Making Connections 2018 Featured Workshop:
Towards a new vision for special education
Virtually every school in Ontario has students receiving special education support. People for Education’s survey findings show that an average of 17% of students per elementary school and 27% per secondary school receives special education support. These percentages have been trending upward since 2000. How can we ensure that schools are creating a rich learning environment and supporting success for all students, no matter what their learning needs?
Louise Sirisko joined York Region District School Board (YRDSB) as Director of Education in January 2018. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role, including direct experience with another large school board in the province and with the Ministry of Education. Ms. Sirisko demonstrates a strong commitment to to equity, inclusion, and human rights. She has a proven track record of building positive relationships with students, families, staff, and community members to advance student achievement and well-being. Previous to her appointment as Director at YRDSB, Ms. Sirisko spent 27 years in education, including as the Director of the Special Education/Success for All Branch at the Ministry of Education. She began her career as an elementary school teacher, and has held other positions, including principal, superintendent of education, and superintendent of special education.
Louise on public education:
“In public education, we have the ability to make a difference in the trajectory of students’ lives. We want every student to achieve their personal excellence, and feel prepared to be successful in the future. That also means valuing students’ well-being, mental health, citizenship, and empathy. All students and their pathways matter.”
Kate started teaching in York Region District School Board in 1995. After teaching for several years in a regular classroom setting, she obtained her Special Education Specialist and became a Special Education Resource Teacher. Since 2003, she has been a vice-principal, principal, and regional principal of special education. In 2016, she was appointed Superintendent of Student Services in YRDSB. Kate is deeply committed to equity and inclusivity, and she works to ensure that every child has equal opportunities to reach their full potential.