TSBVI Summer Programs

Keywords: Blind, Visually Impaired, TSBVI, summer programs.

Abstract: This article provides information about TSBVI Summer Programs

TSBVI Summer Programs (June – July) include a variety of enrichment classes for VI students of all ability levels. Classes vary in length from 4 days to 5 weeks. The Summer Programs schedule changes each year. The deadline for Summer Program applications is February 14 and should be submitted by the local TVI as early as possible.

For additional information regarding TSBVI Summer Programs please refer to the TSBVI website or contact the Summer Programs Administration Team Phoebe Williams at 512-206-9241, or Wendy Erickson at 512-206-9332.

Elementary Summer Enrichment

Students in this program practice and apply skills they have learned at home and at school, within the context of fun activities. In past summers, students have enjoyed activities such as touring a farm, doing a scavenger hunt in a Chinese market, visiting museums, and exploring a steam engine. Each class is built around a high-interest theme for this age level such as “Project STEM”, “Lost in Space!”, “Time Travellers”, “Cook & Create”, “Transition to Middle School” and “Nature Detectives”.

Students have opportunities to practice Expanded Core Curriculum skills as they make and follow schedules, create shopping lists, manage a simple budget, keep up with belongings, organize materials, measure ingredients, write thank-you letters, and Interact with others. An invaluable part of the program is the opportunity to interact with other students with visual impairments. Sharing experiences about challenges they face at home and school can alleviate feelings of isolation and increase confidence. Students begin early friendships that may continue for years.

Secondary Enrichment (SE)

Secondary Enrichment (SE) offers countless opportunities for fun and learning for middle or high school students with visual impairments. The topics offered vary, but classes may include beginning food preparation, running a catering business, general physical fitness to PE for SBOE credit, art, theater arts, career education, technology, and travel in the community. Classes give students opportunities to develop their academic and technology skills, practice orientation and mobility, and enhance their social, independent living, and self-determination skills, both on and off campus.

SE classes are for middle- or high-school students with visual impairments who meet these criteria:

  • 12 years of age or older, up through the summer after their high school graduation.
  • Able to participate well in group activities, with limited one-on-one assistance.
  • Moderately to largely independent in areas such as eating, dressing, personal hygiene, communication, and mobility.
  • Have no challenging behaviors that interfere with the instruction of self or others.
  • Can complete the full length of the class to which they are admitted.
  • Secondary students who function four or more grade levels below their age expectation should apply for the Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC).

Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC)

Practical Experiences in Expanded Core (PEEC) offers a fun, dynamic, learning experience for your student who:

  • Is age 6-22
  • Currently receives some or all instruction in an alternative academic setting (e.g., resource, life skills classroom)
  • May benefit from supports with communication, social, and independent living skills
  • Is able to be away from home for 1 to 2 weeks
  • Can participate safely in small group activities with moderate support

In the PEEC Program, students are grouped into self-contained classes of about 5 students of similar age and ability. Students will participate in a variety of activities and projects, both on and off campus, that address such skills as:

  • Shopping
  • Working in the kitchen
  • Personal care
  • Vocational skills
  • Community transportation
  • Practical academics (math, literacy, etc.)
  • Concept development
  • Physical fitness
  • Peer and adult interactions
  • Problem solving
  • Choice making and self-advocacy
  • Recreation and leisure

Summer Work Experience in Austin, Texas (SWEAT) Ages 17-22

June 11 – July 13

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is excited to collaborate with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to host Summer Work Experience in Austin, Texas (SWEAT). SWEAT is a five-week experiential learning program designed to prepare students for independence and success after high school. This program will provide:

  • Intensive training in Expanded Core Curricular skills with a particular focus on independent living skills, orientation and mobility skills, and social skills
  • Lessons on relevant employability skills
  • An individual, paid job opportunity in the Austin community supported by a job coach

Requirements to Apply

  • Students should function within approximately 3 years of grade level
  • Students should be able to work alone at a job placement
  • Students must be on the VR services caseload of TWC. It is not sufficient to be on their children’s caseload. If you are uncertain about your status, contact your TWC Transition Counselor as soon as possible.
  • In order to determine learning goals for SWEAT, students are required to participate in Pre-SWEAT.

Student Expectations

  • Students are expected to complete in-class assignments and homework assignments related to employability and independent living skills.
  • Students are expected to use a cane for mobility at all appropriate times.
  • Students are expected to spend weekends on campus during SWEAT. Students will be given permission for one off-campus weekend during the program.
  • Students will earn a training fee approximately equivalent to the minimum wage after deductions. From this fee, students will be expected to pay a minimal amount for living expenses. The purpose of this activity is to help students learn to budget and pay bills. Beyond these expenses, students may use their earnings as they wish.

Pre-SWEAT April 21-23

Pre-SWEAT is designed to help students develop an awareness of their strengths and needs in key areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum prior to beginning SWEAT. It also provides the opportunity for SWEAT staff to begin developing relationships with students. Students will collaborate with a job coach and and O&M instructor to complete assessment activities in the following areas:

  • Assistive Technology
  • Independent Living Skills
  • Social Skills
  • Orientation and Mobility

Afterward, students will meet with their job coaches to develop goals to guide their learning for the duration of the five week SWEAT program.

Working and Living in the Community (WALIC) Ages 16-22

June 18 – July 13

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is excited to provide students with vocational and independent living experiences this summer through WALIC. In WALIC, emphasis is placed on developing independent living and community access skills, as well as promoting personal responsibility and initiative, during work and throughout all other activities.


WALIC will provide opportunities for students to:

  • Learn a variety of work routines with the support of a job coach
  • Practice social skills necessary to interact with a supervisor and co-workers
  • Manage a $30 weekly stipend received for their work by budgeting, shopping, and choosing recreational activities
  • Learn about typical household bills, writing and cashing checks, and the cost of apartments
  • Live in dorms with 24-hour supervision and practice independent living skills such as cooking, cleaning, dressing, and personal hygiene

Requirements to Apply

  • Students must be 16-22 years of age.
  • Students must be able to work for 5 hours in a given day with moderate support from a job coach. Students work a total of approximately 16 hours per week.
  • Students should be fairly independent in their dressing, eating, toileting, hygiene, and communication abilities.
  • Students should not have challenging behaviors that interfere with the instruction of self or others. If you are unsure about your student’s behavior support needs regarding the WALIC program, please contact us to discuss appropriate placement.

Student Expectations

Students need to participate for the full four weeks of the summer program. If you have questions or concerns about a student’s ability to do this, please contact Sara Merritt, Summer Program Principal.

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