Your browser does not support JavaScript!
January 16, 2013 - Special Education Advisory Committee MinutesSpecial Education
Special Education Advisory Committee
January 16, 2013

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Board Room at the Limestone Education Centre on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Paula Murray, Co-Chair
Elaine Crawford
Present Members:
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Present Staff:
Chris Herron, Educational Services & Safe Schools Coordinator
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal of Educational Services
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
Charlene Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Lennox and
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston and Co-Chair
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator

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

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Trustee Crawford, that the minutes of the    December 12, 2012 meeting, as distributed, be approved.Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        There was no business arising from the December 12, 2012 SEAC minutes.

Planning Kindergarten Transitions to School Process – Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.2.1(c)

        Principal Lacoursière presented information with regard to the planning of kindergarten transitions to school process.  She said that Educational Services staff had met with Community Living, and other community partners in November to talk about the process.  She said that they found a few areas where improvements could be made, and have made changes to the process.

        Principal Lacoursière provided information with regard to the following:

  • Community Transitions to Kindergarten Protocol
  • Educational Services Lead Staff
  • Kindergarten registrations at the schools
  • Transition Meetings
  • Transition File
  •         Consents, Assessments, Student Profile, Agency Documentation
  •         Action Plan, Entry Plan
  • Updating Information
  • Sharing and Transfer of Information
Trustee Murray thanked Principal Lacoursière for providing the above-noted information.

Educational Services Update – Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1

        Principal Lacoursière provided a brief overview of the Assessing Emergent Literacy workshop, presented by Caroline Musselwhite at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University today.  She indicated that Ms. Musselwhite talked about how to assess and teach high needs students who may be non-verbal, have limited mobility, or who have other disabilities.

        Principal Lacoursière stated that Erin Sheldon was diligent in arranging for Ms. Musselwhite to come to Kingston to present on this topic, after seeing her at the “Closing the Gap” Conference at Minneapolis.

Principal Lacoursière provided an Educational Services update, as follows:

  • Kindergarten Transitions Meetings taking place
  • IEP Review – received funding from the Ministry of Education to do capacity building around the writing of Individual Education Plans
  • IEP Writer – Cardinal is the creator of the IEP Writer – Educational Services is putting together an implementation plan to pilot the use of IEP Writer
  • Educational Services Website – Educational Services has begun to look at what they have and where they would like to be with regard to their ability to share information with families and the public
  • System Professional Learning is taking place
Trustee Murray thanked Principal Lacoursière for providing the above-noted information.


(a)     From St. Clair Catholic District School Board, a copy of the letter dated December 4, 2012, addressed to The Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, requesting that the Ministry of Education continue to recognize the importance of professional development in the area of Special Education for all teachers because of the increased complexity of exceptional needs students.  They urge the Ministry of Education to put into action the necessary changes to ensure that a comprehensive Special Education preparatory course be a mandatory part of the pre-service programs for all Teacher Colleges in Ontario.

(b)             From Kathy Burtnik, Chairpeson, and Anna Racine, Special Education Advisory Committee Chair, Niagara Catholic District School Board, a copy of a letter to Jim Dawson, Special Education Advisory Committee, Bluewater District School Board, dated November 7, 2012, advising that the Niagara Catholic DSB received a copy of his letter to the Minister regarding the “Electronic Portal” concept dated April 23, 2012.  The authors of the letter state in the letter, “Where the Portal Concept is a wonderful idea and could promise to be a very useful resource, we would appreciate hearing from you with more detailed descriptions of each of the portal headings and how they would be utilized to support our learners with special needs.”

        Trustee Murray stated that she would follow-up with her colleagues at the OPSBA Public Education Symposium being held at the end of the month, to find out if they had any information or thoughts with regard to the “electronic portal” concept.  She said that she would report back at the February SEAC meeting.

Association Updates

Brad Shoniker

        Mr. Shoniker reported that Ongwanada received a great accreditation rating.

Autism Ontario

        Ms. LaLonde advised that an announcement was just made that St. Lawrence College Autism Behavioural Program is now offering a social buddy program for individuals with Asperger’s attending St. Lawrence.  She indicated that this information is posted on their Facebook page.

        Ms. LaLonde advised that a petition is circulating on their Facebook page with regard to the elimination of a Speech Therapist position and a Social Worker position at Hotel Dieu Hospital, because of the lack of funding.

        Ms. LaLonde advised that the Lego Club has changed its name to the Building Blocks Club, and that the program is starting up again.

        Ms. LaLonde reported that the Kingston Chapter of Autism Ontario, in partnership with the ASUS, Queen’s University, is holding a run on Saturday, April 6, 2013, with proceeds in support of the Kingston Chapter of Autism Ontario.

Other Business

Ministry Update

        Ms. McDonnell provided an update with regard to mental health initiatives in the Limestone District School Board.  She advised that Mental Health Professional Learning and Working Together Funding totaled $47,426.  

        Ms. Herron indicated that at a previous meeting she and Dr. Davidson-Harden provided information about the Friends for Life Program and mental health curriculum.  She indicated that four elementary schools were involved in the Friends for Life program last year, and this year, the program will be expanded to 10 schools.

        Ms. Herron reported that in the fall, a number of our staff were trained in Friends for Life. She advised that School Support Counsellors, some teachers in the District Learning Centres and some Section 23 teachers were trained.  The curriculum will be implemented not only in junior grades, but in a couple of primary grades.  Ms. Herron reported that a planning day will be held February 22.

        Ms. Herron reported that Go to Educator Training will be held on February 26 or March 1, 2013.   She stated that the Go To Educator Training targets teaching and non-teaching staff.  Ms. Herron stated that the teachers who are implementing mental health curriculum will come to the Go To Educator training, as well as Adolescent Care Workers, and other staff that students naturally turn to for supports.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) has not yet been able to hire a mental health nurse for Limestone DSB.  She advised that another advertisement for a mental health nurse is going out through CCAC.  

        Trustee Murray thanked Ms. McDonnell and Ms. Herron for providing the above-noted information.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., at Educational Services, 164 VanOrder Drive, Kingston.  The remaining meeting dates for the 2012-2013 school year are:  March 20, 2013, April 17, 2013, May 22, 2013 (4th Wednesday), and June 5, 2013 (1st Wednesday).


MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the meeting adjourn at 7:45 p.m.Carried