The OCSB has acquired two Milo robots to use as learning tools for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Milo is a humanoid, social skills robot with a full range of facial expressions designed to improve social behaviour and communication skills in students on the spectrum. The robot is intended to help students develop the capacity to connect with fellow students and prepare them for social interaction outside the classroom.
Milo involves the use of a curriculum program, Robots4Autism, which integrates a variety of practices shown to improve social skills, packaged together in a systematic way, and delivered using Milo the robot. There are numerous proven benefits of using Milo with children with ASD since they often struggle with the development of social skills. The robot offers lessons in a non-threatening way, helping children overcome the fears or discomfort they often exhibit when attempting to interact with human therapists. With over 26 tiny motors in his face, Milo is able to display the same realistic expression every time he displays a given emotion, making it easier for children to associate a visual experience to an emotion.
Teams representing two elementary schools, together with Special Education and Student Services staff, have received training with the Milo software package. Milo will be introduced to a range of students with ASD who will experience 30 minute lessons approximately three times per week, led by a facilitator and reinforced by school teams and parents.
Milo was introduced to the Board of Trustees at the November 21, 2017 Board meeting by Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services; Lynne Coletti, Principal of Special Education and Student Services; Becky Carter, Psychologist and ASD/ABA Lead; and Krista Sarginson, Assistive Technology Itinerant Resources Teacher.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Update
Manon Séguin, Superintendent of Special Education and Student Services
An estimated 1 in 68 people have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the most common neurological disorder. According to Autism Speaks, the prevalence ASD has increased by 100% over the last ten years. More than 800 students in OCSB schools have ASD in the current school year. Significant changes to the Ontario Autism Program has resulted in short-term funding to support school boards as students and families transition to the new model of support.
Lynne Coletti, Principal of Special Education and Student Services, along with Becky Carter, Psychologist and ASD/ABA Lead presented on overview to the Board of the support we are currently providing students with an ASD profile within our school communities and implementation plans for Ministry-directed initiatives and resources. They noted that the OCSB will continue to innovate in this complex field in order to best serve our students. View the presentation.
Ontario 150 Grant for Play Yard Enhancement
Brenda Wilson, Superintendent of Learning Technologies
The playgrounds in five OCSB schools have undergone enhancement projects thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Education to commemorate Ontario’s 150th year. New games were painted on their play yards and existing games were refreshed. In addition to the school yard painting, outdoor equipment such as soccer nets, outdoor balls, and the installation of basketball nets were purchased to enhance these school grounds.
- Our Lady of Victory
- St. Brother Andre
- St. Michael, Ottawa
- St. Rose of Lima
Principals Paul Gautreau of Assumption Catholic School and Victoria White of St. Michael, Ottawa presented to the Board the positive impact this project has had on their school communities. They noted that the simple lines on the playing field have the ability to literally ‘level the playing field’ by giving children an opportunity to learn basic lessons in sportsmanship, equity, and communications — lessons that can apply in the wider world. View the presentation.
“The variety of new games painted in our yard has provided our students with new opportunities to learn cooperative games. While hopscotch, snakes and ladders and four square games may seem like ‘traditional’ games, they are more than that. They are opportunities for our students to learn turn-taking, sharing, and patience while having fun. The excitement when our students are playing these games with classmates or showing their parents during end of day pick-up is something very special.”Victoria White
Unpacking and exploring BIPSAW goals
Debbie Frendo, Superintendent of Student Success, Intermediate/Secondary
The OCSB’s Board Innovation Plan for Student Achievement and Well-Being (BIPSAW) was developed by interdepartmental teams led by Superintendents of Schools and organized around specific goals. The needs assessment guiding the plan was informed from a variety of sources, including School Innovation Plans, District Processes, EQAO results, anecdotal evidence, school self assessments and student achievement data. Based on this data, evidence-based strategies has been put in place, and monitoring the plan is ongoing. Debbie Frendo, Superintendent of Students Success, Intermediate/Secondary presented the key components of Goal 2: Learning and Teaching, Focus on Literacy. View the presentation.
“We will provide support to intentionally selected schools to ensure that students not reaching their potential in literacy will receive personalized, precise intervention. Intervention strategies shared are based on research-based effective literacy strategies, supporting specific student need.”Debbie Frendo
News from the Boardroom Summary (November 21, 2017)
This blog post covers the following topics:
- Introducing Milo to students with ASD
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) update
- Ontario 150 grant for play yard enhancement
- Unpacking and exploring BIPSAW goals
- Approved request for excursion
- New Board procedural by-law for Trustee Interview Process
- SEAC member representative nominations
- Kindergarten Registration Week 2018
- Update on storm impact at rural schools
- Award of contract for preschool retrofits
- Annual Investment Report
Briefs from the Boardroom
Approved request for excursion
The Board approved the following request for excursion: St. Joseph, St. Paul and St. Peter High Schools to Hawaii from March 29 to April 6, 2018
New Board procedural by-law for Trustee Interview Process
Based on feedback received from Trustees regarding the interview procedures in place to fill a Trustee vacancy, a proposed Board by-law was approved.
SEAC member representative nominations
The Board reviewed and approved three requests for membership to the Special Education and Advisory Committee (SEAC).
- Jeffrey Willbond, Easter Seals Ontario
- Traci Clarke, Community member
- Kim Peterson, Community member
Kindergarten Registration Week 2018
OCSB Kindergarten Registration Week for the 2018-2019 school year was approved as the week of January 15 to 19, 2018.
Update on storm impact at rural schools
The Board was updated on the circumstances surrounding power outages at several schools on October 30, 2017 as a result of a severe wind and rainstorm.
Award of contract for preschool retrofits
After reviewing seven tenders from pre-qualified general contractors, Bradford Construction was selected to undertake construction projects at Prince of Peace and St. Luke, Nepean Schools.
Annual Investment Report
The Board received and approved the Annual Investment Report in accordance with the requirements of Board policies.
Kelly McKibbin is the Board Website Coordinator with the Ottawa Catholic School Board’s Communications Department, and manages all aspects of the Board’s district website. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Ottawa, is the recipient of a United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award.