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June 5, 2013 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
June 5, 2013

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in the Barry C. O’Connor Board Room, at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, on Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at 6:30 p.m.
Present Trustees:
Paula Murray, Co-Chair
Elaine Crawford
Helen Brown
Present Members:
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Amanda Collins, Easter Seals
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-LargeDavid Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston and Co-Chair
Present Staff:
Myra Baumann, Manager of Financial Services
Drew Boyce, School to Community Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Chris Herron, Educational Services & Safe Schools Coordinator
Ann-Marie Lacoursière, Principal of Educational Services
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary
Elaine Crawford, Trustee
Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
Charlene Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Lennox and Addington
The meeting was chaired by Trustee Murray.  She called the meeting to order, welcoming those present.  

Approval of Agenda

        Trustee Murray advised that an additional item relating to the Special Education budget is to be added to the agenda following the item, “Declaration and Oath of Allegiance.”

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

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Karen Jeffrey, that the minutes of the May 23, 2013 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        There was no business arising from the minutes.

Declaration and Oath of Allegiance

        Amanda Collins, representing Easter Seals, made a statement of declaration that she was not disqualified under any Act from being a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee and that she would truly, faithfully, impartially and to the best of her ability execute the office of Special Education Advisory Committee member, and that she has not received and will not receive any payment or reward or promise thereof for the exercise of any partiality or malversation or other undue execution of the said office, and that she would disclose any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, as required by and in accordance with the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

        Ms. Collins took an Oath of Allegiance, swearing that she would be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Special Education Budget

        Trustee Murray introduced Myra Baumann, Manager of Financial Services.

        Manager Bauman reported that the Special Education Grant provides additional funding for students who need special education programs, services and/or equipment.  It is made up of the following six allocations:

  • Special education per pupil amount (SEPPA) allocation;
  • Special equipment amount (SEA) allocation;
  • High needs amount (HNA) allocation;
  • Special incidence portion (SIP) allocation;
  • Facilities amount (FA) allocation; and
  • Behavior expertise amount (BEA) allocation.
Ms. Baumann advised that the Special Education Grant may only be used for special education.  Any unspent funding must be treated as deferred revenue for special education, meaning it is set aside for future use for special education only.

Ms. Baumann reported that the SEPPA allocation is based on total enrolment.  The per-pupil amount was labour framework adjusted, meaning a 0% salary increase, reduction of the teacher salary benchmark by 1.5% to recognize the three unpaid PA days and a reduction of the benefit benchmark by .167% as part of the phase-out of retirement gratuities.

Manager Baumann indicated that the SEA allocation is made up of two components, as follows:

  • SEA per-pupil amount based on enrolment and includes a base amount of $10,000; and
  • SEA claims based amount.
Manager Baumann stated that the SEA per-pupil amount is transitioning from a school board specific per pupil amount to a single provincial per pupil amount by 2014-2015.

Manager Baumann indicated that the High Needs allocation is made up of the following:

  • HNA enrolment based amount; and
  • Measures of variability amount which is board specific.
Manager Baumann advised that the SIP allocation is claims based.  The claims are submitted to the Ministry of Education for approval.  She further advised that the FA allocation is based on an approval process, and the BEA allocation is a per-pupil amount based on enrolment and includes a base amount of $84,331.

        Manager Baumann commented that elementary enrolment is projected to decrease 36 ADE in comparison to the original 2012-2013 budget.  However, when incorporating Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) elementary enrolment is projected to increase 302 ADE in comparison to the original 2012-2013 budget.  Manager Baumann said that secondary enrolment is projected to decrease 363 ADE in comparison to the original 2012-2013 budget, as well as a movement of 89 ADE to the new high credit day school ADE category.  The portion of a pupil’s enrolment over the 34-credit threshold is now included in the new high credit day school ADE category.

        Manager Baumann advised that the Special Education Grant decreased by $722,000 or 2.28% from the original 2012-2013 budget due to declining enrolment and a reduction in the Special Equipment Amount (SEA) per pupil amount, which is transitioning from a school board specific per pupil amount to a single provincial per pupil amount by 2014-2015.

        Manager Baumann reported that the SEA allocation decreased by $244,000, the SEPPA allocation decreased by $290,000, and the High Needs allocation decreased by $188,000.  She said that factoring in FDK EPO funding, there is an increase in overall funding versus the original 2012-2013 budget of $366,000.

