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TSBVI BOARD PERSONNEL COMMITTEE MEETING

April 5, 2019

1. Call to Order

Mary Alexander called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Personnel Committee at 8:04 a.m. on April 5, 2019 in Room 92 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas. Board members Joseph Muniz and Dan Brown were also present. Board member Michael Hanley was unable to attend the meeting. TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were Susan Morrison, School Attorney; Cheryl Williams, Human Resources Director; and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation.

2. Consideration of Approval of Board Policies

  • BDB Board Internal Organization: Committees (amend)
  • BJB Superintendent: Recruitment and Appointment (review)
  • BJBA School Superintendent: Superintendent’s Residence (amend)
  • BJC Superintendent: Employment Relationship (amend)

Mary Alexander briefly reviewed each policy. Susan Morrison recommended additional language for Policy BDB in the following sentence: “The President shall appoint and remove members to committees created by the Board, including a committee chairperson and vice-chairperson”.

Joseph Muniz moved that Policy BJB be approved as presented and that BDB be approved as presented with Susan Morrison’s amendment. Dan Brown seconded the motion and all Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Mr. Muniz recommended that Policy BJBA and Policy BJC be approved as presented. Mrs. Alexander seconded the motion and all Committee members were in favor of the motion.

3. Consideration of Approval of the Hiring or Contracting Process for a New Internal Auditor for TSBVI

  • Consideration of recommending to the Board posting for the Internal Auditor position or contracting with a firm
  • Timeline and process for posting the Internal Auditor position or request for proposals
  • Consideration of salary range or contract amount for the Internal Auditor or firm
  • Timeline and process for conducting interviews and selecting and hiring or
  • Timeline and process for contracting with a firm

Cheryl Williams reviewed a chart that compared salaries paid to TSBVI’s internal auditor in fiscal years 2016 through 2018 with payments made by Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) for internal audit services provided by a contracted firm. The chart also provided information on internal audits conducted at TSBVI and TSD.

Mr. Muniz stated that it appeared that the cost per audit conducted at TSD was more expensive than audits completed at TSBVI.

Ms. Williams stressed the importance of an internal auditor maintaining personal separation from TSBVI employees and added that this could be more easily maintained by contracting with an outside firm.

Mr. Muniz said that benefits would not have to be paid for a contracted auditor but charges per hour would be more than for a TSBVI employee. He questioned whether audits from a firm could turn around as quickly and added that a firm typically would send newer employees and have senior partners make conclusions. Mr. Muniz recommended hiring the auditor as a TSBVI employee and Mrs. Alexander agreed.

Mr. Brown questioned how much guidance contracted auditors would need from TSBVI staff.

Mrs. Alexander stated that, at Learning Ally, the RFP process was difficult including issues with getting enough responses because the RFP was not spread widely enough and not getting good proposals.

Mr. Brown questioned whether an $80,000 salary was competitive and Ms. Williams responded that she would need to look into it.

Mr. Muniz reported that the past Human Resources Director conducted a survey regarding internal auditor salaries and then recommended a salary group that had been downgraded from its previous one. The Board chose not to downgrade the salary group.

Mr. Muniz asked Ms. Houghtling about the history or internal auditors at TSBVI and Ms. Houghtling replied that legislation was passed requiring state agencies to hire internal auditors. She read Government Code language requiring that agencies with more than 100 FTEs or pass-through funds of more than $10 million comply with the new Internal Auditing Act. Ms. Houghtling also listed required internal audits including:
• Quality Assurance Review required every three years and next due September 2021
• Public Funds Investment Act Audit required every two years and next due November 2019
• Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of Students Audit required every three years and next due January 2020
• Ethics Audit with no timeline for completion stated. The last audit was conducted March 2018

Ms. Williams stated that she would look at the Internal Auditor salary history and propose a job description to the Board along with minimum qualifications.

Mr. Brown made a motion that the hiring process for the auditor proceed and Mr. Muniz seconded the motion. All Committee members were in favor of the motion.

3. Adjournment

Dan Brown moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 a.m. and Joseph Muniz seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor of the motion.

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

BOARD PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING
APRIL 5, 2019

1. Call to order

Lee Sonnenberg called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Programs at 8:01 a.m. on April 5, 2019 in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

Board members Julie Prause and Brenda Lee were also present.

TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were: Susan Morrison, General Counsel; Miles Fain, Comprehensive Programs Principal; Emily Coleman, Outreach Director; Sara Merritt, Short-Term Programs Principal; Renee Toy, Learning Resource Center Director; Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director

2. Consideration of approval of minutes of the January 25, 2019 meeting

Ms. Prause moved that the minutes of the January 25, 2019 meeting be approved and Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

3. Consideration of Approval of Board Policies

Ms. Morrison reviewed policies to be considered and answered questions.

Policy CY (TSBVI) Intellectual Property (amend)

Ms. Morrison informed the committee that TASB has retired the code for former Policy EFE so information has been transferred to Policy CY.

Ms Morrison noted that TSBVI creates a lot of copyrighted material, and TSBVI own the rights to that material. She expects that TSBVI may register for copyrights more often than the school has done in the past. TSBVI needs to be careful about the kinds of licenses the school approves to allow other people to use the school’s copyrighted materials. She recommended that the following language be inserted in the policy just after the first paragraph:

“With legal review and advice of TSBVI's General Counsel, the Superintendent has the authority to post works for hire (intellectual property of TSBVI created by TSBVI employees) to the TSBVI website and to grant various irrevocable Creative Commons Licenses [for non-commercial use with Attribution 4.0 International or other license types] to benefit the blind and visually impaired community and to promote the reputation and expertise of the School statewide, nationally and internationally. The Superintendent shall adopt procedures to insure that such licenses will not have a detrimental financial impact on TSBVI.”

Mr. Daugherty has reviewed this language and agrees with this addition. It would allow decisions to be made administratively and would not require Board action each time, as long as it is not costing the school money.

Ms. Lee moved that Policy CY be amended as proposed, including insertion of new language recommended by Ms. Morrison. Ms. Prause seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Exhibit CY-E Intellectual Property (adopt)

Ms. Morrison stated that it is important for teachers and school staff to understand copyright law and for them to know how to determine fair use of copyrighted information. The school should be careful about copyright infringement by staff, since actions of teachers in other school districts have led to serious consequences. Exhibit CY-E provides a Fair Use Test, which is a list that teachers can use to make sure they are within fair use of copyrighted materials. Ms. Morrison is considering adding a logo to the Exhibit, and the Fair Use Test would be shared with teachers. Austin Independent School District (AISD) has adopted a similar test.

