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TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

 June 2, 2017

 

                                                                                                       

Call to Order:

Michael Garrett called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Finance Committee to order at 8:00 a.m. on June 2, 2017, in Room 102 of Building 600 at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 1100 W. 45th St., Austin, TX.

In addition to Mr. Garrett, Committee members, Bobby Druesedow and Michael Hanley were also present.

TSBVI staff members present were: Pamela Darden, Chief Financial Officer; Amanda Hafer, Accounting Director; Kate Mainzer, Human Resources Director; Brian McDonald, School Support Services Director; Mike Wolszon, Information Resource Director; and Karen Brown, Budget Analyst.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the April 7, 2017 Meeting: A motion to accept the Minutes of the April 7, 2017, committee meeting as presented was made by Bobby Druesedow. Michael Hanley seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.  

Consideration of Approval of Investment Report: Amanda Hafer presented the Investment Report for the eight months ended April 30, 2017. The total investments balance at 4/30/17 was reported as $909,651.76. The total earnings for the period was reported as $7,342.85. Michael Hanley moved to accept the Investment Report as presented. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Review of Donations Report: Amanda Hafer reviewed the Donations Report for the eight months ended April 30, 2017. The total donations received year to date for fiscal year 2017 were $38,520.10.

Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500: Amanda Hafer reported that there were three donations received over $500.00 during this reporting period. The U.S. Association for Blind Athletes donated $2,500.00 for physical education equipment and the Travis Association for the Blind donated $3,000.00 for the Student Council Campus Improvement Project. The Point Venture Lions Club donated $3,000.00 which was undesignated

Bobby Druesedow moved to accept the except the receipt of gift and donations as presented. Michael Hanley seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of approval of request for expenditures of undesignated gifts and donations: Amanda Hafer reported that the undesignated donation received from Point Venture Lions Club totaling $3,000.00 was undesignated. Pam Darden will meet with management at a later date to discuss the designation. Therefore, consideration of approval of request for expenditures of undesignated gifts and donations is not needed at this time.

Review of budget reports: Amanda Hafer reviewed the Budget Report for the eight months ended April 30, 2017.  The benchmark for expenditures was 67%. The total percent of all budgets in the State Treasury used was 61%.

Review of the Legacy Revenue report: Amanda Hafer reviewed the Legacy Revenue Report for the eight months ended April 30, 2017. The benchmark was 67% and the report reflected that TSBVI had received 76% of the projected revenue.

Review of the Legacy Expenditure report: Amanda Hafer reviewed the Legacy Expenditure Report for the eight months ended April 30, 2017. The benchmark was 67% with the report reflecting 42% of the projected expenditures.

Report from Human Resource Director: Kate Mainzer reported on the current hiring freeze. The agency submitted three Waiver Exception Requests to the Governor’s Office and was granted permission to hire on all three requests. The school was able to hire for vacant positions as they occurred and to hire teachers for summer school.

Report from the Business, Operations & Technology Administrator:

Pam Darden provided an update on the 85th Legislative Session that ended on May 29th.  TSBVI received the restoration of the 4% budget reduction.  Funding for the CAPPS implementation and the new Weekends Home facility was also received.

Report from Information Resources Director:  Mike Wolszon reported on the multiple security events in May, including the Google Docs hack, the WannaCry Ransomware attack, and the mass theft of e-mail addresses in the DocuSign hack.  For the most part, the agency’s security practices and those of the users protected the campus from these events.    

Report from School Support Services: Brian McDonald reported on the Main Phase of construction that is scheduled to take place over the summer with a final completion date set for November 2017.  He met with the Texas Facilities Committee and vendors.  Dorms that are 10 years and older will have interior and exterior improvements that will take place at the end of summer school. The pool will have new lighting controls installed before summer school begins.

Brian also reported on the following:

TSBVI and TFC met regarding the understaffed custodial department. The agencies are working together to make sure the buildings are cleaned on a daily basis. A meeting was held with TSBVI, TFC, the architect and the contractor to discuss the improvements to the Superintendent’s house. The bid provided was unacceptable for the window replacement as it exceeded $600,000. Other options are being explored.

Adjournment: Michael Hanley made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Bobby Druesdow seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:01 a.m.

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on September 28, 2017 beginning at 2:00 p.m. in the Board Meeting Room, Building 600, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

If, during the course of the meetings, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Board shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government Code, Sec. 551.001, et seq.  Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session.  All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.  The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken, are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

BOARD AGENDA

for September 28, 2017 Meeting

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  1. Call to Order Board Member Training Session: 
  2. The Board’s Role in Crisis Management – Mikayla Myers, Austin ISD Emergency Management Coordinator
  3. Adjournment

 

 

 

 

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on September 29, 2017 beginning at 10:15 a.m. in the Board Meeting Room, Building 600, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

If, during the course of the meetings, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Board shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government Code, Sec. 551.001, et seq.  Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session.  All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.  The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken, are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

BOARD AGENDA

for September 29, 2017 Meeting

   

 

  1. Call to Order  

  2. Introduction of Audience

  3. Public Comments/Open Forum

  4. Recognition of Students for Outstanding Performance on Statewide Assessments (Joseph Muniz)

  5. Recognition of Retiring TSBVI Employees (Joseph Muniz)

  6. Consideration of Approval of Minutes of August 4, 2017 Board Meeting (Joseph Muniz), pages 4-13

  7. Report from the Finance Committee (Michael Garrett)

    1. Consideration of approval of Investment Report, page 14
    2. Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500, pages 15-19
    3. Consideration of approval of request for expenditure of gifts and donations, pages 15-19
    4. Review of budget reports
    5. Operating Budget Expenditure Report, pages 20-25
    6. Legacy Revenue Budget Report, page 26
    7. Legacy Operating Expenditure Budget Report, pages 27-28
    8. Report on Public Funds Investment Act training received by Investment Officers, page 29
  8. Report from the Program Committee (Lee Sonnenberg)

     a.  Consideration of approval of polices:  pages 30-108

FFAC          Wellness and Health Services:  Medical Treatment (amend), pages 74-81
GRA            Relations with Governmental Entities:  State and Local Governmental Authorities (amend), pages 97-103
GRAA          State and Local Governmental Authorities:  Law Enforcement Agencies (amend), pages 104-110
GRAA-E      State and Local Governmental Authorities:  Law Enforcement Agencies (amend), pages 111-113
 
     b. Report from Comprehensive Program Principal, Miles Fain 
     c. Statewide Assessment results, pages 114-118
     d. Plan to promote academic excellence, page 119
     e. Report on English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Analysis, pages 120-121
     f.  TSBVI Student Performance Indicator results, pages 122-127
     g. Consideration of membership to the School Health Advisory Council, page 128
     h. Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt
 
9.  2017 Summer programs Report from the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee (Joseph Muniz)
 
     a.  Consideration of approval of polices:  pages 30-128
 
BBA             Board Members:  Appointments/Qualifications (amend), pages 37-38
BBA-E         Board Members:  Appointments (amend), page 39
BBD             Board Members:  Training and Orientation (amend), pages 40-43
BBE             Board Members:  Authority (amend), pages 44-46
BE                Board Meetings (amend), pages 47-55
BE-E            Board Meetings (amend), page 56
BEC             Board Meetings:  Closed Meetings (amend), pages 57-61
CFCA          Internal Audit Charter (amend), pages 62-73
GB               Public Information Program (amend), pages 82-83
GBBA          Public Information Program:  News Media Relations (amend), pages 84
GKA             Community Relations:  Conduct on School Premises (amend), pages 85-96
 
b.  Report from the Internal Auditor (Jaye Stepp), page 129

             Consideration of approval of Contract Management Audit

             Consideration of approval of the Annual Internal Audit Report (AIAR)

             Report on the Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (QAIP)

10.  Consideration of Approval of TSBVI Organizational Chart (Bill Daugherty), pages 130-131

11.   Final Update on Completion of Action Plans in the 2016-2017 Annual Improvement Plan (Bill Daugherty), page 132

12.  Report from the Superintendent, pages 133-134                                                                                  

Update on Legislative Budget Board Management and Performance Review

Next steps in strategic planning

Comprehensive Programs enrollment update

Campus activities

13.  Consideration of Superintendent’s Formative Evaluation (Joseph Muniz), page 135

14.  Consideration of Internal Auditor’s Formative Evaluation (Joseph Muniz), page 136

15.  Discussion of Future Board Meeting Topics (Joseph Muniz) 

16.  Announcements

17.  Adjournment

BOARD PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING

June 2, 2017

Call to order

 

Lee Sonnenberg called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Programs at 8:02 a.m. on June 2, 2017 in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

Program Committee member Dr. Anne Corn was also present.  Program Committee member Caroline Daley was not present.

TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were:  Sara Merritt, Short-Term Programs Principal; Miles Fain, Comprehensive Programs Principal; Cyral Miller, Outreach Director; Leonard Schwartz, TSBVI Attorney; Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director; Shelly Allen, Residential Director; Chrissy Cowan and Mary Shore, Outreach Mentor Center program.

Consideration of approval of minutes of the April 7, 2017 meeting

Dr. Corn moved that the minutes of the April 7, 2017 meeting be approved and Mr. Sonnenberg seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Consideration of approval of amendment to Polcy FL: Student Records

Ms. Hauser explained the proposed amendments, which are based on legal changes in the new Every Student Succeeds Act.  In addition to amendments printed in the Board agenda book, Mr. Schwartz recommended addition of the following underlined clarifying language to the Policy FL section Student Recruiting Information, Consent to Release:

“A student who has attained 18 years of age or a parent of a secondary school student under the age of 18 years or who has legal guardianship over a student over the age of 18 years may submit a written request to the School that the student’s name, address, and telephone listing not be released for purposes described above without prior written consent. ”

Dr. Corn moved that the recommended policy amendments be accepted, including additional language recommended by Mr. Schwartz.  Mr. Sonnenberg seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt

Ms. Merritt reported on Short-Term Program attendance.   She provided and reviewed charts of attendance during the school year that included information on overall duplicated and unduplicated counts of student attendance, numbers of students attending each program, and attendance totals by region.  Ms. Merritt explained that the attendance count this year was affected by the fact that STP was unable to replace a teacher who left due to lack of qualified applicants, and by the fact that one program had to be canceled due to a teacher emergency.  However, the availability of distance learning options offset this impact. Student participation in distance learning increased STP attendance numbers.  Total attendance increased for the year. The teacher who left the state and could not be replaced this year has now returned and been rehired, which will alleviate the staffing issue next year.

Dr. Corn asked about the high number of cancellations that STP continues to experience.  Sara described several family and student factors that contribute to cancellations.  Dr. Corn asked if there is anything in the admissions process that might help this situation, since cancellations create significant costs to TSBVI.  Ms. Merritt described a statement that is included in the application which is intended to discourage cancellations.  Ms. Merritt has considered not allowing a student who cancels  to attend a future program, but she does not believe that this is a good idea.   Mr. Fain pointed out that the current electronic application is much easier to initiate, which may sometimes lead to less committed referrals.

Ms. Merritt described her presentations at Outreach Forums.  Other states, such as Utah, have taken TSBVI’s good ideas and implemented those in their states.   Dr. Corn asked if TSBVI keeps data on how TSBVI affects other states.  Ms. Miller said that TSBVI does not maintain or share that particular data.  Ms. Miller feels that TSBVI can more effectively maintain a leadership role by doing it quietly and not talking about it too much.

Ms. Allen said that she has observed that last-minute cancellations for STP summer programs have decreased.  There are fewer student not showing up on registration day.  She attributes this to the pre-registration follow up done by STP staff, so that students planning to cancel can be replaced before registration day.

Dr. Corn asked if there is anything else that Ms. Merritt wants to bring to the Board.  Ms. Merritt said that there is not at this time. 

Dr. Corn gave recognition to STP teacher Kathi Garza for her work with the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH).  Ms. Merritt mentioned that Ms. Garza facilitates a STP summer book club, which currently features a book about a student who has albinism.  Dr. Corn suggested consideration of another book featuring a person with albinism, Beyond the Pale by Emily Urquhart.   

Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain

Mr. Fain gave an enrollment update for Comprehensive Programs.  This year, Comprehensive Programs served a total of 162 students.  Mr. Fain gave attendance numbers for each program.  Comprehensive Programs is continuing to get referrals for next school year, and Mr. Fain predicts that the enrollment for next year will continue to be comparable to recent years.  

Dr. Corn noticed the relatively low enrollment in elementary programs, and she asked how families could be better informed about TSBVI programs.  Ms. Miller said that neither all families nor all TVIs across the state are familiar with TSBVI programs.  Ms. Miller recommends diligience in continuing to inform families of TSBVI programs.  Mr. Sonnenberg said that the TSBVI brochure which is given to parents could be improved.  Ms. Miller has gotten feedback from others that TSBVI needs to produce a brochure that is more interesting and family-friendly.  A new brochure should have simple information and include a link to a place a family can get additional information.  The Program Committee members requested that TSBVI look into a revision to the brochure. 

Mr. Fain introduced Shelly Allen, who is the chairperson of the School Health Advisory Council.  Ms. Allen gave a report on this year’s School Health Advisory activities, such as a wellness fair during parent weekend, a summer newsletter, and collecting student information from health screenings.  Everything on this year’s action plan was completed and Ms. Allen has proposed a new action plan for next year.  She described membership of the Council and the ways she has worked to include parental input and participation.  Mr. Sonnenberg suggested moving Council meetings to the evening to assist parents in attending. 

Dr. Elina Mullen is the chairperson of the Council’s sub-committee on fitness.  She is working on analyzing student’s health data and will make recommendations to TSBVI PE teachers.  It is difficult to affect home environments directly, so teachers focus on helping student themselves develop heathly habits and attitudes.  Dr. Corn would like to see the data analysis on unhealthy student Body Mass Indexes (BMIs).  Mr. Fain will invite Dr. Mullen to give a report to the Board on this topic next year.  The fitness subcommittee has carried out numerous fitness activities.  Cheryl Austin, residential teacher, who is a registered dietitian, has worked with the school’s Food Services department.  There have been improvements to school-day meals, and there was a fruit fair one day at lunch time. Efforts to improve evening and weekend meals, such as better and fresher food and menus for dorms to prepare for students on weekends, have gone slowly due to staffing issues in Food Services.  Ms. Allen will discuss these efforts with Pam Darden, so that improvements can continue.  The Program Committee supports these efforts to provide healthier food on the weekends. 

Dr. Corn asked if there is anything that Mr. Fain would like to bring to the Board.  Mr. Fain has no additional requests at this time.  He mentioned the many staff retirements this year and the new excellent staff who has been hired to replace them.   In addition, Comprehensive Programs is adding two additional residential teachers next year, so there will be four residential teachers.  This is a very positive step, since residential teachers add significant quality to residential programs. 

Report from Outreach Director, Cyral Miller

Ms. Miller reported on changes in personnel in Outreach.  Outreach has experienced a large turnover of highly experienced staff, but new teachers who have been hired to replace them are very exciting.  For example, the loss of teacher Pat Van Geem led to discussion of how to support assistive technology.  TSBVI was fortunate to be able to hire Cecilia Robinson as a new Outreach teacher.  Ann Adkins is retiring, and she is being replaced by Renee Ellis, who has excellent qualifications, including certification in early childhood and infancy, which is a great component to add to the Outreach team. 

Sue Enoch, who has been doing APH materials distribution and VI census management, is leaving.  Under her leadership, TSBVI has changed to electronic, automated systems for VI registration and for APH material management.  The current systems require more technical support, and federal funding for Outreach is in flux, so a decision was made not to replace Ms. Enoch at this time.  Responsibility for support of the systems has been assigned to current staff Randall McAlister and Brian Sobeck.  The need that remains is to better publicize APH materials.

This week, TSBVI organized a distance conference among leaders of several family organizations in Texas, to discuss how these organizations can work together better.  They exchanged ideas and decided to put links to each other’s organizations on their respective websites.  Everyone is very willing to collaborate and to support each other.  The next meeting will discuss how to get the word out to more parents and how to organize better to build up organizational presence and activities in Texas.   

