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Spring 2019


More Announcements, News & Current Events

  • TSBVI in the News - On occasion, the great work happening at TSBVI spills over into local and national news feeds. Be sure to follow @TSBVI_News on Twitter for the latest media sightings!

For additional articles and resources that have been featured on our home page, visit the Home Page Archive.

Scheduling Tours

  • For families of prospective and current students, please contact Cathy Olsen to schedule an individual tour or join a group tour of the campus.
  • For TVIs and teachers of DB students, please contact Patty DeGroot to arrange a time to observe classes.
  • For other interested individuals — teachers, other VI professionals, community members, visitors to Austin — please contact Gloria Bennett to arrange a tour of the best school in the country!

Where Are We?

 

Short-Term Programs provide short-term services to visually impaired students who attend their local districts during the school year. Short-Term Programs provide two types of service:

  • School Year Short-Term Programs: range from three to five days in length and offer  intensive, individual, narrowly focused training to academic students who are on or close to grade level in any area specifically related to vision loss, such as adaptive  technology, Braille & Nemeth Code, and tactile math tools in relation to the Expanded Core Curriculum. Close collaboration with independent school districts occurs before and after participation in these programs. Instruction supports the regular curriculum (TEKS) by teaching:

    • Disability-specific skills needed to access the regular curriculum (e.g., technology, low vision tools and strategies, math tools and strategies)

    • Basic concepts that support the curriculum (e.g., college prep, social studies, research, number concepts)

    • Attitudinal changes that support successful learning (e.g., self-determination, social skills, independent living) 
       

  • Summer Short-Term Programs: provide a wide range of offerings, from elementary to high school, academic to severely multiply-impaired,  in a broad array of content areas such as vocational, functional application of academic skills, independent living skills, social-emotional  development, and adapted athletics.

 If you would like more information about Short-Term Programs, please contact: Sara Merritt, Principal of Short-Term Programs (512) 206-9176  .

 
 

* on or close to grade level: Most of these students take the regular or accommodated TAKS/STAAR tests and pass at least one test. They typically receive primary instruction in the regular classroom supported by a TVI rather than content mastery, resource room, or inclusion support. If a student does not perform at this academic level, he or she should apply for our summer school program (the application is posted between January 9 - Feb 14 on our website).

 

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) offers a collaborative work environment serving students from across the state, ages 6 through 22.
Teacher and student working on a science project

At TSBVI, we believe our employees are our strength. Join us as we deliver compassionate teaching to our students who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities.

While experience working with students who are blind or visually impaired is helpful, very few people have this opportunity prior to working at TSBVI. Our training program will give you the skills you need to be a successful and confident employee whose work makes a meaningful difference for students who are blind and visually impaired in Texas.

In addition to the chance to have a positive, life changing impact on our students, eligible employees benefit from the following:

  • Medical, dental and vision benefits

  • Disability and life insurance benefits

  • Vacation/Holiday/Sick

  • Defined Benefit Retirement Plan through Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS)

  • Retirement savings programs Commuter Spending Account

  • Education and training through various programs

 

Review our open positions to learn more about our opportunities.

 

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Human Resources Department
1100 West 45th Street
Austin, TX 78756
HR Office: (512) 206-9129
HR Fax: (512) 206-9403
HR E-mail:

TSBVI is an equal opportunity employer.

Descargar la versión para imprimir (en español)

Foto de Estudiantes con voluntarios Delta Gamma n el Centro de Recursos para el Aprendizaje TSBVI

Un legado de servicio: 1856 al presente

La Escuela de Texas para las personas ciegas y con deficiencias visuales (TSBVI) en Austin fue establecida por la Legislatura de Texas en 1856. ¡Hemos estado sirviendo orgullosamente a los estudiantes con impedimentos visuales de Texas desde entonces!

Estamos aquí para apoyar a los padres, estudiantes y profesionales en la prestación de servicios educativos de calidad para los estudiantes de Texas que tienen deficiencias visuales, que son sordociegos, y que tienen otras discapacidades. Estos estudiantes son el centro de nuestra misión y de nuestra colaboración con los padres y los ISDs.

Foto de la Escuela de Texas para personas ciegas y con deficiencias visuales circa 1916

¿Qué hacemos?

Hace muchos años, TSBVI fue vista como el lugar donde los estudiantes con deficiencias visuales pasaban sus años escolares. Estos estudiantes rara vez regresaban a sus hogares, excepto durante los meses de verano. ¡Las cosas han cambiado mucho desde entonces! Ahora tenemos tres programas (programas de extensión, programas a corto plazo, programas integrales de K- 12) prestando servicios en todo Texas. La TSBVI trabaja dentro de una red estatal como socios con los distritos escolares locales, centros de servicios educativos y agencias relacionadas. Ya no nos consideran como una escuela donde un estudiante probablemente pasa la mayor parte de su carrera en la escuela. En lugar de ello, ofrecemos una gama de opciones para proporcionar apoyo a los equipos locales de educación cuando solicitan nuestra ayuda en la educación de sus estudiantes.

Foto del personal en frente del nuevo edificio principal

Programas de alcance.

La TSBVI estableció programas de divulgación para ampliar los esfuerzos que ya se están realizando para servir a las familias y a los distritos locales a lo largo de Texas. Con el tiempo, los programas de extensión se han convertido en un recurso muy valioso y reconocido en todo el estado. Ofrecemos una amplia variedad de servicios, incluyendo pero sin limitarse a los que se señalan a continuación. Para obtener mayor información acerca de los programas de extensión, ingrese a http://www.tsbvi.edu/outreach.

Apoyo a la Familia.

El programa de extensión de la TSBVI apoya a las familias de niños con discapacidad visual y/o sordoceguera para acceder a capacitación y recursos, y para conectarse con otras familias. La capacitación de la familia es coordinada según sea apropiado con la División de Servicios para Ciegos del Departamento de Servicios Auxiliares y de Rehabilitación (DARS-DBS y Servicios para sordociegos). Para obtener mayor información y para acceder a estos servicios, ingrese a http://www.tsbvi.edu/outreach.

Consulta escolar.

Su estudiante no necesita estar inscrito como estudiante de la TSBVI para poder beneficiarse de la experiencia de nuestro personal. Los integrantes experimentados del personal del programa de extensión de la TSBVI pueden consultar con su distrito local para ayudar a su equipo educativo con recomendaciones para la programación de calidad. Las solicitudes deben provenir del distrito local y se coordinan con su consultor de visión del Centro de Servicios Educativos (ESC) regional para garantizar el seguimiento a largo plazo.

Capacitación en todo el estado.

