|1. Instructional Services||6. Outreach Program|
|2. Prevocational/Deaf-Blind Department||7. MSB Choir/Piano/Band|
|3. MSB Work Experience Program||8. 1997-98 MSB Athletic Year|
|4. Comprehensive Home-Based Intervention Program (CHIP)||9. Residential Services|
|5. Instructional Resources Center||10. Low Vision Clinic Report|
The mission of Mississippi School for the
Blind (MSB) is to promote the development of each visually impaired child's
or youth's maximum potential by providing specialized services, materials,
and technology. This mission has remained constant since MSB was founded
in 1848 by an act of the Mississippi Legislature. It is accomplished through
the collaborative efforts of the Mississippi Department of Education, MSB's
staff, students, parents, alumni, and supporters throughout the state.
MSB serves any eligible student without regard to the child's economic
status, religious affiliation, ethnic background, or sex. This annual report
provides a status on the services provided during the 1997-98 school year.
1. Instructional Services
MSB offers a fully accredited elementary and secondary program (K-12). The school continues to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Courses of study are offered that are comparable to those available in any accredited public school. Depending on individual needs, each student may also be provided training in the areas of braille, low vision, orientation and mobility, daily living skills, use of computers, and adaptive technology, as appropriate for the student's visual abilities and educational level.
Honor Roll and Perfect Attendance. Mississippi School for the Blind encourages and supports student achievement in each program level offered. Perfect attendance is recognized as well, but regular school attendance is stressed for all students. Honor Roll and Perfect Attendance rosters are posted each nine weeks. The communication committee distributes photographs of honor students to the students' hometown newspapers to keep the public informed of our students' progress.
On an average during the 1997-98 School Term, 51.6% of the elementary and 44.1% of the pre-vocational departments maintained grades of "B" or "S" or better. The average percentage of the high school department earning grades of "B" or better was 59.2%. Perfect Attendance was attained by 38.8% of the student body over the year on average for the 1997-98 Term.
Graduating Class of 1998 Profile. The MSB Class of 1998 graduated five students, three of whom received academic diplomas. As of Fall Semester, 1998, one student is enrolled in a state four-year university; another is attending a local community college with plans to transfer to a four-year university after completing the two-year community college program. Two students are working at Signature Works in Hazlehurst, one of whom attended the Addie McBryde Center during the summer of 1998. The fifth student is employed in his home area and also has hopes to attend a Lions training camp in Little Rock, Arkansas, to study machining or engine repair.
It is of special significance that the Mississippi School for the Blind and the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation work closely with graduating seniors and juniors to promote this kind of independence. Special populations college counselors, college teachers, parents, sheltered workshop directors, and other employers are also included in the transition process from high school, to college to work, as needed on a student-to-student basis.
Extended School Year. Twenty-nine students were served through our ESY program during the summer of 1998. Staff members traveled to the homes of the majority of these students and provided services in the areas identified by the IEP team.
Curriculum Update. The 1997-98 School
Year marked the beginning of a schoolwide team effort to align MSB with
the state curriculum framework by subject area. Teachers began the process
of incorporating MDE framework competencies into their classroom teaching
and revising or adding specific objectives related to those competencies.
MSB has adopted the framework for all subject areas, even for those specific
to the needs of visually impaired students.
2. Prevocational/Deaf-Blind Department
During the 1997-98 School Year, twenty-four children with multiple disabilities and dual sensory impairments were provided instructional and other specialized services, including seven children with both hearing and vision impairments. The MSB/MSD Deaf-Blind Program was also officially established in 1997-98. The purpose of this program is to develop appropriate educational service delivery to those students of the Mississippi School for the Blind and the Mississippi School for the Deaf with dual sensory impairments of vision and hearing.
The curriculum that was begun two years
ago was completed and transformed into the state framework for the various
subject areas. A staff member presented at the school's sesquicentennial
conference in March, 1998. The title of her presentation was "Leisure Time
for Blind Children with Multiple Impairments." This staff member was invited
to provide training in leisure skills to the staff at the Helen Keller
School of Alabama. Opportunities for vocational development have enabled
graduates of the program to gain experience ranging from campus employment
and work study to sheltered workshops.
