Minutes from Board of Trustees Meeting

March 6, 2020

Vancouver, Washington



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


Board Members Absent:  Brent Stark 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), and Krista Bulger (Parent Representative).


Ex-Officio Members Absent:  Marci Carpenter (National Federation of the Blind of Washington)


WSSB Staff Members Participating: Scott McCallum (Superintendent), Sean McCormick (Director of On-Campus Programs), David Zilavy (Facilities Manager), and Janet Kurz (recording secretary).


March 6, 2020 – 11am-1:20pm

Nancy called the meeting to order at 11am.    


Business Meeting:

Old Business:

*      Approve board meeting minutes of January 15, 2020.  Greg moved to approve the minutes as submitted; Dennis seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved unanimously.


Department Highlight:

Green Team Update (David Zilavy, Facilities Manager)

*      Dave attended the meeting and provided the Board with an update regarding the WSSB’s Green Team progress.  The recommendation is to focus on one area each school year (transportation, energy, landscaping, building health, etc.).  This year the Green Team is focusing on waste and recycling. 

*      This year, there are three students on the committee as well as Stephanie Face, Jeff Bowler (Teacher of the Visually Impaired-TVI), Emily Owens (TVI), Karmay Miller (teacher’s aide-TA), Amanda Pizzo (Procurement Specialist), and Mickey Marshall (Custodial Supervisor). 

*      The team did a waste audit this year.  This included segregating waste from buildings and work areas. A representative from Waste Connections and a representative from Clark County assisted the Green Team in sorting the waste. Each area noted whether the waste was food, recyclable or trash and at the end of the school year, another audit will be done. This will provide educational opportunities for improvement. 

*      In January a storyteller attended a student assembly.  Sean reported that the storyteller included our students and created funny characters.  The story was based on one individual who threw away a banana peel.  The message of the assembly was to use less, reduce and be mindful of what you are throwing away. 

*      One of the many advantages of having the Green Team is seeing the improvement in communication cross-departmentally.  

*      This year, the Dining Room has been a focus of the Green Team with food scraps.  Currently, vegetable scraps are being incorporated into the WSSB’s horticulture program (composting). Jeff Bowler and the students are building raised garden beds in a wood shop class, using the Greenhouse to grow plants and are using the composted materials from the dining room with this project. 

*      The Dining Room has eliminated the use of Styrofoam and has ordered compostable products.  These containers are used for students who travel on Fridays (charter bus, etc.).  On Friday’s students are emptying their milk cartons and recycling the containers. 

*      On March 10, WSSB students will participate in the Clark County Green Schools Summit held at Clark Community College. Students will be presenting as well as attending breakout sessions on sustainability and will share what they are doing to create green schools. 

*      The goal is to get certified as a Green School and to keep the committee and efforts moving forward. 

*      There have been ongoing efforts to reduce energy on campus.  Some of the projects include: replacing lights in the Old Main building to LED lights, incorporating solar panels on top of the Irwin school building, working with our HVAC representative to tune up our systems, etc. 

*      Nancy reported that there is a bee-keeping program at Chimacum. 

*      Keri stated she is in support of this program and likes the component of learning opportunities and possible employment options.

*      Krista would love to invite Dave to a family group meeting that occurs the first Monday of every month to highlight this program. 

*      Sean reported that at the end of January, our middle school students traveled to Bainbridge Island to attend an outdoor camp (Islandwood). Students learned more about sustainability, composting toilets, forests, etc. Stephanie said one of the students’ favorite activities was being able to pick something from the garden and be able to make a snack from it. 


Strategic Plan Update (Scott McCallum, Superintendent)

*      The WSSB has started the Strategic Plan update process.  A company was chosen through the state’s bidding process.  The WSSB went with the lowest bidder and the company (Mass Ingenuity) has worked with other state agencies as well as the Oregon Commission for the Blind. 

*      During the summer of 2019, discussions with the admin. team were held regarding who should be involved in the process (including a core team) and who the WSSB will reach out to for surveys and information.  The groups identified were:  WSSB staff, Board of Trustees, parents of blind and visually impaired (BVI) children, students, special education administrators, specialist service providers, consumer groups, etc. 

*      The core team (including Dennis Mathews) has been meeting every two weeks and have agreed upon our draft Core Values and Core Purpose.  We are now ready to reach out to WSSB staff with the results.  Scott started this discussion during a recent listening session that is held three times per year.  The Core Values that were agreed upon are:  relationships, continuous improvement, accessibility, equity and student focus.  The core team is comprised of a lot of smart and passionate employees and this has resulted in wonderful discussion however it has been a challenge to arrive at a singular definition for each value.  The Core Purpose has been defined as:  Empower blind and visually impaired individuals to reach their full potential.  The word empower resonated with the entire team and felt that the previous word “independence” that was used often in the prior Strategic Plan implies a personal choice.  There was a lot of discussion surrounding person-first language vs. identity-first language.  The Core Purpose was chosen intentionally to be identity-first language. 

*      Next in the process is to identify and determine how to reach out to our stakeholder groups, i.e. what questions should we ask, etc.  Scott and Sean have a session at the Pacific Northwest Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (PNWAER) conference in March and plan to engage with specialist service providers and garner their feedback and provide an update with where we are at in the process. 

*      Keri would like to volunteer her child and special education director at her district to provide feedback. 

*      Nancy remarked that Eisenhower said that the plan is not the important part, it is the process that leads up to the plan. That is the real merit. Dennis said he is enjoying the process and agrees with Eisenhower regarding the process. Dennis remarked that he is a part of the core team, in part, because he is close in proximity and welcomed the board to ask any questions regarding this process. Dennis also felt the facilitator was doing a great job. 

*      Scott’s goal is that the Strategic Plan be a living document that resonates with everyone involved. 


