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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 June 1, 2018, beginning at 8:30 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. 551.071, .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. Oath of Office for Newly Appointed Board Members

3. Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the April 6, 2018 Meeting

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

a. Short-term Program attendance

5. Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain

a. School Health Advisory Council’s activities and recommendations
b. Consideration of approval of “Unhushed” sexual education curriculum
c. Consideration of approval of recommendations of the Instructional Materials Committee

6. Report from Outreach Director, Cyral Miller

a. Update from Outreach

7. Adjournment

 

 

BOARD PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING

 June 1, 2018

Call to order:  Joseph Muniz called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Programs at 8:56 a.m. on June 1, 2018 in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

Board Member Mary Alexander was present.

Program Committee member Lee Sonnenberg was not present.

Newly appointment board members attending the meeting were:  Dan Brown, Julie Prause, Brenda Lee.

TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were: Sara Merritt, Short-Term Programs Principal; Miles Fain, Comprehensive Programs Principal; Cyral Miller, Outreach Director; Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director; Shelly Allen, Residential Director; Debra Sewell, Curriculum Director; Cyrenna Villegas, Procurement Director and Notary.

Other attendees:  Newly appointed board member Dan Brown’s family: Liz Brown (wife), Sarah Lujan (daughter).

Oaths of Office for newly appointed board members:  Mr. Muniz administered the Oath of Office to three newly appointed Board members: Dan Brown, Julie Prause, and Brenda Lee.  Cyrenna Villegas notarized the oaths that they signed.

Mr. Muniz requested that a photographer be available at the Board meeting to take a publicity photo of the new board members. 

 

Consideration of approval of minutes of the April 6, 2018 meeting:  Mr. Muniz explained that the members of the program committee who were present April 6 are not present today.  Mr. Muniz moved that the minutes of the April 6, 2018 meeting be approved and Ms. Alexander seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt:  Ms. Merritt gave a report on Short-Term Programs (STP) attendance, including written reports.  This is the first year that a student from every region in Texas attended Short-Term Programs.  STP has made extra efforts to connect with students, families, and local district staff in regions that have had lower STP attendance, in order to encourage more students from those regions to attend STPs.  Tours have been provided so families and students can see Austin and the campus.  Ms. Merritt said that consideration was given to offering a local STP class in other regions, but it was determined that this still would not be convenient enough for students in the region to attend.

Distance learning programs have helped increase the number of students who were served by STP.  These programs have allowed students to get help quickly for specific problems and questions.  Also, local students’ Teachers of the Visually Impaired have been able to participate with their students.  The Texas legislature funded a distance learning staff position, which has really made a difference in STP’s ability to deliver distance learning programs.  Mr. Brown asked if distance learning class offerings will be expanded.  Ms. Merritt said that TVIs in the state are being surveyed in order to identify needs, and technology has been the identified need up to this point.  She has a goal of teaching a class for credit, but there are logistical issues to be overcome.  Mr. Muniz said that the board would be very interested in STP offering a distance credit class. 

The STP attendance numbers increased significantly this year.  Ms. Merritt reported both duplicated and unduplicated attendance counts.  Duplicated count is the total number of student attendees at all programs (each time a student attended any program is counted, even if a student attended multiple programs).  For 2017-2018, the duplicated count is 312 attendances.  Unduplicated count is the number of different students who attended Short-Term Programs (each individual student is counted only once, regardless of how many programs the student attended during the year).  For 2017-2018, the unduplicated count was 170 students.  The counts combine both distance learning programs and on-campus classes.

Ms. Merritt briefly reviewed details of attendance by program.  Weekend classes and classes with fun themes (such as “Iron Chef” and “In the Driver’s Seat”) were better attended than more academic classes.  Short-Term Program collaborated with Outreach to present five separate programs this year.  STP provides transportation for students during the school year, but they do not provide transportation for summer programs.  Ms. Lee mentioned her experience that students can be encouraged to attend STP through interactions with Outreach staff and by attending fun programs first. 

Ms. Merritt described summer programs that will be happening this summer.  There are several one-week programs that allow students and families who haven’t attended before to come for a shorter time to see how it goes. 

 

Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain:  Mr. Fain gave a report on the School Health Advisory Council’s activities and recommendations.  He introduced Shelly Allen, who is Chairperson of the School Health Advisory Council.  Mr. Fain introduced Debra Sewell, Curriculum Director, who is also a member of the council.  The only other staff who is a council member is Elina Muller, PE teacher.  The rest of the council members are parents, since parents are required to be the majority of the members.  All schools are required to have a School Health Advisory Council, primarily to get input from parents, staff and students to promote student health.

Ms. Allen discussed the council’s activities.  All items on this year’s Action Plan were accomplished.  A challenge for council meetings is the distance of parents from the school.  There are five parent members of the council, who represent a cross-section of parents from across the state.   Council meetings take place through conference call. There are six meetings per year, and usually only about two parents are able to attend each meeting.    The council provides newletters and other information to parents.  There is a Health and Wellness Fair during Parent Weekend.  The committee collects data on student health, such as student heights and weights at the beginning and end of the school year. 

TSBVI has only limited ability to affect students’ diet and fitness while students are on campus.  Students return home frequently, and diet and exercise at home might be very different than on campus.  Students are free to have food delivered to campus and they may choose less healthy options.  Food deliveries are made to the front of the campus, where TSBVI security staff can meet them.

On campus, TSBVI doesn’t provide or sell unhealthy food for students for snacks or in vending machines.  The school has increased the quality and variety of food provided to students on weekends.  Cheryl Austin, Residential Teacher, has helped create a healthy menu for students and residential staff to cook on weekends.  The cafeteria is not open on weekends, but the new menu includes fresher ingredients and more healthy choices.  During the week, the evening meal in the cafeteria is not a reimbursable meal, as lunch meals are.  In the past, many students have not enjoyed the evening meal provided in the cafeteria and instead have chosen to order food from off campus.  This year, a salad bar is provided in the cafeteria for the evening meal, which many students enjoy and therefore choose to eat on campus.  Evening residential staff are also able to buy salad bar at a low cost, which helps the physical and mental health of staff, as well as students. The health of staff is also supported by things such as staff being able to use campus recreational facilities (such as pool, track, and gym) and to participate with their students in classes such as yoga. 

Yanni Crespo, Health Center Director, plans for nurses to be more involved in student education for health topics next year, both during the school day and during dorm time.  Ms. Crespo already does training for staff to be med sponsors and diabetes training for staff and students.  Ms. Crespo supports students in learning self-medication, which is excellent life training for students.

Consideration of approval of “UnHushed” sexual education curriculum:  Ms. Sewell discussed sexuality education for TSBVI students.  This curriculum topic is important, but it is sometimes difficult for staff to deliver and for students to receive.  For middle school and high school students, sexuality education takes place during health classes, during EXIT classes, and in small groups outside scheduled class times.  The campus currently uses parts of the FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health) curriculum and  the PAPA curriculum (a TEA parenting curriculum).  The new UnHushed curriculum will also be used if approved.  Ms. Sewell briefly reviewed topics covered in the UnHushed curriculum.  Emphasis during TSBVI sexual education instruction is on students knowing how to be safe, how to make wise decisions,  and how to protect themselves when dating, as well as learning about healthy relationships and knowing who to talk with about issues and questions.  State law requires that abstinence be emphasized in the curriculum.  Curriculum guidelines recommend or require that a counselor be present when sexual education is taught.  In Comprehensive Programs, a TSBVI counselor either leads sessions or attend sessions led by teachers.  In the future in Short-Term Programs, counselors will also be included when sexuality education takes place.  When issues come up during sexual education sessions that counselors must address with students, the counselor reports important issues to the Principal and/or notifies the student’s assigned counselor.  Sometimes things come out that staff must report as possible abuse or neglect to authorities, according to TSBVI policy and procedure.

Ms. Alexander moved to approve the UnHushed curriculum.  Ms. Lee seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

 

Consideration of approval of recommendation of the Instructional Materials Committee:  Mr. Fain reported that no new instructional materials were adopted by the State Board of Education for the 2018-2019 school year, so no new instructional materials need to be adopted by TSBVI.  TSBVI plans to continue using instructional materials adopted by the board in April 2017. 

 

Report from Outreach Director, Cyral Miller:  Ms. Miller gave an update from Outreach.  There are lots of changes in Outreach coming up.  There are several Outreach teachers retiring.  Also, Ms. Miller is stepping down from the Outreach Director position, and interviews to hire a new Outreach Director are taking place now.  Ms. Miller will continue part time to support the new director and to help with projects. 

