Main content

Alert message

Amanda Portillo, Especialista en niños ciegos del Programa para niños ciegos de la Oficina de Servicios para la Independencia de la Comisión de Salud y Servicios Sociales (HHSC) y Mary Ann Siller, Maestra de discapacidad visual (TVI) del Richardson ISD

Resumen: El Programa para niños ciegos y los distritos escolares independientes de la localidad dieron a las familias una oportunidad para aprender acerca de la creación de un espacio sensorial. 

Palabras clave: aprendizaje activo, Programa para niños ciegos, BCP, necesidades del desarrollo, familias, little room, espacio sensorial, integración sensorial

Las especialistas en niños ciegos del área de Dallas colaboraron con los distritos escolares independientes de Richardson y de Plano para darles a las familias una oportunidad para aprender acerca de la integración sensorial, los principios básicos del aprendizaje activo y cómo desarrollar sus propios espacios sensoriales.

Las familias aprenden cómo usar mejor un espacio sensorial para las necesidades específicas de su niño. Aprenden a crear un “little room” adaptado para ajustarse a las necesidades físicas y del desarrollo de su niño. Los padres pudieron entender el uso de este espacio sensorial y cómo ayudar a su niño a participar con su entorno a través de facilitar el acceso a los materiales y el uso de objetos atractivos que se puedan encontrar fácilmente por sus casas. También aprendieron cuánto tiempo su niño debería estar en un cuarto sensorial, cuándo cambiar objetos, cómo adaptar el espacio a medida que el niño crece y aprende y, lo más importante, cómo tener paciencia y permitir que se desarrolle el proceso.

Las familias también pudieron hacer charolas y chalecos sensoriales, junto con botellas sensoriales para sus niños. Se reunieron con otras familias y compartieron ideas y perspectivas, mientras realizaron activamente materiales que estimularán el proceso de aprendizaje de sus niños.

Los padres tuvieron la oportunidad de hacer preguntas y ver una presentación sobre Aprendizaje Activo de Valerie Murtaugh, maestra de salón de clase de Aprendizaje Activo que se especializa en crear materiales y espacios sensoriales para los niños. Cada familia asistente se llevó a la casa una hoja informativa sobre el activo aprendizaje para referencia futura. Junto con los objetos creados, también recibieron un recipiente sensorial lleno con objetos adicionales para usar a medida que sus niños progresen en su desarrollo y nivel de consciencia. Las familias se fueron sintiéndose seguras respecto del uso de las herramientas provistas a medida que sigan explorando y aprendiendo cómo desarrollar actividades sensoriales innovadoras con sus niños.

Foto Nro. 1: Materiales usados durante la capacitación para padres del BCP.

Alt text: Se exhibe sobre una mesa una variedad de herramientas y materiales, incluso una cuchara para helado, un rulero, tela de denim, abalorios y un guante rojo.

Leyenda: Materiales usados para crear espacios sensoriales durante la capacitación para padres del BCP.

Foto Nro. 2: Una mujer prepara materiales táctiles con un niño pequeño.

Alt text: Una mujer y un niño pequeño sentados en una mesa y abalorios pegados a un pedazo de tela gris. Hay otros materiales sensoriales sobre la mesa.

Leyenda: Una familia en el BCP trabaja para crear actividades atractivas para su cuarto sensorial.

 

Foto Nro. 3: IMG_0123.jpg

Alt text: Dos mujeres sentadas junto a una mesa. La mujer en la izquierda usa un hiyab y sostiene tela con materiales sensoriales pegados sobre ella. La TVI a la derecha levanta papel metálico verde.

Leyenda: La madre de un estudiante con una discapacidad visual muestra los materiales sensoriales que creó con la TVI de su hijo durante una capacitación familiar.

 

Foto Nro. 4: IMG_0104.jpg

Alt text: Una mujer y un niño pequeño pegan un pedazo de tubo de PVC al cuarto sensorial que están armando.

Leyenda: La madre y el hermano de un estudiante pequeño con una discapacidad visual arman un cuarto sensorial.

 

Foto Nro. 5. Little Room de Santiago.JPEG

At text: Un bebé explora objetos con sus manos mientras está recostado de espalda en un cuarto sensorial.

Leyenda: Un niño pequeño explora objetos en un cuarto sensorial.

 

 

Go Back to TX SenseAbilities Main PagGo Back to TX SenseAbilities Main Page

 

Download PDF version of this issue Spring 2020 Volume 13 No.2 (PDF)(1.8Mb)

 

Our First Family Day

A parent provides information about Family Day at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) and what it meant to her family to attend for the first time. 

Walking Through Stories: A Literacy Strategy for Reading to Young Children and Early

The author details the Walking Through Stories strategy used to help students activate prior knowledge of concepts before reading a story. She discusses how this strategy can be implemented at home using tactile pictures or real objects.  

A Bill of Rights for All Children with Visual Impairment and their Families

The Bill of Rights that follows was created in partnership with the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AERBVI) and the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB). 

BCP Collaborates to Create Knowledge

The Blind Children’s Program and local independent school districts provided families an opportunity to learn about creating a sensory space.

Texas Fellows Spring 2020

The Texas Fellows program acknowledges the individual recruiters (Texas Fellows) and welcomes the new VI professionals (Candidates) to the field. You are eligible to be a Texas Fellow if you were a significant person in the candidate’s recruitment.  

