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TEXAS SCHOOL for the BLIND and VISUALLY IMPAIRED

A Center for Educational Services for All Blind and Visually Impaired Students in Texas

1100 W. 45 th Street, Austin, Texas 78756-3494
(512) 454-8631
1-800-TSB-KARE
TDD (512)-206-9451
www.tsbvi.edu

TSBVI Board of Trustees

Parents of Persons with Visual Impairments

Otilio Galindo, San Angelo
Jamie Wheeler, North Richland Hills
Position vacant

Consumers with Visual Impairments

Gene Brooks, Austin
Jesus Bautista, El Paso
Mary Sue Welch, Dallas

Persons Working with the Visually Impaired

Frankie D. Swift, Board President, Nacogdoches
Donna Vaden Clopton, Weatherford
Deborah Louder, San Angelo

TSBVI Administrative Staff

Dr. Phil Hatlen Superintendent
Miles Fain Principal, Comprehensive Programs
Dr. Lauren Newton Principal, Special Programs
Ken Miller Director of School and Student Services
Cyral Miller Director of Outreach Programs
Barney Schulz Administrator for Business, Operations and Technology

A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

2005-2006: A Year of Achievement and Celebration

image004 As calendar year 2006 comes to a close, the staff, students, parents, friends, and alumni of TSBVI have many memories of a year of celebration and of achievement.

Celebration: TSBVI held its 150 th birthday in 2006. Many of us learned to spell and pronounce the word Sesquicentennial, and it became a part of our language this year. We began the year of celebration in January with an evening of speeches and music, and the Goodenough Auditorium was filled with staff, friends, and community leaders. The program was followed by a wonderful reception held in our dining hall. Soon thereafter, our annual school play added to the year's festivities. Then we hosted a track meet, attended by athletes from five other schools for the blind.

In August, TSBVI hosted an alumni reunion that attracted former students from throughout the United States. Laughter, tears, old stories (some were probably exaggerated), music, and visits to favorite campus locations were shared by many former students. And finally we celebrated our sesquicentennial with a birthday party for TSBVI at the annual Parent Weekend in November. A new school museum was dedicated at that time, and we invite all readers to come visit the TSBVI Hatlen Museum.

Interspersed between these events were many visits from individuals and organizations wanting to share in our birthday. We were honored when the Board of Trustees of the American Foundation for the Blind held its Fall meeting on our campus in honor of our sesquicentennial.

We are proud of our 150-year history. We are equally proud of the performance and achievements of our students and staff in 2005-06. And we look forward to a wonderful future as we continue to learn and grow.

Achievement: Throughout this report, you will read of the many accomplishments of our students during the 2005-06 school year. Performance Measures, our way of determining the satisfaction of all of our customers, including students, parents, and local school districts, were exceptionally high. Performance Indicators, our system for measuring progress for each student, also indicated a high rate of success. Our customers and stakeholders are highly satisfied with the educational opportunities we provide. Our students and their parents are very pleased with the programs we provide.

You might wonder how we can continue to explore ways in which to improve our services, not only on campus, but state-wide. Be assured that we are continually working with teachers and parents in searching for new approaches wherein the expertise of TSBVI can be utilized throughout the state.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that the renovations and new construction on our campus will begin in early 2007, and will result in further improvements in student housing, as well as better classroom facilities. It has truly been an exciting, blessed year.

Dr. Phil Hatlen

TSBVI - Who We Are . . .

A History of the School

The School was established in 1856 and classes were first held at the residence of Mr. W. L. Hill in Austin, Texas. The School moved to the present day Little Campus in the current day Nowotny Visitor Center of the University of Texas. A second campus was established on Bull Creek Road in Austin in 1889. In 1915 the School's name was changed to the Texas School for the Blind and the School moved to its present 45-acre campus on West 45 th Street in Austin. A special program for deafblind children was initiated in 1972 and was housed in the former Confederate Widows' Mansion on 38th Street. The deafblind program moved to the 45th Street campus in 1981. In 1989, the School was given its current name, the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI), to reflect more accurately the population it serves.

The main functions of TSBVI include:

  • To provide a free, appropriate public education that addresses the intense or specialized needs of visually impaired children and youth, including those with additional disabilities when the local district and parents agree that such services are not available in a local program.
  • To conduct supplemental programs, such as summer and other short-term programs.
  • To provide statewide services to parents of students, school districts, regional education service centers, and other agencies including training, consultation, technical assistance, and developing and disseminating materials such as curriculum, instructional methodology, and educational technology.
  • To partner with Texas Tech University and Stephen F. Austin State University in preparation programs for teachers of the visually impaired.

