Reports of the Advisory Committees To the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind For the Year 2012
Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2012
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.
ESAC Commendations 2012
Consistent with the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (1879), the committee commends APH for:
- Responding effectively and timely to input from the field through the use of website, meetings, advisory and ad hoc committees.
- Addressing the need to increase the number of individuals served.
- Increasing connections to university training programs by providing products to enhance training teachers.
- Continuing improvements to the APH Website.
- Providing an opportunity for EOTs to meet and work in small work groups during Annual Meeting to share best practices.
- Using video to promote APH products and services such as the Unforgettable Star Video and Home Grown Video.
- Providing personal contact and training for new SRS account assistants.
- Implementing new administrative features that allowed for an improved and more efficient SRS process.
- Utilizing the APH File Repository Council and the Louis Advisory Council as user-focus groups to gather input.
- Continuing the improvement of the online shopping site.
- Implementing valuable educational programs and adding exhibits to the museum, along with increasing digitization of the collections.
- Addressing and planning for the implementation of quality assurance for device repair.
- Through this process, the ESAC committee noted the APH staff know and live the mission, serve as professionals and are very responsive to the needs of all those in the field. As stated by a staff member during a presentation, "We like to make information available. That’s just who we are."
ESAC Recommendations 2012
Consistent with the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (1879), the committee recommends that APH:
- Consider broadening the selection criteria of the APH Scholars to include indirect service providers and increase the expectations of selected scholars.
- Increase the number of individuals served by APH products and services by using the EOTs as your resource.
- Develop specifically designed marketing materials similar to Leaders to Leaders Advocacy Program for targeted audiences so EOTS can promote the use of APH products and services to groups regarding early intervention and adult programs.
- Create new ideas to increase EOT attendance at Annual Meeting.
- Be proactive with federal initiatives such as the Common Core State Standards and the impact on APH products and services.
- Increase the tactile graphic image library by asking EOTs to solicit image templates; and APH form partnerships with other tactile developers.
- Expand online tutorials related to products and create an introductory tutorial on the use of the APH website.
- Explore ways to better notify users of discontinued items on the shopping site.
- Determine the feasibility of providing SRS data input with electronic upload from individual agencies to APH accounts.
Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2012
The purpose of the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) is:
- To advise APH in establishing priorities, standards, and policies regarding products.
- To review research and development priorities, suggest additional areas of interest, and advise APH staff on the prioritization of needs and projects.
- To review products under development and to consider approval of finished products for purchase with Federal Quota funds.
- To recommend parents, caregivers, students, clients, and professionals in the field to serve as subjects for research or field-test purposes, as project consultants, and/or as committee members.
In April, 2012, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) met for the eleventh year as a formal advisory body to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The EPAC met with project leaders, other APH staff, and consultants. The committee appreciated the time dedicated to project discussions and preparation for the EPAC visit. APH staff clearly demonstrates passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to the vision of the company and is dedicated to the development of educational products for students who are blind and visually impaired.
EPAC Commendations 2012
- The EPAC recognizes that a commitment to continuous improvement is a commitment to an environment of change. The EPAC applauds APH staff for this effort as evidenced by the ability to articulate their department’s strategic planning; project leaders’ thoughtful outcomes based on past experience; and data showing continuous collaboration needed for excellence.
- The EPAC commends APH staff for its commitment to completing the Building on Patterns project. The EPAC recognizes that the emphasis placed on this project has sacrificed the completion of other products currently in development. The committee looks forward to celebrating the completion of Building on Patterns with APH.
- In challenging economic times, competition for limited resources in the workplace is a common occurrence. The EPAC commends the staff of APH for their increased commitment to collaboration and ongoing communication at every level. This has resulted in prioritizing workloads, in sharing limited resources, and in continuing their practice of developing high quality, data-driven products for the field.
- The EPAC recognizes that new products generate a high level of enthusiasm. The committee commends APH for their efficiency in strategically prioritizing workloads to ensure that textbooks, assessments and back-ordered products are made available to the field in advance of new products.
- The EPAC commends the Accessible Textbook Department for improving the timely delivery of large print and braille textbooks to students who are blind and visually impaired.
- The EPAC commends APH for its use of a standard interface for web-based products that provides a delivery model for consistent presentation and efficiency (i.e. SAM: Symbols and Meaning, Early Braille Trade Books).
- The EPAC commends APH for developing quality products for students who are blind and visually impaired through the establishment of collaborative partnerships with national and international partners (i.e. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Partnership, Les Doigts Qui Revent, Hilton-Perkins, Baum). We further commend APH for developing and implementing the Executive in Residence program.
- The EPAC commends APH staff for recognizing the need to balance the pace of rapidly changing technological advances and the demands for new products while maintaining reasonable costs.
- The EPAC recognizes APH staff for exhibiting efficiency and accountability in the use of taxpayer dollars while utilizing cost-saving methods in producing prototypes and first runs in the production process.
EPAC Recommendations 2012
- In accordance with the EPAC’s purpose to advise APH staff on the prioritization of needs and projects, the committee recommends that APH utilize experienced EPAC members as resources before allocating significant funds for high-cost products or changes in current products that may significantly impact the use of Federal Quota funds.
- In an effort to obtain relevant data for products appropriate for students with multiple disabilities, the EPAC again requests that APH obtain feedback from a variety of multi-disciplinary teams (i.e., physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and language) as well as teachers of the visually impaired and certified orientation and mobility instructors when products are sent out for field-testing.
- The EPAC recommends that APH review current practices and develop a process for continuously updating dynamic products such as the CVI website and other web-based tools to maintain cutting-edge knowledge, research and practice.
- Following the finalization of Building on Patterns, the EPAC recommends that APH notify the EPAC of the completion date, as well as the established schedule for regular revisions.
- The EPAC recognizes that increased capacity in production has not matched the increased capacity in product development; this has resulted in a bottleneck in production. The committee recommends that APH review, revise and update current practices to expedite the movement of a product from concept through production.
- The EPAC recommends that APH continue the development of collaborative partnerships with outside agencies to produce products and alleviate bottlenecks in the production process.
- Based on the curriculum demands of the 21st century, the EPAC recommends that APH fast track products for science and mathematics especially those for the instruction of the Nemeth Code.