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Appendix F: Information Resources 
Strategic Plan For Fiscal Years 2001-2005

paper page number

Executive Summary

89

Introduction

91

External/Internal Assessment 

94

Planning Factors and Assumption Table

94

Budget Strategies

 95

Goals

 96

Information Resources Environment 

104

--Organization and Personnel 

104

--Administrative Technology Staff 

104

Instructional Technical Staff

106

Implementation of the Strategic Plan

107

IR Policies and Practices Table

 108

Agency Platforms, Systems, and Telecommunications (see Appendix C) 

111

Telecommunications Information 

112

Telecommunication Infrastructure 

112

Categories of Assistive Technology 

115

TSBVI Databases 

117

Major Applications

 121

Appendix A - Server Configuration

 125

Appendix B - Web Site Monthly Trends

126

Appendix C - 18 Month Distance Education Plan

 128

 

 

Executive Summary

The technology needs and objectives of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) are broad in scope and have become a primary focus of the School's resources and service offerings. The School's planning for technology has focused on administrative applications, instructional support, staff training, and outreach capabilities that serve as a statewide resource in the field of blindness. Instruction for students has expanded to include the integration of technology into content areas for both teaching and learning. The development of the technology program has been created through a coordinated, multi-disciplinary effort. Adaptive technology systems provide access to information for literacy, vocational opportunity, and personal development. These systems, as well as use of the computer for classroom administration application can be complex and difficult to master. As the integration of technology systems into instruction continues to progress, a professional development plan has been implemented to meet the training needs of the instructional staff. This training enables new technical innovation to evolve as staff and students become more technically sophisticated.

Over the past several years, the School has dedicated staff and fiscal resources to expand services and updated equipment resources for instruction. The majority of TSBVI students are involved with technology at their particular level of proficiency. Involvement ranges from the use of switch systems and augmentative communication devices for some students, to advanced telecommunication and personal computing for other students. As technology integration into teaching and learning expands, an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to planning and implementation will be vital to apply our technological resources effectively and efficiently.

The proliferation of desktop systems for administrative support is expected to continue to provide benefits and increased efficiency as new systems and techniques are developed and implemented. The acquisition of new technology was accelerated by the School's receipt of a significant grant from Technology Integration in Education (TIE) grant in the 1998-1999 school year. This grant provided training for instructional staff, new equipment, and a distance education facility to support the School's mandate to serve as a statewide resource to families and professionals. Continued development of our technological infrastructure to open more channels to more sites throughout Texas will enable realization of our distance education strategy.

The key strategic areas of development for Funding Years 2001-2005 include:

Computer upgrades and Increased student access - We continue to expand the number of computers available to students in the instructional and residential settings to facilitate communication, complete homework, develop life-long leisure skills, and explore the networked Internet environment. Continued upgrades for the school's classroom desktop computers as well as portable computers, devices, and software on a planned schedule will provide access to information resources and print media for students who are blind and visually impaired.

Expanded teacher and staff training - Training is an ongoing need for TSBVI staff. As systems become more complex and technology applications more prevalent, staff must expand their skills to support student learning. With the advent and expansion of networked computers, training will address utilization of the expanded tool-set. The Agency and IR Strategic Plans includes staff training and distance education models for integrating technology use with teaching and learning across the curricula areas. Training for administrative support staff will increase efficient use of the Microsoft Office environment. The new Teacher Solution software will assist instructional staff to develop documents required by federal and state laws governing special education.

Continued implementation of network infrastructure and administrative application - New standards and skills are required to coordinate and manage Internet document publishing, configuration of desktops, and adaptation devices. The number of networked desktop computers will continue to increase as workstations are added in the residential areas.

Migration of the current VMS-based VAX 4000-200 processor and application software to Windows NT-based servers- The NT networking environment supports Windows and Macintosh clients and provides access to LAN-based applications, file-sharing, and printing. Upgrade of the technical environment to 100MB switched connections will be a logical transition of the network to provide more bandwidth to support the technical base. The VAX computer is scheduled to be de-installed in fiscal year 2003. Use of the DFAS/GFAS software supported by Northrup-Gruman is considered the most cost-effective alternative since the scope of the application is too broad for development by in-house technical staff and other alternatives are too expensive. In-house development of the Student Database software in platform-independent Web-based Java software is considered cost-effective since that application comprises the core functions of the school and commercial student management software is not suitable for our unique environment.

Distance Learning Technology - The School received a Technology Integration in Education grant in 1998 to deploy distance education programs. By developing the capability to use teleconferencing media, the School will be able to enhance the learning of children with visual impairments. This technology is intended to allow the TSBVI to provide valuable information concerning curricula, materials, technology, teaching strategies, and pre-service training to professionals, parents, and other interested individuals by creating electronic links to regional education service centers, school districts, institutions of higher education, and other agencies. Such technology is intended to provide information, training, and follow-up while reducing the time and expense of travel.

Expanded application of World Wide Web Technologies - Web-based development has proven effective in service delivery. Continued development for online query of statewide resources will be developed. Expanded use of Intranet technology will provide new levels of agency collaboration and productivity. Deploy school wide web-based applications using Java Server Pages resulting in the following advantages:

  1. Use of the Web to allow universal access to applications from existing desktops, including both IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers.
  2. Seamless integration with other TSBVI information systems.
  3. A high level of security, reflecting the sensitivity of the data.
  4. Accommodation for ongoing evolution and expansion.

Introduction

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired derives its authority to operate and its purposes from the Texas Education Code (TEC 30.021). In brief, the law describes the scope and functions of the school "to serve as a special school in the continuum of statewide alternative placements for students who are 21 years of age or younger .and who have a visual impairment and who may have one or more other disabilities". The law also sets forth these additional purposes for TSBVI:

  • Conduct supplemental programs such as summer programs
  • Provide statewide services to parents of students with visual impairments, school districts, regional education service centers, and other agencies serving students with visual impairments, deafblindness, and other additional disabilities
  • Develop and provide local, regional, and statewide training for parents and professionals
  • Provide consultation and technical assistance to parents and professionals related to special education and special services for students
  • Develop and disseminate reference materials in the areas of curriculum, instructional methodology, and educational technology
  • Provide information related to library resources, adapted materials, current research, technology resources, and teaching, assessment, and transition of students
  • Operate programs for lending educational and technological materials to school districts and education service centers
  • Facilitate the preparation of teachers for visually impaired students by providing assistance to institutions of higher education and other teacher preparation programs
  • Cooperate with public and private agencies and organizations in the planning, development, and implementation of effective educational and rehabilitative service delivery systems to maximize and make efficient use of state resources

The School is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees comprised of parents of children with visual impairments, individuals with visual impairments, and professionals with experience in the field of visual impairment. TSBVI is a complex organization in the scope of services it provides and the multiple service delivery models it maintains. TSBVI is a 24-hour residential school program that provides intensive instructional programming for students with diverse educational needs. Students' exposure to technology ranges from adaptive and conventional technology training with academic students to the use of cause and effect switch technology with multiply impaired students. As an organization, the school administers a fourteen million dollar budget, accounting and financial management systems, personnel and budget management four almost four hundred employees, and federal fund management and accounting. Various state-wide functions are provided by TSBVI and numerous programs for students with visual impairments depend on services provided by the School's Technology Services Department.

TSBVI requires effective information management systems to support the mandate of the State Strategic Plan to integrate government services by developing, implementing, and maintaining a statewide information resources infrastructure. These systems assist staff in processing new students, tracking progress in learning, and supporting the intensive instructional programs provided to students. Another important area of technology application at TSBVI is providing appropriate computing resources to staff. These resources range from desktop publishing of curriculum publications on Macintosh computers to support of over 250 staff using Windows and Macintosh computers for classroom management, report writing, and student instruction. In developing the systems at TSBVI, a prevailing concern must be to develop systems that are accessible to visually impaired staff and students, and that can easily output the data into Braille, large print, voice output, and regular text. Many TSBVI staff have varying work schedules and limited "office-time." Use of electronic mail is extremely effective to enable communication between the various departments during slotted periods of employees' work schedules. Use of electronic mail enables more productive and time-efficient communication, providing staff more available time for student-related activities. As mandated in the State Strategic Plan, all TSBVI technical resources are based on industry standard architectures to ensure coordinated resource sharing.

