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 Together, we can make Texas a beacon state:*

  • A state where our children receive an excellent education so they have the knowledge and skills for the 21st century;
  • A state where people feel safe in their communities, have access to equal justice, and all people know the consequences of committing a crime are swift and sure;
  • A state where our institutions encourage jobs and economic opportunity;
  • A state where each resident accepts responsibility for his or her behavior; and
  • A state where our people - our greatest resource - are free to achieve their highest potential.

I envision a state where it continues to be true that what Texans can dream, Texans can do.

The Mission of Texas State Government *

To support and promote individual and community efforts to achieve and sustain social and economic prosperity for its citizens.

The Philosophy of Texas State Government *

  • State government will be ethical, accountable, and dedicated to serving the citizens of Texas well.
  • State government will operate efficiently and spend the public's money wisely.
  • State government will be based on four core principals that will guide decision-making processes.
  • Government cannot solve every problem or meet every need.
  • State government should do a few things and do them well.
Limited and Efficient Government

Government cannot solve every problem or meet every need.
State government should do a few things and do them well.

Local Control The best form of government is one that is closest to the people. State government should respect the right and ability of local communities to resolve issues that affect them. The state must avoid imposing unfunded mandates.
Personal Responsibility

It is up to each individual, not government, to make responsible decisions about his or her life. Personal responsibility is the key to a more decent and just society. State employees, too, must be accountable for their actions.

 
Support for Strong Families

The family is the backbone of society and, accordingly, state government must pursue policies that nurture and strengthen Texas families.

 

Texas state government should serve the needs of our state but also be mindful of those who pay the bills. By providing the best service at the lowest cost and working in concert with other partners, state government can effectively direct the public's resources to create a positive impact on the lives of individual Texans. The people of Texas expect the best, and state government must give it to them.

* From Vision Texas: The Statewide Strategic Planning Elements for Texas State Government, February 2000, developed by Governor George W. Bush and the Texas Legislative Budget Board.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

For the Fiscal Years 2001-2005 Period

DOWNLOAD RTF VERSION

Board Member Term Expires  Hometown
Kerry Goodwin, President 1999  Dallas
Mary Sue Welch, Vice President 1999  Dallas
Dr. Roseanna Davidson, Secretary 1999 Lubbock
Fidel Menchaca 2001 McAllen
Frankie Swift 2001 Nacogdoches
Vacant Position 2001
Bruce Best 2003 Spring
Barbara Cherry 2003 Garrison
Zena Pearcy 2003 Austin

June 1, 2000

Signed: __________________________________

(Superintendent)

Approved: ________________________________

(Board President)

 

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Name

Paper Page Number

STATEWIDE VISION, MISSION AND PHILOSOPHY      4
RELEVANT STATEWIDE GOALS AND BENCHMARKS 5
MISSION OF THE TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED  5
PHILOSOPHY OF THE TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED  5
EXTERNAL/INTERNAL ASSESSMENT  6
TSBVI GOALS, OBJECTIVES, OUTCOME MEASURES, STRATEGIES, OUTPUT MEASURES AND EFFICIENCY MEASURES 46

APPENDICES:

For Fiscal Years 1999-2003

Table of Contents

  • Download Strategic Plan - (RTF 667K)
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • External/Internal Assessment
  • Planning Factors and Assumption Table
  • Budget Strategies
  • Goals
  • Information Resources Environment
  • Organization and Personnel
  • IR Policies and Practices Table
  • Telecommunication Infrastructure
  • Major Applications
  • 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. Instruction for students has expanded to include the integration of technology into content areas for both teaching and learning. This development of the technology program has been created through a coordinated multi-disciplined 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 continue to progress, a systematic professional development plan will be implemented to meet the training needs of the instructional staff. The five curricular strands that comprise the curriculum will be revised to reflect the integration of technology to implement learning activities in the content areas. This cycle of training enables new technical innovation to evolve as staff become more technically sophisticated and student instruction becomes more structured.

    Over the past several years, the School has dedicated staff and fiscal resources to expand service offerings to students and update the 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 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 mature and develop. Among the key areas of new technologies, our challenge by 2002 will be to satisfy the expectations of the Technology Integration in Education grant (See Attachment 1).

    This grant will fund development of technology to fulfill the School's mandate to serve as a statewide resource to families, professionals, and paraprofessional by employing distance learning technologies.

    The key strategic areas of development for Funding Years 1997-2002 include:

    Computer upgrades and Increased student access - Expanding the number of computers available to students in the instructional and residential settings will increase access to shared resources so students can have a context to do homework, pursue leisure activities, and explore the networked environment. Since many of the school's laptop computers are based on older, slower micro-processors, they need to be upgraded to current performance levels. Continued upgrade of the school's classroom desktop computers to multimedia computers will provide access to CD-ROM resources and full access to the curriculum through student use of add-on assistive software and adaptive/ augmentative devices.

    Expanded teacher and staff training - Training is an ongoing need of TSBVI staff. As systems become more complex and applications more prevalent, staff must expand their skills to support student learning. With the advent and expansion of networked computers, training will address how to fully utilize the expanded tool-set. The school-wide Strategic Plan includes staff training and distance education models for integrating technology use with teaching and learning across the curricular areas. Training for administrative support staff will increase efficient use of the Microsoft Office environment and ease the transition from the older All-In-1 office automation software.

    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 terminals are phased out and the resources shift to NT-based networking. Remote network access will be implemented to accommodate residential areas and work areas that do not have access to the fiber-optic network infrastructure.

    Migration of the current VMS-based VAX 4000-200 processor and application software to Windows NT-based servers -This environment will support networked Windows-based and Macintosh clients, provide access to LAN-based applications. Upgrade of the technical environment will be a logical transition of the network to provide a more contemporary and supportable technical base. The migration planning would have the VAX computer uninstalled in fiscal year 2003. As part of that migration, all CRT terminals need to be replaced with desktop computers that provide expanded functionality. Funding and implementation of new accounting software will provide interpretive reports for end-user evaluation and analysis of accounting information, improving our use of the USAS and USPS systems. Budget management, General Ledger/cash status, and local fund accounting functions are not available in existing VAX/VMS reporting applications. These functions are not expected to materialize from the core USAS and USPS systems. Procurement of software is considered the only available alternative since the scope of the application is too broad for development by in-house technical staff. Various alternatives continue to be explored by TSBVI and other agencies in similar circumstances.

    Distance Learning Technology - The School has received a Technology Integration in Education grant awarded by the Texas Education Agency to embark upon 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 throughout Texas. This technology would allow for the School to provide valuable information about curriculum, 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 can 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 in providing on-line query of TSBVI statewide functions, such VI Registration and Technology Loan equipment status and availability will be developed. Exploitation of Intranet technology is expected to provide new levels of agency collaboration and productivity.

    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 the School:

  • 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, blind individuals, and people with experience working in the profession. 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. The students' exposure to technology range 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 an eleven million dollar budget and requires accounting and financial management systems to manage diverse fiscal systems that range from student banking accounting to personnel and budget management of almost 400 contract and classified employees to federal fund management and accounting. Various state-wide functions are provided by TSBVI and numerous programs for students with visual impairments depend on services we provide.

    In order to support the State Strategic Plan to integrate government services by developing, implementing, and maintaining a statewide information resources infrastructure, the School requires effective information management systems. These systems assist program 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; support of over 170 staff accounts on the VAX-based office automation software, All-In-1; using over 200 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 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 the employees' work schedules. Use of electronic mail enables more productive and time-efficient communication, providing staff more available time for student-related and qualitative activities. As mandated in the State Strategic Plan, all TSBVI technical resources are based on industry standard architectures to insure coordinated resource sharing.

