Friday, October 7, 2016

Single point of contact continues at Edmonton Public Schools-----Dear Ms. Andersen, Thank you for your responses. I understand from your response (#1) that I may thus e-mail the trustees but they will not do their jobs as representatives of the people. This is a very interesting position. I admire folks who seem to be willing to stand for office and represent us but actually don't do what they are supposed to do as public officials. .As you will be performing their duties as politician I will expect responses from you for questions posed to the chair of Edmonton Public Schools. I imagine that you will provide responses that the public can witness on my blog. I understand from your information (#2) that special education occurs as a topic at board meetings and therefore, I will check the agenda for meetings to see if the topic comes up. I trust that the trustees appreciate the difficulties experienced by families who have special needs children and the stress suffered by all concerned--because of the lack of appropriate supports and services in the district. The problems faced by families in Edmonton should encourage the trustees to do their jobs and work on these problems in service delivery and supports provision for the special needs population that they represent. You have mentioned (#3) that the board meetings can be accessed by parents at home. This might be a productive way for me to access information rather than wasting my time going to meetings, and searching futilely for parking. Since there was no visitor parking when I attended the recent board meeting where student trustees were introduced I had to go here and there seeking a parking spot. The difficulty in parking around the blue building is a problem that should be remedied by the district with the provision of visitor parking in the parking lot that appears to be dedicated to staff at Victoria School of the Arts. There were several parking spots that were empty in that lot while the blue building parking was full. I appreciate that there are several routes for parents of special needs children (#5). You have mentioned several. Can you indicate to me the pathways followed upon presentation of a special needs child to the district? I have recently determined from AHS folks that they are not doing audiology testing for auditory processing disorder. Can you indicate what parents will do since testing is not being done by audiologists employed at AHS? How are children with auditory processing disorder being identified by the district and how are appropriate services and supports being put in place? While you indicate that there is an advisory group for parents (4)----the Inclusive Learning Parent Advisory Committee---this group is geared to parents who are already knowledgeable and that's how they got to be advisory committee members. I am talking about families who are naive about the system and who are needing parent mentors to help them with their special needs children in personal and experienced ways. I still don't see why there cannot be a group for special needs families in the EPS district administered by EPS. I mean just having groups run by AHS does not absolve the district of its responsibilities to meet the needs of these families through school based parent / child groups. A great many of these families appear to be forming Facebook groups to do what the school system should be doing which is providing a place, help and guidance for the creation of family support systems in the educational milieu. Its difficult for families to figure out how the school system works and for the most part, based on my experience, the Edmonton Public School system is not respectful of families and their concerns. At least I felt I have been disrespected and disregarded by the actions of this current board of trustees and the administration. The single point of contact business is the bureaucratic and political expediency move of a system that in my opinion, lacks true respect for citizens or why else are you shutting out conversation between hired politicians and their constituents? What is the system so afraid of? Exposure of this disrespect by trustees-- on a blog? I will be contacting you about supports and services provided to children with severe disabilities in the future. I include the board in this conversation since I am not satisfied the district is doing all that is required to meet the needs of families who have special needs children. Sincerely, Julie Ali


