February 9, 2015. (An update.) Report No. 15-015 Specialized Programs Criteria Sheet Update was brought forward at the Special Education Advisory Committee meeting of 21 January 2015.
The Association for Bright Children Ottawa is deeply concerned by the fundamental changes that the new criteria impose upon the OCDSB’s Specialized Gifted Program. Some of our concerns were raised at SEAC, and Learning Support Services (LSS) has put forward the revised Report No. 15-029 Specialized Programs Criteria Sheet Update (Revised) for submission at the 17th February Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting.
In spite of the revisions Learning Support Services have made, many of the key concerns that ABC Ottawa has with the new Specialized Gifted Program criteria remain. The creation of a lengthy FAQ to go with new criteria only points to the confusion created around the introduction of the new criteria.
ABC Ottawa has forwarded our concerns with the new Specialized Gifted Program criteria to Learning Support Services in the attached document, submitted on the evening of 4 February 2015.
(ABC Ottawa—Key Concerns With the New Criteria for the Specialized Gifted Program, Report 15-015, January 21, 2015)
We are requesting, rather than amending the new criteria sheet, that LSS refrain from implementing the new Gifted criteria until appropriate consultation can take place, and the many questions and concerns the criteria give rise to are addressed.
The OCDSB has one of the largest, if not the largest, identified Gifted populations as a ratio of the student population in Ontario. In the decades since it was established, the OCDSB’s Specialized Gifted Program has benefitted thousands of identified Gifted students in Ottawa. We ask that programming for Gifted students in the OCDSB continue to be built around the best practices for Gifted students that this program represents.
January 22, 2015. The Learning Support Services (LSS) of the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) has introduced new criteria for entry into the Board's Specialized Gifted Program classes. The new entry criteria were included as part of the Specialized Programs Criteria Update report presented to the OCDSB Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) at their 21 January 2015 meeting. The changes introduced, specifically to the Specialized Gifted Program, are a significant departure from the criteria that have been in place over the past ten years or more. The report presented at SEAC implies that ABC Ottawa was consulted on the criteria sheet prior to the SEAC meeting. Though ABC Ottawa representatives did meet with LSS staff, on 5 January 2015, at no time was the new criteria sheet presented. ABC Ottawa is concerned about the nature of the changes as presented, and is reviewing the document in detail.
The entry criteria can be found on the OCDSB website as part of the 21 January 2015 SEAC agenda.
Once ABC Ottawa has completed its review of the new entry criteria, it will put forward a report to the OCDSB with recommendations for their consideration.