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November 17, 2010 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
November 17, 2010

        A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, November 17, 2010, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
E. Crawford, Co-Chair
P. Murray

H. Brown
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and
Present Staff:
Marg Akey, Supervising Principal
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Kristin Check, Coordinator/Projects Lead
Scot Gillam, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

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

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Trustee Murray, that the minutes of the October 20, 2010 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

SEAC Capacity Building Survey

        Supervising Principal Akey reported that the SEAC Capacity Building survey was completed and sent into the Ministry of Education.

Caring and Safe Schools

        Supervising Principal reported that the “Caring and Safe Schools in Ontario: Supporting Students with Special Education Needs Through Progressive Discipline, Kindergarten to Grade 12" document is a resource guide that has been provided by the Ministry of Education.  She said that it is intended to serve as a practical resource for administrators to help Superintendents, Principals and Vice-Principals address issues of student behaviour both through instruction and interventions tailored to individual student needs and through ongoing efforts to build and maintain a caring and safe school culture.

        Supervising Principal Akey stated that the Ontario Ministry of Education recognizes that all students require a caring and safe environment and individualized support in order to learn, develop their potential and stay in school.

        Ms. Akey indicated that the document speaks to appropriate strategies and resources that will help us both at the system level and at the school level to address behaviour challenges for students, particularly students with special education needs.

        Ms. Akey stated that the investigations of the Safe Schools Action Team have confirmed that a safe and supportive environment for learning and working is one of the most import factors that influence the quality of student learning and achievement.

        Supervising Principal Akey read the following statement from the Safe Schools Action Team 2008, “There is a direct link between success in school and the school environment in which student learning takes place.  Students are motivated to do well and achieve their full potential in school that have a positive school culture and one in which they feel safe and supported.

        Ms. Akey advised that students who experience a positive school culture feel supported and accepted by peers and staff and tend to develop a strong sense of school membership.  She further advised that students who feel accepted are more likely to develop strong literacy skills and make a positive contribution to the school culture and are less likely to commit infractions.        

        Ms. Akey advised of the following links to other Ministry initiatives:

Shaping Safer Schools: November 2005
Safe Schools Policy and Practice: June 2006
Shaping a Culture of Respect In Our Schools: Promoting Safe and Healthy Relationships: December 2008
The Education Amendment Act (Progressive Discipline and School Safety): February 1, 2008
Keeping Kids Safe at School: February 1, 2010
The Early School Leavers: Understanding the Lived Reality of Student Disengagement for Secondary School: 2005
K-12 School Effectiveness Framework
Board Improvement Planning for Student Achievement
Roots of Violence: 2008
Student Success/Learning to 18 Strategy
Effective Educational Practices for Students with ASD Learning for All K-12
Character Development in Action, K-12: Successful Practices in Ontario Schools: 2008
Shared Solutions: A Guide to Preventing and Resoling Conflicts Regarding Programs and Services for Students with Special Education Needs: 2007  

        Ms. Akey stated that when addressing behavioural issues in schools:

•     the focus should be on the interaction between students and their environment and
•     on the creation of a caring and safe school culture that supports the teaching and ongoing reinforcement of skills that will enable students to choose and demonstrate appropriate behaviour

        Ms. Akey reported that a safe and caring culture looks like and inclusive community characterized by:

•     caring and cooperative relationships;
•     a framework of common values;
•     clear and consistent behavioural expectations;
•     appropriate and positive role modelling by staff and students.

        Ms. Akey reviewed the following information with regard to building a caring and safe school culture:

•     conduct a gap analysis
•     get a starting point
•     establish goals and expectations
•     develop an implementation plan
•     monitor, reflect and adjust
        Ms. Akey stated that a positive school culture is one in which individuals are trusted, respected, and involved, where there is collaboration, high expectations, mutual trust, caring and support for all individuals.  Student feel that adults care for them as a group and as individuals.  Caring for students must be given the same kind of consideration that we given to our efforts to ensure their safety.

        Trustee Crawford thanked Ms. Akey for providing the above-noted information.

