Regulation 464/97 Section 10 requires the school board to provide SEAC members, and their alternates, with information and orientation respecting:
- The role of the committee and of the board in relation to special education; and
- Ministry and board policies relating to special education.
This is to be provided “within a reasonable time” after the SEAC members are appointed. (Regulation 464/97 Section 10 (2)).
Special education is complex and Ministry and board policies and practices, as well as research and understanding about special education, are evolving rapidly. In addition, membership of SEAC can change within each SEAC term.
PAAC on SEAC recommends that school boards provide SEAC orientation and training on a regular basis and that professional development for SEAC members should be on-going.
Effective Practices to support SEAC member orientation and training includes:
- Providing orientation sessions for new SEAC members.
- Holding annual training sessions for all SEAC members.
- Holding joint SEAC orientation or training sessions with other school boards, for example the co-terminus school boards.
- Developing a SEAC orientation manual and providing all SEAC members with a copy.
- Matching new SEAC members with a mentor who is a more experienced SEAC member.
- Presenting information or training items within each SEAC meeting Agenda or within the annual schedule of SEAC meetings.
- Providing informal opportunities for SEAC members to meet and network during a meal break or special activity.
- Holding joint professional development sessions for school board staff and SEAC members.
- Inviting SEAC to send a representative, or attend as a group, professional development opportunities provided to the school board by the Ministry of Education or other Ministries or community organizations.