OUR VISION

All blind and visually impaired students in Texas, including those with additional disabilities or deafblindness, will have the skills and knowledge to enjoy fulfilling and satisfying lives.

OUR MISSION

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) will be a leading center of educational expertise in Texas for students with visual impairments, their families, and the local and regional providers who work with them. TSBVI will provide opportunities for children and youth who are visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities or deafblindness, to develop the skills necessary to lead vocationally, personally, and socially satisfying and productive lives.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) believes that every blind and visually impaired person in Texas, including those with additional disabilities or deafblindness:

  • should have the opportunity to be equal and the right to be different.
  • are provided the best assurance for educational success through a comprehensive assessment, sound educational planning, and an appropriate placement.
  • learn best when their teachers and other staff are highly trained and know how to address the unique needs of these students.
  • will have access to the on- and off-campus services of TSBVI.
  • must have instruction in all areas of the expanded core curriculum.must have educational services equal to services provided to sighted students.
  • must have parents who are informed about the educational needs of their children, and who are equal participants in the educational process.

The Staff

The staff of TSBVI is comprised of 413 full-time and part-time positions including classroom teachers, teacher aides, job coaches, related service staff including orientation and mobility instructors, speech-language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, psychologists, behavior specialists, counselors, social workers, health services staff, residential staff who work with students after school hours, clerical staff, business office staff, admissions and records staff, technology staff, maintenance workers, groundskeepers, food service workers, custodial staff, transportation and security staff, among others.

The Board of Trustees

The School is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees, which is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The Board is comprised of three members who are blind or visually impaired, three who have experience working in the field of visual impairment, and three who are parents of a child who is blind or visually impaired. Public meetings of the Board are generally held 56 times per year.

Our Partnerships

  • Local school districts refer students to us for specific needs. Students are then shared between the school district and TSBVI, and information sharing and collaboration for the benefit of students is continuous.
  • Education Service Centers are often a source of referrals to TSBVI, and the ESCs often are the point of contact when a student is returned to his/her community.
  • Additional partners with whom TSBVI has a mutually productive and satisfying relationship are all local and state agencies and organizations of and for the blind.

The chart that follows illustrates the success of these partnerships.

SCHOOLWIDE PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR 2005-2006

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Percent of stakeholders rating their collaboration with TSBVI as satisfactory or higher

Percent of stakeholders rating their collaboration with TSBVI as satisfactory or higher Percent of parents rating their collaboration with the School's programs as satisfactory or higher
2004-2005 School Year 100% 100%
2005-2006 School Year 100% 100%

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Revenue Sources - 2005-2006
General Revenue $12,697,578
Federal Funds $2,204,055
Appropriated Receipts $888,226
Interagency Contracts $179,377
Bond Proceeds $1,000,000

Sources of Funding

The School is primarily funded through appropriations granted by the State Legislature. Other sources of funding include federal funds, appropriated receipts, interagency contracts, and donations.

Percent of parents rating their collaboration with the School's program s as satisfactory or higher

COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS

TSBVI provides full-time comprehensive programs during the regular school year to students who are unable to receive an appropriate public education from the local school district. Districts refer students for placement to acquire a student-specific set of skills that, once learned, will allow the student to return to education in the home community. At TSBVI, students receive intensive instruction in all areas of the curriculum including braille reading and writing, orientation and mobility, assistive technology, career education, social skills, occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, daily living skills training and many other disability-specific skill areas. TSBVI is the only placement in the State where all educational staff are specially trained and certified to teach students with visual impairments and all residential staff receive ongoing training in teaching independent living skills, including personal hygiene, dressing, grooming, and home care.