Ms. Miller reported that everything Outreach does has online and in-person elements.  New online modules, such as those for reading and literacy, are being developed and posted continually.  Other areas that have both online and in-person elements include active learning, low vision, teacher of the deafblind.  New staff who are being hired to replace retiring staff will create new modules and trainings.  The Foundations of Visual Impairment modules are being posted.  Online offerings are available both in Texas and across the country.  These are all national resources.  Outreach frequently collaborates with service centers and other campus programs to create modules and to sponsor conferences.  Ms. Miller mentioned that low salaries for Outreach staff are obstacles to hiring the best new people. 

Adjournment:  Ms. Prause made a motion to adjourn.  Ms. Lee seconded the motion.  Mr. Muniz adjourned the meeting at 10:01 a.m.

TSBVI BOARD COMMITTEE MEETING

AUDIT, COMPLIANCE, AND MANAGEMENT REVIEW

April 5, 2018

Call to Order:

Mr. Muniz called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Audit, Compliance, and Management Review at 2:02 p.m. on April 5, 2018 in the Boardroom of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas.  Board members Anne Corn, Caroline Daley, Lee Sonnenberg, and Michael Garrett were present. Mary Alexander was not present. TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were Bill Daugherty, TSBVI Superintendent, Pam Darden, Chief Financial Officer, Kate Mainzer, Human Resources Director, Kemp Long, Director of Internal Audits, Jaye Stepp, Internal Auditor, Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation, and Susan Morrison, General Counsel.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the January 26, 2018 Meeting:

Michael Garrett moved to approve the minutes of January 26, 2018 meeting and Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor of the motion.

Consideration of Approval of Board Policies BAA, BBC, BBD, BBG, BE, BEC, DBA, DBAA, DC, DEC and DHG:  

Joseph Muniz moved on to agenda item Consideration of Approval of Board Policies.  He commended Mr. Daugherty on his staff’s efforts to catch up on Policies.  Mr. Muniz stated he was impressed and pleased with the output of Board policies.  He added that the Board made them a priority and Mr. Daugherty and his staff have responded to the Board’s request. Mr. Muniz added the output and quality of work is appreciated.

 Susan Morrison reviewed changes to proposed Board policies.

Policy BAA is updated to clarify TSBVI's role as a state agency. When we get the model policies from TASB, they are always focused on local independent school districts and so to a certain extent all policies are localized. The more we change them, the more likely it will have “TSBVI” in parenthesis after the code letters. If you see TSBVI after the regular TASB letters that means, it's been modified quite a bit.

Mr. Muniz, asked if all policies are to be amended. Ms. Morrison stated that they are all amended proposed policies. Mr. Muniz stated that they will handle them as a single motion at the end of the presentation.  

Policy BBC is amended to allow temporary appointment by the Board of a board member in the case a board member is called to active duty. 

Mr. Muniz stated he has a question in dealing with the vacancy of a board member who is recalled to active duty. Is it the intent of the policy that this board itself can appoint a temporary placement or does that go through the Governor's office?

Ms. Morrison stated that TASB’s recommended policy states that the Board may temporarily appoint so, in this case it's an exception constitutionally by amendment, that allows an exception to the governor. 

Policy BBD has been localized. It reflects the two hours of training on board responsibility and the Public Information Act within 90 days of taking the oath of office. New trustees must complete at least 3 hours of training within 120 days of appointment by the governor. The legislature has made a requirement of posting any trustees failure to get training on the internet of the TSBVI website within 10 business days of the meeting in which the trustee becomes deficient. 

Mr. Muniz stated he will interpret that to mean, members are deficient the date the board president reads the status of the board members training for that year. 

The statute gives certain days with deadlines to get that done. Mr. Muniz asked for clarity on at what point does a board member become deficient. Ms. Morrison stated it is technically after the expiration of either the 90 days or the 120 days then the posting requirement kicks in when the Board is together to make the decision to post.

Policy BBG addresses Board members being allowed to participate in the contract for travel services that the comptroller provides which gives discounts because it is a statewide provision.

Policy BE adds language that addresses an option for an online message board for postings by members.

Ms. Corn stated that she interpreted it differently. She asked whether or not that provides an approval of discussion among Board members. Ms. Morrison stated that an online message board is a very distinct posting of items of public interest where board members as a citizen can express their first amendment free speech rights. Their free speech rights then are known generally to the public even if it’s a discussion going back and forth from trustees. It's allowed by the Government Code so it is not a violation of having a meeting but there are restrictions. The dangers of even having an online message board is that if you start doing business that way, you cross the line and you can get into trouble. Ms. Morrison stated that is why she is not recommending this addition to the policy. Michael Garrett adds that he is following her recommendation to air on the side of caution. Ms. Morrison stated that additionally we would have to adopt another policy that goes into the details about this, which is a policy labeled by TASB as BBI (legal). There would be two steps involved in this.

Mr. Muniz stated that he agrees with Michael Garrett and said to the members he will recommend to the Board that they take out that optional portion from this policy in the final version that the Board will adopt tomorrow. Lee Sonnenberg agreed. Michael Garrett agreed. 

Ms. Morrison stated video conference calling is also included in policy BE. If someone is stuck in their hometown due to natural disaster or family situations there are ways to include them, it is very technical.

Mr. Muniz asked the Superintendent if the school is able to support such call ins. Bill Daugherty, stated that it is something we have to explore and for them to be accessible they have to meet certain requirements. Ms. Morrison stated that the reason it is included is for you to have notice that it is available and so you could just adopt it as amended and then not use it, until its capability grows.

Policy BEC adds language to allow all the exceptions for holding a closed meeting.

Policy DBA adds language to the employment policy to address emergency permits as well as pre-employment inquiries of bus drivers. Also disqualification of bus drivers if they have been revoked, suspended or withdrawn from their license. These were subject to revisions made to Texas Administrative Code about teacher credentials. Effective this school year, emergency permits are limited one year within limited exceptions for teachers who have students with visual impairments.

Mr. Muniz asked Mr. Daugherty how this will affect practices that TSBVI has. Mr. Daugherty stated that it will not have any impact on TSBVI.

Mr. Muniz asked if those were the significant changes. Ms. Morrison answers that those were the highlights.

Policy DBAA covers new rules from the Texas Administrative Code for criminal history checks. The FBI subscription service requires the DPS to issue rules clarifying the process for obtaining a criminal history, the access to the FACT clearing house is very restricted. They don't want a whole lot of people from the same agency or school to have access.

Mr. Muniz asked who in this organization is authorized to access the database. Ms. Morrison stated that Kate Mainzer is. Ms. Mainzer summarized that she and Amanda Anguiano, Employment Specialist, do. The information comes back to them, from the FBI fingerprint background checks. Kate stated that there is very specific training required for anyone to have access. There is also a separate training required for anyone to complete before, addressing questions they might have about a background check. She added they have taken that training. Ms. Mainzer stated that it would not be legal for her to discuss any of that information with anyone who has not had that training and been approved.

Ms. Morrison stated that there is a specific statement that is localized to TSBVI, that it is not the policy or practice of the School to consider credit reports for employment purposes. We have the right to do that but as a policy matter. Previous boards have determined that it is not necessary for the types of employment that we have.

Mr. Muniz asked if it is still the administrations’ recommendation that they keep that practice.

Susan Morrison and Bill Daugherty answered that it is. Mr. Garrett asked if this also applies to employees who have access to funds. Ms. Morrison answered she believed it does. There's an assumption made that when someone has a bad credit report, that they will steal money. She added that she believed that has been disproven with some kind of evidentiary study. It is allowed by employers but it is not done here. Ms. Morrison asked Pam Darden's input. Ms. Darden stated that is the assumption and we have internal controls in place to control those situations. Mr. Muniz asked that if this happened during his administration, when was the change made? Mr. Daugherty stated that he doesn't know that this happened during his time here. Ms. Morrison stated that it is a 50-year change. She stated that there are all kinds of rationales on using credit history because of impact on minorities, just of assumptions that don't turn out to be truthful. 