        Trustee Murray thanked Manager Baumann for providing the above-noted information.

Multi-Year Accessibility Plan for the Period December 2012 to December 2017

        Ms. McDonnell advised that the Annual Accessibility Plan comes to SEAC members annually, noting that the plan was taken to the Property/Operations Committee on May 29, 2013 for approval by Trustees.  She said that the plan is due at the Ministry mid-July, and that it will be posted on the Limestone DSB website.

        Ms. McDonnell referred to the cover page and noted that the title of the “Annual Accessibility Plan” has been changed to the “Multi-Year Accessibility Plan” in accordance with the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

        Ms. McDonnell referred to Section 7.0, “Barrier Identification Methodologies” and stated that a chart has been included, which includes the development of a survey.  She advised that the survey will be ready for use before December 2013, noting that the Accessibility Committee will use the information to guide further planning.  She said that we will start with a small pilot of the survey.

        Ms. McDonnell referred to Section 9.0, “Barriers to be addressed under the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan”.  She said that the Multi-Year Accessibility Plan chart in this section looks different than charts from past years.  She said that the chart lays out the type of barrier, the location, and the action to be taken.  She advised that the Integrated Standards have specific time lines that need to be met.  She said that we see specific areas that need to be addressed in each of the years.  Ms. McDonnell said that the Action section outlines exactly what was accomplished, and the Status time line outlines when that happened.

        Ms. McDonnell indicated that page 90 of the Plan includes Policy 19 (Accessibility Standards).  She said that also included in the appendices are the administrative procedures relating to accessibility.  She said that AP 157 (Providing Accessible Information and Communications Services [Accessibility Standards for Information and Communication]) is also included as an appendix and was a requirement within the Accessibility Standards.  

        Ms. McDonnell stated that page 96 includes information that was sent out related to the Professional Development Module for classroom-based educators.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that page 97 includes information related to the Board’s Accommodation and Disability Management Program, noting that the Standards are embedded into this document.

        Ms. Sheldon commented on the need to remove social barriers.

        Mr. Williams commented on information related to the scope of the accessibility areas.  

        Ms. McDonnell stated that a statement could be included at the beginning of the document.

Educational Services Update (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1)

        Ms. Lacoursière provided an Educational Services update.  She showed photographs of the people working on the Individual Education Plan review, thanking Karen Jeffrey, Erin Sheldon and Amanda Collins for their work on the review.  She shared what the group did and what they found.  

        Ms. Lacoursière stated that last year we received a template from the Ministry, and this year we took the template and broke in down more specifically to describe elements we should see in Individual Education Plans.  She said that the group discussed what should be included in an IEP, what should not be included in an IEP and how IEPs can be improved.  She said that the group had a good discussion about the tool, and how we want it to be something that serves the needs of our students.  Ms. Lacoursière reported that one group reviewed the samplings of the elementary IEP and the other one reviewed the sampling of the secondary IEP.

        Ms. Lacoursière said that in an overall manner we have some areas we want to continue to focus on, specifically our alternative curriculum goals.  She said that in lots of areas we saw we were proficient, some areas we want to revisit to work with staff members on.  She said that we took the template and sent it to schools as a review page that Principals could use with their staff.

        Ms. Lacoursière stated that with regard to secondary IEPs, it is important in our system to recognize some of the differences.  We want to ensure they are precise as to where we need improvements.  She reviewed the other areas in secondary that we want to focus on.  She stated that at some point we anticipate that the Ministry will send out a tool to collect information from our independent review.

        Ms. Lacoursière reviewed the changes made to the Special Education Plan, noting that Educational Services staff reviewed the plan thoroughly last year to ensure our content was up-to-date as to where we are in Limestone DSB.  She said some minor modifications were made to the information.

        Ms. Lacoursière advised that the Special Education Plan will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education.  She indicated that there still are a few specific areas that will need to be updated.  She referred to page 7 and indicated that the only piece that needs to be updated is with regard to the service delivery model for various groups.  She referred to page 28, noting that all staffing allocations at Educational Services are listed there.

        Ms. Sheldon asked if the Board has a strategy plan or comprehensive plan with regard to writing better IEPs around alternative programs within the curriculum, asking about information related to what is most essential learning for students with developmental disabilities so that they can participate in their school community.