Ms. Prause moved that Exhibit CY-E be adopted. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy EFE Instructional Resources: Copyrighted Materials (delete)

Ms. Prause moved that Policy EFE be deleted. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy EGA Curriculum Development: Innovative and Magnet Programs (delete)

Ms. Lee moved that Policy EFE be deleted. Ms. Prause seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy EHA Curriculum Design: Basic Instructional Program Parental Requests (review)

Ms. Lee moved to approve review of this policy. Ms. Prause seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy EHAA Basic Instructional Program: Required Instruction (All Levels) (amend)

Mr. Sonnenberg asked if the language in this policy comes directly from the law code, and Ms. Morrison confirmed that it does.

Mr. Sonnenberg asked if parent participation in the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) had improved. Mr. Fain said that it has not and that it is still difficult to find parents to participate. Shelly Allen is still trying to encourage parents to participate and has offered different times to meet and the option for parents to call in to the meeting rather than attend in person. Ms. Morrison noted that TSBVI has decreased the minimum number of parents required to attend.

Policy EHAB (TSBVI) Basic Instructional Program: Required Instruction (Elementary) (amend)

The committee discussed recess requirements for TSBVI students. Mr. Fain said that for most TSBVI students, an individualized schedule works best.

Policy EHAC Basic Instructional Program: Required Instruction (Secondary) (amend)

Ms. Morrison described the proposed amendments to Policy EHAC.

Mr. Sonnenberg asked if TSBVI students still attend Lamar Middle School and McCallum High School and whether AISD is now charging for TSBVI students to attend and about PE attendance. Mr. Fain confirmed that TSBVI students still attend these AISD schools for a charge. Mr. Fain said that most TSBVI students receive Adapted PE. Mr. Sonnenberg asked about arrangements for the TSBVI spring plan. Mr. Fain answered that some students participate in the spring play as part of their theater course and others participate in the play as an extracurricular activity. When asked, Mr. Fain noted that TSBVI does not offer foreign language courses, and that attending McCallum is the only opportunity for students to take those courses.

Mr. Fain said that TSBVI offers units on personal financial literacy that are incorporated into various classes for students. Ms. Merritt said that the topic is also included in summer SWEAT and WALIC programs. Ms. Morrison noted that the law requires that this topic be taught only by an approved group, and Ms. Lee mentioned that schools have allowed approved vendors to teach the topic. Mr. Fain said that he would check on that rule.

Mr. Fain said that TSBVI uses the DAVE alcohol awareness program as part of health classes. He said that students can receive CPR instruction through PE classes when it is appropriate for the student, but the requirement is waived for some students because of their disabilities. Students learn about proper interaction with a peace officer in government classes.

Ms. Morrison noted that references to “district” in the last part of this policy should be changed to “TSBVI”.

Ms. Prause moved that Policies EHAA, EHAB, and EHAC be amended as proposed that the correction pointed out by Ms. Morrison be made to Policy EHAC. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy EHBC (TSBVI) Special Programs: Accelerated and Intensive Services (amend)

Ms. Morrison noted that this is a special education policy. The proposed policy is changed from the TASB model because TSBVI does not receive compensatory funds. TSBVI uses intensive, rather than accelerated, instruction, but a TEA waiver must be obtained for that part of the Policy to be amended. Ms. Morrison requested that language related to accelerated instruction be kept until TSBVI obtains the necessary TEA waiver.

Ms. Prause asked why items #7 (students who have been expelled) and #8 (students who are on parole, probation, deferred prosecution or other conditional release) were struck, but not item #6 (students who have been placed in DAEP). Ms. Morrison explained that students mentioned in #7 and #8 do not attend TSBVI, so those students would be covered in a local district policy. However, placement of student in #6 must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Ms. Lee moved that Policy EHBC be amended as proposed, except that language regarding accelerated instruction be kept until a TEA waiver is granted. Ms. Prause seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy EHBJ (TSBVI) Curriculum Development: Innovative Programs (amend)

Policy EIA (TSBVI) Academic Achievement: Grading Progress Reports to Parents (amend)

Ms. Morrison described proposed amendments.

Ms. Prause moved that Policies EHBJ and EIA be amended as proposed. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Policy GKG (TSBVI) Community Relations: School Volunteer Program (amend)

Ms. Morrison described proposed amendments.

Mr. Sonnenberg asked who is on TSBVI training concussion oversight team. Mr. Fain said that the Health Center Director and a contracting pediatrician are on the team and that coaches and PE teachers provide consultation but are not team members.

Ms. Prause moved that Policy GKG be amended as proposed. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

At the conclusion of the committee’s consideration of policies, Mr. Sonnenberg thanked Ms. Morrison for her work on the policies.

4. Consideration of Approval of the School’s calendar for 2019-2020

Mr. Fain reviewed the proposed 2019-2020 school calendar. He said that the calendar is similar to the previous year’s calendar, except that one staff development day was moved from the day after Labor Day to the last day of inservice week, so that staff can get training that they need before instruction for the year starts. The Instructional Planning Council has reviewed and given input on the proposed calendar, and they support it. Mr. Sonnenberg mentioned that a TEA waiver will be needed for the reduced number of instructional minutes in the proposed calendar.

Ms. Prause moved to approve the school calendar for 2019-2020, including the request to TEA for a waiver for reduced instructional minutes. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

5. Report from Outreach Director, Emily Coleman

Ms. Coleman reported on Outreach future planning, which is based on the recently-completed Outreach Needs Assessment. There is a large amount of data that is useful for Outreach planning.

A priority is increased distance technology and online training opportunities. Lots of good things have happened this year, including getting Active Learning courses online. There is a plan to test these courses in order the determine the appropriate number of CEUs to offer. Bridge course use has been increasing.

TSBVI is working toward development of micro-credentials, including determining the protocol of a micro-credential that makes it worthy. Work submitted as evidence must be graded, and this takes staff time, so a fee for the training may be charged. Having a micro-credential can lead to teacher pay increase. Mr. Fain said that the TSBVI plan for this is based on the AISD pay plan, which AISD describes online. Mr. Fain can share the TSBVI written procedure. A teacher’s appraisal performance and professional development activities can lead to small increments of pay increase. Professional development units are based on national board certification units, which include learning about a research based strategy, using the strategy with students, and then reporting based on gathered evidence. A second category is obtaining leadership steps, such as obtaining a Texas Tech DeafBlind certificate. A micro-credential earns 2 points, completing a graduate course earn 6 points. There is a range of costs for the training units available, depending on the vendor, which basically pays for the work to be graded, and vendors have high standards. The pay scale includes 10 steps with $750 pay increments. Completing these activities takes time, and teachers must get supervisor pre-approval to ensure that the training ties in with teacher’s professional goals. Trainings apply well for Comprehensive Programs teachers. It is more difficult for Short-Term Programs teachers to obtain student evidence for the report since they don’t work over a long period of time with their students. Ms. Coleman described a book study done by Outreach teachers regarding the effect of trauma on the body, which applies to students who have had that experience. This led to a discussion of how to write Outreach consultation reports.

