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March 20, 2013 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
March 20, 2013
A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Barry C. O’Connor Board Room, at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, at 7:00~p.m.
Present Trustees:
P. Murray, Co-Chair
E. Crawford
Present Membes:
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Charlene Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Lennox and Addington
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston and Co-Chair
Present Staff:
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal of Educational Services
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Chris Herron, Educational Services & Safe Schools Coordinator
Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services

The meeting was chaired by Paula Murray.  She called the meeting to order, welcoming those present.

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

        No Committee member declared a conflict of interest.

Approval of Agenda

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

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Trustee Crawford, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the      February 20, 2013 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        There was no business arising from the minutes.

Presentation – Tri-Board Student Transportation (Strategic Plan Reference: Item 2.1)

        Gord Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Tri-Board Student Transportation Services, was present.  He thanked Committee members for the invitation to attend this evening’s meeting to provide an overview of the process for transportation services for students with special education needs in Limestone District School Board, noting that Tri-Board Student Transportation Services also provides transportation for students in Hastings-Prince Edward District School Board, and Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.  He provided the following information:

Special Education Application Process

  • List of students attending each program;
  • Principal or Coordinator of Educational Services approves all application forms before Tri-Board receives them;
  • Tri-Board’s approval of transportation; and
  • Medical and Behaviorual Issues.  
Turnaround Time

  • If a student is on a bus route, transportation can be provided the next day;
  • If a student is off a bus route, it will take a few to several days to arrange for transportation;
  • If a request is made for a wheelchair bus or tie downs, transportation is provided as soon as Tri-can provide what the student requires; and
  • There is no walk policy for students with special education needs.
        Mr. Taylor reviewed information related to the number of students with special education needs being transported within the Tri-Board Student Transportation area, the number of special needs buses, as well as the cost per student transported.

        Mr. Taylor indicated that there is one full-time staff person at Tri-Board Student Transportation Services whose job is to arrange transportation for students with special education needs.

        Ms. McDonnell indicated that in the past Educational Services as worked with Tri-Board Student Transportation Services to provide training from the coordinators to bus drivers around particular exceptionalities and how to respond appropriately to those needs.  She said that Educational Services staff looks forward to being able to provide that training again.  

        Mr. Taylor stated that contractors care about training for their bus drivers, and ensure that they are provided with training.  Ms. McDonnell reported that all drivers are trained in the use of epi-pens.

        Ms. LaLonde indicated that the Kingston Chapter of Ontario Autism is bringing a trainer back to provide retraining for first responders in October.

        Trustee Murray thanked Mr. Taylor and the staff at Tri-Board Student Transportation Services for the work they do, and she also thanked Mr. Taylor for attending this evening’s meeting to provide an overview of the process for transportation services for students with special education needs in Limestone District School Board.

Educational Services Update (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1)

        Ms. Lacoursière provided an Educational Services update, as follows:

Professional Learning

  • Educational Services Collaborative Inquiry Groups – Ms. Lacoursière stated that Educational Services received excellent feedback from teachers, School to Community Services teachers, our District Learning Centre teachers, and Autism Program teachers, who were provided with the opportunity to participate in Collaborative Inquiry professional learning.  
  • Go To Educator Training – Ms. McDonnell stated that staff in each secondary school has been trained in “Go To Educator” Training.   She indicated that training was provided to staff members who students naturally “go to” when they have concerns. She commented that training was provided by Dr. Kevin Parker, Queen’s University and Limestone DSB Educational Services staff.  She remarked that training consisted of appropriate responses to student mental health concerns and appropriate referral pathways.
  • IEP Capacity Building – Ms. Lacoursière stated that at a recent District Principals’ Meeting, Educational Services’ consultants and coordinators provided an IEP Capacity Building session for Principals.
  • Responsive Learning Environments – Ms. Lacoursière stated that a focus this year is on responsive learning environment.  She said that Educational Services staff has talked to Affinity Groups and talked about responsive learning environments, with respect to what it is, and what should look like, feel like and sound like.
  • Student Support Teacher Session – Ms. Lacoursière indicated that a professional learning session will be held next week for Student Support Teachers.  She further indicated that they will do some upcoming work around IEP capacity training.
  • CODE Project – Ms. Lacoursière stated that the Information Technology Services Department staff has applied for money to support a project around supporting student learning with technology.  She advised that the Limestone District School Board CODE project looks at Emergent Literacy for students who are functionally non-verbal.  She indicated that this is an opportunity to support those students in developing literacy.  She reported that the information that we learn will be shared at the district level and may be more broadly shared.  