Policy DC includes the new pre-employment affidavit requirements to provide additional safety to avoid hiring anyone who has been charged with or convicted of inappropriate conduct with a minor. There are penalties for administrators who try to assist the hiring of such people. They can get in trouble with State Board of Educators Certification. State and federal law prohibit educators from assisting such individuals to be hired at schools. Ms. Morrison stated there was a question in the last committee meeting, about where did the discharge of convicted employees paragraph go. That is now in DBAA which is the previous policy. She added she noticed when she was reading the minutes, under employment of other professionals there was some question about where school nurses fell, whether they are contract employees like the Education Code says or whether a school nurse is “other professionals”. Ms. Morrison suggested adding language that school nurses are state employees, unless otherwise designated under the state of TX classification system. That would clarify any confusion that either an employee or applicant might have. 

Mr. Muniz added that they would fall under the general at will employee, under Bill's supervision.

For Policy DEC, the major change being focused on emergency leave is it is updated to reflect the restrictions of its designation so, that only returning employees are qualified for approval.

Ms. Corn asked how this applies when someone is on the road or for evening meetings. Ms. Morrison added for salaried employees it does not matter, they either earn comp time or include that travel as work time. Mr. Daugherty added that TSBVI does not send hourly employees on trips. He clarified that they do send residential instructors on athletic trips so, in that case, hourly employees do travel. They are not paid around the clock; there are duty free times. Ms. Morrison clarified that the travel time is paid. Ms. Mainzer added that staff is compensated while sleeping in some cases if they are required to be available for a student that might need something. It is the equivalent of being on call so they are expected to be available if the student has a need that has to be attended to. Mr. Daugherty added they will use that comp time during the summer and on vacation times to keep themselves in pay status. That's primarily where that comes into play with teaching assistants and residential instructors.

Also amended in the policy was a statement that two employees who are married to each other have a cap on the FMLA time.

Policy DHG adds language from the Government Code provision for property inventory reports made by the comptroller.

Mr. Muniz obtained a motion to recommend that the Board approve policies; BE, DC, DEC, and DHG with changes recommended at this committee meeting. Michael Garrett moved the motion and Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion. All other Board members were in favor of the motion.

Mr. Muniz brought forth policies; BAA, BBC, BBD, BBG, BEC, DBA, and DBAA. He stated that he will obtain a motion and recommend that the Board amend them as presented in the Board packet. Lee Sonnenberg motioned, Michael Garrett seconded. All board members were in favor of the motion.

Consideration of Adopting Language in Policy BBFA Requiring Board Members to File Financial Statements with the Board:

Ms. Morrison stated that when we received the TASB update 109 for BBFA Legal Ethics, dealing with conflict of interest disclosures, it included an option of the Board to pass a resolution making it a little more burdensome to file not only with the Texas Ethics Commission your financial statements but to also file them with the Board. In order to have that option you have to adopt a resolution and this policy is going to come to you for the June board meeting to consider the version you want to adopt. She stated that she wanted to give the Board a heads up to the fact that it was coming and give the Board an opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of this additional filing, which would be with the Superintendent's office. It would be kept confidential and will be available through the Texas Ethics Commission. However, at this time they are not posted publicly on the website. The Texas Ethics Commission does have the option of doing that in the future, right now they are not. Ms. Morrison stated that she is not recommending that the Board pass a resolution.

Mr. Muniz, Anne Corn, and Michael Garrett agreed with Ms. Morrison.

Lee Sonnenberg moved that the Board not require board members to file their financial statements with TSBVI. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. All board members were in favor of the motion.

Report from the Internal Auditor - Consideration of Approval of Ethics Evaluation Report:

Jaye Stepp introduced the report on Ethics Evaluation. It is not based on the risk based way that we pick our audits. This one is required by internal auditing standards and because we have had a recommendation in prior reviews to do an Ethics Evaluation we came up with this survey. We did surveys of all staff to try to get a feeling for if they felt comfortable in ethics and how to report things in management, leadership, and their exhibiting ethical standards and processes. What we found out is if you do a search on the School’s Intranet for ethics, you really didn't get anything. One of the recommendations is that there be higher visibility on the intranet for people to find ethics, at least the policies. Another is that we train upon employment in ethics but don't go anywhere from there. This is not an audit recommendation that we will be following. This is more of a maturity model that this Ethics Evaluation is on. We want to move from one level to the next level. These ideas are just opportunities for improvement including improving visibility on the Intranet, expanding the ethics training for staff and delegating an Ethics Officer for the school so you have somebody designated so all the staff will know. It will help to have an officer designated. Attachment A goes through maturity models that the whole evaluation is based on. There were six attributes that were looked at, the code of ethics, the culture and consistency, awareness, structure and accountability, process automation and integration, and goals and metrics. Ms. Stepp added she thought we would classify as level two on most things. After going through the process, the school achieved a level three on everything except the goals and metrics. Ms. Stepp added we can work to improve to get to the next level on everything. What other agencies have done is appoint a few people to monitor this and try to move things forward into the next level.  Ms. Stepp added that level three means there are policies and procedures in place. Although staff have had blended training, they seem based on the survey to understand who to go to. There are always in these kinds of surveys a couple of disgruntled employees who didn't think anything was good. Generally, ninety percent of people do understand and do feel like they are getting an adequate training and know what to do in these events.

Mr. Muniz added a suggestion for a designated Ethics Officer. Mr. Daugherty stated he has not thought about that point and adds it certainly will not be difficult to do.

Mr. Muniz moved to obtain a motion to approve the Ethics Evaluation Report. Michael Garrett moved to approve the Ethics Evaluation Report. Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor of the motion

Audit Recommendations Tracking Schedule:

Ms. Stepp stated that there has been significant progress on the Audit Recommendations Tracking Schedule. There are 12 open audit recommendations at this time. Dan Hampton, Information Resources Director has asked that two of the policy recommendation stay on there to allow more time to go over them. The due dates have now been reset to give time for review. The Information System Security Policies and Procedures also still needs to be reviewed and will be worked by the end of this fiscal year.

Mr. Muniz asked how far the recommendation for that policy goes?

Ms. Stepp stated that it is from last year. It was under Mike Wolszon, former TSBVI Information Resources Director, but since Dan Hampton is here and he's new, we're giving him a little more space. This is the same case in the Health Center. Jaye Stepp added that she has gone over the recommendations with Yanni Crespo, Health Center Director, however, she is new and has spent the first six months getting settled in. She is now ready to look at these and take these on. Completion due dates have been reset to allow more time to go over the recommendations. The procedures that have been written for the Business Office still have a short way before they are ready to post on the internet. Security Procedures Manual Development is set to be done in September along with Emergency Operations Planning Team. That is a summary of open recommendations. The completed recommendations are, Abuse and Neglect reporting, Staff Development tracking system in bridge, PFIA training hours, Contract management, TACT 202 information systems risk assessment, and Information system security report completed by Ray Solanik for property management, the automating inventory barcode system they were looking at is not compatible with state systems so, they are not implementing that. The Business Office does have desk procedures completed as well as the recommendation about optimizing MIP usage. They are using all the modules that they can that is cost effective for them (EREQ and bank reconciliation, payroll departmental procedures, transportation database, and SAO performance measures).

Discussion of Required TSBVI Website Postings:

Mr. Muniz addressed the Board and stated that he requested this to be posted on the Audit Committee. During the Personnel Committee’s interview process for the internal auditor position it was noted by the candidate, Mr. Kemp Long, that there were missing required postings.

Mr. Daugherty stated after the review of state agency required website postings, the Internal Audit Plan and one other document was not posted. He added that the following steps will be taken to ensure it no longer happens; that we keep a comprehensive inventory of required website postings and assess how we will make sure that things always get posted.

Ms. Morrison added that at the March 6, 2018 board meeting, the Committee would be looking at policy CQA, a localized policy on websites and the required postings that apply to all schools. In addition to that policy, she and Susan Houghtling will be recommending an amendment, by adding the State Agency Required website postings list 1 through 13 on Policy CQA.

Mr. Muniz asked if we are now in compliance with required postings. Mr. Daugherty answered “yes”.

Mr. Daugherty stated that it should not occur again unless in pure human error and there will be checks and balances in place so that it does not happen again. Mr. Muniz added that steps should be simplified to assure documents be accessible to anyone. Mr. Daugherty stated, that there are complex documents that may pose some difficulty in making accessible. Ms. Morrison added that, anytime a document has a chart with data, it becomes harder to make accessible. The exception is that some of the required time sensitive web postings, have some small accessibility issues that will get worked out after we have met the time required posting deadline. Michael Garrett added it would help to give an explanation of what the chart represents. 

