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October 20, 2010 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
October 20, 2010

        A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, at 7:00~p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford, Co-Chair
Paula Murray
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington

        The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who welcomed those present to the meeting, especially new member Karen Jeffrey from Lennox and Addington Resources for Children.  Those present introduced themselves.
Approval of Agenda

        Kathy Bennett indicated that the item concerning Caring and Safe Schools is to be deferred to a future meeting of SEAC.

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Nadine Carson, that the agenda, as amended, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY David Williams, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the September 15, 2010 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        Kathy Bennett stated at the last meeting, Committee members were asked to look at the following two websites and offer comments on them.

        Kathy Bennett advised that the Ministry of Education’s public website about Special Education was deferred from SEAC’s September 15, 2010 meeting to this evening’s SEAC meeting.  She referred to the Ministry of Education’s Public Website about Special Education and asked if anyone had feedback about the site.  

        David Williams stated that the website was comprehensive.
        David Williams referred to the 2004 report about Individual Education Plan (IEP) information, and noted that there didn’t seem to be anything more current.

        Ms. Akey indicated that a lot of work has been done regarding the Individual Education Plan, since the Ministry put out the template.  She said that there has been a drive for consistency across the province.  She said that there is an IEP Guide and information about IEP resources, noting that the new guide will be available by September 2011.  She said that there will also be a revised Special Education Guide for Educators.

        Nadine Carson said that she found that there was a lot of similar information on the site,  and the site was fairly easy to operate.    

SEAC e-learning website

        Kathy Bennett referred to the e-learning website and indicated that this item was referred to this evening’s SEAC meeting from the September 15, 2010 SEAC meeting.  The survey relates to SEAC Capacity Building and it was developed to provide SEAC members the opportunity to provide feedback to the Ministry on the SEAC practices, orientation the SEAC Learning Website and the development of resources.

        Karen Jeffrey said that she found the site gave her a good sense of what SEAC is about and what to expect.

Caring and Safe Schools

        Kathy Bennett indicated that this matter is to be deferred to a future meeting of SEAC.  Ms. Akey stated that the working groups will provide an update at a future SEAC meeting.       

SEAC Capacity Building

        SEAC members reviewed the SEAC Capacity Building survey, and provided feedback to the questions.

        With regard to Section 3. SEAC Practices, Question 1, the Committee indicated that SEAC was involved in the following for the 2009-2010 school year: Review of special education programs and services; Review of the Special Education Report/Plan, Review of the annual budget.
        Ms. Akey indicated that there was no requirement for boards to develop a Special Education Plan this year.  She said that the Plan is being revised to be a report about staffing and services.  She stated that we want to revise it to make it more user friendly on the website.

        Ms. Akey stated that if SEAC members so choose, the financial statements can be made available for the Committee’s review.  Ms. Akey advised that at a future meeting, she would provide information about special education funding that was received recently at an information session.  She said that the Ministry is considering a new funding model.

        SEAC members indicated that they were not involved in the review of the Board Improvement Plan.  Ms. Akey explained the Board Improvement Plan (BIP) process.  She said that the Special Education Plan is part of the BIP.  She said that LDSB had a meeting with the Ministry two weeks ago to provide feedback to the LDSB BIP.  She indicated that we were asked to change one thing, which was done.  She said information concerning this matter will be brought to a future SEAC meeting.

        With regard to the Question 2 asking if SEAC provided any recommendations pertaining to the following, for the 2009-2010 school year, SEAC members indicated that they did with regard to the development and delivery of special education program and services (examination issue), and to the Annual Budget, noting that they provided input into the budget via a letter to the LDSB at its Budget Consultation Meeting.  The additional comments are to include that SEAC provides input and information at meetings.  It rarely takes recommendations to the Board because the members come to a consensus.  The SEAC gets its works done at its meetings.

        With regard to Question 3, How do your SEAC members receive information?, the responses were: SEAC meetings, Ministry memos (anything that comes to the Director of Education regarding SEAC is forwarded to the SEAC Co-Chairs), School Board memos, Provincial Association updates, Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE) updates, and Website.