  • El personal de la TSBVI ofrece talleres locales y regionales, y patrocina talleres en el campus, conferencias, videoconferencias (TETN) y webinars en todo el estado.
  • La capacitación está disponible para los integrantes de los equipos educativos, incluyendo las familias, la comunidad y el personal de la agencia, y con frecuencia se ofrece en colaboración con o a petición de un distrito local, centro de servicios educativos y/u organizaciones y agencias relacionadas. Usted puede encontrar un calendario estatal de oportunidades de capacitación en http://www.tsbvi.edu/outreach/1013-statewide-staff-development-calendar-for-professionals-in-visual-impairment-

Publicaciones y materiales.

  • El Programa de extensión produce materiales originales, incluyendo TX SenseAbilities, un boletín trimestral desarrollado con DARS -DBS, para las familias y los profesionales. Este boletín está disponible en versión impresa y en el sitio web en inglés y en español. Para solicitar una suscripción a TX SenseAbilities, por favor ingrese a: http://www.tsbvi.edu/tx-senseabilities.
  • En el sitio web también está disponible una amplia variedad de artículos, enlaces, blogs y otros materiales de aprendizaje a distancia. El nuevo sitio de educación a distancia tiene una gran cantidad de módulos y videos fáciles de seguir: Ingrese a http://www.tsbvi.edu/
  • Para obtener más información sobre estos y otros programas de extensión, ingrese a http://www.tsbvi.edu/outreach.

Costos de los servicios del programa de extensión.

No hay costos para los padres del estudiante para los servicios del Programa de extensión. EL Distrito escolar local del estudiante puede apoyar los servicios de extensión cuando las capacitaciones tienen cuotas de inscripción o para ayudar a pagar el transporte y gastos de viaje relacionados asociados con visitas de extensión.

Programas a corto plazo.

Los programas TSBVI a corto plazo incluyen sesiones de verano y durante el año escolar.

Sesiones de Verano

Las sesiones de verano están disponibles para los estudiantes de Texas que no están inscritos tiempo completo en la TSBVI durante el año escolar regular. Estos programas, que van de 1-5 semanas de duración, sirven a los estudiantes desde la primaria hasta la secundaria, incluyendo a aquellos que tienen problemas visuales y discapacidades adicionales. Las clases se centran en diversos aspectos del Currículum Central Expandido para los estudiantes con impedimentos visuales. Cada verano, llevamos aproximadamente 300 estudiantes de todo el estado a nuestro campus. La TSBVI ofrece estos programas sin costo alguno para los padres, pero no proporciona ni paga para el transporte.

Las sesiones de verano son:

  • Enriquecimiento académico secundario
  • Enriquecimiento práctico académico Secundario
  • Enriquecimiento de verano para Primaria
  • Campamentos de habilidades para la vida
  • Trabajar y Vivir en la Comunidad (WALIC)
  • Experiencia de Trabajo de Verano en Austin, Texas (SWEAT)

Las solicitudes de verano se publicarán en nuestra página web a principios de enero de cada año, y se deben entregar a más tardar el 14 de febrero. Se completan conjuntamente por los padres del estudiante y maestro de los discapacitados visuales.

Existe mayor información disponible en: http://www.tsbvi.edu/summer-programs

Sesiones a corto plazo

Las sesiones a corto plazo ofrecen clases entre septiembre y mayo para estudiantes académicos que se están desempeñando en o cerca del nivel del grado y pueden adaptarse y aprender en un entorno nuevo rápidamente. Desde 3-5 días de duración, estas clases altamente intensivas, de ritmo rápido introducen a los estudiantes a los aspectos del Currículum Central Expandido que puede ser difícil de proporcionar durante el día regular de la escuela académica. Nuestra instrucción residencial está tan cuidadosamente planeada y supervisada como nuestro programa diurno. Todas las clases se ofrecen sin costo para la escuela o la familia, esto incluye el transporte.

La instrucción en sesiones a corto plazo apoya el plan de estudios regular (TEKS), mediante la enseñanza de:

  • Habilidades específicas para discapacitados necesarias para acceder al plan de estudios regular (por ejemplo, tecnología, herramientas y estrategias para baja visión, herramientas y estrategias matemáticas)
  • Conceptos básicos que apoyan el plan de estudios (por ejemplo, preparación para la universidad, estudios sociales, investigación, conceptos numéricos)
  • Cambios de actitud que apoyan el éxito del aprendizaje (por ejemplo, autodeterminación, habilidades sociales, vida independiente)

Además de trabajar en los objetivos identificados, los estudiantes:

  • Interactuar con otros estudiantes y adultos con impedimentos visuales que comparten muchas de sus experiencias de vida, apoyando así el desarrollo socio-emocional y la auto- promoción. Esto por sí solo puede tener un impacto que cambia la vida sobre la perspectiva y la voluntad del estudiante para aprender en el salón de clase.
  • Practicar las habilidades complementarias y adaptaciones (antes y después de la escuela) necesarias para la preparación de los alimentos, las tareas del hogar, organización y manejo personal, habilidades accesibles recreativas y de ocio.
  • Experimentar la independencia de vivir fuera de casa durante un breve periodo de tiempo en un ambiente totalmente respaldado, tomando decisiones y probando nuevas experiencias por su cuenta.
  • Entender mejor la necesidad y el valor de la utilización de adaptaciones especiales relacionadas con la pérdida de la visión.
  • Participar de actividades que tienen acceso en el campus en general, así como en la comunidad.

Ejemplos de muchas de nuestras clases del programa a a corto plazo son:

  • Acceso de Primaria a habilidades académicas
  • Acceso de Escuela Secundaria a habilidades académicas
  • Herramientas y estrategias para baja visión
  • Preparación para la Universidad
  • Tecnología para Tykes
  • Iron Chef: Trabajo en la cocina
  • Conducción segura con baja visión
  • Viajes en la ciudad
  • Herramientas Matemáticas de fácil acceso

Foto de estudiantes trabajando con un modelo geométrico

Mayor información disponible en: http://www.tsbvi.edu/short-term-programs

Foto del equipo de reto de Braille de 2012

Programas integrales (K- 12).

Como en el pasado, seguimos teniendo nuestro programa regular de año escolar en el campus para los estudiantes. La mayoría de los estudiantes viven en el campus desde el domingo por la noche hasta el viernes por la tarde, y viajan de regreso a sus hogares, ya sea cada semana o cada dos semanas. Los estudiantes que viven cerca de la escuela siguen viviendo en casa durante su inscripción y son transportados a la escuela a diario por sus distritos escolares locales. ¡Sabemos que las familias son importantes! Trabajamos duro para asegurar que los estudiantes estén en casa y conectados con sus comunidades lo antes posibles.