Plans are made to continue podcasts, since these have been well-received and widely used. The podcast provides information not only about TSBVI, but also on other organizations. It is a good way to highlight things that TSBVI is doing. The next topic is low vision, and a TSBVI student contributed to that podcast. TSBVI needs to find new ways to market our resources and products. We need to improve our website.

Another area is finding more opportunities for collaboration with other organizations. The Outreach Director should meet more regularly with TEA leaders, including Vicki Dupontis and Stephanie, the new network lead, to get on the same page with the leadership team.

Regarding student and family consultations, Outreach has gone to all ESCs this year. Active Learning is a niche that Outreach has developed which isn’t always available in other places. It would be helpful to develop an Active Learning micro-credential.

There has been a spike in requests for students who have Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH), and many requests include the need for guidance on behavior. Outreach staff are working on products to help with that, such as how to do Functional Behavior Evaluations and how to improve positive behavior support. Ms. Prause asked if Outreach is planning to do a group or network for ONH, such as helping teachers meet monthly to talk about it. Ms. Coleman agrees that is a good idea, because ONH is a condition that is on the rise, and there is not much focus in the field on it. There is a large range of kids, and everyone is struggling with these students. The ONH study group that was meeting on campus was really helpful for TSBVI staff, and they found good strategies. These strategies need to be put in writing and offered out to other professionals.

There are more and more requests for O&M consultations, probably due to the new law. There are lots of requests for information on the psychosocial effect of visual impairment on children and families. There is a need to develop CEUs for additional professions such as counselors. There is a cost to provide CEUs for other professionals, so a charge may be required.

Outreach will keep working to get more Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs). Student identification levels are going up, while the number of TVIs is going down. A request for funds to support DeafBlind coursework has been made. We are working toward future certification in DeafBlindness through the State Board of Education.

Outreach will continue promoting family activities, including assisting TAPVI, which is struggling. Activities of the West Texas cluster didn’t happen this year.

Ms. Prause said that she is very interested in the planned low vision clinic at TSBVI. The West Texas cluster would support that program with low vision funds. Dr. Miller is too expensive for them to pay for her come there, and other options are limited. For example, there is an organization in the Hill Country that pays for evaluations and buys devices for children, but that is only available in a small specific area. Ms. Coleman said that there is a hope to launch the TSBVI low vision clinic next year. There has been talk about partnering with Short-Term Programs to provide support for students after a low vision clinic visit. In Washington state, a partnership worked well to evaluate low vision students and then help them buy recommended devices. TSBVI may be able to partner with All Blind Children to purchase low vision devices for students. Ms. Merritt mentioned that the Lion’s Club may also be interested.

6. Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt

Ms. Merritt reported on 2019 summer program applications and classes.

This year, a total of 377 applications were received, as compared to 488 applications last year, so there was a 29% decrease in the number of applications for this summer’s programs. This is probably due to the announcement that summer programs would be smaller this year, and it was helpful that people found other options for their students rather than depending on TSBVI summer programs and having to be disappointed if not accepted.

Ms. Merritt provided and discussed a chart showing the numbers of applicants and seats offered for each program and the number of DeafBlind students included in each program.

PROGRAM                      APPLICANTS 2019    SEATS OFFERED 2019 DEAFBLIND
ESE                                                  98                          56                         1
PEEC                                              106                          60                         4
SE                                                   134                          56                         1
CREDIT PE                                  in SE #s                     12
SWEAT & WALIC                              39                          30                         3
TOTAL 377 214 9

This summer, a total of 214 seats are being offered, which is down 32% from last year.
The secondary program took the biggest hit with a 48% decrease in number of seats offered. This is because those students have the easiest time going to other camps. Students eligible for the PEEC program don’t have many other opportunities to attend camps so 60 seats are being offered, a 13% decrease. The elementary program is down 34%, with 56 seats being offered. In addition to smaller number of seats offered, most program lengths were shortened as well. The exceptions were SWEAT and WALIC, which did not have to be decreased because TWC provided funding. Also, the PE program is not decreased because it is so important to offer a PE course for credit in the adapted environment available at TSBVI.

Last year the DeafBlind vocational program only served three students, so that program was canceled. However, nine students with DeafBlindness have been offered seats in various programs this year. There will be a challenge in finding staff to hire as interveners. In addition, we may not have enough staff on campus who are willing to work, since only two weeks of work can be offered to TSBVI staff.

Ms. Merritt described the efforts that she, Ms. Morrison and the TSBVI Business Office made in trying to reach an agreement with Health and Human Service (HHSC) to fund an additional 86 students this summer. After initial discussions, HHSC stopped communicating about the possible agreement for several weeks, and then they did not follow through, saying that TSBVI and HHSC needed a master contract/MOU which did not exist. Ms. Morrison said that she would work to get that agreement in place by next year. Mr. Sonnenberg noted that HHSC has more money to spend due to a two-year rider they were granted, but those funds will go away by next year.

HHSC seemed interested in the program, but their organization seems to have a poor communication chain internally. Ms. Lee noted that she has experienced difficulties in working with HHSC also. Last year HHSC presented a conference in August, but they wouldn’t pay for food, which made planning very difficult.

Ms. Prause asked if the calendar of Short-Term Programs school-year offerings for next year is available yet. Ms. Merritt said that she is working on it now. The plan for next year reflects four fewer programs, since Short-Term Programs is down two staff and she is not sure if those positions can be restored next year. Some in-person classes have become online or distance learning offerings.

7. Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain

The committee considered approval of recommendations from the TSBVI Instructional Materials Committee. Renee Toy, Learning Resource Center Director, provided information about these recommendations. For the 2019-2020 school year, instructional materials that were adopted by the State Board of Education were reviewed by teachers on the TSBVI Instructional Materials Team. The team is recommending Pearson for English Language Arts and Reading, since online materials were most accessible. Zaner-Bloser, Inc. was the only company offering spelling materials, so those were selected for spelling grades 1-6. There were no recommendations for Spanish Language Arts or Handwriting. Goodheart-Wilcox was selected for Personal Financial Literacy.

