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February 15, 2012 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
February 15, 2012

        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, February 15, 2012, at 7:00 p.m.

Present Trustees:
Paula Murray, Co-Chair
Elaine Crawford
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children                                      
Kelly Henry, Alternate, Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington    
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:
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Dave Fowler, Manager of Facility Services
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal of Educational Services
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal, Special Education
Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Anne Peace-Fast, Member-at-Large
        The meeting was chaired by Kathy Bennett, who called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting.

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Karen Jeffrey, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the January 18, 2012 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        There was no business arising from the minutes.

Election of Agency Co-Chair

        Ms. Bennett asked if anyone is interested in becoming the agency co-chair.  Hearing no responses, Ms. Bennett agreed to continue in the role of co-chair until the end of June, advising that at that time she will be stepping down as the SEAC representative from Community Living Kingston, and therefore, would no longer be a member of the SEAC.

        MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the Special Education Advisory Committee extend the agency co-chair, Kathy Bennett’s position until the end of June 2012.–Carried

New Schools: Meeting the Special Needs of Students
        Dave Fowler, Manager of Facility Services, provided an overview regarding accessibility for the new school construction in Kingston East and Greater Napanee.  He reported that École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School is the name of the new school in Kingston East, and the name for the new school in Greater Napanee will be coming forward in the near future.

        Mr. Fowler reported that both of these schools will be fully accessible, and he highlighted the following things that are being incorporated in the designs for the new schools:

•     electronic push button door operator;
•     fully accessible elevator
•     wide and visible doors
•     barrier-free washrooms
•     science rooms with lowered counter areas with open leg space
•     Special Education area – size of a regular classroom; workroom which is an office and provides storage for equipment; sensory room equipped to be a Snozelen Room; barrier-free washroom
•     contrasting paint for visually impaired
•     barrier-free parking spots
•     fire alarm with combination strobe/horn
•     barrier-free reception desk
•     barrier-free shower (École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School only)

        Mr. Fowler also provided drawings showing the exterior perspectives and floor plans for both École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School and the new school in Greater Napanee.

        Manager Fowler indicated that the construction for both of the above-noted schools is on target, with the schools scheduled to open September 2012.

        Ms. Bennett thanked Manager Fowler for providing the above-noted information.

Special Education Report

        Ms. McDonnell advised that the accessibility component of the Special Education Plan is attached to the Accessibility Plan.  She reported that more details are listed in the Accessibility Plan.  She further reported that the Accessibility Plan is reviewed on an annual basis and will be brought to the SEAC over the next few months for review.

        Ms. McDonnell said that the Accessibility Plan is designed to ensure that each geographical region of the board will be serviced by an accessible secondary school and at least two elementary schools.  She advised that the Accessibility Committee and Facility Services staff meet regularly to determine accessibility in the Board and to determine how funding is to be spent to meet the needs of students and staff.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that if any SEAC member has any questions, to please let her know.  She said that much more detailed follow-up around the Accessibility Plan will be provided to SEAC members over the next few months.

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

Educational Services Update

        Principal Lacoursière provided the following update:

Staffing Information

•     January 27th was Anne Jacobsen’s final day with Educational Services.  Ms. Jacobsen was filling in for Vice-Principal Ward, who was filling in for Principal Lacoursière, who was away.
•     Secondary Autism Support Teacher, Semester 2 hired
•     New 0.5 Student Support Teacher to Behaviour Action team
•     New Student Support Teacher for school support
•     Nexus program at Westdale Park Public School Planning Time Teacher for the Primary Learning Centre at Rideau Heights Public School

Curriculum Council/Affinity Corner

•     Autism Council – Transition Planning for students on the Autism Spectrum

Professional Learning Highlights

•     Completion of the Educational Assistant Exceptionality Course
•     February 3 Professional Activity Day Sessions for Educational Assistants
        •     Behaviour Management Systems Training
        •     Advanced ABA Training
        •     Plenary Sessions:
                •     Rosita Hall: You’ve Got the Power – Changes, Challenges & Choices
                •     Dr. Wendy Craig: Anti-bullying Strategies – Maintaining Positive Environments
•     School Attendance Counsellors, Student Support Counsellors and Adolescent Care Workers received professional learning on:
        •     WITS – Caroline Teske
        •     Heads Up — Paddy Dolphin
        •     KGH Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program – Donna Joyce
•     Professional Learning Series for District Learning Centre Teachers and Elementary School to Community Teachers
•     Development Disabilities Professional Learning Course beginning March 8th, for teachers and administrators who would like to learn more about this area

Assistive Technology

•     Using technology to support reading and writing strategies
•     Satalight (Wheelchair access smartboard) trial
•     Assistive Technology demonstrations for school staff and parent councils
•     Dragon and Kurzweil workshops for administrators
•     Speech and Language Pathologists Workshop for Learning Program Support Teachers, Learning Support Teachers and Guidance Counsellors on March 1st


•     Transition to School Workshop for Parents
•     Transition to School
•     Grade 6 to 7 Transitions
•     Grade 8 to 9 Transitions
•     Post-Secondary Transitions
•     Specialized supports and processes in place for students with Autism or receiving School to Community services


•     ults New Educational Services First Class Conference Area is coming soon
•     Educational Services will be moving to the former Calvin Park site (this may be a temporary site, pending the res of the Central Kingston Intermediate and Secondary Schools PARC)

        In response to a request for further details regarding the specialized supports and processes in place for students with Autism or receiving School to Community Services, Ms. Lacoursière stated that transitions meetings are in place so that former staff and future staff can look at the needs of the students moving in.  She commented that Grade 8 to 9 transitions is a large one because the group of students is moving all at once.  She remarked that we have to be careful of how we plan for these transitions.  She stated that meetings to share information are one of the key aspects, and planning should be done for the day of the visits also.