    Acquisition, use, and management of information technology at TSBVI supports the State Strategic plan to insure 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 and identified areas of need. In order for the School to offer services where they are most needed staff of the School's outreach programs provide those services through multiple delivery methods. It is equally important that the staff of TSBVI have the knowledge and skills to both teach students and to serve as resources to other teachers and parents throughout the State. The technical abilities of staff at the School currently range from the inexperienced to the sophisticated. Effective technology systems must be easy to use, require relatively short training programs, and be supportable by a small technical staff.

    A major initiative since 1995 has been to implement a campus-wide local area network. 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 not only to assist in the support of students using the devices at TSBVI, but also to assist local school district teachers and students throughout the state. Teachers and students have access in the classroom to instruction-oriented software systems such as the school library system, grade reporting/scheduling system, student database, and other systems oriented to reduce the paperwork of instructional staff and provide support tools to improve instructional effectiveness. The IEP progress reporting system has provided instructional staff a structured method to create, store, retrieve, revise, and update student performance information.

    Internet access enables staff members to use electronic resources such as the World Wide Web, The Texas Library Connection, the Educational Software Selector (TESS), and resources available through the Web site of the Texas Education Agency, and online resources from Regional Education Service Center XIII, 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. 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 that exists for the development of such resources.

    To increase student access to computers outside the classroom, the local area network will be expanded to the residential areas with dial-up access to provide remote access to network resources. In addition to applications of micro-processor based hardware and software systems to support the instruction of students and the professional development of teachers and related service staff, 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 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. Meaningful interpretive reports for end-user evaluation and analysis from data integrated from USAS will hopefully be procured commercially.

    The School has entered into 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 is also providing support to the electronic database for statewide registration of students with visual impairments reported to the Texas Education Agency. Information management system for the Technology Loan program was written for desktop processing from the old VAX-based system, improving the application and positioning the system for web-based distribution of status and availability information on loans and equipment.

    Tenets of the School's approach to instructional technology:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Technology can facilitate language development, communication, independence, interdependence, emergent literacy, development of social and cooperative learning skills, access to information, alternative means of expression, visual training learning of new skills, and maintenance of skills previously mastered.
  • 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.
  • 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 assistive access through system infrastructure that allow add-on assistive software to enable specialized input and output capabilities. Assistive technology tools for users who are blind, have low vision, hearing impairment, deafness, deafblindness, and additional motor impairments fall into the following general categories.
  • 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 fund 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 through implementation of the TIE grant.
    Increased 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 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
    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 over time as hardware and software elements are retired Funds will be available to migrate existing applications and server function to Windows NT
    Existing Mac Server Software (Pathworks) has been retired by the manufacturer Alternative server functions will continue to be available with the Windows NT platform
    Open systems software is required for application development Speech and screen review 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

    Budget Strategies

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

    1. Expend funds currently allocated in the following expense categories:
      1. Purchase computer hardware and software
      2. Maintain and repair hardware
      3. Employ Trainers (2.0 FTEs)
      4. Departmental Operating Budgets for Training
        Timeline: Funding Years 1998 & 1999
    2. Reallocate budgeted dollars:
      1. The School has the flexibility to shift budgeted dollars to established priorities.
      2. The School may reallocate savings from unexpended salaries and operating expenses to technology priorities under authority granted to the School by the Texas Legislature.
      3. The School may use the process of debt refinancing to purchase technology in excess of its current year's operating budget by committing to use funds from future operating budgets.
        Timeline: Funding Years 1998 through 2003
    3. Request additional funds within the School's biennial Legislative Appropriation Request to the Legislature.
      Timeline: Summer 1998 for Funding Years 2000 - 2001
    4. Seek external funds, hardware, and software from a variety of sources, including the following:
      1. Dell Foundation: Timeline: Spring, 1998. Granted.
      2. Hitachi Foundation: Timeline: Spring, 1998. Applied.
      3. Grant: Federal E-Rate: Timeline, Spring, 1998. In Process.
      4. Gifts from corporations, service organizations, individuals
      5. Grant: Federal Technology Integration in Education through TEA:
        Timeline, Spring, 1998. In Process

    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 will annually 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 deaf/blind, 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: Assess viability of current technologies

    Action Item 2: Review current equipment to assess functionality

    Action Item 3: Target equipment to be replaced

    Action Item 4: Prepare funding proposal

    Action Item 5: Procure and install replacement equipment

    Timeline: Funding Year (FY) 97-98

    IR Strategy #2: Expand distribution of computing resources through the implementation of a school-wide local area network.

    Action Item 1: Assess logical expansions of the network to buildings without access

    Action Item 2: Instruct staff in new technology systems

    Timeline: FY 97-99

    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 1999, 90 percent of classrooms will have a minimum of one computer workstation linked to a school-wide local area network.

    Objective #2: Students will use technology commensurate with their abilities to enhance personal productivity

    Strategy 1: Integrate technology applications into the five curricular strands

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

    Strategy 2: Implement instruction for students designed to promote the following uses of technology:

  • Students will use the Internet to access electronic text of educational materials and news of current events that are not available in Braille or large print for learners who are blind and visually impaired
  • Students will participate in activities on the Internet that encourage communication and interaction with a variety of individuals of varying interests
  • 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 curriculae 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: Explore the feasibility of using computer-assisted instruction in the curricular areas.

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

    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 1999. 100 percent of enrolled students will be assessed to determine students' needs for and use of adaptive/assistive technology devices.

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

    Strategy 1: All instructional staff will acquire a working knowledge of screen reading programs in a Windows environment, screen enlarger software, Braille translation software, electronic Braille input devices, word processing software, an Internet browser, email.

    Action Item 1: Develop and implement a plan to train all instructional staff to integrate technology use into teaching of content areas

    Action Item 2: Develop training modules and implementation checklist for each assistive add-on software, augmentative, and adaptive device used by students in learning

    Action Item 3: Determine training groups based on existing knowledge and skills

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

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

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

    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: Use Internet resources

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

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

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

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

    Action Item 2: Develop and implement a Trainer-of-Trainer model

    Timeline: FY 97-2000

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 2000, a written plan will be implemented describing ongoing professional development activities to train and maintain the skills of all instructional staff in the use of technology for teaching. By 2000, 90 percent of instructional staff will have received training and demonstrated proficiency in the use of technology on a skills checklist or other written assessment instrument.

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

    Strategy 1: Revise Basic Skills, Functional Academics, Academic, and Early Concepts

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

    Strategy 2: Develop Applied Academics to reflect technology integration

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 2000, the scope and sequence of the School's curriculum will contain learning activities integrating technology into learning.

    Objective 5: Students will learn to use appropriate technology in order to acquire the knowledge and skills specified in their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

    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 98-2000

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

    Action Item 1: Develop and implement minimum hardware and software configurations across curricular areas and school-wide locations.

    Action Item 2: Upgrade current equipment and purchase new equipment to ensure the capability to run assistive add-on applications

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

    Action Item 4: Create a software review committee

    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 98-2000

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: By 1999, 100 percent of students' IEPs will contain goals, objectives, or modifications integrating the use of technology, when technology assessments indicate such a need.

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

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

    Strategy: Utilize electronic publishing software to provide an accessible, centralized repository of agency information.

    Action Item 1: Continue to expand the TSBVI web site

    Action Item 2: Explore and develop guidelines and implementation strategies for establishment of intranet

    Action Item 3: Train information providers in system update methods

    Timeline: FY 98-2000

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Through years 1998-2000, the number of individuals accessing the School's Web site will increase by 20 percent annually. A monthly written report will document the usage.