Reporting process for Texas Tech University and Stephen F. Austin University Regarding Teacher Preparation Programs

Chrissy Cowan and Mary Shore attended the meeting in order to gather Program Committee questions about personnel prep programs.  Dr. Corn has previously sent a list of questions to Susan Houghtling, which should be forwarded to Ms. Cowan and Ms Shore.  Ms. Miller asked that Board member questions be sent to her, so she can bring answers to the Board in the future. 

Dr. Corn asked about TSBVI’s MOU with the universities and what TSBVI’s goals in the personnel prep program are and what the intent of the legislature was.  Ms. Miller explained that when the original request for funding for TVI preparation was made, the Legislative Budget Board determined not to provide money to the universities as requested, but rather to provide funding to TEA for the purpose of increasing numbers of qualified TVIs working in Texas.  Funding was delegated to TSBVI, and the program has been very successful in achieving this goal.  Universities provide TSBVI data on student participation, but the legislature did not give TEA or TSBVI oversight of the quality of the university training programs, which remains in the hands of the universities.

Ms. Shore reported that the universities do not track whether the TVIs they train are successfully employed in Texas.   Ms. Miller said that there is a process for students who receive stipends and do not complete their program to return the funds.  If the student drops out, that student receives a letter from the universities requesting repayment of stipend funds.  However, there is no willingness on the part of the universities to enforce funds repayment beyond sending the letter.

Ms. Shore shared information from the 2016 Executive Summary of Need for VI Professionals, including total number of VI professionals in the state.  The report includes student enrollment in and graduation from Texas universities, which have increased.  The report indicated the need for expanding cultural diversity of VI professionals and indicated that TVI caseloads continue to increase.  There was a discussion of methods to determine appropriate TVI caseloads. 

Results of past years’ VI registrations are available online.  The new VI registration includes a request for the name of the VI teacher of record for each student.  Next year this information will be used to create a report of TVI caseloads in Texas.

Ms. Cowan reported on mentor center numbers.  There was a discussion of the benefits of the mentor center in supporting new TVIs for success and for helping new TVIs stay in the field.  There are two funding sources for the mentor program –  federal funds (which are passed on to the universities) and state funds (which are used by TSBVI).  All the stipend money is going to students, and it all is being used.  Mr. Sonnenberg asked whether university fees were being charged to students, and if so, whether these fees could be waived.  Ms. Miller will follow up on that.  Personnel prep funds are only used for Texas residents but universities have other grants that can support students from other states or countries.  Ms. Shore described TSBVI’s TVI recruiting activities, such as handing out flyers at mentor centers and conferences and posting information on the TSBVI website. Universities are recruiting by sending information to service centers and other groups. Service Centers are very helpful in recruiting new TVIs into preparation programs.

Dr. Corn asked if Ms. Miller has requests for the Board.  Ms. Miller has no additional requests at this time.  She mentioned how many impressive Outreach activities are possible due to the funding and support provided by the Board.  Dr. Corn suggested that the Board request a report on facilities and whether programs have adequate physical space for their activities. Ms. Miller will check to make sure that major Outreach reports are sent to the Board.

Adjournment

 Dr. Corn made a motion to adjourn.  Mr. Sonnenberg seconded the motion.  Mr. Sonnenberg adjourned the meeting at 10:04 a.m.

 TSBVI BOARD COMMITTEE MEETING

AUDIT, COMPLIANCE, AND MANAGEMENT REVIEW

June 2, 2017

Call to Order

Joseph Muniz called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Audit, Compliance, and Management Review at 8:03 a.m. on June 2, 2017 in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas.  Committee member Mary Alexander was also present.  TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Jaye Stepp, Internal Auditor; Pam Darden, Administrator for Business, Operations and Technology; Cyrenna Villegas, Procurement Manager; and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the January 27, 2017 Meeting

Mary Alexander moved that the minutes of the January 27, 2017 meeting be approved and Mr. Muniz seconded the motion.  All Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Report from the Administrator for Business, Operations and Technology, Pam Darden

Preparations for the Contract Management Audit

Pam Darden stated that the internal audit risk assessment identified three areas of potential risk associated with contract management.  Since that time, tremendous strides have been made including a reorganization of Business Office staff and the hiring of a new procurement manager, Cyrenna Villegas.  Ms. Villegas has developed extensive processes and guidelines for the Intranet.  A new Director of Accounting, Amanda Hafer, was hired who has, along with Ms. Villegas, improved the flow of contracts. 

Ms. Darden reported that an FTE was moved from the accounting part of the Business Office into purchasing and Bertha Diaz from Austin ISD was hired for this position.  Another purchaser retired and the School received a waiver from the Governor’s hiring freeze to hire a contract specialist position that will be posted in the future.  

Ms. Darden explained that the purchaser goes through certain training to be certified and the contract specialist will also have that certification.  Bertha Diaz will receive CTCM training to handle contracts as well.

Ms. Darden stated that she is still working to get everything in place and combing through legislative bills passed during this session.  Senate Bill 84 which passed in the 84th session includes stringent requirements related to contract management.  Ms. Villegas has worked to be in compliance with Senate Bill 84 and Senate Bill 20 which seeks to increase transparency in government.  Contract reporting requirements for the Legislative Budget Board have also been added.

Ms. Darden stated that the first area of risk identified by the internal auditor is related to fraud.  To mitigate this risk, Ms. Villegas brought all contract management into the Business Office from departments across the campus and limited the delegation of approval authority to herself, Ms. Villegas, and Bill Daugherty.  Ms. Villegas developed boiler plate contracts and worked with Cyral Miller and Leonard Schwartz to develop one-page Outreach Department contracts.  

Ms. Darden explained that the biggest contracts are associated with MOUs and added that her staff will review them to make sure the School is getting deliverables and that all is in compliance.

Mr. Muniz questioned whether this would include the School’s contract with the Texas Facilities Commission and Mr. Daugherty replied that it did not.  Ms. Darden added that it is TFC’s contract rather than ours and we will have input into it once it is renewed, probably this biennium.

Mr. Daugherty added that the TFC MOU is still in its early days and is reviewed often to determine TFC vs TSBVI’s responsibilities.

Mr. Muniz asked if TSBVI has a contract with AISD for the students who attend classes there and Mr. Daugherty responded that we do not and added that it is an informal agreement.  He stated that there have never been any issues with AISD.

Ms. Darden said that the second area of identified risk was incomplete data.  She added that she thought catching this on the front end would address the problem.

Jaye Stepp responded that it is just an overall risk and added that she believed Ms. Darden has controls in place.

Ms. Darden reported the third identified risk as noncompliance with State procurement laws and rules.  She stated that the School had been completely out of compliance and added that she had worked on mitigating the risk.  Ms. Villegas continues to work with campus customers to be in compliance.  Regarding written procedures, Ms. Darden said her staff are working on developing them and will have them out by the end of August.

Mr. Muniz stated that he was distressed by past non-compliance areas issues but added that he felt the School now has the right people in place to address them.  He acknowledged that Ms. Darden has had a lot on her plate and stated that he was impressed with her progress. 

Ms. Darden thanked Ms. Villegas for her work in making improvements.

Report from the Internal Auditor, Jaye Stepp

Consideration of Approval of the TAC 202 Information Security Audit

Jaye Stepp explained that her TAC 202 Information Security Audit contained four recommendations and each of them can be met by going through the control standards catalog, which is huge. 

Recommendation #1 included a review and update of IS Security policies and procedures and a review of the DIR Control Standards Catalog.  Management responded that an action plan is currently underway to review and update all IR policies and procedures.

One objective of the audit was to review and evaluate the processes for communication to staff on matters relating to IS security standards through training or direct communication. Ms. Stepp stated that the IT Department has stepped up to the plate on telling staff about risks and this needs to continue, perhaps by creating monthly postings for staff. 

Ms. Stepp stated that one of the responsibilities of an agency Information Security Officer is to develop and maintain an information security plan.  While TSBVI’s plan has been developed and filed with DIR as required, it was not first reviewed and approved by the Superintendent.  Ms. Stepp said that Ray Solanik is the Information Security Officer and she believed it should be a higher level person, but that decision should come from Pam Darden or Bill Daugherty. 

One recommendation made was to implement a periodic information systems risk assessment.  Ms. Stepp recommended that a separate risk assessment be completed every year and include identified risks and experiences.

Ms. Alexander expressed surprise about the agency security plan and the review process that was not followed.  Mr. Daugherty responded that he may have had some responsibility because it may have been provided to him but he did not recall it.  He added that the review process will be more formal in the future and the plan will go through him before being submitted.

Ms. Stepp said that DIR has a maturity level template for defining the status of agencies.  She said that TSBVI is at a level 2 with 5 being world class.

Mr. Muniz said that some of the audit results are disappointing and added that information security is especially important.  He stated that the Board needs to assure that identified issues are addressed and added that it is a priority issue for him.  He expressed that he was satisfied it is important to Mr. Daugherty also and added that it is IR’s responsibility to take that vision and make it happen.  He asked Mr. Daugherty to express his concerns with Pam Darden.

Ms. Stepp responded that she believed that IR is keeping the School going as well as keeping support going but that documentation is lacking.

Mr. Daugherty stated that he thought IR has kept the campus very safe and secure and added that Ms. Darden has sent a clear directive to the IR Director to improve documentation.  However, there will still be vulnerabilities related to student data.  Staff need flexibility related to working on weekends at home and on mobile devices.  Laptop computers are most vulnerable but it is highly unlikely that someone would want student data.  It must be considered a managed risk and the Management Team has had a lot of discussion about the topic.  The School has moved to allow slightly more access but not as much as districts such as Austin ISD.

Ms. Darden said that Ransomware can steal data and require the owner of the computer to pay to get it back.  The School has firewalls in place and works with the Department of Information Resources but will always be at risk.  IR does not have a section of the department that is devoted to that risk and the School may have to increase staffing or make purchases to increase security in the future.

Ms. Darden stated that she meets with the IR Director regularly and also with IR staff regarding their tasks.  The new Drupal platform will provide more security and can sometimes be used as a log-in system.  Ms. Darden reported that she has met with Jake Knight in IR to discuss firewall and new storage needs.  Ms. Darden said that written IR status reports will be developed and can be shared with Board members.

Ms. Alexander said that, as new systems are brought in, accessibility needs to be assured.

Ms. Darden replied that webmasters Stacey Rayos and Jim Allan work side-by-side on accessibility and even make national presentations on the topic.  Accessibility will be a priority for any system being considered.

Mr. Daugherty stated that he believed all of the concerns expressed by Mr. Muniz and Ms. Alexander will be addressed.

Mr. Muniz and Ms. Alexander agreed that they have confidence in the outcome with Ms. Darden’s being involved.

Ms. Alexander moved to approve the TAC 202 Information Security Audit as presented and Mr. Muniz seconded the motion.  All board members were in favor of the motion.

Audit Recommendations Tracking Schedule (ARTS)

Ms. Stepp briefly reviewed the status of completion of recommendations from previous audit reports.

Mr. Muniz noted that Pam Darden has a lot on her plate to complete and added that the past year had been an extraordinary one with multiple audits and her incredibly valuable work with the legislature.  He stated that he was inclined to visit on some of the due dates for completing audit recommendations and perhaps push the timelines back at least a quarter.

Ms. Darden responded that she appreciated Mr. Muniz’s words but believed she can have the recommendations complete by the end of the fiscal year.  She added that she has strong support from her directors.

Mr. Daugherty said that the recommendation regarding implementing a staff development tracking system by the end of the fiscal year may be need to be extended and added that it potentially could affect the new teacher compensation system.

Adjournment

Ms. Alexander moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:06 a.m. and Mr. Muniz seconded the motion.  All Board members were in favor of the motion.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on August 4, 2017 beginning at 

8:00 a.m. in the Board Meeting Room of the Administration Building, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

If, during the course of the meeting, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Board shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government Code, Sec. 551.001, et seq. Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session. All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.

The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken, are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

BOARD AGENDA
for August 4, 2017 Meeting

Introduction of Audience

  1. Call to Order
  2. Recognition of Retiring TSBVI Staff Members
  3. Public Comments/Open Forum
  4. Consideration of Approval of Minutes of June 2, 2017 Board Meeting (Joseph Muniz), pages 3-11
  5. Consideration of Approval of Minutes of June 15 and 16, 2017 Board Meetings (Joseph Muniz), pages 12-54
  6. Consideration of Approval of Operating Budget and Personnel Budget for 2017-2018 (Pam Darden), page 55
  7. Consideration of Superintendent’s Salary for 2017-2018 (Joseph Muniz), pages 56-57
  8. Consideration of Approval to Transfer Funds between Budget Codes (Pam Darden), page 58
  9. Consideration of Approval of Internal Audit Plan (Jaye Stepp), page 59
  10. Consideration of Approval of Physicians’ Contracts Approved for the 2017-2018 School Year (Bill Daugherty), pages 60-68
  11. Discussion of Legislative Budget Board Management and Performance Review Report (Bill Daugherty), page 69
  12. Discussion of Initiating the Superintendent’s Formative Evaluation at the September Board Meeting (Joseph Muniz)
  13. Discussion of Initiating the Internal Auditor’s Formative Evaluation at the September Board Meeting (Joseph Muniz)
  14. Consideration of Future Board Meeting Topics (Joseph Muniz)
  15. Consideration of Approval of Board Training Sessions for the Remainder of the Calendar Year (Joseph Muniz)
  16. Consideration of Approval of TASB Delegate and Alternate (Joseph Muniz), page 70
  17. Announcements 
  18. Adjournment
 

                                                            TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED
                                                                                      Board Meeting Minutes
                                                                                      August 4, 2017 Meeting


Call to Order: Joseph Muniz called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. In addition to Mr. Muniz, the following board members were in attendance: Anne Corn, Michael Hanley, Bobby Druesedow and Michael Garrett. Mary Alexander and Caroline Daley were not present. The audience members included: Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Leonard Schwartz, General Counsel; Vicki Weston, Executive Assistant; Jaye Stepp, Internal Auditor; Amanda Hafer, Accounting Director; Pam Darden, Chief Financial Officer; Karen Brown, Budget Analyst; Cyrenna Villegas, Procurement Manager; Theresa Gross, Contract Specialist; Kate Mainzer, Human Resources Director; Kristi Sprinkle, Web Administrator and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation. Lee Sonnenberg joined the meeting at 9:45 a.m.

Recognition of Retiring TSBVI Staff Members: Karen Brown was recognized for her contribution at TSBVI for 23 years of service.

Public Comments/Open Forum: There were no public comments.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of June 2, 2017 Board Meeting: Michael Hanley made a motion to approve the minutes. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the June 2, 2017 board meeting.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of June 15 and 16, 2017 Board Meetings: Bobby Druesedow made a motion to approve the minutes. Michael Hanley seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the June 15 & 16, 2017 board meetings.

Consideration of Approval of Operating Budget and Personnel Budget for 2017-2018: Pam Darden stated that the Personnel and Operating Budgets were for FY18, beginning September 2017. Ms. Darden noted that she had made some format changes so that it is easier to understand and to follow along with how TSBVI reports are formatted for the LBB and Legislature. Ms. Darden reported that the total General Revenue Budget was $28 million and the total budget for Legacy was $801,400. Anne Corn asked where she could find the Curriculum revenues. Ms. Darden stated that those were not included in the report. Ms. Darden gave Dr. Corn the projections for 2018 and stated that the Curriculum Program is not a profitable program. Mr. Hanley asked if our budget balanced. Ms. Darden said that it did. Mr. Hanley then asked about unplanned expenses which would put the budget out of balance. Ms. Darden stated that if it were a major emergency with a significant funding need TSBVI could do an Emergency Appropriations Request and the Legislature would appropriate additional funds. Ms. Darden said that fortunately with our unexpended balances brought forward, TSBVI has funds available, if needed. Michael Garrett stated that there were a number of adjustments to the budget from last year. Ms. Darden said that historically TSBVI over budgeted with the unexpended balance. Ms. Darden stated that this budget is in alignment with the General Appropriation Act and the General Revenue was increased this year by $600,000. Mr. Garrett stated that he liked this approach.

