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September 21, 2011 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
September 21, 2011

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
E. Crawford
P. Murray, Co-Chair
Present Members:
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Gail Eaton-Smith, Alternate, Learning Disabilities Association of
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Anne Peace-Fast, Member-at-Large        
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and
Present Staff:
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Dr. Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Christine Herron, Educational Services and Safe Schools Liaison
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal, Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal, Special Education
Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
        The meeting was chaired by Trustee Murray, who called the meeting to order.

        Supervising Principal McDonnell introduced Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal at Educational Services; Christine Herron, Educational Services and Safe Schools Liaison Coordinator; Dr. Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist;  Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator with responsibilities in terms of being directly connected with curriculum; and Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator with responsibilities for autism and the Behaviour Learning Centres.

        Those present who were not introduced by Supervising Principal McDonnell, introduced themselves.

        Trustee Murray welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Anne Peace-Fast, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Karen Jeffrey, seconded by Nadine Carson, that the minutes of the June 8, 2011 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

Ministry of Education - Building Capacity Survey Results

        Supervising Principal Ms. McDonnell advised that the 2010-2011 Ministry of Education Special Education Advisory Committee Building Capacity Survey Results Highlights item was placed on the agenda because the Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee was involved in a survey prior to its February meeting, and have been awaiting the results of the survey.  She reported that the survey results came during the summer to our office and to our Co-Chairs.  Ms. McDonnell stated that this information was included in the agenda package so Committee members would have an opportunity to view it.  She said that the information provides an overview of some of the data collected for the survey from the 52 SEACs that reported back on the survey.  She said that the item is for information at this time, and that we are expecting further information from the Ministry.

SEAC Orientation Package Update

        Trustee Murray distributed SEAC Orientation packages to Committee members.  She thanked the subcommittee members who worked on the SEAC Orientation package for their work in putting it together.

Possible SEAC Presentations

        Supervising Principal McDonnell advised that she and Kathy Bennett had met last week to talk about collecting information from SEAC members as to the type of presentations they might like to have.  She said that she would take suggestions tonight, and at a later date as well.

        The suggestions brought forward were:

•     service dogs;
•     assistive technology;
•     information about the new schools to be built and the things being included to meet the needs of children with special education needs;
•     Dr. Kutcher project update;
•     early learning team which will be servicing students in full-day kindergarten; and
•     Parenting and Family Literacy Centres

        With regard to the Parenting and Family Literacy Centres, Supervising Principal advised that they are slated to open at the end of September.  She said that information about them came to us near the end of the 2010-2011 school year, noting that Limestone DSB was given three of the centres and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB was given one.  She said that the Board’s centres will be located at Rideau Heights PS, Frontenac PS, and École Polson Park PS.  She indicated that Paula Andrews was hired as the Manager of the Parenting and Family Literacy Centres.

Educational Services Update

        Ms. Lacoursière provided an Educational Services update.  She indicated that she was present at the June SEAC meeting, and since that time she has started to settle in her position at Educational Services.  She said that she has started to understand the complex nature of the role of Educational Services in supporting our students.

        Ms. Lacoursière provided an overview of the following information:


•     Geneva Centre Training – 5 days of training took place in Ottawa
•     “Y” Training for Educational Assistants
•     Traumatic Events Systems Training for Administrators and Community Partners
•     BMS Training

Program Location Changes

•     Intermediate Nexus Program: Welborne Avenue PS to Truedell PS
•     Junior Learning Centre Program: Odessa PS to J.G. Simcoe PS
•     Counselling and Skills Program: Amherstview PS to Holsgrove PS

Organization Changes and Staffing

•     Portfolio Changes
•     Chief Psychologist
•     Three new coordinators
•     Speech Language Pathologists, Student Support Counsellors, Attendance Counsellors
•     Casual Educational Assistants
•     District Autism Resource Teacher, primary Learning Centre Teacher, Autism Program Teacher

Clinical Service Delivery Model

•     Dr. Jennifer Davidson-Harden
•     Aligned with requirements from College of Psychologists of Ontario
•     Consistency of Practice
•     Roll out of new model
Early Learning Team

•     To support Full Day Kindergarten Programs
•     Educational Services Coordinator – Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson
•     Speech Language Pathologist – Mary Anne Casey
•     Speech Educational Assistant – Christine Lyman

September 23 Professional Activity Day

        Ms. Lacoursière advised that Educational Services staff will meet together to celebrate some of the considerable gains for our students with special education needs in terms of Primary and Junior EQAO data, the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test and mathematics testing.  This information will be brought to a future SEAC meeting.