    Strategy Implement Library and Circulation System

    Action Item : Review current system requirements

    Action Item : Purchase Commercial Software

    Action Item : Implement system

    Timeline: FY 2002

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Through years 2002, Updating and cataloging of Library resources to determine functional specifications for the new system. New system will be cross platform and accessible via the World Wide Web.

    Objective 2: Coordinate administrative technology applications and information exchange with external agencies including, but not limited to: Local Education Agencies, Commission for the Blind, Texas Education Agency, State Agencies, the University of Texas, and other organizations or individuals serving visually impaired individuals.

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

    Action Item 1: Investigate internal modifications to increase reporting reliability

    Action Item 2: Improve analysis reporting from USAS, SPA, USPS extraction data

    Timeline: FY 99-2001

    Strategy 3: Asses risk and impact of year 2000 issues to agency information systems

    Action Item 1: Identify year 2000 issues and impact factors

    Action Item 2: Review application software and existing hardware

    Action Item : Modify Student Trust Fund system to correct failure points

    Action Item : Modify Warehouse Inventory System to remove failure points

    Action Item 3: Take preventative steps to minimize agency risks

    Timeline: FY 97-99

    Strategy 4: Investigate and implement new accounting system.

    Action Item 1: Define system requirements/enhancements

    Action Item 2: Research options

    Action Item 3: Select and implement system

    Timeline: FY 2000

    Strategy 5: Investigate and implement new Student Database System

    Action Item 2: Identify additional reports, query, and data analysis requirements

    Action Item 3: Incorporate new requirements such as PIEMS data reporting and interchange

    Action Item ?: Identify Student data correlates with TEA staff for PIEMS.

    Action Item ?: Review Fiscal data correlates with TEA staff for PIEMS

    Action Item 1: Establish comprehensive system design and specification requirements

    Action Item ?: Research availability of commercial software solutions and purchase and implement or employ contract programming services to develop software with project management provided by agency technical staff.

    Timeline: FY 2001

    Strategy 6: Exploit Web-based technologies

    Action Item 1: Review existing applications, VI Registration, Technology Loan, APH Materials/Management for potential deployment of Web-based query

    Action Item 2: Establish system design and implementation timelines

    Action Item 3: Deploy Intranet to coordinate agency resource development and distribution

    Timeline: FY 99-2001

    Strategy 8: Migration of system from VAX to Windows NT

    Action Item 1: As staff become more competent with new desktop mail and Microsoft Office, phase out their use of VAX-based All-In-1

    Action Item 3: Identify and define new requirements for VAX application software such as Weekends Home, Student Course Information system, Warehouse Inventory, Student Trust Fund, Outreach contact database.

    Action Item 2: Establish timeline and schedule the rewrite or purchase of commercial software to replace VAX-based software functions.

    Action Item 3: Migrate existing print server functions from the VAX to Windows NT

    Timeline: Ongoing through 2003

    Strategy ?: Provide opportunities for administrative staff to develop new computer skills to increase staff productivity.

    Action Item 1: Provide Windows 95/98 training.

    Action Item 2: Create and distribute user training materials on Microsoft Office oriented to needs of TSBVI staff

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

    Timeline: FY 99-2003

    Strategy 4: 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/methods to assist in disaster recovery interchange

    Timeline: FY 1999

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: (Strategies 1-8 are completed) By 1999, the School's Technology Services Department will have a written disaster recovery plan.

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

    Information Resources Goal: The School 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, are deafblind, including those with additional disabilities.

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

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

    Action Item 1: Determine funding system to provide maintenance, upgrade, and expansion

    Action Item 2: Establish a system to replace and upgrade equipment and software

    Action Item 3: Maintain and refine the Program catalog as a source of information

    Action Item 4: Consider incentives for families to become knowledgeable about their child's technology use

    Timeline: FY 97-98

    Strategy 2: Develop and provide training and assistance in adaptive technology on a statewide basis to families, professionals, and paraprofessionals

    Action Item 1: Assist Regional Education Service Center personnel, local school district personnel, and agency personnel who serve blind, deafblind, and visually impaired students with the design and implementation of appropriate technology

    Action Item 2: Provide local, onsite technical assistance and assessment of student technology needs to direct service providers

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

    Time line: FY 97-98

    Evaluation Strategies for Objective: Annually, 90 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.

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

    Strategy: 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: Design a database to identify market trends in requests for and provision of outreach services

    Action Item 2: Maintain and expand an electronic repository that is equally accessible by blind and sighted individuals

    Action Item 3: Provide online classes and instructional materials through the School'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 2000

    Objective 3: School instructional staff, field-based educators, those participating in preservice 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.

    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

    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

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

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

    Action Item 2: Train distance education users/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 a distance education component for the School's existing Web site

    Timeline: FY 98-2002

    Strategy 3: Design and implement educator development using distance learning for field-based staff and families through 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 field-based educators and families on current assistive technology software and devices for students with disabilities

    Action Item 4: Provide incentives for families to become knowledgeable about their child's use of technology to learn

    Timeline: FY 98-2002

    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 to support those involved in 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 100 percent completion of Action Items by 2002

    Agency Goal 3: We will establish and carry out policies governing purchasing and public works contracting that foster meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses.

    Information Resources Goal: TSBVI will increase purchases of product and service offerings from historically underutilized businesses

    Objective: Increase volume of competitive purchases from historically underutilized businesses

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

    Action Item: 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

    Technology Services Staff

    Director of Technology Services

    Designated as Information Resources Manager for TSBVI.

    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. Administrator of the Technology Loan Program. 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. Manage all campus data and telephone network equipment and software. Keep up with current technologies.

    Application Development Programmer

    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. Technical support of networked computers.

    System Support Specialist III

    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.

    Hardware Technician

    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)

    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. Operational support of the Technology Loan program. Upgrade and support of Windows 95 operating system, operational support of local area networks.

    Administrative Technician (half-time)

    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 and
  • Staff development
  • Development of training and instructional materials
  • Software/hardware testing, acquisition, and allocation
  • Providing outreach services
  • Technology assessment of students
  • Curriculum development
  • Maintain current inventory of equipment for which each is responsible
  • Development of multimedia training systems
  • 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 IEP
  • Coordinate with ITFs to infuse technology into IEP goals and objectives
  • Utilize technology for administrative tasks and transition services
  • Coordinate training and support of instructional staff
  • 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 two instructional and residential programs are directed by two school principals. 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.

    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 Services Department 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. It is also important to note that the 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 Web server is implemented on an Alpha Server with Windows NT. Desktop configurations are based on Windows95 Network transport to Windows-based personal computers is with TCP/IP and NetBEUI protocols. Macintosh computers communicate with Encapsulated Appletalk on Ethernet or Ethertalk. Terminals communicate with the VAX through the Local Area Transport (LAT) protocols with printers connected as serial or Appletalk devices. With the addition of a web server running Windows NT, the support NT is a primary interest and focus for new development.
    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. In order to create systems that are based on open standards and accessible to individuals who are disabled, use of the Java language is under investigation for enterprise development
    Office Automation Over FY98, we have 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. Several departmental systems are based on Filemaker Pro for its ease of use and simple forms based development modality with relational database file structures.
    Software licenses Centralized license compliance is the responsibility of the Information Resources Manager. Department license compliance is the managed within the individual departments.
    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 Over the past 2 years, the School has undergone structural changes in the management and planning of activities with the introduction of Total Quality Management ideals. Increased emphasis is placed on departmental decision-making for budget and planning. As a result, administrative planning is performed within a Task Force (or multi-disciplinary) context. The planning model for instructional technology is through a committee that consists 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 but do not actively participate in the decision-making process.
    Quality Assurance Practices The School's internal auditor generally reviews most software systems. Most new 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 intends to serve as an example of accessibility information access of the School’s administrative and instructional 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. 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.
    Resource Use Currently, no voice or video computer applications are in use at TSBVI, though voice synthesis is commonplace and speech recognition is being explored to assist students with impaired dexterity and video computer applications will be implemented in FY99 with grant funding.
    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.
    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 receive 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, All-In-1 software, and the network environment. Training in the Microsoft Office suite is often obtained outside the agency with support provided by the Systems Support Specialist