3. MSB Work Experience Program
The Work Experience Program was developed
as a pilot program during the spring semester of 1997-98, for the purpose
of providing meaningful learning experiences through which students can
gain first-hand knowledge of the world of work, develop and define useful
skills and habits, and acquire employability skills through part time employment.
The program's emphasis is not to replace permanent staff, but to provide
job training and experience for the students. Prior to receiving job assignments
on the campus, they were required to complete employment applications and
to participate in job interviews. Ten students, including three from the
Prevocational Department and seven from the Senior High Department, participated
and were allowed to work a maximum of ten hours per week.
4. Comprehensive Home-Based Intervention Program (CHIP)
Eligible visually impaired children from birth to age five are served by teachers who are specially trained in the needs of visually impaired children, as well as the needs of young children. Services are home based and provided free of charge with the aim of preparing children for entrance in appropriate classroom learning situations. The specific developmental needs of each child are addressed, and direct training in methods appropriate for use in enhancing each child's overall development is provided for parents. Intervention ranges from baby rattles and parental nurturing programs to pre-mobility and lap-top computer pre-braille instruction.
The program served 73 children during the
1997-98 school term, residing in the following locations:
|Beulah||Hattiesburg (2)||Port Gibson|
|Biloxi (3)||Hazlehurst (2)||Philadelphia|
|Ethel||Natchez (3)||Water Valley|
|Greenville||New Albany (2)||Wesson (2)|
|Gulfport (3)||Pearl (3)||Yazoo City (2)|
5. Instructional Resources Center
The Instructional Resources Center serves
as the clearing house repository for large-type and braille textbooks for
the Mississippi Department of Education. Textbooks are purchased with state
and federal funds and are provided on a free-loan basis to eligible students
who attend public schools and certain private schools approved by the Mississippi
Department of Education. A total of 285 students were served during the
1997-98 school year.
6. Outreach Program
Through a variety of activities, the Outreach Program provides technical assistance to local schools and districts serving visually impaired students. Primarily, technical assistance is provided on a monthly basis through a one-day inservice training activity held on the campus of Mississippi School for the Blind. The training exposes participants to information regarding types of vision losses; curricula and adaptations; specific educational concerns for visually impaired children; orientation and mobility; low vision assessment and low vision aids; and how to obtain large print and Braille materials. Training techniques used include small group lectures, video taped instruction, group participation, hands-on-activities, and classroom observations.
Teachers, teacher assistants, principals, counselors, therapists and parents are eligible to attend the training sessions. Arrangements must be made in advance through the Outreach Department. During the 1997-1998 school year, outreach training was provided for 25 individuals from 13 programs across the state.
In conjunction with the Office of Special Education, two classes were taught by MSB staff members this summer. An introduction to the Braille code, the Braille writer, and the Braille writing rules were the emphasis of the first class. A total of 29 individuals participated. Time was provided for individual practice with the code and the writer under the watchful eye of the instructors. Each participant who completed the week's work developed a beginning knowledge of Braille. Each participant was provided with a programmed learning Braille text to continue personal study. The second class emphasized strategies that should be included in a program for children who are visually impaired. Topics addressed included Braille literacy instruction, orientation and mobility for teachers, understanding low vision needs, and selecting the appropriate learning media for students. There were 10 participants in the second class.
The programs outlined above assist local school districts who have visually impaired children in attendance. However, they do not provide certification of a local school district's program. If a school district requires more in-depth technical assistance, interagency agreements are entered into between Mississippi School for the Blind and the local district.
The educational programs/agencies that
were served by the Outreach Program during the 1997-1998 school year were
|Bay St. Louis/Waveland Schools District||Brookhaven School District|
|Claiborne County School District||Clarksdale Separate School District|
|Copiah County School District||DeSoto County School District|
|Forest Municipal School District||Greenville Public School District|
|Grenada School District||Hattiesburg Public School District|
|Houston Lower Elementary School||Indianola School District|
|Jackson County School District||Jackson Public School District|
|Jefferson County School District||Kosciusko School District|
|Lauderdale County School District||Lee County School District|
|Lowndes County School District||Madison County School District|
|Montgomery County School District||Mound Bayou Public School District|
|MS. Deaf/Blind Project - USM||Mt. Sinai Headstart Center|
|North Bolivar School District||North Tippah School District|
|Ocean Springs Public Schools||Oxford School District|
|Pass Christian Public School District||Pearl Public School District|
|Riley Children's Therapy Center||South Panola School District|
|South Tippah School District||Tate County Schools|
|Union County School District||West Jasper Consolidated School District|
|Winona Separate School District|
7. MSB Choir/Piano/Band
During the 1997-98 school year, the MSB Singers performed for such functions as American Education Week, a local Lions Club Meeting, the Annual Lions Christmas Program, the Annual Spring Choral and Band Concert, and the graduation ceremony. During this year's piano recital, Lehne Brasseal performed "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven and Op. 27, No. 2.