  • Building Bridges –An event was held two week ago, which provided an opportunity for students who are transitioning from Grade 8 to Grade 9 who are autistic.
  • Autism Ontario, Kingston – SEA Presentation –  A joint presentation was given around the process for SEA claims by Limestone DSB and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB.  The process is the same for all boards throughout Province because of the Guidelines that are provided by the Ministry.  The only difference is who performs a role in a board; the titles are different.
Planning for 2013-2014

  • IEP Writer Pilot and Implementation
  • IEP Capacity Building
  • Service Delivery Model
  • Information gathering for the allocation of supports throughout the system
  • Transition Planning (Kindergarten and 8-9)
  • Educational Assistant Data Collection Templates
  • Program Referrals and Placements
Trustee Murray thanked Ms. Lacoursière for providing the above-noted information.


(a)     From Diane Lloyd, Chairperson, and Angela Lloyd, SEAC Chairperson, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB, a letter to the Minister of Education, dated January 22, 2013, requesting that the Ministry of Education consider that a mandatory course focused specifically on special education issues be put in place in all faculties of education in the province of Ontario, as well as continue to ensure the integration of special education issues within each course.

        Andrea Martin distributed information, “Requirement for Accreditation (ss 9. (1)) from the Ontario College of Teachers, which outlines the requirements for Faculties of Education for accreditation.  She indicated that in a professional studies course, teacher candidates would have an understanding about exceptionalities and equity issues.

(b)    From Andrea Brown, SEAC Chair, Trillium Lakelands DSB, a copy of a letter addressed to The Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, dated February 21, 2013, voicing their support to the opinions of the Waterloo Catholic DSB and the Upper Canada DSB, that Special Education Preparatory Courses should be a mandatory requirement for all teachers graduating from a College of Education in Ontario.  They ask that the Minister of Education explore requiring teacher participation in a Special Education Preparatory Course as a mandatory prerequisite for graduation from a College of Education in Ontario.

(c)     From John Watkins, SEAC Chair, Durham District School Board, a copy of a letter addressed to the Minister of Community and Social Services and the Minister of Education, dated January 16, 2013, regarding workflow issues with the newly established Development Services of Ontario Agency (DSO), and funding of services for people with developmental disabilities.  The Durham DSB's Special Education Advisory Committee requests that the Ministry of Community and Social Services coordinate funding of psychological assessment with the Ministry of Education and that they continue SSAH funding beyond the age of 18 to ensure uninterrupted service between SSAH funding and Passport funding in the short term.

(d)     From Mike Riordon, SEAC Chair, District School Board of Niagara, a copy of a letter addressed toThe Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister, Community and Social Services, dated February 20, 2013, supporting the concern identified by the Near North DSB and the DSB Ontario North East regarding cuts to Special Services at Home (SSAH) funding for young adults with disabilities.  The District School Board of Niagara SEAC asks that the SSAH funding in place past the age of 18 be maintained to ensure that individuals with disabilities can maintain their quality of life at home and in the community.  They also ask that any transitional initiative is accompanied by timely access to adequate passport funding before the government reduces or eliminates SSAH funding.

(e)    From Joyce Bennett, Chair, and Tracy Grant, SEAC Chair, Thames Valley District School Board, a copy of letter addressed to The Honourable Ted McMeekin, Minister of Community and Social Services, and to The Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, dated February 13, 2013, expressing concern about the transition from school to adult services for students with development disabilities.  In particular, they are concerned that there is confusion about the Development Services of Ontario Agency (DSO) process and that funding of services for people with development disabilities is adequate.

Association Updates

David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams reported that LDAK has two teacher candidates doing a practicum at their office, with regard to social media.  He said that the teacher candidates have done great work.