Ms. Darden moved on to the Proposed Explanation of Changes telling the Board members that she budgeted on our bill pattern in the General Appropriations Act. Ms. Darden said that the program codes are not in numerical order, but are in the order of goals and strategies. She pointed out that the monthly board reports were in the same order. Ms. Darden said that she would begin on page one with significant changes. For General Revenue Budget 4175 - Instructional Technology, Comprehensive Programs, all agencies took a cut which would show throughout the budget as well as adjustments to the budget based on historical spending in 2016 and through June of 2017. Ms. Darden went through the budget pointing out only significant changes. Joseph Muniz asked about the line item decreasing Facilities. Ms. Darden explained that TSBVI funds two FTEs that do jobs around campus that may not be included in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC). Mr. Muniz also asked if there was a direct impact on TFC and Ms. Darden said there was not. Mr. Muniz asked about the decrease in the Center for School Resources (CSR). Ms. Darden explained that the CSR had previously been budgeted for medical services for the last few years but had not used them. She further stated that they also had budgeted for extra hours and substitutes which had not been utilized. Mr. Muniz asked Mr. Daugherty if any of these reductions had a substantive impact on students. Mr. Daugherty said that he did not think so and if it were to happen he would supplement in that area. Mr. Muniz asked if there were any indication the hiring freeze would go beyond September 1, 2017. Mr. Daugherty stated that he had no reason to think it would.

Ms. Darden went on the Legacy budget and reviewed it. Mr. Muniz asked what the costs were for the prom. Ms. Darden said mostly for the venue, food and entertainment. He also asked about Trust Assistance. Ms. Darden stated that it was to assist students with incidental needs.
Michael Garrett made a motion to approve the Operating and Personnel Budgets for 2017-2018. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the budget.

Consideration of Superintendent’s Salary for 2017-2018: The Board discussed the Superintendent's salary and Pam Darden read the options to the Board. Anne Corn wanted to know the national salaries of superintendents. Mr. Daugherty said he did not have that information and speculated as to how the average salary might have been collected. Dr. Corn said that since the Board had not previously requested an increase in the Superintendent's salary, that it might be a good time to do so unless Mr. Daugherty felt otherwise. Mr. Daugherty stated that he would always be in favor of not going to the Governor's Office or LBB with a request for more than was appropriated. Mr. Daugherty said that he felt he is adequately compensated. Michael Garrett motioned to increase the Superintendent's salary to $142,159. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to request an increase to the Superintendent's salary. Bobby Druesedow asked if we were better off asking this year or next year. Ms. Darden explained that we asked last year so it will be dependent on what was going on with the state budget. She said that the State Auditor’s Office (SAO) report was released in even numbered years and if we wait until 2018 and collect our own data to support the request, we may be more likely to succeed. The Board discussed the options. Mr. Muniz asked if Mr. Daugherty's staff could work with the SAO and also independently research superintendent's salaries across the U.S.

Consideration of Approval to Transfer Funds between Budget Codes: Anne Corn made a motion to approve Transfer of Funds between Budget Codes. Michael Hanley seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Consideration of Approval of Internal Audit Plan: Jaye Stepp reviewed the audits that are on her schedule for the coming year. Anne Corn asked that acronyms be spelled out somewhere in the document and for larger print charts. Michael Garrett made a motion to approve the Internal Audit Plan. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Consideration of Approval of Physicians’ Contracts Approved for the 2017-2018 School Year: Bill Daugherty briefly explained the physician's contracts. Mr. Daugherty stated that there was a new low-vision doctor in Austin that he would like to get to know for a possible partnership in the future. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to approve the Physician's Contracts. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the Physician's Contracts.

Discussion of Legislative Budget Board Management and Performance Review Report: Bill Daugherty stated that the Budget Board Management and Performance Review Report was received. He explained that it was only received in print format and thus far had been unable to get it in an accessible format. Mr. Daugherty stated that overall, TSBVI did well and that the LBB staff had said as much.

Mr. Daugherty stated that there were thirty-three total recommendations: nineteen in the business office, five in the education department, six in the governance, and three recommendations in Human Resources.

Mr. Daugherty reported on the following recommendations:

Education
TSBVI does not have a formal process for updating curriculum. Mr. Daugherty said it is true we do not have a formal process for updating curriculum. He stated that we look at what is being requested, who is available to write and produce new curriculum and a number of other factors to set our schedule.

It was suggested that we increase efficiency in the production of teacher made instructional materials. Mr. Daugherty said that this is off-base for our students as their needs are heavily individualized.

Improve student progress reports. Mr. Daugherty said that special education requires such reports and again the auditors may be more familiar with general education than special education.

Expand career education department with new courses and career-related student organizations. Again Mr. Daugherty said he thought this was somewhat off-base as our students are so specialized. He stated that it is not always feasible to add new courses simply based on the small number of students we have at the school.

Revise and consolidate medical enrollment packet completed by students' physicians with accurate medical information. Mr. Daugherty stated that much has been done to automate and improve the medical packet but that it is and always will be a struggle.

Governance
It was recommended that the board receive more continuing education and improved orientation for new trustees. Mr. Daugherty stated that we will look at these recommendations as they seem reasonable.

The development of board operating procedures was also recommended. Mr. Daugherty said that this recommendation is reasonable and something that we will do.

Revise the superintendent's evaluation. Mr. Daugherty said that this is under consideration.

Revise the evaluations for management staff. Mr. Daugherty said that he will take this under consideration

Develop internal communications plan to communicate schoolwide key measures, initiatives and internal directives. Mr. Daugherty said that he did not think this was a problem at TSBVI but was not a bad recommendation and it will be considered.

Eliminate Director of Community Resource Services' role with All Blind Children of Texas Foundation. Mr. Daugherty suggested that legal counsel and perhaps the Attorney General's Office take a look at the situation.

Human Resources
Human Resources do an effectiveness survey. Mr. Daugherty reported that the H.R. Director said that a survey is a good thing to do.

Develop a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy. Mr. Daugherty stated that we have very low turnover at TSBVI. Most of the turnover is in residential which is because of the pay level over which we have very little control. Mr. Daugherty said that our retention is excellent which is evident in the number of years staff choose to stay at TSBVI.

More staff development for management team. Mr. Daugherty said that if he saw a weakness, he would recommend further training.

Business Office
Mr. Daugherty reported that the majority of the recommendations were from the Business Office and Information Resources. There were nineteen recommendations: Five of them have been completed. Six are in progress. Two of them are in review as to whether they are appropriate. There were six recommendations that need to be done with three of those in the Information Resources department.

Develop a formal process for fire drills. Mr. Daugherty considers this to be completed as they have been planned for the next year.

Analyze the security departments skill set to see if additional training is needed. Mr. Daugherty said we will probably provide more training.

Cash handling process needed to be updated. Mr. Daugherty said that the majority of these changes have been implemented. He also stated that some of the recommendations are forbidden by state law and some of the recommendations will not be implemented.

Better use of accounting software. Mr. Daugherty said that we are doing this by adding new modules of our accounting software regularly.

Limit staff access to add new vendors to purchasing databases. Mr. Daugherty said that specific staff have been assigned to do purchasing so this has largely been done.

Segregate duties regarding the legacy fund to strengthen controls. Mr. Daugherty said that this recommendation has been done.

Formalize the payroll audit process. Mr. Daugherty stated that this has been done.

Eliminate paper timesheets for substitutes. Mr. Daugherty stated that this has been done.

Accelerate cross-training in the business office. Mr. Daugherty stated that this has been completed.

Develop desk-level procedures. Mr. Daugherty said that this is in progress and is going well.

Get a fixed asset custodian in each department. Mr. Daugherty said this is under consideration.

Improve financial management in the food service department. Mr. Daugherty said all of this is in review right now and things are looking good.

Maximize our food service revenues by charging more for staff lunches. Mr. Daugherty said this is being done for the fall semester.

Modify snack program with after school care so that they are reimbursable. Mr. Daugherty said that this is under review. He stated that the with a reimbursable program, it limits what staff are able to purchase. Mr. Daugherty said that we are not in the business of maximizing profits in food service.

Recommend a tracking system for weekends home system so parents can see where the buses are at any given time. Mr. Daugherty said that this is in progress right now.

Establish a fleet replacement schedule. Mr. Daugherty said it doesn't quite work that way for us because we are very dependent on funding and it doesn't adhere to a set schedule. Mr. Daugherty feels our current process is working well.

Suggested a help desk in the IR department. Mr. Daugherty said we will likely do this.

More staff development in IR. Mr. Daugherty said we will likely do this.
Develop and implement standards for computer platforms. Mr. Daugherty said we do this to a certain extent and will improve on it.

Mike Hanley, Michael Garret and Anne Corn all asked questions about All Blind Children. Mr. Daugherty stated again that this is a legal question best answered by Mr. Schwartz and the Attorney General's Office. Mr. Garrett commented that he thought TSBVI's fleet replacement program was a good one. Anne Corn stated that she thought that overall we did great on the audit. Mr. Daugherty said that the LBB said the same thing.

Discussion of Initiating the Superintendent’s Formative Evaluation at the September Board Meeting: Kate Mainzer stated that she would be emailing the evaluation documents to the board.

Discussion of Initiating the Internal Auditor’s Formative Evaluation at the September Board Meeting: Kate Mainzer stated that she would be emailing the evaluation documents to the board.

Consideration of Future Board Meeting Topics: Anne Corn suggested a low-vision and blindness technology update.

Consideration of Approval of Board Training Sessions for the Remainder of the Calendar Year: Susan Houghtling reported to the Board her conversation with Chuck Campbell, an attorney in Austin who has experience as a fiduciary counselor for the Permanent School Fund. Ms. Houghtling said that Mr. Campbell stated that he has worked with many boards on investment and management of funds. He stated that he could help the board develop an investment policy statement, mission and purpose, processes and procedures tied to the Wells Fargo trust. Mr. Campbell also said he could work directly with any investment counselor. Ms. Houghtling stated that Mr. Campbell sounded extraordinarily knowledgeable with a great deal of experience working with boards and the State of Texas. Ms. Houghtling said that Mr. Campbell can do the training in November. Mr. Muniz asked Ms. Houghtling to give the board the information she and he had discussed on training for the year. Ms. Houghtling reported that she had tried to get the Team Building trainer recommended by Mary Alexander but the trainer was unable to do it in September. Ms. Houghtling said that the TASB training on Ethics and Advocacy that the board had in April was coded as Team Building. Ms. Houghtling stated that Chuck Campbell could do the fiduciary training on November 16. She also said that the board will also need to get the Update to Education Code which can be done on November 16 as well. Ms. Houghtling said that lastly, the board needed five hours of continuing education each year. She said that one hour from the April training on writing policies from Leonard Schwartz would count toward the five as well as two hours from the fiduciary responsibilities planned for November. Michael Garrett asked if there were continuing education hours they could do online. Ms. Houghtling said there was and she would provide that information to the Board. Mike Hanley suggested Crises Management training. Mr. Muniz recalled they had someone from the Austin Police Department who did that type of training in the past. Mr. Muniz asked Ms. Houghtling to see if she could arrange that. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to approve the board training sessions as suggested. Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the suggested training schedule.

Consideration of Approval of TASB Delegate and Alternate: Anne Corn nominated Mike Hanley as the TASB Delegate. Bobby Druesedow nominated Mary Alexander as the alternate. Mr. Druesedow made a motion to approve Mr. Hanley as the TASB delegate and Mary Alexander as the alternate. Anne Corn seconded the motion the Board voted unanimously to approve the delegates.

Announcements: Bill Daugherty stated that TSBVI would be hosting a national level goalball tournament November 2-4. He said that three of our students went to Hungary to play goalball. Mr. Daugherty also reported that Andrea Ashton was resigning and a new Health Center Director has been hired. Mr. Daugherty also talked about the construction going on at the pecan grove to facilitate proper drainage. He stated that staff return on the 14th of August and students return on the 20th of August.

Adjournment: Bobby Druesedow made a motion to adjourn. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the board voted to adjourn at 10:10 a.m.


______________________________________  ______________
Joseph Muniz, Board President                            Date


______________________________________  ______________
Lee Sonnenberg, Board Secretary                       Date


______________________________________  ______________
Vicki Weston, Recording Secretary                      Date

 

 

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Board Meeting Minutes

June 15, 2017

 

Joseph Muniz introduced himself as the President of the Governing Board of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) and he called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m. and turned the meeting over to Bill Daugherty.

Bill Daugherty introduced himself as the Superintendent at TSBVI and welcomed everyone. He stated that he would lay out a structure for the meeting before going into the introductions. He stated to all of the participants that they were invited because they were regarded by TSBVI, and many others, as individuals who can represent well the needs of Texas from the perspectives of parents, persons with a visual impairment or as professionals working in the field. He stated that this is a stellar group with a wealth of expertise, knowledge and experiences and that he expects to learn a lot from thoughtful, open and honest discussions about how TSBVI's mission is meeting the needs of our state in both our campus-based and outreach programs. He asked that participants think in a 3-5 year time frame and stated that today's goals are divided into five sections. Mr. Daugherty said that in section one, the group would stay as one unit with Outreach Director Cyral Miller facilitating this section and participants will be asked to help TSBVI understand what is working well in each of the three major service delivery areas of the Comprehensive Programs, Short-Term Programs and the statewide Outreach Program. Mr. Daugherty stated that in section two, he would provide the school's view of a few factors that may impact TSBVI, such as funding, demographic changes and a variety of other concerns that we monitor closely. Mr. Daugherty said that in section three we would break into two groups with Cyral Miller facilitating one and he the other. He stated that the groups would discuss opportunities for growth and improvement and how TSBVI carries out its mission. Mr. Daugherty went on to say that in section four he would facilitate a large group discussion of five key topics for which the group wants to go into more depth. He also stated that in section five, which again would be in a large group, Cyral Miller will facilitate the group to draw out final thoughts of what is regarded as the top two or three issues TSBVI should address. Mr. Daugherty said that the Board of Trustees was in attendance primarily in a listening role as are the TSBVI management staff. He stated that tomorrow the board and management team would go through what was heard at this meeting. Mr. Daugherty asked that the board begin the introductions.

Anne Corn began the board introductions by introducing herself and stating that she lives in Austin, Texas and has been on the board six years as well as serving previously in the 1980s. Lee Sonnenberg introduced himself and stated that he was from Lubbock and has been on the board since 2013. He stated that his youngest daughter, Scout, is 14 and is visually impaired. Michael Garrett introduced himself, stating that he was from Missouri City, Texas, has been on the board since 2009, and is a graduate of TSBVI. Mary Alexander introduced herself and stated that she is a parent representative on the board and that her youngest son, Cooper, is 22 and he is a TSBVI graduate as well.

