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This document is intended to be used as a companion to the PDAS (or other district appraisal system) and provides information specific to professionals working with students with visual impairments.  It is assumed that administrators will have the same expectations for excellence for teachers certified in visual impairments (TVIs) as other educators regardless of the instructional setting, existing disabilities and/or age of the student.

Teachers of students with visual impairments (TVI) have caseloads which include students ranging in age from birth through 21. Visual impairment affects all aspects of a student’s life.  TVIs typically work with one student at a time and the “classroom” may be in the home, school or community.  Students range in degree of visual loss and intellectual functioning. Lesson goals can relate to academic and functional domains. The observer should perform multiple observations in various settings. TVIs provide specialized instruction to compensate for vision loss. TVIS also recommend accommodations and modifications for access to the general curriculum, but do not teach academic subjects.

Prior to observation, ask your TVI to provide the following:

  • copy of weekly/monthly schedule and lesson plan(s) for observed student(s)
  • copy of functional vision evaluation (FVE) and learning media assessment (LMA)
  • copy of evaluations in the expanded core curriculum (ECC) areas
  • copy of goals from the IEP or IFSP (used with infants)
  • copy of VI PLAAFP and progress reports
  • copy of behavioral assessment/plan, if applicable
  • copy of self-assessment completed by TVI
  • a caseload  overview (number of students, disabilities, location and amount and frequency of service)
  • a brief description of the student’s functioning level, eye condition and setting for observation

Key points to look for when applying the performance evaluation to your TVI

Domain I: Active, Successful Student Participation in the Learning Process

  • Student is engaged with the activity, but may need time to process sensory information.
  • Student may use alternate communication style and may use objects, tactile symbols, vocalizations &/or assistive technology to indicate critical thinking (for example, choice selection, preferences, sequencing).
  • Student gives example of how lesson applies to real life.

Domain II:  Learner-Centered Instruction

  • Differences may be noted in the learner and the curriculum (i.e., may be more functional instead of academic) but instructional sequence should be same.
  • TVI interacts directly with student ensuring sensory input is student specific.
  • The learning objective is communicated to the student and is tied to the student’s IEP goal.
  • Pacing may vary. Processing time can depend on cognition, prior experiences, communication or alertness.
  • TVI demonstrates competence with vision-specific assistive technology used in the lesson (for example abacus, screen reader, telescope/magnifier, braille technology, calendar box).

Domain III:  Evaluation and Feedback on Student Progress

  • TVI documents student academic and functional performance during or following the lesson.
  • TVI communicates feedback on progress directly to the student.
  • TVI adjusts instruction when learner appears to be disengaged or confused.

Domain IV:  Management of Student Discipline, Instructional Strategies, Time, and Materials

  • Management strategies may be different for a single student versus a classroom.
  • Classroom teachers and others report that vision-specific materials are provided in a timely manner.
  • TVI follows a written lesson plan and, if applicable a behavioral plan, while teaching.

Domain V:  Professional Communication

  • TVI provides evidence of regular communication with family, teachers, administrators, doctors, and related staff.
  • TVI provides clear information to the family and other professionals related to the student’s eye condition and necessary accommodations.
  • TVI maintains records of meetings and communication with team members.
  • TVI supports classroom teacher by using strategies such as coaching and modeling.
  • TVI prepares for transitions and other changes in services and settings by meeting with team members in advance.
  • TVI establishes working relationships with team members and other school personnel.
  • TVI provides education and builds awareness of the student’s goals and beneficial strategies to school personnel, other students, families and/or community members. 

Domain VI:  Professional Development

  • TVI has access to professional development specific to his or her field. Sources could be regional service centers, statewide conferences/workshops and/or web-based professional development.
  • TVI routinely attends and documents meetings and conferences related to students with visual impairments.
  • TVI applies information from professional development activities to lessons with students.

Domain VII:  Compliance with Policies, Operating Procedures and Requirements

  • TVI prepares for, attends and participates in all meetings for students with visual impairments.
  • TVI checks in/out from campuses following expected procedures.
  • TVI turns in progress and consultation notes in a timely fashion.
  • TVI submits schedules/logs on time to supervisor.
  • TVI completes evaluations in accordance with compliance timelines.
  • TVI textbooks and other adapted materials are ordered in a timely fashion and their receipt and distribution is documented.
  • TVI provides information for the VI Registration and Deafblind Census on time.
  • TVI submits requests for accommodations of statewide testing materials on time.

Domain VIII:  Improvement of Academic Performance of All Students on the Campus

  • TVI provides information regarding access to and accommodations for district and statewide assessments.
  • TVI is knowledgeable of results of district and statewide assessments.
  • TVI participates in all staff meetings pertaining to his or her students.

For additional information on best practice standards see link Educating Students with Visual Impairments in Texas:  Guidelines and Standards (June 2010)

Developed by a collaboration of VI professionals and administrators from the Professional Preparation Advisory Group (PPAG) and the Texas School for the Blind Outreach Department.