Al igual que todos los estudiantes con discapacidades en todo el país, cada estudiante matriculado en Programas Integrales cuenta con un plan educativo individual (IEP) desarrollado por el Comité local de admisión, revisión y retiro (ARD), que incluye a los padres o tutor del estudiante. Para los estudiantes que asisten a la TSBVI, nuestro personal también participa en esta reunión ARD, ofreciendo apoyo al distrito local.

La TSBVI es un centro de conocimientos especializados en discapacidad visual. Nuestros maestros y otro personal de apoyo (O&M, TO/TF, patólogos del habla, enfermeras y auxiliares de maestros) son los únicos capaces de proporcionar apoyo especializado para usted y su distrito cuando un estudiante necesita un periodo de servicios intensivos en nuestro campus. Podemos evaluar las necesidades de aprendizaje de cada estudiante y ayudar al distrito local a construir su capacidad para proporcionar instrucción apropiada cuando el estudiante regrese a casa.

Si usted y su distrito determinan que su estudiante puede necesitar un período de servicios intensivos en programas integrales, el comité ARD local del estudiante puede iniciar una referencia. Si el estudiante es aceptado para los programas integrales, comienza inmediatamente un proceso permanente de colaboración entre la TSBVI, usted y su distrito y continúa a través de la inscripción del estudiante en la TSBVI. El propósito de la colaboración es asegurar que la TSBVI ofrece una contribución efectiva para el plan educativo a largo plazo de su estudiante. La TSBVI ofrecerá un programa educativo adecuado en el campus, mientras que al mismo tiempo le ayudará a usted, a su escuela local, y a otras agencias a prepararse para el regreso exitoso del estudiante al distrito o a la vida adulta después de la graduación.

Requisitos de elegibilidad.

Para inscribirse como estudiante en la TSBVI, el estudiante debe ser residente de Texas lo que ha sido determinado como  con discapacidad visual o sordociego por el Comité local de admisión, revisión y retiro (ARD) del distrito escolar. Por ley, los estudiantes que ingresan en la TSBVI:

  • Deben requerir servicios especializados o intensivos educativos o afines relacionados con la discapacidad visual
  • No debe tener necesidades que se manejen adecuadamente en un hogar o en el hospital o en un centro residencial de tratamiento, y
  • No debe tener necesidades primarias, necesidades en curso relacionadas con un déficit emocional, conductual o cognitivo de severo a profundo.

Para obtener mayor información acerca de la remisión para la admisión, póngase en contacto con: Cathy Olsen, Coordinadora de Admisiones de la TSBVI, o por teléfono al 512-206-9182.

Foto del Equipo Campeón de Robótica TSBVI  

Costos.

  • El distrito escolar local del estudiante comparte el costo de la educación del estudiante cuando el estudiante está matriculado en la TSBVI. El costo para el distrito se basa en los ingresos de impuestos de propiedad de cada distrito escolar local.
  • El distrito también financia los costos de transporte del estudiante al principio y al final del año escolar, y en cada una de las vacaciones escolares TSBVI cuando la escuela cierra. Hay ocho cierres de la escuela en el año escolar típico.

La educación del estudiante es gratis para los padres. El tratamiento médico del estudiante es la responsabilidad de los padres del estudiante. Se anima a los padres a proporcionar a los estudiantes una "mesada" para los artículos personales y las actividades especiales de recreación, aunque la mayoría de las actividades recreativas son financiadas por la TSBVI.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th Street Austin, TX 78756
Número principal: 512-454-8631
Llamada gratuita: 1-800-TSB-DARE
William Daugherty, Superintendente
; 512-206-9133

Download the PDF Brochure: "A Parent's Guide to Services at TSBVI"

Photo of Students with Delta Gamma Volunteers in the TSBVI Learning Resource Center

A Legacy of Service: 1856 to Present

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in Austin was established by the Texas Legislature in 1856. We have been proudly serving Texas students with visual impairments since that time!

We are here to support parents, students and professionals in providing quality educational services to Texas students who are visually impaired, DeafBlind, and/or have additional disabilities. These students are at the heart of our mission and of our collaboration with parents and ISDs.

Photo of Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired circa 1916

What We Do

Many years ago, TSBVI was viewed as the place where students with visual impairments lived and learned throughout their school years. These students rarely returned to their homes except during the summer months. Things have changed a lot since then!  We now have three programs (Outreach Programs, Short-Term Programs, Comprehensive K-12 Programs) delivering services throughout Texas. TSBVI works within a statewide network as partners with local school districts, educational service centers and related agencies. We are no longer viewed as a school where a student is likely to spend most of their school career. Instead, we offer a range of options to provide support to local educational teams when they request our assistance in educating their students.

Photo of staff in front of new Main Building

Outreach Programs

TSBVI established Outreach Programs to expand efforts already underway to serve families and local districts throughout Texas. Over time, Outreach Programs have become a recognized and highly valuable resource throughout the state. We offer a wide variety of services including but not limited to those listed below.

  • Family Engagement

TSBVI Outreach supports families of children with visual impairment and/or deafblindness to access training and resources, and to connect to other families. Family supports and trainings are coordinated as appropriate with the Health and Human Services Commission, Blind Children's Program and the Texas Workforce Commission, Blind Services Program. Click here to view  a list of Texas Family Resources on DeafBlindness.

  • School Consultation

Your student does not need to be enrolled as a TSBVI student in order to benefit from the expertise of our staff. Experienced TSBVI educational consultants can work with your local district to help your educational team with recommendations for quality programming. Requests must come from the local district and are coordinated with your regional Education Service Center (ESC) vision consultant to ensure long-term follow up. Click here to view a map of Texas' Educational Service Centers.

  • Statewide Training

TSBVI staff provides local and regional workshops, and sponsors on-campus workshops, statewide conferences, videoconferences (TETN) and webinars. Training is available for educational team members, including families, community and agency staff, and is often provided in collaboration with or upon request from a local district, education service center, and/or related organizations and agencies. Click here to view a statewide calendar of training opportunities.

  • Publications and Materials

The Outreach Program produces original materials, including their On-The-Go eLearning. TX SenseAbilities, a quarterly newsletter, is available online and in print, in both English and Spanish. Click here to request a subscription to TX SenseAbilities. Also available on the website are a wide variety of articles, links, blogs and other distance learning materials.

  • Costs of Outreach Program Services

There are no costs to the student’s parent for Outreach Program services. The student’s local school district may support Outreach services when there are costs associated with training (e.g., registration fees) or to help pay for transportation and related travel costs associated with Outreach visits.

Short-Term Programs: School-Year and Summer Programs

TSBVI Short-Term Programs includes school-year and summer sessions.

