Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow, Chair
Council Member Jeff Schulte
Council Member Richard Schrumpf
Amy Richards, Consultant, SBE
Dan Thompson, Alumnus and former faculty member
Superintendent Serena Preston, ISVI Superintendent
Gail Olson, El Vista Coordinator
Aimee Veith, ISVI Education Principal
David Miller, ISVI Vocational Principal
Malinda Pollard, Director of Residential Services
Debbie Buchanan, Executive Secretary II
The meeting was called to order by Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow, Chair, at approximately 10:00 a.m. Dr. Goodfellow introduced Boyd Ferguson from the Office of Education of the State Board of Education and Amy Richards, state consultant who replaces outgoing member Todd Williams. Everyone present introduced themselves as well.
Dr. Goodfellow made a motion to accept the agenda, 1st approval given by Dan Thompson, seconded by Mr. Schrumpf. Dr. Goodfellow asked if there was a conflict of interest with the agenda, there was no response. Dr. Goodfellow said to let the record show there is no conflict of interest.
SPECIAL GUEST GAIL OLSON: Special guest Gail Olson, Co-Coordinator of the El Vista program through the Illinois State University gave a presentation to the council on the program. She told the council that El Vista is a five year grant with Illinois State University from the United States Office of Education Department of Special Education. She said the grant was new and was underway. She said during 2009 in Illinois there were over 171,000 births, 513 babies were visually impaired and 21 were deaf/blind babies. She said it was estimated that over the next three years in early intervention system we will serve about 1500 visually impaired babies and that 63 would be deaf/blind. To adequately serve these babies we need 106 DTVs. She said currently we really have 28 DTV credentialed and only 23 of them are serving babies and we need 106. She said there were only 5 O&M's credentialed and they are clustered in Chicago. She said ISVI serves 44 children and is serving the larger part of Illinois a total of 22 counties. She said there is only one provider in southern Illinois for 13 counties. She said Rockford used to provide service in early intervention but got out of that last year leaving that area un-serviced. The reason for the grant is to recruit. She said the grant has four goals. The first goal is to train and credential personnel in early intervention to serve in rural areas where there are critical shortages. The 2nd goal is to increase quality of service of people in the field of early intervention. She said these are usually O & M instructors and teachers that have full time jobs that do this at night. She said this training was different than teachers retraining to work with babies. She said people credentialed doing 0-3 babies say they don't feel prepared. She said they need to make better quality training. She said El Vista will go this summer full time in July. She said there were four areas for being credentialed: Assessment and working with families; intervention and development; 4 courses in practicum one of which will take place here during Opening Doors which is still being worked out; and DTV credentialing. She said ten people will start this year, next year there will be 10 more, then 20 and 20 then 10. She said admission would be granted to teachers of visually impaired or O & M who have one year experience. She said they have to have some experience under their belt. She said they need to have GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. She said they will give locations some degree of priority. She said they would consider diversity because all federal grants require that and they need a year in the field to be credentialed. She said some would transfer to a master's program or they could apply to be DTV or DTO & M or become an Early Intervention Vision Specialist. Third is Assessment. They will collect data on knowledge and skill of students and will track it for five years to determine satisfaction and every five years thereafter but do not know for how long. She said they will use the data collected to help the field in visual impairment nationally. Dissemination was next. She said the information will be shared with other vision providers in Illinois and nationally. She said Utah is doing a similar program and she had heard from other states interested in this that are watching us. She told the Advisory Council about the upcoming programs: Mini Camp June 16-17th at ISU that will target El and ACVREP credits; IAER Preconference titled "Vision and the Brain" in 2015 with Dr. Borchert on Optic Nerve Hypoplasia with 90 participants from multiple states and Dr. Amanda Lueck from California in 2016 on her new book on CVI through APH for the Blind; Opening Doors 2015 June 2 through the 5th at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired. This year's theme is Wild Wild West and the ISVI-P Illinois Summer Vision Instruction Partnership to be held August 3 at ISVI featuring Lisa Tabaka on Technology and Monica Turner on Teaching Tactile Graphics and an APH Product demo. A discussion was had between Education Principal Aimee Veith, Gail Olson and Superintendent Preston concerning whether or not teachers could accept stipends for their involvement in these ISU programs. Superintendent Preston said they could not accept stipends. She said ISVI is awarded tuition waivers for each student teacher that is hosted by one of our ISVI teachers. She said they only had three this year and they are spoken for. She said they had someone else that wanted some. Superintendent Preston said as a follow-up anyone who has applied for a grant knows it's a lot of paperwork, filling out forms, searching for required information. She said whenever it's a federal grant there are 50 states applying for the same money. She said she was extremely impressed, that we have a need and it is being addressed, she said she was thrilled. Dan Thompson suggested that maybe they could attend some sessions. Gail Olson said they had not addressed that but maybe they could. Superintendent Preston thought it might make some families feel a little uncomfortable. Gail Olson said they could look at sessions to see what could be made available to board members and staff. Dan Thompson said he was interested in APH to which Gail Olson said that APH comes to ISVI on August 3rd.
SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT: Superintendent Preston told the council that she recently attended the ISAC legislative breakfast on April 23rd in Springfield. She said she had a great day. She told the board that ISVI took 11 students, ISD had 5 students and many other schools were represented as well, but she did not know numbers. She said that afternoon she attended the State Board of Education meeting and she is still learning about that council. She said they talked about appointing hearing officers and due process. She said there is a school district that wants to leave a coop, they would hear about that at the next meeting. Mr. Ferguson said there would be four districts heard at the next meeting in June. Dr. Goodfellow asked what the motive was for a school district leaving a coop to which Mr. Ferguson replied money. He said if they pull out and they get their money directly and have a more direct use of the funds. Superintendent Preston told the council the next meeting was in June in Oak Lawn. Superintendent Preston told the council there were some potential changes coming to Braille that will require making updates. She said the changes will allow for web addresses and the "@" sign. She said APH has developed a timeline of how they are prepared for changes. She said she is on a committee and we are to pan on how to transition to UVE. She said our Braille teacher Stephanie Provence is familiar with the changes and has been teaching those changes. She said her main task is to find a contact person with SBE to be on this committee, she would be working on that. She said another meeting she attended was ISU Advisory Committee. She said she learns a lot about changes to teacher programs. She said there are a lot of changes due to teacher licensure.
Superintendent Preston said Kris Smith could not be here today. She said there are things going on, that SB220 is making its way through the legislature. This bill would allow direct hire for ISVI and ISD, which exempts potential teachers from the grading requirements with CMS. She said we would probably have more knowledge of a candidate than someone grading applications. She said the grading process takes 6-9 months. She said they just had an O & M opening and there is no one on the list. She said it would be 6 months before they get approval to post again which means we will be going into next school year. She said SB220 would allow them to advertise a position and the let them apply here and we determine their eligibility. Whatever candidates we select we still need to get CMS seal of approval. That bill if it gets through next senate it will pass to the will need to go through there. Dr. Goodfellow asked if DHS supported that bill. Superintendent Preston said yes, they are the ones that put it together and submitted it.
EDUCATION PRINCIPAL AIMEE VEITH: Education Principal Veith told the council that some report this was the best ISAT breakfast in three years, the most successful. She said the kids had to meet certain requirements. She said two kids were able to get on the floor with Representative Davidson and got pics with Senator McCann and Brady. The kids got a tour of the Capitol. She said the kids enjoyed that. The Director of History gave a tour at the Lincoln Museum because it was during the Lincoln funeral. She said the owner of the restaurant they ate at, Robbie's Restaurant, came to her and said he wanted to meet me and said those were the most well behaved kids we have ever had in here. She said her son was able to join them that day and he was in awe of what the students could do. She said seven students attended the CEC Awards Banquet. She said Morgan Cole did a marvelous job. She said PARCC is here again on Monday. One Braille was on back order. She said the last time all of them were back ordered, they had to start nine days outside of other schools. Superintendent Preston said she wanted to commend Education Principal Veith, she said she was great last time getting Braille, she said getting Braille here was nothing short of a nightmare. She said they were supposed to mail Braille to the school, when it didn't come they called PARCC and they mailed it to DHS in Springfield. She said it happened at 5 p.m. on a Friday. She said then it happened again but this time during the day. Education Principal Veith said they completed ACT tests; one student did not pass but will retake the test. She said 15 students did Braille proficiency and all passed but two. That two that didn't we were not surprised. She said several students were attending the Forensics meet in Indiana and would be tired for the PARCC testing on Monday. She said May 7th would be the Art Exhibit. She told the council that Dr. Cary Supalo would be guest speaker at the May 22nd graduation this year. She said he develops programs and apps and that he is a Professor at ISU in chemistry.
Superintendent Preston said she would like to add that she couldn't be prouder to be with the kids she was with, that the education department and the residential department had the kids well dressed, respectfully dressed. When you looked at our group they looked clean and were very well behaved. She said students shared with Mr. McCann that they passed the Constitution and will be taking the Illinois Constitution soon. She said just reviewing PARCC news, in 23 states they were down to nine stats staying with that consortium. She said regardless what test you use you are required to use a test for federal funding.
