Responses to the Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2007

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Accelerate the implementation of the Braille Improvement Project (BIP) with full vigor to ensure that the majority of the key projected outcomes are accomplished by September 30, 2008.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: The full vigor of the Braille Improvement Team is ensuring that key project outcomes are being accomplished, as determined, in a timely manner.

    Recent benchmarks: Three staff members were recently certified in Braille Formats, four new transcribers were certified in Literary transcription and two additional new transcribers have submitted their manuscripts for review.

    Contact: Bill Beavin

  2. Reduce Braille embossing and binding production time from four to two weeks.

    Status: Not Under Consideration at This Time

    Brief Clarification: We continually look for ways to reduce production and delivery times in all areas. In the braille area, a new printer has been purchased to produce tactile graphics from the green machine, staff members have been added to the Braillo area, and additional staff to cover production/binding is being evaluated for improved efficiencies. However, to reduce braille production time by 50% would require more manpower and/or an additional shift; resources that, if used, could provide a greater return on investment if used elsewhere.

    Contacts: Tuck Tinsley, Jack Decker

  3. Explore developing a full range of training opportunities which include face to face trainings, live and archived web casts, basic training manuals, compact disk and web-based tutorials for high demand and/or complex products.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: We continue to explore new and unique ways to provide training in support of APH products. Improvements to our technology capabilities will allow further use of expanded web casts, video training, and web-based tutorials while we continue to provide on site training as requested and needed.

    Contact: Janie Blome

  4. Expand the internet infrastructure (i.e. bandwidth) to allow increased distance education training formats.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: A contract is in place with an internet provider to expand bandwidth, using a fiber optic infrastructure.

    Contacts: Bill Beavin, Tuck Tinsley

  5. Identify an Integrated Library Services (ILS) platform that will accommodate a user friendly full access system with state-of-the-art e-Commerce features.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: Vendor contracts are in place and work has begun, with the anticipation of completion in 2008.

    Contacts: Julia Myers, Bill Beavin, Scott Blome

  6. Implement the National Prison Braille Program focus group goals designed to improve quality Braille transcription services.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification:
    APH is:

    • Updating the national directory of prison braille programs that was published in 2004 so that it can be continuously updated.
    • Continuing to respond to frequent requests for information and assistance from people working with prison braille programs across the country.
    • Working with corrections personnel to identify and address needs for promotional/educational materials and to take advantage of opportunities for positive publicity.

    APH has:

    • Implemented a 2-day national focus group in July that discussed issues related to braille production in prison facilities, especially the need for program development guidelines and a curriculum. Eight professionals in vision and corrections from across the country participated. Guidelines are currently being developed by APH staff to be published in late 2008.
    • Implemented a prison braille website that is accessible via the APH website. The site will become free-standing once all critical components are in place and it’s ready for public viewing. Other means of on-going communication (such as listservs and blogs) are being explored. The website can be accessed at: http://www.aph.org/pbf
    • Hosted the annual Prison Braille Forum in conjunction with the 2007 APH Annual Meeting in October. Forty professionals participated and much progress was made toward developing the national prison braille network, outlining program development guidelines, and addressing specific program needs of attendees.

    Contacts: Gary Mudd, Nancy Lacewell

  7. Implement the tactile graphic database plan which allows for electronic download.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: The graphic library (database) has been in operation since October 2007 with tactiles being added for download weekly.

    Contacts: Bill Beavin

  8. Intensify initiatives toward the development of guidelines, position papers and recommendations to improve the intellectual testing of students who are blind or visually impaired.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: Activities initiated include the formation of an “IQ Group” that includes APH staff and representatives from the field of blindness. The group has met six times so far via teleconference, and additional teleconferences are planned. The immediate goal of the group is development of a position paper on IQ testing of students who are blind/vi. A panel presentation on "IQ Testing of VI Students: Taking a Position" has been accepted for presentation at the 2008 International AER. Guidelines and recommendations will be presented; audience feedback followed by expert review will be used to revise the paper before it is finalized and published.

    Depending on recommendations and feedback from a variety of sources, tentative future plans include adapting and making the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test, Second Edition (KBIT-2) available in our APH Products catalog.

    Contact: Debbie Willis

  9. Continue to celebrate through the museum the past and stimulate future achievements in the field through museum activities about the capabilities of individuals who are blind or have low vision.

    Status: Implementation in Progress

    Brief Clarification: The number of museum visitors reached an all-time high, experiencing an increase of 12% over 2006 and topping 5,000 for the first time ever. The museum hosted eleven monthly Saturday education programs and conducted a number of other high profile public events. More than 1,100 visitors attended special events in the museum during 2007.

    While many important collections were added to the collection, the highlight was the transfer of the Warren Bledsoe Orientation & Mobility Archives to APH from the Maryland School for the Blind, consisting of hundreds of original artifacts and tens of thousands of documentary records.

    Staff managed contracts for three new initiatives: a major exhibit on the history of the company, a project to transform the signage and landscaping of the APH front lawn, and a history book celebrating the company’s 150th anniversary.

    Staff developed two ongoing museum programs, a museum theater component featuring former APH Morrison Heady written by Lexington playwright Donna Ison, and a geography loan kit available free of charge to local schools.

    Revisions to the museum website, including a modest virtual exhibit component, are almost complete. The new site will be unveiled this spring.

    Contact: Micheal Hudson

  10. Explore the development of SRS data transmission protocols which will allow EOTs to download their records to APH.

    Status: Under Consideration

    Brief Clarification: At this time, we are studying methods for receiving data from the EOTs. Once we find the technologies that can automate the required tasks, we will evaluate which technology will work best or, at least, which method is feasible for our specific needs. The next step will be to contact the EOTs to find out what will be required to make our methods work for them. However, at this point, we do not have a technology in mind that is capable of performing this operation.

    Contacts: Gerald Lanning, Cindy Amback

  11. Consider assigning students a permanent Student Registration System (SRS) identifying number for purposes of longitudinal data analysis.

    Status: Not Under Consideration at This Time

    Brief Clarification: We will continue to give this recommendation consideration in the future, but recent staff turnover and reassignments in the CTS department necessitate that priority be given to other issues and concerns in the Student Registration System(SRS).

    Contacts: Cindy Amback, Janie Blome, Bob Brasher

  12. Implement a management system which will reliably track pre-production orders and the production of materials from order to delivery.

    Status: Implemented

    Brief Clarification: A company wide financial software system (SYSPRO) is used to track all orders (textbooks and products) from order entry to delivery. This system accurately accounts for orders all the way through the pre-production, production and delivery stages.

    Each department has the capability to run weekly status reports on all open jobs. These reports are discussed in weekly pre-production and production meetings to ensure all information is accurate. It also allows us to identify potential delivery problems so that customers can be contacted if necessary.

    Contacts: Jane Thompson, Jack Decker

  13. Investigate and, if feasible, implement the electronic dissemination of acknowledgements and invoices to EOTs as a means to save time and resources.

    Status: Implementation In Progress

    Brief Clarification: Software has been purchased and is being tested.

    Contacts: Bill Beavin, Theresa Close

  14. Increase the number of annual APH Scholars as part of the process to identify, develop, and inspire new leaders

    Status: Not Under Consideration at This Time

    Brief Clarification: Other activities planned for APH’s 150th anniversary take precedence.

    Contact: Tuck Tinsley

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