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TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

BOARD MEETING MINUTES

June 3, 2016

 

Call to Order:  Joseph Muniz called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m.  In addition to Mr. Muniz, Michael Garrett, Lee Sonnenberg, Mary Alexander, Anne Corn and Mike Hanley were in attendance.  Caroline Daley, Tobie Wortham and Bobby Druesedow were not in attendance.

Introduction of Audience:  The following persons were present:  Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Vicki Weston, Superintendent’s Executive Assistant; Dr. Richard Lewis, Baylor College of Medicine Genetic Research Project; Elsa Wirshing-Guimbarda, Social Worker and Counselor; Kate Mainzer, Director of Human Resources; Sara Merritt, Principal of Short-Term Programs; Cyral Miller, Director of Outreach; Susan Hauser, Director of Center for School Resources; Mike Wolszon, Director of Information Resources; Ditmar Hospital, Weekends Home; Bill Holland, Accounting Director; Brian McDonald, Director of Support Services; Ken Miller, Policy Development; Pam Darden, Chief Financial Officer and Susan Houghtling; Director of Planning and Evaluation. 

Recognition of Retiring TSBVI Staff Members:  There were no retirees present.    

Report on Baylor College of Medicine Genetic Research Project:  Mr. Daugherty stated that it was his pleasure to welcome Dr. Richard Lewis back to the school regarding his continued work on the genetic basis for certain eye conditions that are currently either unexplained or under-explained.  Mr. Daugherty stated that we are fortunate to have Dr. Lewis and that hopefully TSBVI would be able to assist in getting participants in the study he is currently doing.  Dr. Lewis gave a brief background on his training stating that he received his training at the University of Michigan and has been with Baylor College of Medicine for the past 37 years, currently as Professor of Human Genetics as well the Ophthalmology.  Dr. Lewis stated that he participated in a Genetics Clinic at TSBVI in the 1980s-1990s helping students understand the nature of their visual impairments.  Dr. Lewis explained that the research project he is here to describe is shared with Dr. Richard Gibbs, Founder and Sole Director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor.  He stated that their purpose is to understand the cause of visual impairment and that what he and Dr. Gibbs proposed is to perform complete genetic sequencing on every student, and ideally their parents as well, who wish to participate in the study.  He stated that there is no cost to any family and that all research results will be returned to the respective families.  Dr. Lewis stated that to his knowledge such a program has never been undertaken in this environment.  Dr. Lewis stated that his purpose is to understand why the condition exists and so that patients and families can be counseled accurately on the risk of recurrence and any associated medical conditions that can be treated now as they plan their future families.  Also, we all need to understand if and how these genetic variations contribute to other intellectual and thus educational disadvantages that may affect learning, their long-term independence, and how educational facilities might change the learning environment to achieve the best possible outcome for each student independently.  Dr. Lewis stated that through this study will come a better understanding of what went wrong in order to know how to best help the individual.  Dr. Lewis asked the Board if they had questions and/or suggestions.  Anne Corn stated that she was very familiar with Dr. Lewis' work and strongly encouraged the Board to support Dr. Lewis in this study.  Mary Alexander asked if Dr. Lewis intended to go outside the student body to graduates.  Dr. Lewis stated that yes, if they could be located.  Ms. Alexander asked about the timeline for the project.  Dr. Lewis stated that he wanted to start in January 2016 and would probably be funded for two and a half years.  Ms. Alexander asked who was funding the project.  Dr. Lewis said the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Lewis' time is funded by GReAT which is funded by private donors.  Mr. Muniz stated that the Board endorses this project wholeheartedly.  Mr. Muniz asked Bill Daugherty if he had any comments.  Mr. Daugherty stated that it will be a challenge to get parents and families to agree to participate and that it will take forethought on how to encourage participation.  

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of April 8, 2016 Board Meeting:  Michael Garrett motioned to approve the minutes from the April 8, 2016 Board meeting.  Mike Hanley seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes. 