Discussion of Campus Security:

Mr. Muniz stated the Board will now recess this open session and convene in a closed meeting to discuss the following agenda item: Discussion of Campus Security in conformance with Texas Government Code Section 551.076 – Deliberation Regarding Security Devices or Security Audits.

No voting will take place in the closed meeting. Any action the Board wishes to take as a result of discussion in closed meeting will take place after the Board reconvened in the open meeting. It is now 3:29 p.m.

Mr. Muniz stated at 4:46 p.m. the Board will now convene in open session. No action was taken on agenda item Campus Security.

Adjournment:

Michael Garrett moved to adjourn the meeting Caroline Daley seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor and the meeting was adjourned at 4:46 p.m.

 

BOARD PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING

 April 6, 2018

Call to order:  

Lee Sonnenberg called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Committee on Programs at 8:04 a.m. on April 6, 2018 in Room 104 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas. 

Program Committee members Dr. Anne Corn and Caroline Daley were also present.

TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were: Sara Merritt, Short-Term Programs Principal; Miles Fain, Comprehensive Programs Principal; Cyral Miller, Outreach Director; Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director; Valerie Perwein, Special Education Coordinator; Courtney Wilson, LSSP; Michael Clinkscales, Social Worker

Consideration of approval of minutes of the January 26, 2018 meeting:  

Ms. Daley moved that the minutes of the January 26, 2018 meeting be approved and Dr. Corn seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Consideration of approval of deletion of Policy FP: Student Fees, Fines and Charges:  

Dr. Corn moved to approve the deletion of the policy and Ms. Daley seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Consideration of approval of the school’s calendar for 2018-2019:  

Mr. Fain described the proposed 2018-2019 school calendar.  It is similar to last year’s calendar.  It is aligned with AISD calendar as much as possible, with a few differences, for example, the AISD winter break is shorter than the TSBVI winter break.  Ms. Daley asked how students attending AISD schools handle missed school days if TSBVI is on break when AISD is not.  Mr. Fain said that Haley Moberg, TSBVI teacher, works with AISD teachers to arrange for students to complete their work and exams. Next year, the AISD and TSBVI spring break will not align with South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, which might create problems with traffic, airline travel and other issues.  Mr. Fain mentioned that next year, AISD will require TSBVI to pay for students to attend AISD. 

Dr. Corn moved to approve the school calendar and Ms. Daley seconded the motion.  Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt:  

Ms. Merritt gave a report on 2018 summer programs applications.  Applications for summer 2018 have closed.  Short-Term Programs has received 480 completed applications plus 103 incomplete applications.  For the 480 students with completed applications, 359 students were offered a summer programs place. So far, 11 of the students offered places have withdrawn, leaving 348 applicants.  Ms. Meritt predicts that Short-Term Programs may end up serving about 325 students this summer, which is less than last summer’s total of 345 participants. This smaller number of summer student is more aligned with the available summer programs budget. 

One factor in the reduced number of students who are accepted is new Health Center requirements this year.  The new Health Center Director has placed tighter medical restrictions and is requiring families to provide medical action plans for certain medical conditions.  New medical requirements will help in keeping students safe while attending Short-Term Programs, but it is sometimes difficult for families to meet these requirements.  For example, if a family does not have insurance, they may not be able to obtain required medications or medical equipment such as an epi-pen.  TSBVI works with families to help as much as possible to resolve these issues.  The TSBVI Health Center carries out an initial medical review of each student’s information and follows up with phone calls to families.  Based on this, the Health Center approves a student medically if they determine that the student can be served medically on campus.  The Health Center may also make a conditional acceptance of a student, or they may deny a student for medical reasons.

Another factor in reduced numbers is the change that was made for students who have attended the dorm-based Life Skills Camp in past years.  This program became a classroom-based program last year, and some students who were accepted had intensive behaviors that were difficult to manage with available supports.  As a result, the number of students accepted for the program this year has been reduced.  STP staff have now made it a practice to contact these students’ life skills teachers rather than the students’ TVIs, in order to better learn about each student, including evaluating whether the student will be able to be successful at TSBVI, since TSBVI summer programs ratios do not allow for intensive 1:1 behavioral support.  In addition, this year there will be 6-7 deafblind student in a special entrepreneurial vocational program, an increase in numbers from the 4 deafblind students who participated last year.  

Report from Outreach Director, Cyral Miller: 

Ms. Miller reported on major statewide conferences this year.  In the past, her reports have focused more online workshops, so Ms. Miller decided to report on in-person conferences and workshops.  In-person conferences are important since they allow participants to be together in the same place to interact, share, and support each other.  Ms. Daley agreed and described how helpful it is for families to be able to get together and share ideas and support each other.

Introduction to the Intervener Team Model – Outreach has presented similar training locally at service centers, and Outreach plans to beef up the regional model in the future. The advantage of doing this statewide conference is to get a larger group together so that teams of people with similar students can be grouped together to share ideas and learn together. A tour of the TSBVI deafblind program at TSBVI was included in this conference.

Southwest Orientation and Mobility Association (SWOMA) – This is a regional O&M conference that was started many years ago.  The last 5 years, TSBVI has taken on greater leadership, in collaboration with a regional committee.  This year’s conference was held in the Houston Service Center right after Hurricane Harvey, so planning for it was especially difficult.  There were 101 participants. 

Advanced DeafBlind Practitioner – Since there is not yet certification for teachers of deafblind, this annual 1-day conference is designed simply for knowledgeable teachers of deafblind students.  There were 91 attendees. It was presented by Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk.  Dr. Zeedyk stayed after the conference to work with 9 families with deafblind childen who have intensive behaviors. 

2018 International Orientation & Mobility Online Symposium

Texas Focus – The conference was successful, but TSBVI had to work hard to get teachers to attend, since financial and administrative supports for teachers to attend conferences has become more limited across the state. 

Low Vision: Supporting Students with Albinism – This is an exciting conference coming up in May.  There will be experts from around the country and from TSBVI. 

Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain:  

Mr. Fain introduced Special Education Coordinator Valerie Perwein, LSSP Courtney Wilson, and Social Worker Michael Clinkscales.  Together they gave an update on social-emotional learning for TSBVI students.  This kind of instruction for students is important to support the school’s goals for student safety and students’ social-emotional health. 

Ms. Perwein said that lots of schools are looking for social emotional learning for their students.  TSBVI has always been a leader in teaching in this area.  Recently the piece of it related to technology has become more important.  TSBVI is now training teachers, residential staff, and student about digital citizenship using a free curriculum from Common Sense Media, which TSBVI has adapted for use with our students.  TSBVI’s goal is to fit in instruction in this area for all students at every developmental level, so every student can build skills for healthy use of technology.

Mr. Clinkscales described group sessions with students that have taken place once per month after school during residential hours that covered topics such as cyberbullying and risky online relationships. The sessions included the opportunity for students to use technology to answer questions and to be engaged, which enhanced the expereince for them.  Peer mentoring by EXIT students for 11th and 12th grade students has also been used very effectively.  The group has been creating parent information handouts as well.

Ms. Wilson observed that staff and students have responded very well to this instruction, and students have been very interested.  There has been a high level of participation by students and good interactions between different levels of students.  Future instruction will expand topics, and additional information will be provided to parents.  Staff will receive additional training on how to respond to subtle harrassing situations by students.

Mr. Fain and Ms. Perwein discussed dorm rules that require students to leave their devices in charging areas outside their bedrooms overnight. Parents have been supportive of this and other technology-related rules for students.  The school recognizes that parents and students need ways to stay in touch while students are so far from home, and rules regarding technology use and availability take that into account. 

Ms. Merritt described her experiences with Short-Term Programs students’ use of technology that is based on what is happening for them in their district classrooms.  Short-Term Programs students do not attend TSBVI for long enough periods of time for TSBVI to effectively address inappropriate use of technology by students.  Since students often use technology devices for magnification and for other school-related purposes, rules about it must be individualized.

Dr. Corn asked if TSBVI has experienced incidents of students getting in trouble online.    Mr. Fain said that there have been several incidents which were handled individually with students.  School responses often included having the student talk to a counselor and having the student meet with Mr. Fain in order to get a confiscated personal device back.  He said that having students check in devices at charging stations at night has helped. Teachers have been setting firmer limits on inappropriate technology use and monitoring students’ use of technology more closely. 

Ms. Daley described how she has used a Disney Circle app to manage group access to the internet, and something like that might be helpful for TSBVI to look into. She asked if TSBVI instruction includes information about legal ramifications. 

