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ABC Peel Bulletin


UPDATE ON DELEGATIONS (posted June 2006)

ABC has presented two important delegations to the Peel District School Board Trustee meetings on May 9 and 23, 2006. However, we have not yet managed to change the policy on closure of the five ELC classes. On a positive note, some of the Trustees are now more aware of the issues and are prepared to look into the details of our position. Progress is slow, but at least we are making some progress in bringing this situation to the forefront.

At the May 23, 2006 meeting, at the request of Trustee Steve Kavanagh, the Board agreed the Special Education Plan, and the proposal to cut these classes, will be discussed separately at the Board level within a few weeks. We will follow-up when this happens so that we can inform the ABC Peel Membership.

Usually an ABC Peel concern of this sort would not have a detailed review by Trustees. We are optimistic our delegations have brought the class closures into the spotlight. Also we have had the benefits and affirmations of several articles published in the following newspapers: Toronto Star, May 10, 2006; Caledon Citizen, May 17, 2006; Brampton Guardian, May 19, 2006 and May 26,2006; and the Mississauga News, May 10, 2006. We are glad that the spotlight is focused on the details of the Special Education Plan and that this issue is being noted as opposed to being a much smaller item within the larger budget.

The Board is due to respond to a number of questions posed from the last delegation, and hopefully readdress the initial delegation at the next Board meeting. When the response is tabled, we will update this page.

Thanks for all the support. Remember, if you have questions - ask. If you need help - ask. If you can help someone else - offer!


Our thank you to all members of ABC who came to support our ABC delegation "Stop Closures" on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 at the Peel District School Board. Carolynne Ball and Elsa Irani, a graduate of the gifted program, presented the delegation. Over one hundred ABC parents and children attended the meeting, despite homework and the flu bug going around. The ABC delegation, prepared by Carolynne and Elsa with support of the ABC executive team, was well thought out, factual, balanced and presented with confidence. ABC Peel thanks the trustees for their attention and for allowing Carolynne to exceed her allotted time.

Overall, the delegation was well received: we saw many of the trustees showing interest at points as raised by Carolynne. Likewise, a number of children in the audience clearly agreed and identified with many points that Carolynne made about the experience of gifted children.

The Trustees present were Valerie Arnold-Judge, Beryl Ford, Daljit Gill, David Green, Steve Kavanagh, Warren Kennedy, Brad MacDonald, Janet McDougald (Chair), Sue McFadden, Don Stephens, Ruth Thompson (Vice Chair), Rick Williams, and Student Trustees Kevin Wang and Jasmeet Sidhu.

Questions of clarification were raised by some Trustees. Trustee David Green asked when Peel Board staff had been requested to provide the data set on student numbers leading to the closures (that data was received the morning of the delegation by ABC Peel President, Gina Heisz). Vice Chair Ruth Thompson asked if the system was failing or needed improvement, and "how are gifted children identified." Trustee Steve Kavanagh asked how ABC Peel had obtained the details of the closures before the Board itself had been provided with the information. Student Trustee, Jasmeet Sidhu, expressed disappointment at the erosion of the gifted program which "changed her life" in such a positive way.

Carolynne answered Trustees questions with diplomacy, tact and carried our message without hesitation. The more detailed responses will be submitted in writing to the Trustees at the Board meeting of May 23, so ensuring that a full record is provided.

At the conclusion of the delegation, there was a warm, standing ovation from our supporters. We thank Carolynne Ball and Elsa Irani for their contribution to the fight for the success of the gifted program in Peel.

We believe we are beginning to make a difference. The attention brought to gifted education because of this delegation has resulted in discussion on gifted education at the Board level. ABC Peel is hopeful that the trustee's heightened awareness of the underlying issues of giftedness will lead to new identifications in the coming weeks and months.

ABC will continue to be patient and factually based in making sure that gates are not closed to our children. It is not enough that the children of today's activists in ABC Peel get the placements they need. We will work to ensure that the system itself responds to the needs of all gifted children, not just to those who are knowledgeable self-advocates or have ABC Peel's support. Each year there will be more children needing and having a right to a gifted program; we must ensure it is there for them too.

At this time, we strongly suggest you attend the Peel District School Board meeting on May 23rd at 7:30 pm to hear the response from staff to questions asked in the delegation. You may have further questions to ask of the Board depending on those answers. The projections must be updated with current information. More students have been identified since the time of the original projections and the Board must ensure that placement for all students who need a contained class will be provided.

Please keep asking for Trustee support and verification. Thank YOU for your continued involvement!

Click here (87KB PDF) for the full text of the May 9, 2006 delegation.

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