The Texas CVI Initiative: Web-based, Self-Paced Training Coming Soon!

The authors introduce a CVI training product that is currently being created as part of the work of the Texas CVI Initiative. The Texas CVI Initiative is a collaboration between statewide leaders in visual impairment and TSBVI Outreach to address training needs in Texas in the area of Cortical Visual Impairment. Stephanie Walker, the Lead for the State Leadership Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SLSBVI) Network in Texas.

Specific Learning Disabilities

Cherry Lee shares her expertise on specific learning disabilities including dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia, their evaluation, and their co-occurrence with visual impairment. The author is a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), Licensed Dyslexia Therapist (LDT), and an educational diagnostician. 

Communication is Connection: A Week With Dr. Paul Hart

This article provides an overview of the 2019 Advanced Practitioner in DeafBlindness Series with Dr. Paul Hart, from Sense Scotland. 

What's Happening With Active Learning Spring

The authors provide an update on the expanding knowledge and use of Active Learning, a technique designed to provide education for students who are functioning within the developmental range of 0-48 months, in Texas and beyond. 

There’s an App for That: by Chris Tabb

Chris Tabb’s latest contribution to TX SenseAbilities provides information on a series of apps for iOS users from Voice Dream.

Belonging to a Team

TSBVI’s Superintendent describes activities of the South Central Association of Schools for the Blind (SCASB). 

 

Older Individuals Who Are Blind Program: A Treasured Resource for Older Texans

Tim Spong, with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), describes the Older Individuals Who are Blind Program (OIB) for people who are 55 or older and are experiencing vision loss. 

New Publications From the Curriculum Department! 

We hope to see everyone in the Fall of 2020!

coffee hour 04092020

Looking for some PD Time? Need a chance to visit with colleagues?

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired hosts a “Coffee Hour” each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:00 AM CDT for teachers, paraprofessionals, and other school staff.

Please join members of our Outreach team in discussing topics related to supporting students and families of students with visual impairments or who are deafblind.

Captioning will be provided, if you need anything else, please email Kaycee Bennett at

The TSBVI Coffee Hour sessions have all been completed for the 2019–2020 school year. 

We hope to continue the Coffee Hour program in the Fall of 2020, so stay tuned to this page, and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TSBVI) for updates.  If you are subscribed to our email list, keep an eye out for more information as the new school year draws closer.  If you are not on our email list, you can join by completing this form to receive email updates about all things TSBVI Outreach.

We have been so happy to share our time and knowledge with you all.  We tallied up the number of participants in this series, and we are excited to announce that we have interacted with over 8,600 professionals and family members from around the world.  We could not be prouder!

We have compiled an archive of all of the presentations, transcripts, and available recordings of all of the TSBVI Outreach Coffee Hour sessions here. This is a collection of Google drive folders organized by session date and title. Please email Kaycee Bennett if you need any assistance with accessing these materials.

Thanks so much for helping us create a helping environment for the community of professionals and families who serve students with visual impairment or who are deafblind.  See you next year!

Summer Learning Opportunities

TSBVI Outreach is recording a live podcast for A Sense of Texas on Friday, June 5th, at 12 PM Central Time.  Emily Coleman will be interviewing Bruce McClanahan, an assistive technology expert, with a live audience in Zoom which will include audience participation. No need to register, you can join us using the Zoom link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5124548631

Let us know how we are doing!

Please complete our session evaluation form.

Looking for certificates, handouts, chat logs, or recordings?

Browse resources from past sessions.
 

Notes on using Zoom

Due to reaching maximum capacity for our Zoom room, we have switched to a platform that can allow more participants to join.

Please note that the Zoom link will no longer be the same for each session.

TSBVI Outreach Zoom Security

TSBVI Outreach is aware of current concerns with the Zoom videoconferencing platform, and we are following recommended practices to prevent unauthorized users from disrupting the events that we host in Zoom. To date, we have not had any adverse incidents during our webinars or the TSBVI Coffee Hour.

TSBVI Outreach takes the following precautions to keep our meetings safe:

Authenticated Users - all participants must be logged into a Zoom account, or verified through a Google or Facebook account. Requiring sign-ins allows us to hold participants accountable for their actions in the meeting. Please create a free Zoom account if you do not already have one.

Waiting Room - before the session starts, all participants must log into a waiting room. The waiting room allows us to be aware of who is attending the meeting and helps prevent disruption.

Recordings - Occasionally, we record the TSBVI Outreach Coffee Hour sessions for later viewing. If the session is being recorded, you will be notified by Zoom upon entry into the event.

Please email our media team at if you have questions or concerns about attending TSBVI Outreach Zoom events.

NOTICE OF MEETING

  BOARD OF TRUSTEES COMMITTEE ON PROGRAMS

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Program Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on November 15, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Room 104 of the Main Building 600, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

If, during the course of the meeting, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Committee on Programs shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government code, Sec. 551.001, .072, .073, .074, .076, .082, .0821, .083, .084, or 089.  Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session.  All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.

