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Advisory Committees Reports, 2006

Report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2006


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

The committee met May 15- May 18, 2006 to address the 2005 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 2005 recommendations, operations, and information on new initiatives.

ESAC Commendations 2006

The Committee commends APH for:

  1. Its commitment to promoting and improving services and products as related to the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind (1879).
  2. Mandatory training of the Ex Officio Trustees (EOTs) that was conducted at the 2005 Annual Meeting.
  3. Developing collaborative relationships, as follows;
    1. Leadership in the National Agenda for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities (Steering Committee and Goals 2, 6, 8 representation)
    2. Partnerships with state entities and publishers by the Accessible Tests Department and Accessible Textbook Department (ATIC)
      1. National Center for Educational Outcomes-Universal Design Guidelines
      2. National Center for Accessible Media-3 year grant to design for a description of Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) content for digital talking books.
      3. Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) to develop their first assessment in braille
      4. NCLVI-
      5. APA-
      6. The partnership developed with BANA to develop guidelines for tactile graphics
  4. Creation of an approved braille producer’s network that is accessible to EOTs-Accessible Media Producers (AMP).
  5. New Direction for the Museum
    1. Hiring of the museum director
    2. Solicitation of needs from the field
    3. Identification of a broader audience
    4. Exploration of educational opportunities
  6. Provision of National Instructional Partnerships (NIPs) that support APH products.
    1. Use of web casts (i.e., tactile graphics, book ports)
    2. Partnership with experts for product training
  7. Efficient production/distribution of large print
  8. APH’s efforts to identify and create a process for the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) that will improve access to general education for children and youth who are blind and visually.
    1. Participation in national stakeholder committee
    2. Development of NIMAC website
    3. Partnership with CAST and ATA to develop guidelines and procedures
  9. Implementation of the online Federal Quota registration system

ESAC Recommendations 2006

The Committee recommends that APH:

  1. Identify and implement a comprehensive information/ library management system that integrates the technology (hardware/software) needs of multiple departments, including APH database, LOUIS, ATIC, NIMAC, Website, E-Commerce System and allows search engine access. In addition, allocate resources (personnel and monies) to support the chosen system. Implementing such a system would allow for: 1) Ability to search and identify appropriate textbooks in order to provide to students at the same time as sighted peers; 2) Increased outside sales for APH products by improving web exposure; 3) Improved web ordering system to facilitate the tracking and production of materials (ordering to delivery).
    1. Provide the necessary personnel, business practices, and funding to fully implement the system.
    2. Develop a system to quantify any benefits by measuring changes in productivity in outside sales and time to process/ship
  2. Continue to provide mandatory EOT training at annual meetings and encourage increased attendance (>50%).
  3. Increase the capacity of ATIC braille production (at least 50% by October 2008)
    1. Establish and implement performance measures for transcribing, production and delivery
    2. Allocate sufficient resources (personnel and monies) to support this project (in house and contracted)
    3. Include representation from all departments involved in braille production at all levels of planning
  4. New Direction for the Museum
    1. Explore a virtual tour of the museum
    2. Increase the exposure of the museum
    3. Increase the outreach opportunities
    4. Explore the online access to archival information
  5. Continue to encourage states to participate in Babies Count.
  6. Explore additional distant education technology such as video conferencing to encourage participation in training related to products.

Report of the Educational Products Advisory Committee to the Trustees of the American Printing House for the Blind for Fiscal Year 2006—DRAFT


In May of 2006, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) met for the fifth 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 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 2006

The Committee commends the American Printing House for the Blind for:

  1. Project leaders’ preparation for the committee interviews, the provision of project background materials, and the open dialogue with committee members.
  2. The expansion and upgrade of the CVI website and the placement of additional emphasis on the CVI area with research and products.
  3. Success with the appropriately formatted and user friendly ATIC large print textbooks, well received by students
  4. Improvements in the textbook order process, including the purchase by APH of print copies of textbooks for reproduction.
  5. The ability, the ingenuity, and the teamwork of the Tactile Graphics Project Leaders which generates numerous high quality products.
  6. The addition of a Core Curriculum Project Leader.
  7. The Accessible Tests Department pursuit of and the participation in high level collaboration with state and national organizations, both within and outside the VI field.
  8. The establishment of the Accessible Tests Department as the national leader in test accessibility for students with visual impairments.
  9. The successful implementation of webcasts for APH products and services training as well as areas of importance to the field.
  10. The continued collaborative, creative, and cutting edge (high quality) product development by the Technology Project staff.
  11. The investment in facility improvements which provide a more
    efficient and productive work environment as part of the company’s Continuous Improvement Project.
  12. The investment in equipment and technology to produce quality products in an efficient manner as part of the Continuous Improvement Project.
  13. The dedication, expertise, and flexibility of the APH staff.
  14. The responsiveness to current and emerging trends in education and technology.

EPAC Recommendations 2006

The EPAC Committee recommends that the American Printing House for the Blind:

  1. Develop a committed CVI focus group of outside stakeholders representing a variety of roles.
  2. Direct staff to work across project areas in order to avoid duplication of effort, to develop assessments in the areas of Adult Life, CVI, Early Childhood, and Expanded Core Curriculum, which should relate to stated developmental milestones and/or grade levels.
  3. Assign braille transcription priorities to the national editions of middle grades and high school mathematics, science, and geography textbooks, with copyright dates no more than five years old.
  4. Develop a model for identifying and prioritizing projects in the Core Curriculum Project area.
  5. Refocus efforts on products for multidisabled children, to meet the needs of this ever-growing population as identified in Babies Count and Project PRISM.
  6. Review the product development and production process pathway to determine if the procedures and timelines from idea to product could be adjusted for a shorter timeframe in some instances and to determine if a fast track could be developed for some items.
  7. Foster creative, collaborative partnerships in the digital/technology field to support product development and production in a time- sensitive manner in order to remain on the cutting edge of new and emerging technology.
  8. Develop a new braille writer which would be compact and user friendly, especially with young children. Search out vendors who may have produced a brailler with these characteristics to form partnerships
  9. Explore non-traditional ways to convene focus groups using current technology (e.g.,webcasts) to assist APH with research and product development.
  10. Develop products for children/families, birth to age three and explore modifications to current APH products for this group, using the expertise of researchers both at APH and in the early childhood development field.
  11. Adhere to a master schedule for the Building on Patterns Series and allocate the requisite resources toward the release of the Kindergarten level materials in Fall 2006, followed by the Sequential release of grade levels one, two and three in the fall of years 2007,2008, and 2009, respectively.
  12. Devise a formalized exchange of information on tactile graphics among the APH staff and work with experts in the field of tactile graphics for planning and production to meet the current and future needs of students.


Members of the APH Educational Services Advisory Committee:

Members of the APH Educational Products Advisory Committee: