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Apirl 18, 2012 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
April 18, 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, April 18, 2012, at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
E. Crawford
P. Murray
Present Members:
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington      
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Present Staff:
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
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
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy 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 Andrea Martin, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Charlene Whalen, that the minutes of the March 21, 2012 meeting, as amended, be approved.

        Charlene Whalen indicated that she was present at the March 21, 2012 meeting, and therefore, her name should be included in the list of members present at the meeting.  

        David Williams indicated that he was not present at the March 21, 2012 meeting, and therefore, his name should be removed from the list of members present at the meeting.

        The motion was called and Carried.

Business Arising From the Minutes

        There was no business arising from the minutes.

Educational Services Professional Learning Presentation

        Jennifer Murphy and Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Coordinators, Educational Services, were present to provide an overview of the professional learning that is provided to teachers, administrators, and educational assistants through Educational Services staff.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson thanked SEAC members for their interest in the professional learning that Educational Services staff provide.  He indicated that Jennifer Murphy and his presentation will focus on the professional learning that Educational Services staff provide to teachers, administrators, and educational assistants.  He said that many other people provide training in the Board.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson stated that he and Ms. Murphy are in the first year of their roles as Special Education Coordinators, noting that they are carrying on with the work done by Kathy McVety and Kristen Check.  He said that when he arrived at Educational Services, Ms. McVety and Ms. Check were great mentors for him.

        Ms. Murphy reported that the following exceptionality courses were run after regular school hours for teachers, indicated that the courses were voluntary:

  •         Behaviour (2011-2012)
  •         Developmental Disabilities (2011-2012)
  •         Learning Disabilities (2010-2011)
  •         Autism (2010-2011)
        Ms. Murphy said that the courses are approximately 15 hours of instruction, and that they are run every second year.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson stated that Educational Services staff and our community partners provide support also.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson reviewed the structure of the courses, as follows:

  •         Who are our students?
  •         Key programming areas
  •         Strategies and resources
  •         Limestone and Community supports
        Ms. Murphy indicated that Student Support Teacher/Learning Program Support Teacher (SST/LPS)  courses are also provided to Student Support Teachers (elementary schools) and Learning Program Support Teachers (secondary schools).  She said that the SST/LPS course is also for special education leaders in schools.  She said that the course is a voluntary course for teachers, and that it is run after regular school hours.  It involves approximately 15 hours of instruction, and is run twice a year.

        Ms. Murphy stated that the SST/LPS course was offered  in the fall and will be offered again this spring, starting in May.  She said that they try to provide a Limestone focus, to understand supports in Limestone, indicating that the topics include: Learning for All (Differentiated Instruction); How to Support Students in Accessing Curriculum; Programming for All Students in the areas of Literacy and Math.

        Ms. Murphy provided information about the SST Days/LPS Days course, as follows:

  •         Special Education Information and Professional Development
  •         3 or 4 half days each year
  •         Past topics have included:
  •                 LDSB Clinical Service Delivery Model
  •                 ABA - PPM 140
  •                 Brigance/A4/Assessment
  •                 Assistive Technology
  •                 Early Warning Signs of Mental Health
  •                 IEPs – Measurable Learning Expectations
        Ms. Murphy stated that in the future we will continue to use these days to share Ministry initiatives.

        Ms. Murphy provided information about the EA Exceptionality Course, as follows:


  •         Behaviour
  •         Autism
  •         Developmental Disability
  •         Learning Disability
        Ms. Murphy advised that each evening is led by the Educational Services lead staff for that exceptionality.  She stated that Educational Services staff are brought in to provide support for educational assistants to use in their roles in working with students.  She said that Early Childhood Educators were invited to attend the EA Exceptionality Course also.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson provided information about ABA Training, as follows:

  •         Strategies to Promote Student Independence (Connections Teams)
  •         Introduction to ABA & Advanced ABA (educational assistants)
  •         Autism and Anxiety (secondary school teachers)
  •         Promoting Social Skills (elementary school teachers)
        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson advised that the Ministry of Education provides specific funding for ABA Training.  He reported that the funding is used to provide release time for teachers so that they may work on professional development.

        Ms. Murphy provided the following information:

Professional Learning Communities

  •         Professional Learning Communities for our District Learning Centre Teachers
  •         Professional Learning Communities for our School to Community Teachers
  •         Four half days are provided to share, plan and implement collaborative inquiry
        Ms. Murphy advised that all teachers were brought in on the first day, noting that the overall theme was about literacy.  She said that the teachers were asked to identify areas of student needs and to choose an area where they wanted to focus their professional learning.  She advised that teacher worked together in small groups to develop an inquiry question.  She commented that they shared some strategies teachers could use or resources that could be tried to support students.  She said that teachers then came back together to share information and to plan the next steps.  She indicated that positive feedback was received, noting that teachers had indicated that they like the opportunity to network with other teachers.

        Pat LaLonde indicated that Autism Ontario has published a book, “Social Matters” and if anyone would like a copy of the book, to please let her know and she would provide him/her with a copy of it.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson stated that they do not know what they will provide next year.  He said that they will review the surveys to hear what professional learning people want in the future.  