        There was no correspondence.

Association Updates

Lennox and Addington Resources for Children

        Ms. Jeffrey reported that Lennox and Addington Resources for Children is working on its school transitions process.  She said that there are 10 children who will be transitioning to school this year, and Lennox and Addington Resources for Children will support that process.

Autism Ontario

        Ms. LaLonde stated that the Kingston Chapter of Autism Ontario continues with its regular meetings, and that they are gearing up for Autism Awareness Month.

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams reported that the Bluegrass Winter Concert Series begins next week. He said that the first concert will be held Tuesday, February 21st , at 7:00 p.m. at the Kingston Christian Fellowship Church, Hwy. 38.  He advised that this event is growing and they may have to consider another venue to accommodate the growing number of people.  He advised that the cost for tickets is: $20 each or $60 for the series.  Tickets may be obtained at the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston’s (LDAK) office.

        Mr. Williams stated that LDAK is receiving funding from the Rotary Club to do workshops, and they are hoping to start that series of workshops in late March.

        Mr. Williams displayed two t-shirts that LDAK has available.  The cost of the t-shirts is $20 each.

Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson commented on the LINC Study, which was initially a study to learn about people living with neurological disorders.   She advised that lots of feedback was received from people with neurological disorders, except from those with epilepsy.  She said that she has a flyer regarding this study, noting that it is an on-line study that has three parts.  She stated that if anyone knows of anyone, over the age of 18 years, who would like to fill in the survey, to please let her know.  She said that the survey is also for families and supporters.

        Ms. Carson advised that March 26th is Purple Day, commenting on the following events which will take place in the Kingston area:

March 10:               Display booth at Market Square Rink to promote awareness
March 24:               Purple Manicures at the Cataraqui Town Centre, between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
March 26:               Purple Day – in discussions with schools in the Kingston area to encourage students to wear purple that day, and then to take photos or videos to send back to the Epilepsy Resource Centre

        Ms. Carson advised that February 22 and March 14, Boston Pizza will be donating a portion of its sales between 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in support of epilepsy awareness.  She said that on February 22nd, the proceeds will be from the Boston Pizza location on Dalton Avenue, and on March 14th, the proceeds will be from the Boston Pizza location on Gardiners Road.

Andrea Martin

        Ms. Martin advised that the teacher candidates from the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University began their third round of placements on Monday, February 13th.

Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington

        Ms. Henry advised that the Family & Children’s Services, Lennox and Addington is preparing for amalgamation, which takes place April 1st.

Other Business

        Principal Lacoursière showed the Cheer Evolution 2012 Big East Blast All Star: Special Needs Kingston Elite Cats DVD, noting that Ms. Bennett, Ms. Carson and Ms. LaLonde’s daughters participated in this event.

Ministry Update

        Ms. McDonnell stated that Barry Finlay, who oversees the Special Education Policy and Programs Branch of the Ministry of Education, released a webinar to schools boards that provides an overview of the government’s mental health and addictions strategy and more details regarding the specific supports for district school boards.  She said that she will share this information with our staff and bring information back to the next meeting of the SEAC Committee.

        Ms. McDonnell also stated that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care indicated that the plan is to move forward with Mental Health and Addictions Nurses in schools.  She said that the Minister supports funding and implementation of the program through Community Care Access Centres (CCACs).  She reported that LHINs will work with CCACs, district school boards and other local providers to develop appropriate implementation strategies to reflect local capacity and needs.

        Ms. McDonnell reported that nurses hired for this program will work in inter-disciplinary teams with mental health leaders, mental health workers and existing district school board staff to support the development of school board strategies in recognizing and responding to student mental health and addictions issues.  Nurses will provide services and supports for students including referrals to community mental health and addictions agencies and primary care.

        Ms. McDonnell indicated that she will bring information back around this initiative to future SEAC meetings, as it becomes available.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that we have received confirmation that our community has been chosen to be part of the Working Together for Kids’ Mental Health initiative, and will receive additional funding to address mental health needs.  She said that Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB and Hastings-Prince Edward DSB have been involved in this pilot project.  She reported that this initiative is another inter-ministerial partnership that allows communities to support mental health needs.  

        Ms. McDonnell stated that our area will be included in the pilot, noting that we will work closely with Pathways and other community partners to continue to meet the needs of our students.  She advised that she will bring further information about this pilot project to future meetings, as it becomes available.

        Ms. McDonnell advised that as a follow-up to information presented by Christine Herron and Dr. Jennifer Davidson-Harnden at a previous SEAC meeting regarding the mental health pilot project in three of our secondary schools, Frontenac Secondary School, QECVI and LCVI, the program will be expanded into Napanee District Secondary School and KCVI.  She said that the project will continue to assist educators in building mental health literacy into the curriculum.  Ms. McDonnell reported that this will be a research project.  She advised that  Dr. Roberts and Dr. Parker will collect data.  She said that a training day has been scheduled for March 6, 2012.  She indicated that we anticipate that the actual pilot will roll out in secondary schools at the beginning of April.

        Ms. McDonnell advised that the Drummond Report was released today.  She said that staff have not had an opportunity to delve into that report at this time.  She reminded members that the report makes recommendations only to the government and that the government decides whether to apply the recommendations contained in the report.

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

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, 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: April 18, 2012, May 23, 2012 (4th Wednesday), and June 6, 2012 (2nd Wednesday).


        MOVED BY David Williams, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the meeting adjourn at 8:05 p.m.–Carried