October 1/18: Education Policy & Directions:Counselling Supports in SD61

P1: Education Policy and Directions  Standing Committee Meeting notes

Elected Trustees: Leonard (1996), Ferris (1999), Orcherton (1999), Loring-Kuhanga (2011), McNally (2011), Nohr (2011), Paynter (2014),  Watters (2014), Whiteaker (2014)

Lined Paper is  my personal record of and commentary on SD61 Board and  Standing Committee meetings. Official, approved  minutes are on the SD61 website, one  month after the meeting. Board meetings are video’d and audio recorded; Committee meetings are not.

SD61 Greater Victoria School District includes students in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Victoria, View Royal, parts of Saanich and the Highlands, and the Traditional Territories of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.

District Strategic Plan here.

Territory Acknowledgement900

Dialogue with the public is welcome during Standing Committee Meetings.
Only appointed members of the Committee can vote.

Ed Policy & Directions Standing Committee Oct 1/18
Members: Ferris, Nohr (Chair,), Orcherton, Whiteaker; Loring-Kuhanga ex officio (vote but not counted for quorum)
Present: Ferris, McNally,  Nohr,  Paynter, Whiteaker
Not present: Leonard,  Loring-Kuhanga,  Orcherton,  Watters

A.Commencement of Meeting Agenda adopted.  Minutes Sept 10/18 approved. Official minutes here; Lined Paper report here.     No Business Arising.|
B.Presentations to the Committee: None
C. New Business: C.1 Student Rep: None
C.2 Counselling Supports: District Staff PowerPoint Presentation : Harold Caldwell, Jennifer Chambers, Monique Moore

Presentation slides start P6 agenda.

Slide 3: Learning Support Team Philosophy : Focus on early interventions. This will support higher grades over time. Social-emotional lens for all work . Developing healthy relationships among staff, students, and families.

  • McNally: Which assets are considered?
  • Caldwell: Social, academic, family, physical.

Slide 4: Counselling Supports For All Students : School-based counsellors in all schools, 0.5 FTE minimum. YFCs 30 FTE, 1 district based YFC. Discovery Counseling a partnership with Island Health in a tri-District (61, 62, 63) partnership for middle and secondary schools. Free. Referrals for substance issues / mental health. Community Service Partners include Surrounded by Cedar, Child and Teen  Mental Health, The Foundry   School based teams look at top tier of students with needs for support and develop collaborative plan. Jennifer background in secondary school counselling; liaison with Early Psychosis Intervention.

Slide 5: Additional Counselling Supports: Children in Care are some of our most vulnerable students.An app for every school to enter names of students in care, an attached counsellor, the education plan – ensure this layer is in place for support.

Slide 7: Human Nature School Program: Moore: Supported by a grant from Jordan’s Principle. Part of the grant proposal is based on ongoing consultations with the Songhees Nation, including an Elder and possibly a youth representative consulting with the school based team. (A school-based team is an on-going team of school-based personnel which has a formal role to play as a problem-solving unit in assisting classroom teachers to develop and implement instructional and/or management strategies and to co- ordinate support resources for students with special needs within the school.) The SBT will use criteria for participation along with parent permission. 1.5 hours / week for 4 – 7 weeks. Will include all grade levels.

Slide 8: Program Outcomes

  • McNally: How will #4 “Increased sense of student well-being and self-confidence” be assessed?
  • Staff:  Student self-reports before an after, anecdotal from SBT, attendance records, overall well being observed

Slide 11: Counsellor Refresher Agenda: For new counsellors and those who have been in SD61 for a time. District teaming for Tier 3 student support , principals’ review committee, SBT referrals. Tiered support model is moving up from elementary and middle to include  high schools. Counselling updates every month- resource updates, pro-d opportunities, upcoming events. Shared common language for collaboration. Have an updated current list of resources and community experts from Youth Empowerment Society  . Discovery Counselling for substance use.

  • McNally: How to describe Tier 3 students?
  • Chambers: Every intervention has been tried at the school / single or a few serious incidents . [Will the Ministry designation Category H – P10 this document – “Students Requiring Intensive Behaviour Intervention or Students with Serious Mental Illness” be replaced by “Tier 3” as part of the vocabulary change to “diverse learners”? Just wondering.]
  • Nicole Duncan, parent: How to get help for child in Tier 3?
  • Chambers: Access through Sean McCartney and Pam Halvorsen; Jennifwr Chambers via school based team.
  • Aidan Elkin, public: Will this new for for referral expedite service to kids?
  • Halvorsen: a matter of days from referral through collaboration, consulting, to  response.

