Minutes from Board of Trustees Meeting

November 8, 2019

Vancouver, Washington



Board Members Participating: Greg Szabo, Keri Clark, Reg George, Dennis Mathews, Brent Stark and Nancy McDaniel.


Board Members Absent:  Lily Clifton and Berl Colley


Ex-Officio Members Participating:  Jim Eccles (Washington Federation of State Employees Local #1225), Joleen Ferguson (Washington Council of the Blind), Stephanie Face (Teacher Representative), Marci Carpenter (National Federation of the Blind of Washington), and Krista Bulger (Parent Representative).


WSSB Staff Members Participating: Mr. Scott McCallum (Superintendent), Katie Humes (Director, Deaf-Blind Project, Washington Sensory Disability Services-WSDS), and Janet Kurz (recording secretary).


November 8, 2019 – 11am – 1pm

Nancy called the meeting to order at 11am.  Nancy thanked Greg for leading the September meeting in her absence.


Business Meeting:

Old Business:

*      Approve board meeting minutes of September 27, 2019.  Dennis moved to approve the minutes as submitted; Greg seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved unanimously.


Department Highlight:

WSDS – Katie Humes, Deaf-Blind Project

*      Katie is the Director of the WA DeafBlind Project for WSDS. The WSDS is a state needs project for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).  Katie is responsible for writing the federal grant which funds their program (every five years), creates annual performance reports for the federal grants and oversees the budget. The purpose of the grant is to provide distance or in-person consultation and support for students who have visual impairments and some degree of hearing loss.  Currently, there are 287 on the count for Washington state.  There are two full-time staff in addition to Katie.

*      On the WSDS website, there are videos and recorded webinars for the Washington Deaf-Blind Project (https://www.wsdsonline.org/deaf-blind/).  There you will also find links to WSSB and the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY).

*      Sarah Godwin is the Deaf-Blind transition consultant who works with students (after they turn 14). 

*      Referrals are primarily received from Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) around the state. 

*      One area of Katie’s responsibility is to manage special projects. In this past grant cycle, a request was made for an intervener.  Glena Gallo from OSPI approved the WSDS to provide training for interveners and the WSSB was ahead of the curve by providing an intervener for a Deaf-Blind student. 

*      Katie reported that the first federal grant for the Deaf-Blind project was in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s following the rubella epidemic.  At that time, the WSSB had a Deaf-Blind program located in the Ahlsten building which was separate from the Deaf-Blind project supported by the Feds.  The Deaf-Blind Project grant has been managed by the Puget Sound ESD and OSPI since the beginning. 

*      Katie started her career in early intervention and her background includes being a Teacher of the Deaf.  Ten years ago, Katie was hired by the Puget Sound ESD and started online learning modules.  Katie was the distance learning teacher for five years. 

*      Katie is very excited about coming part of the fiscal agency of the WSSB and stated that the Deaf-Blind project is a self-supporting program. 

*      Joleen stated that she attended the WSSB from 1951-1964 and at that time there were Deaf-Blind students that lived in the cottages.  Joleen reported that the WSSB was only one of three schools in the US that had a Deaf-Blind program.  Joleen stated there was a film made about one of our Deaf-Blind students titled “A Day with Debbie”.  Joleen stated that her attendance at the WSSB inspired her in her career choice.  Katie asked if Joleen could write down some of the names of students and have Scott send them to her. 

*      Nancy asked if Katie had a wish list, what would it be?  Brent stated that since he has been involved with the WSDS (over seven years) that the funding has remained the same. Brent would love to see the federal government increase that amount.  Katie stated that she would love to see more parent leaders but that can’t be purchased with money.  Katie said she will give this some additional thought.  Scott said there is some federal legislation  being considered right now, i.e. the Cogswell Macy Act.  There will be some advocacy occurring during the upcoming American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) conference this spring which will be held in Washington DC. 

*      Jim asked about current technology for Deaf-Blind individuals and if the cost of that technology prohibits people from obtaining it.  Katie stated that there is a program called “iCanConnect” and this program has some state and federal funding available.  However, with new technology, i.e. iPhones, this has assisted with communication.

*      Reg reported that he came across a press release regarding Deaf-Blind individuals who can access a free program that uses cell phones and braille displays.  This program is administered through the University of Washington and the Washington Assistive Technology Act Program (TAP) (managed by the Perkins School for the Blind).