The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

1.  Call to Order

2.  Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the September 27, 2019 Meeting (Brenda Lee)

3.  Consideration of Approval of Board Policies (Susan Morrison), pages 27-94

EHBC (TSBVI)       Special Programs:  Intensive Instruction (amend), pages 63-66

EJ                            Academic Guidance Program (delete), pages 67-68

EKB (TSBVI)          Testing Program:  State Assessment (amend), pages 69-82

EKB-E (TSBVI)      Testing Program:  State Assessment (adopt), pages 83-85

FFEA (TSBVI)        Student Assistance Programs/Counseling Comprehensive Guidance Program (amend), pages 86-89, LP

FNF (TSBVI)          Student Rights and Responsibilities:  Investigations and Searches (amend), pages 90-94

4.  Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt

a.  Update on summer 2020 programs

5.  Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain

a.  Career education update

6.  Report from Outreach Program Director, Kate Borg

a.  Outreach activities for the year Adjournment

NOTICE OF MEETING

BOARD OF TRUSTEES
AUDIT, COMPLIANCE, AND MANAGEMENT REVIEW COMMITTEE
TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on November 15, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Room 92 of the Main Building 600, 1100 West 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

If, during the course of the meeting, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Audit, Compliance, and Management Review Committee shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government code, Sec. 551.071, .072, .073, .074, .076, .082, .0821, .083, 084, or .089. Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session. All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.

The subjects to be discussed or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

1. Call to Order

2. Consideration of Approval of Minutes of the June 1, 2018 Meeting (Joseph Muniz)

3. Consideration of Approval of Board Policies: (Susan Morrison)

BBFB Ethics: Prohibited Practices (amend)
CFC (TSBVI) Accounting: Audits (amend)

4. Report from the Auditor (Jaye Stepp, CPA, CIA, CGAP, CRMA)

a. Consideration of approval of the Public Funds Investment Act (PFIA) Audit Report

5. Update on Status of Hiring or Contracting for an Auditor for TSBVI

6. Adjournment

NOTICE OF MEETING - BOARD OF TRUSTEES

FINANCE COMMITTEE

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a regular meeting of the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired shall be held on November 15, 2019, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in Room 102 of Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas.

If, during the course of the meeting, any discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in closed session, the Finance Committee of the Board shall convene in such closed session in accordance with Texas Government Code, Sec. 551.001, 072, .073, .074, .076, .082, .0821, .083, 084, or .089. Before any such session is convened, the presiding officer shall publicly identify the section or sections of the Code authorizing the closed session. All final votes, actions, or decisions shall be taken in open session.

The subject to be discussed, or considered, or upon which any formal action may be taken are as follows (items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice):

Finance Agenda:

1. Consideration of approval of minutes of September 27, 2019 meeting (Lee Sonnenberg)

2. Consideration of approval of board policies: (Susan Morrison)

CDA (TSBVI) Other Revenues: Investments (review), pages 38-46
DBB (TSBVI) Employment Requirements and Restrictions: Physical Examinations and Communicable Diseases (amend), pages 48-51
DBD (TSBVI) Employment Requirements and Restrictions: Conflict of Interest (amend), pages 55-58
DCA (TSBVI) Employment Practices: Probationary Contracts (amend), pages 59-60
DCB (TSBVI) Employment Practices: Term Contracts (amend), pages 61-62

3. Consideration and vote on resolution to declare Building 5112 as salvage property with no value in order to demolish (Susan Morrison), page 96

4. Consideration of approval of renewal of Nolan County farm contracts (Pam Darden), pages 97-103

5. Report on maintenance, annual inspection, and recommendations for maintenance and repair of the campus residence (Brian McDonald), pages 104-108

6. Consideration of approval of Investment Report (Pam Darden), page 109

7. Review Donations Report (Pam Darden), page 110

8. Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500 (Pam Darden), pages 110-113

9. Review of Budget Reports (Pam Darden), pages 114-122

10. Report from Chief Financial Officer (Pam Darden)

11. Report from Human Resources Director (Cheryl Williams)

12. Report from School Support Services Director (Brian McDonald)

13. Report from Information Resources Director (Dan Hampton)

TSBVI BOARD PERSONNEL COMMITTEE MEETING

April 5, 2019

1. Call to Order

Mary Alexander called to order the meeting of the TSBVI Board Personnel Committee at 8:04 a.m. on April 5, 2019 in Room 92 of the Main Administration Building 600, 1100 W. 45th Street, Austin, Texas. Board members Joseph Muniz and Dan Brown were also present. Board member Michael Hanley was unable to attend the meeting. TSBVI staff members participating in the meeting were Susan Morrison, School Attorney; Cheryl Williams, Human Resources Director; and Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation.

2. Consideration of Approval of Board Policies

BDB Board Internal Organization: Committees (amend)
BJB Superintendent: Recruitment and Appointment (review)
BJBA School Superintendent: Superintendent’s Residence (amend)
BJC Superintendent: Employment Relationship (amend)

Mary Alexander briefly reviewed each policy. Susan Morrison recommended additional language for Policy BDB in the following sentence: “The President shall appoint and remove members to committees created by the Board, including a committee chairperson and vice-chairperson”.

Joseph Muniz moved that Policy BJB be approved as presented and that BDB be approved as presented with Susan Morrison’s amendment. Dan Brown seconded the motion and all Committee members were in favor of the motion.

Mr. Muniz recommended that Policy BJBA and Policy BJC be approved as presented. Mrs. Alexander seconded the motion and all Committee members were in favor of the motion.

