Pages - Section H: Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Google Translate           
Section H: Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)
Section H: Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)


The SEAC Handbook is available in a PDF version on our Special Education Advisory Committee page.  For an accessible online version, please click on the sections listed below:


Last edited February 25, 2019


Section 1 - SEAC


A. Mandate
Education Act, Section 8. (3) Section 57. (1)
Under Ontario’s Education Act, every exceptional pupil is entitled to special education programs and services, which meet his or her needs. In York Region, the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) [Sec. 57(1)] plays a vital role in ensuring that exceptional pupils receive appropriate educational services.

Powers of the Committee

Regulation 464/97, Section 11. (1)
A Special Education Advisory Committee of a board may make recommendations to the board in respect of any matter affecting the establishment, development and delivery of special education programs and services for exceptional pupils of the board.

The SEAC’s responsibilities are:
  • to make recommendations to the board in respect of any matter affecting the establishment, development and delivery of special education programs and services for exceptional pupils of the board;
  • to participate in the board’s annual review of its special education plan;
  • to participate in the board’s annual budget process as it relates to special education; and
  • to review the financial statements of the board as they relate to special education. 

Opportunity to be Heard

Regulation 464/97, Section 11. (2)
Before making a decision on a recommendation of the committee, the board shall provide an opportunity for the committee to be heard before the board and before any other committee of the board to which the recommendation is referred.

B. Membership

​Regulation 464/97, Section 2. (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)

1. Composition

Every district school board shall establish a Special Educational Advisory Committee that shall consist of,

(a) one representative from each of the local associations*, not to exceed twelve, that operates locally within the area of jurisdiction of the board, as nominated by the local association and appointed by the board, who must be:
  • a Canadian citizen;
  • of the full age of eighteen years;
  • a resident within the area of jurisdiction of the board;
  • a public school elector; and
  • not employed by the board in which the member resides;
*Definition of “local association” – an association or organization of parents that operates locally within the area of jurisdiction of a board that is affiliated with an association or organization that is not an association or organization of professional educators but that is incorporated and operates throughout Ontario to further the interests and well-being of one or more groups of exceptional children or adults.

(b) one alternate for each representative appointed under clause (a), as nominated by the local association and appointed by the board;

(c) in addition to the members referred to in (a), the board may appoint one or more additional members who are not representative of a local association and are not members of the board or of a committee of the board; and
Regulation 464/97, Section 4

(d) three trustee representatives and alternate(s) appointed by the board. The number of trustees to be appointed by the board shall be the lesser of: three or 25 percent of the total number of members of the board, rounded down to the nearest whole number. Where the number of members appointed is less than three, one alternate, as appointed by the board from among its own members, may be appointed. Regulation 464/97, Section 2.(d)

2. Appointment

A local association may write to the director and/or the secretary of the board to request representation on the SEAC. A letter should include the nomination and qualifications of the nominee.  The board may appoint to membership of the SEAC only those persons who qualify. Each association is entitled to one member. Regulation 464/97, Section 2. (5)

For the purpose of the clause (5) where there are more than twelve associations in the area of jurisdiction of the board, the board shall select the twelve local associations that shall be represented. 

Note: The York Region District School Board, in addition, includes on its SEAC representatives from the elementary and secondary school principals, special education coordinators and facilitators and two Superintendents of Schools on a rotating basis. Regulation 464/97, Section 2

3. Term of Office and Qualifications 

Each of the persons appointed under Section (2) who are not members of the board shall have the qualifications required for members of the board that appointed them and shall hold office during the term of the members of the board and until the new board is organized. Regulation 464/97, Section 7

4. Disqualifications

A member of the SEAC loses his or her seat if he or she: 
  • is convicted of an indictable offence:
  • is absent from three consecutive regular meetings with authorization by resolution entered in the Minutes; and
  • ceases to hold the qualifications to be appointed to the committee. Regulation 464/97, Section 28​

5. Vacancies

If a position on the SEAC becomes vacant, the board shall appoint a qualified person under Regulation 464/97 Sections 2, 3 and 4, to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of the person whose position became vacant. 


​C. Functions of the Committee

Regulation 464/97, Section 9.(3)(4)(5)(6)

1. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair

The members at the first meeting elect one of their members as chair who shall preside at all meetings and, if at any meeting the chair is not present, the vice-chair shall act for the chair.

The vice-chair shall also be elected at the first meeting.

The vice-chair assists the chair and acts for the chair at meetings in his or her absence.

If at any meeting the chair or vice-chair is not present, the members present may elect a chair for that meeting.

Successful Practice

  • YRDSB’s SEAC chair is a trustee and the vice-chair is an association or community representative.

2. Voting

Each appointed member of the SEAC is entitled to one vote. Alternate members may not vote if the appointed member is present at the meeting. Regulation 464/97, Section 9.(7)

On every motion, the chair may vote with the other members of the committee, and any motion on which there is an equality of votes is lost. Regulation 464/97, Section 9.(8)

​3. Meetings
  1. The SEAC shall meet at least 10 times in each school year. 
  2. The SEAC meetings are conducted under the same procedures as the board, which appoints them. All members should have access to and become familiar with the board’s by-laws and rule of procedure for board committees. Subsection 207.
  3. ​​The meetings of a board, and subject to subsection (2), meetings of a committee of the board, including a committee of the whole board, shall be open to the public, and no person shall be excluded from a meeting that is open to the public except for improper conduct. Section 134, Subsection 9
  4. A meeting of a committee of a board, including a committee of the whole board, may be closed to the public when the subject matter under consideration involves, 
    a) the security of the property of the board; 
    b) the disclosure of intimate, personal or financial information in respect to a member of the board or committee, an employee or prospective employee of the board or a pupil or his or her parent guardian.
    c) the acquisition or disposal of a school site;
    d) decisions in respect of negotiations with employees of the board; or
    e) litigation affecting the board.
  5. The presiding officer may expel or exclude from any meeting any person who has been guilty of improper conduct at the meeting.

