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Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Superintendent's Corner

By Phil Hatlen, Superintendent, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

I'm pleased to begin the column in See/Hear for a couple of reasons. First, it will give me a chance to remind you every once in a while that the outstanding work of the Outreach Department at TSBVI is truly a part of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Since the children of many of you will not experience on-campus life at TSBVI, it must sometimes be difficult to imagine that Outreach services are really a part of the mission of this residential school. TSBVI is strongly committed to parents and children having many options for school placement. It is our firm belief that, for each child, there is a best placement at a particular time in the child's life. This school setting may change from year-to-year, and fortunate is the family that has options that meet the needs of children. It is also our belief that most blind and visually impaired students, including those with additional disabilities, should be educated in their local district if at all possible. So, you see, with the TSBVI philosophy, it's no wonder that our Outreach Department is highly valued by all of us here on the campus. Outreach is a part of our mission.

Another reason why this column pleases me is that it gives me a chance to share with you some of the new and exciting programs and services we are developing. For example, this year we have three students on our campus who have already graduated from their local school district. They are taking courses and experiencing work in our career education program. It isn't always easy for a local district to provide a vocational education program that addresses the specific problems of work and the visually impaired person. TSBVI does this very well, and we're pleased to begin this program. Also, we are now offering certain academic courses to students from local districts who may benefit from taking Algebra, for example, on our campus from a teacher who knows both subject matter and is experienced teaching visually impaired students. Such classes may have an enrollment as low as four or five students, and this might also be an advantage to some students from local districts. Another new program called EXIT (EXperiences In Transition) is now available for certain students during their last two years of high school.

TSBVI is a school on the move. We continually explore ways in which we can supplement or complement the services available in local school districts, and we work hard to meet the educational needs of all blind and visually impaired students throughout Texas, either on-campus or where they live.

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Go to Fall 1998 Table of Contents.