School Year Short-Term Programs

Short-Term Programs provides school-year classes between September and May to academic students who are functioning on or close to grade level and are able to quickly adapt and learn in a new environment. Ranging from 3-5 days in length, these highly intensive, fast-paced classes introduce students to aspects of the Expanded Core Curriculum that can be difficult to provide during the regular academic school day. Our residential instruction is as carefully planned and supervised as our day program. All classes are provided at no cost to the school or family; this includes transportation. Short-Term Programs also offers online Distance Learning opportunities and Individualized Instruction.

Instruction in Short-Term Programs aligns with the current Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) objectives by teaching:

  • Disability-specific skills needed to access the regular curriculum (e.g., technology, low vision tools and strategies, math tools and strategies
  • Basic concepts that support the curriculum (e.g., college prep, social studies, research, number concepts)
  • Attitudinal changes that support successful learning (e.g., self-determination, social skills, independent living)

In addition to working on state identified objectives, students:

  • Interact with other students and adults with visual impairments who share many of their life experiences, thus supporting social-emotional development, self-advocacy skills, and self-determination skills. This alone can have a life-changing impact on a student’s perspective and willingness to learn in the classroom.
  • Practice supplementary skills and adaptations (before and after school) needed for food preparation, household tasks, personal organization and management, accessible recreational and leisure skills.
  • Experience the independence of living away from home for a short time in a totally supported environment, making choices and trying out new experiences on their own.
  • Better understand the need and value of using special adaptations related to vision loss
  • Join in activities that access the campus at large as well as the community.

Examples of our many Short-Term Program classes are:

  • Elementary Access to Academic Skills
  • High School Access to Academic Skills
  • Low Vision Tools and Strategies
  • College Prep
  • Tech for Tykes
  • Iron Chef: Working in the Kitchen
  • Safe Driving with Low Vision
  • City Travel
  • Accessible Math Tools

Summer Programs

Summer Programs are available to Texas students are not enrolled full-time at TSBVI during the regular school year. These programs, which range from 1-5 weeks in length, serve students from elementary through high school, including those who are visually impaired with additional disabilities. Classes focus on various aspects of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) for students with visual impairments. Each summer, we bring approximately 300 students to our campus from all across the state. TSBVI offers these programs at no cost to parents, but does not provide or pay for transportation.

Summer Programming is:

  • Secondary Enrichment
  • Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC)
  • Elementary Summer Enrichment
  • Working and Living in the Community (WALIC)
  • Summer Work Experience in Austin Texas (SWEAT)

Summer applications are posted on our website in early January each year, and they are due no later than February 14. They are completed jointly by the student’s parent and Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

Click here for additional information regarding TSBVI's Short-Term Programs: School-Year and Summer Programs.

Photo of students working with geometric model

Photo of 2012 Braille Challenge Team

Comprehensive Programs (K-12, Post-Secondary, EXIT)

K-12: As in the past, we continue to have our on-campus regular school year program for students. Most students reside on campus Sunday night through Friday afternoon, traveling back to their homes either weekly or every other week. Students who live close to the school continue to live at home during their enrollment and are transported to the school on a daily basis by their local school districts. We know families are important! We work hard to make sure students are home and connected to their communities as often as possible.

Like all students with disabilities throughout the country, each student enrolled in Comprehensive Programs has an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) developed by the student’s local Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee, which includes the student’s parents or guardian. For students attending TSBVI, our staff also participates in the ARD meeting, offering support to the local district.

TSBVI is a center of expertise in visual impairment. Our teachers and other support staff (O&M, OT/PT, Speech Language Pathologists, Nurses, and Paraprofessionals) are uniquely able to provide specialized support to you and your district when a student needs a period of intensive services on our campus. We are able to evaluate each student’s learning needs and help the local district build its capacity to provide appropriate instruction when the student returns home.

If you and your district determine that your student may need a period of intensive services in Comprehensive Programs, a referral can be initiated by the student’s local ARD committee.  If the student is accepted for Comprehensive Programs, an ongoing process of collaboration among TSBVI, you, and your district begins right away and continues throughout the student’s enrollment at TSBVI.  The purpose of the collaboration is to ensure that TSBVI makes an effective contribution to your student’s long term educational plan.  TSBVI will deliver an appropriate on-campus educational program while at the same time assisting you, your local school, and other agencies to prepare for the student’s successful return to the district or to adult life after graduation.

Comprehensive K-12 Eligibility Requirements

To be enrolled as a student at TSBVI, the student must be a resident of Texas who has been determined by the local school district Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee to be visually impaired or deafblind. By law, students who are admitted to TSBVI:

  • Must require specialized or intensive educational or related services related to the visual impairment
  • Must not have needs that are appropriately addressed in a home or hospital setting or in a residential treatment facility; and
  • Must not have primary, ongoing needs related to a severe or profound emotional, behavioral or cognitive deficit.

For more information about referral for admission, contact: Cathy Olsen, TSBVI Admissions Coordinator, or by phone 512-206-9182.

Photo of TSBVI Champion Robotic Team - The DotBots

Costs Associated with Comprehensive K-12

  • The student’s local school district shares in the cost of the student’s education when the student is enrolled in TSBVI. The cost to the district is based on each local school district’s property tax revenue.
  • The district also funds the costs of the student’s transportation at the beginning and end of the school year, and at each of the TSBVI school holidays when the School closes. There are eight school closings in the typical school year.
  • The student’s education is free to the parent. The student’s medical treatment is the responsibility of the student’s parents. Parents are encouraged to provide students with an “allowance” for personal items and special recreation activities, although most recreation activities are funded by TSBVI.

Click here for more information regarding TSBVI's Post-Secondary Program

Click here for more information regarding TSBVI's EXIT Program

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th Street Austin, TX 78756
Main Number: 512-454-8631
Toll free: 1-800-TSB-KARE
William Daugherty, Superintendent
; 512-206-9133

TSBVI students walking along the covered path and laughing while it rains. General School Contact Information

  • Address:
    Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
    1100 W. 45th St.
    Austin, TX 78756
    MapQuest View of TSBVI - location within Austin
    Campus Map
  • Switchboard: (512) 454-8631
  • Toll Free Number: 1-800-872-5273
  • FAX Number: (512) 206-9453
  • Hours of Operation: Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm

 Board of Trustees

Staff Directory

Superintendent

William Daugherty
(512) 206-9133

Open Records Coordinator & Customer Service

All open record requests should be submitted in writing to TSBVI’s Open Records Coordinator:

Susan Houghtling, Open Records Coordinator, Customer Service Representative
TSBVI
1100 W. 45th Street
Austin, Texas   78756
Fax: 512-206-9453

Principals/Assistant Principals/Coordinators

  • Comprehensive Programs
    • Miles Fain - Principal
      (512) 206-9251
    • Tad Doezema  - Assistant Principal
      (512) 206-9457
    • Eden Hagelman - Assistant Principal
      (512) 206-9451
    • G'Nell Price - Assistant Principal
      (512) 206-9396
  • Post Secondary Program
    • Tyler Thompson, Coordinator
      (512) 206-9497 
  • Special Education Director
    • Valerie Perwein
      (512) 206-9281
  • Short-Term Programs
    • Sara Merritt - Principal
      (512) 206-9176

