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LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

It is state policy to ensure the mastery of English by all students, except that bilingual instruction may be offered or permitted in situations in which bilingual instruction is necessary to ensure students' reasonable proficiency in the English language and ability to achieve academic success. English shall be the basic language of instruction in public schools, unless the School adopts a dual language immersion program for elementary students under Education Code 28.0051 [see EGA].

Education Code 28.005

Adopted: 1/26/96

Amended: 5/28/03

Reviewed:

SCHOOL START AND END DATES

The School Board may determine the school start date in August and select the end date for the school year.  Education Code 30.022(f)

LENGTH OF SCHOOL YEAR

The School shall operate each school year for at least 75,600 minutes including time allotted for instruction, intermissions, and recesses for students with consideration given for adjustments to accommodate homegoing.

The School may request a waiver from the Texas Education Agency to reduce the required number of instructional minutes by a maximum of 2,100 minutes for professional development purposes.

Exceptions

The commissioner of education may approve the operation of schools for less than the number of instructional minutes specified above when disaster, flood, extreme weather conditions, fuel curtailments, or other calamities have caused the closing of the School.

If the commissioner does not approve reduced operation time, TSBVI may add additional minutes to the end of the School's normal school hours as necessary to compensate for minutes of instruction lost due to school closures caused by disaster, flood, extreme weather conditions, fuel curtailment, or another calamity.

Education Code 25.081

School Calendar

The Superintendent shall develop an annual school calendar to be approved by the Board.

Adopted:          1/11/80

Amended:        6/14/80, 9/27/91, 9/24/93, 5/26/94, 1/26/96, 5/28/03, 11/15/18

Reviewed:        11/19/99, 4/1/05, 4/5/13

PLEDGES OF ALLEGIANCE

The Superintendent shall require students, once during each school day, to recite the pledges of allegiance to the United States and Texas flags.  On written request from a student’s parent or guardian, the School shall excuse the student from reciting a pledge of allegiance.

Minute of Silence

The Superintendent shall provide for the observance of one minute of silence following the recitation of the pledges of allegiance.  During the one-minute period, each student may reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere or distract another student.  Each teacher or other school employee in charge of students during that period shall ensure that each student is silent and does not act in a manner that is likely to interfere with or distract another student.  Education Code 25.082

INTERRUPTIONS

The Superintendent shall ensure that interruptions of classes during the school day for non-academic activities such as announcements and sales promotions are limited.  Announcements shall be made no more than once during the school day, except for emergency announcements.  

Loss of Class time

The Board shall adopt and strictly enforce a policy limiting the removal of students from class for remedial tutoring or test preparation.  TSBVI may not remove a student from a regularly scheduled class for remedial tutoring or test preparation if, as a result of the removal, the student would miss more than ten percent of the school days on which the class is offered, unless the student’s ARD committee consents for removal from class for such purpose.  [See EHBC for provisions on tutorial services.]  Education Code 25.083

Adopted:          3/7/80

Amended:        11/11/83, 1/23/87, 1/26/90, 9/27/91, 1/26/96, 11/19/99, 5/28/03, 4/1/05, 4/05/13, 11/15/18

Reviewed:

Adopted: 7/12/85
Amended: 10/25/85, 7/16/92, 9/24/93

GENERAL PROVISIONS

The Board permits the School to grant credit by examination in accord with the following: 

1. Eligibility requirements for students seeking credit by examination: The School may use screening procedures to determine which students may use credit by examination.

2. Courses for which credit may be earned by examination: The School may place restrictions on the total amount of credit awarded through credit by examination.

3. Procedures for examinations for credit: A student's ARD committee shall make such decisions within the IEP procedures enacted by the School.

MINIMUM ELIGIBILITY

A student may earn credit by examination,as authorized by an ARD committee, when unusual and extenuating circumstances indicate that it is in the best interests of the student to do so. Such circumstances may include, but would not be limited to, a student not being enrolled for an entire grading period. (See EI)

Courses for which credit may be earned by examination shall include all courses taught at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Students in grades 7-12 (and grade 6, when included at the middle school) may be permitted to earn credit in courses approved by the Board. The minimum eligibility requirement is that the student has had prior formal instruction, as determined by the School on the basis of a review of the student's educational records.