Successful Practices

  • SEAC members usually meet the first Thursday of every month as approved by the committee and by the Board. It is common practice to schedule ten regular meetings per year from September to June.
  • Dates and times of SEAC meetings should be publicized by the Board.
  • Teachers, federation representatives, and parents or guardians should be encouraged to attend and observe these meetings.
  • SEAC alternate representatives should be encouraged to attend all meetings in order that they will be well informed should they need to act as voting members.

4. Quorum - Regulation 464/97 Section 9.(1)(2)

A majority of the members of the SEAC is a quorum, and a vote of a majority of the members present at a meeting is necessary to bind the committee.

Every member present at the meeting, or his or her alternate, when attending in the member’s place, is entitled to one vote. 

5. Role of Board Personnel Regulation 464/97 Section 10

Personnel and Facilities
The board will make available to its SEAC the personnel and facilities that the board considers necessary for the proper functioning of the committee:
a) an agenda and minutes within a reasonable time so that they may consider and prepare to discuss the minutes at the subsequent meeting. Regulation 464/97 Section 10(d) Clause 2(a)(b)
The board shall provide to new members and alternate members, within a reasonable time after appointment, information and orientation respecting:
b) the role of the committee and the board in relation to special education;
c) Ministry and board policies relating to special education;
d) the agenda and minutes of board meetings to the SEAC chair and vice-chair; and
e) a schedule of meetings of the standing committees of the board.

Successful Practices

  • invite teacher candidates for the Special Education Additional Qualification Ministry courses and special education staff to attend meetings on a rotating basis;
  • regular presentations to SEAC about each special education program or service;
  • distribution of Student Services Directory; and
  • distribution of Board and Student Services organization structural charts.​

6. Communications Sub-Committee(s)

SEAC Communications Sub-Committee formed May 1990

Mandate
The Communications Sub-Committee mandate is to review current practices, identify needs and to recommend strategies to facilitate effective communication among Board, staff, parents and the community regarding special education programs, plans and services; and continue to enhance internal and external communication within SEAC and between SEAC and Board.

Successful Practices

  • A Communications Sub-Committee meets regularly prior to the SEAC meeting. The Communications Sub-Committee provides a report as part of the regular SEAC agenda; sets goals and objectives; and annually reviews and evaluates progress;
  • SEAC may strike a task force or Communications Sub- Committee when needs arise as identified by the Board or the SEAC;
  • Board Communications highlight special education;
  • SEAC submits the Annual Report to the Board every September;
  • In April (Volunteer Recognition Month) acknowledge the contribution of SEAC members through the Special Edition newsletter and at the April SEAC meeting;
  • Recognize SEAC contributions and years of service at the member’s last SEAC meeting;
  • Hold an annual event such as a festive dinner to recognize and thank SEAC members;
  • The chair, vice-chair and senior staff assist in the selection of the Jim Albery Award in honour of the late James “Jim” Albery, teacher of the PrIDE program for gifted students (Program for Individual Development & Enrichment). The purpose of this award is to recognize schools in York Region, not individual teachers, which have demonstrated innovative practices promoting excellence in special education. The vice-chair presents the award at the Board’s annual awards ceremony in May; and
  • The SEAC nominates a member of the SEAC to sit on the Parent Engagement Advisory Committee (PEAC) and Equity and Inclusivity Advisory Committee (EIAC).​

D. The Role of the Special Education Advisory Committee

The members of a SEAC represent all students with exceptionalities, and it is important that members respond to the needs of all exceptional students within the Board. Thus, individual members need to increase their awareness and understanding of the various exceptionalities. On an annual basis, SEAC members participate in reviewing their personal goals for sitting on the committee as well as reviewing the goals of the SEAC committee.

Successful Practices

The Special Education Advisory Committee will be responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to the Board through the Board’s annual review of its special education plan relative to the provision of special programs and services in such areas as:​

  • philosophy and goals;
  • organizational structure;
  • policies and procedures;
  • program delivery systems;
  • services and facilities;
  • professional development;
  • in-service for SEAC members;
  • interaction with and/or participation on other Board committees;
  • annual reviews of the Special Education Report;
  • the Board’s annual budget for special education; and
  • the financial statement of the Board relative to special education.
Members of the SEAC also facilitate effective communication between their association members and the Board. By acquiring and maintaining a working knowledge of special education programs and services provided by the York Region District School Board, members inform their associations of the activities of the SEAC and the Board.

Members of the SEAC participate in the development of many special education Board resources. They participate in a variety of ways:
  • as members of writing teams;
  • by reviewing materials and providing feedback;
  • by making recommendations on matters regarding the establishment, development and delivery of special education programs and service; and
  • by reviewing and making recommendations to the Board’s annual review of its Special Education Report and Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Well- Being (BIPSA).
Twice annually, the SEAC is presented with a budget presentation from the Associate Director of Business, at which time members of the SEAC engage in dialogue regarding financial issues and the annual planning process. In addition, the vice-chair or designate from the SEAC is identified to attend the budget planning meetings during the annual budget process.

The spirit or intent of the SEAC is one of sharing, positive attitude, trust and respect. It is vital that SEAC members work together to assist the Board to provide programs for all exceptionalities.

Each member is expected to:

  1. Respond to the needs of all exceptional pupils within the Board.
  2. Respect the right to privacy of individual exceptional pupils by avoiding discussion of individual cases.
  3. Acquire and maintain a working knowledge of the special education programs and services provided by the Board.
  4. Represent and inform the committee about the exceptionality he or she represents.
  5. To this end, members should:​​​​​​ 
    • a) ensure that they are expressing the concerns of the association and not their own concerns;
    • b) keep informed and identify needs by speaking with individuals within the local association who take the counselling calls or parent calls about issues of concern to parents or guardians and by seeking out information and input in relation to issues or concerns pertaining to special education;
    • c) encourage their association members to attend SEAC meetings;
    • d) report to the members of the local association or chapter at general meetings and/or disseminate relevant information, such as voting and discussing activities at SEAC meetings, and positive outcomes that result;
    • e) provide the association with a formal report on relevant SEAC proceedings to be included in the local association’s annual report and to be shared with the SEAC; and
    • f) demonstrate skills in:
      • communication
      • listening
      • presentation
      • assertiveness
      • team building
      • decision making
      • problem solving
      • negotiation
      • time management
      • research
      • note taking
      • organization​
  6. Be prepared for all SEAC meetings, suggest items to be placed on SEAC agenda, participate in discussions, suggest education topics, and present motions.
  7. Set individual annual goals and objectives as well as those for the local association and for the SEAC. The role of an association representative on a SEAC extends beyond committee membership and attendance and may include the following: 
    • being available to assist parents or guardians with IPRCs; and
    • acting as a resource for parents or guardians of an exceptional student.


