Special Edition Newsletter - January/February 2024

Decorative iconA newsletter to support those in York Region who work with students with exceptional learning strengths & needs.

Content of this Newsletter

Monthly Highlights

  • Braille Literacy Month
  • YRDSB & EIS Parent Information Meeting
  • Yes I Can! Awards 
  • Experience Works 
  • Supporting your Mental Health through the Winter

Spotlighting Excellence, Achievement & Community

  • Fergus’ Dedication, Responsibility & Creativity

Important Dates

    • Life After High School
  • Learning Disabilities Association of York Region
    • Social Skills Winter Program
    • Level Up Tutoring Program
    • Reading Rocks
    • Jump Math
    • SOAR Transitions Elementary
    • Parents Support Group
    • Strategies for Life


Monthly Highlights

Braille Literacy Month 

January is Braille Literacy Month, which is named and recognized in honour of the birthday (January 4th) of Louis Braille. Louis Braille invented the Braille system for reading and writing when he was 15 years old. Did you know? Braille is a tactile code, not a language and many languages can be written and read in braille. Letters, numbers, punctuation, symbols and even musical notes can be written in braille. 

Zara, a grade 8 student at Beckett Farm Public School, has been raising awareness on visual impairments and braille. Earlier this school year, she provided information and facts in regards to visual impairments daily on the morning announcements. She also held workshops during lunch recesses for other students who wanted to learn more about visual impairments and braille. During these sessions, Zara read stories to younger students in braille, did demos of using her Perkins brailler, created bookmarks with the students names in braille, and had braille activity sheets where students could create their names by colouring in braille cells. Way to go Zara on these amazing braille initiatives! 

The word braille appears at the top with letters and the word written in braille. Below is an image of Zara standing in front of her perkins brailler.


YRDSB & Early Intervention Parent Information Meeting

On January 23, YRDSB Student Services, Curriculum and Instructional Services - Early Years and our SEAC partner, Early Intervention Services (EIS) partnered to host a family information meeting at Richmond Green Secondary School for students transitioning to Kindergarten in the Fall. Participants learned more about the YRDSB Kindergarten program, the transition process to school, and how YRDSB and EIS together support that process.

Two screens in the cafeteria at Richmond Green SS that display the text EIS Kindergarten Information Meeting. York Region District School Board and Early Intervention Services.


Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) - Yes I Can Awards 

The 2024 Yes I Can Awards are now open for nominations from YRDSB staff! The Yes I Can Awards honour children and youth with exceptionalities who shine. CEC has recognized the accomplishments of thousands of students since the program started in 1982.

In York Region, a joint CEC Awards Ceremony is held each spring with the York Region District School Board, York Region Catholic District School Board and the Ontario Council for Exceptional Children. Together, we celebrate the accomplishments of students, while recognizing the educators, staff and parents who teach, support and inspire students with exceptionalities.

The awards ceremony will be held on May 29, 2024 at Richmond Green Secondary School from 4:30-6:00p.m. For more information about the awards, please check out the Yes I Can Awards video on YouTube.

Yes I Can Awards Save the Date. May 29th, 2024. 4:30-6:00pm. Richmond Green Secondary School. X - @YRCHapter543. Instagram - #YIC2024.


Experience Works

The nineteenth edition of the Work Experience and Transition Program newsletter is now available. Check out the amazing stories highlighting the success of students at various work placements throughout York Region. 

Experience Works. Nineteenth Edition Newsletter: Winter 2023-2024. The "Loby Crew" is amazing because of their friendly demeanor, social skills and work ethics! Four images of students in their uniform at McDonalds's.


Supporting your Mental Health through the Winter

In their February newsletter, the YRDSB Mental Health team provided tips on staying connected, fostering healthy relationships and participating in physical activities through the Winter. This newsletter also contains a variety of virtual and in-person activities, events and resources. Check out their newsletter to find out more on how to embrace the Winter and promote mental health. 

Hand facing up with halves of a heart and brain forming a large heart.


Spotlighting Excellence, Achievement & Community

Fergus’ Dedication, Responsibility & Creativity

Fergus is a Grade 10 student at Richmond Green Secondary School that enjoys participating in various activities at school and in the Work Experience Program. At school, Fergus participates in the Breakfast Club through making banana bread for his school’s breakfast club program. He also displays leadership through facilitating games and activities for his peers.

Fergus’ work experience placement is at Richmond Green Public Library. At the library, Fergus demonstrates independence, responsibility, strong communication, and organization skills from the moment he arrives, through greeting others, until his shift is over and he has completed all of his organizational tasks. Fergus has also become an expert in using the fabric printer at the library to make T-shirts. He uses his creativity to create digital designs and uses those designs to make t-shirts for others. At the end of last school year, Fergus created t-shirts for his graduating classmates.

Fergus enjoys sharing his love of t-shirt making with others and is currently working on creating visual instructions to empower others so they can use the fabric printer as well. 

Four images in a collage. First image is Fergus setting up in the cafeteria for a school activity. Second is a yellow tshirt Fergus made for his graduating classmates that has a picture of a rattle snake drawn by Fergus. Third image is a green tshirt with an image drawn by Fergus. Last image is Fergus working on a computer designing a tshirt before printing.


