flexible thinking skills
Ministry Initiative Updates

  •         SIP and SEA Guidelines – new – information coming soon
  •         CODE JK-1 – reporting process complete
  •         A4 – Assessing Achievement in Alternative Areas – document now finalized – LDSB plan coming soon
“Connections for Students” Initial Year of Implementation

        Kristin Check thanked the Committee for the opportunity to share information about “Connections for Students” this afternoon, noting that Phase Two is a joint Ministry of Education and Ministry of Child and Youth Services initiative that involved a collaborative team model to support students moving from Intensive Behaviour Intervention (IBI) to school-based programming.
        Mrs. Check stated that the primary goal of Connections for Students is to provide a seamless transition experience for students from IBI to school based programming.

        Mrs. Check advised that LDSB was one of 16 selected school boards working with the province’s nine regional autism service provides to implement the Connections for Students model in 2009-10 as part of Collaborative Service Delivery Model Phase 2.  As of March 2010, all boards within the province implemented Connections for Students, and the role of the lead boards was to offer their resources to these other boards.  Mrs. Check reported that on the CODE website, there are several postings as to what has been developed

        Mrs. Check stated that Connections for Students is centred on multi-disciplinary, student-specific and school based transition teams that are established approximately six months before a child prepares to transition from IBI services through the Autism Intervention Program (AIP) to a publicly funded school.  The transition team continues to support the student for at least six months after leaving the AIP and entering or continuing in school.  The team reviews all assessments about the student.

        Mrs. Check stated that Connections for Students has resulted in:

  •         Successful transitions for students ensuring skill maintenance progress, generalization fo skills and continued learning momentum;
  •         Increased collaboration among AIP provider, school board staff and parents, as well as other involved agencies;
  •         Opportunities to enhance principal, teacher and educational assistant expertise through working with other professionals on the team and attending several professional learning opportunities throughout the year.
        Mrs. Check stated that in 2010-2011, we are looking towards:

  •         delineation of the team members’ roles and responsibilities so that each member utilizes their expertise and knowledge in an intro-disciplinary approach to support the child’s transition;
  •         focus on alignment of Individual Education Plans, transition plans and reporting to support students in maintaining current skills, acquiring new skills and generalizing;
  •         focus on continued parent engagement;
  •         implementation of P/PM 140 through the effective use of ABA approaches.
        Mrs. Check recognized the work of Margo Virtue, Educational Services, who has been an integral part of the Autism Team.

        Mr. Gillam stated that one of the Board’s section programs, formerly under the NEXUS programs will be an IBI program.  Six students will attend the program which will be housed at J.G. Simcoe Public School.

        Mr. Gillam provided an update on the work of the IEP Steering Committee.  He said that they have broken IEPs into exceptionalities to come up with themes they see for Educational Services to move the IEPs forward.  He indicated that the IEP Steering Committee will report back to the Educational Services team.

        Mr. Gillam advised that he attended the Quinte Detention Centre graduation exercises, commenting on a young man who obtained his highschool diploma, through the encouragement of the teacher at that site, and key staff in the building.

        Mr. Gillam provided the following information regarding Ministry Memorandums:

  •         Student Support Leadership Initiative – Ministry of Education, Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  •         Funding will continue for three more years
  •         Continues to be an integral part of Ministry of Education’s safe school strategy, MCYS’ implementation plan for A Shared Responsibility as well as the ten year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.
More Ministry Memoranda

