| Sep 18, 2008

Sept 18/08 - Community Living: Dedicated to Service

Back toHome

Feature Article - September 18, 2008 Community Living-NF:dedicated to serviceBy Julie Druker

Janet Barr and employee Bart Menard present Ann Howes of the Rising Bun Bakery in Sharbot Lake with the Employer Recognition Award.

Community Living North Frontenac, a service whose mandate is “to serve individuals with intellectual disabilities…one person at a time”, held their annual general meeting on September 10 in Sharbot Lake. Mayor Janet Gutowski, and newly elected member of the North Frontenac Council Elaine Gunsinger (whose portfolio includes community services), along with the CLNF board members, staff and individuals they serve from the community, filled the United Church hall.

Scott Gillam, Principal of Educational Services was guest speaker. He addressed the importance and availability of the “School to Community Services’, a program offered by the Limestone District School Board and available to “a diverse group of learners with developmental disabilities who may require support in the areas of communication, socialization, daily living skills, motor skills and behavior.”

Gillam said that the service is gaining in importance as the enrollment of special needs students is on the rise, although overall enrollment is on the decline.

The School to Community Services has both elementary and high school models in place, which allows for the inclusion of students with special needs into their local school programs. The service strives to develop for each student an “individual education plan” or IEP to support their individual needs.

As Gillam stated, “We aim to provide programming that is specifically designed for the individual student. School to community teachers, classroom teachers, parents and of course the child are all considered when deciding what the best program would be for a specific child.”

He stressed that “teachers are the most important educators in your child’s life…We are committed to training our teachers, specifically our School to Community teachers, to provide the best programming for the students in that classroom and that’s where the support begins.”

Gillam also stressed the importance of the approach being a “team effort”. Other important support staff in educational services that benefit various IEPs include speech and language pathologists, educational assistants, behavioral counsellors, an autism team, attendance counsellors and other specialized consultants.

He described current efforts being made to address the current lack of EAs available in the schools and how that issue is being addressed.

Currently there are 13 on-site schools that include School to Community teachers and 33 itinerant schools that School to Community teachers visit regularly.

Gillam also stressed the important input that parents, as well as teachers, have in each child’s individual program needs.

Following Gillam’s address was a report on recent changes to the CLNF board mandate, which included the extension of elected members to two-year instead of one-year terms, the inclusion of email as a necessary tool for communication, and the change in the wording of “developmentally challenged” to “intellectually disabled”.

Board member Patti Hallgren nominated Bob Miller to this year’s board, a motion that was accompanied by thunderous applause from the audience. He was voted in unanimously and was” happy to serve again”. Miller has 10+ years experience as a board member and past president.

Joe Clayton was voted in for a second term as Representative for the People Served and spoke of his appreciation of and dedication to the role.

The rest of the evening after a break for refreshments was taken up with awards.

Melissa Marshall was awarded for her outstanding contribution to CLNF.

Dean Walsh, Patti Nedow, Barb Matson and Faye Putnam received awards in recognition of their many years of service. Volunteer Appreciation awards were given to Tom Ham, Judy Raymo and Gail Gillett. Anne Howes, owner and operator of the Rising Bun Bakery in Sharbot Lake, was presented with the Employer Recognition Award.

What an exciting start to a new year for CLNF!

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.