Mr. Sonnenberg asked if handwriting is taught at TSBVI. Mr. Fain said that the focus is often more on signatures, rather than general handwriting. Student are taught to use signature guides, and Occupational Therapists sometimes work with students to learn to write a signature.

Ms. Toy also gave update on recent activities in the Learning Resource Center (LRC). Lots of good activities have continued, despite the recent budget limitations. Ms. Toy mentioned the following activities and events:


a. A large group from the Austin Public Library came to visit the LRC and discuss a partnership, so that TSBVI students can better utilize Austin Public Library services. The visitors complimented Ms. Toy for the purchases she has made for the LRC, which pleased Ms. Toy, since she makes a great effort to utilize her budget wisely.
b. Sue O’Brien and Ms. Toy visited the Library of Congress and saw the reading room there. They noticed that the TSBVI LRC has almost all the books that they saw there.
c. One of the ideas that guides Ms. Toy in choosing materials for the LRC is the idea that “students need mirrors of themselves and windows out into the world.” Ms. Toy tries to make sure that student can see themselves in the books they read.
d. Student choice in reading is important for students to become life-long readers. The LRC endeavors to provide students many choices.
e. TSBVI partners with the Junior League. One of these volunteers told Ms. Toy that she has gotten ideas from the TSBVI LRC to take to the school library in her own community.
f. The LRC hosted a voter registration drive in order to register students to vote.
g. The Braille Challenge was hosted at TSBVI.
h. Teacher Chris Correll helped develop a new area in LRC as a “maker space” and it has been a great success. Students and teachers across the school have utilized it for a great variety of projects. Students have learned to use tools and to create many different items. Some students received a $300 grant to create a project and used the maker space to work on the project. The 3-D printer has been used to create many interesting 3-D objects.
i. LRC staff have been supporting implementation of the UEB Braille system. Library staff braillists are translating books, especially for younger students.
j. LRC staff are participating in a coding class.
k. There are couple of lunch time reading groups, when students can have bag lunches. Rather than a book discussion, students prefer having a book read to them.
l. Ms. Toy supports the Talking Book program by making sure that all students are registered. She sends students home for the summer with many books on cartridges that they can access. Because of that, many students have been able to read far more books at home than they could otherwise.
m. The LRC has a volunteer who is an aerospace engineer and who works in the LRC with a 6th-grade student who is interested in learning about the field of engineering.
n. The LRC hosted a World Read Aloud event, and several TSBVI administrators participated.
o. More books have circulated this year than in the past. Interest among students is growing as students hear about interesting books that other students have read.
p. The staff versus student reading challenge was very successful.
q. High school English teacher Paul Carlson has made it a requirement for students to pick any four books they want to read, which is a very positive experience for students.
r. LRC staff help people with braille issues across the state and nation, including tactile graphics and music braille.


Ms. Prause moved to approve recommendations for instructional materials made by the TSBVI Instructional Materials Committee. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

8. Adjournment

Ms. Prause made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Mr. Sonnenberg adjourned the meeting at 9:56 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 August 9, 2019 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. 551.071, .072, .073, .074, .076, .082, .0821, .083, .084, or .089. 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 9, 2019 Meeting

 

1.    Call to Order

2.     Introduction of Board Members and Audience

3.     Public Comments/Open Forum

4.     Report from Personnel Committee (Mary Alexander)

a. Recommendation for new internal auditor

5.     Selection of New Internal Auditor (Joseph Muniz)

6.     Consideration of Salary and Start Date for TSBVI’s Internal Auditor (Joseph Muniz)

7.     Consideration of Approval of Minutes of May 31, 2019 Board Meeting (Joseph Muniz), pages 3-11

8.     Consideration of Approval of Operating Budget and Personnel Budget for 2019-2020 (Pam Darden), page 12

9.     Consideration of Approval to Transfer Funds between Budget Codes (Pam Darden), page 13

10.    Discussion and/or Consideration of Approval to Lease Oil and Gas Rights on Brazos County Land Tracts to WildHorse Resources Management and Delegation of Signature Authority to Superintendent or Board President (Susan Morrison)

11.    Consideration of Approval of New Contract Staff (Emily Coleman), page 14

12.    Consideration of Approval of Keeping Firearms in the Superintendent’s Residence (Joseph Muniz), pages 15-16

13.   Consideration of Approval of Board Policies (Joseph Muniz), pages 17-118

CPC (TSBVI) Office Management: Records Management Program (amend), pages 21-24
DBDA (TSBVI) Conflict of Interest: Dual Employment (amend), pages 25-26
EHAD (TSBVI) Basic Instructional Program: Elective Instruction (amend), pages 27-28
EHDE (TSBVI) Alternative Methods for Learning Credit: Distance Learning (amend), pages 29-38
EI (TSBVI) Academic Achievement (amend), pages 39-44
EIE (TSBVI) Academic Achievement: Retention and Promotion (amend), pages 45-55
EIF (TSBVI) Academic Achievement: Graduation (amend), pages 56-67
FFG (TSBVI) Student Welfare: Child Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation, and Improper Child Care Incidents (amend), pages 68-76
FM (TSBVI) Student Activities (amend), pages 77-86
FNC Student Rights and Responsibilities: Student Conduct (amend), page 87
FNCD Student Conduct: Tobacco Use and Possession (amend), page 88
FNCF Student Conduct: Alcohol and Drug Use (amend), pages 89-91
FNCF-E Student Activities: Contests and Competitions (delete), page 92
FNG (TSBVI) Student Rights and Responsibilities: Student and Parent Complaints/Grievances (amend), pages 93-103
FOA (TSBVI) Placement in Alternative Educational Setting: Removal by Teacher (amend), pages 104-106
GKA (TSBVI) Community Relations: Conduct on School Premises (amend), pages 107-118

14.    Report on Memorandum of Understanding Template with Local ISDs (Susan Morrison)

15.    Consideration of Approval of TASB Delegate and Alternate (Joseph Muniz), page 119

16.    Consideration of Future Board Meeting Topics and Training Sessions (Joseph Muniz)

17.    Announcements

18.    Adjournment

 

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

April 5, 2019


Call to Order: Michael Garrett called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Finance Committee to order at 8:00 a.m. on April 5, 2019, 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, Board member Bobby Druesedow Jr. was present.