Sample Presentations Made to SEAC

  • ​September 7, 2017: Assistive Technology Special Equipment Amount (SEA) Claims Low Incidence Technology Claims - S. Hewitt, Coordinator of Student Services; A. Townsend, Regional Technology Resource Teacher
  • September 7, 2017: Introduction of Coordinators and Consultants – K. Diakiw, Superintendent of Education, Student Services; W. Swaine, Principal, Student Services; J. Sepkowski, Principal, Student Services
  • October 19, 2017: Revised Anti-Bullying Mandate - J. Shep, Caring and Safe Schools Consultant
  • November 2, 2017: 2017-2018 Education Funding Update – W. Muirhead-Toporek, Chief Financial Officer; T. Ellis, Senior Manager Finance
  • November 2, 2017: Review of Student Discipline 2016-2017 – S. Logue, Superintendent of Education, Well-Being & Engagement; D. Laliberte, Secondary Principal, Caring and Safe Schools
  • December 7, 2017: Annual Holiday Presentation – Student Performers Dr. G. W. Williams Secondary School
  • December 7, 2017: Ministry Transformation Committee: Ministry Consultation and Input Regarding Assessment and Report Cards – S. Yake, Associate Director of Education, Program
  • January 11, 2018: School Climate Survey Student Data Report – J. McPhee, Manager of Research Services; C. Backlund, Project Manager of Research Services
  • February 1, 2018: Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Results – H. Sears, Superintendent of Education, Curriculum & Instructional Services; L. Hollingshead, Manager, Curriculum & Instructional Services; R. MacPherson, Consultant, Curriculum & Instructional Services; I. Damji, Consultant, Curriculum & Instructional Services; S. Hewitt, Coordinator of Student Services; J. Sepkowski, Principal, Student Services
  • February 1, 2018: SEAC Budget Process Input Discussion - K. Diakiw, Superintendent of Education, Student Services; W. Swaine, Principal, Student Services; J. Sepkowski, Principal, Student Services
  • March 1, 2018: Resources to Support Students with Learning Disabilities – H. Sears, Superintendent of Education, Curriculum & Instructional Services; H. Greavette, Consultant, Curriculum & Instructional Services; K. Mahoney, Special Education Consultant; S.Hewitt, Coordinator of Student Services; S. Ball, Chief Psychological Services
  • April 5, 2018: Input on the Draft 2018-2022 Multi-Year Plan Priorities
  • May 3, 2018: York Region District School Board Human Rights Office – A. Anirud, Human Rights Commissioner
  • May 31, 2018: Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being (BIPSA) Update – I. Damji, Coordinator, Mathematics, Curriculum & Instructional Services; R. Rosemin, Principal, Curriculum & Instructional Services; M. Cassidy, Mental Health Lead; H. Sears, Superintendent of Education, Curriculum & Instructional Services; S. Yake, Associate Director of Education​

Special Education Plan Updates - Sample

The Communications Sub-Committee reviewed sections of the Plan and shared with the SEAC at each meeting.
  • Section A, Introduction, updated to include how SEAC members provide input into the Special Education Plan and Summary of Feedback Chart added to the appendices.
  • Updated sections to include Ministry document, Special Education in Ontario, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Resource Guide, 2017, and removed the three policy and resource documents that it supersedes.
  • Section B, Ministry and Board Directives, added the Caring and Safe Schools in Ontario to the list of Ministry documents.
  • In Section C, Service Delivery Models by Exceptionality, in the Category of Communication –Autism, the definition was updated based on the Autism Ontario definition and changes to the funding model.
  • The Student Services Organizational Chart was updated in Section D to include Complex Needs Team as part of the professional learning support and removed Mental Health Lead, York Support Services Network and COMPASS as part of the Interdisciplinary Team.
  • In Section D, updates to the following support staff and services: Autism Services, Complex Needs Services, Special Education Consultants, Psychological Services, and School Social Worker; as well as updates to the Special Education Staffing.
  • New information about time frames for assessments has been included in the Special Education Plan in Section E.
  • The SSNET IEP Checklist for Administrators was reviewed and updated in Section E, and SSNET templates were updated for Sections E and F.
  • In Section F, Transitions, the following information was updated: Entry to School Procedures; Kinark Connections For Students templates; York Region Central Intake for Day Treatment Services; and the Work Experience Transition Document.
  • Demonstration Schools Chart in Section K was updated in the Special Education Plan.
  • The final updated Special Education Plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Education. 


Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) Organizations 2018 -2022



Annual Calendar of SEAC Business


September
  • Review Special Education Report submitted to Regional Office September 1
  • Review special education component of draft Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement
  • Review school board Accessibility Plans
  • Develop or review SEAC annual goals/agenda
  • Share information on process for nomination of new SEAC members
  • Determine the date of last meeting for SEAC term​
October
  • Develop process for review of Special Education Report
  • Request update on last EQAO results: including deferrals, exemptions, participation rates and accommodations provided for special education students and achievement levels
  • Develop orientation process for new SEAC reps

November
  • October Report data: request numbers of exceptional students, placement data, suspensions/expulsions data
  • IEP update: request confirmation that all first term IEP reviews are completed

December
  • If meeting held, finalize goals for SEAC
  • Start discussions on special education program and services changes being considered for following year
  • Confirm details of training sessions for new SEAC members and review SEAC Handbook contents

January
  • Financial update: Re: Special Education grants, expenditures and reserve fund amount and budget process
  • SEAC participation on ODA Accessibility Planning Committee

February
  • Review proposed changes to preliminary special education programs and services
  • Provide an IEP update

March
  • Continue discussion of special education programs and services

April
  • Request preliminary budget forecast for special education

May
  • Information update and discussion re: Special Education Report and budget

June
  • SEAC recommendations regarding Special Education Report and budget
  • Request special education statistics (including IEP and IPRC) for September meeting
  • Develop draft SEAC annual agenda and goals

Sectio​n 2 - Overview


SEAC Regulation 464/97

Systemic Advocacy
To examine existing policies and practices in order that changes can be made to those that are detrimental to vulnerable people or which put barriers in the way of their autonomy and independence.