New Business:

Review Board of Trustees Roles and Responsibilities (Scott McCallum, Superintendent:

*      Nancy stated that she has been on the Board since 2013.  Dean Stenehjem, former superintendent provided Nancy an overview of the board, roles and responsibilities and she has asked Scott to provide an overview of this.

*      Scott reviewed the Bylaws (included at the end of the meeting minutes).  Discussion followed:

o   The Governing laws regarding the WSSB and Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY) are defined in RCW 72.40 (https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=72.40).  

o   Personnel issues being brought to the board is discouraged as there is a defined process in how they are handled through Collective Bargaining Agreements and Civil Service Rules. 

o   Dennis remarked that the CDHY’s Board of Trustees is under a different structure.  Scott stated that in the early 2000’s there was some issues at the CDHY and at that time the Governor’s office stated that they wanted both the CDHY and WSSB to change the structure of their Board’s to be policy setting vs. advisory.  The WSSB Board of Trustees wrote to the Governor’s office to request that our board remain unchanged (advisory).

o   Nancy stated that if a parent or staff brings an issue to the Board that our response should be that the Board does not get involved in these issues. Scott suggested that if they are approached to suggest that they contact Scott directly. Dennis stated that the Board can receive the correspondence directly and that the issue can be discussed during Executive Sessions.  Nancy feels that the board is not in the business of resolving certain issues.  Jim remarked that in the past, there were some issues and he felt there was a built-in reluctance to hold executive sessions as they do not include the Board’s ex-officio group. 

o   Sean asked about the statement relating to changing the state requirement for course of study; Sean wanted to get feedback now or in the future as to what they need from him. Nancy stated there is an education committee, however it has not been very active. Scott said the state of Washington is changing the law that will impact graduation for all students. Keri said as far as committees go, she feels that there has been very little information provided. Keri asked if there was notes or guidance regarding committees.  Sean offered to put together some information and pose open-ended questions for feedback regarding course of study.  Sean also said there is federal law that overarches state law to factor in. Dennis reminded the group that the board is advisory and that this is a good reminder. Dennis complimented Scott in keeping the board involved. 

o   Discussion was held regarding the By-Laws and having the Attorney General’s office review them.  Dennis asked if there are any unintended consequences from opening up the By-Laws. Scott will look into this. 

o   Stephanie asked for clarification regarding ex-officio voting.  Dennis stated that during the superintendent interview process the decision was made to have Ex-Officio’s vote on the choice of superintendent; the Ex-Officio’s also can vote on student awards in May. 


Superintendent’s Report

*      Scott reported the following:

o   January highlight:  Scott reported that the WSSB will be installing a Peace Pole on campus that will state “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.  There will be thirteen different languages on the pole. WSSB’s Student Council was consulted regarding the different languages. The “Pulliam” Peace Pole will be dedicated in Lori (long-time WSSB employee) and Roy Pulliam’s honor during the annual track meet which will be held on May 14, 2020. Roy has been involved in activities through the local Lions Club for many years.

o   February highlight: WSSB was hoping to fund the design phase of the new transition center and requested funding for this during the supplemental budget phase of the legislative session.  The funding was supported in both the Governor’s and House’s budget proposal but not in the Senate’s.   The supplemental session is meant to fund new issues or resolve issues. Jim asked if the new building would go where Ahlsten is. Scott said yes. 

o   March highlight:  The COVID-19 virus has been discussed a great deal in the first week of March.  Daily meetings have been occurring with several departments (health center, education, facilities, human resources, residential).  A notice has been placed on our website (linking to the CDC and Department of Health-DOH).  A health inspector from DOH visited our campus on March 4. The inspector reviewed the classrooms for cleaning equipment, hand sanitizers, etc.  He also inspected the kitchen, cottages, fitness center and remarked that he will be using the WSSB as the example of what to do right.  There have been ongoing discussions regarding student activities off-campus and we will be monitoring this very closely. 

o   WSSB is poised to provide online classes for our students if the school needs to close.  We are aware that all of our students may not have internet access and we are considering all options at this point. Lily added that some schools in King County have had questions specifically about vulnerable students who have immune compromised systems. Dennis asked if there are any issues with transportation. Scott said if a student is diagnosed, they would be transported individually.  Sean said our response will be the same as we treat it with any ill student (protocol is to have student to go home). Sean said the issue is educational continuity and how to measure if that is effective. Scott asked if parents and staff feel that communication has been effective. Jim said under one message national, state, county and local level was shared, which included accurate and reliable messages; in Dave Zilavy’s communication to all staff, it included how the staff is using cleaning materials and suggestions for home. Stephanie felt there is a lot of information from a lot of different places (admin., health center, facilities, custodial, etc.).  Stephanie feels we are doing everything we should without going overboard.  Scott stated that Sean deserves a ton of credit for how he has handled this situation (communication, staff meetings, etc.). 


Ex-Officio’s Reports:

*      Washington Council of the Blind (Joleen Ferguson):

o   Joleen said when she was a student here, they had a recycling program for food and this included feeding food scraps to the pigs that were on campus.  The WSSB also had a garden and felt it would be neat to once again have a garden and have the community involved in helping to maintain it.

o   The WCB will be holding a meeting in Vancouver at the Best Western by the Vancouver Mall on March 28 for guide dog users. 

o   There will be a conference call on March 9 to discuss the Department of Transportation’s notice of proposed rulemaking concerning service animals flying with people with disabilities.  Both the Guide Dogs for the Blind and Seeing Eye organizations have provided comments. 

o   In April a leadership conference will be held for leaders to assist in training new leadership.

o   The American Council of the Blind annual convention is scheduled for July 3-10 at Virginia Beach.

o   The WCB fall convention is scheduled for October 29-31.

o   New WCB committee members were chosen and are actively participating in their committees which include scholarships, membership, Newsline, legislative, website, listserv, etc.