     

    Agency Platforms, Systems, and Telecommunications
    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) Digital Equipment Corporation

    Alpha NT

    Na

    96MB/?? Gig

    Used for Web site
    LAN Servers (Remote) NA

    Na

    Na

    Na

     
    LAN Client/Work-stations (Central) Mac

    Mac OS x

    Filemaker Pro

    1

     
    LAN Client/Work-stations (Central) PC

    Windows95

    Foxpro 2.6

    30, 486/33

    40, 586/100-300Mhz

    5, Pentium II

    Phasing out Pathworks networking on client side
    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

    Windows 95

    Fox Pro

    20

    In residential areas
    Standalone MAC Workstations Mac

    6.1

    Filemaker Pro

    20

    In residential areas. Older processors.
    Telecommunications Information
    Category Type

    Capacity/

    Size/Count

    Comments/

    Descriptive Information

    Hubs DEChub 90/Digital Equipment Corp. 8 10Mbps, each hub is its own bridged segment
    Hub Routers & Switches (Remote) Na

    Na

     
    Remote Bandwidth Analog N/A

    Number

    of Lines

     
    Remote Bandwidth Digital 56K or less N/A

    Number

    of Lines

     
    Remote Bandwidth Digital T1 N/A

    1

    General Serviices Commission Telecommications Division
    Remote Bandwidth ISDN (BRI) N/A

    Number

    of Lines

     
    DTE/End User Equipment Arrangement Workstations, LANs, Mainframe Devices, Other

    N/A

     
    Supported Protocols TCP/IP, Appletalk, NetBEUI, LAT, Telnet, FTP, HTTP, Ethertalk, DECnet, LAT

    N/A

     
    Internet Service Provider NA

    N/A

     
    Shared Network Stephen F. Austin University for Video Network, ESCONETT

    N/A

     

    Telecommunication Infrastructure

    Voice Communications

    The Texas School for the Blind uses an 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

    Twelve years age, TSBVI implemented an Information Systems Network (ISN) for the primary implementation of data communications. The ISN is currently being phased out as buildings are networked with hub-based fiber optic components. The remaining devices non-networked buildings that are connected to the ISN, will be converted to access the VAX via modem. This equipment is expected to be retired in FY99.

    The standard communication rate is 10MB 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. This configuration will support terminal server and 10-Base-T repeaters. 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. Currently, eight buildings are networked in this fashion with two more buildings scheduled. 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 a Cisco Router. One TI circuit provides a DECnet and TCP/IP protocols interface with General Services Commission network, connected by Cisco Routers. GSC provides domain name services and routes the TCP/IP and DECnet network traffic from TSBVI to the Internet. This circuit also routes all off-site electronic mail, host telnet connections, 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.

    TSBVI Technology Infrastructure Diagram - described in text

     

     

    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.

     

    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.

    Assistive Technology for Hearing Disabilities

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

    ShowSounds

    Proposed standard would provide visual translation of sound information. Nonspeech audio such as system beeps would be presented via screen flashing or similar methods. Video and still images would be described through closed captions or related technologies. 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.

     

    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.

     

    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.

     

    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
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification NA
    Sharing We are currently coordinating with TEA to investigate upload of this data to the PIEMS database
    Future This system is scheduled to be re-written from VAX/VMS to the PC platform in 2001.

    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
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing N/A
    Future This system is scheduled to be re-written from VAX/VMS to the PC platform in 2001.

     

    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
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    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/ARD Tracking
    Database Description Contains elements to track flow of paperwork, student requests/requirments for fall and summer registration.
    Database System RMS indexed sequential file
    Estimated Physical Storage Requirements Two megabytes
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing N/A
    Future This system will be incorporated in the Student Database re-write in 2001.

     

    Database Name Student Course Information System (SAA)
    Database Description Contains entry for all student courses, grades, and scheduling.
    Database System Rdb/Oracle
    Estimated Physical Storage Requirements 5 Megabytes.
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing N/A
    Future This application will be migrated from VAX/VMS. Review of commercial software will be evaluated prior to in-house development.

     

    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.
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing N/A
    Future This system will be migrated from VAX/VMS as part of the Student database specifications in 2001.

     

    Database Name Warehouse
    Database Description All warehouse receipts and issues.
    Database System RMS ISAM
    Estimated Physical Storage Requirements Eight Megabytes.
    Year 2000 The system has year 2000 failure points and is currently under revision.
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing N/A
    Future This system will be migrated as part of the Accounting system in the year 2000.

     

    Database Name Student Trust System (STF)
    Database Description All student accounts receipts and expenditures.
    Database System RMS ISAM
    Estimated Physical Storage Requirements Seven Megabytes
    Year 2000 The system has year 2000 failure points and is currently under revision.
    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.
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    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 purchased accounting software system.

     

    Database Name Library Management System (LRC)
    Database Description Catalog information for library media and books. Allows forfuture development of circulation system.
    Database System Rdb/Oracle
    Estimated Physical Storage Requirements 13 Megabytes
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing We have transmitted Mark format files with the State Library and Archives agency
    Future This system was written using the "Marc" format standard for library interchange to aide in the migration to other systems. This migration is scheduled for 2001.

     

    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
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    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 in Fiscal year 2000.
    Future No migration at this time

     

    Database Name VI Registration Database (VI_REG)
    Database Description Contains annual registration of all visually impaired students in Texas
    Database System FoxPro 2.6
    Estimated Physical Storage Requirements 10 Megabytes
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing Data is uploaded to the Texas Education Agency annually. On-line registration is planned in Fiscal year 2000.
    Future No migration plans at this time. Integration with Web-based systems planned for Fiscal year 2000

     

    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.
    Year 2000 No Year 2000 risks have been identified
    GIS Data Classification N/A
    Sharing Order status and availability is planned for Web-content distribution in Fiscal year 1999.
    Future No migration plans at this time.

    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.
    Database System VAX Rdb/Oracle
    Development Language COBOL, FMS,
    Year 2000 List the compliance unit(s) associated with this application as tracked in the DIR Year 2000 Tracking System.
    Sharing TSBVI makes annual summary data report to the State Purchasing and General Services Commission of property transactions.
    Future Indicate planned modifications, conversions, or discontinuance of use during this planning period.

     

    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. 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
    Year 2000 No known year 2000 compliance issues
    Sharing  
    Future This system is scheduled to be migrated from the VAX/VMS environment in 2001. Extensive review of specifications is required to incorporate current needs.

     

    Application Name Office Automation
    Application Description The initial implementation of the school's communication network with 38 users took place May 1987. At that time each user was created an office automation (All-In-1) account on the Department of Information Resources VAXcluster. This linking of the primary administrative functions of the school proved extremely successful and as planned in the 1986 four-year plan, a MicroVAX II was procured in the fall of 1987 and installed. All user accounts were moved in February 1988 and twelve new user accounts were added. The third phase in the fall of 1988 will complete with 26 terminals installed. The system reached capacity at that point with 68 terminals and 76 user accounts. The MicroVAX system was upgraded in 1991 with an in-cabinet upgrade to a VAX 4000-200 processor. Memory was expanded to 32MB and additional terminal servers and a high-capacity laser printer was added. Office automation, and especially electronic mail, has been universally accepted by the agency staff and has proven extremely beneficial as a communications tool, given the school's scope of service coordination and intense individualized approach to education. The Macintosh and MSDOS computers are integrated with the VAX this fiscal year via the Pathworks network.
    Database System VAX RMS
    Development Language All-In-1 Scripting Language
    Year 2000 None
    Sharing N/A
    Future This system is being phased out gradually as staff are migrated to Microsoft Office products on the PC and Mac.