Code of Conduct
All SEAC members will follow the York Region District School Board’s (YRDSB) Code of Conduct.

The primary responsibilities of a SEAC member are to:
  • ​be well informed about the work of SEAC, the expectations set out for SEAC by legislation and the school board’s Special Education Plan;
  • act as a systematic advocate;
  • ensure that all exceptional students within the board are served appropriately;
  • ensure that the school board fulfills its legal obligations relating to the delivery of special education programs and services and to reporting to the Ministry;
  • represent effectively the organization by whom he/she was nominated to the SEAC and the exceptional children served by that association; and
  • participate in other school board activities including the delivery of professional development training and systemic advocacy activities.
A SEAC member is not there to:
  • focus on the personal situation of his/her exceptional child;
  • focus on any one individual child or situation;
  • blame the school board for everything; or
  • defend the school board against legitimate concerns raised about service delivery.

A SEAC member needs to know:
  • ​All relevant parts of the legislation, including regulations and key policies, relating to the delivery and funding of special education programmes and services to all exceptional students;
  • The definition of relevant terms, such as exceptional pupil, special education programme, special education service, IEP, the categories and definitions of all exceptionalities, (not just the one that he or she is representing) and range of placement options available to exceptional students, (not just those available to his or her school Board);
  • All relevant information relating to his or her school board’s Special Education Report;
  •  An overview of the school board budget and the details of the board’s special education budget;
    All relevant processes for fulfilling the SEAC’s advocacy mandate;
  • All desirable skills for achieving the SEAC’s mandate; and
  • Rules of Parliamentary process.​
TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More

Productive Team Characteristics
  • The team has clear and agreed upon goals
  • Team members depend on, and support one another
  • The whole team meets together frequently
  • Each person on the team has some influence
  • Each person on the team has specific areas of responsibilities
  • Each person on the team finds the association personally rewarding
  • The team has frequent decision making opportunities
Guidelines for Participants
  1. Speak up. Don’t save comments for the walk out the door.
  2. Don’t monopolize the time; give everyone a chance to speak.
  3. Respect other people’s ideas. When disagreeing be positive and constructive.
  4. If something is unclear, ask, it may be unclear to others as well.
  5. Don’t carry on side conversations. Maintain an active interest in the meeting.
  6. Ask yourself – “How can I be better prepared for the next meeting?
Communication Tips
  1. Ask yourself if your attitudes are getting in the way of communicating effectively.
  2. Use concrete, specific words rather than abstractions in describing situations or in making requests.
  3. Ask if you are unclear about what has been said.
  4. Don’t use extremes such as always and never.
  5. Study the context, meaning is also conveyed in gestures, expression, and tone of voice.
  6. Try and deal with facts, not assumptions to avoid jumping to conclusions.
  7. Be aware of any distractions within yourself (feelings, problems) that may interfere with your ability to listen.
  8. Plan what you are going to say in order that it will be received, understood and remembered.
  9. Before beginning to read any materials for the SEAC meeting, identify what information you are trying to obtain, or what question you are trying to answer.



Guiding Principles for Building Credibility
  • Showing respect for people
  • Demonstrating honest and ethical behaviour
  • Recognizing that I do not know it all, others have much to offer
  • Setting a good example
  • Showing a warm and caring attitude
  • Collaborating with others
  • Being loyal to people
  • Celebrating the successes

Tips on Preparing for Meetings: Preparation for SEAC Meetings

The “W” Questions
  • What is the purpose of the meeting?
  • Why am I going?
  • What do I want to accomplish at this meeting?
  • Where is the meeting?
  • When is the meeting?
  • What information should I take with me?
  • What issues do I want to see discussed?
  • What am I going to report about my association?
  • What information do I want to leave with after the meeting?
  • What will I do with the information I have gained?

The “How” Questions
  • How do I contribute to the SEAC?
  • How do I disseminate/share information?
  • How do I acquire information?
  • How do I use the information?
  • How do I encourage others to contribute?
  • How do I communicate/listen effectively?
  • How do I encourage the board and other SEAC reps to investigate all options?
  • How do I acquire feedback?
  • How do we initiate a process, which will encourage feedback and follow through?​

Procedures for Appointing Alternate SEAC Representatives
  1. The association must submit the name of an alternate for approval, including information on his or her qualifications for serving as a member of the SEAC.
  2. An alternate representative must receive orientation with regard to the SEAC roles and responsibilities and operating norms in conjunction with the voting representatives and must also review the orientation manual.
  3. When the association representative attends a SEAC meeting, the alternate representative may also attend as an observer in the public gallery; however, only the SEAC representative at the table may speak on behalf of the association.
  4. An alternate representative replacing a SEAC member must so advise the chair in order to have voting privileges.
  5. It is the responsibility of the SEAC member and his or her alternate to communicate all discussions, resource materials and decisions taken at SEAC meetings.
  6. The alternate representative cannot replace the SEAC members at more than three meetings per year.

SEAC Rep Action Plan
  • At the next SEAC meeting, I shall...
    • introduce a motion about; ask a question about, report on...
  • At a future SEAC meeting, I shall...
  • To improve my performance as a SEAC rep, I shall...
    • ​participate in more training, go to a conference, network with other SEAC reps, read and follow up on the SEAC Circular more carefully...


Examples of Meeting Expectations or Norms

Establish Expectations for Members
  1. Arrive on time.
  2. Review agenda before meeting and bring any relevant information. 
  3. Turn off all laptops, cell phones and pagers, or set to vibrate, for the duration of the meeting.
  4. Raise your hand to indicate your request to speak.
  5. Listen to others.
  6. Be courteous.
  7. Do not interrupt other speakers or dominate discussion.