Acquisition, use, and management of information technology at TSBVI supports the State Strategic plan to ensure that decisions are driven by the recognition and understanding of user needs in its varied program offerings. A primary focus of TSBVI's mission is to support local school districts. The School serves as a clearinghouse for reference information, including instructional methods and materials. It is equally important that the staff of TSBVI have the knowledge and skills to teach students, and to serve as resources to other teachers and parents throughout the State.

A major initiative since 1995 has been to implement a campus-wide local area network. It is vitally important that teachers and students have access in the classroom to network-based instructional resources. This network connects most of the desktop computers. Though most wiring preparations have been completed, numerous issues are yet to be resolved in the use and configuration of networked computers with the variety of adaptive equipment and software in use at TSBVI. Documentation of these configurations will be critical to develop a base of information to support students using the devices at TSBVI, and to assist local school district teachers and students throughout the state.

Internet access enables staff members to use electronic resources such as the World Wide Web, the Texas Library Connection, the Educational Software Selector (TESS), resources available through the Web site of the Texas Education Agency, online resources from the Region 13 Education Service Center, and electronic mail. With the availability of electronic mail and the World Wide Web, instructional staff has started the process of documenting their expertise so that their unique skills and abilities may be shared with other professionals through the TSBVI web site  (www.tsbvi.edu). The best examples of this information sharing are in the See/Hear newsletter that is produced monthly (considered one of the best resources in the nation for specific content information) and a series of resource pages for math instruction of students with visual impairments. Access to these two content areas on the Web-site have grown exponentially over time, indicating the significant need for continued development of such resources. (See appendix B to see trend analysis reporting of the Web site activity.)

To increase student access to computers outside the classroom, the local area network has been expanded to the residential areas to provide 24-hour access to network resources. In addition to supporting instruction and staff development, the School's technology systems must also support the administrative functions of the School. The use of the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS) and Uniform Statewide Payroll System (USPS) accounting system has not been completely effective. TSBVI has found that the USAS and USPS systems do not meet budget management and cash accounting requirements to accommodate needs of the agency. Use of extensive uploads to the USAS from in-house systems has greatly assisted accounting staff and has limited the need for direct data entry into USAS.

The School has a cooperative contract with the Region XI Education Service Center in Ft. Worth to develop software for managing the ordering, shipping, and tracking of instructional devices and materials available to Texas schools as part of the American Printing House for the Blind program. This electronic management system has resulted in materials being provided to teachers statewide on a "when needed, where needed" basis. The School's technical staff also provides support for the electronic database for statewide Registry of Students with Visual Impairments reported to the Texas Education Agency and for the School's Technology Loan program to students in local schools.

Tenets of the School's approach to instructional technology:

  1. The School is committed to providing the training necessary for students with disabilities to use assistive hardware and software to interact with computers for the purpose of gaining access to information, products, and services.
  2. Technology offers students with disabilities independence at their individual level of potential, equitable access to information, and increased vocational opportunities. As an educational institution, TSBVI is committed to providing all students the skills and knowledge related to technology to enhance their lives educationally vocationally, socially, and personally.
  3. Assistive Technology is defined as any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Technology is included in but is not limited to: adapted input, adapted output, augmentative and alternative communication, environmental control, mobility aid, multi-sensory modifications, physical Education/ recreation/leisure, positioning, and self-care devices.
  4. Technology can facilitate language development, communication, independence, interdependence, emergent literacy, development of social and cooperative learning skills, access to information, alternative means of expression, training for more efficient and effective use of vision, and maintenance of skills previously mastered.
  5. Technology instruction is an essential part of the Core Curriculum for students who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired. Instructional technology is used to support, enhance, and facilitate existing classroom instruction--not to replace it. Technology must be integrated into the classroom/curriculum to the maximum degree possible. To accomplish this goal, all students and staff will have appropriate and necessary training in the use of the technology.
  6. Accessibility to information means providing students an equal opportunity to learn. Accessibility is defined relative to the users' needs and requirements for a task. TSBVI will strive to provide access through system infrastructure that allows for add-on assistive software to enable specialized input and output capabilities.

External/Internal Assessment

The Agency Strategic plan contains an extensive review of Information Resources External/Internal Assessment.

Planning Factors and Assumption Table

Planning Factor

Assumption

Need for adequate budget management, general ledger reporting, and local funds management

The Uniform State-Wide Accounting System will not satisfy agency accounting needs

Need for incorporation of video conferencing technologies

Continued expansion of outreach services and delivery of services via distance learning

Increase in demand on information and support systems

Continued emphasis on transition planning policies for student intake/dismissal

Need for ongoing technical training of staff in use and integration of technology systems

As use of technology becomes more pronounced in the organization, the need for training becomes more critical for successful use of the systems.

Increased complexity of technical systems

Technology planning will be integrated within various technology committees that span instructional and administrative applications

Need for standards development for core technologies architecture

Technical staff will be involved in administrative planning and policy development

Increased CPU processing and memory requirements for adaptive software

Funds will be available to upgrade instructional desktop computers to run assistive/adaptive software for student access as needed

Support of VH professionals throughout Texas

Development of systems for the inter-networking of TSBVI with other agencies serving persons with visual impairments to access students and teachers, regardless of distance separation

VAX computer will become less supportable as hardware and software elements are retired

Funds will be available to migrate existing applications and server function to Windows NT

Open systems software is required for application development

Screen review and magnification software will support modern object-oriented application environments

Need for technical resources

Adequate staff resources will be maintained to support existing applications and develop systems for efficient processing of fiscal and student information

Increase bandwidth for Distance Education

Network planning for distance education is based on adequate capacity to engage a video conference from any networked location on campus and to more sites.

Budget Strategies

There are five primary strategies that the School can employ to acquire and maintain the hardware, software, professional development, and other services to implement the Technology Plan:

  • Expend funds currently allocated in the following expense categories:
    a. Purchase computer hardware and software
    b. Maintain and repair hardware
    c. Employ Trainers (2.0 FTEs)
    d. Departmental Operating Budgets for Training

Timeline: Funding Years 2000 and 2001

  • Reallocate budgeted dollars:
    a. The School has the flexibility to shift a portion of appropriated funds to established priorities.
    b. The School may use the process of debt refinancing to purchase technology in excess its current year's operating budget by committing to use funds from future operating budgets. Timeline: Funding Years 2000 through 2005
  • Request continuation of funds for instructional technology within base-level of the School's next Legislative Appropriation Request.
    Timeline: Funding Years 2002 - 2003
  • Seek external funds, hardware, and software from a variety of external sources, including the following:
    a. Dell Foundation: Timeline: Spring, 1998. Granted.
    b. Hitachi Foundation: Timeline: Spring, 1998. Granted.
    c. Grant: Federal E-Rate: Timeline, Spring, 1998, 1999. Granted.
    Federal E-Rate: Timeline, Summer 2000. Requested.  
    d. Gifts from corporations, service organizations, individuals: Ongoing
    e. Grant: Federal Technology Integration in Education through TEA: Timeline, Spring 1998. Granted.
    f. Texas Infrastructure Fund: Timeline, FY2000. Granted.
    g. IBM Corporation: Timeline, FY 1999. Granted
  • Maintain a 4-5 year plan for replacement, repair, and purchase of administrative technology and instructional materials.

