Reports of the Advisory Committees To the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind For the Year 2011

Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2011

Purpose

The purpose of the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) is to:

Introduction

In April of 2011, the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) met in Louisville, KY at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The ESAC committee met to address the 2010 ESAC report and to develop commendations and recommendations. 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 2010 recommendations, operations, and information on new initiatives.

ESAC Commendations 2011

Consistent with the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (1879), the committee commends APH for:

  1. Providing EOTs with state specific information with the Leaders to Leaders packet so EOTs can educate policymakers and stakeholders about the APH products and services.
  2. Increasing and improving communication through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and the award-winning Fred’s Head blog.
  3. Expanding the use of webinars and training videos to promote and educate on the use of APH products and services.
  4. Integrating the NIMAC and Louis databases for improved file access.
  5. Cataloging and digitizing the Barr, Bledsoe, and Migel collections to expand access.
  6. Upgrading the Student Registration System (SRS) to identify possible duplication of student records in Phase 1.
  7. Utilizing EOT expertise on ad hoc committees to recommend improvements for the file repository and the Louis database.
  8. Implementing the interdepartmental travel committee to determine outreach participation by the APH staff.
  9. Improving the format and content of the monthly APH News.
  10. Redesigning the APH website which includes the left sidebar for navigation and the changeable billboard.
  11. Exceeding original projections to expand the NIMAC collection that now includes more than 24,000 assets.

ESAC Recommendations 2011

Consistent with the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (1879), the committee recommends that APH:

  1. Establish an ad hoc committee (similar to the file repository and Louis committees) to facilitate a process with EOTs to improve electronic submission of student data.
  2. Provide additional resources and training for EOTs with consideration of those who do not have education and/or experience in the field of vision.
  3. Continue to expand the utilization of EOTs to support and promote the APH mission by:
    1. Creating ad hoc committees as needed
    2. Requesting student and teacher success stories using APH products
    3. Requesting innovative uses and lesson plans of APH products
    4. Recruiting EOTs to promote APH products and services at regional events
  4. Build in opportunities for EOTs to meet in small work groups during Annual Meeting to share best practices.
  5. Partner with agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), and National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) to align services and products with national priorities.
  6. Share the benefits and results of the Executive in Residence program and its contributions to APH’s mission.
  7. Expand the promotion of the various collections of materials and artifacts.
  8. Increase the tactile graphic image library by actively recruiting the submission of images.
  9. Follow up with APH Scholars regarding the impact of annual meeting participation on their role in the field.

Respectfully submitted,
Educational Services Advisory Committee 2011,

Marje Kaiser (SD), Chair
Patrick Clancy (IA)
Sally Giittinger (NE)
Jim Olson (CO)
Jonn Paris-Salb (CA)

Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2011

In May of 2011, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) met for the tenth year as a formal advisory body to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). Committee members met with several APH employees and sincerely appreciated the candid, forthright, and transparent discussions. An undercurrent of passion and commitment to advance the interests of children with visual impairments is palpable at all levels of the organization – a fitting tribute to the legacy of this organization and an irreplaceable source of confidence in its future.

EPAC Commendations 2011

  1. Focusing on involving parents in the education of their children by producing parent-friendly products. APH encourages parental participation as evidenced by the development of early literacy products such as the Flip-over Concept Books and the Early Braille Trade Books (EBT). Additionally, the proposed new parents’ manual on Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) and the emergent literacy books for parents of children aged birth through three will be particularly empowering for parents.
  2. Transforming and modernizing core curriculum products by 1.) Aligning products to meet national standards, 2.) Following national trends in education, and 3.) Incorporating promising practices in the field of vision impairment as well as changes to the Braille code. Examples of such products include MathBuilders, Focus in Math, Geometro, Building on Patterns, Early Braille Trade Books, Quick Check Index of Literary Braille Signs, APH Talking PC Maps, Sense of Science Astronomy, Life Science Tactile Graphics, and Book Port Plus.
  3. Its growing commitment to the entire population of students with visual impairments by promoting universal design in product development. Project leaders increasingly consider of the needs of students with visual impairment, including those with multiple disabilities, from the initiation of conceptual design through various stages of product development.
  4. Developing the finest products available through utilization of external experts. EPAC is particularly impressed with the national and international collaborations established to aid in product development, as well as the implementation of the Executive in Residence Program.
  5. Developing and increasing the market for adult-related products thereby, enhancing the independent living skills for older, transitioning students and adults (i.e., resources in non-verbal communications, parenting, orientation and mobility, diabetes education, daily living skills, and talking PC Maps).
  6. Its excellent, passionate staff. Consistently, both APH staff and leadership recognize the importance of their work in helping shape the future of the students and families that their products support. They are not afraid to think critically, to ask difficult questions, to challenge current ways of thinking and to search for less traditional solutions that may meet multiple needs. The staff’s commitment to continuous improvement through rigorous research, collaboration, and internal and external team building all result in a staff that is willing to stretch themselves individually so that APH might grow collectively. One of APH’s greatest strengths lies in the quality of the men and women who call APH "home."
  7. Developing products that have synergy and build upon one another to support student achievement (i.e., Tadpole/Toad/ISAVE; Early Braille Trade Books/EBT database/Building on Patterns).

EPAC Recommendations 2011

  1. Continue to work expeditiously to maintain the momentum that has been seen in the Building on Patterns project. APH has allocated significant resources to support this project, and the product is a strong curriculum to support literacy outcomes for students. It is further recommended that APH establish a systematic process for periodic revision of this curriculum.
  2. Establish a process to gather data that ensures support from trustees before allocating resources to develop high cost technology products.
  3. Actively seek product feedback from various multi-disciplinary team members. EPAC made this recommendation in 2010 and APH’s implementation will support a growing commitment to the universal design of its products to meet the needs of students with multiple disabilities.
  4. Analyze the timeline to identify and correct bottlenecks that slow down production efficiency. Provide data to EPAC members during their annual visit that addresses 1.) Projected time for development of project; 2.) Actual timeline for product through each area of development and production.
  5. Replicate promising practices currently found within the company as a way to establish consistent processes that yield results (i.e. the Product Development Committee meetings).

Respectfully Submitted,
Educational Products Advisory Committee 2011

Stacy Grandt (WI), Chair
Yvonne Ali (MO)
Linda Lyle (NM)
Paula Mauro (OH)
Todd Reeves (PA)
Carmen Grove Suminski (ND)

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