TSBVI staff members present were: Pamela Darden, Chief Financial Officer; Brian McDonald, Director of School Support Services; Cyrenna Villegas, Director of Procurement; Dan Hampton, Information Resource Director; Cheryl Williams, Human Resource Director; and Josh Splinter, Budget Officer.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the January 25th, 2019 Meeting: A motion to accept the minutes of the January 25, 2019, finance committee meeting as presented was made by Bobby Druesedow. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of adoption of a resolution for TSBVI’s participation in the TexasTERM Local Government Investment Pool: Pamela Darden introduced an alternative investment opportunity for the school to consider when looking at Certificate of Deposit renewals. Josh Splinter outlined the current rates for TexasTERM compared to the institutions currently utilized by the agency. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to adopt the resolution granting TSBVI’s participation in the TexasTERM Local Government Investment Pool. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Report from the Human Resource Director: Cheryl Williams briefed the committee on the
the CAPPS training and implementation preparation. Cheryl is also developing a new evaluation tool for non-teachers and leaders. She has reviewed twenty-six of the thirty-one policies currently in place. Bobby asked Cheryl about the internal auditor position. Cheryl responded that the Personnel Committee was meeting on that topic and was expected to reach a decision.

Consideration of Approval of Investment Report: Pamela Darden presented the Investment Report for the 6 months of fiscal year 2019 ended on February 28, 2019. The market value of all investments was $529,044.39. This value reflected the balances in the Texas Class Investment Pool, ABC bank and the two Certificates of Deposit. Total earnings for the first half was $11,030.27. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to accept the Investment Report as presented. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Review of Donations Report: Pamela Darden reviewed the Donations Report for the first half of fiscal year 2019. The total donations received were $64,431.51. Pamela reported the school received non-monetary donations of a lamp, alarm clock, and baby grand piano.

Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500: Pamela Darden reported that there were three donations received over $500 during this reporting period. Those donations were as follows: $1,000.00 from Ronald Weindorf; $3,201.22 from Delta Gamma Foundation – Zeta Eta Chapter; and $920.00 from TSBVI administrators for the holiday party. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to accept the receipt of gifts and donations over $500. Michael Druesdow second the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Review of budget reports: Pamela Darden reviewed the Budget Report for the first half of fiscal year 2019. The percentages expended by strategy were Classroom Instruction - 48%, Residential Programs - 60%, Summer and Short-Term Programs - 24%, Related and Support Services - 56%, Outreach - 43%, Teacher Preparation - 27%, Central Administration - 42%, and Other Support Services - 46%.

Review of the Legacy Revenue report: Pamela Darden stated the projected revenue for the first 6 months was $416,000. As of February 28, 2019, TSBVI had collected $430,843. TSBVI was at 53% of projected collections.

Review of the Legacy Expenditure report: Pamela Darden stated the benchmark was 50% for the first half and only 24% had been expended. The fund is being used conservatively to cover any budget shortfalls that may occur at the end of the year.

Report from the Chief Financial Officer: Pamela Darden reported on the current status of the legislative session. She stated that both chambers passed their budget bill and should be naming conference committees.

Report from School Support Services: Brian McDonald provided an update on the construction of Building 612. Construction is on target for move in during the month of July. Brian reported that stage 2 of the fire panel installation is completed and stage 3 is in progress. There are other small safety items like road signs and lamps will be installed toward the end of the school year. Lastly, he mentioned the braille wall that was installed by the elevators.

Report from Information Resources Director: Dan Hampton reported that they are currently working on the website project. They have all the analysis and now they are reaching out to departments for their feedback. They are also looking at reorganizing forms and trying to automate the form process. Bobby showed Dan a Bluetooth Beacon that works as a map for the students to be able to find a location. The application is called Farvision.

Adjournment: At 8:58 a.m., Bobby Druesedow entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

End of document

 

NOTICE OF MEETING - BOARD OF TRUSTEES

FINANCE COMMITTEE

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on May 31, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Room 102 of Building 600, 1100 W. 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 Finance Committee of 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 subject 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):

Finance Agenda:

1.    Consideration of approval of minutes of April 5, 2019 meeting (Michael Garrett)

2.    Consideration of approval of board policies: pages 16-111

CBB (TSBVI) State and Federal Revenue Sources: Federal (amend), pages 29-39
CFA (TSBVI) Accounting: Financial Reports and Statements (amend), pages 40-41
CK (Exhibit) Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan; Safety and Security Audit (adopt), pages 42-43
CKFB (TSBVI) Risk Management: Return to Work Program (amend), page 44
DAA (TSBVI) Employment Objectives: Equal Opportunity Employment (amend), pages 45-54
DFE (TSBVI) Termination of Contract: Resignation (amend), pages 55-57
DH (TSBVI) Employee Standards of Conduct (amend), pages 58-64
DHE Employee Standards of Conduct (amend), pages 65-68

3.    Consideration of approval of Investment Report (Pam Darden), page 112

4.    Review Donations Report (Pam Darden), pages 113-116

5.    Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500 (Pam Darden), pages 113-116

6.    Consideration of approval of request for expenditure of gifts and donations (Pam Darden), pages 113-116

7.    Review of budget reports (Pam Darden), pages 117-123

8.    Report from Chief Financial Officer (Pam Darden)

9.    Report from Director of School Support Services (Brian McDonald)

10.  Report from Director of Information Resources (Dan Hampton)

11.  Report from Human Resources Director (Cheryl Williams)

NOTICE OF MEETING

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

PERSONNEL COMMITTEE

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Personnel Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on May 31, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Room 92 of the Main Building 600, 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 Personnel Committee shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government code, Sec. 551.071, .072, .073, .074, .076, .082, .0821, .083, 084, or .089. 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):

1.    Call to Order

2.    Consideration of Approval of Minutes of January 25, 2019 Meeting (Mary Alexander)

3.    Consideration of Approval of Minutes of April 5, 2019 Meeting (Mary Alexander)

4.    Consideration of Approval of Board Policies (Susan Morrison), pages 16-111

BJCE (TSBVI) Superintendent: Dismissal/Nonrenewal Suspension without Pay (amend) pages 20-22
BJCG (TSBVI) School Superintendent: Retirement or Resignation (amend), page 23
BP (TSBVI) Administrative Regulations, page 24-25
BQA (TSBVI) Planning and Decision-Making Process: Schoolwide Committee (amend), pages 26-28
GRA (TSBVI) Relations with Governmental Entities: State and Local Governmental Authorities (amend), pages 101-104
GRAA (TSBVI) State and Local Governmental Authorities: Law Enforcement Agencies (amend), pages 105-111