*      Teachers (Stephanie Face)

o   Stephanie reported that six students traveled to Seattle to participate in the braille challenge.  Currently there are three braille challenge events held across the state of Washington. Two WSSB students won their categories. Stephanie felt that the opportunity for these students to gain travel skills was very important as there is not a lot of travel opportunities for non-athletic students.  Stephanie enjoyed hanging out with students she doesn’t normally get to work with.  Scott stated that he hopes that the WSSB can get some students to the national braille challenge. 

*      WSFE Local #1225 (Jim Eccles)

o   Jim reported that the issue that is concerning is the scheduled cottage renovation for August 2020.  If the project runs past the due date, this will run close to when school is scheduled to begin. 

*      Parent Representative (Krista Bulger)

o   Krista reported that the Family Group just held their March meeting and Corey Grandstaff, WSSB Residential Program Manager attended and talked about the residential program. Krista appreciates that Sean was there and had wonderful ideas regarding putting them in touch with other family groups with other schools for the blind. The family group is preparing to help with planning the spring formal dance which will occur the same day that the California School for the Blind (CSB) will be on campus for a joint swim meet. Scott asked Sean how the CSB reached out to us for a swim meet.  Sean reported that the CSB didn’t expend their full goalball budget, so they contacted Jennifer Butcher (WSSB TVI) and asked if we would be interested in a dual swim meet.  Three CSB staff and eight students will be staying on our campus and a pizza party has been arranged.  Sean said his hope is that if we can create a positive experience, that we could possibly have a Western States Conference for athletics (Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Montana, etc.).  Jim said when Oregon had a school for the Blind, the students used to participate in Wrestling matches.  Krista asked if prior to the Oregon school closing, did we have events together.  Jim said yes. 


Committee Reports:

*      Education Committee (no report at this time)

*      Buildings and Grounds Committee:

o   Nancy and Greg toured the facility.  Everything looks great.  Greg commented on the new trees that are being planted on campus.  Scott stated that John Fleming, WSSB’s groundskeeper and other staff toured the Japanese Garden and has since incorporated several new trees on campus. 

*      Management Committee (no report at this time)

*      Legislative Committee

o   Jim asked if our local senator (Cleveland) supported our budget request.  Scott said he wasn’t sure.



*      Nancy said 2-3 years ago she came down for the Career Fair and participated by interviewing WSSB students. Stephanie said that this year they are focusing on video resumes. The students will be practicing applying for jobs, community service opportunities, going to a career expo, and some students will be doing on campus activities. The middle schoolers will be participating in community service projects.  Jim asked if the WSSB would be interested in participating in local school districts career fairs.  Jim remarked that he is looking for opportunities to include our students in other events such as these.  Scott reported that a group of regional superintendents are going to begin meeting to discuss items such as these and feels this would be another option to bring up. 

*      Nancy shared that she was proud to be a part of the WSSB team. 


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:20pm.  The next Board meeting will be held on May 7, 2020 at 7:30pm via conference call.




Nancy McDaniel, Chair                                                                 Scott McCallum, Superintendent



Board Reports – March 2020



Outreach is going strong and we are ready for spring!

·         WSSB Outreach Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) and Orientation & Mobility Specialists (O&Ms) continue to add and revise contracts as needed across the state. 

·         Joe Dlugo, TVI/COMS/Stephen F. Austin University (SFAU) Mentor, continues to support the teachers in the SFAU program. He is preparing for the final cohort of this grant with the Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS). Joe and I are meeting with Glenna Gallo at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) on April 30, 2020 to decide the cohort. 

·         I am continuing to visit/observe all the Outreach teachers, and para/braillists as part of their annual evaluations. We have such wonderful teachers who are creative teachers. I always learn something when I get to observe them in action.

·         We have had a few changes to our team. Karen Mowry retired at the end of January. We hired Paul Haney who is a Florida State University graduate. Paul is both TVI and O&M. Carrie Tanner went out on maternity leave February 20, 2020. Lynnda Biek is her long-term sub. Lynnda is an experienced teacher who is a retire/rehire. We are very lucky to have both Paul and Lynnda join our team.

·         The Statewide Unified English Braille (UEB) class finished on February 26, 2020 with 78 participants. Irwin music teacher, Shane Dittmar, did a great job teaching this class via zoom. He is doing a review class and proctoring a group for a UEB exam at the Pacific Northwest Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) conference in March.

·         We have been working with Dr. Kathryn Botsford to create a Functional Vision Learning Media Assessment form that will be used across WSSB staff Outreach and On Campus. This will allow our evaluations to be consistent. The work group made up of Outreach and On Campus staff that created the document will present this form at the PNWAER conference.

·         We are planning for next school year and determining caseloads. Contracts for the 2020-2021 school year will be sent out sent out beginning in April.


On the horizon:

·         I will be attending the Mobility Matters 2019 conference at Portland State University (PSU) on March 18.

·         The Pacific Northwest AER Conference is March 19-21 at the Heathman Lodge in Vancouver. This year we are combining our conference with the Oregon AER. There are seven (7) Outreach staff presenting on various topics at the conference.

·         I will be going to the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) Outreach Forum in Muskogee, Oklahoma from April 13-17.

·         The next Blind Youth Consortium is scheduled for April 20 at Washington Talking Book and Braille Library (WTBBL) in Seattle.  Among other topics around blind and visually impaired (BVI) youth, we are discussing access to transition services for BVI youth who are undocumented.



On Campus


·         On-Campus Total (grades 6-12):  67

o   56 comprehensive students 6- 12 grade

o   5 Distance learning

o   6 Part-time/local

·          Short Course Students (Year to Date): 24


Staffing Updates

·         Irwin is currently recruiting for a special education teacher to support high school students with visual impairments and additional disabilities

·         Judy Koch-Smith, Certified O&M Specialist, is planning to retire in August of 2020.