Rona Pogrund introduced herself and stated that she is a Professor at Texas Tech University (TTU) and has partnered with TSBVI and coordinates the program for teachers of students with visual impairments. Michael Munro introduced himself as the Program Director at Stephen F. Austin State University and also stated that he is a graduate of the collaborative partnership between both universities and TSBVI. Ann Rash introduced herself as a vision teacher who has worked at an Education Service Center (ESC) and worked in the Outreach department at TSBVI for twenty years. Doris Dillon introduced herself as a retired TVI from Dallas Independent School District. After retirement she served as a statewide mentor, then as a Field Supervisor for interns for Texas Tech, and does contract work with individual districts. Julie Prause introduced herself as a teacher of the visually impaired in Columbus, Texas and serves five rural school districts. Ms. Prause stated that she also has worked closely with Outreach and created the rec and online resource for new teachers and has also had six students who have attended TSBVI. Jason Lilly introduced himself as being with El Paso Independent School District and is the facilitator of the Regional Day School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired. Evelyn Granger is from Lubbock and introduced herself as a parent. Stephanie Walker introduced herself as the lead for the Statewide Leadership Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Network (SLSBVI), and has been in professional development and technical assistance with the ESE 20. Ann Phillips introduced herself as a VI and O&M instructor who is retired from an education service center and now works part-time with the Lighthouse for the Blind in Tyler, Texas. Elaine Roberts introduced herself as the Instructional Officer at the Katy Independent School District supervised by Services for the Deaf, the Blind and the Deafblind. Ms. Roberts also stated that she is a part of the Deafblind Pilot and has also had many students attend TSBVI and is currently collaborating with TSBVI to improve some of the 18+ programs for students with visual impairments. Cecilia Robinson introduced herself as being from Region XIII Education Service Center in Houston, Texas and that her connection to TSBVI is an ongoing collaboration and districts cannot function without TSBVI's programs, supports and technical assistance. Cieara Mapps introduced herself as a former student and was currently attending Tyler junior college in Tyler, Texas. Edgar Lozano introduced himself as a 2014 TSBVI graduate and was currently attending Texas State University. Moreblessings Chickavanga introduced herself as a 2016 graduate of TSBVI and has just completed her first year of college. Ken Simeon, Sr. introduced himself as President of the American Council of the Blind of Texas. Vivecca Hartman introduced herself as the parent of a twenty-year-old who has been deafblind since birth and has been involved for eighteen years with DBMAT. Ms. Hartmann also cofounded a day-hab for adults with deafblindness in the greater Houston area. Kevin Markel introduced himself as a Transition Program Specialist with the Texas Workforce Commission Blind Services Division. Mr. Markel stated that he intersects with TSBVI in a number of ways, including being on the Educational Advisory Committee and also with helping out with contracting for the summer work programs, EXIT and post-secondary programs. Julie Johnson introduced herself as working with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) as a manager of field specialists that support staff across the state who provide services to blind and visually impaired customers. Rosann Demoss introduced herself as being from the Criss Cole Rehabilitation Center and also works with TWC and has been working in partnership with TSBVI for many years, mostly with the post-secondary program. Norma Crosby introduced herself as President of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas. Glen Crosby introduced himself as a graduate of TSBVI and stated that he and his wife have been active in the National Federation of the Blind of Texas for many years. Emily Newman introduced herself as a graduate of TSBVI and now lives in Austin, Texas. Gail Dalrymple introduced herself as the parent of a student who is classified as deafblind and was a student at TSBVI for eleven years. Ms. Dalrymple stated that she is a Transition Specialist with the Texas Parent to Parent Program. She stated that she was also a former board member of All Blind Children of Texas, and is the founder and Executive Director of TILT Performance Group, a theater company for adults with disabilities. Cooper Alexander introduced himself as a graduate of TSBVI.

The following TSBVI staff introduced themselves: Garner Vogt, Residential Director, also supervises the Weekends Home Program. Kate Mainzer is the Human Resources Director. Cooper Alexander introduced himself as a former student. Tad Doezema is the Assistant Principal for TSBVI’s Comprehensive Programs and supervises the EXIT Program, Career Education Department and Post-Secondary Program. Shelley Allen is Residential Director and supervises mostly Team 5, EXIT Team 6, and oversees the Health Center and the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). Eden Hagelman is Assistant Principal in Comprehensive Programs for Team 5 which includes the middle school and high school. G'Nell Price is Assistant Principal for Comprehensive Programs for the elementary, middle and high school students with multiple impairments as well as elementary academic students. Valerie Perwein is a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, a Special Education Coordinator, and supervises the evaluation team and the social workers. She also works on the ARD process and the partnership with districts across the state. Pam Darden is the Chief Financial Officer. Susan Hauser is the Director of the Center for School Resources, the Special Ed Director, custodian of education records and also manages admissions and referrals. Sara Merritt is the Principal of Short-Term Programs, including school year programs and summer programs. Miles Fain is the Principal of Comprehensive Programs for the regular school year. Susan Houghtling is the Director of Planning and Evaluation. Lisa Jorgenson works at the main switchboard. Vicki Weston is the Superintendent's assistant.

Mr. Daugherty said that he has been looking forward to the comments and encouraged participants to speak openly and honestly. He said that the meeting was being recorded as required for an open meeting of the Board of Trustees. Mr. Daugherty further stated that Cyral Miller would begin leading the group through section number one, which would be discussing what is working well at TSBVI and those things that are most valued.

Cyral Miller stated that the meeting would begin by looking at strengths. She said that we would be looking forward three years to consider where TSBVI should go and what should be done. Ms. Miller said that it is important to make sure that areas that are working well continue to do so because we don't want to lose sight of what's working. Ms. Miller continued, saying that TSBVI wants to build on these areas rather than ignore the good and it takes some thought to do that.

Ms. Miller asked participants to look at the existing programs’ strengths list provided and take about five minutes to fill out specific examples of ways in which the school programs are currently working well. Ms. Miller said that there are some specific areas listed that one can build on, and if participants do not see areas for which they would like to have input, they should feel free to comment on any areas they think are working well from their perspective.

Ms. Miller stated that the discussion would begin with Comprehensive Programs.

Ms. Rash explained how the Mentor Center Program in Outreach works, allowing new VI classroom teachers from around the state to visit and have the opportunity to observe TSBVI's classroom teachers. She stated that the feedback she received was very positive. The visiting teachers were able to see a classroom in action and that TSBVI's instructors were always willing to share knowledge and ideas and this aspect of TSBVI should be celebrated. Doris Dillion added that as a statewide mentor she experienced the same level of sharing and that each time she came with a prodigy, Doris learned something new herself. Rona Pogrund said that having the Mentor Center and the ability to observe Comprehensive Programs has a huge impact on the students in the teacher prep program. Dr. Pogrund stated that although it is a lot of work to plan and schedule the classroom observations, it is extremely valuable. Learning from books and lectures is one thing, but being able to see the array of students TSBVI has or see a calendar system in operation is an invaluable tool.

Elaine Robertson stated that she has had students who attended TSBVI ten years ago and the communication wasn't as strong as it is today. Ms. Robertson said that she has seen communication between TSBVI in so many capacities but when district teachers have students at TSBVI and need to collaborate, teachers are welcomed here any time. Ms. Robertson further stated that she brings a group of teachers once or twice a year to visit their students. She said they are able to have lunch with the students and communicate with the teachers and then the TSBVI teachers will actually come out in the school district to assist with transition. Ms. Robertson stated she has seen a huge difference in that students don't attend TSBVI for long periods—rather to learn specific skills—and it is the district teacher's responsibility to observe and communicate so that the student can return to their home campus and the student and teacher now have the skills needed.  

Cecilia Robinson stated that Region 4 appreciates that they are given adequate lead time to obtain the type of technology and technical assistance that will be needed for a student. 

Vivecca Hartman stated that TSBVI has worked with the coordinator from the day-hab she started in Houston and allowed her to stay at the Wildcat Inn to assist with the transition of graduating students who will be attending the day-hab after graduation. Ms. Hartman stated that it was a great help and hoped that it would continue. Cyral Miller stated that she was not sure everyone knew about Touch Base and asked Ms. Hartman if she would mind explaining it. Ms. Hartman stated that Touch Base is a day-hab facility that, because of the Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD) Medicaid waiver, are allowed to have a facility in Houston. Ms. Hartmann explained that most of the members are able to have the DBMD Medicaid waiver that every deafblind individual has the right to be on, regardless of their income or their family's income. She further stated that if you are on the waiver you have a budget of $114,000 a year, and in that budget you are entitled hours of day-hab.  Every member brings their own intervener, which the waiver pays for as well. She stated that Touch Base currently has hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. She further stated that they have a coordinator, a rec therapist and teacher of deafblind that works with them in the summer, and they coordinate scheduled activities that are not only for continued learning using their deafblind communication tools like calendar systems, braille and symbols. Ms. Hartmann said they try to create an environment where they are comfortable, able to communicate openly and actively and able to be engaged in daily activities throughout the day. She said that they are currently in a home so they are able to do laundry, kitchen prep, clean up and outdoor activities. Ms. Hartmann added that they also try to go out into the community at least two to three times a week and have been creating great partnerships with vendors in the area and are becoming creative. Ms. Hartmann stated that fortunately the coordinator is very sociable and bubbly and she creates all kinds of opportunities. Ms. Hartmann added that they have been partnering with the Region 4 group and have had awesome opportunities to invite them to explain what they are doing to the school districts in the greater Houston area. Ms. Hartmann said that they would like to be able to partner with school districts and possibly be a training ground. She said that it is a continuation of life after school at the day-hab.

Julie Prause stated that she has a student who will be attending Comprehensive Programs for the first time in the fall. Ms. Prause said that she and her director were on the phone just last week with Eden Hagelman and Valerie Perwein, who were kind, considerate, easy to talk to and answered all of their questions. Ms. Prause continued by talking about the comprehensive programs’ "live binders," which are virtual binders that you can open up to access information and input information; it is an excellent way to share information about a student.  

Edgar Lozano stated that TSBVI provided him an opportunity to network with Pearson Education, a textbook publisher, and while in the EXIT program he was asked to test one of their assessment platforms and provide feedback. As a result, they decided to hire him. He further stated that TSBVI was able to provide him with not only networking skills but also independent living skills, academic skills and many other skills.

Cieara Mapps said that what she had taken away from the assistance in transitioning from TSBVI have been tools for the real world that are truly beneficial: daily living skills; cooking; hygiene; how to take care of oneself; how to encounter an individual who does not know about the visually impaired or how to just manage life. Ms. Mapps said she learned what she needed to know.

Moreblessings Chickavanga stated that she came to TSBVI when she was very young. She said that TSBVI helped her to grow up. Ms. Chickavanga said that when she first came to TSBVI she was very timid but that by the end of her high school education she was able to advocate for herself. The college she chose to attend was a very small school and they hadn't had a blind person for a long time. They didn't know how to handle her situation and didn’t have a lot of accessible tools for her. Because of what she learned at TSBVI the next blind person will have an easier time.  

Emily Newman said that at TSBVI she gained a lot of confidence and has been able to work at a few different jobs since she graduated. Ms. Newman stated that at one point she moved back home with her family, where things like public transportation existed but were not great. Ms. Newman felt that only because of the skills and tools she learned at TSBVI was she able to get around on her own and make adjustments. She stated that she has just moved back to Austin.

Rosann Demoss stated that she has seen a lot of TSBVI graduates come through the Criss Cole program over the past twenty years and that over the last ten years there has been exponential improvement in their skills so that they don't have a whole lot more to teach them except to help them consolidate everything that they've learned and apply it toward either going to school or going to work. Ms. Demoss wanted to express how grateful and thankful she was for all the efforts and all the work in all areas: mobility, daily living skills, Braille and technology.  Ms. Demoss said that some students are coming in who have technological skills that some of the teachers don't have yet. She said that TSBVI students are teaching them the latest and greatest in technology and wanted to thank TSBVI for all of their efforts.

Kevin Markel said that he thinks the school does an excellent job in connecting students with vocational rehab, especially as they get older. He stated that TSBVI encourages them to stay in contact with their counselor and learn to advocate for themselves because that is a big challenge they face. He said that students that they work with depend so much on their parents. He added that if they get more practice asking questions with their counselor, requesting things from their counselor and having conversations, self-advocacy improves.  Mr. Markel continued saying that there is a relatively new program that they have partnered with the EXIT program called Lynx—a relatively small program that has been going for a couple of years and they have worked on that program with Tad Doezema. Mr. Markel explained that it is a program that endeavors to work with a handful of EXIT students to link them with what their interests are, with the work-based learning experience here in Austin that will hopefully translate to employment back in their home community.  Mr. Markel said that they see a lot of potential in the program and room for growth and that is a very positive thing that things transpired over the past couple of years.

Norma Crosby said that one thing she has noticed as President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for about two-and-a-half years is that they now operate a mentoring program for blind transition-age students while they're still in high school, into college and through the rehab process. She stated that one thing that she has seen, this year particularly, is that they are starting to hear from TSBVI students who want to become part of the mentoring program and that part of that has come from TSBVI sharing that information with their students and encouraging them to seek out blind adults who are competent and capable so that they have that role model and it is a really positive step to work with consumer organizations to help people transition. 

Ann Phillips said that they have been working with Tad Doezema in getting some of their EXIT students into a college prep program and they have had a really good experience with the students being prepared to live in the dorm. Ms. Phillips also talked about a family of four brothers, and one was able to attend TSBVI. She talked about how much it changed his life to be able to attend the school.  

Elaine Robertson stated that they are spearheading a pilot program with students at TSBVI and are building the program around the Life Plan, which is a calendar system for a student who graduates. Ms. Robertson said that one specific student they are working with will now enter the EXIT program. The hope is that when she leaves school the same experience with the same support will be able to be realized. Ms. Robertson stated that many students don't ever enter into an 18+ program—especially if they have an additional disability. She said that many districts just don't do it and the parents don't insist on it. Ms. Robertson said that by setting up the program it can be used as a model and that it will become an expectation that these students are going to go into work-based learning, even if it is assisted or volunteer work. Ms. Robertson said they are very excited about it and thanked TSBVI for the collaboration.

Rona Pogrund said that she thought the new role of having TVIs working in the dorms has been extremely positive. 

Gail Dalrymple said that, as a parent, one of her greatest appreciations was the dorm experience because it taught her son that he could live independently and now he does.  

Edgar Lozano commented that the higher level math courses offered at TSBVI and the way in which they are taught have enabled him to take much higher level math courses in college because of foundational skills that he was able to gain at TSBVI. 

Cieara Mapps stated that she really appreciated residential life on campus because not only was she provided with many great resources while at TSBVI but she had a Residential Instructor who opened her eyes and that the RIs truly had a passion for helping students succeed.  

Kenneth Semien stated that one thing he has been impressed with was the personalized instruction and meeting the students where they are.  He said that it helps them to move forward in a great way. Mr. Semien further stated that he thought TSBVI's greatest strength is collaboration, which helps to broaden the spectrum of services provided and that will help students when they move forward in their lives. He appreciates all TSBVI does in that area.

Gail Dalrymple also wanted to commend about the psychology/counseling department as they were able to correctly diagnose her son after he had been to multiple psychiatrists, counselors and school counselors before he came to TSBVI.  

Stephanie Walker commented that she and her staff have loved having their technology sessions with TSBVI and the collaboration going on through Google classroom as well as some webinars. Ms. Walker said that they are able to sit down with the student and watch the student interact with the people that are at TSBVI.  

Vivecca Hartman stated that TSBVI is like her extended family and thanked everyone for always being there as a sounding board for families like hers. Ms. Hartman continued that coming to the school has not been an option for her family for a variety of reasons but that Outreach has been involved with her child since before age six. She said that Outreach was able to reach out to someone from a family perspective as well as an educational perspective. Outreach has been involved for over ten years and it has been very effective. 

Rona Pogrund said that she has never seen a more dedicated group of hardworking people than those in Outreach who have an amazing amount of expertise. She is always impressed with how they share so openly and freely with everyone in the state, country and the world. Dr. Pogrund said that the addition of the distance ed component, which has been expanded recently with webinars, and the ways in which technology is being used to reach more people who can't physically attend trainings, has expanded their impact even further. She expressed her great appreciation to all of Outreach.

Cecilia Robinson stated that she really appreciated the Outreach team contacting Region 4 and getting them involved. Ms. Robinson said that she has seen a lot of improvement from their involvement with the Outreach team through the Personal Family Leadership Series and a lot of growth from families. Ms. Robinson continued by saying that it was inspirational to see the district, ESC and TSBVI all working together as a united little group to help their child. She would really like for that to continue.

Jason Lilly is from El Paso and stated that Outreach has been an integral partner in bringing new programming and helping to provide services to students and he was very appreciative.  

Elaine Robertson said that when Outreach is called, typically it is because there is a problem or issue that the district needs help with and sometimes they are coming into a hostile environment. She said that working in Outreach is a very demanding job and it is ongoing. She said that Outreach may make a visit end with an action plan but that isn't always the end and she really appreciates how hard they work.

Julie Johnson expressed appreciation for the partnering Outreach has done with the Blind Services Division as they move forward with the TWC and become a combined state unit. Ms. Johnson said that Outreach has always been there with subject matter expertise that is amazing and creative. She specifically mentioned the partnership with the Blind Children's Program and Transition Services. Ms. Johnson spoke highly of the Family Leadership Conference and hopes it and the Customized Employment Program will continue as it is a creative and innovative way to work with students. Cyral Miller stated that it would continue.