        Trustee Murray thanked Ms. Murphy and Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson for providing the above-noted information.

Educational Services Update

        Vice-Principal Ward provided the following sampling of the work happening in Educational Services at this time:

Curriculum Council

  •         The School to Community Curriculum Council met April 18 from 4:00 p.m. until 5:00~p.m. at the Education Centre.
  •         The group examined the School to Community Services Resource Manual and provided suggestions for updating the resource.
Next steps will include establishing a working group to revise the manual and also convert it to an electronic format.

A4 Update

  •         A4: Assessing Achievement in Alternative Areas
  •         LDSB has been part of the Eastern Region A4 Project, which developed a document to assist with assessing and tracking student achievement.  A copy of the A4 manual was distributed to every school within the LDSB, and a related website was developed.
  •         The Eastern Region Group met on April 11th to discuss next steps; additional information will be forthcoming.
Life Beyond School Sessions

  •         Sponsored by The Transition Planning Advisory Committee of Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Counties.
  •         Sharbot Lake High School: May 2nd from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
  •         LCVI: May 10th from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.
  •         SEAC members are very welcome to attend.
Assistive Technology

  •         Mark Ryan, Hazel MacDonald, and Compass OT Solutions supported secondary schools with the use of assistive technology on the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test on March 29th.
  •         EQAO Grade 3 and Grade 6 planning is underway.  Over the next month we will review the electronic versions of the assessment and develop plans to support schools and students.
  •         Queen’s University Occupational Therapy students have begun their two-week placements.  The students are working at three sites (NDSS, Gateway, Hilltop).
        Trustee Murray thanked Mr. Ward for providing the above-noted information.

        There was no correspondence.

Association Updates

Lennox and Addington Resources for Children

        Ms. Jeffrey advised that an event “Touch The Trucks!” will take place on May 8, 2012, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at The Early Years Centre, 1178 County Road 8, Napanee.  The event is supported by donations made in memory of Gavin Geenevasen, and it is being held in appreciation for the clients and families of the Lennox and Addington Resources for Children.

         Ms. Jeffrey reported that Lennox and Addington Resources for Children has begun its School Readiness Program, a program for children that have not had day care experience.

        Ms. Jeffrey advised that school transition meetings have also begun.

Autism Ontario

        Ms. LaLonde reported that Autism Awareness Month continues.  She advised that an Open House was held April 17th at the Kingston Chapter’s new location, 361 Montreal Street.

        Ms. LaLonde advised of future events, as follows:

  •         April 20th – Building Behavioural Solutions Conference at St. Lawrence College;
  •         April 21st – Social learning opportunity for children with autism is being held at Beadapalooza;
  •         April 28th – Event at the Boiler Room; and
  •         May 30th – Kingston Chapter Annual General Meeting.
        Ms. LaLonde also advised that there will be a Support Meeting for siblings, aged 13+ years, of someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  The event will take place at the May Support Meeting.

         Ms. LaLonde advised that there will be support social events held during the summer.

        Ms. LaLonde reported that Autism Ontario’s new logo is “Get Social for Autism and Make a Difference in Children’s Lives”.

        Ms. LaLonde indicated that Emergency Alert Stickers are available, and they can be placed on a car’s windshield or on a house’s front door, etc., to let emergency response people know that someone inside has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams reported that the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston is in the midst of its Learning = Power Workshops.  He advised that the April 25th workshop is IEP 101 and it is being held at Loblaws, Kingston Centre, in the Upstairs Community Room, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

        Mr. Williams reported that the third concert of the Bluegrass Winter Concert Series will be held Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 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.  Tickets may be obtained at the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston’s (LDAK) office.

        Mr. Williams advised that the AGM of the Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston will be held April 30, 2012, at Loblaws, Kingston Centre, in the Upstairs Community Room from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  He indicated that there would be short business meeting followed by a presentation by Charly Chiarelli, a full-time performer and LDAK Board Member, on the topic of Story Telling, Music and Learning Disabilities.

        Mr. Williams stated that they had a marketing student from St. Lawrence College working at the LDAK Office, and he stated that the student had done a great job in putting a communication package together for them.  He indicated that representatives from LDAK attended an awards night at St. Lawrence College, where their organization was featured.

Family and Children’s Services of  Frontenac, Lennox and Addington

       Ms. Whalen reported that the Children’s Aid Society of the City of Kingston and County of Frontenac, and Lennox and Addington Family and Children’s Services have now officially amalgamated and the new organizational name is: Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

        Ms. Whalen advised that on Friday, April 20th, a lunch and learn “Sensory Integration and the Effects of Trauma on Children” will be held from 12:15 until 1:00~p.m. at the Family and Children’s Services Napanee site, 99 Advance Avenue, Napanee, and it is being hosted by the Queen’s University Occupational Therapy placement students.  She reported that the students provided supports to children with sensory needs in the school system and residential settings both for the Family Support team and the child welfare team during their placement.

Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Sheldon advised that she was contacted by SEAC representatives in Simcoe County regarding the use of foam blocker shields.  She indicated that the SEAC passed a unanimous motion asking the Board to immediately stop the use of the shields.  She said that board and the SEAC are divided on this issue.  She commented that the board had agreed to give a response by June, but has appeared to only state that the shields are being used for the protection of workers and will remain.  She further commented that the union representing support staff has been very vocal about the need for this and other protective equipment.  She said that the Simcoe County SEAC was surveying other boards to see if they use blocker shields.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that she had no knowledge of foam blocker shields being used in the Limestone DSB.

        Trustee Murray stated that the LDSB could provide a response regarding the practice in LDSB, and that it could be put on next month’s agenda.

        Ms. LaLonde indicated that there are huge concerns around this situation.

Other Business

Ministry Update – Individual Education Plans – 2011-2012 Internal Review

        Ms. McDonnell advised that the Board has received notification that all boards in Ontario will be part of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) 2011-2012 internal review, including all school boards, school authorities and demonstration schools.   She stated that we have been asked to conduct an internal review of IEPs for the purpose of assessing progress that has been made since the 2006-2007 collaborative IEP review.  She said that we have been asked to share any effective practices we have in place to promote continued improvement in that particular area.  Ms. McDonnell stated that boards have been asked to establish an IEP Review Team.  She advised that Ann-Marie Lacoursière and Steve Ward will be the IEP internal review lead staff, noting that they will be participating in a teleconference in the next few weeks.  She stated that the LDSB team may be comprised of school principals, teachers, representatives from SEAC, parent and/or student representatives.  She said that she will bring information forward as we begin the review.  The internal review has to be completed and a detailed report sent back to the Ministry by June 29, 2012.  Supervising Principal McDonnell advised that she will continue to keep SEAC members updated as we hear more detail from the Ministry about the review.

Ministry Update Around Reporting and Implementation of ABA PPM 140

        Ms. McDonnell stated that PPM 140 has been in place for a number of years, noting that school boards have an obligation to send out a survey to administrators at schools regarding the use of ABA strategies in their schools.  She indicated that we have asked our schools to link to a parent survey, websites and newsletters.  She indicated that our deadline for return of information related to our schools is May 18, 2012.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that the parent survey will be accessible on individual school sites until the end of June.  She said that the information the Ministry collects is the school information.  She advised that we will be using the parent information, along with the school based information to determine professional learning related to ABA that will be offered next year.  She commented that SEAC members are asked to please respond back if the survey applies to their own personal experience.

Special Education Plan Report

        Ms. McDonnell stated that we are required to update our Special Education Plan Report on an annual basis.  She said that a number of the updated sections have been shared and discussed throughout this year at SEAC, and that a team is making changes to individual sections to ensure the plan reflects how we approach service delivery in the Limestone DSB.  She said that the plan needs to be brought to SEAC for final consultation.  She indicated that it will be given to SEAC members by the end of May, and that it will be discussed at the June meeting for consultation.

Mental Health Initiatives

        Ms. McDonnell provided information about one further mental health initiative, noting that we have been approached by Pathways for Children and Youth to participate in a pilot for a mental health screening tool.  She advised that the Limestone DSB and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB have been asked to participate in this initiative, and they are each to choose four schools that will have a school team that will be trained.

        Dr. Davidson-Harden stated that the Ministry of Child and Youth Services has developed a tool for lay people, someone who has not had formal training in mental health, to use to look at students with concerns and identify the areas of concern.  

        Ms. McDonnell stated that the following four sites that will have full day learning programs in year 2, have been selected to participate in this initiative: Rideau Heights Public School, Fairfield Elementary School, Perth Road Public School and Prince Charles Public School (Verona).  She said that the school teams to be trained will consist of: administrators, SSTs, Full Day Early Learning teachers, Early Childhood Educators and Educational Services staff.  She said that they will have an opportunity to work collaboratively to learn about warning signs and symptoms of mental health in young children. Community partners will also be invited by Pathways to participate.

        Mr. Williams asked about the hiring of 144 nurses with expertise in the area of mental health and addictions.  Supervising Principal McDonnell stated that neither Director Hunter nor she have heard anything further from any source.  The only information we have is that the Community Care Access Centres were the lead agency for this particular initiative.  She said that we have heard nothing beyond that information.

        Mr. Williams asked if the CCAC was the lead agency across the province.  Ms. McDonnell stated that was the original information provided to us.


        Trustee Murray stated that a Budget Consultation Meeting is being held April 30th at the Education Centre.  She said that Trustee Crawford and she will continue to advocate on behalf of the students with special needs in the Limestone District School Board.  She said that she would provide information as it becomes available.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Monday, May 14, 2012 (2nd Monday), at the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board Office, 151 Dairy Avenue, Napanee, at 5:00 p.m.  The June meeting is scheduled for June~6, 2012 (1st Wednesday).


        MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the meeting adjourn at 8:20~p.m.–Carried