Post Secondary Program: This program, offered in partnership with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services  Division of Blind Services, provides training for students who are legally blind and have a regular State Board of Education high school diploma or GED. Students seeking this post-secondary experience are in need of remedial academic, independent living and work related skills training. They will cultivate the skills, attitudes and opportunities necessary to meet the demands of competitive employment and adult living.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE 2005-2006 SCHOOL YEAR

" The school met and exceeded the performance standards agreed upon with the Texas Education Agency representing significant student progress in the following core curricular areas. The percentages of students assessed making moderate to substantial progress on curricular-based assessments were:

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Language Math Science Social Technology Career Orientation Independent Social Skills Recreation Infused Skills Arts Studies Education and Mobility Living Skills and Leisure

** Infused Skills (for multiply impaired students)  Social Communicative Interactions, Emotional Development, Senses and Motor Skills, Basic Concepts, Representation/Cognition

  • 98% of parents, local school districts and students rated their satisfaction with students' progress in the Comprehensive Programs as satisfactory, very satisfactory, or outstanding.
  • 86% of graduates surveyed from the past 5 years were engaged in productive life activities (work, volunteer activities or seeking work).
  • 100% of teachers and paraprofessionals met No Child Left Behind highly qualified standards.
  • 100% of Post-Secondary students demonstrated a mastery level of 75% or greater in selected instructional areas.

COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS MEASURES FOR 2005-2006

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Percent of parents, local school districts and students rating their satisfaction with students' progress as satisfactory, very satisfactory, or outstanding. Percent of graduates from the past 5 years engaged in productive activities Percent of teachers highly         qualified as defined by the "No Child Left Behind" Act Percent of Post-Secondary students demonstrating a mastery level of 75% or greater in selected areas
2004-2005 School Year 96.0% 79.55% 100% 100%
2005-2006 School Year 98.13% 85.71% 100% 100%

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS

  • altThe School established two new work training centers on campus: the Mike Smith Work Center for contract assembly, mailing and recycling activities as well as the Wildcat Bistro for food service and hospitality careers training activities.
  • Students participated in a wide variety of work training activities at seven different businesses and organizations in the community.
  • Student workshop activities related to Self-Determination were piloted successfully, enabling secondary students to further develop goals for the future to become successful adults.
  • A Parent Discussion Forum was created for parents to interact using the TSBVI web site.
  • The School's Post Secondary Program was awarded the Natalie Barraga Award by the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired for excellence in a public school program.
  • School Psychologist Marnee Loftin was awarded the Phil Hatlen Award by the Texas Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired for leadership and innovation in the area of evaluation of blind and visually impaired students.
  • Math Teacher Susan Osterhaus was awarded the Council for Exceptional Children Division on Visual Impairments' Teacher of the Year Award and the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired Education Curriculum Division's Joyce May Ogburn Teaching Award.

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES IN 2005-2006

altStudents participated in statewide White Cane Day activities in downtown Austin.

A parent weekend conference was held at TSBVI with a focus on supporting siblings of students and featuring swimming, tandem bicycles, rock wall climbing, go carts, a moon walk, a motorcycle club, cake walk, and a goal ball competition.

Students participated in the Sports Extravaganza for Blind and Visually Impaired Students in Irving, Texas, which included goal ball, track and field and archery.Students participated in the Braille Challenge along with other students in the Education Service Center, Region 13, area.Elementary students participated in learning activities with students from Redeemer Lutheran School.A Work Opportunity Day Fair was held providing students an opportunity to meet with employers in the community, including blind and visually impaired role models.Students participated in Science Fun Day organized in conjunction with the University of Texas Space Grant Consortium.A student holiday music assembly and play were held in the auditorium. alt

Many TSBVI students traveled to participate in the fall South Central Association Schools for the Blind (SCASB) Conference meet held in Mississippi where they participated in wrestling, cheerleading and performing arts. In the spring, TSBVI hosted the SCASB track and field and performing arts conference event.

Students participated in a Red Ribbon Safe and Drug-free Schools assembly and poetry contest.

A public presentation of the musical, Into the Woods, Jr. was performed by students at the School.

Two students from the School participated in Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fiesta Day activities were held at the School.

Prom night 2006 was held at the Double Tree Hotel in Austin followed by a Junior/Senior banquet.

ENROLLMENT STATISTICS

In the 2005-2006 school year, 144 students representing 95 local school districts throughout Texas were enrolled in the Comprehensive Programs of TSBVI.

COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006
Elementary Program 30 37 32  33 29
Secondary Program 127 122 123  117 109
Post-Secondary Program -- 4 7 6
TOTAL 157 163 160  157 144

ETHNICITY OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN 2005-2006 COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAMS

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Hispanic 29%
White 53%
Black 18%

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

SUMMER PROGRAMS

Summer programs are designed to serve students who do not attend TSBVI during the regular school year. As such, they emphasize those vision related skills from the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments that may be difficult for districts to teach during the school year. Instruction focuses on: applying academic skills to functional, real-life situations such as having a job; learning skills of independent living such as personal and domestic care; learning skills related to the creative arts and to recreational/leisure activities; and acquiring a sense of confidence and well-being that comes from interacting with other successful visually impaired students and adults.

altStudents who attend summer programs are typically the only visually impaired student in their school. The classes introduce students to empowering experiences and ideas about living with visual impairment, and provide a socially supportive peer group, which reduces their feelings of isolation, difference and loneliness, and provides enduring friendships and support networks that can last a lifetime. This support can be an important factor in enabling these students to remain in their local districts.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE 2006 SUMMER PROGRAMS

  • 99 secondary academic students participated in programming. This was an increase of 40 students or 60% over the attendance for this population in summer 2005. This increase is attributed in part to the new types of classes offered (described below).
  • 38 non-academic secondary students participated in classes that provided opportunities to practice and use a broad array of skills within meaningful daily activities, such as functional literacy and math, personal and domestic care, recreation and leisure, work, and self-determination.
  • 74 elementary age students participated in programming. The classes provided opportunities to practice and use their current academic and vision-related skills in functional activities such as thematic units, music, community outings, self-care, shopping, cooking, arts and crafts, and recreational activities.
  • 28 students about to graduate from high school participated in jobs in the Austin community, and were taught skills related to independent daily living at home and in the community.
  • 49 multiply impaired students with vision loss were given the opportunity to be away from home (often for the first time) and to participate in skills of independent living and recreational activities in the community.
  • College students from Stephen F. Austin University completed their pre-professional internship by participating in six weeks of supervised summer instruction. TSBVI is the only site in the state where college students can obtain such intensive, varied and diverse opportunities to work with visually impaired students.

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES IN SUMMER 2006

Secondary academic programming was revamped in order to increase the appeal to students and their families. Instead of placing a major focus on vocational themes as we did in prior years, the following classes were offered in four major areas:

  1. Fine Arts: Camp Fine Arts, Writers' Workshop, Braille Music, Rock Band Camp
  2. Physical Education: Recreational Sports Sampler, Athletic Sports Sampler, Cheerleading
  3. Small Business Endeavors: Restaurant Management, Radio Station Management
  4. Adaptive Strategies and Technologies: Adaptive Math Tools and Strategies, Adaptive Technology, Recreational Technology, Travel in the Community

Skills related to the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments were infused into all activities, including residential time.

altTwo classes of older elementary students focused on issues related to Transition to Middle School. This is an especially difficult transition for students with visual impairments. The class addressed issues such as personal organization (managing lockers, organizing backpacks and day timers, retrieving information, dealing with time and deadlines); self advocacy (explaining your needs to teachers and other students); social skills (caring for personal appearance; initiating conversations and meeting new people); adaptive tools and technology (exposure to scanning software, magnification systems, and homework and classroom aids); orientation and mobility (changing classes, negotiating crowded hallways).

Individual high school academic students were assigned to community jobs in Austin at places such as: a senior activity center, a YMCA weight room assistant, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, a local fish supply store, a counseling center, a technology company, a local preschool, St. David's Wheelchair Fitness Center, and Half Price Books. Small groups of functional level high-school students worked together at sites such as: The Austin Food Bank, Goodwill Industries, and WalMart. During residential time they participated in high-level instruction in skills of independent living and community participation.

ENROLLMENT STATISTICS

In the 2006 Summer Programs, 288 students were served, representing 135 local school districts throughout Texas.

Summer School Enrollment Statistics
YEAR: 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
SUMMER PROGRAMS 272 263 242 255 288

ETHNICITY OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN 2006 SUMMER PROGRAMS

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Hispanic 30%
White 50%
Black 17%
Asian/Pacific Islander 3%

SHORT-TERM PROGRAMS

Short-term Programs were initiated in 2000 in response to local districts' requests for assistance with the unique needs of students who are academically successful and on grade level, but need to learn special tools in order to access the statewide curriculum. TSBVI developed a set of brief, intensive classes, from three to five days in length, in areas such as adaptive technology, math tools and strategies, Braille reading and writing, tactile graphs and maps, etc. In addition to working on the objectives for which they were referred, students receive informal instruction and supported practice in other aspects of the Expanded Core Curriculum for Students with Visual Impairments. This includes access skills related to independent living, travel, recreation and leisure, social interactions, and self-determination, in the company of visually impaired peers who are also practicing these skills. They also meet other students and adults with visual impairments, which is often the significant ingredient that most contributes to a change of attitude which can impact the rest of their education and life.