*      Stephanie stated that she worked with the WSSB’s Intervener and part of the Intervener’s role was to educate staff at the WSSB. Stephanie thanked Katie for the coordination and efforts through the WSSB and the Washington Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY). 

*      Marci asked if Katie has met Haben Girma.  Haben is the first deaf-blind woman to graduate from Harvard University.  Haben utilizes a Bluetooth keyboard that people use to type in what they want to say and she reads it thru her braille display.


New Business:

March Board of Trustees meeting date and department highlight:

*      Janet explained that Scott is unable to attend the March Board meeting due to his school program.   The board discussed possible dates and suggested that the meeting date be moved to March 6, 2020.

*      Discussion was held regarding possible ‘department highlights’ for the March meeting.  The following was discussed:  Strategic Plan, braille bill, Green Team update (sustainability, recycling, etc.).


Superintendent’s Report

*      Scott reported the following:

o   Scott said October was a great but busy month.  October began with the annual visit to the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) meeting.  Scott and Pam Parker, Director of Outreach, visited the Indiana School for the Blind before attending the APH and COSB meetings.  Scott stated that the Indiana School for the Blind has a wonderful horticulture program which is partially funded by an annual plant sale.  Their Outreach program has six staff who serve 290 students.  Their school is significantly larger than the WSSB and  serves elementary aged students through transition age.  Scott reported that they have approximately 60 3-D printers and their students have created an accessible art display which is both visual and tactile. 

o   Scott and Emily Coleman, superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, co-presented on interagency collaboration.  Approximately 60 people attended that session. 

o   WSSB’s Mark Raetzman, Residential Life Counselor (RLC) was honored as residential staff provider of the year.  Also, Joe Dlugo was honored in the Outreach division. 

o   Scott attended the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) and National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Washington conventions.  Scott stated this was a great way to connect with consumers, parents, students, etc.  Both conventions featured a youth component and it was great to see that energy.  During the NFB convention, a resolution was brought forth regarding the absence of a blind or visually impaired (BVI) individual on the WSSB administrative team.  The resolution was not approved by general membership.  Discussion was held regarding management positions that have been open.  Scott is not opposed to hire BVI in any position.  This resolution was brought forth by a current WSSB staff member. 

o   Scott stated that if the Board has questions regarding WSSB policies, that he welcomes questions and discussions at the board meetings.  All policies are posted on the WSSB website (https://www.wssb.wa.gov/departments/administration/administrative-policies/). The admin. team reviews policies at each admin. team meeting.

o   Nancy stated that she would like Scott to discuss the Board’s role and responsibilities for the board, i.e. what issues should be addressing and not addressing during the March meeting. 

o   Through our recreation program, WSSB was introduced to a therapy llama named Rojo.  Rojo became ill and will be taxidermized and located in our Sensory Safari. This has led to a lot of attention through the media. Rojo will be the first domestic animal in our sensory safari.


Ex-Officio’s Reports:

*      Washington Council of the Blind (Joleen Ferguson):

o   Joleen stated they gave Scott an amazing applause because he gave an amazing talk at the fall convention.  The WCB had a number of speakers and sessions with six break-out groups.  There was a youth track with 16 youth attending.  The feedback they received from their convention was very positive.  The WCB also awarded $15,000 in scholarships during the convention.  The American Council of the Blind has scholarship opportunities posted on their website.

o   Denise Colley, President of the WCB served her term and Julie Brannan was elected as President, Meka White will be their Vice President and Reg George’s wife (Lisa) was elected as Treasurer.

*      National Federation of the Blind (Marci Carpenter)

o   Marci stated that the NFB has a term for sighted people who really get it, really care and are genuinely a part of them, it is called blind at heart.  Marci stated that is how Scott is described. 

o   Marci reported that there was tremendous energy at their convention.  There were many programs, youth and families, breakout sessions such as sightless self-defense, karaoke, etc.  In Washington there is an association of blind students which is an active group.  Corey Grandstaff gave a great talk about what the federation means to him.  The love and energy that happens throughout the convention was outstanding and that is very important.  David Fair from Spokane (WSSB alumni) was voted onto the NFB of Washington’s Board.

o   Marci stated that the “Braille Readers are Leaders” contest has been occurring since the 1980’s and is funded by the American Action Fund.  Information can be located at the following website:  https://actionfund.org/BRAL.  They have categories for children of all ages and adults.  The contest will run from December 1 through January 18.  Last year two students from Washington state won prizes in their age groups/categories. 

o   Marci will be attending a training for a Braille Enrichment for Literacy and Learning (BELL) program.  Marci is attending the training session in January and will get the information out to everyone. 