3. Consideration of Approval of the Hiring or Contracting Process for a New Internal Auditor for TSBVI

  • Consideration of recommending to the Board posting for the Internal Auditor position or contracting with a firm
  • Timeline and process for posting the Internal Auditor position or request for proposals
  • Consideration of salary range or contract amount for the Internal Auditor or firm
  • Timeline and process for conducting interviews and selecting and hiring or
  • Timeline and process for contracting with a firm

Cheryl Williams reviewed a chart that compared salaries paid to TSBVI’s internal auditor in fiscal years 2016 through 2018 with payments made by Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) for internal audit services provided by a contracted firm. The chart also provided information on internal audits conducted at TSBVI and TSD.

Mr. Muniz stated that it appeared that the cost per audit conducted at TSD was more expensive than audits completed at TSBVI.

Ms. Williams stressed the importance of an internal auditor maintaining personal separation from TSBVI employees and added that this could be more easily maintained by contracting with an outside firm.

Mr. Muniz said that benefits would not have to be paid for a contracted auditor but charges per hour would be more than for a TSBVI employee. He questioned whether audits from a firm could turn around as quickly and added that a firm typically would send newer employees and have senior partners make conclusions. Mr. Muniz recommended hiring the auditor as a TSBVI employee and Mrs. Alexander agreed.

Mr. Brown questioned how much guidance contracted auditors would need from TSBVI staff.

Mrs. Alexander stated that, at Learning Ally, the RFP process was difficult including issues with getting enough responses because the RFP was not spread widely enough and not getting good proposals.

Mr. Brown questioned whether an $80,000 salary was competitive and Ms. Williams responded that she would need to look into it.

Mr. Muniz reported that the past Human Resources Director conducted a survey regarding internal auditor salaries and then recommended a salary group that had been downgraded from its previous one. The Board chose not to downgrade the salary group.

Mr. Muniz asked Ms. Houghtling about the history or internal auditors at TSBVI and Ms. Houghtling replied that legislation was passed requiring state agencies to hire internal auditors. She read Government Code language requiring that agencies with more than 100 FTEs or pass-through funds of more than $10 million comply with the new Internal Auditing Act. Ms. Houghtling also listed required internal audits including:
• Quality Assurance Review required every three years and next due September 2021
• Public Funds Investment Act Audit required every two years and next due November 2019
• Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation of Students Audit required every three years and next due January 2020
• Ethics Audit with no timeline for completion stated. The last audit was conducted March 2018

Ms. Williams stated that she would look at the Internal Auditor salary history and propose a job description to the Board along with minimum qualifications.

Mr. Brown made a motion that the hiring process for the auditor proceed and Mr. Muniz seconded the motion. All Committee members were in favor of the motion.

3. Adjournment

Dan Brown moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 a.m. and Joseph Muniz seconded the motion. All Board members were in favor of the motion.

TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Board Meeting Minutes April 4, 2019


Call to Order: Joseph Muniz called the meeting to order at 2:01 p.m. Mr. Muniz introduced himself as the Board President. Board members present were Michael Hanley, Brenda Lee, Julie Prause, Mary Alexander, Bobby Druesedow, Dan Brown. Michael Garrett and Lee Sonnenberg arrived approximately 2:20 p.m. due to airline delays.

Introduction of Audience: Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Vicki Weston, Executive Assistant; Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation; Cheryl Williams, Director of Human Resources; Emily Coleman, Outreach Director; Susan Morrison, General Counsel; John Judge, Attorney; Gunner Seaquist, Outside Counsel for the Board; Laurie Robinson, Outside Counsel for the Board; Pam Darden, Chief Financial Officer; Andy Wier, Audio Visual Technician; grandparent of a student and Patty Bushland, parent of a student.

Public Comments/Open Forum: There were no public comments.

Consideration of the Recommendation of the Personnel Committee: Subcommittee on Superintendent Selection for Emily Coleman as TSBVI’s Superintendent: Joseph Muniz announced the Board would now recess the open session and convene in a closed meeting in conformance with Texas Government Code Section 551.074 – Personnel Matters to discuss the following items listed under agenda items #4 through #7:

  • Consideration of the Recommendation of the Personnel Committee – Subcommittee on Superintendent Selection for Emily Coleman as TSBVI’s Superintendent
  • Consideration of Start Date for the New Superintendent Including Overlap Time with the Outgoing Superintendent
  • Consideration of Salary for the New Superintendent
  • Consideration of On-Campus Housing for the New Superintendent

Mr. Muniz continued stating that no voting would take place in the closed meeting and that any action the Board wished to take as a result of discussions in closed meeting would take place after the Board reconvened in the open meeting. Mr. Muniz closed the meeting at 2:05 p.m. Mr. Muniz asked that Superintendent Bill Daugherty and Human Resources Director Cheryl Williams remain with the Board.

The Board came back into open session and Mr. Muniz stated that it was 4:17 p.m. and the Board was reconvening into open session. Regarding agenda item #4, Consideration of the Recommendation of the Personnel Committee – Subcommittee on Superintendent Selection for Emily Coleman as TSBVI’s Superintendent, Mr. Muniz asked if there was a motion. Bobby Druesedow made a motion that the Board hire Emily Coleman as the Superintendent. Mary Alexander seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to hire Emily Coleman as the Superintendent.

