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November 20, 2013 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee
November 20, 2013

A meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee was held in Committee Room C at the Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston, ON, on Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at 7:00~p.m.
Present Trustees:
P. Murray, Co-Chair
E. Crawford
Present Members:
Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
Amanda Collins, Easter Seals
Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
Meghan Leuprecht, Alternate, Family & Childrens Services, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
Brad Shoniker, Member-at-Large
Present Staff:
Sue Burnett, Special Education Program Coordinator
Chris Herron, Educational Services and Safe Schools Coordinator
Jennifer Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist and Mental Health Lead
Alison McDonnell, Supervising Principal
Jennifer Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
Darlene Scarlett, Principal of Educational Services
Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
Steve Ward, Vice-Principal of Educational Services
Darlene Kirkpatrick, Recording Secretary        
Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
Charlene Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston and Co-Chair

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

Approval of Agenda

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

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

        No SEAC member declared a conflict of interest.

Approval of Minutes

MOVED BY Nadine Carson, seconded by Brad Shoniker, that the minutes of the October 16, 2013 meeting, as distributed, be approved.–Carried

Business Arising From the Minutes

Consultation: Building the Next Phase in Ontario’s Education Strategy, “From Great to Excellent (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1)

        Trustee Murray thanked SEAC members for providing input on the seven key questions in the Ministry of Education document “From Great to Excellent” at October’s SEAC meeting.  She said that a response from SEAC has been forwarded to the Ministry.

        Ms. Carson stated that she has input from Epilepsy Kingston.  In response, Ms. McDonnell stated that the Ministry of Education has extended its deadline for receipt of responses to November 30, 2013, and therefore, Ms. Carson should submit the response from Epilepsy Kingston directly to the Ministry of Education.
EQAO Data – Students with Special Needs (Elementary) (Strategic Plan Reference: Item 1.1)

        Ms. McDonnell stated that there was an increase in achievement for students with special education needs.  She reported that results increased in four of six areas while the exemption rate remained fairly stable:

  • Primary – Percentage at or above provincial standard
        Reading 37% (3% increase)
        Writing 54% (2% increase)
        Math            34% (2% decrease)

  • Junior – Percentage at or above provincial standard
        Reading 48% (7% increase)
        Writing 41% (5% increase)
        Math            22% (1% decrease)

        Ms. McDonnell stated that we are pleased with the growth we are seeing, and that we must continue to focus on strategies that close the gap.

        Ms. McDonnell indicated that she would bring the EQAO results for students with special education needs at the secondary level to the December SEAC meeting.

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

Educational Services Update (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1)

        Principal Scarlett provided a brief Educational Services update, as follows:

Professional Learning & Training

  • Autism and School to Community Curriculum Councils continue to meet
  • Student Support Teacher (SST)/Learning Program Support (LPS) course is offered during the month of November on Thursday evenings
  • Educational Services staff meeting continued to focus on Growth Mindset and staff completed WHMIS training
  • Transition to Kindergarten Protocol Training/Information Session at KFLA Children and Family Services
  • Autism Classroom iPad Project Training
  • Dr. Ian Manion presented on Mental Health to secondary administrators and Educational Services Support Counsellors, Clinical Consultants and Attendance Counsellors
  • 20 Educational Services staff were trained in Assisted Intervention Suicide Prevention (ASIST)
Current Focus Areas

  • IEP Writer training continues all month for SST, SCS, LPS and District Learning Centres
  • Principals were updated at the Learning Leaders’ meeting today
  • Educational Services “Go Live” date is December 2nd
  • Special Incidence Portion (SIP) claims are currently being worked on and must be completed in the next few weeks
Trustee Murray thanked Ms. Scarlett for providing the above-noted information.

