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March 19, 2014 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
Limestone District School Board
March 19, 2014

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, on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.

P. Murray, Co-Chair
E. Crawford

N. Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
A. Collins, Easter Seals
K. Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
A. Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
J. Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
E. Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
B. Shoniker, Member-at-Large Frontenac, Lennox and Addington
C. Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington
D. Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston, and Co-Chair

A. McDonnell, Supervising Principal
S. Burnett, Special Education Program Coordinator
J. Davidson-Harden, Chief Psychologist & Mental Health Lead
C. Herron, Educational Services and Safe Schools Coordinator
D. Scarlett, Principal of Educational Services
A. Stefanovich-Thomson, Special Education Program Coordinator
A. Collins, Easter Seals
A. Martin, Member-at-Large (Queen’s University)
K. Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
E. Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
B. Shoniker, Member-at-Large Frontenac, Lennox and Addington

M. Aitken, Records Management Coordinator

        Co-Chair Williams called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting, at 7:07 p.m. and to the committee.

Approval of Agenda

        MOVED BY Ms. Carson, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved. Carried.

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

No declarations were made.   

Approval of Minutes – February 19, 2014

        MOVED By Ms. Crawford, that the February 19, 2014 meeting minutes, as distributed, be approved. Carried.

Business Arising From the Minutes

Follow-Up to Goal Setting Activities

Co-Chair Williams thanked the staff who had participated over the last several months for all their work. Co-Chair Williams stated that this is the final iteration of the goal setting. He asked the committee to review the three goals that have been identified.

  • Advocacy as Capacity Building;
  • Student Focus- Student Achievement;
  • Parent & Community Engagement.
Co-Chair Murray also wanted to thank staff for all their hard work. She stated that actually seeing the written documentation of the three priorities will better facilitate the process of achieving them. She stated that this step has been years in the making.

Co-Chair Williams stated that some preliminary conversations need to take place around:  the best way of proceeding; time lines; tackling one goal at a time; with a tentative goal of the end of the year in mind for its completion.

ACTION: Co-Chair Murray, along with Co-Chair Williams and Supervising Principal McDonnell, will craft and send out an e-mail setting out goal time-line to all SEAC committee members.

Letter to Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education

        In response to the London District Catholic School Board’s letter to the minister, which was distributed at the last SEAC meeting, a draft letter, as drafted by Co-Chair Murray, along with Co-Chair Williams and Supervising Principal McDonnell was circulated to the those present.

        ACTION:  The letter was distributed to the committee for their feedback. It will be sent out electronically to members not present for feedback. All feedback will need to be received by March 25th and agree to the final draft, so as to go to Board Meeting April 9, 2014.

Presentation – Mental Health & Addictions Strategy – Dr. Jennifer Davidson-Harden

Dr. Davidson-Harden presented entitled “Mental Health At School”.  She stated that mental health is on a continuum, as we all have mental health; ranging from health and well-being to emotional problems or concerns to mental illness.

Dr. Davidson-Harden reported to the committee the following research:

  • 1/5 students in Canadian schools struggle with mental illness;
  • In 70% of students, onset is before age 18, and 50% before 14;
  • Up to 80% will not receive help.
Dr. Davidson-Harden stated that from the paper, “Building a Better School Environment for Youth with Mental Health and Addiction Issues” the greatest needs are: a designated safe space, stigma is a barrier to seeking that support, and increased adult communication with students with mental health issues. Dr. Davidson-Harden noted that there is a significant relationship between mental health and the ability to achieve.

Among the Strategy Priorities for the First 3 Years, as outlined by Ministry of Education:  reduced suicide attempts, fewer suspensions, and higher graduate rates.

The Ministry of Education Strategy Commitments include:  amending the curriculum; developing a K – 12 Resources Guide/Website; Providing support for professional learning in mental health for all Ontario educators, funding and support for mental health leaders, and implementing school mental health ASSIST.

Dr. Davidson-Harden reported the following Mental Health Initiatives at LDSB:

Friends for Life;
Mental Health Curriculum;
Roots of Empathy;
Mental Health Workers in Schools;
Mental Health and Addictions Nurse.

Dr. Davidson-Harden answered questions from committee members.

Co-Chairs Murray and Williams thanked Dr. Jennifer Davidson-Harden for her presentation.

Educational Services Update (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 1.1.) – Principal Scarlett

Principal Scarlett gave a presentation and update on Educational Services.

Lord Strathcona students have won an award for promoting an inclusive classroom, and a Community Living Ontario representative attended.