Ministry of Education Checklist [which brings funding of about 3 hours a day…. ]:

Documentation includes:
 a behavioural assessment and/or
 a mental health assessment
The behaviour or mental health assessment indicates evidence of one or
both of the following:
 antisocial, extremely disruptive behaviour in most other environments
and consistently/ persistently over time; and/or
 severe mental illness diagnosed by a mental health professional (psychiatrist, paediatrician, physician, registered psychologist specializing in this area).
There must be documentation to support that the student has been appropriately assessed and identified by the school district or independent school authority as meeting the criteria of the special education category.
 Functional behavioural assessment, for example, the Behaviour Disorders Instructional Support Planning Tool, and/or
 Other assessments by medical professionals or teams of professionals, and/or
 Norm referenced assessment, i.e., Behaviour Assessment System for Children
(BASC), Connors’ Rating Scale, Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, etc.
There is documented evidence that indicates… The behaviour
 places student or others at serious risk and/or
 interferes with his or her academic progress and that of other students.
There is documented evidence that …
 A current IEP is in place, dated after September 30, previous school
 The IEP has individualized goals and measurable objectives, with
adaptations and or modifications where appropriate, and strategies to
meet these goals.
 The goals correspond to the category in which the student is identified.
 The student is receiving special education services to address the
needs identified in the assessment documentation that are beyond
those offered to the general student population and are proportionate to
level of need.
 The student is being offered learning activities in accordance with the
 The IEP outlines methods for measuring progress in relation to the IEP
 A parent was offered the opportunity to be consulted about preparation
of the IEP.

There is documented evidence that indicates…
 The settings in which the behaviour is persistent over time.
 The district or independent school authority has exhausted resources/ capacity to
 Planning is coordinated, across-agency and community (integrated case
management/ wraparound).
Documentation of services shows that…
 The services outlined in the IEP relate to the identified needs of the student.

 There is evidence that one or more of the following special education services
are provided:
 direct intervention in the classroom to promote behavioural change or
emotional support as per IEP; and/or
 placement in a program designed to promote behaviour change/implement
IEP; and/or
 ongoing, individual social skills training and/or instruction in behaviour/
learning strategies.
Reduction in class size (or placement in an alternate program or learning
environment) is not by itself a sufficient service to meet the criteria.

Slide 12: Guiding Documentation: 1. Infants Act: 2002 Ministry did away with hard line for confidentiality re age 12 below which parents had to be informed.Now based on capacity of child to make an  informed decision about health care. 2. Duty To Report: Potential harm to student trumps confidentiality. You can’t hand this off to someone else. 3. BC School Counsellors Code of Ethics: Confidentiality and best practice. Right to confidentiality in counselling is paramount. But parents are involved unless MCFD call is required and could put the student more at risk.

Slide 13: Information Sharing Practices: 

  • Nohr: If student self-refers in elementary school eg casual use of marijuana, would parents be informed?
  • Chambers: That would be the expectation. Student woudl be informed about best practice and confidentiality parameters.
  • Nohr: In grad 5 or Grade 8, “Don’t want to tell my parents” – how would that play out?
  • Chambers: Does the student understand the limits of confidentiality and is it in the student’s best interest?  Difficulty, could consult with other counsellors.
  • Nohr: What about gender identity questions in Grade 5?
  • Chambers: Same criteria thresholds.
  • Nohr: So your experience has been that you’ve never had a situation where parents were not involved?
  • Duncan ( parent): Puts a lot of onus on the professional- do they know the child well enough to assess consent? What kind of training? (education)
  • Chambers: All have Masters degrees with Ethics courses . Mark Walsh, Secretary-Treasurer (LLB) advises on legal issues for counsellors. all are members of the BC School Counsellors Association.
  • McNally: At SOGI rally on the weekend to support students; members of the religious right and company present made it clear that they were unaccepting of any gender variance in youth (or adults). Family situation might be unsafe if confidentiality of the child was  breached. Need to make limits of confidentiality very clear to children and youth.
  • Halvorsen: In work with students in Grade 7,8 with issues re gender, self-harm, work with the parents to the best of our ability.

Slide 14: Counsellor Collaboration Sessions: April legal issues for counsellors will include note takingwho owns the notes,  how long to keep, etc.

Slide 16: Counsellor Themes: Workshop Tri-District on CBT and Interventions for Anxiety, more; speaker Kristin Buhr.


More than one in three students feel psychologically distressed, a substantial and concerning number, say researchers behind Canada’s longest running survey on mental health and substance use.”

D. Notices of Motion: None
E. General Announcements: None
F. Adjournment: 8:30 pm

About Diane McNally