*      Teachers (Stephanie Face)

o   Stephanie reported that the WSSB has a 3-D printer which is mostly being used by teachers for instructional materials for students.  One end goal is to have the students learn to use the 3-D printer.  Also, this year, the WSSB has a small horticulture program and one after-school job available to students is to work in the greenhouse and sell the plants later in the school year. 

o   Stephanie stated that a job fair for students was held.  It is important to offer after school jobs for middle and high school students for a variety of reasons.  After-school jobs can range from rolling silverware in the dining room, washing cars, mentoring, working in the coffee shop and off-site jobs.  Students have the opportunity to read through the job descriptions and are then required to fill out a job application and participate in interviews for the positions.  Principal Sean McCormick recently did a video where students interviewed other students about available jobs on campus.

*      WSFE Local #1225 (Jim Eccles)

o   Jim said this year there is a lot of emphasis on the assessment process for independent living skills.  There is a lot of interest to look at ways to assist students in this area. 

o   Scott reported that Corey Grandstaff, Residential Program Manager approached him about getting our new residential staff training in the Culture of Care. Scott approved this request. 

o   Nancy reported that several years ago, she and other board members had dinner with the students in the cottages.  Nancy would like the board to have the opportunity to tour the cottages during Board meeting in the spring.

*      Parent Representative (Krista Bulger)

o   Krista reported that a family meeting was held last Monday and one parent who was at the WCB conference with her son talked about her experience. This mom was so excited about attending the conference and shared their weekend experience and how much fun her son had.  That evolved into a conversation about how parents can have access to all of the activities occurring. Discussion was held regarding if WSSB could disseminate this information. 

o   Dennis asked if it is possible to include information from different departments or entities on the WSSB website.  Scott said this is possible, but we have to ensure that all information posted is accessible. 

o   Krista said she has invited Marci to come speak at one of the family night meetings.


Committee Reports:

*      Education Committee

o   Brent stated he was in Spain during the September board meeting.  Brent wanted to share that Katie Humes and her staff will become official employees of the WSSB on January 1, 2020.  They will work out of their home offices and do outreach from there.  Brent appreciates Scott and his team for allowing them to come on board.  Scott stated they we are excited too.

*      Buildings and Grounds Committee

o   Nancy and Greg toured the campus this morning and is always impressed and amazed with how clean the campus is. 

*      Management Committee

o   No report at this time.

*      Legislative Committee

o   No report at this time. 

o   Nancy stated that certain initiatives that were passed could have a fiscal impact on all state agencies.



*      Greg reported that Sight Connection, a company based in Seattle has closed.  Fortunately, the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle will provide the same services.  The grand opening will be in April of 2020.  Scott asked if the store will have a web presence.  Greg will look into this and report back. 

*      Greg asked about two of the board positions that are currently open.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1pm.  The next Board meeting will be held on January 15 at 7:30pm via conference call.



Nancy McDaniel, Chair                                                                 Scott McCallum, Superintendent



Board Reports – November 2019



We are full steam ahead in Outreach. Caseloads are being settled, teachers are adjusting to new schedules, and referrals are abounding across the state.


·         WSSB Outreach Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) and Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialists (COMS) are currently serving in 57 districts across the state with our last count of 207 students.

·         Joe Dlugo, TVI/COMS/Stephen F. Austin University (SFAU) Teacher Training Mentor, continues to support the teachers in the SFAU program. He continues to support them with direct supervision as well as consultations as needed. We will be posting for our final cohort soon.

·         I attended the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) Forum and American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Annual meeting October 9-12, 2019. Visited Indiana School for the Blind October 8.

·         Outreach teachers Carrie Tanner was invited as an APH Scholar and Joe Dlugo received the COSB Outstanding Outreach Teacher of the Year award.

·         The Statewide Unified English Braille (UEB) class has started with about 85 people registered. This is presented via Zoom for 1 hour each Wednesday. Irwin music teacher, Shane Ditmar, has proven to be a perfect teacher for this class.