Mr. Clinkscales  and Ms. Wilson said that sessions have included discussions of legal issues and discussions about news stories that students have heard, which helps the instructor clear up confusion about what every day actions are legal and illegal.  The curriculum program offers helpful statistics and information about who predators can be, including a student’s age group peers.  The curriculum is very student-friendly and interesting for students.  

Adjournment:  

Ms. Daley made a motion to adjourn.  Dr. Corn seconded the motion.  Mr. Sonnenberg adjourned the meeting at 8:52 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 November 16, 2018 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 meetings, 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 November 16, 2018 Meeting

1.     Call to Order

2.     Introduction of Audience

3.     Public Comments/Open Forum

4.     Recognition of Retiring TSBVI Employees (Joseph Muniz)

5.     Consideration of Approval of Minutes of September 28, 2018 Board Meeting (Joseph Muniz)

6.     Report from the Finance Committee (Michael Garrett)

         a. Consideration of approval of board polices: 

             CB (TSBVI) State and Federal Revenue Sources (adopt)
             CDA (TSBVI) Other Revenues: Investments (amend)
             CLC Buildings, Property, and Equipment Management: Traffic and Parking Controls (amend)
             CMD Equipment and Supplies Management: Instructional Materials Care and Accounting (amend)
             CRB (TSBVI) Board Member and Executive Management Staff Liability Insurance and for Worksites Where Student Work (amend)
             CRD (TSBVI) Insurance and Annuities Management: Health and Life Insurance (amend)
             CRE (TSBVI) Insurance and Annuities Management: Workers’ Compensation Coverage (review)
             CRG (TSBVI) Insurance and Annuities Management: Deferred Compensation and Annuities (review)
             CV (TSBVI) Facilities Construction (review)

         b. Consideration of approval of renewal of Nolan County farm contracts

         c. Report on maintenance, annual inspection, and recommendations for maintenance and repair of the campus residence

         d. Consideration of approval of Investment Report

         e. Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500

         f. Consideration of approval of request for expenditure of gifts and donations

         g. Review of budget reports

     -- Operating Budget Expenditure Report
     -- Legacy Revenue Budget Report
     -- Legacy Operating Expenditure Budget Report

7.      Report from the Program Committee (Lee Sonnenberg)

         a. Report from Short-Term Programs Principal

     --  Update on Summer 2019 programs

         b. Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal

     --  Social Emotional Learning Update

        c. Report from Outreach Program Director

    -- Professional development events

8.      Annual Report on Complaints about Discrimination or Harassment (Kate Mainzer), page 189

9.      Discussion of Initiating the Superintendent’s Annual Performance Appraisal for the January Board Meeting (Kate Mainzer)

10.    Report on Achievement of Objectives for 2017-2018 from the Agency Strategic Plan and the Annual Improvement Plan (Susan Houghtling), page 190

11.    Discussion of Board Operating Procedures (Susan Morrison)

12.    Report from the Superintendent, pages 191-193

         a. Campus activities

         b. Curriculum sales and projects

13.    Report of Completion of Board Member Training Requirements for the Past Year (Joseph Muniz), pages 194-195

14.    Discussion of Scheduling Board Training for the Next Year Based on the Framework for School Board Development (Joseph Muniz), pages 196-199

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

16.    Announcements

17.    Adjournment

 

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

 FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

 April 06, 2018

                                                                                                       

Call to Order:

Michael Garrett called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Finance Committee to order at 8:25 a.m. on April 6, 2018, 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; Amanda Hafer, Director of Accounting; Dan Hampton, Information Resource Director; Susan Morrison, General Counsel and Josh Splinter, Budget Officer. 

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the April 06, 2018 Meeting:

A motion to accept the minutes of the April 06, 2018, committee meeting as presented was made by Bobby Druesedow. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of Approval of Board Policies:

Susan Morrison Presented a total of 17 policies, 13 that needed to be amended and 4 that needed to be adopted. The board first reviewed all the policies that needed to be amended, those are as follows: CBA, CFC, CK, CKB, CKC, CKD, CL, CNB, CNC, CO, COA, CQ, and CQA. Bobby Druesedow moved to approve the policies which have been specified as amended with the recommended changes. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Susan Morrison then presented the policies that needed to be adopted, they are as follows: CJ, CJA, CKE and COB. Bobby Druesedow moved to approve the adoption of the new policies as presented. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 

Consideration of Approval of Investment Report:

Pamela Darden presented the Investment Report for the first half of fiscal year 2018 ended on February 28, 2018. The total short-term investments balance was reported as $888,270.88. Pam Darden said that one of the CDs is planned to be liquidated to pay for the windows in the Superintendents house.  Bobby Druesedow entertained 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 2018 ended on February 28, 2018. The total donations received year to date was reported as $14, 092.65.

Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500:

Pamela Darden reported that there was one donation received over $500.00 during this reporting period. The Delta Gamma Foundation donated $4,398.02. Also reported was a total of 12 donations under $500 which totaled $852.02. Bobby Druesedow moved to accept the receipt of gifts and donations over $500 as presented. Michael Garrett seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of approval of request for expenditures of undesignated gifts and donations:

Pamela Darden advised that the donation from the Delta gamma Foundation was for a Tricycle that was already purchased.

Review of budget reports:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Budget Report for the first half of fiscal year 2018 ended February 28, 2018.  The benchmark for expenditures was 50%. The total percent of all budgets in the State Treasury expended was 47%.

Review of the Legacy Revenue report:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Legacy Revenue Report for the first half of fiscal year 2018 ended February 28, 2018.  The benchmark for revenues was 50%. The total revenue reported as received was $418,590.52. Farm revenues was $19,000.00and Pamela explained that the rental income is dependent on the crops that are produced and sold.

Review of the Legacy Expenditure report:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Legacy Expenditure Report for the first half of fiscal year 2018 ended February 28, 2018. The benchmark for expenditures was 50%. A total of 35% of the annual budget. in expenditures was reported.

Report from Chief Financial Officer:

Pamela Darden reported she has made contact with the farmers and that we will be making a trip to the farms in April or May to see the farms as well as do an audit with the farmers and the CO-OPs. She is hoping to get a better understanding on the fluctuation of revenue so we can make more accurate projections.  Pamela also stated she is starting to prepare for the legislative appropriations request that is required for the next biennium that is due in August. This is the request for the 2020-2021 biennium.

 

Report from Information Resources Director: 

Dan Hampton provided an update on the Information Resources Department, Dan said that he received approval to hire an Instructional Technology Coordinator and that the job is currently posted. The IR department has completed a complete content inventory on the website, they are now completing a content analysis to determine how it is used, how its displayed and what all is there. The end goal is to modernize how the website content creators are displaying data. They are also working on some of the smaller sites that are underway. Dan Hampton is talking with several vendors to host our website data to reduce the bandwidth used currently. They need to work through possible duplication of “pages” since most charge by the amount of pages. During the current inventory we are showing 22,000 pages, but Dan feels like it should be more around 6,000-7,000 pages. The IR department is working with the nursing department for a system that can help with charting as well as SHARS billing. Lately they met with all the managers that have a part in purchasing technology and are coming up with a cohesive plan on how to purchase software and hardware.

Report from School Support Services:

Brian McDonald an update on the window repairs at the Superintendent’s House. The last item they are looking at is damage contingencies that could happen once the windows are being removed. Michael Garrett was concerned about some excessive fees that were being charged but Brian and Pamela Darden explained those had been removed from the contract. Brian also advised the committee that TFC is finalizing the assessment they conducted 6 months ago for the status of our campus in preparation for the next LAR.

Pamela Darden talked about the fencing around Bldg. 4801 and that the construction on the fence should start in 2-3 weeks.

Adjournment:

Bobby Druesedow entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 09:46 a.m.

