Your browser does not support JavaScript!
February 19, 2014 - Special Education Advisory Committee Minutes
Special Education Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
Limestone District School Board
February 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, February 19, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.

P. Murray, Co-Chair
E. Crawford

A. Collins, Easter Seals
K. Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children
A. Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)
E. Sheldon, Community Living Kingston
B. Shoniker, Member-at-Large Frontenac, Lennox and 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

N. Carson, Epilepsy Kingston
J. Murphy, Special Education Program Coordinator
C. Whalen, Family & Childrens Services, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington
M. Aitken, Records Management Coordinator

Co-Chair Murray called the meeting to order, welcoming those present to the meeting, and incoming Records Management Coordinator, Muriel Aitken, to the committee. She reported that she had received regrets from Jennifer Murphy, and Christine Whalen.

Approval of Agenda

        MOVED BY Ms. Andrea Martin, that the agenda, as distributed, be approved; seconded by Mr. Bradley Shoniker. Carried.

Declaration of Conflict of Interest

        No declarations were made.   

Approval of Minutes – January 15, 2014

        MOVED By Mr. Shoniker, that the January 15, 2014 meeting minutes, as distributed, be approved. Carried.

Business Arising From the Minutes

A letter from the Toronto Catholic District School Board, which had been referred to at the January 15, 2014 SEAC meeting, was redistributed and read by Supervising Principal McDonnell. It refers to full-day learning programs and the impact that they have had on a board’s ability to provide services. Co-Chair Murray suggested that SEAC may consider authorizing the committee to formulate a letter outlining this impact, as well as including our Limestone statistics, for review by the committee at the March meeting. After committee approval, the letter would be brought before the Board of Trustees at the following Board Meeting.

        Ms. Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston, stated that one of the many challenges with implementation of FDK is in finding services for younger children; outside of the school system as there are fewer spaces for 4 and 5-year-olds within the community. Ms. Sheldon also noted the absence of enhanced support that is funded in daycare spaces but not in school settings.

ACTION:  Co-Chair Murray, along with Co-Chair Williams and Supervising Principal McDonnell, will draft the letter. The goal is to have this ready for the April Board meeting. The committee will provide feedback and agree to the final draft.

Presentation – Continuation of Goal Setting Discussion – Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson

        Mr. Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson gave a presentation, entitled “LDSB’s SEAC Goal Setting Part 4”. He commended the committee on their “great work” in January, and stated that all that remains is to finalize our goals.

Focus Areas:
  • Advocacy;
  • Community engagement and partnerships;
  • Parent engagement;
  • Support of professional learning;
  • Inclusion of all students/focus on student and student achievement;
  • Connection to Ministry and other boards.
---Out of this group session came 2 areas of Interest:
Parent Engagement;
                                Student Focus/Student Achievement.

The following feedback resulted from an open discussion:

  • We need to establish a network to share best practices with other SEACs, Boards, and parent associations;
  • There are major barriers in communication in that there are lots of programs but people are not aware of them;
  • Need to empower parents of special needs students;
  • Need to have effective inclusive practices; professional learning; community engagement;
  • Create an individualized approach to each child;
  • How do parents know how to advocate for their children?
  • How do children learn to advocate for themselves?
- Those in attendance broke up into discussion groups from 8:05 p.m.  till 8:20 p.m.

ACTION: Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson will type up the goals and send to Ms. Aitken, who will then e-mail them to the SEAC committee.

Co-Chair Murray thanked Mr. Stefanovich-Thomson for the presentation and will add SEAC agenda Goal setting to the agenda as standing item.

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

Principal Scarlett gave a presentation and update on Educational Services.

A transition-to-school workshop for grade 8/9 has just wrapped up; ASIST training (suicide prevention training) continues to occur, and candidates are being interviewed for a vacant 0.5 speech language pathologist position.
Also, Principal Scarlett has been visiting a number of schools this semester and left the committee with a final quotation that she feels perfectly summarizes the approach of Educational Services:

“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who never gives up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists they become the best they can possible be.” – Rita Pierson

Co-Chair Murray thanked Principal Scarlett for the presentation and fine work.

Association Updates

Karen Jeffrey, Lennox and Addington Resources for Children (LARC)

Ms. Jeffrey stated that LARC is getting ready for the March Break and there are various activities being held, such as a tea party in Napanee. There is a lot of professional development for staff, especially toward working with younger children, including detecting red flags in speech and language issues. Their daycare is moving to younger children.

Bradley Shoniker, Member-at-Large Frontenac, Lennox and Addington

Mr. Shoniker informed the committee that the FL&A planning Committee for children has a new website, the details of which, he will bring to next SEAC meeting in March.

Andrea Martin, Member-at-Large (Queens University)

Ms. Martin stated that Queen’s is moving ahead with plans for the modernized and enhanced extended program, as designated by the Ministry and they currently have a faculty board for the Faculty of Education to approve the structure for 2nd term of the Consecutive Education program (instead of two regular years). Candidates begin in May and have a three week observatory period, cycling to four terms, and finishing in August. Ms. Martin stated that the biggest challenge is that the Ministry of Education has cut 35% of their funding, and this must be made up by Queen’s in order to be viable.

Erin Sheldon, Community Living Kingston

        Ms. Sheldon stated that CLK has decided to be a more action-based committee, and
has grown 200% with more educator and parent participation. Last week’s workshop on advocacy is to be repeated, due to demand, and there has been a request to create a new workshop around transition planning using a person-centered approach. On March 3rd, Ms. Sheldon is attending the provincial SEAC leadership summit and will report back at the next SEAC meeting.

David Williams, Learning Disabilities Association of Kingston

Mr. Williams informed that group that there is a provincial LDAO webinar aimed at attracting parents of recently diagnosed learning disabled children. All chapters are involved and are working on a model for the future.

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 also informed the committee of a new campaign using postcards to increase awareness. ”LD -- what I have, not what I am” bubble, is aimed at inexpensively promoting this attitude.

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)
        Supervising Principal McDonnell distributed and read from a Policy/Program Memorandum No. 156 from the Ministry of Education regarding supporting transitions for students with special needs, which was published in February, 2013. Based on this PPM, as of September 2014, transition planning will now include any student who has an IEP. PPM 156 will be sent out electronically with the SEAC Meeting minutes. Supervising Principal McDonnell stated that elementary and secondary administrators, SSTs and LPS will be provided professional learning in the spring.

ii)    Special Education Plan (Strategic Plan Reference Item 1.1)

        Supervising Principal McDonnell called on all members to review the plan, which is to be sent out electronically as an attachment, to be discussed at the next SEAC meeting in March.

Next Meeting Date

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

The remaining meeting dates for the 2012-2013 school year are:  
April 16
May 28
June 11, 2014.


        MOVED BY Bradley Shoniker, seconded at 8:38 p.m. Carried.