Norma Crosby stated that usually when they hear from parents or a school district there is a problem and one of the things that has been very helpful is to call Cyral Miller or someone in Outreach. Ms. Crosby continued that sometimes it works and sometimes it does not but what is very useful is brainstorming with TSBVI to come up with some creative ideas for solving problems that often help to resolve the issue that could become much bigger or that could lead to litigation. Ms. Crosby said they usually find a way to work through it and TSBVI's problem solving skills are excellent.

Elaine Robertson stated that over the last twenty years what they do now is more proactive than reactive and it is a result of all of the programs offered by TSBVI. Ms. Robertson said that the Deafblind Pilot was instrumental as it provided them an opportunity to collaborate with Region 4 and they had never done that before. She further stated that they have set up systems in the district with these collaborative meetings and built capacity within the district. Ms. Robertson said that collaboration with the parent is where it all begins and the trust is made. The last thing Ms. Robertson wanted to say was that they knew they had evolved when Chris Montgomery said they were not calling as much. It is because, through that pilot, he has built this capacity on their team.

Cyral Miller said that it is the proactive administrators that make all that work, so it is truly a partnership.

Rona Pogrund spoke briefly about the partnership between TSBVI, Texas Tech and Stephen F. Austin and how the program is the envy of the country and that no one has the number of students in the programs that they have and the number of new professionals that this collaboration is producing.  Dr. Pogrund stated that it is really because of the funding that TSBVI fights for every year that allows the programs to operate and provide tuition and scholarships for the students. Dr. Pogrund said that the impact is huge. Dr. Pogrund also mentioned the Curriculum Department. Dr. Pogrund stated that those resources are used worldwide.  

Michael Munro said that the Outreach department is not just one entity. Mr. Munro said it is so varied and creates so many partnerships and it is really about leadership and all the connections to the different meetings, agencies and committees that makes all the difference. Mr. Munro said that his students benefit so greatly from making different connections to different groups, entities and specialties that help move the field forward and being on the front line in attacking problems before they become an issue, or pushing for stronger legislation that leads the nation. He ended by saying that it is really a model for the country.

Cecilia Robinson stated that some of the things Outreach has been doing are monumental. For example, Ms. Robinson mentioned the Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas (VISSIT) that looks at service delivery for students with visual impairment. Ms. Robinson said that it is an excellent tool that has helped a lot of administrators and teachers. She also mentioned the Nemeth code resource (Nemeth at a Glance) as a tremendous help because as they are infusing Unified English Braille into the whole picture of what is going on in literacy codes, a Nemeth resource is invaluable.  

Stephanie Walker said that the collaboration that occurs between Outreach and the Statewide Leadership Network has been awesome these last few years. She said they had worked hard on not recreating the wheel and divvying up responsibilities and hopes that it continues because she could not do her job without Outreach. 

Cyral Miller asked that they move on to talk about Short-Term Programs and what is working well.  

Cecilia Robinson stated that she does not think their districts can function properly and appropriately without the support of Short-Term Programs. Ms. Robinson especially liked the topics that focus on specialized skills that the students may not be able to get easily when they are in the public school system, including things like high level math classes. Ms. Robinson stated that she hopes that Short-Term Programs will continue to focus on some of those because they fill the gaps within the school districts very well.

Michael Munro said he was excited to see that the enrollment keeps going up or seems to have been growing each year so it seems like more and more people are taking advantage of it. Mr. Munro said he hopes the plan is to continue to grow it and to develop it because it is a fabulous program.

Another participant offered a thank you for making the application process smoother and easier. She said teachers love the fact that they can email the health form to parents and others during that process.

Elaine Robertson said that is one of the things that she heard from their teachers who love the Short-Term Programs and apply for them every year for their students, but they were disappointed when students would come to TSBVI for the regular school year and couldn't come to the summer programs. Ms. Robertson continued saying that because of Short-Term Programs they were trying to be creative in Katy so they developed ECC camp every year, and especially one of the kids who comes from TSBVI comes back and participates in it in the summer, so TSBVI is a model. 

A participant wanted to tell a quick story about a student of hers who participated in the Iron Chef Program in May. She said that when he returned from the weekend she called him to rate the class on a scale of one to ten and he said it was a fifteen. She said that when she called him later that evening to talk about the math concept, he said he would have to call her back because he was showing his family all the recipes that he learned over the weekend.

Another participant said that one of the things she loved was the variety of the programs but also the social aspect for students who come from rural districts who are many times very isolated. She said that getting to meet other students—and maybe those other students are also the only ones in their districts—she sees lifelong friendships are being made. She added that the subject matter across the board is wonderful, but that just the social aspect and being able to talk to parents about that lets them know that their child is going to get to spend a week or a weekend with students with whom they can really form lifelong friendships.

Evelyn Granger said that, for her as a parent, TSBVI is very near and dear to her heart. She stated that she has two daughters, one graduated in 2015 and the youngest will graduate next year. Ms. Granger said that Cyral Miller was the first person that she spoke to in the Outreach program. Ms. Granger said that in 2012, Destiny, her daughter, lost her vision very quickly and they didn't have much time to get things done in order for Destiny to graduate there. Ms. Granger said that one of the things that the school district told Destiny was just to drop her classes and come into a classroom and not do those classes anymore. Ms. Granger said that Destiny said no, she had worked too hard to get there and that she was going to finish. So she did. Ms. Granger said that, between the two girls, she had 30 ARDs in four months and was very overwhelmed. Ms. Granger said she left the first ARD with a pile of papers and that the first thing that she saw was TSBVI and Cyral Miller's name so she called Cyral and Cyral started Ms. Granger in the right direction. Ms. Granger's family was able to go to TSBVI and do a tour including visiting Criss Cole. She said that Destiny decided what she wanted to do, which was to join Team 5. Ms. Granger said that she has volunteered and substituted at TSBVI and those experiences have helped her to help other parents along the way. She said the collaborative team at TSBVI is very powerful and that her family is very thankful.

Cecilia Robinson said that she thought it was important that ESCs are also included in the reports.  Ms. Robinson also appreciated keeping the date of the application somewhat at the same time of year as it helps teachers and families.

Bill Daugherty stated that he would be going through the issues that they want to focus on in the next section, including acknowledging outside factors, challenges and trends that lie ahead. Mr. Daugherty stated that what he has done is lay out some issues that are important things that are going on in the state. Mr. Daugherty continued that there are about nine areas that fall roughly under the heading of "outside factors" and they can represent challenges or opportunities. However, some are simply statements of reality. He said that much of this information was from the annual report that was sent to participants ahead of time. Mr. Daugherty said that after his review he would like the participants to provide perspective and information in those areas about which attendees had information and about many other important factors that may not have made it on the list. He asked that, as he goes through the list, attendees jot down some ideas and issues that are areas of particular interest and then come back in a group setting and talk through those issues.

Mr. Daugherty said that the areas he was going to cover were: state funding, legislative support and legislative mandate; federal funding; student demographics; parent and consumer advocacy; recruitment, preparation and retention of TVIs and Certified Orientation Mobility Specialists (COMS); changes in related state agencies; educational service delivery at TSBVI and statewide; and changes in technology and employment post high school. 

Mr. Daugherty began with state funding, legislative support and legislated mandate. Mr. Daugherty stated that TSBVI is authorized by the Texas Legislature to offer campus-based and outreach programs only and the school has no authority at the state or local level. Mr. Daugherty continued by saying that everything TSBVI does beyond its legislative charge is accomplished by offering collaboration and support where TSBVI is invited. Legislative support and funding has been excellent even at times when the state budget is constrained. TSBVI received almost everything needed during this last legislative session and legislators and their staff seem to understand the important mission of the school. The complete rebuilding of our campus over the past ten years is a good example of that support. There's not really anything like that going on anywhere in the United States. Mr. Daugherty said that, in many other states where the legislative support is poor and state budgets are highly constrained, schools such as ours are struggling just to keep their heads above water. Some of these schools may close over the next few years, some may combine with schools for the deaf, and some may just really limit their services down to a select group of technical assistance services. Mr. Daugherty said that is a reality nationally with this type of specialized school. 

Mr. Daugherty reported that about one-fifth of TSBVI's budget is from federal funds. He explained that TSBVI draws down IDEA funds, state deafblind associated funds and also Medicaid fund reimbursements under the SHARS program for some of our student services.

Mr. Daugherty reported that participants are probably hearing the same things that TSBVI is hearing about possible reductions to federal funds and special education in Medicaid and elsewhere. But there's nothing substantive at this point that would allow us to predict what might happen. 

Mr. Daugherty said that student demographics are always interesting and that the number of students, birth through 21, with visual impairments in Texas stands at roughly 10,000 right now—the majority of which have additional disabilities to the visual impairment.  He reported that the leading causes of visual impairment are highly associated with premature low birth weight babies. Mr. Daugherty stated that Texas is among the lowest rated states in the U.S. on the health and wellbeing of mothers and infants. He further stated that students who are Hispanic represent a large area of growth and we are seeing that at TSBVI. In the area of parent and consumer advocacy, Mr. Daugherty said that many parents are becoming increasingly aware of the educational needs of their children and are becoming more informed advocates and members of their children's local educational teams. But he said there are still many who are woefully uninformed and find this education process to be confusing and intimidating. Parent groups such as Texas Association of Parents of Visually Impaired (TAPVI), the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, DBMAT and others appear to be doing well in attracting new members. He said it is an exciting growth area in our state.

Mr. Daugherty said that TSBVI has provided Parent Leadership Training in several areas around the state with good results and increasing parent-to-parent support. In the area of recruitment, preparation and retention of TVIs and COMS at both Texas Tech University and Steven F. Austin State University, Mr. Daugherty said they are producing sufficient numbers of TVs and COMS to meet the available positions in Texas. Mr. Daugherty stated that If he understands it correctly, we have just now hit the goal of keeping up with the flood of retirements that have happened over the past five years and we are starting to get the equilibrium that we are looking for. Mr. Daugherty continued that as participants heard earlier, TSBVI operates the Mentor Center and helps facilitate the Mentor Program statewide connecting teachers. Mr. Daugherty said that the legislative support and funding that comes through TSBVI to support the stipends and other costs at the two universities has been good, but as always, we could use more money and if the time comes, we will go back and ask for more if we can make a good case for how to put it to good and necessary use. Mr. Daugherty stated that in the area of changes and related state agencies, the movement of blindness and visual impairment services to Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the TWC is still somewhat in transition. The service delivery in this new structure in the state—and federal rules under which these two organizations function—has brought changes that TSBVI and others are still trying to analyze. Mr. Daugherty said TSBVI's goal is and always will be to try to collaborate and work with these organizations toward our common mission.

Mr. Daugherty said that in the area of education service delivery at TSBVI and statewide, enrollment continues to be the strongest in decades at TSBVI with new students coming in each year equal to the large graduating classes and those students who are transitioning back to their ISDs. As an out-of-district placement, TSBVI's primary role is to enroll those students whose comprehensive educational needs are tending to exceed local capacity. Mr. Daugherty said that is always going to be the student population that we serve. TSBVI continues to work with the ISDs on trying to transition students back to home as soon as they are ready to be more successful there as opposed to being enrolled long term at TSBVI. The average stay is now under three years and our transition services and supports related to this movement have increased significantly. The largest demographic enrolling students at TSBVI are the 17+ age group who are coming in for common factors such as increasing independence, employment focus and community living.

Mr. Daugherty stated that about one-third of the students at TSBVI have significant additional disability, one-third have moderate additional disability and one-third have no additional disability. It is a balance that TSBVI likes.  TSBVI is significantly growing its capacity to deliver training for parents and professionals online. Mr. Daugherty said we are doing the same thing in short-term programs with course offerings so that all students don't have to come to the Austin campus. The vast majority of students in Texas are enrolled in their local ISDs and are served by TVIs and COMs in an itinerant model. Many of these TVIs and COMs report high caseloads that are difficult to manage. 

Mr. Daugherty stated that he would like to cover two more areas, firstly, changes in technology. Mr. Daugherty said that despite all of technology's obvious advantages and opportunities, making full use of the vast array of devices and software to give students tools for accessing information remains a challenge. Many educators at TSBVI—and across the state—have difficulty gaining sufficient skills on all of these different devices to keep ahead of their students.

Mr.  Daugherty said that employment post high school is the last area to cover. He said that, at TSBVI, the students do relatively well at post high school employment and other measures of independence and community integration, but full-time competitive employment remains elusive. The movement of blind and visual impairment services under TWC is likely to provide increased focus on employment outcomes. Students with multiple disabilities who comprise the majority of the birth to 21-year-old youths in the state will continue to represent present challenges to the goal of community employment and integration. New models and approaches are needed for all students if this picture is to change. 

Mr. Daugherty asked that they begin this discussion with the area of state funding, legislative support and the legislative mandate. 

Gail Dalrymple stated that Mr. Daugherty's comment that TSBVI has been fortunate being well funded is the antithesis of what's happening for that broad spectrum of people with disabilities in Texas. She continued that we have great evidence that those funds are significantly cut for providing long-term support, and if two-thirds of the students at TSBVI have either severe or moderate additional disability, this is an enormous aspect of their future. She believes that that needs to be made aware to parents3

Mr. Daugherty said that TSBVI functions within an integrated system. If students are coming through here and then leaving only to find that those supports are not out there, that's a problem that TSBVI is going to try to find a way to help.

Vivecca Hartman stated that in reading the annual report she saw that one-third of TSBVI's resources are for Outreach and two-thirds of the resources go toward the TSBVI campus. She asked if that is correct.  Mr. Daugherty stated that this is correct. Ms. Hartman said that while TSBVI is an awesome place where parents can visit and receive training, for those children who cannot attend TSBVI, how do we get more? Ms. Hartman felt that those numbers should be flip-flopped.  

Mr. Daugherty stated that he understands this issue completely but that he was not going to respond to any of these concerns right now as they will all be taken in and evaluated. He said the role TSBVI will play moving forward in the future is an interesting question. How do we balance out the campus mission and the statewide mission?  He said they fit together in an integrated system and that it is a very good comment to make.

Vivecca Hartman asked if there is a way to tap into those Medicaid funds more. Ms. Hartman wondered if TSBVI could help people access and figure out how to use the money effectively.

Mr. Daugherty said that was a very good point. He continued that we are maximizing our funds but that it is a very complicated issue. He said that it takes dollars to earn dollars. However, what if these funds start going away, as there are some rumors about cuts to Medicaid funds. That's a great concern to TSBVI also.

Elaine Robertson asked if we have a legislative process where TSBVI visits with legislators as far as how it affects TSBVI and then, if so, does TSBVI bring parents along or does TSBVI also bring an attorney?  Mr. Daugherty said TSBVI is not in the lobbying business but instead is in the information providing business and most of our advocacy at the legislature actually happens in this session and it's unfortunately highly related to the budget.

Mr. Daugherty said that during sessions they talk a lot about the mission of the school and how it fits into the statewide system but we have not been in a campaign of going to the legislature and informing specifically on the Medicaid issue. TSBVI has not been active in that area.

Rona Pogrund said that there are federal grant funds out there that could be a source of revenue for funding.

Mr. Daugherty asked to move on to the subject of student demographics.  

Norma Crosby asked about the rural population.  

Garner Vogt stated that by far the most students live in the urban areas. But there are quite a few that live in rural areas. He said that he has a lot of students in East Texas and it is shifting in enrollment to northeast Texas.

Julie Johnson said that she was working with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) when they were getting ready to transition to TWC. Ms. Johnson said that the TEA does keep a lot of data on blind students across the state and where those pockets of students are populated so she wanted to share that information.

Jason Lilly said that one of the things he wanted to share was that the birth to three-year population identification is declining and they are seeing a little bit more identification later in age. 

Cyral Miller said it is a major concern with Outreach regarding the Service Centers. She said there is a change over from Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) to private insurance and they don't enter the education system.

