Advisory Council Notes 4-22-2016


Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow, Chairman, Board Members Dan Thompson, Mark Peters, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Rogers.

Absent: Board Members Amy Richards, Olaya Landa-Vialand, JohnThien and Ann Panthen, Vice Chair

Also present: Superintendent Serena Preston, Vocational Principal David Miller, Low Vision Coordinator Cindy Miller, Education Principal Aimee Veith, Jacksonville Mayor Andy Ezard, Educator Amanda Rodda-Tyler and Student Council Member Lindsay Bates.

Roll Call/Introductions:

The meeting was called to order at 10:07 a.m. by Chairman Dr. Goodfellow. Roll was called.

I. Approval of Minutes/Adoption of Agenda

Motion was made by Dan Thompson and seconded by Jesse Rogers to approve the agenda. Agenda was approved by all yays and no nays. There were no conflicts of interest to report. Minutes of previous meeting were accepted upon motion by Dan Thompson and seconded by Mark Peters. All voted yay.

II. Reports:

Student Council, Lindsey Bates

Lindsey reported students were getting ready for prom. This year's theme is County Fair. Menu for dinner will be fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and fruit kabobs. Snacks will be like you find at a fair, cotton candy, popcorn and snow cones. May 14th is prom. Pictures will be taken by the Ferris wheel. She said Dr. John's Cosmetology School will do hair for the girls. Superintendent Preston encouraged Lindsay to tell the group about something she recently did. Lindsay said she wrote a letter to her representative and she was invited to come to his office when she is home for the summer. She told the group about their recent trip to Springfield to the Capitol. She said there was a lot of walking. She said some of them got to be in the balcony where they could hear bills being discussed. She said she learned a lot and thought everyone else did too. She said she had the opportunity to see Senator Dan Brady's office and she got to see Representative Davidson and Sam McCann, She said one thing she did notice is that the doors to the various rooms at the Capitol do not have braille labels and do not meet ADA guidelines for access. She said Mr. Vredenbergh's class will make the braille plates. Superintendent Preston explained that the engraving class does do special project and recently completed one for DNR.

Special Guest, Amanda Rodda-Tyler

ISVI'S math educator, Amanda Rodda Tyler told the group about her recent research paper that was accepted for publication at the International Computer Software Engineer Conference which is being held in Austin Texas this year. She said her computer program class worked closely with senior English students from the University of North Dakota on core curriculum. The college students worked under certain guidelines and were graded. She said she and Dr. McMillen wrote the research paper and it was submitted unknown to her for publication to the International Computer Software Engineer Conference and was accepted for publication in Austin Texas this May. It is a big honor, that papers as far away as Tokyo were submitted for publication. Superintendent Preston pointed out that this was an international conference on computer programming with a variety of papers submitted and this was probably the only paper submitted on visual impairment. Principal Veith congratulated Educator Rodda Tyler on her accomplishment and told the group that the program would continue next year, and more data would be collected. She said they would like to pre-test their knowledge of computer programs prior to the program and track their improvement. Educator Rodda-Tyler told the group that some of her students were able to make a trip to the Notre Dame campus and that it was quite an eye opening experience for them. The campus is huge, and the Notre Dame students took our students all over the campus. She said the kids were tired. She told the group about some upcoming trips this summer and a video that they just released concerning access to videos for the blind with 3D gaming, graphics and sound. She said this program and conferences are all paid for through grants. She reported that she recently gained her TVI certification. Dr. Goodfellow thanked Educator Rodda-Tyler for sharing this with the council and expressed how proud they were of her accomplishments.

Superintendent  Serena Preston

Superintendent Preston reported that she is still overseeing both schools, ISVI and ISD. She said it was because of the support of supervisors she can do this. She said she relies on her supervisors at both schools. She said they continue to work with PERA which requires development assessment and they are close to the deadline. She told the group that financial cuts have had a negative effect in the vocational department as it has had on many schools. She said smaller rural schools are looking for ways to provide vocational education which could include sharing teachers. She said a group of Superintendents have only had one brain storming sessions. Additionally, she said grants are in the process of being spent down, they must be spent by the end of the year. She said we are preparing for next year's grants. She told the group we will start out with 3 maybe 4 new educators this year. She explained that although the new educators have been offered the positions, they cannot officially accept those position until 30 days before the start of the next school year; therefore, we have to wait to disclose names. She said Deb Morris replaces retiring Personnel Director Kathy Barrow. She said Ms Morris comes to us with a lot of experience and knowledge. She said our Business Supervisor Bill Suttles retired at the end of June and that position has been posted and we continue to work on O & M. She said there are people interested but are waiting for grades. She said the Superintendent's posting at ISD is up again though she does not know how many or if anyone applied. The budget impasse was discussed. Superintendent Preston told the group that ISVI has always been frugal. She said we can purchase some things through health life and safety and other necessities through grants. She said somethings are purchased on credit and some things are purchased through donated funds. She said we are getting cut off notices from different suppliers. She told the group as an example that the annual Braille Challenge brings families from all over the state. ISVI submitted a $25.00 request to Springfield for snacks and that request was denied. Dan Thompson said he thought the alumni would be interested in supporting some of the functions. When asked if funding would put a damper on summer programs Superintendent Preston explained how ISVI has been progressive in obtaining funding for these programs over the last several years through the IDEA-B grant and that expenses for summer camp has been written into this grant for the next couple of years. She said because we can't get approval to provide a meal at the end of summer camp, they are planning on ending the camp a little earlier and everyone will be on their own for the meal. Jess Rogers from Blind Vendors said he too would like a list of events so his group could help with some of it. Superintendent Preston told the group the Low Vision Clinic was held March 6th and 7th, celebrating its 40th anniversary. She said refreshments were provided by several local Lion's groups and was successful