        Ms. Lacoursière advised that Educational Services staff will discuss Strategic Planning and how it fits with the Board Improvement Plan as well.

Administrative Planning Focus

•     Special Education Plan
•     Strategic Planning
•     Ministry Directions
•     Professional Learning Plans

        Ms. Lacoursière advised that a Community Partners meeting will take place on Friday, October 7, 2011, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., and she asked Committee members to let their respective agencies know about the meeting.

(i)     From the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, a memorandum to Directors of Education, Provincial Associations, and others, dated July 12, 2011, regarding Services for Students with Special Needs/Special Education Needs and the Full-Day Learning Kindergarten Program (FDK) in Year 2 (2011-12).

        Ms. McDonnell advised that the memorandum focuses on service expectations for those students who are entering into a full-day learning program.  She said that those students (in Full Day Learning Programs) will continue to receive appropriate services within the school board, and within the community as well.  One of the guiding principles of this memorandum speaks to the importance of the transition process.  She commented that we are confident about the process we have in place to support students with special needs coming into our school system.

(ii)    From Amy McKenzie, SEAC Chair, Halton DSB, a copy of a letter to the Minister of Education, dated June 21, 2011, wherein she indicates that through consultation with their community and member associations that one of the major deficits in our education system is professional development in the area of Special Education for teachers, SERTS and administrators.  They are asking the Ministry to change the necessary regulations to require new teachers to complete Special Education Part I as a mandatory qualification for receiving their Certificate of Qualification and Registration.

(iii)   From Jim Dawson, SEAC Chair, Bluewater DSB, a copy of a letter to the Minister of Education, dated February 24, 2011, wherein the Bluewater DSB SEAC recommends that the Ministry of Education develop a module of Best Practice for Acquired Brain Injury.

(iv)    From Gary Dowe, SEAC Chair, District School Board Ontario North East, a copy of a letter to the Minister of Education, dated May 6, 2011, wherein they note that they received a copy of the letter dated march 2, 2011 from the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic DSC requesting that the Ministry of Education develop a province survey for use by parents, caregivers and other stakeholders and in connection with Special Education services.  He advises that their SEAC strongly supports the request of the PVNC Catholic DSB and urges the Minister to create a provincial, user-friendly, web-based Special Education survey for parents, caregivers, and other stakeholders.

Association Updates

Learning Disabilities Association

        Ms. Eaton-Smith reported that the LDAK Annual General Meeting is being held this evening.  She further reported that October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.

        Ms. Eaton-Smith commented on Lead by Learning, noting that the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada is looking at using social media campaigns as a means to publish education and to connect with people in general.

        Ms. Eaton-Smith advised that a webinar was held yesterday, and information about the webinar will be provided at the next SEAC meeting.

        Ms. Eaton-Smith reported that six “Learning Equals Power” Workshops will be held, noting that the first will be held on September 26 at the LDAK office, 993  Princess Street, Kingston.  The first one will be held from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. and is titled “Messy Handwriting: How Can I Help My Child?”.  The cost is $7 (member), $10 (non-member), and $5 (student).

        The second workshop will be held on October 22, 2011 at St. Lawrence College from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.  It is called “Meeting at the Crosswords, The Overlap between Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Asperger Syndrome, and ADHD”, and will be presented by Dr. Garth Smith.  The registration fee is $25 (member), $35 (non-member), and $10 (student with ID).

        The third workshop will be held October 25, 2011 at Loblaws, Kingston Centre, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.  Alison Sears-Williams will work through modules on IEP 101.

        Information concerning workshops 4, 5 and 6 will be provided at a later date.

Lennox and Addington Resources for Children

        Ms. Jeffrey reported that the transition process is going well for children going from pre-school to kindergarten.

Autism Society

        Pat LaLonde introduced her daughter’s service dog, Savory.  She said that support meetings are continuing.  

        Ms. LaLonde reported that they are proceeding with the final arrangements for the Lego program, and they preparing for interviews for the Queen’s University ASUS Buddy Program.

        Ms. LaLonde advised that she will be attending SEAC training in Toronto, October 21 and 22.

        Ms. LaLonde reported that they are still looking for cheerleaders for the special needs cheerleading team.