Cecilia Robinson said that the Region 4 data always shows that the zero to three-year range, and then the 3-5 year range, is not matching for many years. Ms. Robinson said that TEA always tells them to do a better job on Child Find and they are trying so hard but don't understand why there is such a big discrepancy and it has a huge impact when students enter school. All of a sudden the early intervention years are gone. She said this is an issue, that as a state–maybe as a work group– we can look at a little bit further. 

Mr. Daugherty said they would move on to parenting consumer advocacy. He stated that we should have a lot to say in this area as we have parents present as well as our consumer groups. Mr. Daugherty said that he would like to hear about things that we need to know or be aware of that are happening out in the state.

Gail Dalrymple stated that she has been in dialogue for years with TSBVI staff about issues relating to parent advocacy, and in the past years five years she has noticed much more effort to work on parent advocacy. Ms. Dalrymple said that she is encouraged by all the web-based training and feels like so much of that is applicable to the blind population. Ms. Dalrymple continued that parents need to be aware of all of the outside organizations, not just the blind organizations, like Parent to Parent and Texas Navigate Life.  She stated that so many of those things need to be made available to parents—not exclusively blind organizations but general disability organizations.

Another participant said that they had just talked about this in her ISD and that they struggle with parent involvement as well. She said that her students were all itinerant and the caseloads are so large that they are going to address that as an action plan for next year. How can they bring the families together so they can network and talk to each other? She said they don't have cluster sites so they have to figure out how to get our parents more involved.

A participant said that she did a two-day workshop in the Amarillo/Lubbock area, West Texas Cluster, that DARS had organized and it was phenomenal.

Vivecca Hartman said that being involved with Deafblind Multi-Handicapped Association of Texas (DBMAT) has been very helpful. They support families with an annual camp where parents go through parent training for camaraderie. She said they have speakers, and Outreach is always very supportive. She said that the camp allows families to get to know each other and the professionals within the Medicaid waivers and they begin personal relationships which gives them the ability to reach out more easily. She said that DBMAT also has socials, so parents can get together for random things and every time you get parents together they come up with ideas and then they start implementing them.  She said that there wasn't anything that they wouldn't do for TSBVI, including going to Washington D.C. She stated that DBMAT is there for TSBVI and they will find more people or do any legislative work that supports those who support our families.

Michael Munro said that, at Stephen F. Austin University (SFA), some of their master's candidates are very interested in parent responses so if leadership in any of the organizations present would connect with SFA—or if anyone sees a survey out there, we have students that are very interested in investigating the responses, needs, supports and what was effective. They can start building the data around what was or was not successful.  He said that as they continue to build, maybe they can get more voices, more data and more findings that will help move everyone forward.

Mr. Daugherty asked that the group move on to recruitment, preparation and retention of TVIs and COMS. He stated that we discussed TSBVI's university programs and that they are hitting their mark right now as far as filling available positions. He asked for the participants' thoughts on the university programs and related ideas that might be useful.

Michael Munro said that hitting the mark is something they are very cautious about saying because there are pockets around the state where people are running caseloads that are way too high or there are not enough teachers. He stated that they are trying to get into different areas and new teachers attempt to find new students. He added that, h the 2.6 average growth rate, has a lot to do with the number of professionals we're putting in the field. And there's just no reason for that not to continue. The more people we've put out the more students we are finding.

Rona Pogrund said that some of the evidence of that was the need for the visit, to help come up with appropriate amounts of time and service for students in itinerant models. Dr. Pogrund also said that the EXIT and post-secondary programs are growing the most, which is another sign that we're not meeting all the ECC needs—particularly at the itinerant model at the local level. Dr. Pogrund continued by saying that the connection is that we might be filling positions as they come up, but do we need more positions, and is it a guarantee from anecdotal data that most districts do need more teachers? She said that we have to be very cautious about how we look at what gets reported as opposed to digging deeper into those needs of students at the local level.

Elaine Robertson stated that educating our special ed directors is key. Ms. Robertson said that unless they have a background in or understanding of vision services they probably have no idea how complex it is. She said that the Mentor Program is key and has helped teachers a lot but it is not enough. Whereas she did not think TSBVI could do any more than they are doing, special ed directors need to know that they need to build into caseloads their seasoned TVIs to mentor the new TVIs so they don't lose them to the field. Ms. Robertson said that building those systems begins with organizations like the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE) and that if the relationship with directors and executive directors is not developed, fighting for those positions is going to be very difficult. She also said that we have to add the rubrics of the visit as well because we may not be serving the deafblind students under those rubrics. Ms. Robertson said that if someone must be at the head saying the community must serve that child a little bit more and must build in these collaborative meetings. People need more education and need to advocate more.

Michael Munro said that one of the things teachers need to do is to make sure that they are also going for their Continued Professional Development and that they need to connect with English language arts general ed teachers because they are the ones teaching them those skills and teaching them how to use devices. Teachers also need to be connected with English Language Arts TEKS and standards and support the English language arts teachers especially if that student is in a mainstream setting.

Rona Pogrund added that the Literacy Committee that was just formed is looking at exactly that.

Another participant said that contact with special ed directors is important but contact with the VI supervisors may be more beneficial because they are the educators to whom the special education director will listen. She stated that because it is difficult to retain VI supervisors due to how complicated the field is, it could help them to have support at that level, thereby retaining good VI supervisors, and then retaining teachers and assisting with the caseload.

Cecilia Robinson said it is not only the special education supervisors, it is also the campus administrators.  At the end of the day, the classroom teachers report to the campus administrators.  

Mr. Daugherty said that we would move on to changes and related state agencies. 

Norma Crosby stated that communication is going to be critical in the next few years between TWC, Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), TSBVI and blind people who are active in the realm of advocacy and consumer issues related to employment. Ms. Crosby said it is imperative that we all find a way to work together to engage employers so they want to hire blind people and hopefully those with other secondary disabilities so when they graduate we have some notion of where they might go from here.

Kevin Markel said that with the movement of the children's program to HHSC and the movement of our Vocational Rehab (VR) and Transition programs over to TWC, we knew that it would be critical for us to still have an avenue to work together even though we would be housed separately. Mr. Markel said that more than a year and a half ago they started a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) process that they now have in place between the two agencies. He said that they also have an additional work group that is comprised of administration and management on both sides of the agencies that meet regularly to make sure that the MOU is implemented. He continued that the MOU basically has four areas in terms of scope. He said they tried to make these four areas as strong as possible: referrals between the two agencies; joint group trainings with students; common training for staff; and lastly working with common stakeholders. 

Vivecca Hartman was concerned about funding cuts and what they are going to do to school districts and other agencies. And while they may also impact TSBVI she felt that the community is going to be looking to TSBVI to pick up the gap. The strategic planning of how TSBVI may fill in the gap needs to be considered in the event that these things happen.

A participant said that she had been to a couple of webinars that are statewide with HHSC, TWC and Medicaid. She suggested that TWC and HHSC could help support this collaboration of reaching out across the state with the facilities they have available. By participating in meetings electronically, more people can take part and not have to leave work.   

Kevin Markel said that with the changes going on, the performance measures are different under TWC. They are looking at successful closures at 180 days and 360 days, not just the 90-day closures that VR has historically employed.

Mr. Daugherty asked for comments on technology post high school.

Rona Pogrund stated that, with regard to service delivery, across the state the basic two options of itinerant or TSBVI are not providing an array of program options that are supposed to be in Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA). Reestablishing a resource room should be a program option that would alleviate some of the issues we are having where students can get a little bit more intense service from a specialized teacher and have access to that person more than thirty minutes twice a week. The resource room is an awesome model. Dr. Pogrund wants to see this as something that our state reconsiders. She said she would like to see that model and a day school like the day school for students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Dr. Pogrund said we don't have anything like that around the state and that would be another kind of model to cluster kids and meet their needs.

Someone talked about a recent survey done of all twenty Education Service Centers (ESC). There are two instances across the state where ESC consultants have reported that they had a dedicated visual impairment resource room within their facility and one ESC reported back that they had a self-contained room dedicated to visual impairment as opposed to the other areas of the service delivery model that were on there. Almost all twenty ESCs reach all the other service delivery models so we're definitely not delivering an array of services.

Mr. Daugherty said that the background of this issue, as he understood it, is that many districts found that their student populations had become so diverse that they couldn't find a commonality for how to deliver services in a resource room. He said he would agree that it is complicated to do that, but he would also agree that resource rooms are fine models to have. Mr. Daugherty said that TSBVI would certainly want to support anything like that.  

Dr. Pogrund added that the full inclusion movement in that direction over the last twenty years has gotten rid of more of them.

Jason Lilly shared that this is something that for the past year he has been planning and talking about, and is continuing to work with Cyral Miller to figure out how that looks in his area, being so far away from the rest of Texas.

Vivecca Hartman remarked that, from an adult planning perspective, an idea that was presented at a recent conference was "customized employment." She and her husband have discussed that they don't really care if their son ever makes a wage but if he has something meaningful to do, that's all that matters. A leader on the national level said, "But you're the money person. You've always got to go for the money." What she was trying to help her to understand is that it doesn't mean they have to be out in the world for a meaningless purpose just to have something to do. They can have something that is meaningful to do. Work can be customized into something that they're able to do and that was a whole new perspective for her. She revealed that she has discovered that there are coaches of customized employment, and she is working on finding one in the area that could go to her son’s day-hab and work with him, since he is now an 18+ student.

Vivecca Hartman didn't know about her district's Transition Program until four months ago, and her son was moved into it this semester. Ms. Hartman said they are doing amazing things with DARS and TWC and other nonprofit organizations where they are taking the students out for a few hours a day and her son loves it. He can do something that has meaning and that is a new perspective for her because, as a parent, this idea has never been presented.

Another participant tried to create a cluster site for her students with visual impairments about eight years ago and found exactly what Bill Daugherty had mentioned earlier, there was such a varied degree of needs between all of her students. With over 100 students with visual impairments, they thought they could find common ground. The challenge was dealing with the LRP and all of that. But she was very interested in looking at it again and determining if it is within their rubrics or if they could develop a rubric where they could cluster students for specific reasons. It would take several people to get together and do that, but her feeling was that they are missing some of the kids that need more service—and actually their itinerant teachers are seeing some of their kids three times a week and they're traveling far away so we might be able to make it efficient and effective with funding.

Cecilia Robinson revealed that the changes in technology are really way too fast for her team to keep up with. The districts are buying these tools for the students and whether they can use it or not is another issue for them.

She went on to say that what is important would be for TSBVI to take a lead in helping districts understand what's going on in the world of Google and Chrome books. This was presented at the Texas Assistive Technology Conference and she wants to continue to pursue that area. The reason is that a lot of districts are beginning to look at or are already using Google and Google Classroom, and they're not very accessible. The Chromebook, even with box and all those things, is not very good. It's really bigger than what the VI teachers can do. And at the district level they all buy technologies and software to help beef up the scores for reading, writing and math. So it ties back to literacy and student performance. Ms. Robinson suggested that maybe TSBVI can help everybody understand that, when talking about accessibility, the question to ask is, “What is accessible for you?” This includes all students not just the academic students who are readers. What about the nonreaders? What about the students who are deafblind? What about the readers who are just beginning to use tactile to learn about their world? So we need to remember that those are all assistive tech and literacy. But the bigger issue is going back to what everybody said earlier—that a lot of our students are capable of taking higher level coursework but they don't have the right resources to help them. Ms. Robinson wants TSBVI to continue helping the districts learn about assistive technology.

Ms. Miller thanked Cecilia Robinson for her comment. She announced that Ms. Robinson has agreed to come back to Outreach and quipped that this will be her first project.  

One participant brought up caseloads because that is really what she felt was causing the service delivery breakdown.

Another added that, when talking about technology, educators are often talking about a particular technology that students are using—but technology is invading classrooms, including assessments, iStation, all sorts of things that are being used in districts. And schools don't seem to focus on accessibility in these areas. When districts take on computer-assisted testing or iStation—when pre-K to kindergarten testing is completely visual on a touch screen, visually impaired students are at a disadvantage, and districts are missing the mark. Even when the question is being asked, it is not being answered.

One final participant remarked that post-school outcomes for students with multiple impairments who were not going to be employed and go through TWC's model is one of the biggest crises in the state of Texas. There are very few options for those students when they leave TSBVI or their local school district and that's got to be dealt with somehow.

Mr. Daugherty turned the meeting over to Cyral Miller who thanked the participants for their kind comments and recapped the previous sessions. She talked about how participants considered how the world around us impacts what we do, ranging from local districts and their impending and continuing lack of funding to demographic changes. TSBVI is part of a very broad system in everything it accomplishes. She reminded the group that Mr. Daugherty said that TSBVI would try to fill the gaps. So if the gaps are changing then TSBVI will have to figure out how to fill those gaps, and these are opportunities for growth. She stated that this was the focus of the next session.

The object was to get different perspectives so the group was split into two teams. Ms. Miller facilitated one and Mr. Daugherty facilitated the other. Each group was given paper to write notes about opportunities for program growth, and how TSBVI can improve. Issues were discussed with each group. After emerging from the separate meetings Mr. Daugherty spoke about his group’s input.

Mr. Daugherty began by addressing the first issue for his group, which was the transition into and out of TSBVI for students returning to their ISDs. For some students—and for example students with deafblindness as they get ready to transition out of TSBVI—there needs to be more time to plan and integrate with adult services and other organizations.  Parents and educators need to be realistic about what is back home.

The group discussed that TSBVI offers an extremely supportive environment. When transitioning a student back to their home district it is hard to picture what life looks like back there. When students leave classrooms at TSBVI and transition back into the classroom in their district, there is going to be less support. So for TSBVI students to really be independent and to function as well as they need to be back in the home district, TSBVI needs to pay more attention to what life looks like in an Algebra 2 class at Jefferson High School—whatever it might be. And these are issues that TSBVI has thought about quite a bit in the past. 

TSBVI focuses on blindness and visual impairment issues, yet so many students have a constellation of other disabilities that need to be attended to as best as possible. Autism is one of those issues. A student graduating from the program talked about the difficulty of adjusting socially on a college campus. What can we do to make kids more prepared to go out in the larger community and be able to socialize and integrate well? Under the academic and expanded core curriculum programs, it would be good if we had a diagnostic team here for students who either come in or we can go out to them in the ARD process. Between TSBVI and the TWC we need to really ensure that the TWC is invited to all of these meetings and that takes quite a coordination effort to make that happen. We know that one of the greatest indicators of success in students graduating or exiting out of school is that connection with their counselors and others that work in adult services. We've had some instances where the ARD paperwork was not the most current document that has been in the district. This was reported as an issue that happened a number of years ago.

In the residential program there was a recommendation for more mainstream rec/leisure activities and making sure that kids are going out and interacting with nondisabled peers in a variety of different settings. On the parental experience of having the student at TSBVI, some of the very best and most important feedback comes from the residential program. We've always known that the residential instructor that works with a child sometimes has the most direct contact with the parent of any person in TSBVI.

Mr. Daugherty continued saying that there was a wealth of updating and information on that end but maybe a little bit less so on academic progress: the ability of the school to work with a wide range of learners, and the issue of positive behavior supports—including that it is the primary model that we use for supporting students in their behavior at the school. This does not work with everyone in the applied behavior analysis. It is a system that is highly proven to be effective for certain kinds of learners for which there needs to be really clear expectations and consequences for different behaviors. An interesting issue that came up regarding a wide range of learners was the difficulty of working with students with deafblindness who have hearing, and where it is necessary to use interpreters.  

There was a call for a visual specialist who was also a specialist in autism. And while our workshop trainings get rave reviews and high marks, a little more emphasis perhaps could be placed on trainings that scaffold up toward a goal. There could be three trainings in a district on an item so that there's time for implementation and then coming back and moving on up. And in that area people were talking about the power of the videos that they have seen coming out of our school and the desire to have more and more videos that model the things that we want to do. Also more supports to transcribers and interveners that are working across the state. On the general issue of the website, the idea was that we should sponsor a listserve—or as it was put off, listserves are too "old school" and the new thing in social media is Pinterest. We need to have a way where people can really communicate.