From: Julie Ali
Date: Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 10:59 PM
Subject: Re: Email response to September 29, 2016
To: "Danette Andersen, Supervisor" <danette.andersen@epsb.ca>, "Michael Janz, Chairman" <Michael.Janz@epsb.ca>, Cheryl.Johner@epsb.ca, Michelle.Draper@epsb.ca, Orville.Chubb@epsb.ca, Ray.Martin@epsb.ca, Ken.Gibson@epsb.ca, bridget.stirling@epsb.ca, Nathan.Ip@epsb.ca, Sherry.Adams@epsb.ca, Airdrie <Airdrie@assembly.ab.ca>, Athabasca SturgeonRedwater <Athabasca.Sturgeon.Redwater@assembly.ab.ca>, Banff Cochrane <Banff.Cochrane@assembly.ab.ca>, Barrhead Morinville Westlock <Barrhead.Morinville.Westlock@assembly.ab.ca>, Battle River-Wainwright <BattleRiver.Wainwright@assembly.ab.ca>, Bonnyville ColdLake <Bonnyville.ColdLake@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Acadia <Calgary.Acadia@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Bow <Calgary.Bow@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Buffalo <Calgary.Buffalo@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Cross <Calgary.Cross@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Currie <Calgary.Currie@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary East <Calgary.East@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Elbow <Calgary.Elbow@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary FishCreek <Calgary.FishCreek@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Foothills <Calgary.Foothills@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Fort <Calgary.Fort@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Glenmore <Calgary.Glenmore@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Greenway <Calgary.Greenway@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Hawkwood <Calgary.Hawkwood@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Hays <Calgary.Hays@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Klein <Calgary.Klein@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Lougheed <Calgary.Lougheed@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Mackay NoseHill <Calgary.Mackay.Nosehill@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary McCall <Calgary.McCall@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary MountainView <Calgary.MountainView@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary NorthWest <Calgary.NorthWest@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary NorthernHills <Calgary.NorthernHills@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Shaw <Calgary.Shaw@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary SouthEast <Calgary.SouthEast@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary Varsity <Calgary.Varsity@assembly.ab.ca>, Calgary West <Calgary.West@assembly.ab.ca>, Cardston TaberWarner <Cardston.TaberWarner@assembly.ab.ca>, Chestermere Rockyview <Chestermere.Rockyview@assembly.ab.ca>, Cypress MedicineHat <Cypress.MedicineHat@assembly.ab.ca>, Drayton ValleyDevon <DraytonValley.Devon@assembly.ab.ca>, Drumheller Stettler <Drumheller.Stettler@assembly.ab.ca>, Dunvegan CentralPeace Notley <Dunvegan.CentralPeace.Notley@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton BeverlyClareview <Edmonton.BeverlyClareview@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Calder <Edmonton.Calder@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Castledowns <Edmonton.Castledowns@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Centre <Edmonton.Centre@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Decore <Edmonton.Decore@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Ellerslie <Edmonton.Ellerslie@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Glenora <Edmonton.Glenora@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Goldbar <Edmonton.Goldbar@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton HighlandsNorwood <Edmonton.HighlandsNorwood@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Manning <Edmonton.Manning@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton McClung <Edmonton.McClung@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Meadowlark <Edmonton.Meadowlark@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton MillCreek <Edmonton.MillCreek@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Millwoods <Edmonton.Millwoods@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Riverview <Edmonton.Riverview@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Rutherford <Edmonton.Rutherford@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton SouthWest <Edmonton.SouthWest@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Strathcona <Edmonton.Strathcona@assembly.ab.ca>, Edmonton Whitemud <Edmonton.Whitemud@assembly.ab.ca>, FortMcMurray Conklin <Fortmcmurray.Conklin@assembly.ab.ca>, FortMcMurray WoodBuffalo <FortMcMurray.WoodBuffalo@assembly.ab.ca>, Fort Saskatchewan Vegreville <FortSaskatchewan.Vegreville@assembly.ab.ca>, GrandePrairie Smoky <GrandePrairie.Smoky@assembly.ab.ca>, GrandePrairie Wapiti <GrandePrairie.Wapiti@assembly.ab.ca>, Highwood <Highwood@assembly.ab.ca>, Innisfail SylvanLake <Innisfail.SylvanLake@assembly.ab.ca>, LacLaBiche StPaul TwoHills <LacLaBiche.StPaul.TwoHills@assembly.ab.ca>, Lacombe Ponoka <Lacombe.Ponoka@assembly.ab.ca>, Leduc Beaumont <Leduc.Beaumont@assembly.ab.ca>, Lesser SlaveLake <Lesser.SlaveLake@assembly.ab.ca>, Lethbridge East <Lethbridge.East@assembly.ab.ca>, Lethbridge West <Lethbridge.West@assembly.ab.ca>, Little Bow <Little.Bow@assembly.ab.ca>, Livingstone Macleod <Livingstone.Macleod@assembly.ab.ca>, Medicine Hat <Medicine.Hat@assembly.ab.ca>, Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills <OldsDidsbury.ThreeHills@assembly.ab.ca>, Peace River <Peace.River@assembly.ab.ca>, RedDeer North <RedDeer.North@assembly.ab.ca>, RedDeer South <RedDeer.South@assembly.ab.ca>, Rimbey RockyMountainHouse Sundre <Rimbey.RockyMountainhouse.Sundre@assembly.ab.ca>, Sherwood Park <Sherwood.Park@assembly.ab.ca>, Spruce Grove StAlbert <Sprucegrove.StAlbert@assembly.ab.ca>, St Albert <St.Albert@assembly.ab.ca>, Stony Plain <Stony.Plain@assembly.ab.ca>, Strathcona Sherwoodpark <Strathcona.Sherwoodpark@assembly.ab.ca>, Strathmore Brooks <Strathmore.Brooks@assembly.ab.ca>, Vermilion Lloydminster <Vermilion.Lloydminster@assembly.ab.ca>, West Yellowhead <West.Yellowhead@assembly.ab.ca>, Wetaskiwin Camrose <Wetaskiwin.Camrose@assembly.ab.ca>, Whitecourt SteAnne <Whitecourt.SteAnne@assembly.ab.ca>, Sarah Hoffman <Sarah.Hoffman@assembly.ab.ca>, Rachel Notley <Rachel.Notley@assembly.ab.ca>, Brian Jean <Brian.Jean@assembly.ab.ca>, ahs.corp@albertahealthservices.ca, Health.Deputy-Minister@gov.ab.ca, health.minister@gov.ab.ca, Jessica Ernst <t>, D Daunheimer <>, Stewart Shields >, Samanthas Law <t>, investigations@metronews.ca, newsroom@globeandmail.com, Joel French <joel.french@pialberta.org>, Sandra Azocar <fominfo@telus.net>, ahs.board@ahs.ca, submit@calgaryherald.com, Lorne Motley <lmotley@calgaryherald.com>, justin trudeau <justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca>, thomas mulcair <thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca>, elizabeth may <elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca>, jason.kenney@parl.gc.ca, Jane.Philpott@parl.gc.ca, Kent.Hehr@parl.gc.ca, Amarjeet.Sohi@parl.gc.ca, verna.yiu@albertahealthservices.ca, info@oag.ab.ca, Kimberly Nishikaze <knishikaze@oag.ab.ca>, kgerein@postmedia.com, SENIORS AT RISK Coalition <sar.coalition@gmail.com>, stephane.dion@parl.gc.ca, Bryan Anderson <bryan.anderson@edmonton.ca>, don iveson <don.iveson@edmonton.ca>, del graff <del.graff@gov.ab.ca>, ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca, Deborah.Rhodes@ahs.ca, Isaac.VanDyne@ahs.ca, lorinda.prociuk@ahs.ca, Mark.Snaterse@albertahealthservices.ca, trevor.theman@cpsa.ab.ca, publicinquiries@cpsa.ab.ca, sandy.marcynuk@ahs.ca, gloria.wesley@gov.ab.ca, info@ombudsman.ab.ca, jim ellis <jim.ellis@aer.ca>, gerry protti <gerry.protti@aer.ca>, Bob Curran <bob.curran@aer.ca>


