Advisory Committees Reports, 2003

Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2003

Introduction

The American Printing House has a long history as a leader in the field of blindness. The purpose of the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) is to:

The committee met in May 2003 to address the 2002 report, and to develop commendations and recommendations based on APH’s responses to this report. To assist with this endeavor, presentations were made by APH’s administrative staff and staff of the services departments. These presentations provided progress updates on the 2002 recommendations and information on new initiatives.

Commendations

The committee commends APH for:

  1. improving data dissemination on reading media by providing in the annual report the new chart "student readers by primary reading medium."
  2. beginning use of prison braille programs in the production of textbooks.
  3. providing ESAC a copy of the Advisory Services Organizational Chart.
  4. including students with cortical visual impairment (CVI) in the Federal Quota Census.
  5. providing SRS training to persons responsible for collecting and reporting census data.
  6. recognizing the importance of communication by establishing a Communications Department and the continued improvements in the development of the website, catalogs, annual report and other publications.
  7. developing the new large print textbook format and continued growth of the books available in braille through the ATIC program.
  8. adding ATIC holdings to the APH File Repository.
  9. creating the Accessible Tests Department in recognition of the timely significance of accessibility in student evaluation and testing, especially in light of the NCLB Act.
  10. developing a comprehensive process to facilitate the translation of QUARK files to word files and maintaining an effective, user-friendly AMP database.

Recommendations

The committee recommends that APH:

  1. make available to EOTs, upon request, promotional materials already developed.
  2. review the following census issues with the intent to:
    • assist with identification of home schooled students by contact with the National Association of Home Schooling and providing results to the EOTs.
    • clarify grade placement categories by repositioning the phrase "classes for nonacademic students" in the Other Registrants category.
    • allow students in infant and preschool programs to be counted in the reading media category that is most appropriate for the individual child.
    • make reporting of additional reading media mandatory and include these data in future reports.
  3. present the APH organizational chart for discussion at the EOT formal luncheon in October.
  4. provide additional SRS training opportunities by piloting tutorial training sessions on the website.
  5. pursue expanding the distribution of print and electronic versions of the APH News and other related information vital to the field.
  6. in light of the recently revised APH mission statement, APH develop a long range plan that guides the future direction of educational services and products.
  7. Expand the charge of the Accessible Tests Department to emphasize the accessibility of student practice materials, teacher manuals, and teacher instructions for test administration.
  8. APH establish a program that uses experienced Ex Officio Trustees as mentors for new Trustees through email, telephone contact and opportunities for personal connections during the new EOT’s first annual meeting.

Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2003

Introduction

In May of 2003, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) met for the second year as the formal advisory body to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The committee members reviewed proposed projects and products currently in development. By meeting in small groups with individual departments, the members learned details of the product development process and the current status of each project. Ten new products were approved for sale with quota funds. The careful organization by the APH staff of both the materials and the schedule enhanced the productivity of EPAC during the process. With the hope that they are useful to the APH staff and helpful to the field, the Committee offers the following Commendations and Recommendations.

Commendations

The Committee commends APH for:

  1. The response of APH staff to the 2002 committee report, noting clearly which recommendations were implemented and which are in progress.
  2. The thorough and thoughtful preparation of the Project Leaders for the interviews with Committee members.
  3. Continued advocacy efforts that have expanded the product line and have increased the per capita allotment.
  4. Timely delivery of ordered products.
  5. Increasing the awareness of issues in blindness and the visibility of APH by attending and presenting at conferences outside the blindness field.
  6. Increased reliance on electronic communication with Ex Officio Trustees.
  7. Fostering a collegial atmosphere among the staff, supporting a creative climate and encouraging new ideas.
  8. Creation of the Braille Committee to analyze the future needs and uses of Braille and Braille production methods.
  9. Increasing the number of staff members with visual impairment.
  10. Continued expansion of the website and for improving the organization for easier navigation of the site.
  11. Major collaborative partnerships, in particular, the DAISY development, AFB Solutions Forum, and the "Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks" guidelines with BANA.
  12. Developing innovative and landmark products which include original programming, such as Book Port and Book Wizard.
  13. The ATIC development of a flexible and effective process for delivering high quality textbooks in a timely manner.
  14. The willingness of ATIC staff to provide assistance to transcribers in the field, thereby supporting high quality Braille production outside of APH.
  15. Varied methods of collecting data from practitioners both during the product planning phase as well as during the product evaluation phase, i.e., the website, focus groups, diverse conferences, workshops, expanded field test sites.
  16. Expanding the Accessible Test Department to coordinate all test editing, development and production.

Recommendations

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Provide adequate support to ensure that a priority system for product development is completed and implemented as indicated in the response to the 2002 recommendation on this subject.
  2. Continue to explore options for greater gender and ethnic diversity among the participants selected for product literature, videos, and promotional items.
  3. Identify the transcribers in the AMP database that currently meet the ATIC standards for Braille transcription.
  4. Include information which illustrates how products support national curricular standards and benchmarks in the product literature through manuals, announcements , catalog notations, and information on the website.
  5. Assure technological support and full access to all employees, including assistive technology where needed.
  6. Consider ATIC evolving into a textbook department where all textbook orders are funneled through the ATIC process to ensure consistency and quality.
  7. Continue the ATIC initiative in the area of production of large print textbooks, using the new standards.
  8. Consider providing the Accessible Test Department access to a Braille transcriber who is experienced in test preparation.
  9. Embody both medical and educational knowledge in its role as a lead agency in research and development. A current example of this type of collaboration is the CVI Partnership. All research models should bridge the gap between the research from the field of vision and research in the field of medicine.
  10. Announce new products only when product availability is confirmed.

Committees

Members of the APH Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Members of the APH Educational Products Advisory Committee:

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