Goals

Agency Goal #1: Students who are visually impaired or deafblind will demonstrate the skills and knowledge to lead vocationally, personally, and socially satisfying lives, as demonstrated by academic success and successful transition to the community.Agency Objective: Students attending TSBVI during the regular school year and short-term programs will demonstrate success in their education programs. IR Goal #1: The School will facilitate the use of technology to maximize independence and productivity of all students who are blind, have a visual impairment, or who are deafblind, including those with additional disabilities.IR Objective #1: Students will have current instructional technology available to them with the capabilities appropriate to their special needs.IR Strategy #1: Upgrade current instructional technology systems to replace outdated systems according to assessed upgrade needs.Action Item 1: Review new or emerging technologies and assess viability of current technologies Action Item 2: Review current equipment to assess functionalityAction Item 3: Target equipment to be replacedAction Item 4: Prepare funding proposalAction Item 5: Procure and install replacement equipment

Timeline: Funding Year (FY) 2000-2001

IR Strategy #2: Expand distribution of computing resources through the improvement of the school-wide local area network.Action Item 1: Increase network capabilities to 100MB Ethernet to each classroom and residential network computerAction Item 2: Establish Gigabit backbone segments between key network concentrations

Timeline: FY 2001-2002

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 1999, the School will meet the technology equipment targets for students adopted in the Long-Range Plan for Technology, 1996-2010 of a student-to-workstation ratio of 3:1. By 2001, 90 percent of classrooms will have a minimum of one computer workstation linked to a school-wide local area network on 100MB switched Ethernet .IR Objective #2: Students will use technology commensurate with their abilities to enhance personal productivityIR Strategy #1: Continue to integrate technology applications into the five curricular strands

Timeline: FY 2000-2002

IR Strategy #2: Implement instruction for students designed to promote the

following uses of technology:

  • Students will use various forms of information access to electronic text of educational materials and current events that are not available in Braille or large print
  • Students will participate in activities in information access that encourage communication and interaction with a variety of individuals of varying interests such as electronic mail
  • Students develop reading, writing, and listening skills through computer access to support individual acquisition of literacy
  • Students will expand their awareness of the ways in which personal online services, such as banking, shopping, bill paying, special interest sites, etc., can improve their quality of life as consumers and members of society
  • Students will increase their likelihood of finding employment by learning to use the tools that are evident in the workplace

Action Item 1: Develop and implement curricula in the areas of keyboarding, word processing, access hardware and software, personal tools

Action Item 2: Develop and implement a technology assessment for students' needs for and use of adaptive/assistive technology tools

Action Item 3: Expand the use of computer-assisted instruction in the curricular areas.

Timeline: FY 2000-2005

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 2000, the School's written curriculum will contain elements in the areas of computer skills, applications, and access hardware and software. By 2001, one hundred percent of enrolled students will be assessed to determine students' needs for and use of adaptive/assistive technology devices.

IR Objective #3: Train all instructional staff as appropriate in the use of technology for teaching

IR Strategy #1: All instructional staff will acquire a working knowledge of the following: screen reading programs in a Windows environment, screen enlarger software, Braille translation software, electronic Braille input devices, word processing software, an Internet browser, and e-mail.

Action Item 1: Expand existing training plan for all instructional, residential, and paraprofessional staff to integrate technology into teaching subject areas

Action Item 2: Expand current training modules and implementation checklists for all assistive software and adaptive devices used by students

Action Item 3: Determine training groups based on their levels of knowledge and skills

Action Item 4: Determine a training schedule and number of training hours during scheduled and during after work-hours for which participants receive extra-duty pay

Action Item 5: Develop and implement a system for individual follow-up training by peer mentors

Timeline: FY 2002-2004

IR Strategy #2: Training groups will learn to identify and use appropriate assistive/adaptive technology tools to increase individual student learning by enabling full access to the curriculum.

Action Item 1: Identify activities in content areas appropriate for use of different add-on assistive software and adaptive/augmentative devices.

Action Item 2: Assess students' needs to match technology to instruction.

Action Item 3: Expand expertise in using Internet resources.

Action Item 4: Develop and implement use of checklists as evidence of classroom use of technology and portfolios as evidence of student progress.

Timeline: FY 2002-2004

IR Strategy #3: Provide opportunities for Technology Specialists to receive ongoing training in emerging technologies and new applications of technology for blind, visually impaired, and deafblind students.

Action Item 1: Seek external funding sources to support out-of-state training

Action Item 2: Expand the Trainer-of-Trainers model using TSBVI staff as lead trainers.

Timeline: FY 2002-2004

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 2002, the training plan will be updated to address ongoing professional development activities for all instructional staff in the use of instructional technology. By 2002, ninety percent of instructional, residential, and para-professional staff will have received training and demonstrate proficiency in the use of technology on a skills checklist or other written assessment instrument.

IR Objective #4: The curriculum will be revised to reflect integration of technology to implement learning activities in the content areas

IR Strategy #1: Revise Basic Skills, Functional Academics, Academic, and Early Concepts curricular approaches

Timeline: FY 2000-2002

IR Strategy #2: Develop Applied Academics curriculum to include technology integration

Timeline: FY 2000-2002

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 2002, the scope and sequence of the School's curriculum will contain learning activities integrating technology into learning.

IR Objective #5: Students will learn to use appropriate technology in order to acquire the knowledge and skills specified in their Individual Education Plan's.

IR Strategy #1: Teachers will integrate technology use into content areas to enhance student learning

Action Item 1: Teachers will design instructional units to incorporate individual technology uses by students.

Action Item 2: Student use of technology will be considered in the development of each student's IEP.

Timeline: FY 2002-2004

IR Strategy #2: Teachers and students will have access to appropriate technology.

Action Item 1: Expand and update hardware and software configurations across curricular areas and school-wide locations.

Action Item 2: Upgrade current equipment and software. Purchase new equipment and software with the capability to run assistive add-on applications.

Action Item 3: Expand access to technology across instructional, vocational, and residential programs.

Action Item 4: Deploy technology review committees as needed.

Action Item 5: Expand contacts with vendors for opportunities for beta testing new technologies, evaluating accessibility, previewing new products, and disseminating product information.

Timeline FY 2001-2005

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 2003, one hundred percent of students' IEPs will contain goals, objectives, or modifications integrating the use of appropriate technology, when technology assessments indicate such a need.

IR Goal #2: Create and maintain information systems and procedures that efficiently accommodate Legislative and/or Board rule changes, interface efficiently with other government entities, and provide functional management and efficient administration of school business.

IR Objective #1: Document and make accessible to persons with visual impairments all agency data systems.

IR Strategy #1: Utilize electronic publishing software to provide an accessible, standards-based, centralized repository of agency information.

Action Item 1: Continue to expand the TSBVI web site.

Action Item 2: Continue to exploit the School's intranet technologies.

Action Item 3: Develop school wide applications with standards-based hardware and software tools

Action Item 4: Continue participation in standards-setting bodies

Action Item 5: Continue development of standards guidelines for web accessibility

Timeline: FY 2001-2005

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Through years 2000-2005, the number of individuals accessing the School's Web site will increase by 10 percent annually. A monthly written report will document the usage.

IR Objective #2: Coordinate administrative technology applications and information exchange with external agencies including, but not limited to: local education agencies, Commission for the Blind, State Comptroller, Texas Education Agency, state agencies, state institutions of higher education, consumer organizations, and other organizations or individuals serving visually impaired individuals.

IR Strategy #1: Continue to support and integrate the Uniform Statewide Accounting System, Uniform Statewide Payroll System, and State Property Accounting.

Action Item 1: Implement new accounting application to increase reporting reliability.

Action Item 2: Improve analysis reporting from GFAS/DFAS, SPA, and USPS extraction data.

Timeline: FY 2001-2005

IR Strategy #2: Design and implement new Student Database System.

Action Item 1: Identify additional reports, query, and data analysis requirements.

Action Item 2: Incorporate new requirements such as PEIMS data reporting and interchange.

Action Item 3: Identify Student data correlates with TEA staff for PEIMS.

Action Item 4: Review Fiscal data correlates with TEA staff for PEIMS.

Action Item 5: Establish comprehensive system design and specification requirements.

Action Item 6: Employ contract programming services to assist software development.

Timeline: FY 2001

IR Strategy #3: Exploit Web-based technologies.

Action Item 1: Review existing applications that support the statewide .registration of VI students, theTech Loan Program, and the APH Materials/Management Program for potential deployment of Web-based query.

Action Item 2: Explore automation opportunities in new systems.

Action Item 3: Expand existing Intranet applications to coordinate agency resources.