Consideration of Start Date for the New Superintendent Including Overlap Time with the Outgoing Superintendent: Mary Alexander made a motion that Emily Coleman's start date as the Superintendent begin on August 1, 2019. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously that Emily Coleman would begin her new position as Superintendent on August 1, 2019.

Consideration of Salary for the New Superintendent: Mary Alexander motioned that the starting salary for Emily Coleman be set at $142,279. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously that Emily Coleman's salary be set at $142,279.

Consideration of On-Campus Housing for the New Superintendent: Bobby Druesedow made a motion that the Board require the new Superintendent, Emily Coleman, to reside in the on-campus housing provided. Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously that Emily Coleman be required to reside at the on-campus residence provided.

Grievance Appeal of Susan Morrison: Mr. Muniz announced that the Board would now recess the open session and convene in a closed meeting to discuss the following item listed under agenda item #8 – ‘Grievance Appeal of Susan Morrison in conformance with Texas Government Code Section 551.071 – Consultation with Attorney.” Mr. Muniz further stated that no voting would take place in the closed meeting and that any action the board wished to take as a result of discussions in closed meeting would take place after the board reconvened in the open meeting. Mr. Muniz announced that it was 4:23 p.m. Mr. Muniz asked that the outside attorneys for the School remain with the Board.

Mr. Muniz announced that it was 4:45 p.m. and the Board would now convene in open session. Mr. Muniz said that the Board had completed their consultation with attorney. Continuing with agenda item #8, Mr. Muniz stated that the Board would now recess the open session and convene in a closed meeting to discuss the following item listed under agenda item #8 – ‘Grievance Appeal of Susan Morrison’ in conformance with Texas Government Code Section 551.082 – School District Employee Complaint. Mr. Muniz further stated that no voting would take place in the closed meeting and that any action the board wished to take as a result of discussions in closed meeting would take place after the Board reconvened in the open meeting. Mr. Muniz convened into closed session at 4:46 p.m.

Mr. Muniz stated that it was 5:21 p.m. and the Board would now convene in open session. He further stated that the grievance hearing had concluded. Continuing with agenda item #8, Mr. Muniz stated that the Board would now recess the open session and convene in a closed meeting to discuss the following item listed under agenda item #8 – ‘Grievance Appeal of Susan Morrison’ in conformance with Texas Government Code Section 551.071 – Consultation with Attorney. Mr. Muniz further stated that no voting would take place in the closed meeting and that any action the board wished to take as a result of discussions in closed meeting would take place after the Board reconvened in the open meeting. Mr. Muniz convened into closed session at 5:22 p.m.

Mr. Muniz said that it was 5:40 p.m. and the Board would now convene in open session and that the Board had concluded consultation with attorney. Mr. Muniz stated that the Board would now recess the open session and convene in a closed meeting to deliberate the following item listed under agenda item #8 – ‘Grievance Appeal of Susan Morrison’ in conformance with Texas Government Code Section 551.082 – School District Employee Complaint. Mr. Muniz further stated that no voting would take place in the closed meeting and that any action the Board wished to take as a result of discussions in closed meeting would take place after the Board reconvened in the open meeting. Mr. Muniz convened into closed session at 5:41 p.m.

Mr. Muniz announced that it was 6:01 p.m. and the Board would now convene in open session. Regarding agenda item #8, Grievance Appeal of Susan Morrison, Mr. Muniz asked if there was a motion. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to deny the grievance. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to deny the grievance appeal of Susan Morrison.

Announcements: There were no announcements.

Recess: Bobby Druesedow made a motion to recess the meeting. Michael Garrett seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to recess the meeting at 6:02 p.m.

 TEXAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED

Board Meeting Minutes April 5, 2019


Call to Order: Joseph Muniz called the meeting to order at 10:15 a.m. Mr. Muniz introduced himself followed by Board Members Brenda Lee, Julie Prause, Mary Alexander, Lee Sonnenberg, Bobby Druesedow, Michael Garrett and Dan Brown. Michael Hanley was not present.

Introduction of Audience: The following introduced themselves: Susan Morrison, General Counsel; Bill Daugherty, Superintendent; Vicki Weston, Executive Assistant; Susan Hauser, Director of Center for School Resources; Miles Fain, Principal of Comprehensive Programs; Veronica Keating, Administrative Assistant; Adam Graves, DeafBlind Outreach; Emily Coleman, Outreach Director; Chris Tabb, Outreach Program; Cheryl Williams, Director of Human Resources; Sara Merritt, Principal of Short-Term Programs; Josh Splinter, Budget Analyst; Pam Darden, Chief Financial Officer; Cyrenna Villegas, Director of Procurement; Suzanne Slade, Outreach; Toni Ericson, Outreach; Lynne McAlister, Outreach; Carrie Farrage, Outreach; Suzanne Becker, Archivist; Mary Shore, Outreach; Steven Landry, Outreach; Nathan Widener, Outreach; Susan Houghtling, Director of Planning and Evaluation; Sara Kitchen, Outreach; Scott Baltisberger, Outreach; Deanna Peterson, DeafBlind Outreach; Chrissy Cowan, Mentor Coordinator in Outreach; Miriam Miramontes, Outreach; Brian McDonald, Director of School Support Services; Dan Hampton, Director of Information Resources; Melanie Schacht, Outreach and Brian Sobeck, Outreach.