5.    Consideration of Approval of the Hiring Process for a New Internal Auditor for TSBVI (Mary Alexander)

Timeline and process for posting the Internal Auditor position

Consideration of salary range for the Internal Auditor

Timeline and process for conducting interviews, selecting and hiring
 
6.     Adjournment

NOTICE OF MEETING

BOARD OF TRUSTEES COMMITTEE ON PROGRAMS
TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Program Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on May 31, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Room 104 of the Main Building 600, 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 Committee on Programs 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):

1.    Call to Order

2.    Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the April 5, 2019 Meeting (Lee Sonnenberg)

3.    Consideration of Approval of Board Policies (Susan Morrison), pages 16-111

EHBE (TSBVI) Special Programs: English as a Second Language Education (ESL), (amend), pages 69-75
EHDC Alternative Methods for Earning Credit: Credit by Examination without Prior Instruction (amend), pages 76-80
EMB Miscellaneous Instructional Policies: Teaching About Controversial Issues (review), page 81
FDB (TSBVI) Admissions: Transfers and Classroom Assignments (amend), pages 82-84
FFH (TSBVI) Student Welfare: Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (amend), pages 85-92
FFH (Exhibit) Student Welfare: Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (adopt), page 93
FFHA (TSBVI) Student Welfare: Sexuality (amend), pages 94-97
FNCC Student Conduct: Prohibited Organizations and Hazing (amend), pages 98-100

4.     Report from Curriculum Director, Debra Sewell, pages 124-125

a. Curriculum Department projects

5.     Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt

a. Short-term Program attendance
b. Summer Programs update

6.     Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain

a. School Health Advisory Council’s activities and recommendations

7.     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 May 31, 2019, 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 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 May 31, 2019 Meeting



1.     Call to Order

2.     Introduction of Audience

3.     Recognition of Retiring TSBVI Staff Members (Joseph Muniz)

4.     Recognition of Former Outreach Director, Cyral Miller (Joseph Muniz)

5.     Recognition of Retiring Superintendent William Daugherty (Joseph Muniz)

6.     Public Comments/Open Forum

7.     Report on Activities at the Learning Resource Center Including a Tour of the Center (Bill Daugherty)

8.     Consideration of Approval of Minutes of April 4 and 5, 2019 Board Meetings (Joseph Muniz), pages 4-15

9.     Report from the Finance Committee (Michael Garrett)

a. Consideration of approval of board policies: pages 16-111

    CBB (TSBVI) State and Federal Revenue Sources: Federal (amend), pages 29-39

    CFA (TSBVI) Accounting: Financial Reports and Statements (amend), pages 40-41

    CK (Exhibit) Multihazard Emergency Operations Plan; Safety and Security Audit (adopt), pages 42-43 

    CKFB (TSBVI) Risk Management: Return to Work Program (amend), page 44 

    DAA (TSBVI) Employment Objectives: Equal Opportunity Employment (amend), pages 45-54

    DFE (TSBVI) Termination of Contract: Resignation (amend), pages 55-57 

    DH (TSBVI) Employee Standards of Conduct (amend), pages 58-64

    DHE Employee Standards of Conduct (amend), pages 65-68

b. Consideration of approval of Investment Report, page 112

c. Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500, pages 113-116

d. Consideration of approval of request for expenditure of gifts and donations, pages 113-116

e. Review of budget reports, pages 117-123

    Operating Budget Expenditure Report, pages 117-120

    Legacy Revenue Budget Report, page 121 

    Legacy Operating Expenditure Budget Report, pages 122-123

 

10.   Report from the Program Committee (Lee Sonnenberg)

a. Consideration of approval of board policies: pages 16-111

    EHBE (TSBVI) Special Programs: English as a Second Language Education (ESL), (amend), pages 69-75

    EHDC Alternative Methods for Earning Credit: Credit by Examination without Prior Instruction (amend), pages 76-80

    EMB Miscellaneous Instructional Policies: Teaching About Controversial Issues (review), page 81

    FDB (TSBVI) Admissions: Transfers and Classroom Assignments (amend), pages 82-84

    FFH (TSBVI) Student Welfare: Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation (amend), pages 85-92

    FFH (Exhibit) Student Welfare: Freedom from Discrimination, Harassment and (TSBVI) Retaliation (adopt), page 93

    FFHA (TSBVI) Student Welfare: Sexuality (amend), pages 94-97

    FNCC Student Conduct: Prohibited Organizations and Hazing (amend), pages 98-100

b. Report from Curriculum Director, Debra Sewell, pages 124-125

    Curriculum Department projects

c. Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt

    Short-term Program attendance

    Summer Programs update

d. Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain

    School Health Advisory Council’s activities and recommendations

11.   Report from the Personnel Committee (Mary Alexander)

a. Consideration of approval of board policies: pages 16-111

    BJCE (TSBVI) Superintendent: Dismissal/Nonrenewal Suspension without Pay (amend) pages 20-22

    BJCG (TSBVI) School Superintendent: Retirement or Resignation (amend), page 23

    BP (TSBVI) Administrative Regulations, page 24-25

    BQA (TSBVI) Planning and Decision-Making Process: Schoolwide Committee (amend), pages 26-28

    GRA (TSBVI) Relations with Governmental Entities: State and Local Governmental Authorities (amend), pages 101-104

    GRAA (TSBVI) State and Local Governmental Authorities: Law Enforcement Agencies (amend), pages 105-111

b. Consideration of approval of the hiring process for a new internal auditor for TSBVI

    Timeline and process for posting the Internal Auditor position

    Consideration of salary range for the Internal Auditor 

    Timeline and process for conducting interviews, selecting, and hiring

12.   Consideration of Approval of New Contract Staff, page 126

13.   Consideration of Approval of Superintendent’s Campus Housing Agreement (Joseph Muniz), pages 127-135

14.   Review of 2019-2020 Annual Improvement Plan (Bill Daugherty), page 136

15.   Report from the Superintendent, page 137

a. Legislative update
b. Campus activities

16.   Consideration of Approval of Dates for 2019-2020 Board Meetings and Training Dates and Discussion of Summer 2019 Board Meeting (Bill Daugherty), page 138

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

18.   Announcements

19.   Adjournment

 

TSBVI BOARD PERSONNEL COMMITTEE MEETING

January 25, 2019

1. Call to Order

Mary Alexander called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Personnel Committee at 8:04 a.m. on January 25, 2019 in Room 92 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas. Board members Michael Hanley and Dan Brown were also present. TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were William Daugherty, Superintendent; Cheryl Williams, Human Resources Director; and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation.