Timeline: FY 2001-2005

IR Strategy #4: Complete the migration of systems from VAX to Windows NT operating systems and hardware.

Action Item 1: Move electronic mail to NT server.

Action Item 2: Identify and define design requirements for VAX-based application software .

Action Item 3: Rewrite or purchase commercial software to replace VAX-based software

Timeline: FY 2000-2002

IR Strategy #5: Provide opportunities for administrative staff to develop new computer skills to increase staff productivity.

Action Item 1: Provide Windows 95/98 and general networking training.

Action Item 2: Create and distribute user training materials tailored to needs of TSBVI staff.

Action Item 3: Provide training for staff updating of web-based information.

Timeline: FY 2000-2005

IR Strategy #6: Review disaster recovery planning.

Action Item 1: Review procedures and contingency planning and assess relevancy.

Action Item 2: Identify new areas of risk exposure.

Action Item 3: Identify new resources and methods to assist in disaster recovery.

Timeline: FY 2001

IR Strategy #7: Document the architecture of the School's core technology.

Action Item 1: Identify areas requiring development of local standards.

Action Item 2: Review existing standards that apply to state facilities.

Action Item 3: Establish working group(s) to develop standards content.

Action Item 4: Compile standards into central document for TSBVI.

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: The VAX computer will be de-installed by 2003 and VAX-based software will be migrated to NT platform. By 2003, one hundred percent of the agency's needed technical standards will be written.

Agency Goal #2: Families professionals and paraprofessionals will have the knowledge and skills necessary to improve educational programming and other services for Texas students who are visually impaired or deafblind.

Agency Objective: By fiscal year 2004, 85% of families, professionals, and paraprofessionals will rate as very satisfactory or above the improvement of their knowledge and skills as a result of services or products received from TSBVI.

IR Goal #2: TSBVI will provide adaptive technology training and support to local school districts, Regional Education Service Centers, educators, students, and families to maximize the use and effectiveness of technology for students who are blind, have a visual impairment, or are deafblind, including those with additional disabilities.

IR Objective #1: Provide adaptive technology equipment, software, training, and technical support to students attending their local schools

IR Strategy #1: Maintain, expand, and upgrade the Technology Loan Program.

Action Item 1: Maintain and refine the TSBVI "Guide to Services" as a source of information

Action Item 2: Offer the "Guide to Services" as an online, interactive resource.

Action Item 3: Develop a web-based application for the Technology Loan program.

Action Item 4: Maintain an adequate level of funding and equipment local ISD needs.

Timeline: FY 2002-2004

IR Strategy #2: Develop and provide statewide training and assistance in adaptive technology to families, professionals, and paraprofessionals.

Action Item 1: Assist Regional Education Service Centersl, local school districts, and agencies who serve visually impaired students with the design and implementation of appropriate technology

Action Item 2: Provide service providers with on-site technical assistance and assessment of student technology needs.

Action Item 3: Assist families of blind, deafblind, and visually impaired students with technology issues related to their children.

Timeline: FY 99-2003

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Annually, ninety percent of students and LEAs participating in the Technology Loan Program will indicate their satisfaction with this service as measured on a survey instrument. Ninety percent of a sample of parents and professionals surveyed will rate as satisfactory or above the training and assistance received in adaptive technology.

IR Objective #2: Families, professionals, and paraprofessionals will have access to resources related to technology.

IR Strategy #1: The School will use technology as a method to fulfill its mandate to serve as a statewide resource to families, professionals, and paraprofessionals.

Action Item 1: Maintain and expand an electronic repository that is equally accessible by blind and sighted individuals.

Action Item 2: Provide online classes and instructional materials through TSBVI's Web site, the Internet, video conferencing, and other distance learning strategies.

Timeline: FY 98-2000

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Document 100 percent completion of Action Items by 2003

IR Objective #3: School instructional staff, field-based educators, those participating in pre-service certification programs, and families will gain knowledge and skills in the area of technology use for learners who are blind, visually impaired, deafblind, and including those with additional disabilities.

IR Strategy #1: Create and use an onsite training/distance learning facility to provide a model location for the delivery of accessible content via distance education technologies (see Appendix D).

Action Item 1: Upgrade/improve existing infrastructure to accommodate new technology.

Action Item 2: Integrate new technology with existing technology to ensure interoperability with ESCONETT and the Internet.

Timeline: FY 98-2002

IR Strategy #2: School staff will use the training/distance learning facility to deliver and receive distance learning information.

Action Item 1: Establish an advisory group to plan and design distance learning content.

Action Item 2: Train distance education users and presenters to use equipment.

Action Item 3: Train content developers in distance education instructional design.

Action Item 4: Train content developers to use content development tools to ensure accessible content.

Action Item 5: Develop and maintain an accessible distance education component fon the School's existing Web site

Timeline: FY 98-2002

IR Strategy #3: Design and implement distance learning programs for staff and families through partnerships with the Regional Education Service Centers and local school districts to meet expectations for technology proficiencies.

Action Item 1: Provide training statewide to teachers of students who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind on technology assessments.

Action Item 2: Conduct interactive technology assessments .

Action Item 3: Provide training to educators and families on current assistive technology software and devices for students with disabilities

Timeline: FY 98-2002

IR Strategy #4: Provide disability-specific training toward certification in Visual Impairment using distance education in collaboration with Texas Tech University, Stephen F. Austin University, and the Texas Education Agency.

Action Item 1: Design and implement distance learning methodologies for pre-service certification programs to learn about new technologies and using technologies effectively.

Action Item 2: Deliver interactive courses via distance education from the School's distance learning facility .

Timeline: FY 98-2002

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Document one hundred percent completion of Action Items by 2002.

Agency Goal #3: TSBVI will implement policies governing purchasing and contracting that foster meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses.

Agency Objective: TSBVI will include historically underutilized businesses (HUBs) in at least 18% of the total value of contracts and subcontracts awarded annually by the agency in purchasing and public works contracting by fiscal year 2004.

IR Goal #3: TSBVI will increase purchases of product and service offerings from historically underutilized businesses

IR Objective #1: Increase volume of competitive purchases from historically underutilized businesses

IR Strategy #1: Review and consider product and service offerings from historically underutilized businesses whenever possible.

Action Item 1: Review purchasing catalogs and materials from historically underutilized businesses before making purchases

Timeline: FY 97

Evaluation Strategies for Objective: The School will meet the targets suggested by the Legislature for meeting this goal.

Information Resources Environment

Organization and Personnel

Administrative Technology Staff

Director of Technology Services

Designated as Information Resources Manager for TSBVI.

Duties: Supervise and direct all agency administrative computer applications. Manage Technology Services department activities including budget coordination, technical oversight, network planning and integration, and the overall technical environment. Assist instructional and administrative staff in the technical review and planning of educational systems/equipment. Analyze, design, and manage the implementation new programs/systems. Plan and coordinate agency procurement and operational management of computer hardware and software. Financial Accounting system analysis and management. Coordinate agency use of Department of Information Resources common software. System manager of the VAX 4000-200 computer with responsibility for all account set-up, maintenance, and hardware/software installation and support. Oversee management of NT Server and NT-based network environment. Manage all campus data and telephone network equipment and software. Keep up with current technologies.

Programmer Analyst

Duties: Analysis, design, and development of new programs/systems with primary responsibility for financial management/accounting systems and student administration systems. Technical support for agency administrative applications on VAX, Windows, and Macintosh platform environment. Development of technical software documentation and task analysis. Development of Web-based Java applications.

Programmer I

Duties: Assists Programmer Analyst with development activities.

System Support Specialist III

Duties: Development of user documentation. Application systems support. Initial user point of contact for training and technical support in the use of office automation and application systems. Performs special projects to research policy or implementation issues. Develop training materials and provide direct technical instruction to staff.

Web Master Assistant

Duties: Coordinate development of agency Intranet. Development materials for Web publication. Training and troubleshoot non-technical staff publication of Intranet documents. Serve as backup to TSBVI Web Master. Provide technical support of Macintosh computers. Provide technical resource for agency staff.