     

    Application Name

    Library Management system

    Application Description This system was developed by the Texas School for the Deaf and given to TSBVI. The system was then converted to conform to 'Marc' format standards and the system is currently being loaded with title information. When this process is complete, a circulation system will be added to the system modules. The system was also redesigned to accommodate the multiple forms in which library matter may exist (Braille, large print, etc.). The system also provides for inventory of materials and media to provide an efficient method for instructional staff and students to access the system via conventional or adapted technology. The system complies with established TEA guidelines for electronic library architecture.
    Database System VAX Rdb/Oracle
    Development Language COBOL, FMS,
    Year 2000 NONE
    Sharing The data has been shared with the Texas Library Cooperative as a Marc file
    Future This system will be migrated from VAX/VMS to the desktop. Commerical software will be used that will need to be accessible by the Web.

     

    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. This software is written in FoxPro 2.6.
    Database System Foxpro 2.6
    Development Language COBOL, FMS,
    Year 2000 List the compliance unit(s) associated with this application as tracked in the DIR Year 2000 Tracking System.
    Sharing Indicate other organizations with which the agency shares this application. Include how the sharing occurs.
    Future Indicate planned modifications, conversions, or discontinuance of use during this planning period.

     

    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 VAX RMS
    Development Language All-In-1 Scripting language
    Year 2000 None
    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

    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
    Year 2000 None
    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
    Year 2000 None
    Sharing Registration data of visually impaired students in Texas is provided by TEA annually to TSBVI on floppy disk.
    Future Investigation of Web-based processing of registration data.

    March 31, 1997

    This plan is essentially a revision update of the plan submitted 2 years ago since the functional initiatives and environment continue to be relavant. Additional input was obtained directly by review of administrative plans. The form of the plan presentation is based upon the planning model prescribed by the Department of Information Resources. This report may be made available in any Braille or any common electronic format upon request.

     


    Table of Contents


    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 schools resources and service offerings. TSBVI continues to respond to the needs of students with visual impairments for increased instruction in adaptive technology systems. Though adaptive systems greatly improve the quality of life and access to information for our students, such systems become more complex, proportionally increasing training demands for our staff. Over the past several years, increased staff and fiscal resources have been applied to expand service offerings to students with visual impairments and the equipment resources available for instruction. A high proportion of TSBVI students are involved with technology at some level and this activity varies from augmentative communication and switch systems for low-functioning students to advanced telecommunication and personal computing for academic students. As programmatic application develops and expands, we will continue to take an inter-disciplinary, integrated approach to planning and implementation so that we can use our limited resources efficiently.

    The key strategic areas of development for the next five years include;

    Increased Student access - expanding the number of computers available to students in the instructional and residential settings.

    Computer upgrades - Since many of the school's laptop computers are based on older, slower micro-processors, they need to be upgraded to current performance levels. Continued upgrade of the school's classroom desktop computers to multimedia computers will provide access to CD-ROM resources.

    Expanded teacher and staff training - This continues to be a major need of TSBVI staff. As systems become more complex and applications more prevalent, staff must maintain their skills to support students. With the advent and expansion of networked computers, more training is required to fully utilize the expanded tool-set.

    Increased administrative needs - numerous standards are required to coordinate and manage Internet document publishing, configuration of desktops and adaptation devices. Development of methods for implementation and management of technology instruction. Development of acceptable use standards.

    Continued implementation of network infrastructure - Expansion of the network to all key campus buildings. Implementation of remote network access to accommodate residential areas.

    Improve reporting of accounting data - Development of interpretive reports for end-user evaluation and analysis of accounting information from the USAS and USPS systems.

    Expanded applicaton of World Wide Web Technologies - several methods of expanding our service delivery are under consideration with our web-site of WWW.TSBVI.EDU.

    This strategic plan emphasizes continued development of systems to support the instructional and administrative needs of TSBVI. As TSBVI continues to revise and refine service delivery methods, the role of technology as both an instructional subject and a management tool, increases in its application and significance.

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    INTRODUCTION

    The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired derives its authority to operate and function from the Texas Education Code. In brief, the law describes the scope and function of the school as the primary Texas facility "to provide administrative services on a residential basis to blind children and youth". The following statewide functions are also mandated: service delivery to multiply handicapped blind children and youth, a catalyst role in promoting excellence in administrative services to blind individuals; the duty to serve as a resource to local school programs, a vehicle for training and ongoing staff development for personnel who are service providers to visually impaired children; and to serve as a research and demonstration facility. The school is governed by a Board of Trustees that is comprised of 9 individuals appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature.

    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. The students exposure to technology range 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 eleven million dollar budget and requires accounting and financial management systems to manage diverse fiscal systems that range from student banking accounting to personnel and budget management of almost 400 contract and classified employees to federal fund management and accounting.

    To assist program support staff in processing new students and to track progress the school requires effective school management information systems to support the intensive instructional programming our students receive. Another important area of technology application at TSBVI is in providing appropriate computing resources to staff. These resources range from desktop publishing of curriculum publications on Macintosh computers to supporting 170 staff using VAX-based office automation software to the use of over 200 MS-DOS based computers for classroom management, report writing, and student use. In developing the systems at TSBVI, an overriding concern must be placed on developing 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" and the use of electronic mail is extremely effective to enable communication between the various departments during slotted periods of the employee's work schedule. Use of the electronic mail allows more productive and time-efficient communication, providing staff more time available for student-related and qualitative activities.

    For TSBVI to effectively meet its mission to support local school districts, systems to collect reference and service need information are critical to offer services where they are most needed and support the staff providing those services. The technical ability of staff at TSBVI range from the inexperienced to the sophisticated, with the majority using the systems for only an hour or so daily. Effective systems must be easy to use, require only a short training period to become productive, and be supportable by a small technical staff.

    A major initiative over the past two years has been in implementing a campus-wide local area network. 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 not only assist in the support of students using the devices at TSBVI, but to assist in the support local school district teachers and students throughout the state. Teachers and students have access in the classroom to instruction-oriented software systems such as the school library system, grade reporting/scheduling system, student database, and other systems oriented to reduce the paperwork of instructional staff and provide support tools to improve instructional effectiveness. To increase student access to computers outside the classroom, the local area network will be expanded to the residential areas. With the availability of electronic mail and the world wide web, several teachers have started the process of documenting their expertise so that their unique skills and abilities may be shared with other professionals through the TSBVI web page.

    The migration of the accounting system to the Uniform State-wide Accounting System (USAS) and Uniform Payroll System (USPS) has been effectively completed. TSBVI has found that the USAS and USPS systems require more extensive development of pre- and post-process systems to accommodate needs of the agency than we had originally planned. Use of extensive uploads to the USAS has greatly assisted accounting staff and has limited the need for direct data entry into USAS. Work remains to provide meaningful interpretive reports for end-user evaluation and analysis from the downloaded data from USAS. TSBVI has entered into a cooperative contract with the Region XI Educational Service Center to develop software for statewide American Printing House materials management and support of the software system for statewide registration of students with Visual Impairments for subsequent reporting to the Texas Educational Agency.

    The old Dimension 400 PBX was upgraded to a new Definity G3i PBX in June 1995 that includes voice mail, call accounting, and expansion of the telephone system with new extensions to each school classroom. An automated attendent is currently under review pending implementation.