Dear Ms. Andersen,

Thank you for your responses.

I understand from your response (#1) that I may thus e-mail the trustees but they will not do their jobs as representatives of the people.

This is a very interesting position. I admire folks who seem to be willing to stand for office and represent us but actually don't do what they are supposed to do as public officials.  .As you will be performing their duties as politician I will expect responses from you for questions posed to the chair of Edmonton Public Schools. I imagine that you will provide responses that the public can witness on my blog. 

I understand from your information (#2) that special education occurs as a topic at board meetings and therefore, I will check the agenda for meetings to see if the topic comes up. I trust that the trustees appreciate the difficulties experienced by families who have special needs children and the stress suffered by all concerned--because of the lack of appropriate supports and services in the district. The problems faced by families in Edmonton should encourage the trustees to do their jobs and work on these problems in service delivery and supports provision for the special needs population that they represent. 

You have mentioned (#3)  that the board meetings can be accessed by parents at home. This might be a productive way for me to access information rather than wasting my time going to meetings, and searching futilely for parking. Since there was no visitor parking when I attended the recent board meeting where student trustees were introduced I had to go here and there seeking a parking spot. The difficulty in parking around the blue building is a problem that should be remedied by the district with the provision of visitor parking in the parking lot that appears to be dedicated to staff at Victoria School of the Arts. There were several parking spots that were empty in that lot while the blue building parking was full. 