PROCEDURES

The program principal shall arrange for an appropriate examination in conjunction with the subject matter teacher. Such examinations must determine whether or not the student has mastered the essential elements of the course for which credit will be given as specified in 19 TAC 75. The program principal shall ensure that the passing grade for the examination for credit is not lower than required for the same course for other students, and that examinations for credit are properly evaluated before credit is granted.

MASTERY OF ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

Examinations used to earn credit under this policy shall assess the student's mastery of the essential elements and shall be properly evaluated before credit is granted. The School may develop the examinations or may obtain them from another source. The examinations may be administered by an outside agency.

GRANT AND RECORD OF CREDIT

Students shall attain a grade of at least 70 or above in order to receive credit. The grant of credit is also subject to School and parental approval. Credit obtained by this method shall be recorded on the permanent record for grades 6-8 and on the academic achievement record for grades 9-12.

USE OF CREDIT

Credit by examination shall not be used to gain eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities.

NOTICE AND FEES

The School shall give reasonable notice of the availability of credit by examination in student handbooks and other documents made available to students and parents; the School may charge for these examinations at a rate not to exceed a limit set by the commissioner of education.

19 TAC 75.166

Adopted: 7/12/85
Amended: 10/25/85, 7/16/92, 9/24/93

With Board approval, the School shall develop or purchase examinations for acceleration that thoroughly test the essential knowledge and skills for each primary school grade level and for credit for secondary school academic subjects.

KINDERGARTEN- GRADE 5

The School shall develop procedures for kindergarten acceleration that are approved by the Board.

The School shall accelerate a student in grades 1-5 one grade level if the student meets the following requirements:

  1. The student scores 90 percent or above on a criterion-referenced test for the grade level to be skipped in each of the following areas: language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies;
  2. A School representative recommends that the student be accelerated; and
  3. The student's parent or guardian gives written approval of the acceleration.

GRADES 6-12

The School shall give a student in grades 6-12 credit for an academic subject in which the student has received no prior instruction if the student scores 90 percent or above on a criterion-referenced examination for acceleration for the applicable course. If such credit is given, the School shall enter the examination score on the student's transcript.

ANNUAL ADMINISTRATION

The School shall provide at least three days between January 1 and June 30 and three days between July 1 and December 31 annually when examinations for acceleration shall be administered in grades 1 through 12. The days need not be consecutive but shall be designed to meet the needs of all students.

The School may allow a student to accelerate at a time other than those described above by developing a cost-free option approved by the Board that allows students to demonstrate academic achievement or proficiency in a subject or grade level.

FEES

The School shall not charge for examinations for acceleration. If a parent requests an alternative examination, the School may administer and recognize results of a test purchased by the parent or student from Texas Tech University or the University of Texas at Austin. Education Code 28.023; 19 TAC 74.24

Adopted: 4/1/05

School library

TSBVI possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries. The School must, however, exercise its discretion in a manner consistent with the First Amendment.

Removal of Library Materials

Students’ First Amendment rights are implicated by the removal of books from the shelves of a school library.  TSBVI shall not remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas with which the School disagrees.  The School may remove materials because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question.

Bd. of Educ. v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853 (1982)

Instructional materials

Instructional materials selected for use in the public schools shall be furnished without cost to students attending those schools.  Except as provided by Education Code 31.104(d), the School may not charge a student for instructional material or technological equipment purchased by TSBVI with the School’s technology and instructional materials allotment.  [see CMD].   Education Code 31.001

Parental Access

A parent is entitled to review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent's child and to review each test administered to the child after the test is administered.  The School shall make teaching materials and tests readily available for parental review.  Each principal will specify reasonable hours for such review.

A student’s parent is entitled to request that the School allow the student to take to the student’s School residence or the student’s home, if the student goes home during the school year, any instructional materials used by the student.  Subject to the availability of the instructional materials, the School shall honor the request.  A student who takes home instructional materials must return the instructional materials to school at the beginning of the next school day if requested to do so by the student's teacher.