    The strategic plan is administrated in by various departments to support the school's varied mission. Technology Service's staff work in a collaborative context with instructional and support staff to support the hardware and software systems. The instructional programs have teachers and support staff trained in technology and perform student assessment/evaluation, curriculum development, technical training in adaptive hardware/software, direct technical instruction and support to both students and other instructional staff. Technology Services staff provide equipment procurement, repair, setup services, network planning and design as well as software system development. The Technology Services department supports the outreach function of TSBVI through technical support of Independent School District (ISD) instructional personnel and administration of the Technology Loan Program. Instructional technical staff provide outreach assistance as needed. These services may include student assessment, staff training and in-service, and program coordination.

    The mission and philosophy of the instructional technology program follows:

    We believe that technology offers students with disabilities greater independence, equitable access to information and increased vocational opportunities. As an educational institution, TSBVI is committed to providing all students with the necessary skills and technology to enhance their lives on educational, vocational, social and personal levels based on assessed individual needs and goals.

    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 children with disabilities. Technology is included in but is not limited to: adapted input, adapted output, augmentative and alternative communication, environmental control, mobility aid, multisensory modifications, physical education/recreation/leisure, positioning, and self care devices.

    Technology can facilitate the following:

    • language development,
    • communication,
    • independence,
    • interdependence,
    • emergent literacy,
    • development of social and co-operative learning skills,
    • access to information,
    • alternative means of expression,
    • visual training,
    • learning of new skills, and
    • maintenance of skills previously mastered.

    At TSBVI, technology instruction is accepted as an essential part of the core curricula for students who are blind 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. This assumes that all students and staff will have appropriate and necessary training in the use of the technology. At the same time, we acknowledge that neither technology instruction nor instructional technology can replace the mastery of other skills included in the core curricula or on an Individualized Education Plan.

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    PLANNING ASSUMPTIONS AND FACTORS

    Underlying Assumptions

    full funding of the budget submitted in the agency Legislative Appropriation Request

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

    the cost of technology will continue to decline

    moneys will be available to enable the systematic upgrading and expansion of existing applications

    assignment of adequate staff resources to support existing applications and continue development of the systems needed for efficient processing of fiscal and student information

    increasing need for instructional and assistive technology assessment, training, and access will present a continued need to expand the technology program both within the current applications and new program areas

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

    Planning Factors

    the Uniform State-Wide Accounting System will continue to improve and satisfy agency accounting needs

    continued expansion of the outreach department and the formation of new service delivery models

    continued emphasis of transition planning policies for student intake/dismissal with an increase in demand on those information and support systems

    continued need for ongoing for technical training of staff remains a factor for exploitation 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

    technical staff involvement in administrative planning and policy development

    continued emphasis on outreach orientation and development of infrastructure to support the outreach functions

    the upgrade of desktop computers for instructional uses will be required to align the instructional focus with current market trends. As use of Graphical User Interface (GUI) software becomes more prevalent, TSBVI needs to train students within that environment to provide contemporary vocational and academic opportunities. For example, upgrade of desktop computers are essential to provide a platform for application and training in Windows 95 environments

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    GOALS

    GOAL 1: Students with visual impairments will acquire the skills necessary to lead vocationally, personally, and socially satisfying and productive lives.

    [Texas Education Code 11.062]

    IR Goal #1 TSBVI will facilitate the use of technology to maximize independence and productivity of all students with visual impairments

    IR Objective #1 Ongoing upgrade of current instructional technology systems environment to replace outdated systems with more functional capabilities.

    IR Strategy #1 Review current instructional technology systems to assess the continued viability of existing devices and implement new equipment according to assessed upgrade needs.

    Action Item #1 Assess viability of current technologies

    #2 Review current equipment to assess functionality

    #3 Target equipment to be replaced

    #4 Prepare funding proposal

    #5 Procure and install replacement equipment

    IR Strategy #2 continue to expand distribution of computing resources through the implementation of a campus-wide local area network.

    Action Item #1 assess logical expansions of the network to new buildings

    #2 continue to orient and train staff in new technology systems

    IR Objective #2 Continue training and documentation of curricular methods and techniques in the use of instructional and adaptive technology

    IR strategy #3 Continue integration of technology into the five basic curricular strands

    Action item #1 Develop needed technology curricula in the areas of keyboarding, word processing, access hardware, access software, personal tools

    #2 Develop/acquire/adapt a range of technology assessments for use during student technology evaluations

    #3 Explore the use of computer assisted instruction to augment the five basic curricular areas

    IR Strategy #4 Train all teachers in the use of instructional technology

    Action item #1 train technology teachers in current and emerging technology

    #2 Develop a systematic method for keeping all teachers trained (and informed) on appropriate instructional and assistive technology

    IR Objective#3 Students will use technology commensurate with their abilities to enhance personal productivity

    IR Strategy #5 Provide instruction and training in the use of appropriate technology for the acquisition of skills specified in student's Individual Educational Plan

    Action item #1 Develop a technology curriculum that addresses the educational, vocational, and personal technology needs of all students

    IR Strategy #6 Students and teachers will have access to appropriate technology

    Action item#1 explore new methods of technology service delivery

    #2 Continue upgrade of current and acquisition of new and emerging technology to support education of students with visual impairments

    #3 Expand access to technology across instructional, vocational, and residential locations

    #4 Develop and implement minimum hardware and software configurations across curricular areas and campus locations

    #5 Establish a software review committee

    #6 continue to work with vendors for beta testing, accessibility evaluation, electronic dissemination of results, and preview center for all teachers on staff and throughout the state

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

    IR Objective #4 Document and make accessible to persons with visual impairments all agency data systems.

    IR Strategy #7 Utilize electronic publishing software to provide a accessible centralized repository of agency information.

    Action Item #1 continue to expand the TSBVI web site

    #2 explore and develop guidelines for establishment of intranet

    #3 Train information providers in system update methods

    IR Strategy #8 Implement Library and Circulation system.

    Action Item #1 Review design of circulation module

    #2 explore availability of commercial software

    #3 establish task force for software selection

    #4 budget, implement, and train staff in use of the system

    IR Strategy #9 Further refine Student Course Information System

    Action Item #1 Assess current status of system

    #2 Modify Report Card format

    #3 Implement schedules and grades by course

    #4 Train staff

    IR Objective #5 Coordinate administrative technology applications and information exchange with external agencies including, but not limited to: Local Education Agencies, Commission for the Blind, Texas Education Agency, State Agencies, the University of Texas, and other organizations or individuals serving visually impaired individuals.

    IR Strategy #10 continue to support and integrate the Uniform State-Wide Accounting System and Uniform Statewide Payroll System

    Action Item #1 improve Budget management module

    #2 improve analysis reporting from USAS extraction data

    IR Strategy #11 Implement the American Printing House materials system.

    Action Item #1 Asses current system and review potential enhancements

    #2 Establish system design and implementation timelines

    #3 Ensure that the system provides effective and timely processing of information

    IR Strategy #12 Asses risk and impact of year 2000 issues to agency information systems

    Action Item #1 Identify year 2000 issues and impact factors

    #2 Review application software and existing hardware

    #3 take preventative steps to minimize agency risks

    IR Strategy#13 review disaster recovery planning

    Action Item #1 review current procedures and contingency planning and assess relavency

    #2 identify new areas of risk exposure

    #3 identify new resources and methods to assist in disaster recovery planning

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    GOAL 2: Teachers, parents, and other service providers will have increased knowledge and skills in order to improve educational programming for all students with visual impairments in Texas.

    [Texas Education Code 11.062]

    IR Goal #3 TSBVI will provide adaptive technology support to Local Education Agencies, educators, students, and families in order to maximize the use and effectiveness of technology for students with visual impairments

    IR Objective #6 Provide adaptive technology equipment, software, training, and technical support to local ISD students.

