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May 14, 2012 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
May 14, 2012

                A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, 151 Dairy Avenue, Napanee, on Monday, May 14, 2012, at 5:00~ p.m.
Present Trustees:
Elaine Crawford
Present Members:
Kathy Bennett, Community Living Kingston
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children                                       
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston
Present Staff:
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal, Special Education
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
Paula Murray, Trustee
Charlene Whalen, Family & Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington      
        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 Karen Jeffrey, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Approval of Minutes

        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by David Williams, that the minutes of the April~18, 2012 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        Ms. McDonnell stated that at last month’s meeting, there was a brief discussion concerning correspondence received around foam blocker shields being used for the protection of workers in Simcoe County District School Board.  She indicated that from that discussion a question came forward to our Educational Services team, asking whether blocker shields were used in the Limestone DSB, and if they weren’t used, then what does the Board do to ensure the safety of students and staff members.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that we have been made aware of no instance where this type of barrier is used with students.  She indicated that employees do use protective equipment when necessary, and she displayed two types of protective equipment that staff wear where there may be a risk to safety.  She displayed one piece of protective equipment that is worn under clothing, as well as a  padded jacket.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson advised that staff are trained in Behaviour Management Systems (BMS), and non-violent crisis intervention.  He said that we provide BMS training tailored specifically for staff who work with students with autism and with behaviour disabilities.  He said that the focus is always on prevention.

        Mr. Boyce stated gloves are also provided when necessary, as well as shin pads that are worn under a pant.

Educational Services Update

        Principal Lacoursière provided a brief update, as follows:

Professional Learning

  •         Elementary Teacher Professional Learning on Social Skills for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder – April 24
  •         School to Community Services Professional Learning for Secondary Teachers – April~25
  •         Student Support Teacher course finishes in a couple of weeks
  •         District Learning Centres and School to Community Services Professional Learning Wrap-Up – Tuesday, May 29
What’s Been Happening

  •         Choices At 7 Programs – intake process for Choices At 7 Program is complete.  Notices are going to families and schools for students being offered placement in one of the programs
  •         IEP Engine Provider
  •         Educational Assistant Allocations
  •         Transition Meetings
  •         Staffing
  •         IEP Review – received notice from the Ministry in mid-April that we have to do an internal review of our Individual Education Plans (IEP).  The last one was done in 2005-2006.  We need a SEAC member and parent to be part of the review team, along with Educational Services staff.
David Williams volunteered to be the SEAC representative on the Individual Education Plan Review Team, and Karen Jeffrey volunteered to be the parent representative on the team.

        Ms. Lacoursière indicated that the IEP Review Team will meet on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., and on Thursday, June 7, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Our Continuing Focus

  •         Providing support and services to our students throughout the system
  •         Emphasis on student achievement for all in academic and alternative curriculum expectations
        Ms. Bennett thanked Ms. Lacoursière for providing the above-noted information.

(a)     Letter from the Special Education Advisory Committee of the Niagara Catholic District School Board, to The Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, dated March 7, 2012, regarding its recommendation that new teachers complete Special Education Part I as a mandatory qualification course, prior to obtaining their Certificate of Qualification and Registration.  They believe that with the addition of Special Education Part I, Ontario teachers will be better qualified to carry out the special education program and services available to them.  In the letter, they ask how the Ministry is exploring the recommendation from the Ontario College of Teachers that teacher education programs be extended to include a special education course, and what changes the Ministry of Education is proposing in this regard.  In particular, what are the special education courses that are being offered and may be offered in the future, and how they do compare with the Special Education Part I Course.

Ms. McDonnell indicated that no action needs to be taken.  The letter was forwarded to Ontario Catholic School Board, Ontario Public School Board, Ontario French Catholic School Board and Ontario French Public School Board SEACs for information.

Association Updates

Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams indicated that they are coming to the end of their year, noting that they go by the school year.  He stated that their office will be open during the summer by appointment.  He said that their last parent workshop for this school year is being held on Wednesday, May 16th, and that they had their Annual General Meeting a couple of weeks ago.

        Mr. Williams stated that they are looking to the fall, and at having a fundraiser sometime in October.  He advised that Charly Chiarelli, a full-time performer and LDAK Board Member, is looking at providing a course “Story Slam” on the topic of Story Telling, Music and Learning Disabilities.  He said that Mr. Chiarelli thought he would direct funds from this event to the Learning Disabilities Association.

        Mr. Williams stated that LDAK received a grant from the Main Campus Residents’ Council at Queen’s in the spring, to act as a ‘knowledge broker’ to facilitate, and lead the distribution of established and new information about Learning Disabilities through organizations, networks and individuals across the Greater Kingston area.  Building on the partnerships LDAK has had with community organizations (such as Queen’s University, St.~Lawrence College, Limestone DSB), they will develop a broader network of helping professionals, connecting them with each other and with the individuals and families affected by learning disabilities.  Mr. Williams stated that LDAK is hoping to be successful with other grant applications to enhance the overall support and vision of how they see this network in the community.

Lennox and Addington Resources for Children

        Ms. Jeffrey advised that the Lennox and Addington Resources for Children is also winding down their special events for families and professional development for staff.  The programs do continue to run through the summer.

        Ms. Jeffrey reported that during the year, they support children in childcare settings and after-school programs who have extra support needs.  They provide funding to childcare programs called “Enhanced Support Funding”.  This allows a childcare program to hire an extra staff to support inclusion.  An Enhanced support worker would be similar to an Educational Assistant.

        Ms. Jeffrey advised that during the summer, their after-school programs combine to run a full-day summer program.  This program is available at Fairfield Elementary School.  She said that it is licensed childcare program for children 5-12 years old, and subsidy is available for families from the County of Lennox and Addington fee subsidy program.  She indicated that this becomes very busy for their Resource Consultants, as they support school aged children for a full day, rather than just after school.  Also, they are supporting a number of children with extra needs in one setting.  In the summer, the demand for Enhanced Support Funding increases due to school age children with extra needs who will be attending the programs for a full day during the summer months.

Brad Shoniker, Member-At-Large

        Mr. Shoniker advised that Ongwanada’s internship program went through psychology training accreditation, and the outcome was positive.

Community Living Kingston

        Kathy Bennett reported that Community Living Kingston is involved in ongoing fundraising activities.  She said that they have a larger space and they want to equip it with resources for life long learning.

Other Business

Mental Health Initiatives

        Dr. Davidson-Harden provided information around the Board’s upcoming professional learning regarding the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment tool to be used by those who have not had formal training in the area of mental health.  This tool will highlight warning signs and symptoms of mental health concerns in young children.

        Dr. Davidson-Harden advised that if a school team is concerned about a student, this tool can be used to determine the student needs, as well as next steps in terms of service delivery and referral pathways.  She indicated that the following four sites 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).

        Ms. McDonnell commented on the hiring of nurses with expertise in the area of mental health and addictions.  She said that an advertisement appeared in a recent edition of The Kingston Whig-Standard for a Mental Health Nurse Leader.  She said that the money for the Mental Health Nurse Leader positions has come through the Community Care Access Centres (CCAC).  Following the hiring of this position, mental health nursers will be hired through CCAC.  Ms. McDonnell said that we will be having a conversation with CCAC around what this will look like, the number, and where the nurses or nurse practitioners will be located.

Next Meeting Date

        The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for June~6, 2012 (1st Wednesday), at 6:00 p.m.


        MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by David Williams, that the meeting adjourn at 6:45~p.m.–Carried