·         Tyler Parker, one of our swing Residential Life Counselors (RLC), took a new job as a braillist in the Tri-cities. Carl Talley moved into Tyler’s swing position.

·         Sam Schrager was hired as a part-time RLC to work one-on-one with a student.


Students and Program Highlights

·         The powerlifting season is underway at WSSB with 23 athletes on the team.  Powerlifters have four meets scheduled this season, including an exhibition meet at WSSB with a team from Ocean Shores, WA.

·         WSSB is hosting the newly formed California School for the Blind (CSB) swim team in a meet on March 26.  Students from CSB are invited to attend WSSB’s spring fling that same evening in the Fries Auditorium.

·         WSSB middle school attended an overnight science education program at Islandwood on Bainbridge Island.  This outdoor program was an excellent experience for students to engage with environmental science, sustainability practices, build connections with each other, and collaborate with students from other schools. By the end, some students were saying, “I wish we didn’t have to leave Islandwood.”

·         WSSB’s Green Team conducted a waste audit in December.  The Green Team is an inter-departmental and student-based team on campus that is analyzing the sustainability practices and making recommendations for ways to reduce our school’s carbon footprint and educate WSSB staff and students in the process.

·         Seven WSSB students participated in the regional Braille challenge held at the WTBBL in Seattle.  WSSB had a winner in both the Apprenticeship and the Freshman categories. 



·         We have processed 119 volunteers this year. Some of these are new volunteers; others are ones we run every two years to renew their background checks.

·         Ten students were taken downhill skiing in February.

·         Students have participated in monthly baking classes with our volunteer Kevin. Kevin was also nominated for the Washington State Governor’s Volunteer Award for Education.

·         Twenty-six students were taken on an afternoon-long snowmobile trip.

·         We are anticipating taking 27 students cross-country skiing on March 11.

·         Dolores Huerta, civil rights activist, President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, will speak to our students on March 9.


Residential Update

·         Students have recently been given kitchen prep and kitchen cleanup duty each week. This means 1-2 students unload and load the dishwashers for the entire cottage, wash at least one of the dinner pans used, prepares the vegetables for dinner, divides fruit into bowls for dinner, setting tables, and wipe down tables and counters after dinner.

·         We are gearing up for our cottage kitchen remodel project, which is happening this fall. Dave, a couple of RLC’s, and Corey Grandstaff have been visiting various appliance stores to gauge the most accessible and usable appliances for our students. We are anticipating the project to take 2-3 weeks, and it will occur in August. The project includes new ovens/stoves, dishwashers, floors, some cabinet fixes, and a new area for cleaning supplies and table setting materials.

·         We are also looking at getting a set of industrial washer/dryers for each cottage, so students can have experience using both top-load and front-load models.



Transition Services

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 are participating in weekly soft skills classes on campus.  This school year PIC has been arranging for participants to participate in job shadows and business tours in a different career sector each month.  Students learn soft skills during these experiences as well as in the classroom. The theme for November was healthcare with tours/job shadows at Peace Health Hospital outpatient clinics, CDM Caregiving and dental surgeon Dr. Munib.  At Peace Health Hospital, the students practiced CPR and learned how to put on and take off the protective wear that medical staff use.  In December, the theme was writing with job shadows at The Columbian Newspaper and a writing event at Barnes and Noble Bookstore where a published author presented about his career path. The theme for January was education with tours of Washington State University (WSU) Vancouver and Pearson Air Field Education.  A job shadow at Eisenhower Elementary school was rescheduled for Feb. 28.  The theme for February will be 1st jobs.  Job shadows are planned for the YMCA and community business members will come to WSSB to do mock interviews with the group.


Three of the PIC participants are also working in internships – 1 at a daycare, another at non-profit agency Friends of the Carpenter and a third student at an Educational Opportunities for Children and Families (EOCF) after school program and Ben Franklin Elementary School.


YSS facilitated the development of a contract for the provision of generalized career exploration for youth with additional disabilities- funded by the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB).  The contract was finalized the first week of February 2020.  In November 2019, YSS met with the families of two of the students who will be referred for services.  Meetings are now being scheduled for the contractor to meet with the students and families.  There are five WSSB students and one Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) participant who will receive services for the remainder of the school year.  Services available are: developing interest and skill inventories and resumes, identifying potential vocational accommodations, development of career experience work sites and maintaining placements in those sites, provision of small group soft skills training, staff training for supporting career success, parent training about Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) services, participation in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings as requested and documentation of students’ progress.


YSS had an initial meeting with the Director and staff of the Vancouver WorkSource, staff of the NEXT Center (Youth One-Stop), DSB staff, WSSB transition coordinator and Director of Transition in January 2020.  The meeting was a beginning discussion about a potential partnership to develop paid internships for both WSSB high school students and other BVI youth residing in Clark County.  This partnership is in the initial planning stages.  Once a plan is finalized, it is hoped that a contract can be created between DSB and WorkSource so that the services would be funded by WorkSource, for out of school youth up to age 24, and DSB for in-school youth up to age 21.


Health Center, Robin Williams

The health center is coordinating with the Pacific University Dental mobile for a visit in April.  Ten (10) students will be seen on the dental mobile, they will receive an exam and a dental cleaning.


Nurse Robin attended camp Islandwood, a great experience for students and staff in a beautiful environment.


Nurses will conduct CPR/AED 1st AID training in August for approximately 24 staff.


Seven students are participating in the lock box program currently.


Health center nurses getting ready for summer sports and Youth Employment Solutions (YES) camps .


