Welcome to the 2023-2024 School Year
Welcome to the 2023-2024 School Year
The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC), which is affiliated with the Western Quebec School Board, represents the interests of children at risk or with disabilities and their families by providing advice and recommendations on policy, allocation of financial resources, the commitment to success plan and implementation of individual students’ IEPs.
We envision students achieving their full individual potential through the WQSB’s provision of the pertinent support, resources and services that students need, and through the advocacy of parents and caregivers equipped to help them successfully navigate the school system.
As an advisory committee to the Western Québec School Board, SEAC is made up of parents, school staff, and a representative for the Director General. Each school within the Board’s territory may forward the names of interested parents of students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to the Parents’ Committee, which considers names submitted and designates members to SEAC.
The committee is normally composed of:
The director general or his representative takes part in the meetings of the committee but is not entitled to vote.
SEAC elects its own officers, including a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Parent Commissioner. SEAC also elects a representative to Parents Committee. For more information about the work and organization of SEAC please consult our Handbook of Internal Rules and Procedures on the About Us tab.
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SEAC: A Special Feature of the School System
The provincial government deliberately and intentionally created the parent-led governance structure of SEAC separately and at arm’s length (in terms of accountability) from the school board. The parents form the majority of SEAC’s voting membership (16 parents and 4 Board employees on SEAC this year); only parents can hold official positions on SEAC; quorum is dependant on attendance of parents; and the Director General (DG) or his designate is a non-voting member of SEAC. The links to the school board are specified and few, and the lines of accountability flow for the most part from the school board to SEAC. That is to say, we do not report or answer to the school board on substantive matters, rather we advise the school board on them. Case in point: The legislature has mandated that we be informed yearly on things like the state of finances related to special education, so that we can make informed recommendations for resource allocation, for example.
The lines are dotted as they flow from the school board and the Parents Committee, indicating that they have limited input to SEAC. The Board has power, influence and input to SEAC by way of their employees on the Committee, i.e., the principal, teacher, support staff member, and Complementary Services Department professional, who sit and vote on SEAC. We benefit greatly from their first-hand experience with our special needs students. Also, the DG designate provides valuable information and insights to SEAC deliberations but does not have a vote. The line from SEAC to the Board is solid because we have a specific, ongoing role to advise the WQSB; we also have a representative (SEAC Parent Commissioner) to the Council of Commissioners and (SEAC PC Rep) to the Parent Committee. The lines from those roles are solid because we have actual influence and power (a voice and voting rights) on the Council and the Parents Committee. As a Parent Commissioner, the SEAC representative is considered a full member of Council with all the rights and responsibilities of every other Commissioner.
There are a few distinctives about SEAC: Unlike on Parent Committee, not all schools are represented on SEAC. It is good when there is significant representation from rural schools in a given year, because that does not always happen.
Another difference between the PC and SEAC is that not all of our members necessarily sit on a Governing Board (GB). For those of you who do, you are encouraged to ask the GB Chairperson or principal for a place on every GB agenda to report back to your child’s school about the happenings at SEAC. For those of you who aren’t already on the school GB, you can ask to be included at their meetings as a guest/observer and to also have a space for giving feedback to the school about SEAC. Everyone is encouraged to communicate about SEAC with their Home and School, other parent groups or social media sites related to your child’s school.
Hopefully, the above information helps to orient everyone a bit more.
Don’t be shy to ask questions.
SEAC- Western Quebec
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