TSBVI provides three types of short-term classes:

  1. Individualized instruction to promote access to and success with the statewide curriculum (TEKS): Local districts can refer a student to work on any aspect of the expanded core curriculum for visually impaired students. Each student's individualized objectives are jointly determined between TSBVI and the local teacher of the visually impaired.
  2. Special topic classes: Classes are offered on specific topics pertinent to students with visual impairments (e.g., adaptive technology for word processing, internet, email, data management, etc.; adapted tools and technology for accessible mathematics; travel in the community; issues in low vision).
  3. Independence Weekends: students participate in theme-oriented classes that provide opportunities to practice skills of independent living, self-determination, communication, recreation and leisure, and to interact and learn from other students and staff with visual impairments. This year's themes were: Fun in the Kitchen (elementary), Volunteerism (Middle School), and Social/Recreational Activities, including senior prom (high school).

ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE 2005-2006 SHORT-TERM PROGRAMS

  • altStudents were provided instruction in a broad range of skills related to visual impairment, including Braille reading and writing, skills for independent living, nonvisual mathematics, low vision adaptations, blindness technologies, orientation and mobility, social skills and self-determination.
  • 100% of students met the objectives for which they were referred.
  • Students were introduced to a wide range of adaptive, electronic technologies that are available to assist persons with visual impairments, and taught how to evaluate and match them to meet various needs that arise.
  • 94% of responding school districts, parents and students rated their experience in short-term programs as very satisfactory or above.
  • Short-term programs served 132 students, an increase of almost 100% since the program's inception during the 2000-2001 school year when 67 students were served.

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES IN SHORT-TERM PROGRAMS 2005-2006

  • The Special Programs department added an additional teaching position to meet the needs of its growing population.
  • Special Programs was invited to present on Short Term Programs at the national convention of the Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB) in Kentucky. We did this by developing a panel of five schools, and then we developed the content for that session. We presented on the same topic at the national AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired) conference in Utah.
  • altSpecial Programs expanded its relationship with the Division of Blind Services, speaking at workshops and extending its announcements to their caseworkers. We further distributed information about our programs by presenting to educators and parents in Lubbock, Waco, and Corpus Christi, as well as at the Texas Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (TAER).
  • Special Programs expanded its programming in the area of transition from high school to college. In addition to the specific referral objectives, certain students in secondary classes were familiarized with concepts related to college disability services, applying to colleges online, seeking financial aid, the difference between child and adult services, the importance of self-advocacy, understanding the roles of various agencies, and visiting the Division of Blind Services and the Office for Students with Disabilities at the University of Texas. The success of this program addition resulted in the offering of a special, separate class during the following school year.
  • The number of elementary students in attendance increased significantly. The weekend class grew by 20%. Elementary offerings in the weeklong classes were expanded in order to add topics of special need to these students: math tools and adaptive technology.
  • Two new classes were offered: (1) Fitness at Home and in the Community: this class addressed skills needed for health, fun, and well-being, an area of high need for persons who are visually impaired; and (2) Getting There: this class addressed tasks and issues related to getting around in a city.
  • A trip was made to one Education Service Center in order to initiate the process for a special class to target students who live in the Valley. Administrators in Regions 1, 2, 3 were consulted in order to implement this pilot technology class during the fall of the following school year.
  • Special Programs worked to expand transportation assistance to students on routes not previously offered to these students. We offered a new transportation route on the TSBVI busses for students attending from the Abilene/San Angelo area. We also offered to provide transportation to students who wished to attend the pilot technology class for districts in the Valley area.
  • Twelve students participated in a three-day Low Vision class. This class focused on the unique needs of students who do have some vision yet need highly specialized adaptations in order to benefit maximally in school and daily living. Their needs are often overlooked because they can appear to get by, yet there exists a wide range of interventions that can contribute greatly in helping them meet their true potential.
  • Twelve students participated in the new Getting There class. This class introduced students to skills such as (1) arranging and using various forms of public and personal transportation -- e.g., transportation options, hiring a driver, accessing routes and schedules, making safe choices, cost considerations; (2) being a non-driver (e.g., giving directions to others, psychological considerations, using a Global Positioning System (GPS) to help with directions; and (3) negotiating special indoor mobility features (e.g., escalators, elevators and revolving doors.
  • Eight students participated in a weeklong class teaching Adaptive Tools & Technology for Accessible Mathematics. This class presented techniques needed by a visually impaired learner to be successful in a regular secondary algebra or geometry class.
  • 32 students attended three-day independence weekend classes that provided the opportunity to practice skills of independent living, participate in community activities, and experiment with skills of self-determination. These students are usually the only visually impaired person in their school. The weekend class gave them the life-affirming opportunity to interact and share their experiences with other students and staff who understood their personal experience.