Special Education Funding Update

        Supervising Principal Akey reviewed the letter received from Superintendent Richard, Superintendent of Business Services, dated November 12, 1010, in response to SEAC’s submission to the Board with regard to the 2010-2011 budget.  She advised that the Board continues to support students with special education needs as best as it can.  She indicated that in the SEAC Capacity Building Survey information from the October 20th SEAC meeting, information concerning the Board’s financial statements was asked to be made available.  Ms. Akey reported that in Superintendent Richard’s letter, he reports that actual expenditures on Special Education services totaled $30,492,000, noting that this level of expenditures exceeded the actual 2009-2010 budget of $28,839,000 by approximately $2 million.  Superintendent Richard advises in his letter that most of the additional supports were as a result of the additional Special Equipment Amount (SEA) funding obtained by the Educational Services Department, as part of the annual SEA application process.

        Supervising Principal Akey reported that Special Education sector discussions were held in Ottawa on October 15, 2010, with the Eastern Ontario District School Boards, Ottawa Regional Office staff and Ministry staff in attendance.  She indicated that Ministry staff are very supportive of the hard work the district school boards do to support their students with special education needs.  She indicated that the needs of these students are becoming more severe, with the number of students with special needs increasing.

        Supervising Principal Akey stated that at that meeting, there was discussion as to how we will be funded in the future.  She said that they were told that special education funding will never be compromised to other areas.  She said that discussion was held with regard to the current funding model and potential models.  She said that the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement is now inclusive of children with special education needs.  She said that we will support our classroom teachers and offer to increase the use of assistive technology.

        Supervising Principal Akey stated that the Transformation of Special Education, which was written during the time that Kathleen Wynne served as Minister of Education, continues to be implemented.

        Ms. Akey indicated that the Limestone DSB did well in the ISA process in 2004.  She indicated that in 2006 we lobbied for the continuation of the support we had been receiving. She said, however, that the Ministry funding flow is tied to enrolment.  She indicated that for the past four years, our funding for students with special education needs has been stable.  She commented on the high needs amount and the funding factors that are applied to that funding.  She said that the funding formula is complicated, but the Ministry does not think it is fair anymore.  Ms. Akey said that the majority of district school boards in Ontario are in declining enrolment situations.

        Ms. Akey stated that the Board continues to do well, but that we will probably lose some funding, but we do not know how much.  She said that we will apply for anything that comes to us for funding grants.  Ms. Akey commented that we will have to take advantage of the expertise we have, and we continue to support our staff and our students.  She stated that boards were told that funding grant changes would not impact us for the Grants for Student Needs for 2011-2012.

        Trustee Crawford thanked Ms. Akey for providing the above-noted information.

Educational Services Update

        Principal Gillam provided the Educational Services update, as follows:

Professional Learning

•     Clinical Consultants’ Professional Learning – Monday, November 15th – Mark Ryan, Kathy McVety-Kavanagh and Kristin Check led the Clinical Consultants in a half day session on Assistive Technology within a Universally Designed Learning Environment.
•     SST LPS Course – the course wrapped up last Thursday evening.
•     Differentiated Instruction (DI) Learning Groups – the DI learning groups are well underway in K-12 schools.
•     Educational Assistant Course – starts next week
•     Geneva 2010
•     Autism Team and School to Community Team
•     Staff had the opportunity to hear directly from leaders in the field, including: Temple Grandin, Tony Atwood, Paula Kluth and Michele Garcia Winner
•     Staff are energized and excited to begin sharing new knowledge with peers and colleagues


•     Barry C. O’Connor Excellence in Support Staff Award – Stephanie Vivian, an Educational Assistant at Transitions for Success East, was presented with this award in the Educational Services category at the November 10th LDSB Meeting.

SIP (Special Incidence Portion)

•     funding that we can access from the Ministry in supporting our students with special education
•     reimbursement for students who require more than one educational assistant; attached to special education teacher
•     Educational Services is in the process of gathering this information from the schools

Curriculum Council News

•     Joint Autism/School to Community Curriculum Council
•     Andrea Roblin-Hanson and Sara Oglivie of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Hotel Dieu Hospital – November 10th
•     Topic of teaching healthy sexuality and relationships to students with ASD and Developmental Disabilities
•     Andrea and Sara run groups at the hospital for teens on this essential topic
•     There was a great turnout, with over 25 staff attending

SEA Statistics

•     2008-2009 – 133 claims (90 in 2007-2008)
•     Cost of $711,884
•     2009-2010 – 334 claims
•     Cost of $2,052,517

