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September 18, 2013 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
 September 18, 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, on Wednesday, September 18, 2013, at 7:00~p.m.
Present Trustees:
Paula Murray, Co-Chair
Elaine Crawford
Present Members:
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Amanda Collins, Easter Seals
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston and Co-Chair
Present Staff:
Sue Burnett, Special Education Program Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist
Darlene Scarlett, 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        
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Charlene Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington

The meeting was chaired by David Williams.  He called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the first SEAC meeting of the 2013-2014 school year.  He especially welcomed new Educational Services staff, Darlene Scarlett, Principal of  Educational Services, and Sue Burnett, Special Education Program Coordinator.

Supervising Principal McDonnell welcomed staff and SEAC members to the 2013-2014 school year.  She introduced Darlene Scarlett, Principal at Educational Services, noting that last year Ms. Scarlett was away on leave, and prior to that she was Principal at KCVI.  She introduced Sue Burnett, Special Education Program Coordinator for School to Community.  She said that Ms. Burnett comes with a wealth of experience in the education system, noting that last year, she was the Student Support Teacher at J.G. Simcoe Public School.

Supervising Principal McDonnell advised that Jennifer Davidson-Harden continues in her role as Chief Psychologist, and will take on the role of Mental Health Leader.  She welcomed Dr. Davidson-Harden to that role.

Those present introduced themselves.

Approval of Agenda

        Mr. Williams advised that an additional item, Potential Time and Day Change for SEAC Meetings, is to be added to the agenda under the Other Business section of the agenda.

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

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

        No SEAC member declared a conflict of interest.

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Brad Shoniker, seconded by Nadine Carson, that the minutes of the June 5, 2013 meeting, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

        There was no business arising from the minutes.

Possible SEAC Presentations (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 3.8)

        SEAC members brought the following items forward for as possible presentations at future meetings:

  • Transition Planning (Grade 8 to Grade 9)
  • Transition Planning for Exiting Students
  • Behavior Management System Training for Educational Assistants
  • Mental Health (after Mental Health Summit in April)
  • Play at Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder Breakfast (suggestion that the play be presented at the Tri-Board SEAC meeting in May 2014, which is being hosted by Limestone DSB)
  • Parent Engagement (information as how to better meet the needs of students with special education needs)
  • Special Equipment (once in place how we make sure it is being used and being used properly and who is responsible)
  • Assistive Technology
  • CODE Project
  • Video/Slide Show about Full Day Kindergarten
Ms. Sheldon asked that an opportunity to provide feedback during presentations be built into presentations.

Following discussion, SEAC members decided to have a Goal Setting session at the October SEAC meeting.

Educational Services Update (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1)

        Principal Scarlett advised that she was at Rideau Heights Public School last week to visit three specific programs there, noting that it was a fantastic experience to see students engaged, and to see education in action.    

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

School Year Launch

  • Staff gathering first day of school at Educational Services
  • Full staff meeting on Tuesday, September 10
  • Staffing and interviews
  • Supporting schools with startup – Student Transitions
  • Finalizing and coordinating staff and team assignments
  • Planning for Professional Learning: System and Department
Professional Learning

  • IEP Engine Training for new users
  • Behaviour Management System Training for Educational Assistants
  • Specialized Training for Educational Assistants in District Learning Centres
  • Curriculum Councils:  School to Community Services and Autism
Section 23 – Pathways

  • RESTART (Respect, Empathy, Strengths, Trust, Attitude, Responsibility, Teamwork) – now a full-time program at NAEC
  • New full-time program at Granite Ridge – Grades 6-10 for students with complex learning needs
  • IBI (Intensive Behaviour Intervention) Program at J.G. Simcoe Public School is now staffed with a full-time teacher
Section 23 – Additional Updates

  • Yonge House closed at the end of June
  • Students from Yonge House moved to Cassidy House
  • Arden Court closed at the end of July
  • Belong Program (ALCDSB in partnership with CAS) trauma/attachment disorder
IEP Writer Implementation

  • Implementation planning is underway for the transition from the IEP Engine to IEP Writer
  • Meetings with ITS – Cardinal (IEP Writer Provider)
  • Training Plan is being developed
        Ms. Carson stated that it would be interesting to have a presentation on the Behaviour Management System Training for Educational Assistants.

        Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson stated that Behaviour Management System (BMS) training replaces Crisis Prevention Intervention training.  He advised that BMS training is more specifically designed for a school board setting.  He said that initial training is eight hours, and following that people need to be trained every two years for recertification.

        Mr. Ward advised that educational assistants training is deeper than BMS training, as we want to ensure that educators are equipped with the best tools possible.  He said that BMS training is targeted for students with significant behavioural needs.

        Ms. Scarlett stated that she looks forward to working with SEAC members in this capacity, and she thanked them for being so welcoming and positive.


        There was no correspondence presented at the meeting.