Accessibility Coordinator

  • Jim Allan
    (512) 206-9315

Admissions

  • Cathy Olsen, Coordinator
    (512) 206-9182

Business and Operations

  • Pamela Darden, CFO 
    (512) 206-9422

Center for School Resources

  • Susan Hauser, Director
    (512) 206-9273

Health & Medical Issues

  • Sally Freeman, Director
    (512) 206-9137

Human Resources

  • Cheryl Williams, Director
    (512) 206-9132

Information/Instructional Technology

  • Dan Hampton, Director of Information Resources
    (512) 206-9210 

Operations Department

  • Brian McDonald 
    (512) 206-9126

Outreach Program

  • Emily Coleman, Director
    (512) 206-9242
  • Miriam Miramontes, Outreach Administrative Coordinator
    (512) 206-9268
  • Randall McAlister, APH Quota Materials
    (512) 206-9344
  • Chrissy Cowan, Mentor Coordinator and Personnel Prep
    (512) 206-9367

Psychologist

  • Valerie Perwein, Supervising Psychologist
    (512) 206-9281

Publications / Curriculum

Book Orders & Order Status

  • Bob Mellon
    (512) 206-9272 Voice or (512) 206-9282 FAX

Questions About Publication Content

  • Debra Sewell
    (512) 206-9183
  • Jeanne Williamson
    (512) 206-9383

Short-Term Programs

  • Sara Merritt - Principal -
    (512) 206-9176

Student Counselors and Social Workers

Student Trust Fund

  • Pamela Darden
    (512) 206-9422

Supervisors of Comprehensive Residential Programs

Volunteers

  • Gloria Bennett , Coordinator
    (512) 206-9234

Weekends Home:

  • Shelly Allen
    (512) 206-9179
  • H. Garner Vogt
    (512) 206-9115
  • Gian Calaci
    (512)206-9231 - Office
    (512) 844-9362 - Cell

Table of Contents

  1. Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
  2. Three-Part Legislative Mission
  3. Program Descriptions and Access to Services
  4. Supporting Local School Districts with Provision of a Free Appropriate Education (FAPE)
  5. Length of TSBVI Placements
  6. TSBVI’s Relationship with Education Service Centers
  7. TSBVI’s Relationship with the Texas Workforce Commission Programs: Texas Workforce Solutions - Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS) 
  8. Cost to Local School Districts or Parents for TSBVI Services

1. Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) was established in Austin and funded by the Texas Constitution and Legislature in 1856. Since then, TSBVI has served students with visual impairments throughout Texas.

2. Three-Part Legislative Mission

In 1995, the Texas Legislature passed a comprehensive set of statutes establishing the School as a state agency with a governing board appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. This legislation defined TSBVI’s three major educational roles within the State of Texas:

  1. Serving students with visual impairments in an on-campus overnight program;
  2. Conducting supplemental programs; and
  3. Providing statewide services to parents, local school districts, educational service centers and other agencies. Education Code 30.021

More information about the school is available on the TSBVI website (www.tsbvi.edu).

3. Program Descriptions and Access to Services

TSBVI has established three educational departments to implement its three-part legislative mission: 

  • Outreach Programs
  • Short-Term Programs
  • Comprehensive Programs

3.1 Outreach Programs

The Outreach Programs of TSBVI serve as a statewide resource on visual impairment and DeafBlindness for families and professionals. Information about requesting Outreach support is available by phone at 512-206-9268 or 512-206-9242 or on the Outreach Programs page of the TSBVI website (www.tsbvi.edu/outreach).

The TSBVI Outreach Staff performs a variety of functions:

  • Consultation on Student Programming. The staff consults with local school districts on student programming, implementation of evidence-based practices, and transition planning, in coordination with regional education service centers. A request for individual student consultation or local teacher training must come from the local school district staff.
  • Family Support.  TSBVI Outreach supports families of children with visual impairment and/or DeafBlindness to gain access to resources, connection to other families, and needed training. Families can request information, home consultation, assistance to attend training, and/or helpful connection to other families.
  • Statewide Training. The staff provides local and regional workshops, sponsors on-campus workshops and statewide conferences, online courses, and live and archived webinars. Request training (www.tsbvi.edu/req-outreach-services/request-training).
  • Publications and Materials. The Outreach Program produces original materials, including a quarterly newsletter - TX SenseAbilities (in print and on the website), instructional modules, blogs and a variety of distance learning materials. To request a subscription to the TSBVI quarterly newsletter for families and professionals, please go to TX SenseAbilities (www.tsbvi.edu/tx-senseabilities).
  • Technology Loan Program. Subject to availability, local school districts may borrow specialized technology for use by individual students for up to one school year by completing a technology loan application. The technology loan program administered through the TSBVI Outreach Department is available to any local school district within the state of Texas.
  • VI Registration Coordination. TSBVI provides guidance and coordination of the statewide registration of students with visual impairments and the DeafBlind census.
  • APH Materials Distribution. Specialized materials from the American Printing House for the Blind may be ordered from the TSBVI Outreach Program using federal quota funds to provide VI specific materials to eligible students.
  • Coordination of Professional Mentors and Support for Professional Preparation ProgramsTSBVI provides professional mentorship to new teachers of students with visual impairments and certified orientation and mobility specialists. This is accomplished in collaboration with universities and regional education service centers that recruit and train new professionals in the field. 

Visit Outreach Programs online (www.tsbvi.edu/outreach).

3.2 Short-Term Programs

Short-Term Programs offers various group and individualized classes for students with visual impairments on a rotating schedule. These brief classes provide instruction in a variety of topics to address needs in academic, social, and independent living skill areas. In on-campus programs, students travel to Austin and participate with visually impaired peers from across the state. In our distance learning programs, students access instruction using a computer while remaining in a local school program. The Short-Term Programs department is subdivided into two distinct programs:

  1. Short-Term Programs. A wide range of classes are offered during the regular school year for students who are on or close to grade level. The in-person classes are usually 3-5 days long and offer intensive instruction and training in academic areas and the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) including social and independent living skills.  Distance learning classes and individualized instruction are offered online so that students do not have to leave their home districts. Eligible students must be referred by their local school district; usually the student’s Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). Referrals are made online via the Short-Term Programs referral form (shortterm.tsbvi.edu/StudentReferral/Create).
  2. Summer Programs. A wide range of summer enrichment programs are offered on-campus and serve students of all levels and ages from elementary through high school. The classes may change from year to year to meet the interests and needs of the state’s visually impaired student population. Classes range from a few days to several weeks in length. The summer application (shortterm.tsbvi.edu/SummerAppGateway/BeforeWeBegin) is available online at the TSBVI website between January and the February 14th deadline. Although a summer application does not require a local school district referral, the TVI is asked to complete the application with supportive information from the family.