·         Visually Impaired (VI) Round-Ups have begun with our first meeting in Selah on October 21. We have included a 5th Round-Up this year. These will be held in Spokane on November 4, Tumwater November 8, Arlington November 19, and Tacoma November 21.

·         Beginning to meet with Outreach teachers to do evaluations and connect with them, their students and teams.

·         Vancouver area Outreach teachers planned a Halloween event for local students and families at WSSB. The event was held in the cafeteria on October 29. There were more than 6 families attending.

·         We are preparing a job posting to replace Outreach TVI, Karen Mowry, who will be retiring on 02/02/2020. She thought the date was fitting for our profession.

·         A working group has been created consisting of Outreach staff and Irwin staff, along with Dr. Kathryn Botsford, to develop a WSSB Functional Vision Evaluation form. We are meeting via Zoom every two weeks. Our plan is to use this form across our agency and present it at the Pacific Northwest Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (PNW AER) Conference so others in the state may use it.


On the horizon: Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference in Seattle, November 13-16.



On Campus


Total On Campus: 68

·         Breakdown: 55 comprehensive students 6-12 grade; 6 Distance Learning; 6 part-time/local, 2 Short Course


Staffing Updates

·         Myat Aung joins WSSB as a temporary teacher and long-term sub for a couple of teachers on sequential leave between November and June this school year.  Myat is completing her final year in the Portland State University (PSU) Visually Impaired Learner Program that leads to certification as a TVI.


Students and Program Highlights

·         First quarter of school concluded on October 25. 

·         White Cane Day celebration was full day of events.  City Councilmember Linda Glover delivered the Mayor’s proclamation for White Cane Day.

·         Middle school students will be attending NW Science Camp in January at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island. 

·         WSSB’s Goalball team will compete at the high school national tournament at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired November 14-16.

·         In partnership with Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), several students attended the APRIL conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. APRIL is the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living.

·         Corey Grandstaff, Residential Manager, and John Bannan, WSSB Volunteer, were honored as Real Heroes through the Learn Here project.  Learn Here is annual project that honors the professionals and volunteers that make an impact in Clark County’s schools.

·         The students had a great time on October 31 at this year’s Harvest Dance that was put on WSSB’s Family Group.

·         On-Campus and Outreach staff are working together to streamline a consistent assessment protocol that can utilized with students served by WSSB.  This protocol and toolbox of assessments will be shared with other professional in the state.



Transition Services


Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) – Lori Pulliam

·         LIFTT residents are settled in to new lifestyles, roommates and responsibilities. They have done a lot of community exploration and learning to plan and travel on their own from grocery shopping, to finding the best coffee shops. They have almost mastered the household cleaning tasks and are experimenting with food prep beyond the microwave. They work well together as a group.

·         Four of the six 6 LIFTT residents are attending Clark College with full time schedules. They are now officially on the other side of midterms. Next comes registering for winter quarter classes and preparing for finals. One resident is working on job readiness skills, job search, etc. One participant is working toward high school graduation.

·         All six residents, Marcie Ebarb and I just returned from the APRIL conference. In addition, attending from WSSB were two WSSB high school students. Also travelling with us was a young woman who is a high school senior from Camas. It was a 5-day conference held in Grand Rapids Michigan. The organization focusses on assisting people with disabilities who live in rural areas to gain independence. DSB supported the attendance for all of us.

·         The supplemental budget request for funding for the proposed new LIFTT building design was submitted. We have provided additional clarification and information as it’s been asked and now we are waiting to see if our project is chosen.


Youth Service Specialist (YSS)-Marcie Ebarb

·         Coordination of WorkForce South West Washington’s Partners in Careers (PIC) program at WSSB.  Twelve WSSB juniors and seniors began participating in weekly soft skills classes on campus on Sept. 6, 2019. The participating students can participate in monthly job shadows and business tour experiences each month, focused on a different career sector.  The career sector for September was environmental sciences and included jobs shadows at Columbia Springs and Fish Hatchery, the Water Resource Center and the US Forest Service.  October experiences focused on the manufacturing career sector and included a tour of Sigma Design and job shadows at Friends of the Carpenter and Hewlett Packard.  The career sector that will be the focus for November is Health Care.  Two tours at Peace Health Hospital and job shadows at a caregiving agency, an oral surgeon’s office and the Clark County Health Dept. are planned.  Three seniors have been placed in internships through the program.