Education Code 26.006

INFORMATION COLLECTION AND ACCESS

U.S. DOE Funded Surveys

Consent Required

No student shall be required, as part of any program funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), to submit to a survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning the topics listed at Protected Information, below, without the prior consent of the student (if the student is an adult or emancipated minor), or in the case of an unemancipated minor, without the prior written consent of the parent.  20 U.S.C. 1232h(b)

Parental Inspection

All instructional materials, including teacher's manuals, films, tapes or other supplementary material, that will be used in connection with any survey, analysis, or evaluation as part of any program funded in whole, or in part, by the U.S. Department of Education shall be available for inspection by the parents, or guardians, of the children. 20 U.S.C. 1232h(a)

Information Collection Funded by Other Sources

Policies

Except as provided by U.S.C. 1232h(a) or (b), [see U.S. DOE Funded Surveys above], as a condition of receiving funds for a program funding in whole or in part by the U.S. DOE, the School shall develop and adopt policies in consultation with parents, pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 1232h(c)(1), regarding the following:

  1. The parent's right to inspect a survey created by a third party before the survey is administered or distributed by the School to the student and any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to such survey within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.
  2. The School’s arrangements to protect student privacy in the event a survey containing one or more of the items listed under Protected Information, below, is administered or distributed to a student.
  3. The parent's right to inspect any instructional material used in the educational curriculum for the student and any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to instructional material within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.
  4. The administration of physical examinations or screenings that the School may administer to the student;
  5. The collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the purpose of marketing or selling that information. This provision does not apply to use of personal information collected from students for the exclusive purpose of developing, evaluating, or providing educational products or services for or to students or educational institutions, such as recruiters, book clubs, curriculum and instructional materials used by schools, sale by students of products or services to raise funds for school-related or education-related activities, or student recognition programs.
  6. The parent's right to inspect any instrument used in collection of personal information in item 5 above, before the instrument is administered and any applicable procedures for granting a request by a parent for reasonable access to such instrument within a reasonable period of time after the request is received.

TSBVI need not develop and adopt new policies if TEA or the School had in place, on January 8, 2002, policies covering the requirements of 20 U.S.C. 1232h(c)(1).  [See CRD, FFAA, FL, and FNG]

Parental Notification

The School shall provide for reasonable notice of the adoption or continued use of TSBVI Board Policies CRD, FFAA, FL, and FNG directly to the parents of the students enrolled in the School.  At a minimum, the School shall:

  1. Provide notice at least annually, at the beginning of the school year and within a reasonable time after any substantive change in the policies, and
  2. Offer an opportunity for the parent to opt the student out of participation in an activity described below.

The School shall directly notify the parent of a student, at least annually at the beginning of the school year, of the specific or approximate dates during the school year when activities, described below, are scheduled or expected to be scheduled.  The following activities require notification under this section:

  1. Activities involving the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information collected from students for the purpose of marketing or for selling that information.
  2. The administration of any survey containing one or more items described at Protected Information, below.
  3. Any nonemergency, invasive physical examination or screening that is required as a condition of attendance, administered and scheduled by the school in advance, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of the student or of other students.

20 U.S.C. 1232h(c)(1)-(4)  [See FFAA]

Protected Information

Protected information addressed by 20 U.S.C. 1232h includes:

  1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or the student’s parents.
  2. Mental and psychological problems of the student or the student’s family.
  3. Sexual behavior and attitudes.
  4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, and demeaning behavior.
  5. Critical appraisals of other individuals with whom respondents have close family relationships.
  6. Legally recognized privileged, or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers.
  7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or student's parent.
  8. Income (other than that required by law to determine eligibility for participation in a program, or for receiving financial assistance under such program).

20 U.S.C. 1232h(b), (c)(1)(B)

‘Personal Information’ Defined

The term "personal information" means individually identifiable information, including a student's:

  1. First and last name;
  2. Home or physical address, including street name and city or town;
  3. Telephone number; or
  4. Social Security identification number.

20 U.S.C. 1232h(c)(6)(E)

Adopted:         9/29/95

Amended:       11/19/99, 5/28/03, 11/16/07, 11/9/12, 1/25/19

Reviewed:      

TSBVI possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries.  The School, however, exercises its discretion in a manner consistent with the First Amendment.

REMOVAL OF LIBRARY MATERIALS

Students' First Amendment rights are implicated by the removal of books from the shelves of a school library.  TSBVI shall not remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas with which the School disagrees.  The School may remove materials because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question.

Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853, 102 S. Ct. 2799 (1982)

Note: For provisions regarding inventory and requisition of instructional materials, see CMD.