Recognition of the 2019 TSBVI Outstanding Outreach Staff Member: Emily Coleman, Director of Outreach, asked Scott Baltisberger to come up. Mr. Baltisberger was presented with the award for the 2019 TSBVI Outstanding Outreach Staff Member and praised for his excellent work.

Public Comments/Open Forum: There were no public comments.

Consideration of Approval of Minutes of January 25, 2019 Board Meeting: Mary Alexander made a motion to approve the minutes of January 25, 2019 Board meeting. Brenda Lee seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes.

Report from the Finance Committee

Consideration of adoption of a resolution for TSBVI’s Participation in the TexasTERM Local Government Investment Pool: Mr. Garrett reported that the Finance Committee recommended approval of TSBVI's Participation in the TexasTERM Local Government Investment Pool. The recommendation came from Committee therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Consideration of approval of Investment Report: Mr. Garrett reported that the Investment Report was for the period ending February 28, 2019 with a balance of $529,044.39. Mr. Garrett stated the investments include one CD at ABC Bank of Austin for $100,000, one CD at First National Bank of Bellville for $100,000, Money Market/Checking Account with a balance of $70,054.96 and Texas Class Investment Pool for $249,989.43. Total investment earnings for the period was $11,030.27. Mr. Garrett stated that the Committee recommended approval. The recommendation came from Committee therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Consideration of approval of receipt of gifts and donations of over $500: Mr. Garrett stated that the total ending on February 28, 2019 was $4,201.22 and that the Committee recommended approval. The recommendation came from Committee therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve. Mr. Garrett stated that there were some items donated to TSBVI which included a magnifying light, clock and a baby grand piano. Mr. Daugherty added that the piano was donated by Bobby Doyle who was Kenny Rogers’ piano player early on and who also attended TSBVI.

Consideration of approval of request for expenditure of gifts and donations: Mr. Garrett stated that there were no requests for expenditures.

Review of budget reports
Operating Budget Expenditure Report: Mr. Garrett stated that the Committee reviewed the budget for the first six months of the year with the benchmark for expenditures at 50%. Mr. Garrett reported by strategy the following: Classroom Instruction at 49%, Residential Program at 60%, Summer and Short-Term Programs at 24%, Related and Support Services at 56%, Outreach Technical Assistance at 43%, Outreach Teacher Preparation at 27%, Central Administration at 42%, Other Support Services at 46% with the Total for All Budgets in State Treasury at 47%.

Legacy Revenue Budget Report: Mr. Garrett reported that at February 28, 2019 the total revenues were $430,843; $402,500 from the Broday Trust Income; Oil and Gas Royalties were $2,811; Farm Rent was $14,502 and Interest Income at $11,030.

Legacy Operating Expenditure Budget Report: Mr. Garrett stated that the benchmark for expenditures was at 50% with Legacy project expenditures of $254,942 which was 24% of the budget.

Mr. Garrett stated that the Committee received a report from Chief Financial Officer, Pam Darden, who gave an update on the legislative session stating that things were moving forward. Mr. Garrett also said that Director of School Support Services, Brian McDonald, reported on the ongoing construction project which should be completed by August 1, 2019. Mr. Garrett stated that the report from Information Resources Director, Dan Hampton included information on the website analysis and content with a focus toward accessibility first. Mr. Garrett said that Cheryl Williams, Human Resources Director, reported that they are working on the CAPPS implementation and were working closely with Dan Hampton on that implementation.

Report from the Program Committee

a.  Consideration of approval of board policies: Lee Sonnenberg reported that the Program Committee considered a number of policies as follows.

CY (TSBVI) Intellectual Property and CY-E Intellectual Property: Mr. Sonnenberg stated that there was a lot of information included in this policy as well as the CY Exhibit which provides information so that teachers are able to determine if they can use material without violating copyright laws. Mary Alexander asked if this policy makes it harder for users of the TSBVI website to use materials that TSBVI has historically put out for free use. Ms. Alexander said that it seemed that this policy might make it harder. Susan Morrison stated that she did not think so but, that if they are going to be reusing the materials, they cannot make money from them and that the policy was intended for TSBVI to get a tighter grip on when our staff uses other person's copyrighted materials as well as, giving guidance to teachers. Ms. Morrison also stated that there is an amendment paragraph that will allow the Superintendent to issue licenses so that it is clear that users can utilize materials but not make money from it. Ms. Alexander asked how it would be implemented. Ms. Morrison stated that the Superintendent would adopt procedures to govern and explain the policy so that it is consistent because TSBVI has to create permanent records for those properties. Ms. Morrison also stated that as part of TSBVI's branding, we do not want to lose credit for what we have created. Ms. Alexander stated that her concern was that TSBVI has had a consistent history of having many materials for anyone to use and she would hate to lose that at the same time not wanting others to profit from TSBVI’s intellectual property. Mr. Daugherty stated that TSBVI is committed to keeping appropriate materials available for free use. Ms. Morrison said that was where "fair use" came into play from other people. Ms. Alexander also brought up the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty and related legislation and how it might affect TSBVI. Mr. Sonnenberg stated that the Committee added to the suggested amendments allowing the Superintendent to issue the licenses for use.

EFE Instructional Resources: Copyrighted Materials: Policy deleted and the language was moved to Policy CY.

EGA Curriculum Development: Innovative and Magnet Programs: Policy was deleted with language moved to Policy EHBJ.