Approximately 29 MSB students participated
in band/instrumental instruction, seven of whom were advanced enough to
perform as regular members of the band for special events. Performances
were given at Murrah High School, Lions Club Meetings, the annual Lions
Club Christmas Program, the Athletic Banquet and the Spring Festival. The
Pep Band played at Pep Rallies before special events and individual band
students performed for special programs throughout the year.
8. 1997-98 MSB Athletic Year
The MSB athletic program has continued to provide quality athletic programming for the students. During this school year, nearly 75% of all high school students participated in one or more sports. MSB's athletic department offers the following programs:
Girls Track and Field - Coached by Mr. Eddie Spann. The MSB team has made great strides toward bringing a girls' conference to MSB. A more "I can" attitude is developing, and the rewards of this change can be seen as all members return after placing second in the SCASB Track and Field Championships. The best is yet to come for these young ladies.
Boys Track and Field - Coached by Mr. Walter Harper, Jr. The pride and tradition of this team has kept MSB athletics in the forefront of track and field competition in the South. MSB set standards in this sport by capturing its fifth consecutive conference championship--1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998. MSB Tigers receiving individual honors were Taurus Smith, Smithville, who won the "Most Outstanding Blind Athlete Award", and Terrell Brownlee, Columbus, who won the "Most Outstanding Sighted Athlete Award". This was the first year MSB athletes were honored with these prestigious awards in the SCASB Conference.
Cheerleading - Coached by Ms. Evone Wall. Preparation for this outstanding year was begun by participation in the annual summer cheerleading camp at Belhaven College. The MSB team earned outstanding recognition and demonstrated to the other attendees that their visual impairments did not limit their desire to achieve. Monika Carney of Collins was nominated by the staff as a candidate for "All American Cheerleader."
Swimming - Coached by Mr. Perry Boyanton. This sport, still in its infancy at MSB, was focused on introducing the students to swimming and competition. Dedicated practice, development of strokes, coordination of future events/clinics were part of the activities which would lead to formal competition in the next school year.
Wrestling - Coached by Mr. Randy
Thompson. This year's team proved that the loss of several seniors would
not deter their ability to compete. The season began with the annual Homecoming
match with MSB taking on two opponents in a round robin match. The MSB
Tigers defeated Arkansas School for the Blind 48-18, the Louisiana School
for the Visually Impaired 48-33, and went on to a successful season by
finishing third in the SCASB Conference Championship.
9. Residential Services
MSB dorm students were housed in two MSD dorms during 1997-98 School Year. Eleven high school girls and nine elementary girls were housed in B-North Dormitory. Eighteen high school boys and sixteen elementary boys were housed in Burt Hall. The students looked forward to the 1998-99 School Year when the five new dormitories would be available for occupancy.
Residential students are taught independent
living skills and participate in a variety of educational and recreational
activities including meals at local restaurants, skating, "Horses for the
Handicapped," the Mississippi State Fair, athletic events and the seasonal
and holiday observances.
10. Low Vision Clinic Report
There were a total of 93 students evaluated by the Jackson Central Lions Low Vision Clinic in the 1997-98 School Year. Of these, 28 were ages 0-4 years (30%), 47 were ages 5-12 (51%), and 18 were 13 years in age or older (19%). These students were seen for either full evaluations or progress evaluations (had been seen for a full evaluation previously).
Overall, full evaluations made up 53% of
the Low Vision Clinic's examinations while 47% were progress evaluations
for students who had been evaluated previously. Students were from the
Low vision aids that were prescribed for
a particular student were made available through the Clinic's low vision
aid loaner program with the schools. According to the loaner agreement,
which must be signed by the district superintendent and the program developer,
these aids are loaned for a year at a time to the school district for the
student with the understanding that the student must return annually for
a progress evaluation.
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