Advisory Committees Reports, 2002

Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2002

Introduction

The American Printing House for the Blind has a long and distinguished history in providing needed products and services to blind and visually impaired individuals. In 2002, the structure for receiving support and input from its Ex Officio Trustees underwent a significant change. APH formed the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC), a new body whose purpose is to: provide oversight and leadership in the planning, evaluation, and delivery of services; identify new services needed; assist in the promotion of APH products through services; and advise APH on general operations and communications as they relate to the accountability of services provided.

In May of 2002, the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) met for the first time. Presentations by administrative staff and the staff of APH services departments provided an orientation and overview of services as they relate to present products. The Committee engaged in activities designed to formulate its role and establish future directions. It also addressed the 2001 Combined Report and developed commendations and recommendations based on APH’s response to this report and the presentations made to the Committee by APH staff. As a result of these deliberations, the ESAC found that APH had committed significant personnel resources to web-based resources and service initiatives; established new services; strengthened existing services; and enhanced access to services.

Commendations:

The Committee commends APH for:

  1. Expanding and improving its web presence by adding a Web Administrator for the APH website and for Fred’s Head.
  2. Adding two new Field Services Representatives to enhance services.
  3. Creating and expanding the National Instructional Partnerships.
  4. Continuing to improve ATIC braille services.
  5. Providing print and electronic newsletters and listserves to improve communications with Ex Officio Trustees and Committee members.
  6. Reorganizing its Committees in response to 2001 report recommendations.
  7. Using descriptive narration and closed captions on APH video products.
  8. Organizing products catalog in relation to the Expanded Core Curriculum.
  9. Creating Family Life and Adult Life catalogs.

Recommendations:

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Develop a promotional materials packet for Ex Officio Trustees. This packet should include display banners and panels, brochures in print and electronic format, and a video catalog on CD or DVD.
  2. Expand the function of the ESAC through quarterly conference calls. Conference calls should be between meetings to increase dialogue and capture committee feedback on important issues.
  3. Modify the APH Federal Quota Census to facilitate the inclusion of additional students with cortical visual impairment (CVI).
  4. Track, analyze, and disseminate information on legislation that may impact APH products or services.
  5. Continue to develop and define the role and responsibilities of the ESAC in terms of APH communications, oversight and leadership, new services, and product promotion.
  6. Leverage training activities to maximize impact by using distance learning and video recording strategies when possible.
  7. Distribute APH organizational charts to all Ex Officio Trustees on a periodic basis.

Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Ex Officio Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2002

Introduction

The new Educational Products Advisory Committee was initiated and approved at the 2001 Annual Meeting, combining the Publications Advisory Committee and the Research and Development Advisory Committee. This change allowed the new committee to address products and publications available through the Federal Quota program.

In May of 2002, the Committee met for the first time. A new and improved meeting format allowed members to interact with appropriate APH staff through small subcommittees which then reported their findings to the entire Committee. This efficient new structure allowed the Committee to arrive at the following Commendations and Recommendations.

Commendations:

The Committee commends APH for:

  1. Immediate responsive action to the recommendation of the previous year’s Advisory Committees to merge the committees and transform the structure.
  2. Written responses to the recommendations of last year’s combined committee.
  3. Changing the configuration of the Educational Products Advisory Committee meeting.
  4. Completing many high quality products that will benefit users who are blind and visually impaired.
  5. Recruiting and retaining creative, self-motivated employees.
  6. Important work and major progress of Test Central including the establishment of the Test Central Council, collaboration with other organizations, use of expert consultants, development of training, and exploration of future initiatives.
  7. Continuing development of ATIC, pursuit and training of out-source vendors, growth of the collection of textbook titles, and persistent efforts in developing the large print process.
  8. Continuing valuable and innovative technology research.
  9. Cross-use of some team leaders for projects outside their primary areas of expertise.
  10. Dedication to the development of Low Vision products.
  11. Initiating basic research in the acquisition of reading skills, as it relates to the comparison of contracted and uncontracted braille.
  12. Developing the current educational products catalog that includes alignment of products into the categories of the Expanded Core Curriculum.
  13. Developing a collection of catalogs by the different consumer groupings, and creating the updated format.

Recommendations:

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Consider making APH-created ATIC files available for download.
  2. Expand methods of attracting qualified staff to fill position vacancies.
  3. Expand use of employees and consultants who telecommute, and provide necessary technological support.
  4. Document standards for field testing for the purpose of uniform practices across categorical project areas.
  5. Lengthen timelines for responses from the field when collecting information and data via surveys, field tests, etc.
  6. Use E-mail to notify all Ex Officio Trustees regarding BETA testing opportunities, availability of new products, and new additions to the website.
  7. Enhance the connection of the Advisory Committees to the work of APH by appointing one member to each of the ad hoc advisory committees and focus groups.
  8. Make catalogs available for order online.
  9. Promote APH and its products within and outside the field of blindness by writing and submitting articles for publication in research journals.
  10. Produce a separate technology report for the Advisory Committees, which will outline technology activities and their potential relationships to other project areas.
  11. Retain the protocol interview process.
  12. Further clarify the mechanism to prioritize product selection at all stages of the process.
  13. Continue to strike a reasonable balance between production of contract work and production of products for the field.
  14. Continue to develop adult braille literacy products; consider use of Grade 1 braille and development of jumbo braille materials.

Committees

Members of the APH Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Members of the APH Educational Products Advisory Committee:

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