End of document

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 November 15, 2018 beginning at 1:00 p.m. in the Board Meeting Room, Building 600, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

If, during the course of the meetings, 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
November 15, 2018 Meeting

1.    Call to Order

2.    Introduction of Audience

3.    Public Comments/Open Forum

4.    Report from Wells Fargo on the Bert E. Broday Trust Fund (Jim Brown and Faye Hilpert)

5.    Consideration of Approval of Proceeding with Broday Trust Modification (Susan Morrison)

6.    Consideration of Approval of Board Policies (Susan Morrison)

       DHB Employee Standards of Conduct: Report to State Board of Educator Certification (amend) 

       EB (TSBVI) School Year (amend) 

       EC (TSBVI) School Day (amend)

       EFA (TSBVI) Instructional Resources: Instructional Materials Selection and Adoption (amend)

       EFAA Instructional Materials Selection and Adoption (delete)

       EHB (TSBVI) Curriculum Design: Special Programs (amend)

       EHBA (TSBVI) Special Programs: Special Education (amend)

       EHBAA (TSBVI) Special Education: Identification, Evaluation, and Eligibility (amend),

       EHBAC (TSBVI) Special Education: District Share of Enrollment Costs at TSBVI (amend)

       EHBAD (TSBVI) Special Education: Transition Services (amend)

       EHBAE (TSBVI) Special Education: Procedural Requirements (amend)

       EHBD Special Education: Federal Title I Programs (amend)

       EHBK (TSBVI) Special Programs: Other Instructional Initiatives (amend)

       EHDD Extended Instructional Programs: College Course Work (amend)

       EKBA (TSBVI) State Assessment: English Language Learners/LEP Students (amend)

       EKC (TSBVI)       Testing Program:  Reading Assessment Program (amend)

       EKD (TSBVI)       Testing Programs:  Mathematics Assessment Program (amend)

       FED (TSBVI)       Admissions and Attendance:  Attendance Enforcement (amend)

       FOC (TSBVI)       Student Discipline:  Placement in Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (amend)

       FOC-E (TSBVI)   Student Discipline:  Placement in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Setting (amend)

       FOD (TSBVI)       Student Discipline:  Expulsion (amend)

       FOF (TSBVI)       Student Discipline:  Students with Disabilities (amend)

7.   Update on School Budget (Bill Daugherty and Pam Darden)

      -- Recess (Adjournment for Purposes of Conducting Board Training)

8.   Call to Order

9.   Training Session on TSBVI’s Budget (Pam Darden)

10. Adjournment

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

 FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

 January 26, 2018

                                                                                                       

Call to Order:

Michael Garrett called the regularly scheduled meeting of the Finance Committee to order at 9:25 a.m. on January 26, 2018, 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 President Joseph Muniz and Board Vice-President Mary Alexander were present.

TSBVI staff members present were: Pamela Darden, Chief Financial Officer; Brian McDonald, Director of School Support Services; Amanda Hafer, Director of Accounting; Cyrenna Villegas, Director of Procurement; and Josh Splinter, Budget Officer.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the November 17, 2017 Meeting:

A motion to accept the minutes of the November 17, 2017, committee meeting as presented was made by Michael Garrett. Mary Alexander seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.  

Consideration of Approval of Investment Report:

Pamela Darden presented the Investment Report for first quarter of fiscal year 2018 ended on November 30, 2017. The total short-term investments balance was reported as $722,887.62. The total earnings for the period was reported as $3,398.66.  Michael Garrett entertained a motion to accept the Investment Report as presented. Joseph Muniz moved to accept the report and Mary Alexander seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of Adoption of a Resolution Regarding the Review of the Investment Policy and Strategies of TSBVI:

Pamela Darden asked the committee for consideration of adoption of a resolution regarding the review of the Investment Policy CDA. Joseph Muniz moved to accept the resolution as presented and Mary Alexander seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Review of Donations Report:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Donations Report for first quarter of fiscal year 2018 ended on November 30, 2017. The total donations received year to date was reported as $8,842.61.

Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500:

Pamela Darden reported that there were three donations received over $500.00 during this reporting period. The American Dental Partners Foundation donated $520.00 as undesignated.  The Greater Houston Community Foundation donated $6,000.00 in memory of Anita Knowles for the TSBVI Exit Program and Apple Incorporated donated $747.90 for the technology fund. Joseph Muniz moved to accept the receipt of gifts and donations over $500 as presented. Mary Alexander seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consideration of approval of request for expenditures of undesignated gifts and donations:

Pamela Darden advised that consideration of approval of request for expenditures of undesignated gifts and donations was not needed at this time.

Review of budget reports:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Budget Report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 ended November 30, 2017.  The benchmark for expenditures was 25%. The total percent of all budgets in the State Treasury expended was 23%.

Review of the Legacy Expenditure report:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Legacy Expenditure Report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 ended November 30, 2017.  The benchmark for expenditures was 25%.  A total of $100,274.00 in expenditures was reported utilizing 13% of the annual budget.

Review of the Legacy Revenue report:

Pamela Darden reviewed the Legacy Revenue Report for the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 ended November 30, 2017.  The benchmark for revenues was 25%.  The total revenue reported as received was $200,415.08.  Joseph Muniz thanked the staff for the transparency of the reports.  Mary Alexander asked about the farm revenues and Pamela explained that the rental income is dependent on the crops that are produced and sold. Joseph requested again that staff visit the farms in fiscal year 2018.

Report from Chief Financial Officer:

Pamela Darden introduced the new Budget Officer for the agency.  Mr. Josh Splinter has been in that position since late November.  He joined TSBVI after leaving the Air Force and has extensive experience working with budgets. Josh advised the members on his educational background and past work history with the military.  Joseph Muniz requested an explanation from Pamela on the role of the budget officer.  Pamela explained that the position will develop detailed monthly budget reports, meet with program managers and develop forecasts and trends. Josh will also assist with reporting to oversight agencies.

Report from School Support Services:

Brian McDonald an update on the window repairs at the Superintendent’s House.  Brian also advised the committee on two minor construction projects that include the truncated domes project for the weekends home bus area and the other is brick pavers in the quad area. Brian advised the members that contingency money from the campus-wide project will be used for Dorm 4801 internal renovations and perimeter fencing around the area. The fence will be a hybrid of a chain length fence and wooden privacy fence. The wooden privacy fence will shield the dorm from east to west traffic. 

Mary Alexander expressed concern about a staff member sharing the gate code.  Brian advised that the gate access is being addressed with the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC).

Brian advised on the staff response to the bad weather day.  He is working with TFC to develop a cross-agency plan to ensure services will be provided to campus on days when classes cannot be held.

Report from Information Resources Director: 

Dan Hampton provided an update on the Information Resources Department and the work that he has been doing campus-wide.  The new updated OCIRS and student care system was successfully rolled out.  Dan advised of a new communication tool that is being used across campus with all technology staff. He also said that the groundwork has been laid to roll Google classroom out across Comprehensive Programs. It is currently being used in Short-Term Programs.  The website hosting company has been changed with success to a new vendor.

Adjournment:

Michael Garrett entertained a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mary Alexander seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:12 a.m.

End of document

BOARD PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES

January 26, 2018

Call to Order

Lee Sonnenberg called the meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. on January 26, 2018 in Room 104 of the Main Administrative Building 600, 100 West 45th Street, Austin, Tx.

Program Committee members present were Lee Sonnenberg, and Mike Hanley.  Committee members Anne Corn and Caroline Daley were unable to attend the meeting. TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were:  Susan Morrison, TSBVI Attorney; Sara Merritt, Short Term Program Principal; Miles Fain, Comprehensive Program Principal; Susan Hauser, Center for School Resources Director; Cyral Miller, Outreach Director; and Mary Shore, Outreach Personnel Prep Coordinator.

Other participants were Dr. Rona Pogrund, Texas Tech University and Michael Munro, Stephen F. Austin University.

Report on the Texas Tech University (TTU) and Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Teacher Preparation Programs

Dr. Pogrund presented a document with data on the current status of TTU programs.

TTU has rolling admissions with new students starting each semester.  They also take many students who are from out of state.  Most accept the Reach Across Texas stipend, although 15 are self-pay.  There is a large group who are on emergency permits so they are hired as Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments (TVIs) after completing 2 courses while they are taking the remaining courses.  There are 6 PhD students in their program right now.  Their Federal grants allow them to train in 5 other states.

Most of the courses count toward a Masters Degree, but it typically takes 4-5 additional courses.  For TVIs, they already have a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification before they start the VI studies.  For orientation and mobility (O&M) certificates, the applicants must have a bachelor’s degree.  Michael Munro noted that SFA has an undergraduate program also for COMS.  Most applicants start the university programs after having taught for a few years.  We are fortunate in Texas that we have large interest in these programs and are able to select the better candidates.  

The universities are extremely grateful to TSBVI for all the support from this School!  How to expand?  At TTU they really need an additional full time faculty member.  The College of Ed has not been willing to fund this position, partly because certification students don’t count in their system as highly as those enrolled for Master’s and Doctorate students.  The Board wondered whether there could be a possibility of jointly funding a position.  With benefits and university costs, a new position would cost about $100,000. 