Campus-based Short-Term Programs could do more with distance learning and look for more opportunities—or Short-Term Programs for students with multiple disabilities.  All of TSBVI’s Short-Term Programs are set up for students who are at or near grade level. We have heard this comment a lot about the value of students with multiple disabilities coming into those programs and others. There is an upside and downside to this issue because these programs are so quick. 

Cyral Miller then presented her group’s results. She pointed out that they departed from the framework and presented notes by program. They started by talking about Short-Term Programs. One of the requests was for longer summer programs so that students get more benefit from them. The short programs are fabulous but longer programs would be even better. There was a range of conversation about satellite programs and the idea was that TSBVI’s Short-Term Programs could go on the road. The issue of people with immigration status questions, and their families and their children, and that 100-mile limit within the state to a location where you don't want to send your child. Even if a child is a native born United States citizen you don't want to send him or her far away because then the parent can't travel if there is a problem or a concern. So taking our programs on the road—not just to the border, but also around the state, was a suggestion. On the other hand, it is also important to bring families and kids here together so they get to see the school, become more familiar with the school and continue to do those kinds of programs. TSBVI should support service centers because that's where we look when we take programs on the road. TSBVI does some of that already, but should do more of that. Participants wanted to make sure that TSBVI is not only aligning with service centers but also working very closely so that the school is supporting service centers and their mission. We all work together. But there is a need to really help reinforce that system in our state. Every system in the state of Texas can be at risk.

The group talked about funding issues and legislative issues and the fact that bringing kids here can bring the programs there. There was a conversation about peer role models. How we can have these fabulous students and ex-students in our midst and how we can maximize on how wonderful their input is—how much other kids would like to learn from each other. And then also adult role models should be employed so that students and also parents can see that there is a future. What does that future look like? What are the opportunities? Currently there is this money. It's called Pre-Employment Transition Services (preETS).

College prep was discussed, and there were varying issues to consider, including helping TWC with their college prep programs and helping students learn math so that they are ready for college. And maybe helping the general ed math teachers so that they know how to teach TSBVI kids who are in their classroom.

When students come to TSBVI they get the benefit of meeting with other kids who are like them and that's priceless. But there's also a need to learn how to socialize and get comfortable with kids who are not like them. So this, of course, is generalizable to all kids but specific to ours.

What about general ed and our students' comfort level and exposure to that? The group discussed a need to help districts who don't know much about visual impairment become educated about TSBVI and what we can offer to provide more exposure to what we offer and to provide blind children more exposure to what the world offers.

Stephanie Walker had the idea of using iris cameras that allow the user to videotape within classrooms. Lessons could be videotaped both at TSBVI and also in local areas, and put on our web site. The group discussed including parents in training and then following up with those parents to say, "How did that work for your kid?" The idea of saying to parents, "Come to this training and then we're going to contact you and see how that worked for your kid." Helping parents understand service delivery models and what appropriate service looks like is important.

Considering TSBVI’s web site, the group felt that they need a guided tour to our Web site. It's big, it's got a lot on it, and most people don't know what's on it.

Comprehensive Programs, technology training, technology classes, and precollege prep was discussed to be more intense especially in science and math. So helping students learn how to keep up with technology tools, more practice interacting with sighted students in classrooms—maybe more with the Peers Assistant and Leadership (PAL) program that would help with transitioning back home and with reimmersion into local public schools and/or college, and working with parents to help with the transition home as well.

Discussion continued with talk about the social anxiety related to being a person with a visual impairment in a sighted world, and what we can do – not only when students are at TSBVI, but what we can do statewide? Suggestions included early high school dual credit classes, and more immersion with the general college world so that students are better prepared. What about online courses? A push for the kids who are on grade level to get through at age eighteen, maybe get them higher expectations of a quick progress through high school.

Evaluations were discussed, and the group considered that if TSBVI agreed to help with evaluations we would be serving 1100 school districts and therefore not serving because TSBVI couldn't get to everybody. So the model that was proposed included doing more training for diagnosticians at the regional level—maybe finding teams of people that we can train at the local level—so that there is a more local resource for that. 

Bill Daugherty then stated that he could tell from the comments that both groups offered excellent input. He appreciated the way that everyone had been so considerate in their remarks about improvements that could be made, and that it put his comfort level in a really great place to know that he is with a safe group to discuss how he could do his job better, and how all staff at TSBVI can better serve the community.

Mr. Daugherty the addressed the statewide issues that come to TSBVI the most. The first one he wanted to discuss was the challenges facing young adults with blindness and visual impairments post high school in regards to employment, independent living, community integration, marriage and family life.

Gail Dalrymple started the conversation by asking what TSBVI teaches regarding sexual education.

Mr. Daugherty stated that some high tech models have been ordered to help with learning but he feels the students do not leave TSBVI nearly fully equipped to handle the world of sexuality as adults and it is something that TSBVI can improve upon.

Debra Sewell added that her department just had a meeting with a group called Unhushed and they are writing a new sexual education curriculum. There are several classes now in EXIT that are teaching sex ed. She stated that we cannot do too much in that area because the students really need to be protected.

Julie Prause wanted to add from a trainer/teacher perspective that a benefit of doing a seminar they called Blindness Seminar was bringing the customers together to pose questions about dating and similar topics. The participants really shared and talked with each other openly. 

Kenneth Semien stated that it is also important to place an emphasis on safety while dating.

Vivecca Hartman asked if there was vocational training here at TSBVI. Mr. Daugherty stated that TSBVI does offer that and that the focus is mainly on general employability skills. The hospitality industry is stressed because there are so many entry level jobs available.

Another participant stated that she feels that collaborating with Austin Community College (ACC) makes a lot of sense because one of the main problems blind individuals face in employment is employers thinking they can’t do certain jobs. 

Kevin Markel added that with the new regulations that they live under in vocational rehabilitation, they have some latitude in terms of how they can provide certain services to students who are not even connected with their agency. One of those is career exploration, and second is work-based learning experiences like summer jobs. Going forward we should be able to collaborate with schools, including TSBVI, to be able to provide some basic career exploration. Another project that they're working on is customized employment. They're looking at working with four education service centers around the state. Mr. Markel stated that what they are shooting for is getting training and developing teams that partner education with community rehab providers and with our agency in order to make those customized employment opportunities a possibility.  

Mr. Daugherty moved on to our next section, which covered the challenges faced by parents raising children with blindness and visual impairments from birth through the lifespan. Mr. Daugherty wanted to know what we could learn from the participants. He further stated that both parents and teachers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that is valuable.

Vivecca Hartman stated that she does a lot of parent chats and did a webinar with HHSC speaking about infants. 

Ms. Hartman added that TSBVI has an Outreach person for infants, and Outreach creates videos on educational topics. Now families can get interveners into their homes from such a young age, and if they could Google search and find helpful ideas like infant massage on the TSBVI website families could get access to techniques that TSBVI recommends earlier on if there are videos on the website.

Stephanie Walker stated that she would like to see the partnership program, Guide by Your Side, replicated for the early childhood population. Through her work with Region 11, they do Baby's Day Out, and she would also like to see more of these partnerships replicated.

Mr. Daugherty moved on to the challenges that universities have with preparing high quality TVI's. Many participants have had some kind of interaction with teacher training programs and are aware of the challenges with these programs. Mr. Daugherty asked if any participant had anything useful to share about planning on this topic.

Stephanie Walker stated that finding good placements for our orientation and mobility interns is still very difficult because they don't go through that period of temporary certification and they're not full-fledged specialists. She said there are a lot of questions among administrators about what these interns can and cannot do. 

Another participant added that they don't have a problem with getting students but they need more faculty support and that may be something TSBVI can consider for future budgets and requests because they're not getting it from the university. She stated that they definitely need another full time faculty member at TTU. Jason Lilly said that his district is working on getting one of their TVIs dual certified. That person would work more with the zero to three population. Also that person would be a parent input person and go into the homes and work with families. Mr. Lilly then stated that another of his staff members at TTU is working on getting Auditory Impairment/Visual Impairment (AIVI) certified as well.

A participant added that she recommends that staff get their AIVI certification because it is very helpful in school districts.

Ann Phillips stated that the mentor program should be continued because it takes a long time to feel comfortable as a practicing TVI or O&M teacher.

Mr. Daugherty asked if anyone was aware of any underserved populations of the state that should be looked into. A participant stated that she was aware that summer programs do not include the deafblind very often. Mr. Daugherty stated that there have been challenges with getting a sufficient number of kids that have some kind of commonality who were available to attend certain dates in the summer. 

Another participant added that it would be very helpful for families to come in and observe our residential facilities. Mr. Daugherty stated that it is very important to share everything we have here at the school with the parents and everyone who is associated with that student’s life.

Another underserved area discussed was English language learners in early elementary. Vision teachers need more information about reading speed.

Elaine Robertson added that it is important to ensure that students with additional disabilities are pushed a bit with functional braille. Students have been very successful when they pushed literacy and are astounded by where they can go. She then added that it is difficult to find braillists. She stated that more training is needed for people to learn braille.

Cecilia Robinson stated that the resources from TSBVI's curriculum department are highly valued. Ms. Robinson also discussed various networks and how they might work together.

Cyral Miller then instructed all participants to talk to the person next to them and discuss in two minutes an idea that they had that has not been mentioned yet in this meeting. After the two minutes, Cyral asked participants to share their thoughts.

Kenneth Semien stated that he thought about the benefits of coming up with a unique way to educate students and families. The Braille Institute of America has a Sound Solution Series. It teaches families and students through dramatization. He suggested that our theater department may look into doing something similar to teach parents to make it more interesting instead of just reading a document. Cyral Miller stated that they could look into that.

Rona Pogrund added that she would like to see an early childhood model program at TSBVI. Parents could come for training and have a team of experts doing demonstrations, evaluations, and other relevant topics.

There was also a suggestion that TSBVI students do volunteer work so that they learn the value of giving. Cyral Miller said she knows that some students participate in Meals on Wheels. TSBVI also has a LEO club that does volunteer work.

Cieara Mapps suggested it might be beneficial to have a student-to-student mentoring program. Ms. Mapps gave an example that perhaps a newly blind student might benefit from a student who has been blind their whole life, to assist or just talk to during this transition. 

Norma Crosby suggested a seminar or discussion group for students to talk about attitudes about blindness and/or toward blind persons.

Jason Lilly suggested that there be some sort of bare bones starter guide for parents with a child recently diagnosed with a vision problem, as this can be such an overwhelming time.

One participant revealed that Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (a registration of students who are classified as visually impaired but are not in special education) is not working well for gathering student information and getting them onto our deafblind and VI registration. We are loosening our requirements by backing off of that requirement for the VI registration unless the students are legally blind, in which case we do want to register them as they qualify for APH Quota Funds.

Cecilia Robertson asked about providing services to children with visual impairments in Charter Schools.

Cyral Miller asked that the participants give their top recommendations moving forward, and these recommendations would be collected before the participants leave.

Bill Daugherty expressed his appreciation to everyone for coming. He stated that their recommendations and willingness to talk about all these topics is very much appreciated.

Joseph Muniz stated that it’s been a rare privilege to get together with stakeholders. The board will take all that they have heard into consideration. Obviously a lot of thought has been put into the suggestions, which brought forth solutions and expertise. The suggestions help set the tone for the direction the school will be moving going forward. Mr. Muniz adjourned the meeting at 3:36 p.m.

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Joseph Muniz, Board President                                               Date

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Lee Sonnenberg, Board Secretary                                           Date

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Vicki Weston, Recording Secretary                                          Date

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

BOARD MEETING MINUTES

June 16, 2017

Call to Order:  At 9:00 a.m. , Joseph Muniz called the meeting to order.  In addition to Joseph Muniz, Anne Corn, Mary Alexander, Lee Sonnenberg and Michael Garrett were in attendance. 

Introduction of Audience:  In addition to the board, the audience included Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Sara Merritt, Short Term Programs Principal; Miles Fain, Comprehensive Programs Principal; Cyral Miller, Outreach Director; Vicki Weston, Executive Assistant; Cooper Alexander, Former Student; Kate Mainzer, Human Resources Director; Pam Darden, Chief Financial Officer; and Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation.   

Continuation of Strategic Planning Session:  Mr. Muniz stated that he was very pleased with the Strategic Planning Session held on June 15, 2017.   Mr. Daugherty said stated that he too was pleased with the meeting as well.  He explained that the management team sift through the information captured and block it into themes such as parent supports, technology, etc. Mr. Daugherty continued that they would then take each item and provide information on what TSBVI is doing now and what it would involve to take action in a certain area in the future.  Mr. Daugherty said that building of the strategic plan will be a process.  

Cyral Miller began by expressing how pleased she was with the diverse group that came together in the June 15th meeting.  Ms. Miller began with a discussion about strengths:

STRENGTHS

Comprehensive Programs Strengths:  Ms. Miller asked the Board to comment on what they heard regarding strengths in Comprehensive Programs.

Mary Alexander began by responding to comments she heard about the discrepancy in funding with two-thirds being used on campus and one-third off campus.  Ms. Alexander said that while she understand that not everyone has a thorough understanding of how state funds work, parents may not have that same understand therefore are unable to see why funds are spent as they are.  Ms. Alexander said that she feels we will have to address this at some point.  Ms. Alexander also said there is some rancor about the Service Delivery Model.  She said that communication overall has improved a lot.  She also stated that Expanded Core Curriculum expansion in both residential and the classroom setting was appreciated.  Ms. Alexander said that she said that the communication around the ARD process has greatly improved greatly as well.  She said that having TVIs on the dorm was also a good move.  Joseph Muniz asked Bill Daugherty where the idea for a TVI on the dorm came from.  Mr. Daugherty stated that in Kansas he had one certified  person on the dorm and it was a great help so he and Miles began with a couple of TVIs and now are planning on four TVIs as it has been very successful.  Ms. Alexander also said she enjoyed hearing from the former students about the extracurricular activities.  Lastly Ms. Alexander said she heard from people that we meet students where they are. 

Anne Corn stated that she came away with the extensiveness of Comprehensive Programs including math preparedness, EXIT, and so many other programs considering multi abilities of students who come to TSBVI and how we are individualizing and helping students grow.  The EXIT Program was mentioned several times and everyone noticed that.  She agreed with Ms. Alexander about the lack of understanding where the budget goes and that maybe we should do a better job of explaining it.  

Michael Garrett stated that the former students saying that the chance for them to be with other people like themselves was profound.  Mr. Garrett said that he wished we could serve more students on campus because it really touches the students’ lives, helps the learning process and when they go home, they are a different child who is more confident and prepared.  

Lee Sonnenberg reiterated the value of the TVIs on the dorm and how beneficial it is to continue the education process throughout the day.  

Joseph Muniz stated that the live binders and refined registration process were well accepted by parents.  The technology improvements are making a difference as well.  Mr. Muniz said that making things easier for parents is a good move.  Mr. Muniz said that he was pleased to hear from Criss Cole that they are have seen a marked improvement in the quality of TSBVI's students in in the past decade as well as the improvement in the collaborations with Criss Cole.  Mr. Muniz also said he has to work hard to make others understand how many students TSBVI actually reaches beyond those who are on campus.  Mr. Muniz said that being able to hear feedback from stakeholders was very helpful as well .  Mr. Muniz stated that he liked hearing that others were re-creating TSBVI programs on their campuses.  Mr. Muniz asked for an explanation of the “resource room".  Mr. Daugherty explained that a resource room is manned by a TVI and is dedicated to visually impaired students for extra support.  Mr. Daugherty said that some districts, because of the diversity of students' disabilities, it began not to work for schools.  Mr. Muniz enjoyed hearing the parent speak about her son, who when he first came to TSBVI, was thought to have no hope of ever being independent but that by the time he left TSBVI he had been able to achieve a great deal and was living away from home.  Mr. Muniz mentioned Edgar Lozano appreciating the advanced math classes offered at TSBVI and how much more prepared they made him for college.  

Anne Corn said that she noted the discussion of outside teachers coming to observe classroom teachers at TSBVI and how helpful it was to them.  Dr. Corn also said that the discussion regarding customized employment and improvements in transition and employability has been helpful.  

