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Summer 2000 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

By Dr. Lauren Newton, Principal of Special Programs, TSBVI

This article describes the short classes offered at TSBVI during the coming school year. Short classes are three to five days in length. They provide intensive instruction on a very specific skill related to vision impairment. At this time, short classes are for students functioning at or near grade level. Referrals should be made through the local school district, so if you see a class that would be good for your child, talk to your VI teacher or special education director. Your child can participate in one or more programs during the school year. Students in five-day classes should bring their homework with them to complete during our supervised daily study hall.

Programs Offered

1. Disability-specific classes with a pre-determined curriculum.

  • Independent Living: Food Management & Personal Organization for ages 12-15. Students attend four 3-day weekends:
    1. September 14 - 17
    2. October 27 - 30
    3. January 12 - 15
    4. February 16 - 19
  • Technology Week (secondary students) has two separate programs, each one week in length:
    1. October 15 - 20, 2000 for Braille `n Speak/Braille Lite
    2. February 25 - M
  • March 2, 20901 for JAWS for Internet
  • Math Week (secondary students): April 1 - 6, 2001

2. One-week individualized instruction on specific IEP objectives.

Students receive a week of one-on-one intensive instruction in any disability-specific IEP objective(s) jointly selected by the LEA and TSBVI.

  1. High School Students 
    October 1 - 6, 2000
    January 21 - 26, 2001
  2. Middle School Students
    November 5 - 10, 2000
    February 4 - 9, 2001
  3. Elementary School Students
    December 3 - 8, 2000
    March 18 - 23, 2001

How A Special Program Can Help

  • Provides intensive instructional boost with only a short time away from home
  • Teaches disability-specific skills that are pre-requisite to success in the regular classroom
  • Provides individualized instruction to meet specific learning needs of academic students
  • Provides temporary removal of multiple demands
  • Addresses learning gaps caused by instructional overload
  • Provides opportunity for professional collaboration regarding the individual needs of students

Short Time Away From Home

  • Students bring local assignments (homework) to complete during tutored study halls
  • All students return to local school at end of short program
  • Participation in special programs is not a change in placement
  • Students are not counted absent from their local schools
  • LEAs support transportation costs

A Typical Day

During the school day, students focus on class content related to their IEP objectives. After school, they participate in Independent Living and Recreation/Leisure activities with other visually impaired students in TSBVI's carefully supervised residential setting. Tutored Study Halls are provided for week-long classes, during both the school and residential shifts, for students to work on assignments they bring with them from their local classes. Study Hall helps them keep up with classwork missed while at TSBVI. Secondary students attending the special classes also participate in a Teen Life class facilitated by a social worker, designed to let students share experiences with one another.

About Short Programs

There is growing national recognition that present educational models for serving visually impaired students may be incomplete. In particular, many students can succeed in their local schools if they receive a short, intensive instructional boost in certain disability-specific areas. These students do not need long-term services in a special classroom or school. But they can need intensive support during critical periods, which may be difficult to provide in the local school because of competing needs and limited resources. Residential schools for the visually impaired have the multidisciplinary expertise in the area of vision services to provide short, intensive classes for these students. The rationale for these programs is that a short time away from the classroom at present will result in improved overall learning in the long run, because the students will be better able to benefit from future instruction.

During the 1999-2000 school year, TSBVI began offering a new kind of service delivery model: short-term programs. Classes were provided for academic-level students in the areas of Independent Living Skills and Technology, both fully attended and highly successful. This year we will expand our offerings significantly, with many short classes being offered throughout the school year. We will continue to offer the special classes. In addition we will offer a week of one-on-one intensive instruction in any disability-specific IEP objective(s) jointly selected by the LEA and TSBVI.

How to Register

Registration for short classes begins by contacting a TSBVI Special Programs' staff member (see contacts below). At that time, we will talk together about the student and the program. If there is a mutual decision to continue the process, formal registration procedures will be described and initiated. Students must apply for any short class no later than 8 weeks before the program begins. In order to provide good ratios class sizes are limited. Eligible students will be admitted in the order in which they apply.

More Information

If you work with a student who may benefit from any of these programs, or if you would like to share or receive additional information, please contact:

Dr. Lauren Newton, Principal of Special Programs
(512) 206-9119

Jeri Cleveland, Lead Teacher for Special Programs
(512) 206-9346