SFA has a cohort model so the majority of students begin the same semester and go through the courses in the same sequence.  There are currently 38 TVI students and 6 studying for COMS.  O&Ms are about 150% of the cost.  There is now also a Federal grant that helps them train a few from out of state.  Undergrad program has 21 students.  They are not funded through the grant and may not stay in the state. 

A couple of years ago SFA started a leadership strand within the VI program.  There are 28 students now who have gone beyond certification. 

They have a partnership with other states to train in Arkansas and Washington State. 

SFA was able to hire a new staff member starting August – they were short in faculty for a couple of years so this is wonderful.  They have 4 hard line positions and 2 part-time.  There has been big turnover in their staff, which has really made it hard to recruit.  The new person will be housed at TSBVI, which will help SFA stay more visible in the statewide systems such as the State Board of Educator Certification.

The SFA undergraduate program is the only one in the country.  Their class sizes are small and they do synchronous courses and try to get to know the students.  They funded Camp Independence for 10 years but this year lost funding from TWC.  Michael is looking for another partner for this camp; it would cost about $20,000.  They are looking for money from SFA Foundation, from the East TX Lighthouse and the ESCs.  This program is similar to the Camp Abilities model.  TWC has really backed off from having their staff deliver programming. 

Professors are getting more savvy and efficient in travel.  This past summer some students got through on a probationary level rather than emergency, which meant that the professors had to do twice as many visits.  For growth – they hope to do more about doing more with less.   Additional money would go to stipends. 

Between 20-30 new teachers begin each year from each university program.   

The partnership between the universities and TSBVI has been fundamental to the success of this state in increasing the numbers of teachers certified to teach students with visual impairments.  

Mary Shore shared the new numbers from the 2017 Summary of VI Professionals in Texas.  The numbers of vacancies is based on what is still posted in September, which doesn’t cover how many positions had already been filled.  Attrition numbers come from the Education Service Centers.  In the rural areas, we know that there is going to be a big need as contractors who are serving large areas are aging out.  Projections from the ESCs on how many VI professionals will be leaving the field have gotten more and more accurate over the past couple of years, so we are semi-confident that we’ll lose about 105 people over the next three years.  IF the universities can continue their feverish pace of preparing new VI professionals we can project that we will continue to get closer to meeting the state’s needs.

There was discussion about the course requirements for the VI teaching certification.  There are still only 6 courses required, even though quite clearly the complexity of the TVI role in much greater than in the past.  Evaluation, low vision, CVI, transition, technology....  all of these areas are critical and barely cover all the important aspects.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the September 29, 2017 Meeting

The Committee discussed approval of the minutes from the September Board Committee meeting.  There was a question about the minutes related to policy FFAC.  Susan Morrison mentioned that this policy will come before the Board in April.  A key for acronyms in all policies was requested and has now been provided to the Board.  Mike Hanley moved approval of the minutes as presented and Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion.  All Board members were in favor of the motion.

Consideration of Board Policies (EMG, FBA, FD, FDA, FFI, FNCF, FNCI, FO, FOB, FOCA, FOE, FOF):

Susan Morrison described the policies presented to the Board for approval:

EMG – Student assistance animals wording was moved to another policy under student admission.  

FBA – This is a new policy that advises the public of their responsibility for caring for their own service animals.  This is a required new policy.

FD – The School is putting in writing a more open description of what the School has been doing related to admissions in practice.  Mr. Sonneberg noted that this wording is very easy to understand as a parent.  It clearly shows that that we are a short-term placement and that students will be here for a period of time and then return to their local districts. There is a change in language about voluntary adult caregivers, which gives the adult caregiver the right to stand in the place of a parent except for paying for things.  Ms. Morrison explained that the wording “the School” will be replaced with “TSBVI” in the language under “Students in Foster Care”.

FDA – Language from this policy was moved into Policy FD and policy FDA is recommended for deletion.

FFI – The anti-bullying statute requires the language presented to include cyber-bullying.  There was discussion about TSBVI’s experiences around this issue.  The campus is developing more programs to proactively deal with this problem and that has been helping.  One example cited was that there are now rules about not having phones in the bedrooms at night.

FNCF – This now matches changes in statutory language. 

FNCI – This policy has expanded the locations to be included and to indicate that the punishments do not apply to students younger than 12. 

FO – This policy is being updated.  The Code of Conduct is shared with parents and students at the beginning of the school year and when students come for Short-Term Programs. On page 141, under Restraint Reports, the words “Peach Officer” will be changed to “Peace Officer”.

FOB – This policy now excludes students under grade 3 from being suspended, and adds a positive behavior policy.  Positive behavior has in fact been a practice at TSBVI for at least 17 years.

FOCA – The policy is recommended for deletion because students who need a long term DAEP program are not eligible for TSBVI placement.

FOE – The policy was updated as recommended by TASB. We do have, infrequently, short term emergency and alternative placements or expulsions. 

FOF – There is detail in this policy to help explain regulations and statutes so that there is more transparency in the policy.  It also outlines the required training that all direct staff members receive on restraint.  Volunteers and others working directly with students now must have training on behavior management, too.  More of the positive behavior intervention training is being placed into Bridge, the School’s online training system.

Mike Hanley made a motion to approve all proposed policies with the changes as discussed.  Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion and it passed.  

Adjournment

Lee Sonnenberg moved for Committee adjournment, which was seconded by Mike Hanley.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:40am.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Board Meeting Minutes

 August 9, 2018

Call to Order:  

Board President, Joseph Muniz called to order the training session at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

Introduction of Board Members and Audience:  

Board members present were: Joseph Muniz, President, Brenda Lee, Julie Prause, Mary Alexander, Lee Sonnenberg, Bobby Druesedow, and Dan Brown.  Michael Garrett and Michael Hanley were unable to attend the meeting.

The audience members present were:  Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Susan Morrison, General Counsel; Valerie Bradshaw, Assessment and Accountability Coordinator; Debra Sewell, Curriculum Director; Veronica Lopez, Administrative Assistant; and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation.

Training Session on Evaluating Student Performance (Valerie Bradshaw, TSBVI Assessment and Accountability Coordinator and Debra Sewell, TSBVI Curriculum Director):  

Debra Sewell introduced the Student Performance Indicator (SPI) assessments for students.  In 1998, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Texas Education Agency met to discuss how TSBVI students should be evaluated.  Many students at that time were not taking the State mandated assessments; now, more and more students are taking the assessments.  Every year in the fall, TSBVI teachers perform a pre-test evaluation for students who are enrolled by the middle of September based on TSBVI’s Student Performance Indicators.  A posttest is administered between Spring Break and the last day of school to determine progress made by each student.  This data is helpful for teachers to determine what to focus on related to instruction and writing IEPs.

Ms. Sewell explained that the Lead Teachers meet with all of the teachers on their teams to discuss the results of the Performance Indicators for each of their students.  At the beginning of each school year, lead teachers meet with teachers individually to determine which SPIs would be appropriate for the school year.  Independent living skills are addressed primarily residentially.  

Valerie Bradshaw introduced the two mandatory tests for students in third grade through high school:  the STAAR test or the STAAR Alternate 2 test. There are only those two iterations of the tests.  Testing is broken down into the grades 3 through 8 programs and then the end-of-course program which is for high school students.  For the 3 through 8 program, all students take reading and math.  At certain grade levels they might take science, writing, or social studies, in different combinations. The requirements are the same for the two different types of testing.  When students go into high school, instead of being grade-based, it is course-based.  There are 5 courses that require an end-of-course exam:  English I & II, Biology, US History and Algebra I.

The only other required exam is the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS).  TELPAS is for ESL bilingual students and is an assessment of reading, writing, listening and speaking.  This test is done at the end of the year. Students are rated on a rubric system as beginner, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high.  TSBVI students for the most part are doing these holistically rated systems for listening, speaking, and writing.  Reading is available online, in print and large print.  It has never been available in Braille.  That is not particularly concerning because TSBVI has better ways of assessing how well a student is developing their English skills in English for our English language learners. Those are the only three mandated tests.

When we look at how we report to TEA, TSBVI’s Memorandum of Understanding with TEA says that, in addition to our student performance indicators, we are required to have a state assessment passing rate that meets or exceeds the passing rate of special education students in the state of Texas.  TEA only provides the special education data by grade and subject.  We have to go through TEA’s data and pull out information for each grade and subject area and compare that to our data in order to determine whether we have met or exceeded the state levels.  At this point, we have not had any difficulty doing so; generally, our students meet or exceed what special education students are doing.