ENROLLMENT STATISTICS

In the 2005-2006 Short-term Programs, 132 students were served, representing 62 local school districts.

YEAR: 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006
SHORT-TERM PROGRAMS 69 126 114 126 132
ETHNICITY OF STUDENTS ENROLLED IN 2005-2006 SHORT-TERM PROGRAMS

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Hispanic 27.0%
White 61.5%
Black 11.5%

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR 2005-2006

The following graphs display the achievement of Special Programs in meeting objectives set out in the School's Agency Strategic Plan and in the School Improvement Plan.

SPECIAL PROGRAMS PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR 2005-2006

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Percent of students attending short-term programs demonstrating progress Percent of responding school districts, parents, and students rating the students' experiences in the short-term programs as very satisfactory or outstanding Percent of students whose school districts rated their learning experience at summer programs as very satisfactory or outstanding Percent of students whose parents rated their learning experience at summer programs as very satisfactory or outstanding
2004-2005 School Year 100% 95.68% 87.23% 84.0%
2005-2006 School Year 100% 93.84% 92.98% 91.11%

OUTREACH PROGRAMS

altAs a statewide resource TSBVI collaborates with local and regional entities to support the State's entire student population of students with visual impairments. A comprehensive set of Outreach services is available for students who are blind or visually impaired or deafblind, with or without additional disabilities, and their families across the state, regardless of whether they ever step onto campus. Outreach services help ensure that all children with visual impairments and deafblindness in all kinds of settings are offered quality educational services.

Specific Outreach services include registration of students with visual impairments and the deafblind census; local district and home consultation; local, regional and statewide workshops; a quarterly newsletter in Spanish and English produced in collaboration with the Texas Division of Blind Services; on-line resources; a technology loan program; a mentor program and support for the Texas teacher preparation system.

alt The TSBVI Outreach Program has a successful history of introducing cutting edge educational practices to Texas practitioners. Through collaboration with national research grants, university projects and federal initiatives and drawing upon concentrated expertise on campus, the specialists from the Outreach staff have helped to import new educational research into best practice in Texas. Use of calendar systems, assessment tools, new types of adapted literacy technologies, communication strategies for students who are deafblind, and active learning curriculum for students with the most severe disabilities have been disseminated statewide via Outreach support and facilitation. Model training for specialized paraprofessionals (interveners) to serve students with deafblindness has been developed by the Outreach staff and shared statewide. With facilitation of Outreach staff, a coordinated approach to professional preparation has increased the supply of qualified personnel in Texas by 239 individuals, or 40% since 1996. Mentors have been assigned to new teachers and orientation and mobility specialists in training to support their formative learning in their new disciplines. In addition, methodologies and resources developed in this state for in-service and pre-service training are now exported nationally and internationally through the TSBVI website, national conference and curriculum publications.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE 2005-2006 FISCAL YEAR

  • Over 98% of Outreach customers rated the improvement of their knowledge and skills as a result of services received from the Outreach program as satisfactory or higher, of whom 83.91% reported that improvement as either very satisfactory or outstanding.
  • 98.9% of Outreach customers rated the effectiveness of the Outreach services during school visits and local workshops as satisfactory or higher, with 86.56% rating the service as very satisfactory or outstanding.
  • 88.1% of the evaluations of Outreach customers in 2006 indicated positive student, staff or family changes as a result of Outreach visits, an increase from 2005.
  • Eighteen videoconferencing events allowed 640 people to access high quality live training without incurring travel costs, and training videotapes extend the reach of each event. This is nearly double the number of participants in the past year, but more important than the number of participants is the ability for families and professionals from all geographical areas of the state to attend relevant training. The development of on-line training resources is a high priority for the Outreach program.
  • In 2005-2006, there were 149 on-site school consultations.
  • The Outreach program provided 195 presentations and conferences.
  • Nearly 5,000 professionals, paraprofessionals and family members participated in workshops sponsored or presented by the Outreach staff last year.
  • Outreach on-sites and/or local and regional workshops were provided in all 20 ESC regions.
  • The TSBVI Outreach program successfully managed both the registration of VI Students and the statewide census of students who are Deafblind.