Establish Procedures for the Meeting
  1. Determine break times, or agree that members can leave room or get refreshments, as needed.
  2. Agree whether members can walk around during meeting. 3. Discourage side meetings or conversations.
  3. Identify time-keeper for agenda items.
  4. Identify critical items or tasks for the meeting.
  5. Agree on the use of a facilitator or rotating facilitator for discussions.
  6. Establish time frame and process for discussions (may include allowing a facilitator to have discretion on extending time limits to allow every member an opportunity to speak).
  7. Obtain agreement on items that may require voting by members.
During Presentations or Discussions
  1. Use a facilitator or ask members to facilitate parts of discussion.
  2. Agree to reserve judgment on ideas generated during brainstorm.
  3. Stay focused and on time.
  4. Discourage rehashing or repetition of positions or
  5. statements.
  6. Allow for breakout into teams for discussion of components or alternatives.
  7. Identify relevant issues, and state all concerns related to issue at the meeting.
  8. Table or record in “Parking Lot” issues or items for future discussion.
At End of Meeting
  1. End on time or ask for a motion to extend meeting.
  2. Review meeting action items, include dates and times. 
  3. Determine what will be included in meeting minutes.



Section 3 - Self-Assessment

The Effective SEAC Member
  • Has a sense of purpose
  • Believes in harmony
  • Believes in positive association with others
  • Has objectivity
  • Has performance expectations
  • Is an educational promoter
  • Believes in a team approach
  • Feels a need to be aware
  • Focuses on total system climate
  • Believes in personal growth


Is your SEAC routinely involved in?
  • The school board’s budget process Regular review of financial statements Policy review
  • New policy development
  • Program review
  • Preparation and review of the October report
  • Professional development for teachers, trustees, the community
  • All activities directly and indirectly related to special education​
As a SEAC Representative
  • Do you know how to deal with controversial items? 
  • Do you know how to formulate an adequate motion? 
  • Do you know how SEAC can table a minority report? 
  • Do you ensure that you always represent the interests of all exceptional students?
  • Do you consider why you are participating on SEAC and whether you are doing a good job?
  • Do you ensure that you represent the opinions and policies of your organization, rather than your own? 
  • Do you report to your chapter on SEAC activities? 
  • Do you consider that you are an effective SEAC rep? 
  • Do you consider what you would need to help you to do a better job?




 
As an accountability mechanism, the SEAC members need to know what happens to their motions and what the response was from the trustees and Board administration. This is especially true for the motions related to the Special Education Report and the special education budget which SEAC is required, by regulation to provide input. These motions are often made in June at the end of the school year, and as the SEAC does not meet again until September, the SEAC members need to be informed about how they were received by the trustees.

Successful Practices

  • Put an item related to past or forthcoming motions on the SEAC agenda, identifying who will report on the motion, either verbally or in writing.
  • Create an action plan attached to each agenda to track past motions and prepare for new motions.
  • Provide the SEAC members with a written response to Motions from the Trustees and/or Board administration staff.​


Section 5 - Special Education Plan




Summary of Feedback - Special Education Plan 2018

The Communications Sub-Committee reviewed section of the Plan and shared with the SEAC at each meeting.
  • Section A, Introduction, updated to include how SEAC members provide input into the Special Education Plan and Summary of Feedback Chart added to the appendices.
  • Updated sections to include Ministry document, Special Education in Ontario, Kindergarten to Grade 12: Policy and Resource Guide, 2017, and removed the three policy and resource documents that it supersedes.
  • Section B, Ministry and Board Directives, added the Caring and Safe Schools in Ontario to the list of Ministry documents.
  • In Section C, Service Delivery Models by Exceptionality, in the Category of Communication – Autism, the definition was updated based on the Autism Ontario definition and changes to the funding model.
  • The Student Services Organizational Chart was updated in Section D to include Complex Needs Team as part of the professional learning support and removed Mental Health Lead, York Support Services Network and COMPASS as part of the Interdisciplinary Team.
  • In Section D, updates to the following support staff and services: Autism Services, Complex Needs Services, Special Education Consultants, Psychological Services, and School Social Worker; as well as updates to the Special Education Staffing.
  • New information about time frames for assessments has been included in the Special Education Plan in Section E.
  • The SSNET IEP Checklist for Administrators was reviewed and updated in Section E, and SSNET templates were updated for Sections E and F.
  • In Section F, Transitions, the following information was updated: Entry to School Procedures; Kinark Connections For Students templates; York Region Central Intake for Day Treatment Services; and the Work Experience Transition Document.
  • Demonstration Schools Chart in Section K was updated in the Special Education Plan.
  • The final updated Special Education Plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Education.



Special Education: Legislation, Policy and Program Implementation

Legislative and Policy Framework for Special Education
  • At one time school boards had a choice about whether or not to enroll students with special needs and the array of special programs and services they made available to such students.
  • Bill 82 (1980) amended the Education Act, making it mandatory for school boards to provide special education programs and services for their exceptional pupils so that no child could be denied an education.
  • The Ministry enacts legislation, regulations, Policy/Program Memoranda (PPMs) and guidelines from time to time to clarify how boards are expected to provide programs and services.
  • The Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE) meets three times per year to advise the minister on special education policy and implementation. A succession of ministers has valued their advice.
  • Broad Consultation has generally been helpful in determining recommended policy direction, given the sensitive and highly emotional nature of special education.
  • In addition, the Policy and Program Branch contributes to the policy and program work of other branches (curriculum policy, teacher support documents and assessment and evaluation support documents, Ontario Student Record, etc.) by ensuring that considerations for students with special needs are addressed as appropriate.