Goal Setting Discussion

        Ms. Murphy and Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson led the group in an activity that would lead to further discussion about goal setting at the SEAC December meeting.  They reviewed the core beliefs from the Learning For All document, noting that these beliefs have remained consistent through the drafts of the document. The beliefs are as follows:

  • All students can succeed
  • Each student has his or her own unique patterns of learning
  • Successful instructional practices are founded on evidence-based research, tempered by experience
  • Universal design and differentiated instruction are effective interconnected means of meeting the learning of productivity needs of any group of students
  • Classroom teachers are the key educators for a student’s literacy and numeracy development
  • Classroom teachers need the support of the larger community to create a learning environment that supports all students
  • Fairness is not sameness
        Ms. Murphy and Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson asked SEAC members to think about their role and prioritize the beliefs in order of importance for them as a member of SEAC.

        SEAC members and staff worked on the activity, and discussed the prioritization of the beliefs within the groups.  In December, SEAC members will continue to explore goal setting.


(a)     From Andrea Brown, SEAC Chair, Trillium Lakelands DSB, a copy of a letter addressed to The Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, requesting the Ministry promptly review the process for funding public school boards’ special education programs and services.

Association Updates

Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children

        Ms. Jeffrey indicated that they are in the process of doing a follow-up with regard to the transition into kindergarten.

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

Brad Shoniker

        Mr. Shoniker advised that the Kingston Internship Consortium, of which Ongwanada is the lead agency, has received 30 applications.  He indicated that the Consortium is designed to prepare a psychology intern to practice as a Clinical Psychologist.  He advised that the Consortium only takes four students from across Canada.

        Trustee Murray thanked Mr. Shoniker for providing the above-noted information.

Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson reported that on January 22, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. Dr. Athen Macdonald, a pediatric neurologist will speak to Epilepsy and Your Child.  The venue is yet to be determined.

        Ms. Carson reported that Trent University students are involved in a study at the Language and Cognition Lab that has to do with the effect of epileptic seizures in children and cognitive functioning with language and literacy skills. She said that one of the benefits for a family who participates is that they will receive the standardized assessment results.

        Ms. Carson commented on the importance of having a seizure protocol in place, and getting the message out about the protocol to be used when one has a seizure.  She said that this protocol is for the school environment, noting that she has been involved in the review of it.  She said that if anyone needs advice about the protocol, to please contact her or Epilepsy Kingston.

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

Meghan Leuprecht, Family Support Program, Family and Children’s Services, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington.

        Ms. Leuprecht reported that Family and Children’s Services, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington recently hosted a Transitions Night for families with children with special needs, noting that the event was well attended.

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

Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
        Ms. Sheldon indicated that the Community Living Kingston Education Committee has decided to take on a more active role, noting that they are looking to expand the membership of the committee to include SEAC representatives from allied organizations as well as parents or educators with an interest in strengthening parent involvement and inclusive education. She said that they have planned two workshops; the one in January 2014 will be on parent advocacy and communication, and in the spring on person-centred approaches to planning transitions and school. She said that Community Living has also started a family engagement initiative. She also said that Community Living Ontario is planning a gathering and training for SEAC representatives from throughout the province.

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

Amanda Collins, Easter Seals

        Ms. Collins reported that an Easter Seals’ meeting will take place after tonight’s SEAC meeting, and therefore, she does not have a report at this time.

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

Other Business

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

        Ms. McDonnell reported that she, Sue Burnett and two teachers attended a consultation session for the development of a provincial framework to support alternative programming on October 24, 2013, in Smith Falls, ON, at the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.  She advised that the focus was on providing input around how boards currently approach programming for students with developmental disabilities.  She said that they brainstormed suggested changes, as well as discussed those areas on which they would like to continue to focus.

        Ms. McDonnell stated that the information would be taken back to the Ministry of Education and shared back with district school boards and SEACs.  

        Ms. McDonnell reported that the Board website has been recently updated.  She indicated that information related to Special Education may be found by accessing the Special Education tab.  She said that contact information for the Educational Services leadership team, as well as an overview around our philosophy is located there.  She advised that the links to the Special Education Plan and the IPRC Guide will be updated and linked shortly.

Next Meeting Date

The next meeting of the Special Education Advisory Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, December 11, 2013, at 6:30 p.m., at the Limestone Education Centre, 220 Portsmouth Avenue, Kingston.  The remaining meeting dates for the 2013-2014 school year are:  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 Amanda Collins, that the meeting adjourn at 8:25 p.m.–Carried