Hardware Technician

Duties: Assigned approximately 50% time to perform duties of maintenance, hardware setup and hardware troubleshooting. The remaining 50% of time is spent in maintenance and installation of communication media and support of the Schools telephone system. The technician assists with the purchasing of repair equipment and coordination with service providers. Documentation of technical interfaces and campus wiring topology.

Computer Technician (half-time)

Duties: Performs maintenance, hardware setup, and hardware troubleshooting on PC-based and specialized adaptive equipment. Documentation of technical interfaces and operational procedures. Performs software trouble-shooting and problem resolution. Performs evaluation of new adaptive equipment and development of documentation. Upgrade and support of WindowsNT Servers, network operations, and server software.

Administrative Technician (half-time)

Duties: Operational management of Technology Services procurement tracking, inventory, equipment repair, and employee time reporting. Assists in the maintenance of centralized PBX circuit assignments, call-accounting, and Audix Voice mail settings. Maintains various departmental databases for central support activities.

Instructional Technical Staff

Statewide Technical Support Specialist

  • Design, implement, and maintain WWW site
  • Provide telephone support for state personnel who work with visually impaired students
  • Provide technical support to Outreach Program for distance education initiatives
  • Coordinate with other state agencies to ensure accessibility of web-based information
  • Provide national and international technical presence at assistive and other technology conferences
  • Document technical and evaluative information pertaining to assistive technology
  • Assist in teacher training during Technology institutes at TSBVI
  • Maintain vigilance concerning accessibility of state adopted instructional materials, textbooks, etc.
  • Provides expert-level advice, consultation, and information in various support and presentational roles.

 Educational Technology Coordinators

  • Divide responsibilities among the 5 curricular areas
  • Divide service delivery between direct instruction and consultation
  • Manage computer labs
  • Provide staff development
  • Develop training and instructional materials
  • Test, acquire and allocate software/hardware
  • Providing outreach services
  • Technology assessment of students
  • Develop curriculum
  • Maintain current inventory of equipment for which each is responsible
  • Develop multimedia training systems
  • Support teachers in the integration of technology into the curriculum

Outreach Technology Teacher

  • Statewide staff development
  • Student assessment
  • Student training
  • Consultation
  • Staff development (TSBVI)
  • Curriculum development
  • Development of instructional materials for staff development
  • Software/hardware evaluation
  • Development of multimedia training systems

Classroom Teacher

  • Facilitate completion of student's IEP
  • Coordinate with ITFs to infuse technology into the curriculum
  • Utilize technology for administrative tasks and transition services
  • Seek in-service training to further develop curricula that infuses technology as well as to gain the knowledge to assist students with the adaptive technology that each uses

Instructional Technician

This position assists the technology teachers by performing troubleshooting and problem-solving for instructional hardware/software as well as assists in equipment and software management.

Implementation of the Strategic Plan

The administration of the School's strategic plan for technology is deliberately decentralized to support the School's wide-ranging purposes and mission. There is school-wide participation in the planning process. Technology Services staff work in collaboration with instructional and support staff to support the hardware and software systems. The School Principal directs the instructional and residential programs. Teachers and support staff' in these two programs utilize technology to perform student assessment, develop curriculum, acquire or adapt specialized hardware and software, and to provide technology instruction to students and to other staff. Short Term programs are coordinated and managed by the Principal for Short-Term programs.

The Technology Services department also supports the outreach program of the School, a separate administrative division sometimes assisted by staff from either the Technology Services Department or from the instructional- residential programs. The Technology Outreach Teacher provides technical assistance to educators in local school districts, especially in the areas of infrastructure and special adaptations of electronic technology for blind and visually impaired students. The Outreach department administers a Technology Loan Program whereby specialized electronic devices, including laptop computers with speech synthesizers; Braille input and output devices; and other such devices, peripherals, or software are loaned to school districts for use by students.

IR Policies and Practices Table

Category

Provide Brief Summary/Overview

IR Priorities

Priorities for administrative systems are determined at the administrative management level with planning and coordination through the Technology Services Department. Responsibility for the integration and coordination of information resources is at the department level. The Technology Services Department is responsible for enterprise-wide technical design, integration, and coordination.

IR Planning Methodology

Planning priorities are identified by the relevant department or task force and the input is provided to the Technology Services department for incorporation into technology plans

Operating Systems

Historically, administrative systems have been implemented within the VAX/VMS environment. The School has now moved several major functions such as printing, file sharing, and user validation to the Windows NT environment. Desktop configurations are based on Windows95/98 with TCP/IP as network transport. Macintosh computers communicate over Encapsulated Appletalk on Ethernet. Terminal emulation is provided by software on PC client computers to communicate with the VAX. Access to USAS, USPS, and SPA is accommodated by 3270 terminal emulation on desktop computers.

Software Development

With the advent of client-server architecture, new applications have been written and supported in Foxpro v2.6 over the past several years. Applications on VAX/VMS that are currently written in the COBOL language with conventional indexed sequential and/or relational database (Rdb) file structures, RALLY, and Datatrieve software will be re-written. For departmental level development, several systems are written in Filemaker Pro for its ease of use and simplified forms-based development. Some departments also use Microsoft Access. For enterprise development, use of the Java language and Servlet technology will be utilized. Java Server pages with extensive use of Enterprise Java Beans is planned for enterprise development. Java is based on open standards and is accessible to individuals who are disabled.

Office Automation

TSBVI has standardized on Microsoft Office suite for PC and Mac. Use of WordPerfect has been phased out with the advent of this standard. Use of this product-set enable sharing of files between the PC and Macintosh systems with run-time platform conversion.

Software licenses

Centralized license compliance is the responsibility of the Information Resources Manager. Department license compliance is the managed within the individual departments. Required H.B. 1895 legislative software audit reporting is the responsibility of the internal auditor.

Instructional Technology

Performance and operational standards for the instructional technology program are developed from collaborations of individuals assembled for the particular task or instructional objective.

 

Development Methodology

Most administrative planning is performed within a Task Force or management team context. The planning model for instructional technology is through committees that consist of instructional technology teaching staff. For school-wide planning within the management team; technology policy, application development implementation, and budget planning, the agency Information Resource Manager is represented by the Director of Business, Technology, and Operation. The Director of Technology Services and members of his staff make recommendations to the management team on school-wide technology issues.

Quality Assurance Practices

New software systems are designed and developed within a multi-disciplinary design team and this approach examines risk as part of the process. Generally, the System Life Cycle methodology is followed for the development of new software. Development of secure student administration systems within adequate protection of sensitive or confidential data is required. TSBVI subscribes to its mandate to serve as an accessible environment in regard to its information systems.

Change Control

This is part of the development process. Typically, due to the specialized nature of application at TSBVI, minor system modifications and enhancements are made after the software system has been used for several months. Self promotion of software is enable through journalized audit accounts for technical staff.

Security

TSBVI complies with state and professional standards to secure information from unlawful access. Access to confidential student records is limited to those individuals who have been authorized by school administrators. VAX system security is monitored by various software tools and structures. Though several break-ins have been attempted, to our knowledge, none have been successful. Security considerations and guidelines are reviewed with new computer users in conjunction with system training.

Geographic Information Systems

NA

Disaster Recovery/ Business Continuity Planning

In the event of a catastrophic disaster, it is anticipated that a VAX computer could be leased and installed within an acceptable time period. Servers could be acquired and configured within a reasonable timeframe. Archived backup data could restore the system to normal operation. A complete backup of all VAX data are made each evening and stored in a off-site location. A redundant backup the TSBVI web site is maintained at all times. Backup of desktop data is a departmental responsibility. All networked servers utilize RAID technology to limit data loss due to disk failure.

Resource Use

Video conferencing is under development at TSBVI. Videoconferences have taken place and content programs are under development to use this new technology. Voice synthesis is commonplace and speech recognition assists students with impaired dexterity.

Contract/Consultant

Hardware contracts are maintained on VAX components that are too heavy to easily transport to local repair depots. Other school components are self-maintained. Professional consultants are used for specific purposes within the context of assisting in-house Technical staff to develop client-server applications.

 

Interagency Information Sharing

This is primarily limited to E-mail and transport of data files to/from USAS and USPS data systems. A school official authorizes public release of TSBVI data to maintain confidentiality. Electronic data is shared for special purposes such criminal history checks. Sharing school student data with TEA for the PEIMs system is under consideration.

Training and Continuing Education

Technical staff receives training by attending various seminars and conferences. Due to the specialized nature of adaptive technology application at TSBVI, training often entails out-of-state travel to obtain information. Instructional technology staff are responsible for training other TSBVI and statewide ISD staff in these specialized areas. Technology Services staff also receive training in conferences and seminar but less-so since there are more local training opportunities available. Often, Technology Services staff train from manuals since travel funds are limited. The Systems Support Specialist provides training to staff in TSBVI proprietary software, Microsoft Office, and the network environment.

 

 

Agency Platforms, Systems, and Telecommunications  (see Appendix C)

Agency Platforms and Systems

Category

Type

Operating

System

Database Mgmt. System

Capacity/

Size/Count

Comments/

Descriptive Information

Mainframe

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

Minicomputer

Digital Equipment Corporation

VMS 6.1

Rdb/Oracle

5 VUPS

50 concurrent processes

VAX 4000-200, 160 All-In-1 Office Automation users, average of.

LAN Servers (Central)

Intel-based

(appendix C)

WindowsNT 4.0, Service Pack 5

DB2

Various, 7 servers

Used for Web site, printing, etc.

LAN Servers (Remote)

NA

Na

Na

Na

 

LAN Client/Work-stations (Central)

Mac

Mac OS x

Filemaker Pro

30

 

LAN Client/Work-stations (Central)

PC

Windows95/98

Foxpro 2.6, Filemaker Pro, Access

40@ 586,

70@Pentium II,

130@AMD P2

All desktops on Windows networking

LAN Client/ Work-stations (Remote)

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 

WAN Servers

VAX 4000-200

VAX/VMS

Pathworks

1

 

Standalone PC Workstations

PC Laptops

Windows 95/98

Na

20

Student Use

Standalone MAC Workstations

Mac Laptops

Mac OS

Filemaker Pro

20

Student Use

 

Telecommunications Information

Category

Type

Capacity/

Size/Count

Comments/

Descriptive Information

Hubs

DEChub 90/Digital Equipment Corp.

12

10Mbps, each hub is its own bridged segment

Hub Routers & Switches (Remote)

Cisco Catalyst 2900 XL

13

100MB - Migrating to this architecture

Remote Bandwidth Analog

N/A

NA

 

Remote Bandwidth Digital 56K or less

N/A

NA

 

Remote Bandwidth Digital T1

N/A

2

General Serviices Commission Telecommications Division, Education Service Center XIII for Video Network

Remote Bandwidth ISDN (PRI)

N/A

Number

of Lines

Scheduled for implementation in Summer 2000

DTE/End User Equipment Arrangement

Workstations, LANs, Mainframe Devices, Other

N/A

 

Supported Protocols

TCP/IP, Appletalk, NetBEUI (limited), Telnet, FTP, HTTP, Ethertalk, DECnet, H320 video

N/A

 

Internet Service Provider

General Service Commission, Education Service Center XIII

2 T1 Circuits

 

Shared Network

Education Service Center XIII for Video Network, ESCONETT

N/A

 

 

Telecommunication Infrastructure

Voice Communications

The Texas School for the Blind uses a Definity G3i analog private branch exchange (PBX) for voice communications. The PBX is currently configured to provide 400 single-line service ports. This system provides off-campus service via 14 local two-way trunks and 16 Direct In-dial trunks. The school uses 1 bulk-billed watts line with AT&T as the carrier. For in-state service, the system uses 5 Station-to-Station (STS) trunks. One PBX console that has been adapted to provide an audible tone to alert the visually impaired operator that an outside call is incoming or an inside call is requesting assistance or connection to a TEXAN circuit. The use of voice mail has been well-received and an automated attendant system is under review.

Data Communications

As of summer of 2000, all but three campus buildings are networked with fiber optic components. Fiber optic cable will be installed in the remaining buildings in FY2001.

The standard communication rate is transitioning from a 10MB to a 100MB bridged Ethernet over fiber optic cable. Each fiber optic cable element is terminated with ST connectors that connect to DecHub 90 hub backplanes through a Fiber Optic bridge. All terminal servers have been retired and we now only have PC and Mac computers connected through 10-Base-T repeaters. New workstation installations use 100MB switched Ethernet connections. The existing 10MB connections will migrate to the 100MB switched connections over the next several years. Twisted pair wiring within the networked building is standardized on Category 5 passive wiring components to each office location meeting the EIA568 standard. A wiring connection for telephones is also included. Primary installation is performed in-house. In the Technology Services office area a thin-wire Ethernet circuit provides networked connection for the Printserver 20, X-Window workstations, terminal servers, and two Cisco Routers. One TI circuit provides a DECnet and TCP/IP protocols interface with General Services Commission network, the other connects through Educational Service Center. GSC provides domain name services and routes the TCP/IP and DECnet network traffic from TSBVI to the Internet. This circuit also routes all incoming electronic mail, host telnet connections, FTP and production data traffic to other agencies. All remote printing from the USAS system is accomplished over this link and TSBVI uses the link to upload and download data files to the USAS via FTP. The T1 connection to region XIII handles workstation traffic for email, web browsing, and video conferencing. Various network segments are associated through server and router routing tables.

 

Categories of Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology for Low Vision and Blind Users

Function Provided

Screen Reader Software

Allows users to navigate through windows, menus, and controls while receiving text and limited graphics information through speech output or Braille display.

Braille Display

Provides line by line Braille display of on-screen text using a series of pins to form Braille symbols that are constantly updated as the user navigates through the interface.

Text to Speech
(Screen Reader)

Translates electronic text into speech via a speech synthesizer.

Optical Scanner

Imports print materials into a computer and through a word processor, the data can be saved, read on screen with or without large print or with speech or Braille output, edited, and printed in regular print, large print or Braille.

Braille Notetaker

Provides for Braille input with speech or Braille verification for word processing, calculations using the calculator functions, interface with a computer and Braille or print output. These devices can be used as the speech synthesizer for desk or laptop computers.

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Through a camera system this device magnifies up to more than 30 times. It can be used with computers allowing for split screen images to view simultaneously the materials from the computer and CCTV.

Talking WebBrowsers

Allows much easier and efficient navigation of the World Wide Web for blind users.

Braille Translation Software

Allows easier production of Braille materials. Can be used in conjunction with scanners and internet materials.

Screen Magnification

Provides magnification of a portion or all of a screen, including graphics and windows as well as text. Allows users to track position of the input focus. Comes with some speech output to assist users.

Assistive Technology for Hearing Disabilities and Deafblindness

Function Provided

Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD)

Provides a means for users to communicate over telephone lines using text terminals.

Closed Captioning

Provides text transcription of spoken material on video media. Important computer applications include distance learning, CD-ROM, video teleconferencing, and other forms of interactive video

FM Systems

Provides an increased volume level for speech reception while blocking out other environmental sounds through use of a microphone by the speaker and earmolds by the listener.

Refreshable Braille TDD

For individuals who are deafblind, this device provides Braille output and input for communication with another TDD or the telephone deaf relay system.

ShowSounds

System utility provides visual translation of sound information. Nonspeech audio such as system beeps would be presented via screen flashing or similar methods. This capability would be provided by the system infrastructure.

Assistive Technology for
Physical Disabilities

Function Provided

Alternate Pointing Device

Gives users with limited or no arm and hand fine motor control the ability to control mouse movements and functions. Examples include foot operated mice, head-mounted pointing devices and eye-tracking systems.

On-Screen Keyboard

On-screen keyboard which provides the keys and functions of a physical keyboard. On-screen keyboards are typically used in conjunction with alternate pointing devices.

Alternative In-put Devices

Devices such as touch windows, alternative keyboards, switches for input, and scanning software provide alternative means of input for individuals with physical or cognitive limitations.

Switch Toys

Action toys that have on/off external switch capabilities to assist students in learning cause and effect.

Augmentative Communication Devices

Computerized communication devices that can be programmed to speak words or phrases to be selected by an individual who is unable to use their voice to speak.

Predictive Dictionary

Predictive dictionaries speed typing by predicting words as the user types them, and offering those words in a list for the user to choose.

Speech Recognition

Allows the user with limited or no arm and hand fine motor control to input text and/or control the user interface via speech.

     

TSBVI Databases

Category Provide

Database Name

Student Database (SDS)

Database Description

A complex, highly normalized base that contains relations for a variety of student-related data. Extensive linking to other software systems by student SSN and integrated with office automation systems.

Database System

Rdb/Oracle RDO/SQL, COBOL

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

Eleven Megabytes

GIS Data Classification

NA

Sharing

We are currently coordinating with TEA to investigate upload of this data to the PEIMS database

Future

This system is scheduled to be re-written from VAX/VMS to the PC platform in 2001 using the DB2 database structure

Category Provide

Database Name

Medical Limitations

Database Description

Stores medical data on students concerning medical limitations, medications, immunizations, and medical history.

Database System

Rdb/Oracle

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

1.25 Megabyte

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Uses core student data from Student Database.

Future

This system is scheduled to be re-written from VAX/VMS to the PC platform in 2001 using the DB2 database structure.

 

Database Name

Maintenance Work Order

Database Description

Tracks work orders to provide status, repair history, and assignment information.

Database System

Rdb/Oracle

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

Nine Megabytes

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

N/A

Future

The system will need to be migrated from VAX/VMS before 2003. Investigation/Evaluation of commercial software will be reviewed as an initial planning event.

 

Database Name

Registration Tracking

Database Description

Contains elements to track flow of paperwork, student requests/requirements for fall and summer registration.

Database System

RMS indexed sequential file

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

Two megabytes

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Uses core student data from Student Database.

Future

This system will be incorporated in the Student Database re-write in 2001 using the DB2 database structure.

 

Database Name

Student Course Information System (SCI)

Database Description

Contains entry for all student courses, grades, and scheduling.

Database System

Rdb/Oracle

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

5 Megabytes.

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Uses core student data from Student Database.

Future

This application is being replaced by the FileMaker Pro Teacher Solution system being developed by the Curriculum department with the help of a consultant. Tech Services will eventually take over training on use of the system and basic support. Any software updates will need to be contracted.

 

Database Name

Student Incident Reporting (SIR)

Database Description

Contains information concerning behavior and injuries

Database System

Rdb/Oracle

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

1.25 Megabytes.

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Uses core student data from Student Database.

Future

This system will be migrated from VAX/VMS as part of the Student Database specifications in 2001 using the DB2 database structure.

 

Database Name

Warehouse

Database Description

All warehouse receipts and issues.

Database System

RMS ISAM

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

Eight Megabytes.

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

N/A

Future

This system will be migrated as part of the Accounting system in the year 2000 using the DB2 database structure

 

Database Name

Student Trust System (STF)

Database Description

All student accounts receipts and expenditures.

Database System

RMS ISAM

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

Seven Megabytes

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

N/A

Future

This system will be migrated as part of the Accounting system in the year 2000. The unique nature of this software may require that we write it with in-house staff.

 

Database Name

Accounts Payable/Purchasing (APPS)

Database Description

Requisition and payable information and status. Several files linked by requisition number.

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

Six megabytes.

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Expenditures, Encumbrance, and payable transactions from this system are uploaded to the USAS system via FTP transport.

Future

This system may be migrated as part of the Accounting system in the year 2000. An alternative is to develop an interface to the accounting software system.

 

Database Name

Library Management System (LRC)

Database Description

Catalog information for library media and books. Allows for future development of circulation system.

Database System

Rdb/Oracle

Estimated Phys. Storage Require.

13 Megabytes

GIS Data Class.

N/A

Sharing

We have transmitted Mark format files with State Library & Archives agency

Future

This system will be replaced by a commercial product and is scheduled for 2000. The new system will be web-based.

 

Database Name

American Printing House Materials Management System

Database Description

Maintains inventories and order information to support the management of the VH materials from Federal quota funds

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

8 Megabytes

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Data is uploaded to the Texas Education Agency upon request. Order status and availability is planned for Web-content distribution.

Future

Planned migration to Web-based processing of requests.

 

Database Name

VI Registration Database

Database Description

Contains annual registration of all visually impaired students in Texas

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

10 Megabytes

GIS Data Classification

N/A

Sharing

Data is uploaded to the Texas Education Agency annually. On-line registration is planned.

Future

Planned migration to Web-based submission of registration information.

 

Database Name

Technology Loan Program

Database Description

Contains all inventory and descriptions for equipment available for loan to students with visual impairments

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Estimated Physical Storage Requirements

6 megabytes.

GIS Data Class.

N/A

Sharing

N/A

Future

Catalog access is planned via Web in Fiscal year 2000. Order status and availability will follow.

Major Applications

 

Application Name

Financial Administration

Application Description

The Financial Accounting system used by TSBVI is the Uniform State-Wide Accounting System (USAS) supported by the comptroller's office. We are an internal user of this software and the State-Wide Property Accounting System. The Supplies Inventory (Warehouse) used is a proprietary software system written in COBOL. We use the Uniform State-Wide Payroll System and a PC-based Purchasing/Obligation system. Supplementary reporting and fund management software has been written to increase the functionality of accounting reports from the data downloaded from USAS. All proprietary accounting software systems at TSBVI have data extraction features that provide data upload to USAS to avoid duplicate entry. Since this has basically only provided a single-entry, and not a complete accounting system, an Accounting Task Force was formed to evaluate options. The most promising option at this point is to contract with Northrop Grumman to run a state-owned package (DFAS/GFAS) on their hardware. This would provide the agency with an accounting system at the most reasonable cost compared with the other systems evaluated. The system is currently being revised/improved and there are plans to include a Purchasing System. In the meantime, we will need to write links to our existing local systems such as Purchasing/Payment, Warehouse, and Student Trust Fund.

Database System

VMS/Alpha owned and operated by Northrop Grumman

Development Language

PowerBuilder GUI interface to existing DFAS system in Cobol

New System Requirements

The new Accounting System will need to:

  • Be accessible to visually impaired
  • Provide department budget information via Intranet
  • Link to existing systems that may not be included (Warehouse, APPS, Student Trust)
  • Facilitate accounting process

Sharing

TSBVI makes annual summary data report to the State Purchasing and General Services Commission of property transactions. Accounting transfer of batches to/from USAS.

Future

Initial conversion done with in-house staff with contracted assistance as needed, training and ongoing modifications contracted and shared with other participating agencies whenever applicable. The project will begin in spring 2000, completed September 2000.

 

Application Name

Student Administration

Application Description

The Student Database system contains demographic and enrollment information on students in attendance at the Texas School for the Blind. Phase I of the system has been operational since 1988 and migrated to the in-house VAX in 1991 after a processor upgrade. A system re-write is planned to remove it from the VAX. The data from this system is collected and distributed in a variety of ways to meet the needs of the School.

Database System

VAX Rdb/Oracle

Development Language

COBOL, FMS

New System Requirements

The new Student Database system will need to:

· Be accessible to visually impaired

· Be accessible to wide group of users via the intranet

· Communicate with PEIMS for data reporting

· Provide method for users to generate their own queries/reports

· Be able to integrate with a wide range of other systems that will use segments of its data (i.e. central collection point for data on school districts, professional contacts, any public information that eventually should be accessible from the web)

· Ability to accommodate changing enrollment plans and summer sessions

· Include or be able to interface with related systems (Student Medical Info, Registration Tracking, Student Incident Reporting)

Sharing

Backbone for many other systems, reporting to other agencies, public info access, PEIMS

Future

Design begins September 2000, Design scope completed and system requirements defined by spring 2000. Core system ready for beta testing by September 2001. Estimated system completion by September 2002.

 

Application Name

Library Management system

Application Description

The system written in-house is being phased out. A commercial product called Mitinet was purchased to format data entered into Marc format for eventual import into another commercial product that has not yet been selected. All records from the in-house system are being transferred to Mitinet. The Athena software system is being procured.