Vocational Principal, David Miller

Principal Miller told the group that he continues to work through IEP's having completed ten with four still in the evaluation stage. He said there were 18 new students on campus this year with 17 to stay with us which he said was encouraging. He said the career technical program continues to provide opportunities for students. He talked about students with the opportunity to learn technical assistive skills to learn how to answer the phone and more office management type skills. He said kids in public schools never get those chances. He explained how the program was a tiered program, with students entering the program at a voluntary level before having a paid job and other aspects of the program. He updated the group on the upcoming summer camp. He said this year's summer camp would have the same theme as Opening Doors, "Legos". He said they would also have STEM this year and Jr. STEM. He said some activities of summer camp will be swimming, bowling and creating a Lego creature and kids will go to the KROC Center in Quincy on Friday, an activity the kids really enjoyed last year. He told the group about AdvancEd's potential project of collecting certain data in 2018 that would provide for certain accreditation. He said they were looking at more information on that. He told the group that Tom Vredenbergh's engraving class created a time capsule behind Unit 17 which included print and braille. The Information Processing class did research paper on the capsule. The time capsule will be opened on 2040. He said the time capsule also includes a flash drive and other tangible items. The group was told about the garden outside of dietary. Proceeds from the garden will help feed the students in the fall.

Education Principal, Aimee Veith

 Principal Veith said PERA was going well, they are having great discussions throughout the year. She said these discussions have been open and honest. At this writing PARCC was nearly completed and the ISBE is working on a science assessment. David Miller told the group that only nine states now do PARCC though Superintendent Preston pointed out that that number is increasing. The group was advised by Superintendent Preston of a new unfunded mandate from the state that will require a change to IEP's. She said all students in schools will be assessed in P.E. Principal Veith said she was working with the P.E. teacher to get ready for that mandate. This assessment will determine BMI and muscle mass verses fat cells. It is a reportable score. Principal Veith told the group that about 15 students were able to attend this year's legislative breakfast in Springfield. She said students were able to meet face to face with their senators and had their undivided attention. Superintendent Preston agreed the legislature seemed to more aware of our students this year. She said Senator McCann really supports us and the kids were able to get on the senate floor this year. Principal Veith said preparations for prom were in full swing and four students will graduate this year. She updated the group about ISVI-P science products, the Northern Conference that serviced 17 families, Opening Doors. 

 Parent Association, Flora Dennison

 Superintendent Preston told the group that the Quarter Auction was overwhelming successful. The Parent Association cleared around $3200.00. She said they support a lot of our needs outside of the state budget. Principal Veith said feedback from regular quarter auctioneers was great. Superintendent Preston said the Parent Association is selling new tie dyed t-shirts and sales are good. Superintendent Preston told the group that ISVI is the proud new owner of a Phoenix Embosser, compliments of the National Federal of the Blind.

 National Federation of Blind Vendors, Jesse Rogers

 Jesse Roger from Blind Vendors told the group their conference would be held in Chicago this year on May 16th. Normally the conferences are held in Austin or Indianapolis. He said there would be people from all over the USA, anywhere from 800 to 1,000 people are expected. He told the groups of all the great strides Blind Vendors have made through the years and reported that Blind Vendors would have a booth at the state fair for the first time. He said they were really branching out and becoming more technical. He said he was glad the school got the embosser and if there were any other needs Blind Vendors would be glad to see what they could do to help. He discussed with the group the various local educational and residential centers for the blind and a little on what they offer. He told the group that Blind Vendors would have new training classes starting in June and for any students interested they should sign up, there are positions available. He said new vendors are needed, the average age for vendors right now is 52.

Mayor, Andy Ezard

Mayor Andy Ezard said he was hopeful ISVI students will come to the downtown activities, he said they are getting better all the time. They go from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., with concessions at one end of the square and family movies at the other end. He said the new $30 million dollar water plant was coming along and should be operational next summer. This plant is being built to replace old plant due to flooding. He told the group that Morton Avenue is getting a nine million dollar project redo from Hardin Avenue past Bucheit which will improve that thoroughfare. The upgrade will include 13 new traffic signals with cameras and some talking signals. He said Jacksonville is getting a new Dairy Queen. He said plans are underway for a new 82 acre Industrial Park. The look will be better, and traffic will be better. He told the group that the new combined dispatch center began on Monday in the basement of city hall. He said this will provide a better service with no dropped calls.

III. Membership:

There was no discussion concerning membership.

IV. Old Business

There were no discussions concerning old business

V. Adjournment

Dr. Goodfellow told the group the next meeting was scheduled for Friday, July 29th, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. He instructed secretary to remind everyone when the minutes went out. A motion to adjourn was made by Mark Peters and seconded by Jesse Rogers. All were in favor. Meeting adjourned.