DEFINITIONS

“Instructional material is defined as content that conveys the essential knowledge and skills of a subject in the public school curriculum through a medium or a combination of media for conveying information to a student.  The term includes a book, supplementary materials, a combination of a book, workbook, and supplementary materials, computer software, magnetic media, DVD, CD-ROM, computer courseware, online services, or an electronic medium, or other means of conveying information to the student or otherwise contributing to the learning process through electronic means, including open-source or open education instructional material.  Education Code 31.002(1)

“Open-source or open education instructional material” is electronic instructional material that is teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that allows for free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others, including full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.  Education Code 31.002(1-a)

“Technology equipment” is hardware, a device, or equipment necessary for instructional use in the classroom, including to gain access to or enhance the use of electronic instructional materials; or professional use by a classroom teacher.  Education Code 31.002(4)

SBOE INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS LIST

For each subject and grade level, the State Board of Education (SBOE) shall adopt a list of instructional materials.

The list includes each instructional material that meets applicable physical specifications and contains material covering at least half of the elements of the essential knowledge and skills of the subject and grade level.  Education Code 31.023(a)

Open-Source Instructional Material

The SBOE shall place open-source or open education instructional material for a secondary-level course submitted for adoption by an eligible institution on the list if it satisfies the requirements described in Education Code 31.0241.  Education Code 31.0241(b)

COMMISSIONER INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS LIST

The Commissioner, with input from the SBOE, shall adopt a list of:

  1. Electronic instructional material; and
  2. Material that conveys information to the student or otherwise contributes to the learning process, including tools, models, and investigative materials designed for use as part of the foundation curriculum for science in kindergarten through grade 5 and personal financial literacy in first through 8th

Education Code 31.0231(a)

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS LIST

The SBOE may adopt supplemental instructional materials that are not on the SBOE instructional materials list.  Supplemental instructional material adopted by the SBOE:

  1. Must contain material covering one or more primary focal points or primary topics of a subject in the required curriculum;
  2. Is not designed to serve as the sole instructional sources for a full course;
  3. Meets applicable physical specifications adopted by the State Board of Education;
  4. Is free from factual errors;
  5. Is suitable for the subject and grade level; and
  6. Is review by academic experts in the subject and grade level.

Education Code 31.035(a)

Selection

The Board shall select instructional materials in an open meeting as required by the Texas Open Meetings Act.  Final selections must be recorded in board minutes.  19 TAC 66.104(a)

Notice to SBOE

Each year, during a period established by the SBOE, the Board shall notify the SBOE of instructional materials selected in accordance with Education Code 31.101.  Education Code 31.101(a)

Foundation Curriculum

For subjects in the foundation curriculum, the Board shall notify the SBOE of the instructional materials it selects from the instructional materials list, including the Commissioner’s instructional materials list.  Education Code 31.101(a)(1)

Enrichment Curriculum

For a subject in the enrichment curriculum, the Board shall notify the SBOE of instructional material it selects from the instructional materials list, including the Commissioner’s instructional materials list, or that it selected instructional materials that do not appear on the list.  Education Code 31.101(a)(2)

Open Education Resource Instructional Materials

In selecting instructional material each year, TSBVI may consider the use of open education resource instructional materials.  Education Code 31.101(b)

TSBVI may adopt state-developed open education resource instructional material at any time, regardless of the instructional material review and adoption cycle.  Education Code 31.073(c)

Supplemental Materials

The Board may requisition supplemental instructional materials adopted by the SBOE, as set forth at Education Code 31.035 [see CMD].  If the Board requisitions supplemental instructional materials, TSBVI shall certify to TEA that the supplemental instructional materials, in combination with any other instructional materials or supplemental instructional materials used by TSBVI, cover the essential knowledge and skills for the course.  Education Code 31.035(d),(f)

Special Education

Adopted instructional materials shall be supplied to a student in special education classes as appropriate to the level of the student’s ability and without regard to the grade for which the instructional material is adopted or the grade in which the student is enrolled.  19 TAC 66.104(m)

Duration of Selection

Listed Materials

When TSBVI selects subscription-based instructional material on the SBOE instructional materials list or electronic instructional material on the Commissioner’s instructional materials list, it may cancel the subscription and subscribe to new instructional material on the SBOE list or electronic instructional material on the Commissioner’s list before the end of the state contract period if:

  1. TSBVI has used the instructional material for at least one school year; and
  2. TEA approves the change based on a written request to TEA by TSBVI that specifies the reasons for changing the instructional material used by the School.