SEA Changes for 2010-2011

•     Two components – SEA per pupil and SEA claims-based
•     SEA Per Pupil Amount – base amount of 10,000 plus an amount based on average daily enrolment
•     SEA Per Pupil Amount – support the purchase of computers, software, training and technician costs
•     Remaining SEA funding continues to be claims based – sensory, hearing, vision, personal care and physical assist equipment
•     SEA Per Pupil Amount – 2010 – $560,000 plus an estimate of 200,000 claims based – significantly less than previous years – more claims

Board Responsibilities

•     Internal process that equitably allocates the per pupil amount in an equitable and timely fashion
•     Boards are encouraged to seek efficiencies for all SEA equipment purchases – bulk purchases and board licenses
•     Can be used for technicians and training, but not to increase ful-time staff complements

SEA Protocol – 2010-2011

•     SEA Protocol Flow Chart – CCAC – Tech referrals only
•     CCAC referrals will be initiated by Educational Services after the Needs Assessment has been completed
•     Opportunity for follow-up at all stages
•     ...\SEA Protocol 2010\SEA Protocol Flow Chart-CCAC.doc
•     ...\SEA Protocol 2010\SEA Protocol Flow Chart-CDCandACS.doc
•     ...\SEA Protocol 2010\SEA Protocol Flow Chart-OutsideAgencies.doc

Needs Assessment

•     Seven key elements that will help Educational Services determine the level of support needed for student/classroom/school AT needs
•     Student strengths and needs, software use, anticipated benefits from more specific AT, AT usage in class/school, current computer usage, secondary use and trials, and finally – student engagement

        Mr. Gillam provided an overview of the Kurzweil Web Version 12.
        Trustee Crawford thanked Principal Gillam for providing the above-noted information.


(a)     Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE) Minutes of June 9-10, 2010
        The minutes will be forwarded to SEAC members.

(b)     From Rita Collver, Chair, Special Education Advisory Committee of Grand Erie District School Board, a copy of a letter dated October 18, 2010, to the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, regarding their concern about the government’s recent shift in the implementation process for outstanding Standards of the AODA, and requesting that:
        •     An immediate announcement that the consultation process for the Integrated Accessibility Regulation is under review;
        •     The MCSS facilitates contracts with OESC to again provide school boards with advice and direction regarding implementation of the Proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation; and
        •     SEACs across the Province be invited to participate in a consultation process over  the next year with recommendations to be forwarded to the Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education by October 2011, for consideration of the Minister of Education.

        This matter was deferred to the January 19, 2011 meeting of SEAC.

(c)     From Saunders Porter, Chair, District School Board Ontario North East, a copy of a letter dated October 14, 2010, to the Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Education, regarding the significant number of high needs Special Education students that are entering the Public school system.  The letter states in part, “District School Board Ontario North East is of the opinion that if the coterminous Boards are not providing the high needs service required then all funds that they presently receive from the ‘ISA’ process should follow the students to the Public school systems who are accepting and enrolling the high needs students that have basically been rejected by the other Boards and subsequently are required to overspend their Special Education budget.”

(d)     From the Provincial parent Associations Advisory Committee on SEAC, a copy of a memorandum, dated November 9, 2010, advising that they have recently mailed a CD copy of the PAAC on SEAC Effective Practices Handbook for SEAC Members 2010 to Chairs of SEACs.

Association Updates

Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Bennett advised that Community Living Kingston is re-establishing a standing committee on education, noting that Kristin Check, and the Community Living Kingston SEAC representatives of the Limestone District School Board and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board will sit on the committee.  She said that Community Living Kingston has decided to re-establish this committee with the idea of facilitating communication between SEAC Associations, to ensure that their procedures are aligned and to help facilitate communication around issues.  She indicated that she will keep SEAC apprised of any development there.

Other Business

        Ms. Akey shared the new school design plans for Kingston East and Greater Napanee with SEAC members.

        Ms. Akey advised that an advertisement will be placed in the local papers, for the recruitment of Association representatives to sit on the Special Education Advisory Committee.  She also asked SEAC Association members to have a letter sent from their organizations indicating who their SEAC representative and alternate representative will be, noting that the term will end November 30, 2014.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8, 2010, at 6:00 p.m. at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.  The remaining meetings for the 2010-2011 school year are scheduled for:  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 Trustee Murray, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the meeting adjourn at 8:15 p.m.–Carried