Opening Statement



Monday, 28 May 2012

Sped Committee 2012-13 News!


At our recent TSU UAGM two motions were approved which will have significant impact upon our Special Education portfolio for next year. First, Ad Hoc Sped is now a regular standing committee. There's nothing more ad hoc about it! That's important because it recognizes how important Special Education is for our teachers and puts it on the same firm, long term footing as any other TSU committee. Hence we will need to choose members, a chair and put forward our own budget by early in the new school year. Secondly, all committee membership must now be confirmed by early July and the successful candidates must acknowledge their acceptance, so if they decline, their position can quickly be offered to the next person on the waiting list.

You can apply for membership by using our standard committee application form available on the TSU website at http://www.tsuoecta.org  All applications are due by May 31st so please submit one asap if you haven't all ready and are interested in being a member next year.

It would also be very helpful if you could submit a brief description of your specific areas of interest and expertise to our TSU secretary  at sabina@tsuoecta.org . Please also "cc" it to me for follow up. These will be shared with the new executive when we meet to select the committee members. We need members with a wide variety of different backgrounds to cover all the many facets of our TCDSB Special Education programs so the committee is as comprehensive as possible.

If you were at our TSU Initial Contract Offer meeting, you will  know that we have asked for the creation of a Joint Special Education Committee. Like our other Joint Committees [Safe Schools, Health and Safety, PD etc] it would meet regularly with the school board, in our case with the Special Services Department, to discuss and develop solutions to the many issues and challenges we face. The superintendents have been very interested and co-operative with us so far, and this year took great interest in our committee's Special Education Issues Survey. We are quite keen on developing the initiative a lot further together. Hopefully the Joint Special Education Committee will be approved and included in our next contract, which is due by August 31.

Please also see my May PDT Update blog below. There may be some difficulties and delays with the new contract, but hopefully our Joint Committee proposal will be a no brainer low cost/ no cost item on which we can all readily agree.

Members from our Special Education Committee can apply for the Joint Committee once it is created. The Special Education Committee itself will serve as a discussion and research group that would assist and train members for the Joint Committee. We would also invite our superintendents to meet throughout the year with the Special Education Committee members, and set up other meetings through the committee where they could also meet with our department heads, and special education teachers.

My vision of our Social Education portfolio for this time next year would have both the Joint and the regular Special Education Committees set up and running in tandem. We would work co-operatively with the Special Services Department of the TCDSB to provide input, direction and support for the many challenges ahead. We share the common goal of wanting to best develop our programs for the benefit of our special need students. What better way could there be for our teachers and the school board to work together in this common pursuit? The prospect is very exciting indeed!

If you are interested please submit an application for our new Special Education Committee asap, by May 31st. Also the brief note as requested. Kindly share this link with the other TSU Special Education teachers you know so we can all get involved in this exciting new initiative!

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