Education Code 31.101(e)

Other Materials

For instructional material that is not on the instructional materials list, TSBVI must use the instructional material for the period of the review and adoption cycle the SBOE has established for the subject and grade level for which the instruction material is used.  Education Code 31.101(d)

Criminal Offense

A board member, administrator, or teacher commits an offense if the person receives any commission or rebate on any instructional materials or technological equipment used in the schools with which the person is associated.

A board member, administrator, or teacher commits an offense if the person accepts a gift, favor, or service that:

  1. Is given to the person or the person’s school;
  2. Might reasonably tend to influence the person in the selection of instructional material or technological equipment; and
  3. Could not be lawfully purchased with state instructional material funds.

 “Gift, favor, or service” does not include:

  1. Staff development, in-service, or teacher training; or
  2. Ancillary materials, such as maps or worksheets, that convey information to the student or otherwise contribute to the learning process.

Education Code 31.152

HUMAN SEXUALITY MATERIALS

Course materials relating to human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) shall be selected by the Board with the advice of the school health advisory council.  Education Code 28.004(e) [see EHAA]

Adopted:         5/28/03

Amended:       11/15/18

Reviewed:

STANDARDS

The School Library Programs: Standards and Guidelines for Texas are adopted by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  The standards and guidelines are applicable to local Texas school districts.  13 TAC 4.1

TSBVI shall consider the standards in developing, implementing, or expanding library services.  Education Code 33.021

Adopted:         1/26/96

Amended:       1/25/19

Reviewed:       11/22/02

PHILOSOPHY OF INSTRUCTION IN THE COMMUNITY

Based on the following premises, the Board of Trustees is committed to ensuring that students at the School are provided appropriate opportunities for learning within the community:

  1. Students with visual impairments benefit from learning about the concepts of their world by participation in real environmental contexts.
  2. The extent to which a student with a visual impairment may benefit from instruction in real environmental contexts is related to the students prior experiences, knowledge, and ability to generalize and think abstractly.

COMMUNITY INSTRUCTION

The School shall provide to all students appropriate opportunities for learning in natural, community-based contexts such as community businesses, stores and recreational sites when such opportunities are necessary for the student to benefit from instruction.

Opportunities for learning in natural, community-based contexts shall be provided within the school programs and residential programs.

SUPERINTENDENT RESPONSIBILITY

The Superintendent shall ensure that Community-based instruction is provided in a safe, effective and instructive manner.

PROCEDURES

The Superintendent shall ensure that procedures for use by school and residential staff are developed and implemented to address the following areas related to community-based instruction:

  1. Student supervision and safety, including procedures to be used in cases of emergency;
  2. Administrative approval of individual activities;
  3. Appropriate behavior of staff and students during community-based activities;
  4. Parental notification;
  5. Use of transportation;
  6. Relationship of activity to student instructional objectives;
  7. Student medical conditions and implications for community-based instruction; and
  8. Any other area considered important by the Superintendent.

Adopted: 11/14/97

Amended: 5/28/03

Reviewed: 4/5/13

PARENTAL REQUESTS

A parent is entitled to request, with the expectation that the request will not be unreasonably denied:

  1. The addition of a specific academic class in the course of study of the parent's child in keeping with the required curriculum if sufficient interest is shown in the addition of the class to make it economically practical to offer the class.
  2. That the parent's child be permitted to attend an academic class for credit above the child's grade level, whether in the child's school or another school, unless the Superintendent or his/her representative expects that the child cannot perform satisfactorily in the class.

The decision of the Superintendent may be appealed to the Board.

The decision of the Board concerning such a request is final and may not be appealed. (See FNG)

Education Code 26.003(a)(3)(A)(B), (b)

VIDEOTAPE OR RECORDING

A School employee is not required to obtain the consent of a child's parent before the employee may videotape the child or record the child's voice if the videotape or recording is to be used only for a purpose related to regular classroom instruction.

Education Code 26.009(b)(3)

Adopted: 5/24/96

Reviewed: 5/28/03, 1/28/05, 4/5/19

Amended: 1/24/97