Mrs. Prause asked if we are comparing performance of students to other visually impaired students in the state or all special education students.  Ms. Bradshaw answered it is all special education students.  Mrs. Alexander asked if they break down data by sensory and Ms. Bradshaw answered they do not, just by general special education.  She added that we have asked for that because it would be very helpful.

Mr. Brown asked how the performance indicators are factored in with the STAAR-Alt data when the scores are compiled.  Ms. Sewell responded that they aren't compiled together.

Ms. Bradshaw went on to explain the testing environment for TSBVI students.  There are a number of accommodations that TEA allows of which we take full advantage.  She stated that they want the testing environment to be as much like the classroom as possible.  TEA breaks down accommodations into three different categories.  One is accessibility features that are allowed for any student regardless of special education needs, 504 classifications, or regular education. In the last few years TSBVI has worked closely with TEA to advocate for our students.  In this past year TEA has made magnification, amplification, and projection devices accessibility features.  Mrs. Alexander asked if there is an exhaustive list.  Ms. Bradshaw answered there is one and it is on the Texas Education Agency website under “Student Assessment – Accommodation Resources”.

Mrs. Alexander inquired whether or not they are providing braille.  Ms. Bradshaw answered that they are providing braille.  Braille and large print are considered designated supports and require a 504 Committee approval; you cannot just give any student braille.  There are other things that need approval; for example:  time, spelling assistance, and calculators for subject and grade areas that are not already required. TEA created content language supports when Modified went away.  It is a designated support that they call “Content Language Support”.  This online tool is a point and click system.  There are words or sentences that have a wiggly underline; when you point and click on them you receive some sort of support.  It might be a definition of a word, a formula so a student doesn't have to figure out which formula to use, scaffolding for thinking strategies, or simplifications for excerpts.  We brought forth the fact that it is only available online and not to our print and braille kids.  They have developed a system for print students.  The teacher has a guide that will give recommendations as to how to give the student verbal content language support. Ms. Bradshaw stated her great appreciation for the group working at TEA in the student assessment division or “Special Populations” as they call it. It is a very small team; they have worked very hard in the past few years with us.  Last year it was on us to make the testing accessible for our braille students.  This 2018-2019 school year they are coming out with a guide to help when you are describing a picture and the ones they sent us are detail oriented.

Mr. Brown asked if the descriptions will be tactile graphics as well as descriptive text. Ms. Bradshaw answered we are generally doing one or the other.  The tactile graphic is generally only used for things like the T-bar graphics and Venn diagrams.  Teachers go through various training sessions to prepare for giving these tests to students.

Mrs. Lee asked if there are trainings held for teachers outside of TSBVI.  Ms. Bradshaw answered that she and Lyn McAlister generally hold two webinars a year through TSBVI's Outreach program on what it is like to give a STAAR test to a visually impaired student.  There is a separate webinar for the Alt 2 test.  Ms. Alexander asked if the webinars are recorded and Ms. Bradshaw said they were.

Ms. Bradshaw explained test result terms.  The highest one is “masters grade level”, the second is “meets grade level”, third is “approaches grade level” - this is still passing, lastly is “did not meet grade level”.  For the STAAR Alt 2 test there are three levels:  “developing”, “satisfactory”, or “accomplished”.  Relatively new the last few years to the Alt 2 test are the two options that exempt a student from Alt 2 testing.  They are allowing districts to distinguish whether a student meets two of the requirements to exempt them from testing.  The requirements are “medical exception” and “no authentic academic response” (NAAR) students.

Mr. Muniz thanked Ms. Sewell and Ms. Bradshaw for the training session.  He asked if it was correct that when a student tests it is only recorded at the school where the test is administered.  Ms. Bradshaw answered that is correct.  Mrs. Alexander asked if that is only for the STAAR test.  Ms. Bradshaw answered it is only for the STAAR test.  She added we are fully accountable for our student's testing.

Recess:  

At 2:33 p.m. the meeting went into recess for the purpose of concluding board training.

Call to Order: 

Mr. Muniz called the regular meeting of the Governing Board of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired to order at 2:44 p.m.

Public Comments/Open Forum:  

There were no public comments.

Consideration of Approval of Board Policies:  

Bill Daugherty gave an introduction of how the policies are described in the packet on the policy explanations sheet.

BBFA (TSBVI)          Ethics:  Conflict of Interest Disclosures

DEG                           Compensation and Benefits:  Retirement Program

DGBA (TSBVI)          Personnel-Management Relations:  Employee Complaints/Grievances

DGBA-E                     Personnel-Management Relations:  Employee Complaints or Grievances

DMA (TSBVI)            Professional Staff Development:  Required Staff Development

DNA (TSBVI)             Performance Appraisal:  Evaluation of Teachers

EHDB (TSBVI)          Alternate Methods of Earning Credit:  Credit by Examination With Prior Instruction

EHDC                        Alternate Methods of Earning Credit:  Credit by Examination Without Prior Instruction

EIC (TSBVI)              Academic Achievement:  Class Ranking

EK (TSBVI)                Testing Programs

FB (TSBVI)                Equal Educational Opportunity

FEA (TSBVI)             Admissions and Attendance:  Compulsory Attendance

FEB (TSBVI)             Attendance:  Attendance Accounting

FEC (TSBVI              Attendance:  Attendance for Credit

FFA (TSBVI)             Student Welfare:  Wellness and Health Services

FFAA (TSBVI)           Wellness and Health Services:  Physical Examinations

FFAB (TSBVI)           Wellness and Health Services:  Immunizations

FFAC (TSBVI)           Wellness and Health Services:  Medical Treatment

FFAD (TSBVI)           Wellness and Health Services:  Communicable Diseases

FFAF (TSBVI)           Wellness and Health Services:  Care Plans for Diabetes and Food Allergies

FFB (TSBVI)             Student Welfare:  Crisis Intervention

FFC (TSBVI)             Student Welfare:  Student Support Services

FFF (TSBVI)              Student Safety

FL (TSBVI)                Student Records

FNAB (TSBVI)          Student Expression:  Use of School Facilities for Non-School Purposes

Susan Morrison briefly explained each policy to the Board, particularly focusing on amended and deleted language.

Mr. Muniz stated that he and Mr. Daugherty have had conversations in regards to policy FFB on crisis intervention.  Mr. Muniz added that Mr. Daugherty has expressed that TSBVI has paid intense attention to the psychological wellbeing of students.  Mr. Muniz inquired about the response time when a situation arises with a student.  Mr. Daugherty stated that there is an immediate response.  TSBVI has an online incident reporting system that goes out to every team member.  If there is something significant, there is a report and every member that is on the particular student's team, knows about it immediately.  Mr. Daugherty added that, because of our incredible ratios, the moment a student is becoming out of sorts either during the school day or at their dorm, that team starts huddling around the student very quickly.  If necessary, social workers or counselors will get involved immediately and behavior specialist also watch students closely.

Mrs. Prause asked how the determination for adoption of a new policy is made.  Ms. Morrison stated that, when she was hired, she was given a list of priorities from team members that were prioritized number one through three.  At this point, almost every number one priority has been completed.  By the end of this calendar year, every priority will have been completed.  Mr. Daugherty added, that after the policy backlog is taken care of, policies will be revisited on a schedule determined by the Board, new state laws, or it being time to update.  Ms. Morrison added the policy recommendations come from the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) but we cannot adopt them as is, they have to be reviewed and modified.  Mrs. Alexander stated that Ms. Morrison's explanations are clear and helpful. 

Lee Sonnenberg motioned to amend policies BBFA, DEG, DGBA, DGBA-E, DMA, DNA, EHDB, EHDC, EIC, EK, FB, FEA, FEB, FEC, FFA, FFAA, FFAB, FFAC, FFAD, FFAF, FFF, FL, and FNAB as presented to the Board.  Mr. Brown seconded the motion to amend policies as presented.  All board members were in favor and the motion carried.

Bobby Druesedow motioned to adopt policies FFB, and FFC as presented to the Board. Mary Alexander seconded the motion and all board members were in favor and the motion carried.

 

Adjournment:  

Bobby Druesedow motioned to adjourn the Board Meeting. Julie Prause seconded the motion to adjourn.  All board members were in favor of the motion and the motion carried.  The meeting stood adjourned at 3:06 p.m.