Nurse Robin center coordinated with Jen Butcher for another staff wellness activity in February.


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

It’s hard to believe, but the 2019-2020 LIFTT program year is at the half-way point. Residents continue to gain skills and confidence in themselves. Four continue at Clark College, one has begun working with a CRP (Community Resource Provider) for assistance with building employability skills as he continues his vocational training. One participant is currently a WSSB student working on High School credit recovery. This is the first time LIFTT has had a participant who is still in high school, and it is not expected to be a regular option in the future.


On February 1, DSB sponsored a group of high school students to tour the LIFTT program and learn about train travel. A group of 9 high school age students, plus parents and educators took the train to Vancouver and toured the LIFTT program. Two LIFTT participants gave a great tour of the program and answered questions from the tour group. Other LIFTT participants cooked and served lunch to all and the group completed their visit by exploring the Sensory Safari exhibit. It was a great way to share our program with potential future participants.


The group overall this year is adventurous and busy. They enjoy exploring the community and shopping (they know where all the Dutch Bro coffee shops are!). The participants attending Clark College just finished midterms, ang are currently in the process of signing up for Spring quarter.



Business Office

1.      2019-21 Operating Budget:  We ended the month of January with a -2% variance which is primarily due to Safety Net expenditures which currently are estimated at $112,000+. 

        In Fund 19B, spending is keeping pace with revenue. 


2.      2020 Capital Budget Supplemental:  Our supplemental request for the design phase of the Independent Living Center ($1,335,000) and Campus Preservation ($655,000) made the Governor’s budget along with the House. The Senate, however, did not recommend any funding at all.  We will wait to see what the compromise version looks like. 


3.      2020 Operating Supplemental:  Our request for $161,000 to hire an IT Customer Support professional to support the agency during relocation of the State Date Center/Cloud Co-Location made the Governor’s budget as well as the Senate.


4.      2020 Legislative Session:  The legislature is in session and will end on March 12, 2020.  So far, we have received and responded to 29 fiscal note requests regarding: public school language access, sexual harassment, parental involvement, employee information disclosure, facial recognition services, suicide prevention/identification cards, employee parking cash out programs, parental improvement certificates, school volunteers, background checks, and lead in school drinking water.  We have also responded to requests for additional information on our supplemental budget proposals.


5.      Safety Net:  We will be submitting a safety net grant application this year.  It is due March 13, 2020.  We don’t have a final figure, but estimates are in the $340,000+ range.


6.      3rd Quarter Allotments:  Revisions were made to our initial allotments to more closely align with spending plans. 


7.      Performance Measures:  We reported on the following measures for quarter ending December 2019:


#1585 Percent of WSSB high school students enrolled in online classes:  22%

#1586 Braille Distributed on time:  100%

#1590 Pages of Braille Transcription:  35,393

#1591 Training opportunities accessed by individuals:  11,701

#1592 Number of teachers/paraprofessionals taking Braille exams:  6

#1593 Number of students on campus:  79

#1594 Off-Campus Services:  1483


8.      One Washington:  We continue to work on different processes and attend various training and meetings as the state moves forward with implementing One Washington. 



Human Resources

New Hires:  

·         Samuel Schrager –RLC (Project Employee)

·         Paul Haney – Outreach TVI

·         Sarah Godwin – Program Specialist 4 – Deaf/Blind Project

·         Khahn Huhtala – Administrative Program Specialist – Deaf/Blind Project

·         Kathryn Humes – Director Deaf/Blind Project

·         Samir Jaganjac – Custodian 1

·         Patricia Hovey – On-call Custodian

·         Helene Deiner  – On-call Teachers Aide (TA)


Open Recruitments:

·         Substitute TVI

·         On-call Teaching Assistant

·         On-call Residential Life Counselor


Trainings/Functions Attended:

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

·         Labor Relations Roundtable – Facilitated by the Office of Financial Management (OFM)

·         Safe Schools Task Force



Ogden Resource Center (ORC)

The Census for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is in process. The numbers are looking strong for the next Quota Fund year. All students without parent permission on file were removed from ORC Online in January.


As of February 11, 2020, there are 1,801 active student registrations in ORC Online. The Census numbers will be less since not all ORC served students are eligible for Quota Funds.


There are 109 braille jobs in process, including daily jobs and reproductions as of February 11, 2020.


So far this school year, the ORC has sent 2,699 items to 128 school districts for 592 students.


At the prison, new apprentices have been hired and several have been promoted with the release of other transcribers. The Columbian newspaper did a great article about Kandi Lukowski and they will be doing a follow up article about the transcribers at the prison.


In April, several inmate transcribers will be presenting via Skype at the California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CTEBVI) conference in Los Angeles on music braille.


Ian Goodrich, Warehouse staff, is helping facilities out with pressure washing and other activities on campus since the warehouse has been streamlined with Kandi’s Lean improvements.



Buildings and Grounds

1.      The 51KW Solar array installed in October 2019 on the Irwin School roof has to date generated 10-megawatt hours of energy, or, it’s saved 15,500 pounds of C02 being put in the air, or the equivalent of planting 388 trees.

2.      The $175,000 Old Main LED lighting retrofit project is nearly complete. A change order of $8,000 was necessary due to “unforeseen conditions” claimed by the Job Order Contractor. We argued otherwise but lost the argument. Next step is an audit from Clark Public Utilities to determine incentive rebate. We expect to get about $13,000 in incentive rebates. Several changes have already been requested, mostly the addition of dimmer switches. We plan to make these changes in-house.

3.      We received a $5,187 incentive rebate from the Energy Trust of Oregon for the recent Chapman Boiler installation.

4.      The Cottage Renovation Project ($300,000) is scheduled to happen in the first three weeks of August 2020. Project scope follows my report. We made several trips to appliance stores with Corey Grandstaff and others in order to pick the most accessible appliances.