Mrs. Alexander recessed the meeting at 8:05 a.m.

Mrs. Alexander called the meeting to order a second time at 9:10 a.m. in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building. Board President Joseph Muniz and Board member Brenda Lee joined the meeting after the recess along with Michael Hanley, Dan Brown, William Daugherty, Cheryl Williams and Susan Houghtling.

2. Consideration of approval of the hiring process for a new internal auditor for TSBVI

-- Timeline for posting the Internal Auditor position

-- Approval of salary for the Internal Auditor

-- Timeline and process for conducting interviews

-- Timeline and process for selecting and hiring

Joseph Muniz stated that Cheryl Williams obtained information for the Committee to consider about possibly outsourcing the position of Internal Auditor.

Ms. Williams explained that, as part of an orientation to the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), she learned of the differences and similarities between state agencies and requirements regarding the internal auditor position. Differences are all over the board in terms of how state agencies employ and pay. Ms. Williams recommended that a determination be made of whether TSBVI’s position needs to be full-time and what audits need to be completed. Texas School for the Deaf contracts with a company to provide audits that are conducted by different individuals. There are other state agencies who also outsource.

Dan Brown questioned whether TSD is pleased with outsourcing and Ms. Williams responded that they were very pleased and have been using this method for at least 13 years with a HUB (Historically Underutilized Business).

Mr. Daugherty reviewed the salary of former TSBVI internal auditor Jaye Stepp plus expenses associated with use of personal time and agency contributions to retirement and insurance. Yearly costs for TSD for outsourcing for one or two audits was approximately $31,000. In addition, TSD does not have to pay for peer review audits by an in-house auditor. Another benefit would be that the TSBVI Board would be in a position of determining how many audits they wanted each year rather than filling the full-time hours of an in-house auditor.

Mary Alexander expressed concerns about audit priorities not focusing on the needs and safety of students. She also questioned whether an outsourced auditor could conduct the type of Business Office audit that was completed in the past at TSBVI.

Ms. Williams responded that outsourced auditors would consider risks as well as past audits to determine needs.

Mrs. Alexander raised the issue of an outsourced auditor not having skill sets related to auditing the School’s medical facilities, for instance, and added that student safety always trumps other risks.

Mr. Daugherty responded that the firm used by TSD audits other school districts and state agencies. If TSBVI were to go that direction, those auditors would need to be informed about issues or concerns to consider.

Mrs. Alexander stated that two audits are conducted each year at Learning Ally and added that, each year, new, out-of-college auditors must be reeducated about the organization. She asked if this would cause an increased workload for TSBVI staff.

Ms. Williams said that Dell Children’s Center was audited by the Joint Commission for hospitals and provided introductory documents to them each time.

Michael Hanley asked if the School would go out for bids if outsourcing was chosen and Ms. Williams responded in the affirmative and added that the State Auditor’s Office would first have to give its approval.

Mr. Muniz explained that most contracts are tied to a budget year and Mr. Daugherty added that termination clauses could be included to be able to break a contract.

Ms. Williams suggested that language be added to the contract stipulating that a certain amount of experience is required.

Mrs. Alexander reviewed the most recent 2019 Internal Audit Plan that provided a history of past audits by Jaye Stepp. Her annual hours included conducting a risk assessment, completing the Internal Audit Plan, conducting audits, tracking completion of audit recommendations, conducting peer reviews and other tasks to fulfill 2080 hours.

Mrs. Alexander reported that one audit from Kemp Long’s audit plan for fiscal year 2019 was to audit CAPPS payroll implementation.

Susan Houghtling stated that the next required audit is for the Public Funds Investment Act that is due in November 2019.

Michael Hanley moved to table the agenda item on approval of the hiring process for a new internal auditor for TSBVI so that a study of options can be made regarding whether to hire an internal auditor or to engage a firm. Brenda Lee seconded the motion and all board members were in favor of the motion.

Mr. Muniz reiterated that the first step would be for the State Auditor’s Office to provide clearance if a decision is reached to outsource with a firm.

Ms. Williams replied that TSD’s CFO said that the audit delegation process is easy to do. This would be followed by issuing an RFP (Request for Proposals).

Mr. Muniz said that, if the Board decides at its April meeting to outsource, they could direct the Superintendent to enter into a contract.

Mrs. Alexander reviewed Kemp Long’s Audit Plan to determine which audits he completed before leaving TSBVI.

3. Adjournment

Dan Brown moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:58 a.m. and Michael Hanley seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor of the motion.

 BOARD PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

January 25, 2019

1. Call to order

Brenda Lee called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Programs at 8:04 a.m. on January 25, 2019 in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

Board members Joseph Muniz and Mike Hanley were also present.

TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were: Miles Fain, Comprehensive Programs Principal; Sara Merritt, Short-Term Programs Principal; Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director; Emily Coleman, Outreach Director

2. Consideration of approval of minutes of the November 16, 2018 meeting

Mr. Muniz moved that the minutes of the November 16, 2018 meeting be approved and Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

3. Consideration of Approval of Board Policies

Miles Fain said that he was available to discuss policy amendments being considered. He is pleased that TSBVI is updating special education and other policies to ensure consistency with the Texas Legal Framework. He also mentioned that it is helpful to have updated service animal policies since there were some issues to be addressed recently when a current student obtained a service animal-in-training. The student only had the service dog on campus for a brief period, but the experience was informative regarding the kinds of limitations and expectations for services animals would be appropriate for TSBVI. Mr. Fain noted that legally, service animals can be limited to dogs only, and that dogs-in-training cannot be banned. Mr. Muniz asked what criteria would be used to determine if a student and dog would meet TSBVI requirements. Mr. Fain described the process to be used in making the determination. The process is separate but parallel to the student’s ARD committee. The need for a service animal might be related to a student’s disability, but the ARD committee does not have authority to approve or disapprove a service animal.

Mr. Muniz moved that Policies AIB, BQ, BR, EF, EFB, EHAD, EIC, EKB, EMG, FBA and FJ be amended as proposed. Ms. Lee seconded the motion. Committee members were in favor of the motion.

4. Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt

Ms. Merritt gave a report on the TSBVI Social Media Committee. Ms. Merritt has emailed Board committee members links to TSBVI social media accounts for review. She asked them for input regarding the best way to publish links on the website and in emails. Committee members agree with input from some persons who use screenreaders that the best way is to show the name of the document or page, with the url address hidden. This avoids confusion or distraction for a person using a screenreader.