Education Act - Key Sections
  • Subsection 8(3) of the Education Act requires the minister to: “ensure that all exceptional children in Ontario have available to them, in accordance with this Act and the regulations, appropriate special education programs and special education services without payment of fees...”
  • Subsection 170 of the Education Act requires school boards to provide special education programs and services for students identified as “exceptional pupils” by and Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC).
Key Regulations
  • Regulation 306 sets out the requirements for school boards to report their special education plans to the ministry. Boards report to the ministry every other year in response to the ministry specifications for the report, and in alternate years, boards submit amendments to their special education plans.
  • Regulation 464/97 governs the establishment, roles and responsibilities of Special Education Advisory Committees (SEACs). Every board must establish a SEAC and support it to meet at least 10 times per year. The members of SEAC include representatives of local associations (defined in the regulation), members of the school boards, Native representatives, and may include additional members who do not belong to any of these groups.
  • Regulation 181/98 recently revised, governs the identification and placement of exceptional pupils, as carried out by identification, placement and review committees (IPRCs) of the board. The IPRC is composed of at least three persons, one of whom must be a principal or a supervisory officer of the board. Every board must have one or more IPRCs. The Education Act requires the Minister to define categories of exceptionalities: behaviour, communication, intellectual, physical, and multiple. Regulation 181/98 requires the IPRC to include the category of exceptionality and definition in its statement of decision, and students identified as such are entitled to the special education programs and services which will meet their needs. These are set out in an individual Education Plan (IEP).
  • Regulation 181/98 clarifies ministry policy concerning integration (placement in a regular class). IPRCs must consider integration as the placement of first choice which it meets the pupil’s needs and is consistent with parental preferences. If the pupil’s needs cannot be met in the regular classroom, with appropriate support, the child may be placed in a special education class.
  • Regulation 181/98 also sets out rules for developing IEPs including Transition Plans, as well as for appeals of identification, and placement and their reviews.
  • Bill 212 - The Education Amendment Act: Progressive Discipline and School Safety - 2007
A. Policy Program Memoranda (PPMs)
 
PPMs address aspects of program delivery for students with special needs:
PPM #1 - Ontario School for the Deaf and Ontario School for the Blind as Resource Centres (revised 1982)
PPM #8 - Learning Disabilities (revised 1982)
PPM #11 - Early Identification of Children’s Learning Needs (revised 1982)
PPM #59 - Psychological Testing and Assessment of Pupils (1982)
PPM #79C - Alternative program funding for Deaf, Blind and Deaf-Blind Pupils, 1984
PPM #81 - Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings,1984
PPM #85 - Educational Programs for Pupils in Government – Approved Care and/or Treatment Facilities, 1986
PPM #89 - Residential Demonstration Schools for the Learning Disabled: General Information and Details of the Referral Process, 1990
PPM#120 - Violence Prevention in Schools, 1994
PPM#127 - Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course, 2004
PPM#128 - The Provincial Code of Conduct and School Board Code of Conduct, 2007
PPM#130 - Programs for Students Who Have Received a Full Expulsion, 2007
PPM#140 - Applied Behaviour Analysis, 2007
PPM#141 - Programs for Students on Long-Term Suspension, 2007
PPM#142 - Programs for Expelled Students, 2007
PPM#144 - Bullying Prevention and Intervention, 2007
PPM#145 - Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour, 2007
PPM#156 - Supporting Transition for Students with Special Education Needs, 2013​

B. Special Education Funding
  • The Special Education Grant includes two parts: one part is a block grant (SEPPA: Special Education Per Pupil Amount), based on a school board’s enrollment (counting all students, not just students who have been identified as needing a special education program); and one part is provided in response to the demonstrated, high needs of individual students.

C. Special Education Plan
  • Regulation 306 requires that every school board maintain a Special Education Report and make it available to the public upon request.
  • The Ministry directed school boards to submit a comprehensive Special Education Report for approval by September 1, 2010.
  • The Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) was required to submit their comments with the Report. Each board’s Report outlines, among other things, the specified procedures for identifying exceptional pupils and determining their placements, the range of special education programs and services made available by the board, eligibility criteria for them, how resources are allocated and determined and links to interministerial programs such as the Preschool Speech and Language Program.

D. Review of School Health Support Services
  • The Ministry is in the process of trying to clarify roles and responsibilities in the provision of school health support services especially for high needs children served in local school boards rather than in special facilities.
  • More children with complex mental health needs are attending neighbourhood schools rather than institutional settings and school boards are reporting difficulty responding to their psychosocial needs.
  • Responsibility for assessment, staffing and service delivery are prescribed in Policy / Program Memorandum 81 (PMM #81) as they relate to MOH, MCSS and MET.
  • Support may include services such as toileting, mobility assistance, suctioning, catheterization, administration of medications, speech/language services, psychiatric services, behaviour management and occupational and or physiotherapy.
  • PPM #81 was first written in 1984 and was supplemented by two further documents in 1988 and 1989 clarifying the respective responsibilities of each ministry in providing speech/language services and health services (related to suctioning and catheterization).
  • The issues noted above have led the three ministries to conclude a further review is required at this time, and a working group has been struck which includes representation from inside and outside government.

E. Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education (MASCE)
 
  • MACSE’s mandate was established by the Order-in-Council.
  • Provides advice to the Minister on special education policy and implementation.
  • Meeting three times a year and consists of 21 members most representing an area of exceptionality or a profession which provides educational programs or services to exceptional students.

Ontario Special Education Tribunal
  • Is the third level for parents who are unsatisfied with the identification and/or placement decision of a school board Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC);

Note: level one is a second meeting with the IPRC committee and level two is an appeal board convened at the parents’ request by the school board.
  • Is appointed by Order – In – Council; and
  • Has heard 1 – 3 cases annually.

Legislative References to Special Education - Issues in the Education Act and the Regulations