        Ms. LaLonde commented that she and Savory were invited on Premier Dalton McGuinty’s campaign bus to speak to him and his wife about the issues facing families who have children with autism and children with special needs.  She advised that she is supposed to get a call from his Chief of Staff for follow-up to the meeting.

Brad Shoniker

        Mr. Shoniker stated that they are busy working with students in schools.

Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson advised that there major fundraiser, the selling of gladiolas, was held in August.

Family and Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington

        Ms. Whalen reported that January 1, 2012 is the date that Family and Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington is amalgamating with Frontenac Children’s Aid Society, and they are busy preparing for that time.

Andrea Martin

        Ms. Martin commented that the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, is busy, advising that this year there are 770 students.  She said that the students will begin their placements in schools as of October 3.

Anne Peace-Fast

        Ms. Peace-Fast advised that she is a member of the Limestone Teachers’ Theatre Company.  She said that there first show “Not So Dumb” is about children with learning disabilities.  Their second show is about literacy and the third show was written with Grade 7 and 8 students about the issues they will face during the next few years and how to come up with solutions.

Community Living Kingston

        Trustee Murray indicated that Kathy Bennett had provided the following information:

•     Community Living Kingston “Inspiring Possibilities” Workshops – Fall 2011pamphlet
•     Information Session, Wills, Estate Planning & Guardianship, Monday, October 17, 2011, from 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., at 1412 Princess Street, Kingston, flyer
•     Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Workshop, October 17, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:15 p.m., at 1412 Princess Street, flyer
•     Kingston Augmentative Communication Services Symposium, October 24, 2011, Kingston Olympic Harbour.  This is a one day event to raise awareness for children who use assistive technology for communication in the classroom.  

Other Business

Ministry Funding Review

        Ms. McDonnell reported that at the end of June, the LDSB received a telephone call from the Ministry of Education indicating that the Board was chosen as one of 13 boards to be part of the Ministry Funding Review.  She advised that the review took place on July 24th, and staff worked hard in terms of collecting information for the review.  She said that the Ministry provided a list of questions to which we had to respond, and the list of questions was varied.  She said that the list included information around the process the Board went through to identify students with exceptionalities, and a number of different areas around transitions of students and other types of services individual boards would provide.

        Ms. McDonnell commented on the ISA process, noting that current funding provided by the Ministry of Education is, in part, based on the process and has resulted in some funding discrepancies.  Based on this process, Limestone DSB is funded higher than some other boards.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that we worked closely with our community partners to collect information and data to support why we have the programs we have, and why we have the services delivery model we have.  She indicated that we have shared the information with the Ministry, and at this time we have no further information back from the Ministry.  She commented that we want to ensure that any changes to the funding structure do not impact LDSB negatively and that we want to sustain the level of services we have.  She said that she will bring information back to the Committee once she receives any information to share.

Special Education Report 2011-2012

        Ms. McDonnell noted that the Special Education Plan can be found on the Board’s website at, under the Our Programs tab, Special Education tab.  She said that the plan is a summary of how the Board does business in terms of our students who have special needs.  She indicated that no significant changes have been made to the plan.  She reported that the only changes made are in terms of the names of people who have taken on different roles.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that she is looking for any feedback.  She said that comments could be forwarded to her.

        Andrea Martin stated that the Ministry is coming out with a new IEP Resource document, and asked if there are any possible changes to the IEP Engine.  Ms. McDonnell stated that there are no current changes because the Ministry has not released the document.  She advised that once the Board is in receipt of any new documents, then that will inform changes to our plan.  She indicated that she would bring any information back to the SEAC.

        In response to comments, Ms. McDonnell stated that Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator, could provide information about the Learning For All draft document and how that rolls out in the Limestone DSB and how that impacts how students receive services.

        Andrea Martin indicated that she would like information about Specialized School Health Support Services provided at a future meeting.

        Trustee Murray stated that we would like to have more active members on the Special Education Advisory Committee.  She said that she requested that the Board’s Aboriginal Education Consultant invite a member from the First Nations community to be part of the SEAC.  She said that if any Committee member knew of any other agencies/organizations that would like to have a representative on SEAC, to please bring the information forward so that a letter could be sent inviting them to send a representative.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at the Education Centre.


        MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Anne Peace-Fast, that the meeting adjourn at  8:15 p.m.–Carried