·         YSS is working with a local job developer to create a pre-employment transition program for WSSB students who are likely to qualify for Development Disabilities Administration job supports once they graduate from high school.  The contract application documents were submitted to DSB at the end of October.  Five WSSB students have been identified to receive services once the contract is finalized.

·         YSS and Manager of Transition Services accompanied 9 youth to the APRIL Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan from Oct. 24-28, 2019.  The APRIL organization has a strong youth focus and provides advocacy for individuals with all types of disabilities.

·         YSS and 3 DSB YSS will be attending the National Youth Employment Coalition Conference in Washington DC from Nov. 11-14, 2019.  One of the features of the conference is the opportunity for participants to spend time with members of the legislature, advocating for resources for youth with barriers to employment.


Health Center-Robin Williams

·         The health center coordinated with the Smilecare Everywhere mobile dental van in September, eight students received dental services.

·         Nurse Robin is a member of the safety committee.

·         The health center is coordinating to provide nursing care for short course students.



Business Office

1.      2019-21 Operating & Capital Budget

        Operating:  September books closed with a less than 2% negative balance due to our risk management premium and other central service agency charges being billed quarterly versus monthly as they were allotted.  We will be submitting allotment amendments in the near future.


        Capital:  Various Capital projects have been completed and others are under way.


2.      2020 Supplemental Budget Requests - following is the summary of the requests we submitted:


State Data Center/Cloud Co-Location

WSSB is requesting expenditure authority needed to hire an IT Customer Support professional.  The additional IT FTE is needed to support the agency during relocation of agency servers to the State Data Center (SDC) and cloud systems.  This request is essential to bringing the agency into compliance with RCW 43.105.375


FY 2020 Request:    $68,000

FY 2021 Request:    $93,000


Life Skills Training Center

We submitted a request for the design phase in the 2020 Supplemental Budget and the construction Phase in the 2021-23 Capital Budget.


Four options were submitted with the preferred option being #4:

1.    Do Nothing

2.    Lease off-campus            $ 5,354,651

3.    Renovation                         $10,185,000

4.    New Building                     $  9,438,000


3.      Performance Measures-we reported on the following measures for quarter ending September 2019:

#1585 Percent of WSSB high school students enrolled in online classes: 7%

#1586 Braille Distributed on time:  100%

#1590 Pages of Braille Transcription:  35,057

#1591 Training opportunities accessed by individuals:  9,124

#1592 Number of teachers/paraprofessionals taking Braille exams:  19

#1593 Number of students on campus:  105

#1594 Off-Campus Services:  684


4.      Calendar Year Close

Now that the fiscal year has closed, we are now moving to closing the calendar year.  We are working on Retirement redistributions, getting ready for 1099s and W2s, as well as reviewing allotments, and first quarter spending.


5.      One Washington

One Washington is a comprehensive business transformation program to modernize and improve aging administrative systems and related business processes that are common across state government and is being spearheaded by the Office of Financial Management (OFM).


The state is advancing toward selection of enterprise software for full replacement of AFRS (the state’s central hub for accounting information), and the selection of a system integrator. Both decisions will be made before the end of 3rd quarter fiscal year 2020. Subject to funding approval, implementation activities will begin first quarter of fiscal year 2021. Go live will occur two years later in July of fiscal year 2023. At go live, AFRS will no longer be the system of record. Here are the in-scope functions included in go live:


AFRS Replacement, Budget Control, Standard Cost Allocation, Interagency Billing, Fixed Assets, Consumable Inventory, Vendor/Customer Management, Accounts Receivable, Purchase to Pay, Commodity Management, Encumbrance Accounting to Payment (Req./PO, invoice, receipt, payment), Contract Items, and Travel Payments.



Human Resources


New Hires:  

·         TVI – Myat Hsuanung

·         Substitute TVI – Rhonda Howard

·         Substitute TVI – Krista Perez


Open Recruitments:

·         TVI – Outreach

·         Substitute TVI

·         On-call Cook

·         On-call Custodian

·         On-call Teaching Assistant

·         On-call Residential Life Counselor


Trainings/Functions Attended:

·         IT Position Evaluation Training – Facilitated by Classification and Compensation

·         HR Managers Meeting – Facilitated by Franklin Plaistowe and Marcos Rodriguez

·         Labor Relations Roundtable – Facilitated by (OFM)

·         Safe Schools Task Force



Ogden Resource Center (ORC)

Working in Clark County, an ongoing column in The Columbian, will feature Kandi Lukowski and her job as Braille Program Specialist and Coordinator.