The Education Act, R.S.O. 1990, as amended by Bill 160

  • Section 1
    • Defines: Exceptional pupil, special education program and special education services.
  • Section 8(3) 
    • Outlines the duties of the Minister.
    • Makes the provision of special education programs and services mandatory; Provides for the ability to appeal identification of exceptionality and/or proposed special education placement;
    • Requires school boards to implement procedures for early and ongoing identification of learning strengths and needs;
    • Provides for the establishment of categories and definitions of exceptionality; requires school boards to employ such definitions.
  • Section 11
    • Gives authority for the enactment of Regulations governing special education programs and services and Identification, Placement and Review Committees (IPRCs).
  • Section 13
    • Provides for the establishment and/or continuation of the Provincial School for students who are deaf, blind, deaf-blind and for Provincial Demonstration Schools for students who have severe learning disabilities.
  • Section 23
    • Describes the process for suspending and expelling a student and for appealing suspensions and expulsions.
  • Section 33
    • Defines resident pupil
  • Section 49.2
    • Services to adults who are identified as exceptional by and​ IPRC.
  • Section 57
    • ​Provides for the establishment of special education tribunals.
    • Provides for the right to appeal identification and/or placement from an appeal board to a special education tribunal.
  • Section 57.1
    • Mandates the establishment of Special Education Advisory Committees.
    • Gives authority for the enactment of regulations relating to the establishment, duties and mandates of SEAC’s.
  • Section 170
    • Defines the duties of school boards to: (among other things) provide instruction and accommodation for all resident pupils, provide or purchase special education programs and services for all identified exceptional students.
  • Section 190
    • Sets out school board duties with regard to transportation, including transportation to the Provincial residential program for students who are blind, deaf, deaf-blind or have severe learning disabilities.
  • Section 206
    • Formerly the section relating to Special Education Advisory Committees, repealed by Bill 160.
  • Section 266
    • Provides for the right of parents and pupils to access pupil records.
  • Section 266.1
    • ​Makes provision for the assignment of Ontario Education Numbers to all students.

Relevant References Under The Education Act

  • Regulation 11
    • Covers maximum average class size for all except special education classes.
  • Regulation 181
    • Provides detailed information on the establishment and functioning of IPRCs, appeal boards and the duties of school boards with regards to these.
  • Regulation 296
    • Covers the operations of the Ontario schools for the blind and the deaf.
  • Regulation 298 
    • Sets out the maximum enrollment in various types of special education classes.
    • Covers the duties of principals, vice-principals and teachers.
    • Covers the qualifications of teachers.​
  • Regulation 306
    • Covers the provision of special education programs and services; provides the process for the amendment of each school board’s Special Education Report and the reporting of these amendments to the Ministry of Education and Training.​
  • Regulation 308
    • Supervised alternative learning for excused pupils.
  • Regulation 309
    • Qualifications and duties of supervisory officers.
  • Regulation 464
    • Special Education Advisory Committees​ 
  • Bill 157 - Keeping Our Kids Safe at School
  • Bill 168 - Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
  • Bill 212 - Progressive Discipline and School Safety
Annual General Legislative Grant Regulation (GLG)
Sets out the formulae for the funding of education, including special education and other special grants. The number of the Regulation changes from year to year.


YRDSB Special Education Policy and Procedures in Numerical Order

​Number ​Policy/Procedure Name
1​58 ​Freedom of Information and Protection of Individual Privacy
194​ ​Appropriate Use of Technology
​240 Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment Policy​
305​ ​Assessment and Evaluation
​355 ​Psychological Assessment
358​ ​Gifted Screening
​360 ​Special Education: IPRC
407​ ​Accessibility Standards
​425 ​Provision of Barrier Free Facilities
​534 ​Educational Assistants
​NP656 ​Ontario Student Record Management
662​ ​Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings
663 Special Education: Partnerships with External Agencies​
​668 ​Safe, Caring and Supportive Schools
​680 Busing​
​S33 Special Education: Behaviour Management in Safe and Supportive Ways​
 

YRDSB Special Education Policy and Procedures in Alphabetical Order

Policy/Procedure Name Number
Accessibility Standards ​407
Appropriate Use of Technology
194 
​​Assessment and Evaluation 305
Busing ​6​80
​​Educational Assistants ​534
Freedom of Information and Protection of Individual Privacy​ ​158
​Gifted Screening 358
Ontario Student Record Management NP656
​​Provision of Barrier Free Facilities 425
​​Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings 662
​Psychological Assessment ​355
Respectful Workplace and Learning Environment Policy​ 240
​Safe, Caring and Supportive Schools ​668
​Special Education: Behaviour Management in Safe and Supportive Ways​ S33
​​Special Education: IPRC 360
Special Education: Partnerships with External Agencies ​663


Section 7 - Special Education Funding​


The Ministry of Education's Special Education Grant​

The development of their annual budget and review of financial statements is an ongoing process and the SEAC should be kept informed about the process and have an opportunity to participate and provide advice to the trustees. Special education funding is complex and the SEAC members need to understand how school boards are funded for all students, as well as the components of the Special Education Grant, intended to cover the incremental costs of special education programs and services.
Each year the Ministry of Education releases information on school board funding, including special education grants and related guidelines. This information can be found on the Education Funding page on the Ministry website.
There are six components to the Special Education Grant and the SEAC members need to be familiar with them. The components are:
  • Special Education Per Pupil Amount (SEPPA)
  • Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount (DSENA) - formerly the High Needs Amount (HNA)
  • Special Equipment Amount (SEA)
  • Special Incidence Portion (SIP)
  • Facilities Amount (FA)
  • Behaviour Expertise Amount (BEA)
In 2016-17, the Ministry of Education changed the High Needs Amount to Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount to better align with its purpose. The funding approach model includes 3 main components: Special Education Statistical Prediction Model, Measures of Variability and Base Amount for Collaboration and Integration.

Special Education Funding
The Ministry of Education’s Special Education Grant has two components:
  • the Special Education Per Pupil amount (SEPPA), which is a standard per pupil amount; and
  • Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount (DSENA), formerly the High Needs Amount (HNA), which is a variable amount based on the proportion of each board’s population of students with special education needs.
The goal of the Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount is to provide boards with special education funding that responds to the proportion of their students who have very high needs that must be met with costly programs and supports. Boards are responsible for providing each student with special education needs with the program and support levels outlined in the student’s Individual Education Plan. Boards use these allocations (and other allocations such as the Foundation Grant) to provide special education programs and services for all their students with special needs.

The Special Education Per Pupil Amount (SEPPA)
The SEPPA is the first layer provided, in addition to the Foundation Grant, to support students with special needs. It is generated on the basis of total student enrollment – that is, it is determined on the basis of how many students are enrolled in the Board.