Ms. Merritt described the history and activities of the Social Media Committee. Ms. Merritt gave the committee names of current Social Media Committee members. A few years ago, TSBVI had a very limited social media presence. A Social Media Committee was developed in order to monitor and organize social media activities related to TSBVI, and to expand TSBVI presence in social media. There are now several TSBVI-approved school and individual staff professional social media accounts on different platforms. For example, John Rose and Chris Tabb have professional accounts and use them actively and effectively. During the budget freeze this year, hiring of two Short-Term Programs staff has been delayed. As a result, posts on TSBVI social media have declined. Comprehensive Programs and Outreach have designated staff who manage their department social media posts. The new Human Resources Director Cheryl Williams is now managing a TSBVI Linked In account, which will be helpful in recruiting new professional staff.

There is social media training in Bridge. Ms. Merritt invited Board members to complete that training online if they choose. The Bridge system allows TSBVI to track training that staff have taken, and it sends out reminders to staff when it is time for them to take required training.

Ms. Coleman said that Outreach uses Bridge for distance education. Bridge is an excellent way to reach off-campus users, as well as TSBVI staff. For example, up to 500 users are accessing Active Learning Bridge training. Mr. Muniz praised the podcasts that Ms. Coleman has created since she began at TSBVI. She is a really good host and she has interviewed very interesting and informative experts in the field. Ms. Coleman discussed her experiences interviewing her guests. This has been an opportunity for her to get to know people and learn a lot herself. Ms. Coleman praised the production staff who help create the high quality of the products.

Ms. Merritt said that TSBVI is using Constant Contact for email marketing campaigns. Outreach and Short-Term Programs are using these types of programs to send out ads for training and other announcements such as dates for summer programs applications. Links to Facebook and Twitter can be included.

Ms. Coleman said that it is important for TSBVI to keep an eye on everything that staff are posting in social media, to ensure that content is acceptable and appropriate. The Social Media Committee has delegated responsibilities for monitoring various TSBVI social media to various staff members. Social media training for staff includes information about what kinds of posts are acceptable.

TSBVI has been able to implement social media relatively successfully, even though we don’t have a dedicated social media staff. Lots of different staff have roles in making it successful, but they all have limited time to post TSBVI’s positive activities or to monitor postings. Ms. Merritt said that TSBVI would benefit from one or more employees identified as TSBVI’s main marketing staff.

Mr. Muniz pointed out how important social media is to getting out positive information about TSBVI to the public. Ms. Merritt talked about how student’s ratings on the TSBVI website might affect our rating if they make accidental ratings.

Mr. Muniz asked about the social media presence of TSBVI students and what happens when a student makes an inappropriate or questionable post. Mr. Fain and Ms. Merritt described incidents that have occurred recently, such as a post by a former student about harming himself, which TSBVI followed up on. If current TSBVI students engage in inappropriate communications such as bullying or harassment, TSBVI has responsibility to contact parents and follow up according to TSBVI policies. Most posting by students and families have been positive. In one case that a Short-Term Programs student posted his entire TSBVI experience that included video of other students. In that case, Ms. Merritt followed up with the student’s parents to ask that the post be taken down since it contained possibly confidential information about other students.

Ms. Merritt said that school general counsel Susan Morrison is looking into rules regarding records retention of social media posts. Decisions about what is required to be retained may affect how much social media posting the school would decide to do in the future. Since technology continues to change, rules and procedures will need to be reviewed and revised. The website continues to be very important to access online information about TSBVI, since other TSBVI social media platforms link to information on the website. Ms. Coleman said that it is easier to get people’s attention for time-sensitive events by using social media or email, since most people don’t have time to review the website regularly.

5. Additional Reports

Mr. Muniz asked program leaders to give brief reports on their department’s activities.

Ms. Coleman reported that Outreach staff are currently focusing on preparing for the Deaf-Blind Symposium. There is also an upcoming Low Incidence Disabilities (LID) network meeting and a full day active learning training. Ms. Coleman has not yet had a chance to do much traveling around the state to meet people and attend local activities. She had to cancel a couple of planned trips due to some personal issues. She has chosen her travel carefully in light of current budget limitations. She is committed to some national travel in her role as national president of AER and wants to make sure that some travel budget is available to other Outreach staff.

Mr. Fain noted his support for the social media activities described by Ms. Merritt. Comprehensive Programs students participated actively in Martin Luther King Day celebration and service activities. The school calendar was arranged to have school on that day so that students could return Sunday and be on campus to participate in these activities. Many student participated in city-wide marches and other public activities. MLK Day is the biggest day of service learning for TSBVI students, and many teachers provided instruction and preparation activities in the days leading up to the day of service. There were a variety of student service projects such a project preparing items for homeless shelters and delivering the items. Mr. Fain also gave a report of current Comprehensive Programs enrollment. A few current students have had to leave temporarily for medical reasons. Comprehensive Programs has had an unusual number of January referrals for students wishing to attend for the current school year, which we are addressing as quickly as possible.

Ms. Merritt reported that applications for summer programs are now open until February 14. Short-Term Programs previously announced that summer programs this year would be smaller, but Teachers of the Visually Impaired are still being encouraged to apply for their students, in case the students can be accepted. Ms. Merritt discussed an offer that has recently been made by the Health and Human Services Commission to fund an additional 86 students between the ages of 10 and 13 for TSBVI summer programs. She is working with the TSBVI Business Office to determine if this can be approved. No announcements have been made about the additional summer programs until final approval is confirmed.
Due to budget limitations, Short-Term Programs is down two positions and is left with only three summer program coordinators. If additional summer programs could be added, it would allow more students across the state to attend, and it would benefit TSBVI staff who need summer employment. Leadership for these additional programs in Short-Term Programs would need to be problem-solved. To effectively use a limited budget for summer programs, off-campus activities will be limited and on-campus activities that are fun and creative will be planned.

Ms. Hauser mentioned that the Center for School Resources is busy addressing Comprehensive Program referrals. A new Health Center Director, Sally Freeman, has been hired. Ms. Freeman has long experience in leading the school nurse program for Austin ISD, and she will bring excellent, experienced leadership to the TSBVI Health Center.

Mr. Muniz thanked the program leaders for their positive response to the budget challenges this school year.

6. Adjournment

Mr. Muniz made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Hanley seconded the motion. Ms. Lee adjourned the meeting at 9:05 a.m.