I appreciate that there are several routes for parents of special needs children (#5). You have mentioned several. Can you indicate to me the pathways followed upon presentation of a special needs child to the district? 

I have recently determined from AHS folks that they are not doing audiology testing for auditory processing disorder. Can you indicate what parents will do since testing is not being done by audiologists employed at AHS? How are children with auditory processing disorder being identified by the district and how are appropriate services and supports being put in place?

While you indicate that there is an advisory group for parents (4)----the Inclusive Learning Parent Advisory Committee---this group is geared to parents who are already knowledgeable and that's how they got to be advisory committee members. I am talking about families who are naive about the system and who are needing parent mentors to help them with their special needs children in personal and experienced ways. I still don't see why there cannot be a group for special needs families in the EPS district administered by EPS. 

 I mean just having groups run by AHS does not absolve the district of its responsibilities to meet the needs of these families through school based parent / child groups.  A great many of these families appear to be forming Facebook groups to do what the school system should be doing which is providing a place, help and guidance for the creation of family support systems in the educational milieu. Its difficult for families to figure out how the school system works and for the most part, based on my experience, the Edmonton Public School system is not respectful of families and their concerns. At least I felt I have been disrespected and disregarded by the actions of this current board of trustees and the administration. The single point of contact business is the bureaucratic and political expediency move of a system that in my opinion, lacks true respect for citizens or why else are you shutting out conversation between hired politicians and their constituents?  What is the system so afraid of? Exposure of this disrespect by trustees-- on a blog?

I will be contacting you about supports and services provided to children with severe disabilities in the future.  I include the board in this conversation since I am not satisfied the district is doing all that is required to meet the needs of families who have special needs children.

Sincerely,
Julie Ali

On Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 2:52 PM, Danette Andersen, Supervisor <danette.andersen@epsb.ca> wrote:
Ms. Ali,

This is in response to your September 29, 2016 email in which you asked several questions which are underlined.  My response is underneath.

1) Can you let me know if I may now e-mail the trustees directly?

I will continue to be your contact for the District.  Any emails that you may send to the Trustees or Senior Administration will not be answered directly by that person.  I will be the District contact that will provide you with information and answer any questions that you may have. 

2) I would like to find out when the board will be discussing special education at the board meetings.

Board meetings are held at 2:00 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month (unless otherwise posted).  The topics that will be discussed are posted along with an Agenda to the Board Meeting so you can determine which meeting you would like to attend.  Board Meetings are audio recorded as well as webcast live.  Audio recordings of Board Meetings will be retained for five years which can be located on the website.  
You indicate that you are interested in special education matters, mental health issues, and early childhood services.  These topics may or may not be discussed at a Board meeting depending on the Agenda.  Please note that early childhood services was an item on the September 20, 2016 meeting and, as I indicated, you can listen to the meeting and read the report that was associated with that item.  

3) Why are these meetings at 2:00 p.m. when most parents cannot attend?

The decision to move to daytime meetings was made in September 2011 for a number of reasons.  Previous meetings started at 6:00 p.m. and often ran into late hours trying to ensure that all items were addressed on the Agenda.  Many parents and community members prefer the early start time, and those who cannot make it for the daytime meeting can follow the webcast live or view it at a time that is convenient for them.  

4) Has EPS thought about developing a parent group for special education children so that they may talk about problems they are having in accessing services, supports and other helps?

Parent support groups are often found through agencies such as Alberta Health Services or Human Resources.  Edmonton Public Schools does have an Inclusive Learning Parent Advisory Committee which provides a voice to the Board on matters related to special education. 

5)  I am interested in how EPS supports children with severe disabilities due to genetic disorders.  Are they streamed in the regular education setting or are they taught in specialized schools?

Parents choose the type of programming and schooling options for their child.  The first option considered is the regular classroom in the neighborhood school.  Parents can also look at other options such as Alternative Programs or specialized District Centre Programs (criteria required).  

Thank you.
Danette Andersen, M.Ed.
Supervisor
District Support Services

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