Report from the Finance Committee 

Consideration of approval of Investment Report:  Mr. Garrett reported that the balance as 3-31-2016 is $761,117.22 and that consists of two CD’s at First National Bank of Bellville totaling $340,000.00, one CD at ABC Bank of Austin totaling $240,000.00, one Legacy money market account totaling $155,403.22, one Legacy checking account totaling $16,995.35 and the Texas Class Investment pool totaling $8,718.65.  Mr. Garrett stated that there would be more information in the reports in the future.  The Committee recommended approval of the Investment Report, therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve

Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500:  Mr. Garrett reported that the donations report includes all gifts received as of 3-31-16 which totaled $20,749.85.  Mr. Garrett stated that there was one gift exceeding $500.00 from the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) for participation in the USABA National Fitness Challenge in the amount of $2,250.00.  The Committee recommended approval of the donation, therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve receipt of the donation. 

Consideration of approval of request for expenditure of gifts and donations:  Mr. Garrett stated that the gift from the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) was designated for participation in the USABA National Fitness Challenge in the amount of $2,250.00.  The Committee recommended approval of the designated funds, therefore no second was needed.  The Board voted unanimously to approve.

Review of budget reports:  Michael Garrett reported that the percentage of budget spent by strategy as of 3-31-2016 were as follows:  Benchmark for expenditures at 3-31-2016 = 59%; Classroom Instruction  63%; Residential Program  60%; Summer and Short Term Programs  27%; Related and Support Services 58%; Outreach –Technical Assistance 49%; Outreach – Teacher Preparation  25%; Educational Professional Salary Increases  N/A; Central Administration  58%; and Other Support Services  53%.  The total State Treasury Budgets is at  54%.  Mr. Garrett stated that Brian McDonald was present at the Finance Committee meeting and that his report was very informative.  

Report from the Program Committee:  Lee Sonnenberg began by reporting on the board policies up for consideration which were as follows:  

CLE          Building, Grounds and Equipment Management:  Flag Displays:  Mr. Sonnenberg reported that flags were not displayed in classrooms but are now being installed and that the Committee discussed the importance of blind students being able to have the opportunity for tactile engagement with the flag and for low vision students to be able to use their devices to look at the flag up close.  Mr. Sonnenberg stated that Mr. Fain would take the request to the group working on the project.  Mr. Sonnenberg stated that this policy was a review only.  

FFAA        Wellness and Health Services:  Physical Examinations:   Mr. Sonnenberg reported that Ken Miller is working with Andrea Ashton in the Health Services Center to review many policies.  Mr. Sonnenberg stated that this policy was amended regarding the confidentiality of student social security numbers and birthdates when the school makes reports to TEA.  

FFAB       Wellness and Health Services:  Immunizations:  Mr. Sonnenberg reported that this policy was amended because of changes in the Family Code.  Language related to students serving on active duty in the military was removed and added language that grants authority to a minor student to give permission for their own immunizations if the student is pregnant or if the student is a parent of a child.  

FFAB-E   Health Requirements and Services:  Immunizations:  Mr. Sonnenberg stated that this policy has been deleted and references TEHS policy.  

The recommendation for approval of the policies came from Committee therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve the review, amendments and deletions of the policies.  

Report from Short-Term Programs Principal: 

Short-term Program attendance:  Mr. Sonnenberg reported that there were 223 students who attended during the school year which is a duplicated number for students attending more than one session.  He further stated that 153 students attended programs over the school year, there were 85 cancellations this year due to various reasons and over 300 applications were processed.  Mr. Sonnenberg added that 18 of 20 ECCs sent students this year.  He also reported on a new program titled "You Want It, You Got It" which is individualized instruction online.  He further stated that they are saving the feeds so that it can be shared with other TVIs who may be seeking assistance in the same areas.  Mr. Sonnenberg said they Ms. Merritt is ready to go with the summer programs with university students working with students on the dorms.  

Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal

School Health Advisory Council’s activities and recommendations:  Mr. Sonnenberg reported that Shelly Allen and Dr. Elina Mullin made a presentation at the meeting and talked about the Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) who worked very hard this year to address a culture shift to get staff and students moving with water aerobics and open swim for staff and an event with the Austin Girls School called "`1K Duo Dash" which they are hoping to make it an annual event.  Mary Alexander commented that she enjoyed hearing about the "Get Moving" program.    