EHA Curriculum Design: Basic Instructional Program Parental Requests: Policy reviewed only with no changes made.

EHA A Basic Instructional Program: Required Instruction (All Levels): Policy amended the emphasis on the intensive nature of the Expanded Core Curriculum, added information about personal financial literacy instruction and added instruction on the prevention of e-cigarette usage

EHAB (TSBVI) Basic Instructional Program: Required Instruction (Elementary): Policy amended student recesses.

EHAC Basic Instructional Program: Required Instruction (Secondary): Additions regarding instruction in CPR and, due to legislation, the proper interaction with a peace officer was added. Mr. Muniz asked what prompted the change regarding interaction with a peace officer. Susan Morrison stated that it is part of the general School Safety Initiative from the Governor and is TASB recommended language.

EHBC (TSBVI) Special Programs: Accelerated and Intensive Services: Policy was amended regarding Intensive Instruction vs. Accelerated Instruction, however, due to TSBVI not yet having the necessary waiver from TASB, that language will not be amended until the waiver is received.

EHBJ (TSBVI) Curriculum Development: Innovative Programs: A minor change was made to the policy title.

EIA (TSBVI) Academic Achievement: Grading Progress Reports to Parents: Specifications regarding progress reports was added along with a requirement for parent signature. Language removed due to Memorandum of Understanding with TEA.

GKG (TSBVI) Community Relations: School Volunteer Program: Added clarification language, background checks, volunteers, added information on physical examinations for students and information regarding training for the concussion oversight team.

Mr. Sonnenberg stated that the Program Committee recommended approval of policies as reviewed therefore no second was needed. The Board voted unanimously to approve the policies.

b. Consideration of approval of the School’s calendar for 2019-2020: Mr. Sonnenberg said there were no major changes to the calendar. TSBVI is requesting a waiver from TEA for 175 fewer instruction minutes. Dan Brown asked about the 175-minute waiver and whether it was common. Miles Fain said that it was common for districts to ask for and receive waivers and that it relates to TSBVI trying to match AISDs calendar and additionally relates to our staff development times in relation to instructional times. The Committee recommended approval therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve the calendar.

c. Report from Outreach Director, Emily Coleman: Outreach future planning: Mr. Sonnenberg stated that Emily Coleman reported on the missions for the annual improvement plan.

d. Report from Short-Term Programs Principal, Sara Merritt: Summer Program applications and classes: Mr. Sonnenberg stated that Sara Merritt reported that they had received 377 summer applications, down 30%, with 214 spots available, down 32%. Mr. Sonnenberg said that SWEAT and WALIC spots available remained the same as they are funded by TWC. He also said that programs for students with multiple disabilities also remained unchanged. Elementary and secondary seats were reduced. Mr. Sonnenberg stated that Short-Term Programs is working on their calendar for the upcoming academic year and would have more information at a future meeting.

e. Report from Comprehensive Programs Principal, Miles Fain: Consideration of approval of recommendations of the Instructional Materials Committee: Mr. Sonnenberg stated that the Committee adopted Pearson materials for English/Language Arts, Zaner-Bloser for spelling and Hart-Wilcox for Personal Financial Planning. Mr. Sonnenberg stated that the Committee approved the recommendations of the Instructional Materials Committee therefore no second was needed and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Update on the Learning Resource Center’s activities: Mr. Sonnenberg said that Renee Toy presented an excellent report regarding LRC activities. Mr. Muniz and Mr. Daugherty both praised Ms. Toy and the activities at the LRC. Mr. Muniz asked that Mr. Daugherty arrange for Ms. Toy to speak to the full board at a future meeting.

Consideration of Approval of Proposed Renewals and Non-renewals of Staff Contracts: Bill Daugherty presented some corrections to information provided in the packet. Mr. Daugherty stated that there were no non-renewals. Mr. Daugherty said that under Comprehensive Programs, Janet Bean and Debra Sewell were moved to the Curriculum Department. He also reported that Deanna Peterson has moved to Outreach. Mr. Daugherty stated that the following five teachers who no longer work at TSBVI were removed: Cassidy Boyer, Kassandra Heil, Christine Pegues, Diana Sagnes and Glenda Torrence. Mr. Daugherty stated that Valerie Perwein was listed as the Special Ed Coordinator and has been corrected to Special Ed Director. Mr. Daugherty continued with Outreach reporting that Matthew Schultz has taken a new position as Assistant Residential Director. Cyral Miller and Susan Osterhaus will be returning. Under the Probationary section, Chinna Balachandran, Chris Correl and Stacy Torres were removed and Sarai Hernandez, Michelle Jones, Savannah Jones, Julie Lemman, Carla Wright and Michelle Molnar were additions. Bobby Druesedow made a motion to approve the proposed renewals with revisions. Mary Alexander seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve.

Review of Needs Assessments and Proposed Action Plans and Consideration of Approval of Proposed Objectives for the 2019-2020 Annual Improvement Plan: Mr. Daugherty stated that these plans are reviewed and revised annually for the purpose of improving performance of all students. Mr. Daugherty reported that the Vision, Mission and Philosophy statements and Long-Range Goals were approved by the Board in November 2017. He further stated that the Performance Objectives for 2019-2020 were approved in April 2018. Mr. Daugherty said that additional proposed Annual Objectives were included for Board approval. He stated that the Board would also receive information regarding strengths and needs identified in Comprehensive Programs, Short-Term Programs, Outreach and supporting departments as well as a list of action plans for the next fiscal year. Mr. Daugherty requested approval of the proposed objectives for TSBVI’s Annual Improvement Plan for 2019-2020. Mary Alexander complemented Mr. Daugherty on the thoroughness of the Annual Improvement Plan. Mary Alexander motioned that the Board approve the 2019-2020 Annual Improvement Plan. Lee Sonnenberg seconded the motion and the Board unanimously approved the 2019-2020 Annual Improvement Plan.