VOCATIONAL PRINCIPAL DAVID MILLER: Vocational Principal Miller said he had a lot going on in vocation as well. Almost to the end of IEP's for the year. He said there was a tremendous amount of work that goes into those. He said the process and the details that go into each one, having an individual plan for each student. He said teachers are doing a good job being able to provide support for the students to be successful. He said he had one IEP this afternoon and a couple more in May and then he would be done. He said he did not have any new evaluations but he said closer to August they would be looking at a number of new student evaluations. He said last week at a CTCI meeting teachers did a good job explaining programs they are in charge of and students did a good job speaking to topics on hand. He said it was worth the extra time it took, they are doing good things. He said they were working on the Jobs program. He said there will be changes next year to the program. He said there are a number of students working, 17-19 students on or off campus. He said they work their way to a job, volunteering at the first level. They volunteer before earning opportunity to have paid positions because funding is limited. He said they are getting job opportunities together that we have on campus. He said his plan was to be able to take a look at integrating this and making kids aware of how it goes. Vocational Principal Miller said CTEI was underway, they use the money to enhance programs. He said teachers were turning in their orders. He said he will meet with Business to be sure they are doing it right. He said they had the neatest time in Springfield with the students at the career fair at Lincoln Land College. He said he was interested in feedback from the students. He said some were surprised how to get admitted into college, how to transition. He said they gave out packets to students to help them if they choose to go into that. He said there are courses on HVAC, food service, automotive, certificate programs, just overwhelming with what I saw that day. Next year they want a full day program. He said he would like to do this every couple of years for junior, senior and fifth year students. He said he thought it would help them with applying for college. Kids understand the application process but not what comes after that so I think we could do better at that.
Vocational Principal Miller went on to say we have summer camp this summer with a western theme, "Rootin Tootin Wild West Adventure". He said there was a big change this year creating STEM camp for both young and high school age students. He said they sent out a lot of applications for senior STEM and junior STEM and were hoping for more interest. He said they are still in the application process. He said they had teachers in place and were working on interviews for student helpers. He said currently they had 5 or 6 applications for junior STEM and about 18 applications for senior STEM. Superintendent Preston said she would like to add that we have seen 7-11 in past years in traditional summer camp type of formats. She said there has been a decline in enrollment in past years where there used to be about 24, last couple of years about six. Superintendent Preston said there would be one or two new students in the fall and a couple more they are not sure with. She said a couple of elementary kids were in the mix.
PARENT ASSOCATION: Superintendent Preston said there were two things, 1) The fundraiser chili supper cleared $500.00. She said there were ongoing sales of spirit wear. She said the logo changed this year and went over very well. 2) Trivia night planned did not make the minimum number of participants and was cancelled.
Education Principal Veith said they were looking at new fundraisers and prom would be May 15th.
RESIDENTIAL SERVICES: Director of Residential Services Malinda Pollard told the council that students recently attended a picnic with items they had prepared in the kitchen with staff. She said they really enjoyed that. She said there were Mennonites from Iowa at the school and several projects were completed. She said they had several prom dresses donated from , she said probably over 80. Pollard said the girls were excited trying them on and getting ready for the big night. She said RCW's and the junior class are working on the after prom party. She reported the theme for this year's prom is Aloha. She said they continue to work on their Trash to Treasure. They take broken items that are to be discarded and make nice things out of them. Superintendent Preston told the council to join them in the dining hall and you will be able to see. Director of Residential Services Pollard continued that the items are sold through a silent auction. The funds go to the different pods that worked on them and it helps with extra dorm activities.
Superintendent Preston told the council that the Promenade theme was "Walking the Red Carpet".
OLD BUSINESS: Dr. Goodfellow talked about the council's attempt at updating the Bylaws, partly because they have fallen out of use. He said currently there were three drafts circulating around the group. He said that he and Superintendent Preston needed feedback. He talked about some of the changes, reducing the number of members to 9-12 and allowing for participation of the meetings electronically, which he said would give more flexibility, bringing us more into current times and helping to get a quorum. He said this would bring us a quality but smaller groups. He said we have a problem getting everyone here at the same time when groups are so large. After some discussion on how to get the new bylaws voted upon it was decided members could vote by email. Board Member Schulte said after indicating his time was nearly up that his personal opinion was that we need someone with a younger kid on here, to which Superintendent Preston agreed. Dr. Goodfellow went onto say that he was hopeful to get the vote passed today so we could have elections at the July meeting for new positions. Board Member Schulte said he believed that "local" should be stricken from Article V, Section 1, E-8 so that any interested Lion's member could potentially serve.
Dr. Goodfellow gave an update on the ISD Legislative Advocacy. He said they have us to support this legislation but he said we are not in a position to support those things because we do not know enough of what they are asking. He said it had huge financial staffing implications. He said if we were on our own we may not have any funding. He said he told them he would keep the group updated but we can't support this until we know more about it. He said they believed the legislation was originally backed by just two people who put it together and submitted it. He said DHS Springfield was blindsided by this too, that their legal counsel is not involved in this. He said we are at arms-length with discussions and not actively involved or actively supporting it. An update on SB220 was also discussed. It was reported that SB220 is making its way through the process, and would exempt the hiring of teachers for ISVI and ISD through CMS and their grading system, rather the schools would be allowed to hire their own teachers, called direct hire.
Superintendent Preston told council that DHS has found money in a property improvement fund needed for roof repair for campus buildings totaling approximately $25,000. She emphasized this is for repair, not replacement. She said they were also looking at replacing the back porch railings if the money can be found. Dr. Goodfellow said these are funds we don't plan to use but need if you were on your own, don't think others have thought about that. He said you don't want to be in that situation and find out you don't have that.
At this time, approximately 11:30 a.m., the meeting was adjourned until July 24th, 2016.