Report from Outreach Director, Cyral Miller:  Mr. Sonnenberg reported that the 25th Outreach Forum was held in May with participants from fifteen states which included tours, programming sessions on short-term programs, CVI, changes to UEB and a dinner and auction.  Mr. Daugherty stated that Mike Hanley and his wife came and Mr. Hanley was the auctioneer with $1,800 being raised.  

Consideration of Approval of New Contract Staff:  Bill Daugherty reported that there were three new staff Jennifer Moss, Jen Guerra and Paul Carlson.  Mary Alexander made a motion to approve the three new contract staff.  Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve new contract staff.

Consideration of Approval of Appraisers for the Teacher Appraisal Process:  Bill Daugherty asked that the Board approve Miles Fain, Sara Merritt, Tad Doezema, Eden Hagelman and G'Nell Price as appraisers.  Mike Hanley motioned to approve and Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously to approve the appraisers.

Consideration of Approval of the 2016-2017 Annual Improvement Plan:  Joseph Muniz reported that this year there seemed to be a disconnect of the Board from the development of the plan.  Mr. Muniz suggested a change in the process to go through the Program Committee prior to the plan being brought before the full board.  He stated that Anne Corn has identified some weaknesses in the plan and asked that Dr. Corn briefly state her observations.  Dr. Corn stated that she understands that this year there are new process requirements by the state.  She stated that her comments relate to both the Annual Report and the Strategic Plan.  Dr. Corn said that she did not see the broad vision of how we could see TSBVI changing over the next five years.  She did not think that our forward thinking and successes were relayed in these documents.  She felt there needed to be more alignment of the goals, objectives, needs and action plans.  She stated that some of the needs statements were not described as needs and how the action plan would address those needs.  She stated that there was an over reliance on satisfaction of customers which, are extremely important but that we should think through other ways of measuring impact.  Dr. Corn stated that the Board discussed the use of moderate to substantial and that the Board requested the percentages of students who make moderate and those who make substantial progress.  Dr. Corn felt that the outcome measures seem to be the same across several reports.  Dr. Corn said that if there is a need, we should up the percentage.  Dr. Corn was troubled with the goal that 60% of our students would pass the test.  (I think she was talking about STARR testing).  Dr. Corn would like to see more inclusion of the Board's discussions reflected within the strategic plan.  Dr. Corn stated that she would like to see the school develop its own targets outside of state requirements.  Mr. Muniz asked that the board table the Annual Improvement Plan to give staff a chance to work on it and have the Program Committee review it at the September board meeting.  Bill Daugherty asked the Board for an opportunity to work this into the workflow going on this summer with the strategic review documents due on June 10, followed by the strategic plan on June 24.  The LAR is also being prepared at this time.  Mr. Daugherty asked the Board for clarity on the precise nature required.  Mary Alexander thanked Dr. Corn for being so comprehensive in going through those documents.  Ms. Alexander asked that Dr. Corn share her notes and Dr. Corn said that she would.  Mary Alexander motioned that the Annual Improvement Plan be tabled until the September meeting.  Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve. 

Consideration of Approval of the Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2021:  Joseph Muniz stated that he was changing the process to start in the Program Committee first before the plan comes to the full board for consideration.  Bill Daugherty stated that there are very specific directions from the Legislature and suggested that it may be appropriate to have a parallel strategic planning process that focuses on the school's educational mission.  Mr. Daugherty stated that trying to make the plan fit both concerns was very difficult to do.  Anne Corn thought that was an excellent idea.  Lee Sonnenberg motioned to approve the Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2017-2021.  Mary Alexander seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Report from the Superintendent:  

Texas Education Agency Special Education Program Review:  Mr. Daugherty stated that this review took place and that he is sure there would be findings.  Mr. Daugherty sited an example that there was a "Consideration of Commensurate Day" which requires documentation in the ARD folders about what a day at a student's home school schedule would look like compared to a day at TSBVI.  He also stated that we would need to develop goals and objectives for all students in the area of physical education.  Mr. Daugherty reported that TEA will be completing a new Memorandum of Understanding which came out of the LBB audit and will be reported to the Board when completed.  

