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December 14, 2011 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
December 14, 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, December 14, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Paula Murray, Co-Chair
Elaine Crawford
Helen Brown (Alternate)
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Anne Peace-Fast, Member-at-Large                                                                 
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington   
Present Staff:
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Christine Herron, Educational Services and Safe Schools Liaison Coordinator
Anne Jacobsen, Acting Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal, Special Education
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Acting Principal of Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        The meeting was chaired by Trustee Murray, who called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Anne Peace-Fast, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the November 16, 2011 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        Kathy Bennett referred to the Mental Health Initiative presentation by Chris Herron and Jennifer Davidson-Harden, saying that she enjoyed it, and thinks that the pilot project the Board started last year based on one developed by Stan Kutcher from Dalhousie was very worthwhile and key to the idea of early intervention and awareness of mental health issues.  She commented that it is great that the Ministries of Education, Children and Youth Services, Health and Long-Term Care, and Training, Colleges and Universities are providing funding to support the area of mental health, noting that will help to respond to crisis situations.

        Ms. Bennett said that she would like to see a greater focus toward early intervention strategies similar to those developed by Stan Kutcher, which should help to bring a greater awareness and understanding of mental health issues and perhaps reduce the number of crises.  She said that including this in Grade 9 and/or 10 curriculum would be valuable.  She suggested that a recommendation from SEAC to the Board be brought forward, noting that the Board explore the possibility of expanding the pilot project of early intervention and mental health awareness to more schools in order to reach a greater number of students at the grade 9 and 10 level.

        Ms. McDonnell indicated that Ms. Herron received correspondence from Dr. Roberts, Hotel Dieu Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, asking for an opportunity to meet with Board staff to investigate furthering the work done last year.

        Ms. Herron advised that Dr. Roberts had contacted her this afternoon inquiring into whether there is a possibility to expand the pilot project the Board started in three of its secondary schools, as the result of Dr. Kutcher’s program, “Opening Doors to Teen Mental Health Awareness.”  She reported that Dr. Roberts had indicated that she and Dr. Parker, in reviewing the data from the pilot project, had found the results were good, and because the results were good, that the project be expanded to an additional number of high schools.  Ms. Herron said that she had indicated to Dr. Roberts that she would respond to her in the near future with regard to a meeting.

        Ms. Peace-Fast stated that the Board has had for over 30 years, a partnership with an addictions agency in Kingston, and her concern is how addictions fit into the mental health initiative.  She referred to the mental health and addictions planning document that can be found at, noting that it outlines what the Ministry is planning over the next few years.

        Trustee Murray indicated that this matter would be placed on the January SEAC agenda for further discussion at the January meeting.

        Supervising Principal McDonnell indicated that she and Ms. Peace-Fast would meet about Ms. Peace-Fast’s concerns personally, and she will bring information back to SEAC in January.

Election of Agency Co-Chair

        The matter of the election of an agency co-chair was deferred to the January SEAC meeting.

LDSB Strategic Plan – Feedback

        No feedback was received with regard to the LDSB Strategic Plan.

        Anne Peace-Fast asked about the Student Support Leadership Initiative (SSLI).  Ms. McDonnell stated that this initiative came together about four or five years ago, noting that funding was provided from the Ministry of Education to “Clusters”, and we are called Cluster 20.  She said that the Cluster 20 sector includes the Limestone District School Board, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, and the Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board.  She advised that the other membership is from the community mental health services, and that membership includes Pathways for Children and Youth, and Children’s Mental Health.  She reported that very specific members were asked to join the Cluster.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that the Ministry of Education provides funding through the Cluster to establish goals.  She indicated that the goals relate to mental health and the prevention of unsafe behaviours that may lead to suspension.  Ms. McDonnell stated that the Dr. Kutcher pilot that we talked about earlier in the meeting was funded through the SSLI, noting that a decision was made by the boards of education and community partners to use that money to support that project.

        Ms. McDonnell said that the Limestone DSB is the board Cluster lead, and Cluster 20 meets bi-monthly to make decisions around how the funding is to be used to support the goals set by the Ministry, and that we work in collaboration with our community partners.

Educational Services Update

        Mr. Ward provided an Educational Services update, as follows:

New Primary Learning Centre

•     Located at Rideau Heights PS
•     8 students in the morning; 8 students in the afternoon
•     Focus is on supporting students with learning and behavioural challenges
•     1.00 Teacher and 1.00 Educational Assistant
•     Program will commence in early January

Staffing Update

•     1.00 Student Support Counsellor – BAT Team Wendy Fisher
•     1.00 Student Support Counsellor – LTO Shona Ribbel
•     1.00 Elementary Teacher at Arden Court – Chris Schukei
•     1.00 ESL Itinerant Resource Teacher – Christine Kirk

Professional Learning

•     Behaviour Exceptionality Course for Limestone DSB teachers wraps up tomorrow evening
•     A number of Educational Services staff offered workshops at the November 25th LDSB/OSSTF Secondary PA Day at Frontenac Secondary School
•     VTRA Level 1 Training took place on December 9th and 12th at the Education Centre

Quick Updates

•     SIP claims have been completed
•     Social Committee – Educational Services staff had a social last week
•     December Staff Meeting will take place Tuesday, December 20th, with a guest speaker talking about compassion fatigue and looking after caregivers

        Mr. Ward extended best wishes for a terrific holiday season.

        Trustee Murray thanked Mr. Ward for providing the above-noted update.

        There was no correspondence.

Association Updates

Autism Ontario

        Ms. LaLonde provided the following update:

December 16:            Music Mates Christmas Concert at Edith Rankin Church, from 7:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

December 17:            Family Swim at the YMCA, from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  The cost for members is $2 per person
                               or $5 per family, and for non-members, the cost is $4 per person or $10 per family.

December 20:            Family Support Meeting – Holiday Social at Tango, 331 King Street East, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

December 29:            Lego Club registration deadline for individuals with an ASD.  After this, registration is open to

January 6, 2012:        Winter Adapted Games Registration Deadline –  

January 16:             Monthly Support Meeting: Guest speaker - a retired Limestone DSB Educational Assistant,
                                6:30 p.m.

January 22:             Monthly Social Event: Mini-putt at the Frontenac Mall, starting at 5:00 p.m.

January 28:             Winter Adapted Games

        Ms. LaLonde advised that the Awesome Possums program runs Monday nights at École Cathedrale, 301 Johnson Street, Kingston, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.  It is an after-school drop-in for children with autism and their siblings.  The following activities are taking place:

•    January 9 – February 13: Awesome Possums Drop-In: Cooking
•    February 27 – March 19: Photography & Painting
•    March 26 – April 9: Sports

Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington

        Charlene Whalen reported that their amalgamation date has now been moved to April 1, 2012.

Trustee Murray

        Trustee Murray reported that she was acclaimed as Co-Chair of the Special Education Advisory Committee, at the Committee of the Whole Board (Caucus) meeting of November 28, 2011.  She further reported that Elaine Crawford is the other Trustee member of SEAC, and Helen Brown is the alternate Trustee member.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2012, at 7:00 p.m., at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.  The remaining meetings for the 2011-2012 school year are scheduled for: February 15, 2012, March 21, 2012, April 18, 2012, May 23, 2012 (4th Wednesday), and June 6, 2012 (2nd Wednesday).


        MOVED BY Charlene Whalen, seconded by Pat LaLonde, that the meeting adjourn at 7:05 p.m.–Carried