Association Updates

Amanda Collins, Easter Seals

        Ms. Collins reported that during the summer, Easter Seals has been working on a tip sheet for parents with regard to transitions.

Mr. Williams thanked Ms. Collins for providing the above-noted information.

Brad Shoniker

        Mr. Shoniker reported that Ongwanada currently has three interns that are doing rotations at this time.

        Mr. Williams thanked Mr. Shoniker for providing the above-noted information.

Andrea Martin

        Ms. Martin reported that there are 680 very keen Bachelor of Education students attending the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University.   She commented that in 2015, the Bachelor of Education program will move to a two-year program, and that Queen’s is working hard to determine how that will play out.

Mr. Williams thanked Ms. Martin for providing the above-noted information.

Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson stated that Epilepsy Kingston was involved in a number of fundraising activities over the summer, commenting on the Fire Truck Pull.  She said that they also held the Glad Days fundraising activity earlier in the year and that it went fairly well.

        Ms. Carson commented on the shortage of seizure medications, noting that this has to do with supply and pharmaceutical companies.  She said that anyone requiring a specific medication should make sure they have renewed their prescriptions on an advanced basis.  She said that if a particular medication is unavailable, an alternative medication will be substituted, which may have different side effects.

Mr. Williams thanked Ms. Carson for providing the above-noted information.

Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Sheldon reported that Community Living Ontario is holding a conference in London, ON, at this time, and that her husband, as President of the Community Living Kingston Board of Directors, is presenting at it.

        Ms. Sheldon advised that Community Living Kingston and the Integration Action for Inclusion Committee is in the process of planning a workshop on Design Thinking, noting that representatives from Upper Canada DSB will be doing the presentation on Design Thinking.  She said that Design Thinking offers a whole new approach to solving problems.  She indicated that she will e-mail information about the workshop.

        Ms. Sheldon stated that Community Living Kingston’s Education Committee is looking for a Limestone DSB representation for its committee.

        Ms. Sheldon advised that Community Living Kingston is planning workshops on advocacy, to help parents think more like educators, regarding students’ specific learning needs, and how parents can bring that information to teachers.

        Mr. Williams thanked Ms. Sheldon for providing the above-noted information.
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children

        Trustee Murray read the following, which was received from Ms. Jeffrey, via e-mail:

“Our Resource Consultants are busy visiting classrooms and consulting with teachers and ECE staff to ensure a smooth transition to school process for the children we work with.  We are available to provide consultation for a three-month period as per our transition to school protocol agreement.

There is a working group who will be coming together to discuss the transition to school protocol.  We will be looking at how it is working and exploring if there are changes or updates needed.  This is expected to happen in November.  The working group will include representatives from LDSB and community partners.

Our childcare community in Lennox and Addington is feeling the impact of Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) this year.  Although there have not been any closures to programs, there have been some staff reductions due to lower enrolment.  Many of the childcare programs have expanded their services to include infant care and have increased toddler spaces now that 4 and 5 year olds are at school.  In our area there is only one school left that does not have FDK at this time.”

David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

        Mr. Williams reported that October is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month.  He distributed information outlining the series of workshops being offered in the upcoming months to spread awareness and to enhance education within the community.  The workshops are as follows:

Tuesday, October 8:     Living and Working with an LD: Lived experiences of an elementary school teacher;

Tuesday, October 29:    The iPad as an Assistive as an Assistive Technology Tool; and

Tuesday, November 12:    “IEP 101” Individual Education Plan (Elementary Panel).

        The workshops will be held at Ongwanada, 191 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, ON, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

        Mr. Williams noted that LDA Kingston is in the process of organizing workshops for spring 2014.

Other Business

Ministry Updates (Strategic Plan Reference:  Items 1.1 and 2.1)

        Ms. McDonnell stated that there are no new Ministry updates at this time in terms of special education.  She reported that a Regional Special Education Committee meeting is being held on October 15, 2013.

New SEAC Website (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 3.8)

        Correspondence was received from The Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, dated September 10, 2013, addressed to SEAC Chairs, advising of the new SEAC website, which is available at

        Ms. McDonnell provided a brief demonstration of the Ministry of Education’s new SEAC website.

Potential Time and Day Change for SEAC Meetings

        SEAC members discussed the possibility of a time change for SEAC meetings, noting that may move the Wednesday meetings to another day.  The Recording Secretary was to send an e-mail to SEAC members asking about their preference for a start time, as well as their preference for a day to hold meetings.  Trustee Murray noted that this could be part of the goal setting discussion that is to take place at the October SEAC meeting.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16, 2013, at 7:00 p.m., at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.  The remaining meeting dates for the 2013-2014 school year are:  November 20, 2013, December 11, 2013 (2nd Wednesday), January 15, 2014, February 19, 2014, March 19, 2014, April 16, 2014, May 28, 2014 (4th Wednesday), and June 11, 2014 (2nd Wednesday).


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