Kandi recently attended the Lean Conference in Tacoma where she learned new skills and techniques for her future lean projects.


Jennifer attended the annual APH for the Blind meeting and Prison Forum in Louisville, KY. Jennifer co-presented on inmate re-entry upon release.


Braille Prison Program:

New apprentices are being hired and there has been some movement of transcribers with transcribers and apprentices sent to other facilities and getting out of prison. All 16 full-time transcriber positions are currently filled. Currently there are only 3 apprentices in the program and we expect another 3 to 4 to start in December.


The Nemeth class at the prison continues to go well.



Buildings and Grounds

The new 51KW photovoltaic array on the Irwin School Building is up and running. You can see the energy output if you go to solaredge.com, click on Login, then click on Public Sites at bottom of form, then search for WSSB Irwin. This will get you to the information about our array. So far, we’ve saved 2,977 pounds of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of planting 75 trees.


Chapman Cottage now has a new 94 percent efficient boiler. This $53,000 project was planned and paid for with capital dollars. We can expect some energy savings with this new technology.


Next in line for a capital dollar project is the conversion of all lights in Old Main to LEDs. Most rooms will be dimmable to aid those sensitive to light. This $175,000 project will start about November 25, and finish at the end of December.


We have been running drills using our new Alertus Mass Notification System, and it appears to be working well. We have some additions (of speakers) and modifications (of speaker volume) to make based on occupant feedback. We will be running a Lockdown Drill on November 19, 2019.


As part of our effort to be as environmentally friendly as possible with our grounds management practices, we met in September with Dan Kent, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Salmon Safe Program. We discovered the road to Salmon Safe certification is a five-year process costing $16,000, though we could apply for waivers, and we talked about possibly teaming with the Washington School for the Deaf. Their analysis concerns integrated pest management and storm-water runoff quality. Information on the certification process can be found at salmonsafe.org.


Our Green Schools Team has met a couple times. The Clark County Green Schools Program has five areas of focus: Waste and Recycling, Energy, Healthy School Buildings, School Grounds and Gardens, Transportation, and Water. There is a heavy student-involvement requirement. We are currently focused on Waste and Recycling. More information can be found at clarkgreenschools.org




Our birth to 3 TVI’s (known in the Early Intervention world as “Early Intervention Visual Impairment Specialist” or EIVIS) continue to serve babies, toddlers and their families in 12 counties across the state, providing 198 hours of service every month.


Our Statewide EIVIS group met in October via Zoom.  We will be doing a joint all-day workshop at the Infant and Early Childhood Conference with a focus on Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), a topic many EI providers are requesting more information and training to support children with this particular visual condition.


DeEtte continues to not only support and mentor WSSB teachers, but 2 other non-certified EIVIS in King county and Kittitas/Yakima county.  Also, she continues as the chairperson for the ESIT Professional Development and Training workgroup on In-service.  The goal of this sub-committee is to create an in-service training that all EI direct service providers will be required to take, regardless of role, discipline, and pre-service training.  This includes any TVI who supports an infant or toddler.


Once a month, WSSB in Vancouver hosts our Parent Infant Playgroup (PIP) and starting on 11/15 we will also host PIP in Spokane with our partners at the Lilac Center.  In October, seven families joined us at Bi-Zi Farms Pumpkin Patch in Vancouver.  An annual event that is fun for all!




Each month I will provide, in bulleted format, a list of the more significant activities of the Superintendent’s office.  For each month, I will describe a highlight or two in more detail. If at any point you would like more information or have questions, please do not hesitate to call, email, or schedule a time to meet in person.  I want to make sure that you have the information that you need to advise and guide what we do to meet the needs of students who are blind or visually impaired throughout Washington State.


