Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC)

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) had a Parent Engagement evening held at St Mary’s H.S. on April 20, 2017 with key note speaker DJ Cunningham. The various workshops were themed with Self Advocacy, Math Strategies, Assistive Technologies, Transition Planning and Sacramental Preparation. The presentations were geared toward assisting families with children with special needs in the WCDSB.

SEAC Parent Engagement Night Videos

SEAC members are expected to:

  • Advise and recommend to the Board of Trustees on special education programs and services relative to:
    • Annual review of Special Education Plan
    • Special education budget
    • Staffing
    • Staff training and development
    • Program philosophy, design, modification and delivery
    • Instructional equipment and materials
    • Accommodation and playgrounds
    • Transportation – policies and practices
    • Community resources
  • Respond to the needs of all exceptional pupils within the board
  • Be available as a resource for parents of exceptional students
  • Acquire and maintain a working knowledge of special education programs and services
  • Advise SEAC colleagues of concerns relative to the students, parents and association whom he/she represents

Who Are We?

Autism Ontario Waterloo Chapter: To ensure that each individual with ASD is provided the means to achieve quality of life as a respected member of society.

Community Living Cambridge: believes that all people who have a mental handicap should live in a state of dignity.

Catholic Family Counselling Centre: non-denominational, not-for-profit counselling centre which is dedicated to providing to children, adolescents, adults, couples and families, individual and/or group counselling.

CNIB Southwest Region:  is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians.  CNIB provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life while living with vision loss.

Community Living Cambridge: works with individuals, families, and groups to advocate for and provide support for, people with developmental challenges to be fully integrated members of the community.

Easter Seals Ontario:  is dedicated to helping children, youth and young adults with physical disabilities achieve their full individual potential and future independence.

Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region: to support the children and the families who require the care of Family and Children’s Services of Waterloo Region. Along with its statutory responsibility to protect children in danger of physical and emotional harm, the FCS agency, itself a charitable, nonprofit social service organization, provides children with a nurturing environment in which to heal and grow, and provides parents with the help and opportunities they need to create a better life for their families. 

Learning Disabilities Association: dedicated to assisting those with learning disabilities and their families in meeting their expressed needs by providing:

  • Support, guidance and resource information
  • Opportunities for sharing information and common concerns
  • Encouraging research and supportive appropriate legislative initiatives.

Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy: support group that provides a service of communication and advocacy through parent networking.

Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society: support group for parents and professionals. Through monthly meetings with guest speakers we provide network opportunities to share current information on Down Syndrome.
Waterloo Regional Police: committed to a leadership role within the community it serves and forming strong partnerships with the community. SEAC affords us an opportunity to realize our goals and foster positive relationships with a number of other agencies.
FASD Caregivers Empowerment Alliance (Waterloo Region): Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behaviour and learning disabilities.
W-W Voice for Hearing Impaired Children: dedicated to ensuring that all hearing impaired children have the right to develop their ability to listen and speak and have access to services which will enable them to listen and speak. We are a support group for parents and offer workshops for parents and professionals.

SEAC Members

Chair:  Zina Bartolotta, FASD Caregivers Empowerment Alliance

Staff Resources:
Laura Shoemaker, Superintendent: Learning Services
Gerald Foran, Principal

SEAC Representative


Organization Contact Information

Frank Thoms Autism Ontario 1-800-472-7789
Bill Conway, Trustee Waterloo Catholic District School Board 519-578-3660
Melanie Van Alphen, Trustee Waterloo Catholic District School Board 519-578-3660
Sue Simpson Waterloo Region Family Network 519-886-9150
Kimberly Murphy Waterloo Regional Down Syndrome Society 519-896-4488
John Gilbert Waterloo Regional Police 519-579-9668
Zina Bartolotta FASD Caregivers Empowerment Alliance (Waterloo Region) 226-808-4558
Irene Holdbrook CNIB 519-742-3536
Stuart Cross Family and Children’s Services 519-576-0540

 Did You Know That…

School boards are legally required to provide appropriate programs and services to all students regardless of their needs. Further to that, the Education Act (Section 82, Subsection 2) requires that each school board “shall establish a Special Education Advisory Committee”. In keeping with this legislation, and our own Catholic philosophy of serving all students in a Christ-centered environment, the Waterloo Catholic District School Board has a Special Education Advisory Committee.

SEAC is committed to ensuring that each student continuously grows in a holistic sense-spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially. Following this mandate SEAC is responsible for making recommendations to the Board of Trustees in respect of any matter related to the development, review, and provision of education programs and services for students with exceptional needs.

The legal definition of an exceptional student is one who’s behavioural, communication, intellectual, and physical abilities are such that he/she needs a modified learning program. Special education services are the support personnel and equipment necessary to implement a special education program.

SEAC Committee membership is presently comprised of 12 local associations and community representatives, and two school board trustees, all of whom are appointed by the full Board of Trustees for a three year term. The Supervisory Officer responsible for Special Education serves as administrative resource to the Committee.

SEAC Meeting Schedule

SEAC meets normally on the first Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Meetings take place in the Board Room at 35 Weber St. W., Unit A, Kitchener and are open to the public. Delegations wishing to address the Committee must register five calendar days prior to the meeting by calling 578-3660 and speaking with the office of the Superintendent of Student Services. Each delegation will be allowed 10 minutes to present.

Upcoming Meeting Agenda

Contact Information

Special Education Advisory Committee
Waterloo Catholic District School Board

35 Weber St. West, Unit A
PO Box 91116
Kitchener, ON, Canada
N2G 4G2

Phone: 519.578.3660
Email: info@wcdsb.ca (Please put SEAC in the subject line of your email).