Database System

 

Development Language

Web-based

New System Requirements

Accessible to visually impaired via the web.

Sharing

The data is transferred to the Texas Library Cooperative.

Future

Purchase commercial system and make available via intranet in FY 2000.

 

Application Name

Accounts Payable/Purchasing System (APPS)

Application Description

All purchase requisitions are entered and the system provides receiving reports for the warehouse, status tracking of requisitions, and generation of payable transactions for general ledger update. After the requisition is filled, data is exported to the payment modules for voucher printing and generation of encumbrance transactions for general ledger update.

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Development Language

FoxPro 2.6

Sharing

Expenditure transactions from the Payment system are transferred via FTP to USAS. Processed History Extract are returned by USAS and uploaded to our reporting database. Transaction Extract files from USAS are moved to the reporting database and appear as Accounts Payable on budget reports. Payables and Encumbrances from the Payment and Purchasing systems respectively are also uploaded to the reporting database.

Future

A purchasing system may be in the development plans of the DFAS/GFAS system. Rewrite system in FY 2002.

 

Application Name

APH Materials Management System

Application Description

Manages the ordering, shipping, and receipt of Federal Quota funded equipment from the American Printing House for the Blind.

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Development Language

FoxPro 2.6

System Requirements

Future ability to accept requests for equipment via the web.

Sharing

None

Future

Systems to be web-accessible by 2003.

 

Application Name

Student Registration Tracking

Application Description

Tracks registration elements during fall and summer student enrollment. Provides numerous status and management reports. Integrated with word processing system for generation of form letters. Entry performed in Center for School Resources with read-only access to numerous school staff for program planning.

Database System

VAX RMS

Development Language

All-In-1 Scripting language

New System Requirements

 

Sharing

None

Future

This system will be migrated from the VAX/VMS environment to the desktop platform. It will be included in the Student Database migration scheduled for FY2001.

 

Application Name

VI Registration System

Application Description

Manages annual registration of all students with visual impairments. Provides numerous status and management reports. Information is received from school districts throughout Texas to indicate enrollment, reading medium, etc.

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Development Language

FoxPro 2.6

System Requirements

Ability to accept enrollment information from districts via Web.

Sharing

Registration data of visually impaired students in Texas is provided by TEA annually to TSBVI on floppy disk.

Future

Scheduled to be rewritten in FY2000 by TEA contract staff in Access.

 

Application Name

Technology Loan System

Application Description

Manages inventory and loan processing of Technology equipment loans provided to students with visual impairments from school districts around the state.

Database System

FoxPro 2.6

Development Language

FoxPro 2.6

System Requirements

Ability to accept equipment requests via Web.

Sharing

None

Future

Completion of on-line catalog. Investigation of Web-based processing of loan requests/equipment availability in FY2000

 

Application Name

Teacher Solution/IEP System

Application Description

Application developed by the Curriculum department to create student IEPs. Adding a segment to do grade reporting and maintain attendance information.

Database System

FileMaker Pro

Development Language

FileMaker Pro

System Requirements

 

Sharing

Imports core student data from Student Database System.

Future

Contract staff and curriculum staff will deliver completed system by September 2000. Technology Services will assume responsibility for support and maintenance with contracted technical services.

Appendix A - Server Configuration

Server Name

Manufacture Model

Server Function

Operating System

CPU

Storage Capacity

RAM

Louis

Gateway ALR7200

Primary domain controller

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel P3 450MHz

7GB, RAID1

256MB

Emerson

Gateway ALR9200

Intranet, Email, Server

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel XEON 400

37GB, RAID5

512MB

Berthold

Gateway ALR9200

Application Server, DB2, WebSphere

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel XEON 400

37GB, RAID5

512MB

Tommy

Wallingford

Filemaker Pro Server

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel P3 450MHz

19GB, RAID1

130MB

Taylor

Gateway ALR7200

Distance Education Web-based Courseware server

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel P3 350MHz

54GB, RAID1

256MB

Texwide

Wallingford

Web Site Server

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel P3 450MHz

51GB, RAID5

130MB

Helen

Gateway ALR7200

Video Server

Windows NT v4.0, Service Pack 5

Intel P3 350MHz

18GB, RAID1

256MB

Appendix B - Web Site Monthly Trends

(please note that January 2000 was uncharacteristically low due to technical problems)

Monthly Trends

 

Shows trends for requests, visits, visitors, etc.

 

Covering the period Monday, September 1, 1997 to Tuesday, May 02, 2000 (inclusive)

 

Visits Per Month

Shows the total number of visits during the time period for every month of the year.

Year and Month

Visits

September 1997

1,134

October 1997

1,746

November 1997

2,236

December 1997

2,443

January 1998

2,723

February 1998

3,781

March 1998

4,574

April 1998

4,694

May 1998

4,606

June 1998

5,431

July 1998

5,471

August 1998

4,571

September 1998

6,164

October 1998

5,461

November 1998

7,706

December 1998

6,961

January 1999

8,465

February 1999

11,685

March 1999

18,901

April 1999

20,033

May 1999

16,359

June 1999

19,655

July 1999

18,291

August 1999

18,072

September 1999

23,779

October 1999

27,834

November 1999

28,775

December 1999

24,357

January 2000

6,616

February 2000

32,595

March 2000

44,271

April 2000

37,802

 

 

 

Total Number of Visitors Per Month

Shows the total number of visitors (unduplicated count) that came to the site each month.

Month

Unique IP Addresses

September 1997

721

October 1997

1,271

November 1997

1,560

December 1997

1,691

January 1998

1,928

February 1998

2,738

March 1998

3,027

April 1998

3,210

May 1998

3,208

June 1998

3,339

July 1998

3,315

August 1998

2,553

September 1998

3,591

October 1998

3,238

November 1998

4,425

December 1998

3,692

January 1999

4,924

February 1999

5,779

March 1999

9,849

April 1999

10,596

May 1999

8,541

June 1999

10,065

July 1999

9,634

August 1999

9,977

September 1999

12,860

October 1999

14,182

November 1999

15,774

December 1999

12,048

January 2000

3,898

February 2000

16,591

March 2000

20,403

April 2000

18,332

 



Appendix C: Five-Year Projections for Outcomes

TSBVI PROJECTED OUTCOMES FOR FISCAL YEARS 2001-2005

Outcome 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Percent of Student Learning Performance Indicator Attained

100

100 100 100 100
Percent of Responding LEA's, Parents and Students Rating the Students' Progress During the Regular School Year as Very Satisfactory or Above

70

70 70 72 75
Percent of Students Attending Short-term Programs Demonstrating Progress as Measured by Pre- and Post-assessment

65

65 70 72 75
Percent of Responding LEAs, Parents, and Students Rating the Students' Experiences in the Short-term Programs as Very Satisfactory or Above

65

65 70 72 75
Percent of Students Whose Responding Local School Districts Rated their Learning Experience at Summer School as Very Satisfactory or Above

88

85 85 85 85
Percent of Students Whose Responding Parents Rated their Learning Experience at Summer School as Very Satisfactory or Above

80

80 80 85 85
Percent of Responding Local School Districts Rating TSBVI as Satisfactory or Above in Meeting the Students' Reason for Referral

65

65 70 72 75
Percent of Responding Parents Rating TSBVI as Satisfactory or Above in Meeting the Students' Reason for Referral

65

65 70 72 75
Percent of Students Graduated From TSBVI During the Past 5 Years Who are Currently Employed

60

45 50 50 55
Percent of Families, Professionals and Paraprofessionals Rating as Very Satisfactory or Above the Improvement in their Knowledge and Skills as a Result of the Services or Products Received from TSBVI

80

82 85 85 85
Percent of Families, Professionals and Paraprofessionals Rating as Very Satisfactory or Above the Effectiveness of the TSBVI Consultant in Addressing the Reason for the On-Site Visit/Workshop 80 85 85 85 85
Percent of Families, Professionals and Paraprofessionals Agreeing that there was a Positive Change for the Student, Staff or Family as a Result of the On-Site Visit

80

85 85 87 87