5.      We purchased 11 wall-mounted panic buttons for the Alertus Emergency Mass Notification System. These will be used for Lockdown only. A lockdown only happens if there is someone on campus doing harm to others. We have been using the Alertus system in campus wide drills. It is a good practice as we find minor problems and fix them, and also make students and staff aware of our emergency protocols.

6.      Our groundskeeper, John Fleming, recently passed his pesticide/herbicide applicator exam. We are already quite green in our herbicide/fertilizer applications, but this certification brings new safety practices and regulatory compliance to our school.

7.      Our Green Schools Team has information from our year thus far focusing on Waste and Recycling which will be presented in-person.


Washington State School for the Blind Kitchen Renovation of Cottages 1, 2, 3 & 4 (Department of Enterprise Services (DES) Engineering and Architecture (E&A) Project # 2020-022).  Project Notes: Cottages 1, 2 & 3 are approximately identically configured. Cottage 4 has slightly larger kitchen.


Mandatory Project Start Date: August 3, 2020 - mandatory Project Completion Date: August 21, 2020


Scope Details:

1.      Replace four Jenn-Air slide-in ranges with four Frigidaire Model # FPEH3077RF slide-in ranges

2.      Modify existing casework for Cattura Downdraft Ventilator Model #D49M30SB

3.      Modify existing casework/venting for Best FlexBlower 600 CFM Model PF6

4.      Replace four Frigidaire Wall Ovens with four Frigidaire Model # FPEW3077RF 30” wall ovens

5.      Replace eight dishwashers with eight Asko Model # DB1663IS ADA-height dishwashers

6.      Remove and dispose of existing VCT flooring (excluding laundry rooms) and replace with Mohawk Luxury Vinyl Tile or Forbo Marmoleum Squares. Colors TBD

a.       Cottages 1, 2, 3 have approx. 700 sf flooring

b.      Cottage 4 has approx. 1,000 sf flooring

7.      At new flooring, replace vinyl wall base with mfg/color 4” with toe

a.       Cottages 1, 2, 3 have each approx. 200 lf wall base

b.      Cottage 4 has approx. 300 lf wall base

8.      Remove four (one per cottage) upper cabinets adjacent to wall ovens; add two dimmable LED can lights to soffit; connect lamps to dimmer switch finish and paint to match, paint: mfg/color

9.      Remove four (one per cottage) desk units, and replace with built-in cabinets and counter as per drawing X.

a.       Cabinets to be finished in p-lam Nevamar Ruse Brown S-2-5T

b.      Led light strip under uppers.

c.       Outlets moved to 38 C o.f.f.

d.      One duplex outlet inside “cleaning supplies” cabinet

10.   Remove existing plastic corner guards and replace with stainless steel corner guards. Project total new stainless corner guards are 28 @ 3’x3’x48’H and 8 @ 2’x2’x48’H

11.   Replace existing sinks with new stainless-steel sinks mfg/model

12.   Replace existing kitchen faucet with mfg/model

13.   Repair existing p-lam chips/defects as per pictures. Counter edge band is Nevamar Ruse Brown S-2-5T.




Our birth to 3 TVI’s, known in the Early Intervention (EI) world as “Early Intervention Visual Impairment Specialist” or EIVIS, continue to be very busy. In January 2020 we received 9 referrals and so far in February we have received 11. Each of these referrals from both doctors and EI agencies are unique and DeEtte “triages” each to determine the course of action.  Often, they are for a child who lives outside WSSB service area and are forwarded to the appropriate agency within the EIVI network we have created throughout the state.  Others are for children who may have a vision condition that is not a visual impairment, but the family and EI team are given a consultation to address.  Our current caseload remains at about 80 children receiving ongoing EIVI services from WSSB.


DeEtte conducted an all-day training in Snohomish county on January 31, attended by about 40 county providers, focused on early childhood visual impairment. This may be the cause of the spike of referrals, which demonstrates the effectiveness of the training! Upcoming trainings scheduled in the next few months include the Three Prong Approach to Vision and Hearing Screening in Pierce County on February 28, and another all-day workshop at the Infants and Early Childhood Conference on May 6 called “My eyes are fine, but I still can’t see”.  This workshop is geared to early childhood providers on cortical visual impairment (CVI).  This workshop will be facilitated by DeEtte and other EIVISs from around the state.  Team effort for sure!


DeEtte’s statewide coordination duties with her participation on 2 sub-committees of the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC).  The first 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 training sequence will be introduced to new EI providers in July 2020.  Also, she has been invited to participate in the Data Committee, which is critically important as our BVI state registry will end as ESIT is implementing the gathering of this information within their state’s data management system (DMS). 




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.



January 16:             Meeting with Jim Clark, Mass Ingenuity re Strategic Plan process

January 17:             PAYDAY Assembly, Pacific Foundation for Blind Children (PFBC)

January 21:             PFBC meeting

January 22:             Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment (GCDE) General Membership meeting

January 23:             WSSB/Lions Swim Meet

January 24:             ESD 112 Regional Superintendent’s Meeting

January 25:             Attended Vancouver Lion Roy Pulliam event

January 27:             Education Sub-Cabinet meeting (Olympia)

January 28:             Executive and Small Agency Cabinet meeting (Olympia)

January 29:             Governor’s Results Review – Pediatric Behavioral Health (Olympia)



Moving forward with strategic planning is certainly one highlight, although most of the work didn’t really get started until February.  More on our progress later.  We are excited to identify and meet with our strategic plan facilitator, Jim Clark from Mass Ingenuity.  As you may recall, we requested bids through the state system.  We selected the lowest bid and were pleased that our lowest bidder also happened to be the only entity that had previous experience working in both state government and with an agency focused on people who are BVI. We are very excited to move forward with this extremely important work.