Outreach Program:  Lee Sonnenberg said with the elimination of EES, Outreach has pick up the torch for what was missing.  Anne Corn said the expertise of Outreach was highly regarded and the benefits to school districts is very helpful.  She also said that families receive many benefits from Outreach. Dr. Corn noted the participants see the Outreach team as problem solvers.  Mary Alexander said that she heard a lot about Outreach throughout the day especially about family development.  Ms. Alexander said that families see TSBVI and and Independent School Districts (ISDs) working together more closely.  The Outreach staff traveling out to the schools was appreciated and valued.  Ms. Alexander said that the the website’s value and increase in the use of technology was also helping greatly.  Ms. Alexander said that the Deafblind Pilot and Mentor Program is smart and is money well spent.  The teacher training partnership with the universities is a great program.  She said that TSBVI never fails to collaborate with whomever might benefit the students.  Michael Garrett agreed that Outreach traveling to schools and families is a good program.  He also said the technology aspect is outstanding.  He stated that the general ed teachers are lacking knowledge in how to deal with visually impaired students making the Outreach contact even more important.  Joseph Muniz said that it was obvious that Outreach is very important to all of the stakeholders who spoke at the Strategic Planning Meeting.  Mr. Muniz agreed with the investment in technology.  He said that the face-to-face meetings are very important as well.  Comprehensive Programs and Short-Term Programs are helping students when they return to their ISDs.  With regard to funding, Mr. Muniz said that to the comment that was made that two-thirds of the budget going to campus programs and one-third going to Outreach, prompted him to question Mr. Daugherty about the issue and Mr. Muniz asked Mr. Daugherty to share the explanation with the Board.  Mr. Daugherty stated that both Short-Term Programs and Comprehensive Programs essentially serve as Outreach programs as well.  Mr. Daugherty said the feels that we must have the foundational identity as being a school. He said that is what legislators understand the most.  TSBVI then layers Outreach on top of that which shows lawmakers how much is being done at a local level to build local capacity in their districts.  Mr. Daugherty said that when put together, they create a successful school.  Mr. Muniz said that what he takes away from that explanation it is a continuum.  He agreed with continuing to support technology and face-to-face assistance.   Mr. Garrett asked how much it cost to educate a student today versus 10-20 years ago and asked if the cost of educating students on campus significantly differs from educating a student in a school district.  Mr. Daugherty stated that the cost per student was formulated by the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and was approximately $70,000 per year. He explained that educating in a public school is not comparable to educating students with disabilities because of the many additional supports needed.  Mr. Daugherty said that the costs over the past 10 years has not changed significantly.  

He said it is considerably less to educate students through Outreach but are not comparable which is why it is so important to move students in and out of TSBVI.  Mr. Muniz asked if Mr. Daugherty thought the LBB formula served the school well.  Mr. Daugherty stated that it did.  He said that it is a very complicated issue. 

Short Term Programs:  Mary Alexander stated participants enjoyed the Google Classroom experience.  Ms. Alexander said that allowing school district TVIs come to TSBVI is a great idea.  Ms. Alexander said that she heard a lot about new programming that was very much appreciated.  She said that parents wished we could serve more students.  The main question she came out with was, how can TSBVI do more in and provide more impact.  Ms. Alexander said that she noted comments by a former student who talked about socialization and how important it was.  Stakeholders loved the sharing of reports to the service centers.   

Anne Corn said she was pleased that other ISDs are replicating our programs.  Dr. Corn also said that lifetime friendships are forming and that meeting another  student was good.  Dr. Corn said that the streamlined application and registration processes are a wonderful improvement.  Lee Sonnenberg said he agreed that the online application process to get into Short-Term Programs is great.  He also said that the ESC reports are appreciated and very valuable. Michael Garrett stated he heard comments that Short-Term Programs are too short.  Mr. Garrett said that it does fill in a gap for students and teachers.  Mr. Garrett said that he sat in with a student in a Short Term Program years ago and that it meant so much to the student to be at TSBVI.  

Joseph Muniz stated that he too heard compliments on the ease of the application process for Short-Term Programs.  Someone else also mentioned to Mr. Muniz that they were recreating some of the content from Short-Term Programs, which is extraordinary. Mr. Muniz asked if there was any thought from Short-Term Programs to assisting and sharing with others to recreate the programs.  Sara Merritt said that yes, they shared many things to enable them to recreate classes in their own district. Mary Alexander asked if Ms. Merritt if she was able to get any education teachers right out of college to work summer programs.  Ms. Merritt said said that the word is getting out and there is growing interest.  Ms. Alexander said that it benefits the general education population enormously.  Ms. Merritt said that one limitation is housing for the interns.  She said it is difficult for them to afford Austin housing.  Mr. Garrett stated that he has seen more women than men in the internship program.  Ms. Merritt said that generally there are more women than men as TVIs.  She said they see more men as O&Ms.  She also said that they have a wonderful male TVI this summer.  

Mr. Muniz asked Mr. Daugherty for a written narrative on the outside factors and trends.

Areas for Growth

Mary Alexander said that for Short-Term Programs participants wanted more classes made available, especially for “fun” courses.  She also said that former students said they did not feel like they were as prepared for college as they would have liked to have been.  Ms. Alexander said that she thought what they were saying was things they needed to know operating in the classroom as well as doing independent activities.  She said that they were probably referring to being able to use technology better and understanding software and adaptive learning management systems that they should know how to use  Ms. Alexander said they were probably not as prepared as they should be.  She said there was a lot of discussion around socialization with sighted students. Ms. Alexander aid the students mentioned the PALS program and wonde4red how that program could be replicated outside of Austin.  Ms. Alexander said that she thought TSBVI was doing very well in working with students to return to their ISD. She asked how TSBVI might make it easier for parents to allow their child to attend the programs on campus.  Ms. Alexander thought that one way was o have a parent/child weekend to help parents reach a level of comfort about leaving their child at TSBVI. She said there was also a suggestion to have a guided tour of the website to make things easier to find. Back to the subject of a parent weekend, Ms. Alexander asked how we would be able to do that statewide.  Ms. Alexander also asked that regarding Outreach, how could TSBVI provide more assistance for general ed math. science, chemistry and biology?  She said she also heard several comments about the high standards TSBVI has on its curriculum.  Joseph Muniz said he heard that it was difficult for parents to make it to meetings.  Mr. Muniz said that he heard comments that parents and professionals appreciated TSBVI taking the lead in ARDs.  Mr. Fain we are definitely not taking the lead in ARDs.  He said TSBVI partners and assists the local school districts in their chair role.  He said that this is reflected in the live binders and all of the communication with districts and families about that.  Mr. Muniz said he thought that TSBVIs role was helpful and appreciated, and that what he took away from the process was that when parents were involved with ARDs of students at TSBVI saw a marked improvement over previous ARD experiences.  Sara Merritt explained that with her experience in Comprehensive Program, sometimes you have a district involved who has no experience with visual impairments and are not aware of some of the requirements for these students and TSBVI had to provide information and direction in the ARD process.  

Anne Corn said one of the areas that was discussed was the assistance with diagnostics the school districts need.  She also said that there were comments about needing someone who specializes in autism with visual impairments. Dr. Corn also said that parents and teachers need assistance with helping students to socialize.  Michael Garrett said he heard that there was a need for using more role models to chart the course, like former students.  Mr. Daugherty said he had not thought of the value of having ex-students come in to do this.  He thought it would be very powerful.  Sara Merritt, Miles Fain and Cyral Miller all said that this is already done that in Comprehensive Program, Short-Term Programs and in Outreach.  Mary Alexander stated that they need to mirror former students as much as possible.  Michael Garrett said he used to come to campus after he graduated.  Anne Corn said she thought there were other visually impaired persons who came to campus as well.  Cyral Miller said that parents need to talk with other parents as well.  Mary Alexander said we need some kind of process to assist parent to parent assistance but that it should be done very thoughtfully as parents can get overwhelmed.  

Lee Sonnenberg said there were four topics he got from the breakout session.  Mr. Sonnenberg said there is a big difference between student’s transition at TSBVI and at their home district.  He gave an example regarding O&M where it is very different in Austin that has sidewalks and a small town where they might not even have them.  He further stated that the supports offered at TSBVI versus those offered at the ISD may be completely different.  Mr. Sonnenberg said that regarding students with multiple disabilities, TSBVI may be addressing the VI portion but not other disabilities.  He said that autism was brought up several times.  He also said that support across the state for braillists and interveners and ways to bring these groups together.  He commented on listserves or social media to bring TVIs and COMs into some kind of communication mechanism.  Lastly, Mr. Sonnenberg talked about mobile Short-Term Programs.  Sara Merritt said it is on Short-Term Programs action plan to do a mobile program.  Mr. Daugherty commented on Mr. Sonnenberg topic about transitioning home and the differences in the levels of support, saying that his is an important topic that needs to be refined.  Joseph Muniz asked if it would come up in the ARD.  Mr. Daugherty said that it is difficult to back off of the supports we provide to students while they are here because they have so many needs.  He said that more support in the general education classroom is an area of growth for TSBVI.  Mr. Muniz mentioned the disparity of locations where student live and he asked if O&M is customized.  Mr. Daugherty said that O&M is customized for student learning needs but not regularly being specific to the student's home location.  Miles Fain said customization should come in through ARDs.  Anne Corn said that said students need to learn to negotiate their transportation because it is such a large part of independence.  Sara Merritt said that student are using technology a great deal for all kinds of needs such as ride sharing apps and grocery delivery apps.  She said that students are learning which apps work best in all kinds of different situations and technology fosters independence.  Cyral Miller said they have a program called "City Travel" where O&Ms come to Austin with their students and learn about things like intersections.  She said the demographic shift is to urban areas and `there are fewer people living in rural areas and that if a student intends to find a job they will probably end up in a city where they will need those experiences and skills.  Mr. Muniz asked if there are many instances where a student does very well but then reverts when they return to their home districts.  Mr. Fain said that is happening less and less but there are situations, depending on the local teams' capabilities and/or acceptance of assistance from TSBVI, where things do not work well once a student leaves.  He said all of this is taken into an account when decisions are made about how long a student stays at TSBVI.  Mr. Daugherty said it is very difficult to hear about students who go home to "nothing" which is why TSBVI has been focusing so heavily on building local capacity.  Mr. Daugherty said that is the only way to handle this issue because it cannot be handled from Austin.  Mary Alexander what the opportunities are around assisting or collaborating with TWC with developing and educating employers.  Mr. Daugherty said there is opportunity there and the director of TWC is very committed to blind people and Norma and Glen Crosby are two of his closest associates and they are deeply committed to employment but the rules under which TWC functions and how funding comes down is an extraordinarily complex issue.  Mr. Daugherty said that there is a need for a summit involving TSBVI, TWC, HHSC, the Lighthouses for the Blind and other players involved with employment to meet and discuss possibilities.  Cyral Miller said she was fascinated by the number of times the "customized employment" came up at the strategic planning meeting and discussed briefly the problems that have come up in getting a program off the ground.  

Mary Alexander asked for an explanation of 504 in regard to visual impairment.  Mr. Daugherty said that there are an increasing number of students who are not being enrolled in special ed but are instead being placed in 504 plans.  He said that under those plans, generally all that is done is that "an accommodation" is given.  Mr. Daugherty explained that from an educators point of view the problem with it is that the comprehensive needs of a student that might exceed that simple accommodation are problematic.  Cyral Miller said that the most important piece is that it is not special ed. She said that special ed gives parents and children rights and there are procedural rights.  It is what protects children.  Ms. Miller said that under 504, the parent can come in and say their child has a visual impairment then the 504 Committee, which does not have a special education professional on it, comes back and say the child is 504 Visually Impaired.  There followed a brief discussion of the program.  

Missing Pieces

Cyral Miller brought up new parents and young parents.  Lee Sonnenberg said that many parents don’t know about services.  He said that he had to learn things on his own.  Mr. Sonnenberg said that when thinking about how to get the information out there to doctors, medical schools might be the best way.  Mr. Sonnenberg asked if Ms. Miller had someone who coordinates parent organizations.  Ms. Miller said that Rachel Simpson is the Family Engagement Specialist on the VI side and Edgenie Bellah is the Deafblind Family Engagement Specialist.  

Mr. Muniz brought up the the question that was asked about TSBVI taking on preschool age children.  Mr. Muniz said that Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) was responsible for providing services for ages 0-3.  He asked if TSBVI served Texas students in the public school system.  Mr. Daugherty said TSBVI serves children from birth through the Outreach Program.  There was a brief discussion about serving children of that age which would most likely be a parent training program rather than a school for children. Mr. Muniz stated that he thinks the Strategic Plan should include information about how TSBVI serves that age group.  

Cyral Miller brought up Charter schools as a piece that did not come up in in the Strategic Planning Meeting.  Ms. Miller asked if we had any students from a charter schools at TSBVI.  Miles Fain said we do.  Ms. Miller asked what was different about a student from a charter school.  Mr. Fain replied that generally they are not able to to accept our support and make the program work when they return to the school.  Ms. Merritt said that there are well-funded charter schools that can provide the support needed.   

Reflections on board priorities

Anne Corn said that there was a lack of comment regarding low vision services yet TSBVI is seeing more requests for services through Short-Term Programs.  Dr. Corn said she thinks that TSBVI should be cutting edge in low vision services.  She said she still wants the low vision book updated or replaced.  Dr. Corn would like the low vision clinic reconsidered and get it on to our three year plan.    

Lee Sonnenberg said that his priority is parent communication to inform them about TSBVI.  Mr. Sonnenberg would like for Short-Term Programs to go out on the road. Finally Mr. Sonnenberg wanted to see the teacher prep program grow.  Ann Corn asked Ms. Miller what needs to happen to help school districts understand what a reasonable caseload is for a TVI.  Ms. Miller the whole public school system needs to refocus.  Ms. Miller said the number one factor is the financial constraints.  The second factor is the lack of understanding of the teacher of students with visual impairments.  

Michael Garrett said that in addition to the teacher prep component, he would like to see more diversity in the teaching staff.  

Mary Alexander said her priority is increasing access to our programs.  Ms. Alexander said that encouragement of a cohesive group in the state to support TVIs. Dr. Corn also said that we should look at other models for teacher prep.  

Joseph Muniz wants to wait until he sees notes on the meeting before he sets his priorities because he had difficulties hearing everything said at the meeting.  Mr. Muniz said that as far as things not mentioned at the meeting, he would like for TSBVI's mission and programs to remain vital and relevant to the state of Texas.  He said that the teacher prep program are very important but professional development is vital to maintain well qualified teachers.  Mr. Muniz said that Outreach should continue to educate and develop programs that can be replicated.  Mr. Muniz said it is vital that TSBVI remain cutting edge in their methods and techniques of educating visually impaired students.  He said that a particular challenge, which may become more urgent in the future is serving visually impaired students with multiple disabilities.  He said that it should be in the strategic plan because it will require many more resources.  

Mr. Daugherty said to keep in mind what it takes to do maintain what we are doing and how well it is working and to recognize that this is an add-on and things are being shifted to add in new things.  The whole strategic planning process is setting a path for the future but is also reminding us what we are doing right now and what the importance is of that.  

Adjournment: Michael Garrett made a motion to adjourn.  Ann Corn seconded the motion and the Board voted to adjourn at 12:24 p.m.

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) shall be held on June 16, 2017 beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Meeting Room, Building 600, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

If, during the course of the meetings, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Board shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government Code, Sec. 551.001, et seq.  Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session.  All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.  The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken, are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

BOARD AGENDA

For June 16, 2017 Meeting

1.  Call to Order

2.  Introduction of Audience

3.  Continuation of Strategic Planning Session

4.  Adjournment

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) shall be held on June 15, 2017 beginning at 9:00 a.m., Outreach Center - Building 605, Phil Hatlen Conference Room #105 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

If, during the course of the meetings, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Board shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government Code, Sec. 551.001, et seq.  Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session.  All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.  The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken, are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

BOARD AGENDA

For June 15, 2017 Meeting

1.  Call to Order

2.  Introduction of Audience

3.  Strategic Planning Session with TSBVI Stakeholders

4.  Adjournment