        Ms. McDonnell indicated that there was discussion in Educational Services around a School to Community Services Delivery Model review.  She said that she believes this will be an important tool to address what Ms. Sheldon is talking about.

        Mr. Ward stated that with regard to secondary students, we are proud of our inclusion of students in credit courses.  

        Ms. Lacoursière said that it has been her privilege, in her role, to work with students in our Board with special education needs and with the SEAC group.  She stated that it has truly been her privilege to be part of SEAC.

        Trustee Murray thanked Ms. Lacoursière for providing the above-noted information.


(a)     From Peggy O’Toole, Chair, Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic DSC, a copy of a letter dated May 16, 2013, to the Minister of Community and Social Services, indicating that they are in support of recent letters the Minister has received from other SEAC committees regarding the discontinuation of Special Services at Home (SSAH) funding for individuals over the age of 18.  She indicates that their board is concerned with the crisis that will inevitable result from the lack of funding available to individuals and their families due to the elimination of the SSAH funding program.  She indicates that they also support the investigation by the Ontario ombudsman into the province’s services for adults with developmental disabilities.        

Association Updates

Brad Shoniker

        Brad Shoniker read an e-mail from Pat LaLonde, Autism Ontario, stating that she has enjoyed the years she has spent with the people on SEAC.  She said that they have been a wonderful group to work with it.  She thanked them for their continued support of students with Autism and their future endeavors.  She said that she will miss seeing them on a monthly basis.~

Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson, on behalf of the Executive Director of Epilepsy Kingston, thanked all schools for their participation in Purple Day, reporting that it was a huge success.

        Ms. Carson indicated that the Annual General Meeting is being held June 12, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kingston General Hospital Dietary Wing.

        Ms. Carson stated that Epilepsy Kingston’s Resource Centre is trying to run a parent support group, and said that if anyone is interested or if they know of families looking for support, to please call the Executive Director.

        Ms. Carson commented that the following events are being held in support of epilepsy:  a Fire Truck Pull on July 21st in front of City Hall, and a Run for Epilepsy is being planned for August, noting that the date is yet to be determined.

Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Sheldon provided an update from a recent meeting of the Education Committee of Community Living Kingston.  She commented on Design Thinking, an initiative of the Upper Canada District School Board.  She said that a workshop on Design Thinking is being planned for September 2013, noting that the Limestone DSB and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic DSB will be invited to send a team to the workshop.

David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams stated that LDAK is focusing on its website.  He said that their office is closed for the summer; however, someone from LDAK will be responding to e-mail and telephone calls over the summer

        Mr. Williams indicated that lots of information is posted on their website, as well as their newsletter.  He said that they will also be offering workshops next year.

Other Business

Ministry Update

        Ms. McDonnell advised that the Ministry asks our schools to complete P/PM 141, an ABA survey regarding the use of ABA in classrooms.  She said that we collect the information from both our elementary and secondary schools, and that it goes back to the Ministry.  She indicated that as part of the reporting process, school boards share the link to the parent survey, noting that the link is on the LDSB website.  We have also asked our schools to link their website to the Ministry survey as well.  Ms. McDonnell said that the Ministry does not ask for parent information.  She advised that the parent information is used to inform service delivery in autism.  She asked SEAC members to ensure that their agencies are aware of that information.  She said that if parents are interested in completing the parent survey, please encourage them to do so.

Other Business

        Mr. Boyce advised that he will be leaving his position at Educational Services to move to another position in the fall at Storrington Public School.  He thanked SEAC members for their support over the past years.
        Trustee Murray thanked Mr. Boyce for his work at Educational Services, and congratulated him on his new position.  She presented him with a small token of appreciation.

        Mr. Williams presented Ms. Lacoursière with a small token of appreciation for her work at Educational Services, and wished her well in her new position.

        Mr. Williams advised that he heard this morning the Ministry’s plans around teacher education in Ontario.  He indicated that starting  in 2015, the Ministry will be moving towards reducing students going into teacher education by one half, and increasing the program to a two-year program.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that the Ministry has indicated that teacher education program will also have a more distinct focus on students with special needs, and on students with mental health concerns.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, September 18, 2013, at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, at 7:00 p.m.


MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Nadine Carson, that the meeting adjourn at    7:45 p.m.–Carried