SPECIAL ACTIVITIES IN THE 2005-2006 FISCAL YEAR

  • Three Mentor Centers brought VI professionals-in-training and their mentors to the campus of the TSBVI and local districts to observe quality programming. For many, this is their first opportunity to observe a wide variety of students with visual impairments. Presentations on topics relevant to new teachers were included in addition to the school observations settings.
  • The TSBVI Outreach staff facilitated a new statewide advisory committee on educational programming for students with visual impairments. This group has membership including representative parents, consumers, VI professionals, Texas Education Agency personnel, American Foundation for the Blind, Division of Blind Services and Early Childhood Intervention Council from the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and personnel preparation programs at Stephen F. Austin and Texas Tech universities.
  • Training in topics specific to the unique needs of students with visual impairments, including assessment, technology, literacy and appropriate curricula were available both on campus and via videoconferencing on a monthly basis.
  • A family retreat for families with children who have Usher Syndrome was offered in January in collaboration with the Texas School for the Deaf and the National Technical Assistance Consortium in Deafblindness.
  • A quarterly newsletter produced in collaboration with the Department of Blind Services was mailed to over 5000 on our mailing list in Spanish, English, disc, braille and large print formats plus it is posted on the TSBVI website. 35% of the most requested downloads from the TSBVI website are the SEE/HEAR newsletter articles.
  • A new group of parents of students with deafblindness successfully completed the deafblind family leadership series. Each family successfully implemented personally designed action plans for making a difference at the local, regional or statewide levels. An exciting development was the formation of a statewide parent association for families whose children have CHARGE syndrome, organized by a graduate of the leadership program.
  • Staff from the Outreach program assisted several districts with developing transition plans for their students, who have gone on to enroll in post-secondary programming, vocational planning and the pursuit of university coursework. One student presented on her planning process at a statewide conference.
  • Texas Focus, a statewide workshop for professionals and family members, presented as a joint project with all 20 ESCs, was held in Dallas and offered training to 279 participants on the theme of transition planning and services.
  • Training tailored to new professionals offered a targeted opportunity to supplement university training in the area of self-determination for 75 participants at a Pre-Conference to Texas Focus.
  • Over 80 families are now active on the family listserv for families with children who are visually impaired, hosted on the TSBVI website and moderated by Outreach personnel.
  • The Outreach program trained participants from around the country on how to conduct in-depth program review and analysis using a process known as Quality Programs for Students with Visual Impairments. In addition, local districts across the state and the campus personnel at TSBVI were supported in their use of the Quality Programs program.

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES FOR 2005-2006 FISCAL YEAR

The following graphs display the achievement of Outreach Programs in meeting objectives set out in the School's Agency Strategic Plan and in the School Improvement Plan.

OUTREACH PROGRAM MEASURES FOR 2005-2006

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Percent of Outreach customers rating as very satisfactory or outstanding the improvement of their knowledge and skills Percent of Outreach customers rating as very satisfactory or outstanding the effectiveness of the on-site/ workshop Percent of Outreach customers agreeing there was a positive change for the student, staff, or family as a result of the on-site visit
Fiscal Year 2005 88.1% 90.7% 85.71%
Fiscal Year 2006 83.91% 86.56% 88.10%

OTHER SERVICES TO PARENTS AND PROFESSIONALS

CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

The Curriculum Department at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired develops curriculum written by teachers and other certified professionals serving blind and visually impaired students in all curricular approaches. Curriculum and resource guides are peer-reviewed, published and sold worldwide to assist the teacher, orientation and mobility instructor and parent in areas such as independent living, career education, technology, Braille instruction, orientation and mobility, and low vision. Each guide contains assessment and instructional methodology.

ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2005-2006

  • A total of 7213 publications were sold in fiscal year 2006. This includes print (5908), Braille (1075), videos (80) and CDs (150). The Calendars for Students with Multiple Impairments book was the top seller at 1104 copies. Over 350 copies each of the Independent Living Assessment and Ongoing Evaluation, TAPS Assessment and Ongoing Evaluation, and Learning Media Assessment were sold. We sold 450 copies of our newest publication, Making Evaluation Meaningful.
  • Development continued on a curriculum for social skills, a curriculum for students ages 18 and over, and a sexuality education curriculum.
  • Development continued on a Practical Academics Health Curriculum in coordination with the School Health Advisory Council.
  • A curriculum for teaching Self-Determination skills to students with visual impairment was completed. It is currently being reviewed and refined.
  • Mini-Steps and Milestones: A History of Services for Young Children Who are Blind or Visually Impaired, compiled by Dr. Virginia Bishop was completed and is currently available.
  • An autobiography written by Dr, Natalie Barraga, titled If Anyone Can, You Can, is nearing completion.
  • The Curriculum Coordinator continues to evaluate and refine the performance indicator assessment tools that guide IEP development and instruction for TSBVI students.
  • The Curriculum department continues to support classroom teachers in their instruction.

TSBVI's WEB SITE www.tsbvi.edu

The School hosts a web site that is recognized throughout the world for content concerning visual impairment and the education of blind and visually impaired students. The entire website is accessible to blind and visually impaired persons. This year saw the addition of an accessible online version of the school library system allowing students and others to search for materials. Project Math Access was also added to the TSBVI website. The content, developed by Research and Development Institute, Inc. over a 6 year period, includes instructional videos, instructional materials, and other resources all related to mathematics instruction for students who are blind or visually impaired.

In 2005-2006, there were over 3 million visitors to the web site from more than 200 countries including Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Peru, the Netherlands, Japan, Germany, Italy and New Zealand. The most visited pages were on sensory integrative dysfunction in young children, non-verbal communication, teaching math to visually impaired students, central auditory processing disorders, downloadable braille materials, and teaching strategies. The largest number of file downloads included the See/Hear newsletter in English and Spanish, the Vision Anomalies Handbook, the Math Continuum, and the Algebra 1 Nemeth Cheat Sheet. Forty percent of the most downloaded files were Spanish versions of newsletters.

BOND PROJECTS AND CONSTRUCTION DURING 2005-2006

A master plan has been developed over this last year that includes the replacement of all but 4 of the original buildings built in 1917. In addition, the plan recommends replacement of some of the newer buildings including 2 dormitories, the Silverrain Building and the Recreation Center. The school is in the process of requesting additional funds to proceed with the master plan. These funds would provide for student housing, a student activity center, a student health center, student outreach educational and vocational facilities, maintenance facility renovation, dorm K renovation or replacement to provide moving space for construction dislocation, OT/PT facility renovation or replacement, challenge course and new track and field facilities, a student transportation pickup area, utility infrastructure replacements for gas and water lines, upgrades for fire lanes and pathways, security upgrades, communications and information resources infrastructure upgrades, accessibility upgrades, and other campus improvements.

The process of developing the master plan has included stakeholders from every corner of the campus in addition to specialists in audio and visual acuity to assure the new facilities meet and/or exceed the needs of the blind and visually impaired students of Texas.

Construction schedules:

  • Remodeling of four large student residences was completed (Dorms 504, 505, 506, and 545).
  • Plans are being developed to replace the elementary residential complex with a new building. Demolition and construction is scheduled to begin in June 2007.
  • The School is waiting for final approval on its plans to demolish the Main School Instructional Building (Building 500) and build a new facility including a separate cafeteria and fine arts building.
  • Plans have been completed for a new duplex dormitory and construction is expected to begin in January 2007.
  • Plans are being developed now to construct a new four-apartment dormitory. The expected start date for construction is Spring 2007.
  • Plans are being developed for a new natatorium (swimming pool) and recreation building.  The project is currently on hold until the School's Facility Master Plan is approved by the Legislature.

TSBVI MAJOR DONORS IN 2005-2006:

All Blind Children of Texas American Council of the Blind of Texas Austin Council of the Blind Austin Masonic Lodge #12 Dallas Council of the Blind Delta Gamma Sorority Downtown Austin Lions Club Junior League of Austin Point Venture Lions Club

CONCLUSION

We are proud of our School and its accomplishments. We change lives. We look forward to our next 150 years of service. Most of all we are grateful to the parents, colleagues, and legislators who continue to support the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

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