Advisory Committees Reports, 2005
Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2005
The purpose of the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) is to:
- Provide oversight and leadership in the planning, evaluation, and delivery of services,
- Identify new services needed,
- Assist the promotion of APH products through services and,
- Advise APH on general operations and communications as they relate to the accountability of services provided.
The Committee met May 31-June 3, 2005 to address the 2004 ESAC report and to develop commendations and recommendations based on APH’s response to this report. To assist with this endeavor, interactive presentations were made by APH’s administrative staff and ESAC committee members. These interactive presentations provided progress updates on the 2004 recommendations, operations, and information on new initiatives.
ESAC Commendations 2005
The Committee commends APH for:
- Its commitment to promoting and improving services and products as related to the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (1879).
- Mandatory training of the Ex Officio Trustees (EOTs) that was conducted at the2004 Annual Meeting.
- Completion of the Louis Database of Accessible Materials survey in 2004.
- Developing collaborative relationships, as follows:
- Participation in the Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) Summit
- Leadership in the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities
- Co-sponsorship of the National Family Conference in cooperation with the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) and the Hadley School for the Blind
- Collaboration with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in the development of three accessible tests documents (Checklist for Request for Proposal Building, Assessment Issues: An Accommodations Guide, and Checklist for Test Administrators) presented at the 2005 Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute
- Partnerships with state entities and publishers by the Accessible Tests Department and Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration Project (ATIC)
- Identifying, planning, and implementing National Instructional Partnership (NIP) trainings that support APH products.
- Effective use of technological advances to improve services, as follows:
- Redesign of the braille production floor in the plant that eliminated the eight-month backlog
- Lease and use of the Xerox® iGen3® digital color press for large print production that produces crisper color and quick turn-around at only $0.50 per page
- Development of webcast option for dissemination of information and training
- Posting the Student Registration System and Babies Count to the web.
- Willingness to accept the critical responsibility for the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC).
- Improvements in the area of communication via web and electronic media for Federal Quota and non-Federal Quota customers.
ESAC Recommendations 2005
The Committee recommends that APH:
- Continue to provide mandatory EOT training at annual meetings.
- Continue to use the feedback from the Louis survey to guide future direction for the resource services.
- With regard to the historic implementation of NIMAS/NIMAC,
- Collaborate with AFB on NIMAS/NIMAC talking points for the awareness of EOTs and the development of state education plans
- Keep EOTs informed of developments regarding NIMAS/NIMAC on a regular basis
- Utilize the advisory committees (ESAC and EPAC) for input on future direction of NIMAC
- Provide update to the field on NIMAC at the 2005 Annual Meeting
- Continue to encourage states to participate in Babies Count.
- Establish additional collaborative partnerships, as follows:
- Explore creating a network of approved braille producers that are accessible to EOTs
- Solicit ideas for NIPs and develop partnerships with EOTs on needed trainings
- Develop a focus group on the quality of tactile graphics with emphasis on collaboration between transcribers and educators
- Develop collaborative partnerships to determine the role/responsibility and training needs of paraeducators/paraprofessionals
- Develop collaborative partnerships to identify national standards aligned with APH products and the nine content areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC)
- Explore additional distance education technology to encourage participation in training related to products.
Stuart Wittenstein, Chair Educational Services Advisory Committee
Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2005
In April of 2005, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) met for the fourth year as a formal advisory body to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The committee members reviewed products under development, met with APH staff, and approved new products for sale with Federal Quota funds. It was a pleasure for the Committee to spend time with the innovative and enthusiastic APH staff. After thoughtful review the committee offers the following commendations and recommendations to APH for consideration.
EPAC Commendations 2005
The Committee commends APH for:
- Its responsiveness to the expressed needs of the Project Leaders and departments throughout APH regarding both the workforce and physical plant.
- The redesign of the braille production floor
- Adding a programmer position for the Technology Group
- Project Leaders who wrote their responses to protocol questions and provided supporting documentation to the individual EPAC members during the breakout sessions.
- Continued collaboration with those in higher education conducting research, with the results being integrated into APH products and assessments.
- Developing webcast options for disseminating information and training.
- Creation and development of the CVI website.
- Taking a leadership role in the development of the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC).
- Enabling staff availability in developing the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) 3.xstandard and its result, the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS).
- Completing the research leading to the proposed five-year Braille Textbook Improvement Project.
- Budget adjustments to enable centralizing the textbook order process within ATIC.
- Both large print and braille
- Increased funds for braille transcription and trainings
- Making permanent the ATIC large print editors.
- Continued improvements in product research and development
- Number and quality of products in development
- Use of field tests for items in process
- Developing products that have uses across age groupings
- Involving a significant number of professionals from the field
- Continued emphasis on the development of early literacy materials and related projects.
- Formation of the Tactile Graphics Committee, with collaboration between tactile graphics and early literacy.
- Filling the position of Early Childhood Project Leader.
- The continued development of materials on the Accessible Tests Department website.
- Collaborating on three accessible tests documents presented at the Jo Taylor Leadership Institute, March 2005.
- New products in the low vision project area.
EPAC Recommendations 2005
The Committee recommends that APH:
- Project Leaders complete and email responses to the protocol questions prior to the arrival of the EPAC committee. Additional documents can be presented at the group meetings.
- Consider having a Project Leader only at the beginning of the process for producing a series of books that already have an established format (e.g., Wright Group books, trade books, and leveled readers).
- Review each project area to determine if Research Assistant support is needed to move priority products forward more quickly.
- Maintain priority and timeline for the production of the Patterns: Primary Braille Reading Program revision.
- Develop a unique identifier for software upgrades to indicate Windows® 95-98-2000 or XP compatibility.
- Develop additional webcast trainings, with topics to be based on solicited input from the field.
- Expansion of resources and APH products added to the CVI web page.
- Expand the use of focus groups to help new Project Leaders set priorities.
- Continue the collaborative process with the medical community in the areas of early identification of children with: blindness or visual impairments, and CVI.
- Review the different processes in the production of tactile graphics, looking for opportunities for standardization, both in-house and with other organizations. One example of collaboration with a product is the Promising Practices for Transcribing Early Literacy Textbooks.
- Review the outsourced visual graphics process to ensure a more efficient, timely system.
- Project Leaders collaborate to consider the use of a product with other age or ability groups.
- Additional uses may need field testing with other populations for new manuals or addendums
- Develop a Product Review banner on the APH website to feature a product each month and include:
- Comments from the field that can provide additional instructional uses and opportunities for product updates
- Archive the results for ongoing reference
- Continue development of basic science reference materials used across curricula.
- Examples: tables and the solar system with astronomy, developed like the new periodic table of elements
- Review and enhance the Transition Tote System related to the needs of students to develop auditory learning skills essential in postgraduate learning, assessment and employment. Apply to each of the three versions.
Larry Brown, Chair Educational Products Advisory Committee
Members of the APH Educational Services Advisory Committee:
- Stuart Wittenstein, Chair (CA)
- Karen Blankenship (IA)
- Joseph Catavero (NY)
- Jean Martin (MN)
- Carmen Suminski (ND)
- Alternate – Louis Tutt (CO)
Members of the APH Educational Products Advisory Committee:
- Larry Brown, Chair (OR)
- Robb Farrell (MD)
- Kenalea Johnson (NM)
- Bernadette Kappen (PA)
- Carol McCarroll (TN)
- Jean Small (ME)
- Tom Winton (NC)
- Alternate – Mike Cole (CA)