Advisory Council Notes 1/22/2016


Dr. Geoffrey Goodfellow, Ann Panthen, Dan Thompson, Mark Peters, Mayor Andy Ezard, Jesse Rogers, John Thein, Olaya Landa-Vialand

Absent: Amy Richards

Guests: Serena Preston, Marsha Schoth, Kris Smith by phone, Aimee Veith, Flora Dennison 

Roll Call/Introductions: All participating members of the meeting introduced themselves. All guests also introduced themselves.

I. Approval of Minutes/Adoption of Agenda

Dr. Goodfellow asked all members if they accept the agenda for today's meeting with no conflicts of interest. A motion was made to accept and a second was made. Dr. Goodfellow asked all members if they accept the minutes from the last meeting. A motion was made along with a second motion. Let it be noted that both the minutes and agenda have been accepted.

II. Reports:

DHS, Kris Smith

Mrs. Smith agreed with the Mayor that she has been in state business for many years and getting services cut are a big concern to DHS and the schools. Vendors aren't getting paid and are cancelling deliveries. We are also dealing with hiring delays and grading delays at this time. There was a survey done and at this time 47% of state workers are over the age of 50 and 9% under 29. This leaves us with knowledge leaving to retire and this is affecting agencies. John Gordon which many of you are familiar with is now the Bureau Chief of BBS. This man comes to us with a lot of knowledge. Mrs. Smith has been working with a new program called PETS. This program is looking at how to meet employer needs in the workforce. The program works with Vocational Rehab and STEP programs. There is a national conference that she will be attending next week to learn more about it. PETS money goes to services community rehab. The program will work with schools and step program for job explorations. 15% of PET money is for people who are not disabled but need some kind of help. To access the information go to Mrs. Veith expressed that PETS is not a name that should be used.

Superintendent Serena Preston

Reports from all departments were sent out prior to today's meeting. Just to add to them at this time we are looking for educators and the posting is ongoing. When someone retires we try to fill the vacancy but then again we go through the process of approvals. Ann Panthen asked why can't we get these vacancies filled and Mrs. Preston says it's a process and getting qualified people is hard. The discussion of vacancies and the process of filling vacancies. Most of our subs are retired educators who come back because they love the kids. Our recently posted was the Orientation and Mobility instructor. Even graduate students would love to work here but getting them in the system is a time consuming ordeal. Ms. Vialand stated that her students aren't interested in staying in the state of Illinois. Kris Smith said that the O & M instructor is a priority and she will correspond with Sherrie Bridges. Mrs. Veith agreed but stated we would like to offer jobs but it takes the state to long to process. Ms. Panthen asked if it would be helpful for advisor board's members to write letters call and visit someone to get things moving. She said it seems like a big black hole. Ms. Vialand said parents need to be more outspoken. Ms. Panthen said as a parent yes I'm frustrated. Mayor Ezard asked how many do actually come down and visits the students at the ISAC breakfast. We need to hit their families as they are the big supporters such as wives, staff and family members. Mrs. Veith replied that she has attended as a parent and you can visit legislators that day they actually speak to parents. As a state employee I couldn't say this but I can as mayor. Go to fundraisers and talk with them in person. Mr. Rogers agreed with Mayor Ezard that we keep making them aware of things as there are too many blind people out of jobs. ISVI-P hasn't been planned for 2016 but Mrs. Preston and Mrs. Veith have talked about it. This is funded by APH (American Printing House for the Blind).

I have one thing to share regarding a former student. Tyler Green made the Dean's List at college.

Vocational Principal, David Miller

Mr. Miller was not in attendance. Mrs. Preston gave his report which was sent out prior to meeting. Mrs. Preston added that our AdvancED team has been working very hard at completing surveys. He is also working on the mentor program, summer programs and camps.

Education Principal, Aimee Veith

 Mrs. Veith submitted her report prior to meeting and has nothing to add to it. One thing she did say is that the wrestling meet was canceled due to bad weather.

 Parent Association, Flora Dennison

 Parent association is still selling shirts with our logo on them which are available in the superintendent's office. There was a request for the parent association to purchase software to be used for summer camp and also in the classroom. This was purchased. There will be a .25 cent auction sponsored by the parent association on February 27th located at the Pathway business. The ISVI girl scouts will be selling their cookies at the auction.

 Admissions, Marsha Schoth

 We've had 16 applications in process with the last one ready for a domain meeting. There are two tours scheduled for this month.

 Marsha will attend the IAER Conference in February and has several speaking engagements at surrounding schools. These meetings will be with the ROE and Directors of Special Education.

 Business Office, Bill Suttles

 Mr. Suttles was not in attendance so Mrs. Preston gave the report. As we all know there is still no budget at this time. We are able to spend Grant money and IDEA-B funds. The Health Center needs to purchase a suction machine for our crash cart. This saved a student's life last year but it doesn't hold a charge. We will find money to get this purchased.


 This report was also sent prior to meeting.

 Student Council, Bernie Roach

 Student council is working on the theme for prom at this time. Blind Endeavors came to ISVI and talked with students regarding activities that can be done by a visually impaired person. The also showed students that there is nothing they can't try. Several members will be attending the ISAC breakfast in April at the Capital. Student Council members will try to speak to their senators and representatives. Bernie stated that this was great and all students enjoyed it.

 National Federation of the Blind, Jess Rogers

Every year we have a picnic held in Springfield at the Tom Madonia Park. This is our biggest fundraiser. Right now we are looking for vendors for the Vending program. There are many laws that have changed and it's hard to get people young people in the program. Right now the average age is 55.

ISU, Olaya Landa-Vialand

Right now we are working on a Dine in the Dark event. There will be keynote speaker, motivational speakers, videos. It should be a fun night and educational. If there is any interest you can send an e-mail to the students are the ones that put it together and it is very well received. The question of if IAER is open to anyone came up and Serena stated yes students are welcome to attend.

Lion's Club, John Thein

We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary of the Low Vision Clinic in March. Mrs. Cindy Miller will work with the group in planning the celebration. There will be cake and punch in Unit 17 in the media center. We have a class making name plates and key chains for the celebration.

Mayor Andy Ezard

Mayor Andy would like to extend an invitation to ISVI students to attend a City Council meeting. Recently we had ISD students there and it gives them interaction with the public.

Alumni, Mark Peters

A report was sent prior to the meeting from Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson invited everyone to attend June 2 for the ISVI reunion. This is to be held at the Hilton Garden Hotel, Springfield, Illinois. There will be a reception at 7:00pm also they will have an auction and selling CD's. Mr. Thompson will be sending invites out to former staff. The agenda this year is auction fundraiser, talent show, and new tools for accessing computers, banquet, dance and social.

III. Membership:

Nothing was discussed at this meeting regarding memberships.

IV. Old Business

Nothing was discussed at this meeting regarding old business.

V. Adjournment

There was a motioned to adjourn and it was seconded by Mr. Rogers at 11:57 am. Dr. Goodfellow reminded everyone that out next meeting is scheduled for April 22, 2016.