In previous summers, some of my students attended a program called Practical Academic Secondary Enrichment (PASE), Secondary Enrichment B (SEB), Life Skills, Academic Secondary Enrichment (ASE) or Secondary Enrichment A (SEA). I don't see those programs this year! Where do my students belong?
We have combined the former PASE, SEB and Life Skills programs into Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC) to allow for better grouping of students by age, abilities and interests. Students in secondary school may apply to:
- a work program, either SWEAT or WALIC, or
- Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC), for students with developmental delays who are significantly below grade level, or
- Secondary Enrichment, which offers the same types of classes previously offered in ASE. Our application process will guide you in selecting appropriate classes
Can't I let my students' parents fill out parts of the application? They have computers and good Internet skills.
Unfortunately, it is not possible for two different people to write to a student’s online application. Therefore you do need to get the information from the parents and then enter it yourself. (We have provided a PDF version of the Medical Dietary History form, in Spanish and in English, to help you with this.)
Can a student who has no TVI apply? This may happen when students attend a private or home school.)
Yes, any student who is a Texas resident and meets eligibility criteria for visual impairment can apply. If a student with a visual impairment has no TVI, the parent may function as the TVI for summer school applications. Parents may contact the Short-Term Programs administrative team at: Wendy Erickson 512-206-9332, Phoebe Williams 512-206-9241 or .
Does my student have a better chance of being accepted if I submit my application early?
No. All applications submitted by February 14, that are complete, including a complete Medical-Dietary Form, are given the same consideration.
Note: Although you may have submitted a Medical-Dietary form last summer, you must complete a new form for the current summer. Forms with last year’s dates will not be accepted.
Does my student have less chance of being accepted if s/he was accepted last year?
We do take prior attendance into consideration, but other factors have greater weight. Students may get to come repeatedly if they remain available as other students drop out throughout the spring, or they happen to request a spot with fewer applicants.
What can I do if you do not accept my child?
We send out our first round of acceptances near the end of March. If those students’ families do not meet the deadline for notifying us that they will attend, we remove them and begin offering those slots to other students around mid-April. Between April and the start of summer school, we are able to accept many more students as others drop out. It is quite possible that your child will eventually be accepted, even if that does not happen in the first round.
I'm not sure we can provide transportation. Can you provide financial help with this?
We are not able to help students with transportation to Austin for summer programs. Please make sure that transportation in both directions is available before you apply. When a child accepts a spot and then fails to arrive, it means another student did not get to come in that spot. Sometimes a student's Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) caseworker can help with transportation. Also, organizations such as a local Lion’s Club may be able to help.
Can a 6-year-old apply?
We typically do not accept 6-year-olds, simply because we don't have enough room for all the applicants we get for the Elementary Summer Enrichment program, and we first offer slots to the older students. You can apply, and it is possible that circumstances would occur such that we could accept your student.
I have a 12-year-old and I don’t know whether to request the elementary “Transition to Middle School” class or the secondary “Middle School Enrichment” class. Do you have any guidelines?
Twelve-year-old students who will enter Middle School for the first time in the fall of 2016 should apply to the elementary program. If they want to learn about what middle school may be like, they can specifically request the elementary class called “Transition to Middle School.” Twelve-year-old students who will have completed their first year in Middle School by June 12 should apply to the Secondary Enrichment program. We try to group these youngest SE students in classes with peers their age.
Can a student attend summer school if they have graduated or are over 18 years of age?
Students can attend summer school the summer after they graduate from high school (if they are not yet 22 years old). Students who have not graduated may attend until they are 22 years old
Can students with deafblindness attend?
a. Students who attend TSBVI or the Texas School for the Deaf as full-time students during the school year are not eligible to attend summer programs at TSBVI.
b. Deafblind students who do not attend TSD or TSBVI can apply. If the student can participate without an interpreter, they will be considered for the best-fit class, the same as any other applicant. If they do need an interpreter, we will try to arrange a signing adult in the classroom and/or dorm if possible.
Do you serve students in wheelchairs?
All of our programs have served students who use wheelchairs. We do need to consider the amount and type of individual service a student requires, because we do not have the staff to provide frequent one-on-one or highly specialized support. Please describe on the application the situations in which the student does and does not require additional support, as well as the types of support needed. There is a specific section just for that purpose.
My student loves the topic of a particular class you offer, but he doesn't meet the eligibility requirements. Can we still request that?
We carefully place students into classes with age-appropriate peers, and with peers who are at approximately similar learning levels. We have carefully defined the eligibility criteria for each program and for various classes. Please read this and do not apply for a program that does not match your child’s age and level of function, as we will not place them in those classes and we may then not be able to offer an appropriate class.
Can my child attend two programs or classes, if they do not overlap?
The only place this could feasibly happen is in the Secondary Enrichment program, where a student could attend a one-week class followed by a two-week class. In reality, we normally have more applicants for these classes than we can accept. But as students begin to drop out as spring moves along, we sometimes have openings. Note that the application allows you to select more than one class, and asks that you indicate whether your student would like to attend more than one class.
I worry that my child will become homesick or not get the support we provide at home. How will I know that my child is safe and properly supervised?
Most children have some fear about being away from home, especially when it is their first time. Parents can also experience concerns about their children being away from them. Once children get here, they usually have a wonderful time participating in a wide range of enjoyable activities, and being around children (and adults) who experience similar visual and social challenges. At the end of a program, it's common for a child to announce that they want to stay longer!
We provide supervision day and night, by staff that are employed here throughout the school year and are specifically trained to work with visually impaired students, including those with additional disabilities.
Children are permitted to call home any day after school, and parents can call them in the dorm. For children who do experience homesickness, we provide understanding and support.
We encourage parents to use TSBVI to support their children’s beginning steps towards independence – one of the most important things we can teach our children over the course of their young lives! When parents provide support and encouragement to their homesick child, students usually thrive and feel very proud of themselves for succeeding on their own. TSBVI is likely one of the safest and most supportive places to do this.
Can students bring dog guides to campus?
TSBVI has a policy that addresses the issue of dog guides on campus. Students 16 years and older who have been approved by a dog guide school for training or who already have a dog guide must, upon referral for admission, obtain approval from the Principal for maintaining the dog on campus. The Principal will approve the maintenance of a dog guide on campus if the student is able to demonstrate the ability to manage and care for the dog independently. Students with dog guides are responsible for adhering to any procedure governing the maintenance of dog guides on campus and for costs associated with the maintenance of the dog. Failure to follow the procedure may result in loss of permission to maintain the dog guide on campus.
We would like to take our child out of school for a day or two, for a special event. Will that be OK?
The nature of the request will of course influence our answer. If it’s a two-hour dentist appointment, or a day off to attend a wedding or a funeral, we would excuse the student without further question.
Our application form requests that parents let us know in advance if they intend their child to miss any part of the program. We highly discourage absences for the following reasons:
- Our programs are short, and when a student misses even one day, it is a significant part of the time. The teacher has planned a unit that has continuity from day to day, so it’s a burden on others when one student misses. We want all the students to remain with the group the entire time, to maintain group cohesiveness.
- Some students can feel homesick or envious when one student gets to leave with their family and they do not.
- It can be disruptive to the class (or dorm) when they have to plan their activities around a parent pickup and return.
- The SWEAT program actually has a procedure for conditions when students can miss.
If you know that a student is going to miss any part of a program, or needs to leave early, please let us know when you submit the application, or as soon after that as you know. We will try to work with you to accommodate your needs.