  •         MOE, MCYS and MOHLTC – Services for Students with Special Needs/Special Education Needs and the Early Learning Program (ELP) in Year One, 2010-11
  •         Shared goal – to ensure that students and families get the support they need to fully participate in the ELP
  •         Planning entry to school section
  •         Examples of Effective Practices – Connections for Students
  •         Evaluation
  •         MOE – School Board Professionals with Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) Expertise funded through the Behaviour Expertise Amount (BEA)
  •         Funding for the ABA position is now part of the education grants
  •         Reaffirms the roles and responsibilities initiated this year
  •         MOE – Draft Guidelines for Programs and Services for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (K-12)
  •         Describes effective practices for district school boards when providing support and services to students who are deaf/hard of hearing
  •         Build on the guiding principles found in Learning for All K-12
  •         Further consultation and feedback to occur in Fall 2010
  •         More details to follow
Safe and Caring Schools
        Mr. Gillam provided the following information:

  •         Safe and Caring Schools in Ontario: Supporting Students with Special Education Needs Through Progressive Discipline: 3-12 – Resource Manual to be released this school year
  •         Interface document – assist systems and school leadership to promote and support safe/caring schools
  •         Practical resource – instruction and intervention
        Mr. Gillam, on behalf of Educational Services staff,  thanked SEAC for their support this year.

        Trustee Crawford thanked the presenters of the above-noted information for their informative presentations.


Letter from Minister of Education

        Trustee Murray read the letter from Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Education, dated June 4, 2010, to Co-Chairs Crawford and Bennett.  The letter was in response to SEAC’s letter about special education funding, including the Measures of Variability (MOV) amount and the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) Student Assessment Project.  The letter stated that the government is committed to developing a more effective special education funding system, and that they are making changes to be more responsive to students with special education needs and to focus on supporting student outcomes.

        The letter also stated that during the 2010/11 school year, the Ministry will continue to implement the recommendations of the Working Table on Special Education report, Special Education Transformation: The Report of the Co-Chairs with the Recommendations of the Working Table on Special Education.  As it relates to funding, the Ministry will continue to review and refine the components of the Special Education Grant, and consult with stakeholders to ensure that the evolution of the funding approach supports students with special education needs, supports improvements in student outcomes, and places less emphasis on the identification process for students with special education needs.

        The letter comments on the Grants for Student Needs, and the objectives of the OPA Student Assessment Project.  The letter states that the Ministry is aware of the challenges boards face to provide professional assessments for students with complex special education needs, and will continue to work with boards to address these challenges and provide resources to enhance assessment and classroom instruction.

“Make It Happen 2010" Building Success for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Learners Conference

        Trustee Crawford advised that the “Make It Happen 2010" Building Success for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Learners Conference is being held August 26-28, 2010 at the Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf, Milton.

Correspondence from Kathy Bennett

        Correspondence was received from Kathy Bennett, on behalf of Community Living Ontario, to Ontario High School Youth, advising of two opportunities for high school aged youth, as follows:

  •         re:action4Inclusion Conference Committee – Once a year, students from across the province come together to network, learn and explore ways to ensure our schools and communities are welcoming to people of all backgrounds and abilities.  Community Living Ontario is looking for motivated youth to help plan and provide leadership at its Third Annual re:action4Inclusion conference – March 2011
  •         Youth Advisory Committee – Provide your thoughts and ideas on how youth can be supported to build communities inclusive of all people; be host to a one-day regional event to promote inclusion in your area; and assist the conference committee with the re:action4Inclusion conference.
Association Updates

Epilepsy Kingston

        Nadine Carson reported that Epilepsy Kingston has been under the scrutiny of the United Way to justify the grant money they requested from the United Way.  She said that Epilepsy Kingston expanded to small rural areas this year, where they believed their services were needed and appreciated.  They are in discussions with the United Way about cutting back on services outside the City of Kingston.  She advised that a meeting is being held next week, and she hopes the results of the meeting will be positive.  She stated that the grant money they requested this year, is exactly the same as last year.

        Mrs. Akey said that it was an honour to be invited, and represent the Limestone District School Board, at the opening of the new Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington office.  She congratulated Ms. Whalen on the opening of their new office.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, September 15, at 7:00 p.m. at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.


        MOVED BY Nadine Carson, that the meeting adjourn at 8:45~p.m.–Carried