        With regard to Question 4, What effective practices has your SEAC/school board developed to establish and maintain a collaborative, representative and informed SEAC members?, the Committee indicated that e-mail is used regularly, it responded to the budget via a letter to the LDSB at its Budget Consultation meeting, it responds to things that are brought forward, it networks once a year with its co-terminus boards, and subcommittees are struck to provide feedback.

        With regard to Question 5, Has your SEAC encountered any challenges in maintaining a collaborative, representative and informed SEAC?, the Committee indicated that it would like more representatives from other associations as part of its committees.

        With regard to Section 4, SEAC Learning Website, Questions 1-5, SEAC members indicated that 100% of its members are aware of the SEAC Learning website, and 100% of its members have used the SEAC Learning Website.

        SEAC members indicated that they have used the SEAC learning website for the following: As part of the SEAC member orientation, As part of the SEAC member ongoing training sessions As a resource for additional information.  Andrea Martin indicated that she uses it in her teaching at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University.

        SEAC members indicated that they find the SEAC Learning website most helpful in the following areas: Historical Overview, Roles and Responsibilities, School Board Obligations, Legislation and Regulations and Policy, and Funding of Special Education.

        SEAC indicated that providing links between the SEAC Learning website and the Ministry of Education website would be most helpful.

        With regard to Section 5, Orientation, Question 1, SEAC indicted that they provide SEAC orientation on an ad hoc basis.  They believed that they need to do more re-tooling.  They suggested that they give themselves a cycle for significant training.

        SEAC members referred to Question 2 and indicated that they use the following methods to provide orientation to members: Jointly with other school boards, and Guest Speakers.  They also refer orientation through the Ministry of Education’s Public Website about Special Education.

        SEAC members indicated in Question 3 that SEAC/LDSB use presentations to support SEAC members, and that there has been some mentoring.  They said that they need to develop a handbook.

        SEAC members referred to Section 6, Public Engagement, Question 1 and advised that SEAC information/updates are provided and/or shared wit the community through: newsletters, website, social networking, associations/organizational meetings, and information sessions.  As well there is special (professional or association) networking.

        Responding to question 2, SEAC members indicated that they provide information about SEAC to the associations they represent through: newsletters, Associations/organizational meetings and information sessions.  Information that is received from other associations is distributed to new members, and other associations are able to present at SEAC meetings.

        With regard to Section 7, Resource/Materials, Question 1, the following resources that SEAC/LDSB had developed for include a pamphlet for Annual SEAC planning.  With regard to SEAC Committee procedures, SEAC Nomination process, SEAC recruitment and SEAC roles/responsibilities, our SEAC is developing a handbook.  Our SEAC has also talked about advertising for people to put their names forward to sit on our SEAC.

        With regard to Question 2, our SEAC/Board is willing to publicly share our resources.

        SEAC would like to see more people from other organizations involved on the SEAC Committee.

        Ms. Akey is to fill in the responses to the survey and forward it to the Ministry of Education.

Community Living Orientation Handbook

        Kathy Bennett had a copy of the Community Living Orientation handbook available, and indicated that perhaps SEAC could model its handbook after it.

        A subcommittee, consisting of Trustee Murray, Brad Shoniker, Nadine Carson, Kathy Bennett, Kristin Check and Trustee Crawford, was struck to develop a SEAC Orientation Handbook.  Pat LaLonde indicated that she could ask the alternate from the ASO if she would be part of the subcommittee.        

Educational Services Update

        Marg Akey provided the Educational Services update, as follows:

Professional Learning

  •         SST/LPS Course – began on October 7, 2010, with 32 candidates
  •         Embedding Phonological Awareness into the Comprehensive Literacy Program – Kindergarten-Grade 1 Teachers – 4th session
  •         Early Learning Teams – October 13 – Principals, Teachers and Early Childhood Educators of the Early Learning Program – morning session – focus on early childhood education and identification; afternoon session – ECEs and K-1 teachers focus on Phonological Awareness
  •         Bus Driver/Monitor Training – October 12 – topics included Autism, Mental Health, Behaviour, and Tri-Board Student Transportation Policies and Procedures
  •         “Hear to Learn/Classroom Acoustics” Workshop – October 13 – for teachers, educational assistants and administration
  •         Bill 168 – Violence and Harassment Training – Educational Services staff – October 18
  •         October 25th PA Day
  •                 Morning – Elementary SCS teachers, DLC Teachers, D/HH, B/LV, Section 23 and Secondary Transition teachers will receive PD in Brigance, A4, and Phonological Awareness
  •                 Afternoon – Secondary SCS teachers – Brigance, A4, KCVI Referral process, St. Lawrence/LDSB PEC Pilot
  •                 Afternoon – DLC and Section teachers – BMS refresher
  •         Teacher Critical Learning Pathway (TLCP) – inclusion of all Educational Services teachers in this PD opportunity
Curriculum Council/Affinity Corner

  •         School to Community Curriculum Council – October 12 – Lynn Moore, Community Services Consultant from MCYS presented on Special Services at Home (SSAH) and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD)
  •         Michelle Villeneuve and Phil Kocher from Queen’s shared information on HELPS Inc., a research project about the social inclusion of children with development disabilities
  •         Autism Curriculum Council – October 13 – Mark Ryan presented on using Smart Boards in the classroom
Tech Talk

  •         SEA – work on new pathway and Needs Assessment almost complete – receiving feedback from community partners, school administration and IT – more information to be shared at next SEAC

  •         Shirley Gilchrist – celebration of a wonderful career on October 27th at J.G. Simcoe Public School
  •         Staffing – posting is out for Shirley’s position
  •         Speech/Language Pathologists – total of 2.0 being hired presently to replace a maternity leave, a sick leave and a personal leave
  •         Educational Services Work Team – two work sessions – information to be presented to Administration and staff soon.
        In response to a question from Nadine Carson regarding the new school to be built in Greenwood Park, and what the school would look like in terms of technology, Ms. Akey stated that there would be space for the school to community programs.  She said that she would share the floor plans for the school school at a future meeting.

        Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. Akey for providing the above-noted information.


        There was no correspondence.

Association Updates

Brad Shoniker

        Brad Shoniker advised that Ongwanada is doing Bill 168 training as well.

        Ms. Bennett thanked Mr. Shoniker for his report.

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams reminded those present that LDAK is hosting a fall workshop, October 23, 2010, at St.~Lawrence College in Kingston.  He reported that the morning workshop is about working with teenagers with AD/HD and the afternoon workshop is about Math

        Mr. Williams reported that LDAK has been identified as the charity to receive the proceeds from a fashion show.

        Mr. Williams advised that LDAK’s “Turning Blue Bluegrass Concert Series 2011" will take place February 23, March 23 and April 13, 2011.

        Ms. Bennett thanked Mr. Williams for providing the above-mentioned update.

Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson reported that Epilepsy Kingston is working through its strategic goals and growth for new board members.

        Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. Carson for providing the above-noted information.

Autism Ontario

        Ms. LaLonde reported that the Autism Ontario, Kingston Chapter, will receive a portion of the proceeds from each edible fruit bouquet sold at the grand opening of “Blossoms Fresh Fruit Arrangements”, 2785 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario.  The event will take place November 6, 2010, starting at 10:00 a.m.

        Ms. LaLonde indicated that Autism Ontario, Kingston Chapter will have an alternate member for SEAC.

        Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. LaLonde for her update.

Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Bennett advised that Community Living Kingston is recruiting new board members.  They are also going through accredidation.  She indicated that she is looking for an alternate member for SEAC.

Andrea Martin

        Ms. Martin reported that the Faculty of Education teacher candidates are out in schools, and they are learning about exceptional learning in classrooms and the important of attending to students with special needs.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.  The remaining meetings for the 2010-2011 school year are scheduled for: December 8, 2010 (second Wednesday), January 19, 2011, February 16, 2011, March 25, 2011 (4th Wednesday), April 20, 2011, My 25, 2011 (4th Wednesday), June 8, 2011 (2nd Wednesday).


        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the meeting adjourn at 8:15~p.m.–Carried