We NEED to hold the Minister of Education ACCOUNTABLE!
Our goal is and has always been for these schools to remain open, increase enrollment and help all children now and in the future to read and learn how their disability works with the tools to advocate for themselves and the social structures to help them through their future challenges. This is what the demonstration schools provide our children.
We will continue to advocate for children with severe learning disabilities and raise awareness with school boards, teachers and families about the benefits of these tremendous educational resources.
Consultation and Reaction
- The consultation process, started by former Minister of Education Liz Sandals, had a negative impact on parents, students and families in the Provincial Demonstration School system in the spring of 2016.
- The resulting report clearly supports the need for demonstration schools in Ontario. The Minister of Education says that she is commiteed to strengthening support for students with special needs but what will that look like? They have embarked on a three year pilot project in an attempt to bring the success of the demonstration schools to four school boards accross Ontario.
- Will the Ministry have new standards/policies/mission statements for the Demonstration schools?
- Will there be new criteria for entrance?
- Will Learning Support and Resources across Ontario be expanded?
- What will the learning disability programs look like across the various school boards - not just next year but for the future?
- Not only are we advocating for the current students enrolled in Provincial and Demonstration Schools but we are also working at ensuring every child across Ontario who requires an accessible education receives one.
We are looking forward to the future and will work hard to ensure these programs remain for many years to come.
TimeLine and Events:
September 16, 2016
Provincial Demonstration School Advocacy Committee is engaged and committed to creating awareness about Provincial Demonstration Schools. Working groups continue to meet regularly and the energy and motivation is strong and our momentum and engagement is growing.
September 9, 2016
All Provincial Demonstration School Parents Council Chairs and Co-chairs received a letter from the Ministry of Education inviting them to engage and participate in a reference group to add insight and knowledge in regards to the 3 year Empower reading program being rolled out in Ontario. The chairs have some concerns with the terms of this reference group and they are working collectively to resolve the issues with the Minister of Education.
September 7, 2016
School was back in session at Provincial Demonstration Schools.
August 9, 2016
Provincial Demonstration School Parent Council sent out a statement ( link to statement) with their response to the Ministers announcements concerning Provincial Demonstration Schools
August 9, 2016
Minister Hunter sent out an updated news release announcing that their were " No plans to close Provincial Demonstration Schools"
August 8, 2016
Minister Mitzi Hunter announced that the Provincial Schools would remain open for another year.
August 8, 2016
Demonstration School Chairs, and representative met the Minister of Education Mitzi Hunter and many representatives from the Ministry of Education to discuss the consultation report and next steps. They also discussed the news release and the controversial sentence which implied the schools would only remain open for one addition year.
August 3, 2016
Demonstration School chairs received an invitation to attend a meeting with Minister of EductIon Mitzi Hunter
July 29, 2016
Calls started going out offering students second year placements at Demonstration Schools.
June 15, 2016
The Committee is still working very hard to ensure these schools remain open for years to come to ensure Children with Severe Learning Disabilities have a place to go, to learn, to develop and to be successful, educated members of society.
June 13, 2016
Parents, students and families started to receive their letters offering them 1st year placement at a Demonstration School for the fall of 2016.
On the same day that letters were being received The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynn , shuffled her cabinet and appointed a new Minster to oversee the Education File- Mitzi Hunter.
May 30, 2016
The HRTO sent out documents to 16 families across Ontario stating and affirming that their applications were going to be reviewed in a tribunal. There are 16 students who feel that the Minister of Education is not providing accessible education to children with severe learning disabilities across the Province of Ontario. The Claim is over $12.8 Million Dollars.
April 21, 2016
Student representatives from Provincial and Demonstration schools meet to build a strategy at the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth in Toronto. The day ended with a face-to-face meeting with then Minister of Education Liz Sandals.
April 17, 2016
The application process began again. The Provincial School Branch had to act quickly as the application process was now months behind schedule. They had to develop multiple PCLD committees to ensure the intake interviews ran smoothly and that all of the applications were reviewed and assessed.
April 14, 2016
With the support of the PC Party of Ontario as well as the NDP Party of Ontario we created awareness, help radio, television and media events and took our fight to Queen’s Park. Four buses traveled to Queen’s Park from Ottawa, Bellevile, London and Milton Ontario.
NDP Education Critic Lisa Gretzky debated her motion at Queen’s Park to ensure these schools remained open. The Motion was defeated in the evening of April 14th, 2016
April 13, 2016
The past Minister of Education Liz Sandals stated that the Demonstration Schools would remain open and that applications would be accepted for the fall of 2016. This announcement was made just hours before a large rally was to take place at Queen’s Park.
April 13, 2016
The www.saveprovincialschoolswebsite.ca was created.
February 26, 2016
The “Save Provincial Schools Face book page was created to ensure awareness and messaging was passed along to current parents, future potential parents and concerned members of society who believe that all children have a right to Education regardless of their disability.
February 23, 2016
Almost simultaneously as the letters were being distributed the Parent Councils from the Demonstration Schools started working together to ensure these schools remained open.
February 18-23, 2016
All parents received a letter from the Ministry of Education stating that a consultation ($1.8 million dollars) would occur and that no new applications would be considered. It also stated that teachers would not be offered positions for 2016.