Successful Practices

  • Sharing of Ministry of Education resource materials regarding special education funding, including PowerPoint’s and Webinars, with the SEAC members;
  • Providing the SEAC members with written materials about special education funding, including definitions of key terms, in the SEAC Handbook;
  • Regular presentations on the school board budget and financial statements at the SEAC meetings;
  • Providing the SEAC members with orientation and training regarding financial statements, the Special Education Grant, revenues and expenditures;
  • Providing timely information on the Special Education Grant each year when the Ministry of Education releases the grant regulations;
  • Inviting the SEAC members to participate in the budget committee or working groups;
  • Providing regular updates on financial statements and the budget process at the SEAC meetings;
  • Relating special education budget information to statistical information about students provided in the October Reports of Numbers of Elementary and Secondary Students, and to numbers of staff assigned annually to special education roles; and
  • Planning a SEAC presentation to trustees as part of public consultation on the annual school board budget.
Under regulation 464/97, the SEAC members are to have the opportunity to participate in the special education budget planning process. Each school board has a different process for the development of budgets, often including the establishment of a budget committee or ad hoc group.​

Layered Funding

Special Incidence Portion
  • Refer to the current Resource Manual: Special Education Funding Guidelines Special Incidence Portion (SIP)

Differentiated Special Education Needs Amount
  • Based on very high needs of individual students currently a percentage based allocation and is under review.

SEA

  • For costs over $800.00 for pupil’s assistive devices and/or technology required for classroom instruction. Refer to the current Resource Manual: Special Education Funding Guidelines Special Equipment Amount (SEA).​ 


SEPPA
  • For costs of curriculum modification not funded through SIP
  • For costs of educational assistants and other staff not funded through SIP;
  • For up to $800.00 for assistive devices (after ADP and insurance contributions);
  • For assessment costs (educational assessments as well as psychological and other professional assessments);
  • For professional and paraprofessional supports such as psychologists, therapists, speech-language pathologists, and
  • social workers;
  • For the cost of producing audio/audiovisual instructional materials and alternative formats; and
  • For smaller class sizes for some pupils (e.g., to achieve the pupil/teacher ration stated in Regulation 298.

Foundation Grant
  • Pupil's portion of all other applicable grants that is:
  • The Geographic and School Authorities Grant
  • The Learning Opportunities Grant
  • The Language Grant
  • The Transportation Grant
  • The School Board Administration and Governance Grant
  • The Teacher Compensation Grant
  • The Pupil Accommodation Grant
  • The Early Learning Grant
  • The Adult and Continuing Education Grant

The role of SEAC in the budget process is to:
  • Ensure that SEAC is informed of the total amount of money available to the school board, including the Provincial grant;
  • Ensure that SEAC is aware of how much of that money relates to special education, i.e. the total enrolment times the SEPPA amount, plus the dollar amounts per identified exceptional students;
  • Know the amount of money that is required to provide services to meet the needs of the identified exceptional students, as described in the Board’s Special Education Report;
  • Develop a plan for the funding of the special education supports for all identified exceptional students;
  • Make a presentation to the Board’s budget committee setting out the expectations for funding as well as the value of supporting this dollar allocation for both exceptional and non – exceptional students;
  • Be a delegation to the full school board, if the budget committee did not prove to be particularly receptive;
  • Look at recommending an amendment to the Board’s Special Education Report, if proposed budget allocation is significantly different from what the SEAC recommends;
  • Establish a process for monitoring the allocation of the funds that should be used for special education purposes. For example, in considering the recommendation for implementing early intervention programmes, the SEPPA funds must not be used for Junior Kindergarten to replace the funding cancelled by the Ministry or for implementing the required early identification programs for all students. It is imperative that special education dollars be used to meet special needs; and
  • Ensure, through passing a motion that a financial report is provided to it on the expenditure of funds on a regular basis.

Resources and Supporting Documents

The following sampling of special education support documents is available in each school. For a more extensive list contact the Document Distribution Services at the Learning Resources Centre at the Education Centre, Newmarket 416-969-7170 ext 3538.

Documents

Print Resources - YRDSB

A Guide For Parents: The Individual Education Plan is a brochure outlining the requirements and timelines for the completion and implementation of a student’s Individual Education Plan. 

A Parent’s Guide to the IPRC is a brochure outlining the requirements of the Identification, Placement and Review Committee process and associated timelines. A list of the Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee agency members is also included. 


Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings P662 can be accessed through the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) as referenced in: York Region District School Board policies and procedures. 

Red Flags: Early Identification in York Region​ (York Region Health Connection) is a resource guide to assist with early identification.

School Social Workers: A Guide for Parents and Guardians Social work services are provided by social workers who are registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. 

Special Education: A Communication Guide for Parents and Students is a brochure outlining strategies for effective communication and guidelines for the appropriate process to contact Board personnel.

The Safe, Caring and Supportive Schools Policy P668 outlines support and preventative programs, such as:
  • ​Progressive Discipline
    • Positive behaviour supports
    • Peer mediation, counseling
    • Withdrawal of privileges and/or withdrawal from class
    • Detention
    • Restitution and or restorative practices (along a continuum that might include restorative conversations, restorative circles, etc.
  • Mitigating circumstances shall be taken into consideration in all cases of suspension and expulsion.




Print Resources - General

Cooperative Learning & Strategies for Inclusion: Celebrating Diversity in the Classroom. Putnam, JoAnne. (1998) ISBN 1-55766-3467

Creating an Inclusive School, 2nd Edition. Villa, Richard and Thousand, Jacqueline (Eds.). (2005) ISBN 1-4166-0049-3

The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Tomlinson, Carol Ann. (1996) ISBN – 0-87120-342-1

Inclusion: A Guide for Educators. Stainback, S., and Stainback W. (Eds). (1996) ISBN 1-55766-231- 2

When Something’s Wrong: Ideas for Teachers/Parents with Troubled Students. Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation. www.cprf.ca


Online Resources

Modules
  • Understanding Learning Disabilities
  • Knowing Your Learner 
  • Individual Education Plan
Videos
  • Phonological Awareness
  • In-School Team Meetings
  • Structured Teaching 
Ministry Publications
The Ontario Curriculum documents for all grade levels are available in each school. Ministry publications are also available at:

Mail: Ministry of Education 
Public Inquiries Unit
2nd Floor, 880 Bay Street 
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1N3
Phone: 416-325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf 
(TDD/TTY) - 1-800-263-2892
Fax: 416-325-6348
Website: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca 
E-mail: info@edu.gov.on.ca
  
Print Resources - Ministry










​​​​​​​​
 
Share |