Brad Shoniker

        Mr. Shoniker reported he is chairing the CDC Community Advisory Board.  He advised that a “Telling Your Story: Presentations that Work” presentation will be held on Tuesday,   April 9, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Chid Development Centre (Earl Martin Gym), 166 Brock Street, Kingston.  He advised that Laura Williams and Amir Karmali from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital will present a workshop to provide tips and direction to help build confidence in advocacy skills.

Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario

        Ms. LaLonde reported that April is Autism Awareness Month, noting that World Autism is April 2nd.  She reported on the Sixth Degree Silent Day Challenge that is being held, where people are being asked to be quiet from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon.

        Ms. LaLonde indicated that people are being asked to wear the colour blue on World Autism Day.  She said that two people are organizing a rally at Confederation Basin, Kingston, between 11:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on April 2nd, with people being asked to attend between   11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  to show their support.

        Ms. LaLonde advised that Autism Ontario is having their flag raised on April 2nd at all municipalities.  She stated that the CN Tower, Toronto, and all national monuments in Washington and New York City will be lit up in blue.
        Ms. LaLonde indicated that on April 6th, an ASUS Walk/Run Fundraiser for Autism Ontario Kingston will be held, starting at the John Deutsch Centre, Queen’s University.  Information about this event can be found on their Facebook page.

Andrea Martin

        Ms. Martin reported that Queen’s Faculty of Education students are now involved in their alternate program practicums.

Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Sheldon stated that a Queen’s Faculty of Education student is doing her alternate program practicum at Community Living Kingston, noting that she is supporting the CODE project.  She said that Caroline Mussel-White is incorporating the work of this student into her course.

        Ms. Sheldon stated that Community Living Kingston is recognizing Purple Day (Epilepsy Awareness).  She also reported that the Lord Strathcona Public School Girl Guides will do a presentation in recognition of Purple Day.

        Ms. Sheldon reported that Ms. Musselwhite will be returning to Kingston to present at another conference being held May 24-25.  She further reported that Cheryl Jorgensen will also present at that conference on helping educators to provide language to students, with Ms. Musselwhite presenting more on how to help all students access literacy.   

        Trustee Murray thanked the above-noted individuals for providing information about what is happening at their organizations.

Other Business

Ministry Update

        Ms. McDonnell commented on a Ministry pilot related to students in care and their academic achievement.  She advised that the Ministry of Education had sent out in mid-February, Requests for Proposal.  She said that we received word that the Limestone DSB’s proposal was successful.  She said that the Board is working with Family & Children’s Services of Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (FACSFLA) to identify students who would benefit from a Grade 9 or Grade 10 Focus Program.  She said that the Board sees this as a great opportunity for our students in care, as well as other students to participate in these programs

        Ms. LaLonde indicated that she did attend a recent Parent Involvement Committee, as SEAC’s representative.  She provided a report from the meeting, noting that the meeting was very informative.  She commented on the Safe Welcome Program, Bill 13 (Creating Safe and Accepting Schools), and the 2013-2014 School Year Calendar.  She said that a presentation about the ban on tanning was provided by a representative from Public Health.  She reported that March is Nutrition Month.  She reported that there was an opportunity, if parents were interested in attending a Regional Parent Forum for EQAO on Saturday, March 23, 2013.  She provided information about the Parent Lending Library.  She indicated that Karen Smith, LDSB Communications Officer, provided information about social media and Twitter.

        Ms. LaLonde reported that a School Council Forum is being held on April 22, 2013, at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for       April 17, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., at École Sir John A. Macdonald Public School, 529 St. Martha Street, Kingston.  The remaining meeting dates for the 2012-2013 school year are:  May 23, 2013 (4th Thursday) at the Prince Edward-Hastings DSB Education Centre, 156 Ann Street, Belleville, and June 5, 2013 (1st Wednesday), at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.


        MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Erin Sheldon, that the meeting adjourn at 8:45 p.m.--Carried

MOVED BY Pat LaLonde, seconded by Erin Sheldon, that the meeting adjourn at      8:45 p.m.–Carried