Questions about Short-Term Programs and Summer Programs may be directed to .

3.3 Comprehensive Programs

  • On-Campus Educational Programs. TSBVI’s Comprehensive Programs include the School’s on-campus K-12 educational program and the 18+ Experiences in Transition (EXIT) program. Students enrolled in these Comprehensive Programs are referred by a local school district Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee. Students who are admitted to TSBVI attend school during the regular two-semester school year and do not attend TSBVI during the summer.  If a student requires extended school year services, those services will be provided by the local school district; TSBVI does not provide extended school year services. Students attend school on the TSBVI campus and return home on most weekends during the school year. Students who live a reasonable travel distance to the TSBVI campus are enrolled as day students with daily transportation provided by the local school district.  
    • Eligibility Requirements. To be eligible to attend TSBVI, the student must be a resident of Texas who has been determined by the local school district’s Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee to be visually impaired or DeafBlind. Additionally the student must meet the following criteria:
      1. 21 years of age or younger, and 5 years of age or older on September 1 of any school year; and
      2. require specialized or intensive educational or related services related to the visual impairment.

TSBVI is not intended to serve students whose:

      1. needs are appropriately addressed in a home or hospital setting or in a residential treatment facility; or
      2. primary, ongoing needs are related to a severe or profound emotional, behavioral or cognitive deficit; or Education Code 30.021
      3. conduct resulted in:
        1. a removal to an alternative education program or expulsion the preceding year;
        2. being declared delinquent or in need of supervision and is on probation or other conditional release for that conduct; or 
        3. conviction of a criminal offense and is on probation or other conditional release. Education Code 25.001(d)
  • Campus Tours. Local school district staff, parents and students interested in learning about TSBVI’s Comprehensive Programs may tour the TSBVI campus. Visitors are welcome to schedule a guided tour of the campus facilities, including educational, recreational and dormitory facilities to learn more about campus services. To arrange a tour, please contact Admissions Coordinator by phone, 512-206-9182, or by email to .
  • Student Referral for Admission. To start the referral process, TSBVI must receive a referral from the local school district ARD committee. Upon receipt of a referral, the TSBVI Admissions Coordinator will communicate by phone with the designated local school district representative and follow up by sending an application for admission. This will include a request for information such as the student’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), evaluations, medical reports and other important documents.
  • TSBVI Referral Committee Decisions and Notification. After receiving the student application and other documentation requested, the TSBVI Referral Committee will review all information to determine if the student is eligible for services at TSBVI, and if so whether it appears that the student is receiving a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) from the local school district (see section 5, below). For students who are eligible for TSBVI services and appear to need TSBVI admission in order to receive a FAPE, TSBVI will notify the local school district and parent that the student will be admitted and begin collaboration efforts with the local school district and parent to prepare for transitioning the student to TSBVI. An ARD meeting will be scheduled to address the change in location for IEP services prior to the student’s enrollment at TSBVI. If, upon review of the information provided by the local school district, the student appears to be receiving a FAPE in the district, or not eligible for TSBVI services, TSBVI will communicate with the district to ensure that all relevant referral information has been considered and make a final determination whether or not to admit the student and notify the local school district of this determination.
  • Resolution of Differences. If a local school district does not agree with the determination of the TSBVI Referral Committee, the district may call the TSBVI Director of Center for School Resources for additional discussion about the referral and/or may seek resolution through the Texas Commissioner of Education and the Texas Education Agency or through any due process hearing to which the local school district or school is entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1400 et seq.)

4. Supporting Local School Districts with Provision of a Free Appropriate Education (FAPE)

A student’s local school district is responsible for ensuring that each of its students receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Depending upon the needs of the student, any of TSBVI’s three program options may be considered by a local school district. The overarching role of each of TSBVI’s three educational programs is to assist local school districts in ensuring that all students with visual impairments receive a free appropriate public education.

The relationship between the student’s local school district and TSBVI is similar to the relationship between a primary care physician and a specialist.  Depending on an individual’s current condition a specialist may be required for a certain period of time. It is the responsibility of the primary care physician to oversee the person’s health and to provide services over the long term and to refer the person to a specialist for diagnostic and specialty treatment when needed. The primary care physician does not relinquish the person’s care at any time while the person is being treated by the specialist. Following intervention by the specialist, the primary care physician once again resumes responsibility for the person’s overall care and treatment.

TSBVI and local school districts collaborate together at varying levels of intensity depending on the student’s needs.  A student’s local school district has the long-term responsibility for providing the student with a FAPE. It may be that, during the student’s educational career, the local school district enlists the special services of any one of TSBVI’s programs (Outreach, Special Programs, Comprehensive Program) to meet the student’s special needs for educational and related services identified at the time of the local school district’s request and/or referral for services.

Outreach services support the local school district’s capacity to provide FAPE through consultation and training. Short-Term Programs can support the local school district’s capacity to provide FAPE through direct instruction provided through intensive short-term classes on the TSBVI campus or through distance learning opportunities. Comprehensive Programs is designed to assist local school districts by admitting students to TSBVI for the provision of a FAPE on a time limited basis.  During the student’s enrollment at TSBVI the local school district and TSBVI collaborate to provide services and prepare for the student’s return to the local school district or transition on to a post secondary setting.

5. Length of TSBVI Placements

5.1. Entitlement to Free Appropriate Public Education for Students with Visual Impairments 

 The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires the State of Texas to ensure that all eligible students with disabilities receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE)  and recognizes that intensive programs focused on visual impairment needs, such as those at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired may be appropriate for meeting this requirement.

The Texas Education Agency is responsible for ensuring that students with visual impairments have an opportunity for achievement equal to the opportunities afforded their non-disabled peers with normal vision and that local school districts have the flexibility of meeting the needs of students with visual impairments through short-term or long-term services through the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI). Education Code 30.002

Local school districts may consider TSBVI along with the continuum of other statewide alternative placements to ensure that a student with a visual impairment receives a free appropriate public education.