Important Dates


Life After High School

  • This event is for students with hearing loss and their families to find out more about post-secondary. It will take place on February 28, 2024 at Alexander Mackenzie High School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the cafeteria.


Learning Disabilities Association of York Region

Social Skills Winter Program

The Social Skills Winter program focuses on interpersonal skills (i.e. communication, listening, friendship skills), coping with emotions and stress, conflict resolution and problem solving, self advocacy skills, self-esteem, bullying and cyberbullying topics. It helps to promote self-esteem and self-confidence. The program is designed for children ages 6 to 12 with a primary diagnosis of a Learning Disability (LD) and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For more information and to register, please contact erica.pereira@ldayr.org or call 905-884-7933 ext. 5. Online Registration


Level Up Tutoring Program

A Numeracy and Literacy Homework Tutor Program

The program is designed for students in grades 3-7, who need extra support catching up with basic concepts and having homework assistance during the school year. Tutors meet once a week virtually to support your child’s current learning goals. They also work one-on-one with children to help develop good study habits, numeracy and literacy skills, and to offer support with homework. Children must also have a diagnosis of a learning disability and/or ADHD, as per an IPRC or PsychoEducational Assessment. For more information, please contact Tori Bekolay, at tori.bekolay@ldays.org or 905-884-7933 ext 4. Online Registration


Reading Rocks

Reading Rocks is an individualized reading intervention program designed by Brock University’s Dr. John McNamara, who specializes in Learning Disabilities. This program is designed for students who are performing a minimum of one year behind in the area of literacy due to a diagnosed learning disability.

In addition to foundational literacy skills, Reading Rocks is an intervention approach that uses motivational tactics to engage children in the reading process. These tactics are designed to actively engage children in their own learning. The motivation tactics are engaged through the use of instructional workstations that tutors design and tailor to each child’s needs. 

The Reading Rocks approach is designed to be delivered in a series of 1-hour instructional sessions. Program will run 8 weeks, twice a week - Monday and Wednesday Two sessions available 4:30pm - 5:30pm and/or 6:30 pm - 7:30pm

For more information please contact Tori Bekolay, at tori.bekolay@ldays.org or 905-884-7933 ext 4. Online Registration



JUMP Math is an individualized tutoring program for students aged 8-14 who are performing a minimum of one year behind in the area of math due to a diagnosed, identified, or suspected math disability (dyscalculia), and who are showing signs of math anxiety.

Participants work in small groups (4) with a trained numeracy tutor to build foundational math skills and computational fluency. Sessions are taught using a combination of direct instruction and engaging math games and activities. Participants are also able to set goals and visualize their progress throughout the program in order to foster math confidence.

Program will run 8 weeks, twice a week Tuesday and Thursday. Two sessions available 4:30pm - 5:30pm and/or 6:30pm - 7:30pm. For more information please contact Tori Bekolay, at tori.bekolay@ldays.org or 905-884-7933 ext 4. Online Registration


SOAR Transitions Elementary

For students in grade 8 transitioning to high school and have been identified with a Learning Disability and/or ADHD. 

The foundation of this program will help participants identified with Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD to develop life skills to succeed academically and vocationally. The participant will gain an understanding of their strengths and areas of need as well as a better understanding of their LD and/or ADHD.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understanding LDs/ADHD and learning preferences (i.e. review psycho-educational assessment).
  • Develop self-advocacy strategies for success (i.e. review (I.E.P.) Individual Education Plan).
  • Build executive function skills (i.e. organization, time management, etc.) 
  • Preparation for school assessments (i.e. test, exam, assignment).
  • Successful transitions into high school easing anxiety and stress.

For more information and to register, please contact Rachel Liscio at rachel.liscio@ldays.org or (905) 884-7933 ext.6. Online Registration


Parents Support Group

Parent(s) and/or Guardian(s) are welcome to attend our Virtual Support Group to help guide caregivers through various stages of accepting and managing their child’s Learning Disabilities and/or ADHD. This is a monthly opportunity to meet and share common experiences, handle emotions, strategize for strengths and challenges in a positive way. This occurs monthly on Thursday evenings from 7:30PM - 9:00PM via Zoom. For more information, please contact erica.pereira@ldayr.org or call 905-884-7933 ext. 5. Online registration


Strategies for Life 

Strategies for Life is a program that provides socio-emotional support to individuals who are facing personal challenges or difficulties, and have ADHD or a learning disability.

The Program:

  • Individual Support
  • 9 sessions
  • Learning disabilities/ADHD
  • 60 minutes sessions
  • Advocacy 
  • Social Skills
  • Anxiety and/or Stress Management Learning Strategies Coping Skills and Strategies

For more information, please contact erica.pereira@ldayr.org or call 905-884-7933 ext. 5. Online Registration


Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) Meetings

The SEAC meets on the first Thursday of every month. All are welcome to attend and observe. For more information about SEAC and our SEAC members, please visit the SEAC webpage.

Upcoming SEAC Meetings

The meeting dates for the remainder of the year are set out below. 

  • February 1, 2024
  • March 7, 2024
  • April 6, 2024
  • May 2, 2024
  • June 6, 2024

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