Campus activities:  Bill Daugherty stated that the TSBVI girls won at SCASB this year.  He also stated that the prom was great this year, as always.  Mr. Daugherty stated that Short-Term Programs' "High School Independence Weekend" took place where students come from all over the state also attend the prom.  He stated that there were more requests than we could handle and turned out great.  Mr. Daugherty continued with the student play entitled "Check Please" which was also a huge success and will be made available to the board.  Mr. Daugherty stated that the Mentor Center is going strong and the Low-Vision Conference was excellent this year.  He also said that there were other programs such as "Hearing Issues for Students with Deafblindness" and the CVI study group.  

Consideration of Approval of Dates for 2016-2017 Board Meetings and Training Dates and Discussion of Summer 2016 Board Meeting:  Bill Daugherty

August 5, 2016 (Friday) – Board meeting

September 29, 2016 (Thursday) – Training on Self Evaluation & Ethics

September 30, 2016 (Friday) – Board meeting

November 17, 2016 (Thursday) – Training on Fiduciary Responsibility

November 18, 2016 (Friday) – Board meeting

January 27, 2017 (Friday) – Board meeting

April 7, 2017 (Friday) – Board meeting

June 2, 2017 (Friday) – Board meeting.  TSBVI’s graduation ceremony is scheduled for June 1.

           

Michael Garrett made a motion to approve the meeting and training dates as proposed.  Mary Alexander seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the dates.  

Susan Houghtling stated that the Board set their priority training topics for the year as self-evaluation, ethics and advocacy.  Ms. Houghtling stated that TASB's self-evaluation which the board has done was the highest course level offered by TASB.  Ms. Houghtling stated that Mr. Koppel of TASB said that he could do an ethics training lasting 2-4 hours and that he was available on September 29th or November 17.  She further added that Leonard Schwartz could do an ethics training in about one hour so they could be combined into one session if they wished.  Ms. Houghtling said that the Strategic Planning training with Cindy Martin in January 2016, could be coded as either teambuilding or continuing education.  The Board discussed the options and decided to combine two training sessions at September 29th meeting and to be completed by 5:00 p.m.  Michael Garrett asked about doing a training session in November about fiduciary responsibility which was also one of the five areas the board had requested.  Mr. Muniz asked that Ms. Houghtling and Mr. Daugherty consult with Pam Darden regarding a possible trainer.  Anne Corn asked what kind of background a trainer would need for fiduciary responsibility session.  Mr. Muniz stated someone who could provide training and oversight over policies, questions that board members should be asking, performance measures and how to professionally oversee staff who are managing the money.  Michael Garrett added would have to be equally well versed from a financial standpoint and from state oversight.  Dr. Corn stated that she had a contact Accountancy State Board that she could ask.  Mr. Muniz stated that the board could consider their credentials and see where they could get credit from training by that person.  Dr. Corn said that she would give Ms. Houghtling the contact information.


Discussion of Future Board Meeting Topics:  

Michael Garrett brought up the subject of the trend to pull away from academic excellence through competitiveness.  The Board and Mr. Daugherty discussed the topic which ended with coming up with a question of achieving a balance between nurturing and competitiveness. 

Lee Sonnenberg asked about the TEA rule that students can only participate in one graduation ceremony.  Miles Fain stated that students in Special Education have the right to participate with their peers in a graduation ceremony, whether they are finished or not but that each student can only participate in one ceremony.  Mr. Fain stated that there was a special event the day before graduation for students who were not allowed to participate.    

         

Announcements:  There were no announcements.

Adjournment:  Mike Hanley made a motion to adjourn.  Mary Alexander seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve adjournment at 11:57 a.m.

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Joseph Muniz, Board President                                                                Date

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Lee Sonnenberg, Board Secretary                                                           Date

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Vicki Weston, Recording Secretary                                                          Date