October 1:          Lunch with former WSSB superintendent, Dean Stenehjem

October 2:          Conference call with Emily Coleman, Superintendent Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

October 3:          COSB Board meeting (conference call)

October 3:          Lunch with superintendent mentor, Jeff Snell, superintendent Camas School District

October 8:          Visit/tour the Indiana School for the Blind

October 9-10:    COSB Institute

October 11-12:  American Printing House for the Blind Annual Meeting

October 14:        Strategic Plan – planning meeting

October 14:        Attended presentation by Dr. Pitonyak re Relationships and Belonging

October 15:        White Cane Awareness Day and activities

October 17:        Earthquake Drill “The Great Shakeout”

October 17:        Attended Learn Here Celebration (Volunteer-John Bannan, Staff-Corey Grandstaff)

October 18-19:  WSU Superintendent Certification Program at WSSB

October 23:        Tour and information with Principal at the Evergreen School District

October 24-26:  Washington Council of the Blind Convention



Every year, October is jam-packed with connections and collaboration, learning from others, and many opportunities to share about our agency and the amazing supports and programs we offer.  This October felt somewhat special.  When I travel to conferences or meetings around the country, I have made a concerted effort to visit other schools for the blind to learn about their programs and services, their history, and what makes them special. This year, on the way to COSB Leadership Institute and APH Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY, Pam Parker and I visited the Indiana School for the Blind.  We spent several hours touring their expansive campus and learning about the ways in which we are similar as well as ways that we differ.  Once we made it to Louisville, I presented alongside Emily Coleman, former WSSB employee and current Superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Our presentation was about Interagency Collaboration.  Emily highlighted some of the great work in Texas, while I had the opportunity to share about our role as a member of the Washington Sensory Disability Services and our efforts to increase the number of TVIs in Washington.  Much of this great work was facilitated by our current member of the Board of Trustees, Brent Stark. At the COSB Leadership Institute awards ceremony, two WSSB employees were honored with national awards for their excellent work.  Mark Raetzman, WSSB Residential Life Counselor, was awarded the COSB Residential Services Staff of the Year. Joe Dlugo, WSSB Outreach Provider/Mentor, was honored with the COSB Outreach Teacher of the Year. Immediately following the COSB Leadership Institute is the APH Annual Meeting.  This was the 151st occurrence of the Annual Meeting and I was honored to have the opportunity to deliver the opening remarks and introduce Dr. Craig Meador, President of APH and former WSSB employee. Dr. Meador gave a few remarks and then introduced the keynote speaker, Washington Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib. Later that evening, Kirk Adams, President of the American Foundation for the Blind and former Washingtonian also spoke. Washington was in the spotlight throughout this wonderful series of events and I was extremely proud to be serving as your superintendent.


November 1-3: National Federation of the Blind Convention

November 4:     Tour and information with Guide Dogs for the Blind staff

November 4:     WSSB/WSU Museum project meeting

November 7:     Listening sessions with staff     



Each year I have the cherished opportunity to connect with our friends in the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of Washington at their annual conventions.  While the WCB convention took place in October, I have decided to mention here. This year, the WCB convention was held in SeaTac.  Hundreds of WCB members of all ages flooded the convention from all parts of the state.  I was invited to participate in the “State of the State” address in which leaders from the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, DSB, and myself provide an update to the membership about what is happening in our respective agencies. It is a wonderful opportunity to brag about the dynamic ways in which our agency continues to evolve to meet the needs of the children and families we serve.  WCB offers a wonderful youth track which happened to include several current and former students of our on-campus programs.  I appreciated the boisterous support of the students as I was introduced to speak. I had the opportunity to connect with many friends, supporters and alumni of WSSB while attending both conventions. Just last weekend I participated in the NFB of Washington convention in Olympia.  Again, friends new and old made this event a wonderful experience. I truly enjoyed every aspect of the convention, especially the chance to connect with children and families.  I attended both the student luncheon and the parent section.  During the parent discussion I was able to share about many of our programs, services, and opportunities as well as share resources to assist them in advocating for the needs of their children.  I learned one very important lesson for next time…bring more business cards!  It was truly an honor to attend both the NFB and WCB conventions to represent WSSB. 



Department managers and administration team meetings

Pacific Foundation for Blind Children (PFBC) meetings

Executive and Small Agency Cabinet meetings

Goal Council meetings

Clark County and Regional Superintendent meetings

NWABA Board meetings

UEB committee meetings

Oregon Commission for the Blind Board meetings

Washington DeafBlind Advisory Council meetings

Washington Sensory Disability Services meetings