I also had the opportunity to speak at a local Lion’s Club event about an effort we are making on our campus to honor Roy and Lori Pulliam.  Lori has worked at WSSB as a teacher and program lead since 1982. Lori is also a member of the Fort Vancouver Lions Club. Her Husband, Roy, is also a long-standing Lion and has been an integral part of the WSSB/Lions Track and Field Day since the early 1990s.  In honor of Roy and Lori Pulliam, the Pulliam Peace Pole will be installed in the center of campus and formally dedicated at the track meet in May 2020.  The Peace Pole will be inscribed with the words, “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in languages that represent Native American tribes of this region, students who have attended WSSB, Washington, and languages of the worlds. 13 languages in all were chosen with student, select staff, and equity team involvement. The peace pole will include Braille, American Sign Language, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Chuukese, Kurdish, Arabic, Swahili, Chinuk Wawa, Lushootseed, and Sahaptin.



February 3:             Education Sub-Cabinet meeting (Olympia)

February 4:             Strategic Plan kick-off meeting

February 5:             Tour with Pacific College of Optometry staff

February 6:             Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference

February 6:             Braille Challenge

February 13:          Exercise for Heart Day

February 18:          Low Vision Clinic interns – tour

February 18:          PFBC Board meeting

February 18:          Emergency Protocol Committee meeting

February 19:          Strategic Plan session

February 19:          CTran Board members and CEO visit

February 20:          Listening Sessions

February 22:          NWABA annual dinner and auction

February 24:          Education Sub-Cabinet meeting (Olympia)

February 24:          Tour of capitol campus with WSSB students

February 25:          Executive and Small Agency Cabinet meeting (Olympia)

February 25:          Tour with Kentucky School for the Blind’s Director of State Schools

February 26:          Governor’s Results Review – Juvenile Rehabilitation (Olympia)

February 27:          Meeting with Shauna Bilyeu, Superintendent of the Washington School for the Deaf  re Culture of Care curriculum



February marked the real kick-off of the strategic planning work.  We have a core group of individuals involved with strategic planning.  This includes all administrators for student education programs (Sean McCormick, Jennifer Langley, Lori Pulliam, Corey Grandstaff, Pam Parker, DeEtte Snyder), Dennis Mathews from the Board of Trustees, Janet and me. We began our work identifying the core values for the agency along with an updated core purpose.  I recently presented our current results to staff who attended listening sessions.  We do plan to engage a variety of stakeholders that include the WSSB Board of Trustees, parents of children who are BVI, students who are BVI, consumer groups (NFB and WCB), service providers (TVI, O&M), and special education administrators. We are just beginning to outline who the stakeholder groups are and what we want to ask of them.  As of today, our core values that we have identified are: Equity, Accessibility, Relationships, Continuous Improvement, and Student Centered.  Our current version of the core purpose is: To empower blind and visually impaired students to reach their full potential.


Also, during the month of February, both the Senate and House supplemental budget proposals were submitted.  As a reminder, this short session is supplemental. The Governor originally included additional funds for WSSB’s continued efforts on the transition facility. His budget also included some additional funds for the Old Main roofing project which we are expecting to cost significantly more than originally anticipated due to changing labor markets. The Senate budget proposal included none of the additional funds included in the Governor’s budget proposal.  The House, however, was perfectly in-line with the Governors originally proposed supplemental budget. With the revenue forecast coming in with additional unanticipated funds for the state, I remain optimistic that our projects will continue to move forward.  If they do not fund the design phase of the transition facility during this session, our project timeline will be pushed back until they do, hopefully next year.



March 3:                  Strategic Plan session

March 5:                  Council of Schools and Services for the Blind – board meeting

March 6:                  Board of Trustees meeting



Nothing to report at the time of this writing.  I am looking forward to our continued work on the agency strategic plan.  Rather than writing another 10-year plan, we are moving towards a shorter-term, five-year plan.  Five years also aligns with our current accreditation schedule.  WSSB has started some of the preliminary efforts towards being reaccredited. Most of the required accreditation process and effort will take place during the 2020-21 school year.  WSSB is nationally accredited by AdvancED.  AdvancED has since changed their name to Cognia.  For the record, high schools in Washington are not required to be accredited. 



Meetings with department managers and administration team

PFBC meetings

Executive 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









Section 1:  The name of the organization shall be the Board of Trustees of the Washington State School for the Blind.

Section 2:  The following words and device are adopted as the Seal of this Board:  Semi-circle sunburst with initials W.S.S.B. encircled by letters Board of Trustees outlined in black.




Under the direction and control of the Office of the Governor, the Board of Trustees of the Washington State School for the Blind shall advise the superintendent and the legislature on the development of programs and operations of the Washington State School for the Blind:


1.            Shall monitor and inspect all existing facilities of the School for the Blind and report its findings to the superintendent;

2.            Shall study and recommend comprehensive programs of educa­tion and training and review the admission policy as set forth in R.C.W. 72.40.040 and 72.40.050, and make appropri­ate recommenda­tions to the superintendent;

3.            Shall advise the Governor in selection of qualified candi­dates for superintendent, and may advise the superintendent and participate in the selection of members of the faculty and such other administrative officers and other employees, who shall all be subject to Chapter 41.06 R.C.W., and the State Personnel Laws, unless specifically exempted by other provisions of law;

4.            May recommend to the superintendent the establishment of new facilities as needs demand;

5.            May recommend to the superintendent rules and regulations for the government, management, and operation of such hous­ing facilities deemed necessary or advisable;

6.            May make recommendations to the superintendent concerning classrooms and other facilities to be used for summer or night schools, or for public meetings, and for other uses consistent with the use of such classrooms or facilities for the School for the Blind;