    IR Strategy #14 Continue existence, expansion, and upgrade of the Technology Loan Program

    Action Item #1 Establish annual funding system to provide maintenance, upgrade and expansion of Technology Loan Program

    #2 Establish a system for removal or retiring of equipment and software from the Technology Loan Program

    #3 Continue development and refinement of the Technology Loan Program catalog as a source of information

    IR Strategy #15 Develop support tools for Outreach staff.

    Action Item #1 Design and develop service tracking systems to identify Outreach service delivery trends

    #2 Improve information distribution and profession-specific reference through development of accessible information repositories

    #3 Provide and improve support and service delivery systems by outreach staff through the use of the TSBVI Web page and other Internet services

    IR Strategy #16 Expand role as training and technical support center

    Action Item #1 Continue support of TSBVI-Supported training for State-Wide VH professionals

    #2 Continue and expand role in technical evaluation of adaptive equipment

    #3 Explore the use of distance education for inservice/pre-service training and instructional delivery

    #4 Fully utilize video equipment purchased with Technology Loan moneys and TCB donated studio equipment to provide distance education opportunities for teachers and students in the state

    #5 Explore use and application of various Internet tools (Gopher, World-Wide Web, newgroups) as a means of information distribution and communication among VH professionals.

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    GOAL 3: We will establish and carry out policies governing purchasing and public works contracting that foster meaningful and substantive inclusion of historically underutilized businesses.

    IR Goal #4 TSBVI will increase purchases of product and service offerings from historically underutilized businesses

    IR Objective #6 Increase volume of competitive purchases from historically underutilized businesses

    IR Strategy #17 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

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    Attachment A Organization and Personnel

    Technical Support Staff

    Director of Technology Services

    Serves as the agency Information Resources Manager.

    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. Administrator of the Technology Loan Program. 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. Manage all campus data and telephone network equipment and software.

    Application Development Programmer

    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. Development of technical software documentation and task analysis. Technical support of networked computers.

    System Support Specialist I

    Development of user documentation. Technology Services department administrative support. Application systems support. Operational management of Technology Services procurement tracking, inventory, and equipment repair. Initial user point of contact for training and technical support in the use of office automation and application systems. Operational management of Technology Loan program.

    Hardware Technician

    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

    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.

    Instructional Technical Staff

    StateWide Technical Support Specialist

    • Design, Implement, and mantain WWW site
    • Provide telephone support for state VH personell
    • 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 vh teacher training during Technoloyg institutes at TSBVI
    • Maintain vigilence concerning accessibility of state adopted instuctional materials, textbooks, etc.

    Educational Technology Coordinators

    • divide responsibilities among the 5 curricular areas
    • divide service delivery between direct instruction and consultation
    • manage computer labs
    • staff development
    • development of training and instructional materials
    • software/hardware testing, acquisition, and allocation
    • providing outreach services
    • technology assessment of students
    • curriculum development
    • maintain current inventory of equipment for which each is responsible
    • development of multimedia training systems

    Outreach Technology Teacher

    • state wide 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 IEP
    • coordinate with ITFs to infuse technology into IEP goals and objectives
    • utilize technology for administrative tasks and transition services

    Instructional Technician;

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

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    Attachment B Policies and Practices

    Priority Setting and Planning

    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. 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.

    Staff Training and Continuing Education

    Technical staff receive training by attendance to 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. Staff are responsible for training other TSBVI and state-wide 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, All-In-1 software, and the network environment.

    Operating System Standards

    Historically, administrative systems have been implemented within the VAX/VMS environment. In this context, formal application systems are developed with the COBOL language, conventional indexed sequential and relational database (Rdb) file structures, RALLY, and Datatrieve software. Aside from these legacy applications, new applications are being developed in FoxPro to exploit desktop resources and lessen the impact of new applications on the VAX environment which is nearing capacity. Rewriting older applications will become a very important concern within the next several years. Older COBOL software is supported and Datatrieve is used for query and analysis reporting, though use of SQL from desktop computers is to be explored for viability.

    Performance and operational standards for the instructional technology program are developed from collaborations of individuals assembled for the particular task. Develop secure student administration systems within a protection-based software environment. Maximize information access of the school's administrative and instructional systems for the visually impaired. Develop all application systems within a character-cell orientation to enable access by the visually impaired.

    Desktop configurations are based on DOS 6.2 and WordPerfect, with a variety screen review products. Network transport to personal computers is with TCP/IP protocols. Desktop software development is with FoxPro software.

    With the addition of a web server running Windows NT, the management and support NT is a primary interest and focus.

    Interagency Communications

    This is primarily limited to E-mail and transport of data files to/from USAS and USPS data systems.

    Security

    TSBVI complies with known state and professional standards to secure information from unlawful access. Access to confidential student records is limited to those individuals who have been authorize 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.

    Disaster Recovery

    In the event of a catastrophic disaster, it is anticipated that a VAX computer could be leased and installed within an acceptable time period. 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.

    Use of Computing resources

    Currently, no voice or video computer applications are in use at TSBVI, though voice synthesis is commonplace and speech recognition is being explored to assist students with impaired dexterity.

    Use of contract Services and Consultants

    Hardware contracts are maintained on VAX components that are too heavy to easily transport to local repair depots. Other school components are self-maintained.

    No consultants are used.

    Use of Computer-Aided Software Engineering

    Several desktop development environments are under review. Most modern development environments involve a degree computer-aided engineering.

    Quality Assurance and Risk Management

    The school's internal auditor generally reviews most software systems. Most new 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.

    User Acceptance

    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.

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    Attachment C Methodology and Information Resource Planning

    Over the past 2 years, the school has undergone structural changes in the management and planning of activities with the introduction of Total Quality Management ideals. Increased emphasis is placed on departmental decision-making for budget and planning. As a result, administrative planning is performed within a Task Force (or multi-disciplinary) context. The planning model for instructional technology is through a committee that represents a cross-section of staff responsible for the overall technology program. For school-wide planning of technology policy, application development implementation, and budget planning the agency Information Resource Manager is represented by the Director of Business, Technology, and Operation in the primary decision-making group of the school that consists of the Superintendent, Director of Business, Technology, and Operations, Life Skills principal, VH principal, Director of School Programs, and Director of Outreach services. The Director of Technology Services and members of his staff make recommendations to this group on school-wide technology issues but do not actively participate in the decision.

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    Attachment D Configuration

    The centralized computer is a VAX 4000-200 made by Digital Equipment Corporation. The operating system is currently VMS 6.1. The VMS platform is the basis for the majority of proprietary software developed in-house. During the eleven years of use of the VAX systems, various applications in office automation, student registration and ARD tracking, Student Database, Medical Limitations, Student Course Information system, Curriculum Management System, Budget, Career Ladder Tracking, Technology Services Inventory, Maintenance Work Order, Library System have been developed in COBOL, Datatrieve, and Rally languages using RMS indexed sequential and Rdb relational file structures. File access protections are implemented by UIC and identifier-based protection schemes. Current development is implemented with FoxPro since the cross-platform features between Mac and PC is important for efficient development and management.

    UCX software is used for TCP/IP software, Jetforms forms integration software, and DECnet are used. A videotext publishing software called VTX is used for presentation and storage of repository information.

    MS-DOS based PC computers are primarily used for instructional technology in the VH program with various screen review software for speech synthesis and text enlargement software to enlarge the character cell video image: Macintosh computers are used in the Life Skills area with IIe cards to access switch controller-based software and for teacher administration and instructional use.

    MS-DOS based PC computers are used in the Business Office to automate the requisition/payment function with the Accounts Payable/Purchasing System. Various other programs are used to provide topical applications on the DOS platform.