Report from the Superintendent

Legislative activities: Mr. Daugherty stated that things are in a holding pattern right now.
Campus visitors: Mr. Daugherty reported that Donovan Beitel from the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind visited the campus. Mr. Daugherty said that Eric Bellman from the Netherlands came to visit with a new sound ball product that makes sounds and can play songs from a student's chosen playlist.
Campus activities: Mr. Daugherty reported that the Braille Challenge took place on February 2 and on March 6 the Annual Duo Dash with the Girls School of Austin took place on campus. He said that under the leadership of Patti Robinson, the Leo Club members were going to a Work Day in Kerrville to do landscaping. Mr. Daugherty also reported that the Lion's Austin Founders Club now meets on the campus and brings in some impressive speakers including Dr. Jane Edmond, Chair of the Ophthalmology Department at Dell Seton Medical Center. He stated that the spring play Beauty and the Beast is coming up on April 25, the Junior-Senior Prom on May 4 and Graduation on May 30. Mr. Daugherty is hoping that a former graduate of TSBVI agrees to be this year’s speaker at Graduation. He said that the Capital Experience successfully took place in March. Mentor Center took place in February as well as the DeafBlind Symposium. Mr. Daugherty also stated that the webinars are also rolling out successfully.

Discussion of Future Board Meeting Topics: Mr. Muniz requested that the Board's team building be changed to the more traditional format since it will be Emily Coleman's first Board meeting as Superintendent. Lee Sonnenberg asked that the Program Committee get an update from Debra Sewell on Curriculum.

Report from the Personnel Committee:

Consideration of Approval of Board Policies: Mary Alexander reported on each policy as follows.

BDB Board Internal Organization: Committees: Updated to reflect the Personnel Committee as a standing committee. Also includes the Board President's power to appoint and remove Committee members.

BJB Superintendent: Recruitment and Appointment: This policy was reviewed with a recommendation from Committee to approve with no changes.

BJBA School Superintendent: Superintendent’s Residence: This policy was reviewed with a recommendation from Committee to approve with no changes.

BJC Superintendent: Employment Relationship: This policy was reviewed with a recommendation from Committee to approve with no changes.

Ms. Alexander stated that the Committee recommended approval with Policy BDB to include edits by the Personnel Committee. The Board voted unanimously to approve the policies.

Consideration of approval of the hiring or contracting process for a new internal auditor for TSBVI

  • Consideration of recommending to the Board posting for the Internal Auditor position or contracting with a firm: Cheryl Williams presented her research on this question to the Committee. The Committee recommended hiring a full-time auditor rather than contracting with a firm. The Committee recommended approval and pending that approval, the Committee asked Ms. Williams to review the position grade and salary for the May Board Meeting. Ms. Alexander responded to a question from a board member asking for some of the reasons the Committee recommended hiring a full time auditor vs. using an outside firm. The Board voted unanimously to approve. Ms. Alexander stated that the Committee recommended tabling the three following items until the next board meeting. The recommendation to table came from Committee therefore no second was needed. The Board voted unanimously to approve tabling these items.
  • Timeline and process for posting the Internal Auditor position or request for proposals: This item was tabled until the May meeting.
  • Consideration of salary range or contract amount for the Internal Auditor or firm: Ms. Alexander stated that this item would be tabled until the May meeting.
  • Timeline and process for conducting interviews and selecting and hiring or timeline and process for contracting with a firm: Ms. Alexander stated that this item would be tabled until the May meeting.

Announcements: Michael Garrett's announced the 50th anniversary of his graduating class of 1969 from TSBVI.

Adjournment: Mary Alexander motioned that the Board adjourn. Bobby Druesedow seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to adjourn at 11:31 a.m.

 

 

______________________________________ __________________
Joseph Muniz, Board President Date

 

______________________________________ __________________
Mary Alexander, Board Secretary Date

 

______________________________________ __________________
Vicki Weston, Recording Secretary Date

Free Online Nemeth Tutorials

A FREE Nemeth online resource is now available on the TSBVI Online Learning webpage!  It is designed to provide easy access to support learning or reinforcing Nemeth braille code skills for families, teachers or paraeducators working with students who are braille readers.  

These modules are a companion to the TSBVI publication, Nemeth at a Glance.  Dr. Derrick Smith, professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, was the creator of this series, with sections by Janet Bean, Lead Teacher in the TSBVI Curriculum Department.

Although presented in the grade-level order that symbols are typically introduced to students in school, you can dip in at any level to find specific symbols and examples.  

Modules include an explanation of the symbol, relevant rules, and examples of how to use the symbol in math examples. There are multiple samples of using Nemeth within UEB contexts.  Short, ungraded quizzes following each module will help document mastery of the material and provide useful feedback.  Completing these optional quizzes will lead to a certification of completion. 

Modules are available here