7.            May make recommendations to the superintendent for adoption of rules and regulations of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on property owned, operated, or maintained by the School for the blind;

8.            Shall recommend to the superintendent, with the assistance of the faculty, the course of study including vocational training in the School for the Blind, in accordance with other applicable provisions of law and rules and regula­tions;

9.            May grant every student, upon graduation or completion of a program or course of study, a suitable diploma or certifi­cate of completion pursuant to applicable state laws and rules and regulations;

10.          Shall participate in the development of, and monitor the enforcement of, the rules and regulations pertaining to the School for the Blind;

11.          Shall recommend rules and regulations determining eligibili­ty for and certification of the teachers in the Washington State School for the Blind, including certification for emergency or temporary, substitute, or provisional duty;

12.          Shall perform any other duties and responsibilities pre­scribed by the superintendent.





Section 1:  The Board of Trustees shall be composed as follows:

a.    One voting member from each of the state's congressio­nal districts now or hereafter existing.  Trustees with voting privileges shall be appointed by the Governor with consent of the Senate.

b.    Five (5) ex officio trustees shall represent Parent-Teachers Association, Washington Council of the Blind,

        National Federation of the Blind of Washington, the Teachers Association of Wash­ington State School for the Blind, and the Washington Federation of State Employ­ees.


Section 2:  The term of office for the Board of Trustee members is five years, except that any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of any term shall be appointed only for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Section 3:  Trustees are expected to attend all regular meetings.  If a trustee member misses three (3) consecutive regular meetings in a year without prior notice and/or good reason to the School for the Blind superintendent's office, he/she shall be notified of this fact by the chair of the board.  The superintendent, with the concurrence of the chair, may declare a vacancy to exist and appoint another person to the board to fill the vacancy.

Section 4:  If a trustee's activities present a conflict of interest, or are detrimental to clients or staff, or violate client confidentiality, he/she may be asked to resign or be removed from office by majority vote of the board.  The Governor shall be asked to remove any appointee based on a majority vote.

Section 5:  An ex officio trustee shall be appointed by the appropriate organization and shall represent that organization for the term of office.




Section 1:  The officers of the Board of Trustees shall be a chair and vice-chair.

Section 2:  The chair and vice-chair shall be elected by ballot at the annual meeting of the board.  The officers shall hold their offices for one year and until their successors are elected and qualified.

Section 3:  The superintendent of the Washington State School for the Blind or his designee shall serve as the secretary to the Board of Trustees.  The secretary shall not be a member of the Board of Trustees.

Section 4:  No trustee may serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office.

Section 5:  An executive committee consisting of the board chairperson, vice-chairperson, and immediate past chairperson may act on behalf of the board on issues of an urgent nature where time is of the essence provided that their actions be confirmed by vote at the next regularly scheduled board meeting.




Section 1: 

Chair:  It shall be the duty of the chair to preside at all meetings of the board, to call all meetings of the board provided by the bylaws, to nominate all standing committees provided for by the bylaws and to present the same to the board at their first meeting after the annual election for confirmation, to sign on behalf of the board all written instruments, recommendations, or reports approved by the board, and he/she shall have other power and perform such other duties as are especially provided by the bylaws.

Section 2:

Vice-chair:  In the absence of the chair, the vice-chair will assume his/her duties and responsibilities.

Section 3:

Secretary to the Board:  The secretary shall keep an accurate narrative record of the proceedings of the board, shall have custody of the papers, documents, and Seal of the Board; shall attend to the official correspondence of the board, mailing of the minutes, and such notices as required by the bylaws.  The secretary shall send copies of all records of the Board of Trustees to the Office of the Governor.

Section 4:  Officers shall take office at the first board meeting of the new academic year.





Section 1:  The Board of Trustees shall meet at least four times a year.

Section 2:  The annual meeting shall be the last Board of Trust­ees meeting of the academic year and shall be for the purpose of electing officers and such other business as may come before the board.

Section 3:  The chair may call a special meeting by written notice fifteen (15) days in advance.  Three (3) members of the Board of Trustees may call a special meeting by giving fifteen (15) days written notice to the trustees.  The purpose of the meeting shall be stated in the request to meet.

Section 4:  Five (5) members of the Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum.  Ex officio members of the Board of Trustees shall not be counted toward a quorum.

Section 5:  At the discretion of the chair, a closed executive session for voting members only may be called.

Section 6:  Each member and ex officio of the Board of Trustees shall receive per diem as provided in RCW 43.03.050 and necessary expenses and other actual mileage or transportation costs as provided in RCW 43.03.060.  Such payments shall be a proper charge to any funds appropriated or allocated for the support of the Washington State School for the Blind.




Section 1:  The chair, subject to the approval of the board, shall appoint all committees of a permanent, temporary, or special nature.  Said committees to serve for such period of time as designated by the chair or board.

Section 2:  Vacancies occurring in any committee shall be filled by appointment by the chair with the approval of the board.




Section 1:  Any statement or recommendation agreed to by a majority of the Board of Trustees shall be released through the chair of the Board of Trustees to appropriate staff, elected officials, and/or the press.

Section 2:  All trustees are required to sign an Oath of Confi­dentiality form.

Section 3:  Individual trustees may engage in lobbying only if:

a)    registered as a lobbyist;

b)    lobbying activities are limited to appearance before public sessions of legislative committees or public hearings of state agencies; or

c)    such members do so without direct or indirect compensa­tion.




The rules contained in the most recent edition of "Robert's Rules of Order, Revised" shall govern the Board of Trustees in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the Board of Trustees may adopt.




These bylaws can be amended at any regular meeting of the Board of Trustees by a two-thirds vote provided the amendment has been submitted in writing at the previous board meeting.



(Revised 9/93.  Accepted by the Board 10/13/93.)