5.2 FAPE and LRE Concerns for Local School Districts when Considering IEP Services at TSBVI

The State of Texas public education system serves over 10,000 students with visual impairments. Only a small number of these students can be served at TSBVI at any one time. When a local school district determines that a student has specialized and intensive needs for services related to the visual impairment, the district may consider a referral to TSBVI. Two factors are central to this consideration: Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

  • Free Appropriate Public Education. The purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.
  • Individualized Education Program. To provide a FAPE, a local school district must develop an IEP that provides the student with access to specialized instruction and related services that are individually designed to provide educational benefit to the student.  The student is not entitled to receive the maximum potential benefit but the educational program must be reasonably calculated to enable the student to make progress appropriate in light of the student’s circumstances. These standards are very important in TSBVI’s consideration of student admission, continued placement and return to the local school district.
  • Least Restrictive Environment. In looking at the continuum of placement options available to meet the student’s needs, the local school district must look for the setting that can provide the student’s FAPE that is also the least restrictive environment in which FAPE can be provided. The student’s ARD committee must ensure that the student is educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who are nondisabled; and that a setting like TSBVI occurs only if the nature and the severity of the disability preclude satisfactory achievement of education in the regular classroom with the use of supplementary aids and services.

5.3 Length of Student Enrollment in TSBVI Comprehensive Programs

The IDEA reflects a strong preference for the student to be educated in regular classes with the student’s nondisabled peers with appropriate supplementary aids and services. To this end, Commissioner Rule requires that, when a student’s ARD committee refers the student to TSBVI, the local school district is required to list the services in the student’s individualized education program which TSBVI can provide and to include in the student’s IEP the criteria and estimated time lines for returning the student to the local school district. 19 TAC 89.1085 (c)

In accordance with Commissioner Rule and the IDEA’s preference, when a student is admitted, TSBVI collaborates with the student’s local school district to prepare for the student’s return back home to the district for further programming. In some cases it is appropriate for a student to transition directly from the TSBVI Comprehensive Programs into adult life without returning for programming in the local school district. In these situations, TSBVI will actively collaborate with local school district staff and family to plan for the student’s successful transition into adult life. The local school district remains responsible for each student’s transition.

Occasionally, a student may continue enrollment at TSBVI for a longer time period.  Reasons for this include lack of availability of appropriately trained staff or other essentials for the provision of FAPE in the local school district. Throughout this time, TSBVI will continue to actively collaborate with the local school district and family so that the district can prepare for the student's return home to receive a FAPE as soon as appropriate staffing or other essential needs have been met.

  • Collaboration with Local School Districts, Education Service Centers, Texas Workforce Commission, and Other AgenciesFrom the time a student is accepted for admission, TSBVI focuses on developing a strong partnership with the staff of the student’s local school district, the Educational Services Center serving the student’s local school district, and Texas Workforce Commission and other agencies or entities that support the student and the student’s family. The goal of this extensive collaboration is to support the local school district’s efforts and abilities to provide the student with a FAPE upon the student’s return to the district. During the student’s enrollment, TSBVI not only provides the instruction and IEP program the student needs to ensure a FAPE, but also collaborates intensively with the local school district, other agency staff and the student’s family to prepare for the student’s return to the local school district.  Collaborative activities include:
    • facilitating onsite visits by TSBVI and local school district staff;
    • conducting specialized assessments;
    • developing effective strategies for student instruction to enhance learning both at TSBVI and within the local school district
    • identifying student’s individualized needs for:
      1. Special Education Services
      2. Related Services
      3. Supplementary Aids and Services
      4. Program Modifications
      5. Identifying and training staff that will be needed when the student returns to the local school district program 
  • When the local school district is prepared to provide a FAPE, the student will return to a local program. Being prepared to provide FAPE does not mean that the local school district will provide the student with precisely the same level of services or the same opportunities to benefit from education that were provided while at TSBVI. It does mean, though, that the local school district is able to implement an IEP reasonably calculated to enable the student to receive educational benefit. Because TSBVI is a center of expertise for the education of students with visual impairments, TSBVI is able to provide a level and intensity of services not typically available in local school districts. Sometimes, it is difficult for parents to accept that the services offered by the local school district when the student returns does not match what was offered at TSBVI.  In order to maximize the educational benefit and ensure a successful return to a local school district program, TSBVI strives to work collaboratively with the local school district teams throughout the time the student is enrolled at TSBVI. Continued support from TSBVI is also available to local school districts following the student’s return back to a local school program in order to assist the districts and student with the transition.

6. TSBVI’s Relationship with Education Service Centers

The State’s Education Service Centers (ESC) were created by the Texas Legislature to assist school districts in improving student performance to operate more efficiently and economically, and to implement initiatives assigned by the legislature to the Texas Education Agency. TSBVI partners with ESCs to support the needs of all students in Texas with visual impairments.  ESCs are informed when a local school district makes a request for services from any of TSBVI’s programs and similarly when a student transitions back to a local program. ESCs collaborate directly with TSBVI when Outreach services are requested. The ESC may also provide assistance to local school districts in funding transportation and per diem costs related to Outreach staff consultations.

7. TSBVI’s Relationship with the Texas Workforce Commission Programs: Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS)   

  • Outreach ProgramsOutreach Programs actively link with TWS’ Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)  to serve students and their families across the state. VRS staff are invited to participate in local school consultation visits. Workshops are often co-sponsored with VRS, especially for topics relevant to family members. The quarterly TX SenseAbilities newsletter is an ongoing joint effort between TSBVI and VRS. This close collaboration with VRS benefits all students with visual impairments.
  • Short-Term ProgramsTWS-VRS works with TSBVI to distribute information about Special Programs throughout the state. As a co-sponsor, TWS-VRS is specifically involved in administering the TSBVI summer vocational Summer Work Experience in Austin Texas (SWEAT) program.
  • Comprehensive ProgramsWith adult student or parent permission,TWC caseworkers are invited to attend student ARD committee meetings and to visit a student while at school. TWC has a critical role in facilitating training and other opportunities outside of the school for students and families such as independent living skills, self-advocacy, vocational preparation and transition to adult life.

8. Cost to Local School Districts or Parents for TSBVI Services

8.1 Outreach Program Services Costs

Certain expenses may be associated with Outreach services:

  • Registration Fees. TSBVI charges a registration fee to help cover the costs of conferences.
  • Transportation Costs. A local school district may pay for the transportation costs of Outreach staff coming to their district for technical assistance or training.
  • Consultation Services. Consultation fees may be requested for certain Outreach services.   

8.2 Short-Term Programs Costs

Certain costs may be associated with Short-Term Programs:

  • School Year Short-Term Programs. Short-Term Programs, including transportation costs, are provided by TSBVI at no cost to the local school district or parent.
  • Summer ProgramsThere are no costs for students to attend a summer program; however TSBVI does not support transportation to the summer programs and the responsibility for transportation costs remains with the local school district or family.