The Special Placement Project between St. Lawrence College and the Limestone District School Board staff and students, which will provide enhanced field practicum experiences in service of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), is being held during March and April in the district. The placement students are part of the one-year Autism Behavioural diploma program.

Principal Scarlett reported on the Speech Language Pathologist iPad Reading Fluency Project, which explores the impact of explicitly teaching phrasing and expression on student achievement in reading fluency. A workshop is to be held March 25th, 2014.

Principal Scarlett informed the committee that the Queen’s Occupational Therapy Students new field placements will be a project in our Autism Program, working on promoting integration. Special Education Program Coordinator Stefanovich-Thomson stated that using technology in an integrated fashion in the classroom is a way of looking at built-in accessibility features already there.

        Principal Scarlett reported that the all grade 10 students in province will write the OSSLT on March 27th, 2014.

        Principal Scarlett reported that Educational Services is currently working on:
  • Info gathering…Transition Planning (K – 8);
  • EA Data Collection Templates;
  • Program Referrals and Placements;
  • Staffing planning for Elementary and Secondary Teachers.
Co-Chair Williams thanked Principal Scarlett for her presentation.

Association Updates

Nadine Carson, Epilepsy Kingston

        Ms. Carson informed the committee of the upcoming Purple Pancake Community Breakfast, Saturday, March 22, 2014, and the Brockville Speaker Night – Living Well with Epilepsy: Stories and Strategies, on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014.

        Ms. Carson noted that March 26th, 2014 is Purple Day for Epilepsy and encouraged everyone to wear purple.

David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Co-Chair Williams informed the committee that he is writing a proposal for some hands-on supports for families and younger kids regarding access to iPad technology and how it can assist individuals with learning disabilities. This is set to go forward, tentatively, for September.

Mr. Williams distributed the handout “Workshop: Reality Checklist – Life After High School” (March 27, 7 p.m. at Ongwanada Resource Centre) which deals with the issues and questions involved in that transition. Mr. Williams to resend hard copy to members.

Co-Chair Murray and Supervising Principal McDonnell thanked all presenting members for their updates.

Other Business

Ministry Updates - (Strategic Plan Reference:  Item 2.1.5)

PPM 156

Supervising Principal McDonnell, stated that this item, PPM156, was distributed at the last meeting and sent out to all SEAC members. It is titled “Supporting Transitions for Students with Special Needs” and aimed at all students who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Special Education Program Coordinator Murphy informed the committee that she has been working with coordinators from Hastings/Prince Edward District School Board and has consulted with Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic School Board on this PPM. The Elementary Student Support Teachers are coming in the morning of April 17th, and in afternoon they will be working with Secondary teachers. At these sessions, they will be looking at the frequency of transitions, how many transitions each day teachers help students with, etc. She stated “a lot of this great work is already happening, so now we need to look at documenting how we support our students”.

Professional Learning Opportunities:  Learning Disabilities Resources

Supervising Principal McDonnell read the memo from the Ministry of Education. It is regarding new resources and training opportunities being made available to school boards. There is a range of different on-line resources, including an educators ‘institute’? Services will be in both French and English. It is to provide them with evidence-based resources, focused on classroom teachers, strategies and tools such as webinars, podcasts, and a location where educators can go in and can post resources that they have found successful. It would be open to all educators free of charge.

Supervising Principal McDonnell reported that there will be a 1-day bilingual learning workshop, titled “Demystifying LD in the Classroom”, and is to be held August 27th, 2014 , in Mississauga. The purpose of the workshop is to share research-based and evidence-based practices with educators, with a focus on LD. It is open to educators K – 12.

Tri-Board SEAC

Co-Chairs Williams and Murray suggested that a sub-group of SEAC members be established to plan the May Tri-Board SEAC Meeting. Co-Chair Williams will send an e-mail asking for representatives.

ACTION:  Co-Chair Williams will send the request out to SEAC members via

Monitoring of Implementation of PPM 140

        Supervising Principal McDonnell informed SEAC that once again the LDSB would be requesting that all administrators compile the Ministry Survey on Implementation of PPM 140. A parent link will also be made available on the LDSB website and schools will be asked to put this parent link to the survey in their newsletters or on their websites. Information collected will be used to inform improvement planning and professional learning.

Next Meeting Date

Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.

The remaining meeting dates for the 2012-2013 school year are:  
May 28
June 11, 2014.


        MOVED BY Ms. Carson at 8:10 p.m. Carried