Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School and Statewide System for Vision Services

Strengths in FY 2010

Iowa Braille School
 

Patrick Clancy, Superintendent

Patrick Clancy, Superintendent

The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS), located in Vinton, provides educational programs and services for students K-12 who are blind and visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities across the state. The Statewide System for Vision Services, a collaborative effort among the Board of Regents, the Department of Education, Area Education Agencies and the Iowa Department for the Blind, serves the same student population ages birth to twenty-one without a specific focus on residential services.

In FY 2010, the Board of Regents undertook a thorough review of the services provided by IBSSS and the Statewide System for Vision Services and moved forward with steps to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of services offered to students who are blind or visually impaired across Iowa.

The campus-based student population of IBSSS has decreased dramatically since the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1975 which placed an emphasis on services. Iowa students who once required the residential services of IBSSS are now predominantly served in their local school districts with support from the Statewide System for Vision Services.

The 2010 General Assembly directed the Board of Regents to “ . . . conduct a study to examine possible changes to and make recommendations regarding the current structure for providing residential services on the campus of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School . . .”

The Board moved forward with its Study Committee on Residential Services made up of stakeholders from throughout the state including Regent Rose Vasquez; educators and educational administrators, including those in special education; parents of students with vision needs; and the presidents of constituent organizations, among others.

Following the close of FY 2010, the Board received and approved the Study Committee’s seven recommendations for IBSSS and the Statewide System for Vision Services:

  • Continue to receive funding from the Iowa Legislature at current or increased levels;
  • Provide educational services as near to each student’s home as possible;
  • Strengthen the availability of intense services throughout the state through the reallocation of residential costs;
  • Implement a process for determining and meeting the long-term residential needs of students who are blind or visually impaired;
  • Partner with other providers for the provision of long-term residential services for students with additional needs;
  • Continue to operate the Vinton campus for short-term student programs and services, and administrative services for the Statewide System for Vision Services; and
  • Change the name to Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The seven recommendations guide the Board’s continuing work in FY 2011 relative to IBSSS and the Statewide System for Vision Services in an effort to provide the very best services and programs for Iowa students who are blind or visually impaired.

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