8.3 Comprehensive Programs Costs 

There are two costs to the local school district for a student enrolled in the Comprehensive Programs of TSBVI:

  • Student’s EducationThe local school district shares in the cost of the student’s education when the student is enrolled in TSBVI. The amount of the cost per student will vary from district to district and is determined by dividing the district’s local maintenance and debt service taxes by the district’s average daily attendance for the preceding year. Each local school district provides the Texas Education Agency (TEA) with the information necessary to make this calculation.  TEA then deducts the local school district’s amount from the foundation school funds payable to the district and remits the district’s share to TSBVI. If the local school district does not receive foundation school funds, TEA directs the district to remit the payment to TEA and TEA then remits the local school district’s share to TSBVI. The local school district never sends a payment directly to TSBVI. Education Code 30.003
  • Student Transportation Costs. The local school district is responsible for providing transportation to TSBVI from the student’s home. For day students that live in the Austin area this is daily transportation. For student’s that live too far away the local school district is responsible for travel for the student at the beginning and end of the school year, and at each of the TSBVI school holidays when TSBVI is closed. There are eight school closings in a typical school year. The cost to the local school district depends on distance, mode of transportation, and whether the student’s ARD Committee has determined that an escort is required to accompany the student. In some cases the student’s parent serves as the escort and transportation provider; the parent is reimbursed by the local school district for the cost of the transportation. 19 TAC 89.1090

Information related to costs to parents includes:

  • Education, Room and Board at No Cost to Local School District or Parent. The costs of the student’s education and related services, room and board at TSBVI are funded by TSBVI (through state appropriations) at no cost to the parent or the local school district.
  • Parent CostsThe student’s education is free to the parent. The student’s medical treatment is the responsibility of the student’s parents. Parents are encouraged to provide students with an “allowance” for personal items and special recreation activities, although most recreation activities are funded by TSBVI.

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Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a vital part of educational opportunitities that are available to blind and visually impaired students in Texas. In order to make informed decisions about their children's education, parents should know about the programs and services available from TSBVI.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th Street
Austin, Texas 78756

  • General Information (512) 454-8631
  • Admissions (512) 206-9182
  • Outreach Services (512) 206-9268
  • Website: www.tsbvi.edu
  • Toll-free number (answering machine) 1-800-872-5273 (TSB-KARE)
  • TDD (512) 371-1599

  • Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) is a special public school established by the Texas Legislature to provide specialized and intense services which focus on the unique learning needs of students with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities.
  • TSBVI is located in a pleasant neighborhood in Austin, Texas. The forty-five acre campus is close to shopping, recreation areas, restaurants, and public transportation. Students attend school in well-equipped classrooms. They live in homelike residences with living rooms, playrooms, bedrooms, study areas, and kitchens.
  • TSBVI recognizes and addresses the unique educational needs and interests of each student.
  • Every student receives instruction and guidance from staff who have been specially trained to work with children and young people with visual impairments.
  • TSBVI is a partner to the public schools of Texas, advocating for students to be able to learn and live in their local communities. The school can help students to do this successfully.
  • We offer a variety of short-term and long-term programs, as well as outreach services specially designed to meet the unique needs of students with blindness or a visual impairment.
  • We stand ready to assist local schools and parents whenever students need the specialized services and resources of this school.

You Have Options

Soon you will be having your annual ARD meeting to develop your son or daughter's educational program and placement. Often your local school can provide the educational services which your child needs. However, there may be times in your child's education when specialized, intensive services might be needed from a special school. The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired can help when this happens, either at its Austin campus or in your local area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can TSBVI offer students?

TSBVI provides a broad range of specialized instruction and services on its campus. Students can:

  • Learn with specially trained teachers and other staff who understand vision loss and its effects on development
    • teachers certified in visual impairment
    • orientation and mobility specialists
    • occupational and physical therapists
    • adaptive physical education teachers
    • speech/language therapists
    • counselors and social workers
    • low vision specialists
    • technology teachers
  • Have access to a 24-hour per day Health Center, staffed by licensed nurses 7 days a week.
  • Experience a school day which integrates language development, motor skills, independent living and self-help skills, behavior management, and social development into all aspects of learning.
  • Learn to talk and communicate, read and write, using Braille or other special communication systems.
  • Become familiar with specialized technology such as adapted computers and notetakers.
  • Acquire academic skills at TSBVI and in Austin public school classes.
  • Learn to get around independently using orientation and mobility skills.
  • Participate fully in extracurricular activities.
    • be in a school play
    • learn photography and create art
    • join the wrestling, swimming, or track teams
    • be in tandem biking
    • learn to play a musical instrument
    • learn outdoor sports such as fishing, boating, running
  • Have a home away from home.
    • live in pleasant dorms with caring staff
    • visit museums, parks, malls, and more
    • have fun with friends at the School's Recreation Center, bowling alley and pool
  • Learn the skills needed to live independently, (e.g., dressing, eating, cooking, maintaining an apartment, budgeting money).
  • Learn work skills, explore a career, get a job on campus or in the community.
  • Grow with special friends who share and understand visual loss.

Where does the student live while going to TSBVI?

Students live in campus houses, apartments, and dorms with one- or two-student rooms. Students go home on a weekly or monthly basis to be with their families. The school operates a "Weekends Home" program using school vehicles. Some students from the Austin area live at home and attend TSBVI as day students.

How long does a student attend TSBVI ?

TSBVI returns students to local programs as soon as possible. The student's family, local school, and the staff of TSBVI decide together when a student is ready to make a successful transition to home and local programs. The School offers both long-term and short-term programs. Some of these programs take place during the school year, others are offered during the summer.

How much do these services cost?

There is no cost to students or their families for instructional and residential services. Families simply provide for their child's clothing, medical care, and personal needs.

Are there services provided by TSBVI for families and students throughout Texas who attend their local schools and live at home?

Yes. TSBVI has a group of excellent teachers and other professionals in our Outreach Department who can work with parents and local school teachers to develop ideas on how to improve learning in the student's local program. Workshops, on-site consultations, newsletters and parent support are available.

What are the eligibility requirements for services from TSBVI ?

A student must be 21 years of age or younger, must have a visual impairment or a visual impairment with an additional disability, and must need specialized services related to the visual impairment to receive services. The student's local school and parents must agree to request the services of TSBVI , whether those services are at the school or provided locally by Outreach Services.

However, TSBVI would not be able to meet a student's educational needs if the student requires educational services in a hospital or in the home, or requires intensive services related to a severe emotional, behavioral, or mental disability, including the services of a residential treatment facility.

You Have Rights

What rights do parents have if they request any of these services from TSBVI , and either the local school or TSBVI disagrees?

Although this does not happen very often, the parent may request assistance from the Texas Education Agency to provide mediation in order to resolve the problem, or the parent may request a due process impartial hearing in accord with the provisions of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.

How do I get more information about services from TSBVI ?

Contact the school's admission office if you are interested in school year, short-term, or summer programs.

Contact Outreach Services if you desire services to be provided in your local area.