    The 286-based computers have been phased out with a few exceptions. The new Pathworks network is based on campus-wide fiber-optic cable inter-connecting repeating hubs that provide connectivity for 10-Base-T network clients as well as terminal servers, fiber repeaters, and thinwire ethernet repeaters. The Ethernet of each building is segmented to increase overall uptime of the network in the event of equipment failure or damage of one of the network segments. The Pathworks network uses the VMS VAX system as a network server.

    Macintosh computers are used in primarily in the Functional Academics/Basic Skills program. The Early Concepts/Applied Academics area using PC. The administrative staff use both environments, depending on preference and functional needs. The Macintosh computers are networked by Appletalk over ethernet with the Pathworks network software.

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    Attachment E Telecommunication Infrastructure

    Voice Communications

    The Texas School for the Blind uses an 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 a inside call is requesting assistance or connection to a TEXAN circuit. The use of voice mail has been well-received and an automated attendent system is under review.

    Data Communications

    The Texas School for the Blind has used an Information Systems Network (ISN) for the primary implementation of data communications. The ISN is currently configured to provide 152 standard asynchronous circuits through 7 AIM8 and 12 ADU8 interface cards, each with 8 ports. With the advent of the networked computers, the ISN is being gradually replaced with directly connected to hub-based asynchronous terminal servers over unshielded twisted pair building wire.

    The on-site standard communication rate is 19,200 Baud over unshielded twisted pair in a star topology, terminated in the central telephone switch room. The building wiring standard is based on the EIA568 standard. Installation is performed in-house. In the Technology Services office area an thin-wire ethernet circuit provides networked connection for the Printserver 20, programmer X-Window workstations, terminal servers, and a Cisco Router. One TI circuit provides a DECnet and TCP/IP protocols interface with the Department of Information Resources VAXcluster. to the Department of Information Resources network, connected by Cisco Routers. DIR provides domain name services and routes the TCP/IP and DECnet network traffic from TSBVI to Internet resources such as TENET, USAS, and other services. This circuit also routes all off-site electronic mail, host telnet connections, 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. Additionally, the school has access and is a member of the Texas Higher Education Network (THENET) with DECnet protocols.

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    Attachment F Interagency Network Participation

    TSBVI receives remote printing files from the USAS system through TCP/IP File Transfer Protocol and when USAS is a production system in September 1993, will upload and download data files to the USAS.

    TSBVI perform routine criminal history checks on new employees via magnetic tape from the Department of Public Safety.

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

    TSBVI makes annual summary data report to the State Purchasing and General Services Commission of property transactions.

    The use of electronic mail to exchange information with other state agencies is extremely helpful when available.

    The primary limiting factor for mail and data transfers is access to other agencies through TCP/IP or DECnet protocols.

    OSI transition is feasible on the VAX platform and actual transition will occur when it becomes technical viable within the general state-wide environment and DIR develops routing capabilities.

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    Attachment G Databases

    Database Name: Student Database

    File Structure: Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, COBOL

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    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 Name: Medical Limitations

    File Structure: Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description: Stores data concerning student medical limitations including medications, immunizations, and medical history. Linked to Student Database via student SSN.

    Database Name: Maintenance Work Order

    File Structure: Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

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

    Database Name: Registration Tracking

    File Structure RMS indexed sequential

    Access Software All-In-1

    Hardware VAX 4000-200

    Location Technology Services Department

    Description Contains elements to track flow of paperwork, student

    requests/requirements for fall and summer registration processing.

    Database Name: ARD Tracking

    File Structure RMS indexed sequential

    Access Software All-In-1

    Hardware VAX 4000-200

    Location Technology Services Department

    Description Contains elements to track ARD set-up and coordination

    with other staff and agencies.

    Database Name: Student Course Information

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description Contains entry for all student courses, grades, and scheduling. Linked to the Student Database via SSN.

    Database Name: Incident Reporting

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software Rally

    Hardware VAX 4000-200

    Location Life Skills

    Description Contains information concerning behavior and injuries.

    Database Name: Warehouse

    File Structure RMS ISAM

    Access Software: COBOL, Datatrieve

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description All warehouse receipts and issues

    Database Name: Student Trust

    File Structure RMS ISAM

    Access Software: COBOL, Datatrieve

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description All student account receipts and expenditures

    Database Name: Accounts Payable/Purchasing

    File Structure Fox Pro

    Access Software Fox Pro for Dos

    Location Business Office

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

    Database Name: Staff Database

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description Contains name, username, all-in-1 account name, social security number and application access information for all employees. System is used to build user login menus and in a variety of systems that reference employee names.

    Database Name: Library System

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, COBOL

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Learning Resource Center

    Description Catalog information for library media. Allows for future development of cirrculation system.

    Database Name: Discipline Log System

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Secondary Office

    Description Tracking and email notification system for student dicipline information.

    Database Name: Software Archive System

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description Contains entries for distribution media of commercial software stored in the media room of the Technology Services Department.

    Database Name: Data Dictionary System

    File Structure Rdb

    Access Software: RDO/SQL, Rally

    Hardware: VAX 4000-200

    Location: Technology Services Department

    Description Stores metadata for all databases, and file structures developed in-house.

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    Attachment H Major Applications

    Financial Administration

    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. Remaining fiscal analysis and accounting functions will be converted to process on the TSBVI VAX computer.

    Student Administration

    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 from the Department of Information Resources VAXcluster to the in-house VAX in 1991 after a processor upgrade. The data from this system is collected and distributed in a variety of ways to meet the needs of the school. This system is scheduled for re-write in Fiscal Year 1996.

    Office Automation

    The initial implementation of the school's communication network with 38 users took place May 1987. At that time each user was created an office automation (All-In-1) account on the Department of Information Resources VAXcluster. This linking of the primary administrative functions of the school proved extremely successful and as planned in the 1986 four-year plan, a MicroVAX II was procured in the fall of 1987 and installed. All user accounts were moved in February 1988 and twelve new user accounts were added. The third phase in the fall of 1988 will complete with 26 terminals installed. The system reached capacity at that point with 68 terminals and 76 user accounts. The MicroVAX system was upgraded in 1991 with an in-cabinet upgrade to a VAX 4000-200 processor. Memory was expanded to 32MB and additional terminal servers and a high-capacity laser printer was added. Office automation, and especially electronic mail, has been universally accepted by the agency staff and has proven extremely beneficial as a communications tool, given the school's scope of service coordination and intense individualized approach to education. The Macintosh and MSDOS computers are integrated with the VAX this fiscal year via the Pathworks network.

    Library Management system

    This system is was developed by the Texas School for the Deaf and given to TSBVI. The system was then converted to conform to 'mark' format standards and the system is currently being loaded with title information. When this process is complete, a circulation system will be added to the system modules. The system was also redesigned to accommodate the multiple forms in which library matter may exist (Braille, large print, etc.). The system also provides for inventory of materials and media. to provide an efficient method for instructional staff and students to access the system via conventional or adapted technology. The system complies with established TEA guidelines for electronic library archetecture.

    Student Course Information system

    Contains course schedules, grade reporting, teacher/student assignments, and attendance. Schedules are produced in large print and Braille format. This software is written in Rally.

    Accounts Payable/Purchasing System (APPS)

    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. This software is written in FoxPro.

    Student Registration Tracking

    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.

    Service Request System

    Records Technology Services department services to user, equipment repair events, software upgrade installations, and various support events.

    Data Dictionary

    Manages documentation of database, field, and descriptive information of TSBVI data systems.

    Technology Loan Catalog

    Manages descriptive information of equipment available in the loan program. System generates loan catalog and provide query of elements.