Minutes from Board of Trustees Meeting

September 27, 2019

Vancouver, Washington



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


Board Members Absent:  Brent Stark and Nancy McDaniel


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), Corey Grandstaff (Residential Program Supervisor), Sean McCormick (Director of On-Campus Programs), and Janet Kurz (recording secretary).


September 27, 2019 – 11am – 1:30pm

Greg called the meeting to order at 11am.


Business Meeting:

Old Business:

*      Approve board meeting minutes of June 13, 2019.  Reg moved to approve the minutes as submitted; Dennis seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved unanimously.


Department Highlight:

Residential Department-Corey Grandstaff

Corey is the Program Manager for the Residential Department and provided the following report:

*      Corey oversees the residential, transportation and recreational departments. 

*      Last year, the recreation department revamped the volunteer application process.  This process was implemented to ensure that the application was fully accessible and available online. Background checks are done through the Washington state background system. Last year, 325 background checks were completed. WSSB is very fortunate to have an active volunteer base. 

*      The recreation department also focused on completing the recreation calendar for the 2019-2020 school year and 95% of the calendar was complete and released by July 1, 2019.  This is very helpful for students, families, staff and volunteers.

*      One new component to the residential department is the implementation of an Independent Living Skills (ILS) assessment. This data is important to determine what skills students have and what skills need to be focused on.  Two Residential Life Counselors (RLC’s) are in charge of doing the ILS assessments as part of their regular job. The staff worked last summer to revamp the ILS process, including an adapted checklist that includes over 200 areas to assess.  One of the areas that was removed from the original list dealt with financial management.  This component is covered during the educational/day program.  The revised checklist is now aligned to a system that goes with foundational skills (i.e. basic skills you would expect someone to know before middle school, pre-transitional skills, and transitional skills).  On average, it takes approximately 8-12 hours per student to complete the assessment.  As the process is refined, the time should be reduced.  Corey feels that by having the assessments, they can use that data to write accurate, high quality IEP goals. 

*      Corey said that we are close to capacity in the cottages due to increased enrollment.  One student was moved to the Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT) program so there is space in the cottages to accommodate students who attend WSSB short course programs.  Reg asked what the current enrollment was.  Corey said there are 42 students in the cottages.  There are some students that live locally that stay residentially to accommodate learning opportunities (as long as there is need on the IEP).  Overall, there are 69 students enrolled in the on-campus program.

*      Scott asked Jim if there is an ILS checklist that is used in the LIFTT program. Jim said there is an assessment checklist that the students go through. 

*      Corey provided Residential Child and Youth Care Professional training (“Culture of Care”) for all RLC’s last school year.  This training is 42 hours and once all of training is complete, a test can be taken and certification can be received.  In addition, staff must take 10 clock hours per year to keep the certification.  Eleven of the twelve staff who went through the training passed the test on the first attempt.  Six staff are going through the training this year and Corey’s goal is to get 100% staff certified. 

*      Scott commented that when Corey started in his position there was a bit of a divide between the education and residential departments and with Corey’s leadership, there is more collaboration between the two departments. 

*      Greg recognized Corey as receiving the employee of the year award in August of 2019.


New Business:

November Board of Trustees meeting date and department highlight:

*      Janet explained that Scott is unable to attend November 15 Board meeting due to his school program.   The board discussed possible dates and suggested that the meeting date be moved to November 8.


Superintendent’s Report

*      Scott reported the following:

o   WSSB is still working out the details and plans to move the Deaf/Blind Project from the Puget Sound ESD to the WSSB and the Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY).  The Deaf/Blind project receives state and federal funding through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Three staff from the Deaf/Blind project reside in Bellingham and will work remotely.  The WSSB and CDHY share several students between the two programs and Scott feels that this will enhance the support of those students. In addition, the Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS) was a part of the North Central ESD and is now a part of the CDHY. The final move will occur in January 2020.  Scott suggested having the Deaf/Blind project as a department highlight for the Board.

o   In August, our annual all staff Fall Workshop was held. There are a number of new staff and we also have a student teacher from Florida State University. The focus and theme for this year’s workshop was Equity.  Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib was scheduled to be our keynote but was unable to attend due to a change in his travel schedule. Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib provided us with a video which highlighted equity. Another area that was highlighted at the workshop was safety and the new addition of our emergency response system “Alertus”. Training was provided by David Zilavy, Facilities Manager and Scott McCallum. The message to staff regarding Alertus was that if you hear a fire alarm, react as your normally do (evacuate), if you see or hear the Alertus system, follow the instructions provided.  The school building held an emergency drill focusing on “shelter in place” and the Alertus system was used for that drill.  The system will be used again for the October “Great Shakeout” drill.  There are Alertus beacons in each building with visual and audio displays as well as outdoor speakers. The system also has the capability to text staff, take over ‘desktops’, etc. Marci heard it wasn’t accessible on androids and asked if there were ways for deaf/blind students to access the system. Jim said if there was a deaf/blind communicator that could go to their braille display that it could theoretically work.  Scott said there are some inaccessible components, but redundancies are built in to address those. 

o   The WSSB will be getting a new system called Raptor and will be located in both the Old Main and Irwin entrance areas. This system requires ID and will run a 50-state sex offender scan and will print out an ID sticker for visitors. Berl asked if people will have to check in if they are attending meetings. Scott said yes and explained how the system works. Keri expressed a concern about having a non-recyclable sticker but feels the safety outweighs the recycle issue. Dennis asked if families who come to the WSSB for IEP meetings will have to check in. Dennis asked if they will be informed if the check comes back as a match. Scott stated the administrators in the building will have to deal with that scenario. Stephanie suggested putting information on the website regarding this. 

o   Scott presented to the Governor and Results Washington yesterday along with Glenna Gallo, OSPI, Carrie Basas, Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds, Rick Hauan, CDHY and a parent and student, on students with disabilities. Scott highlighted that Washington does not have a teacher prep program for Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVI) or Orientation & Mobility Specialists (O&M). The Governor asked Scott to meet with him after the meeting to address that issue.  Stephanie asked if it is necessary that we have a program as Portland State University (PSU) has one.  Scott said PSU focuses on Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii and Alaska and every one of those states has a shortage. Scott feels the system in the state of Washington is fragmented.  Dennis asked what the value is in Washington, Idaho, others, establishing a satellite and linking those institutions together? Scott said he would love that. There is an online TVI program, Stephen F. Austin University program in Nacogdoches, Texas. Keri felt the more teachers we have in Washington state, the better. Stephanie asked Scott what his doctoral thesis will be. Scott is looking at service delivery systems for the specialized services for students who are blind and visually impaired, however he is still in the beginning stages of his program.  Scott is a big fan of the Oregon regional program.  Discussion was held regarding school districts in remote areas.


Ex-Officio’s Reports:

*      Washington Council of the Blind (Joleen Ferguson):

o   Joleen reported that their state convention will be held October 24-26 at the Double Tree by Hilton at the SeaTac airport.  The convention begins on Thursday evening with a board meeting (open to all). On Friday there will be breakout sessions and a talent show. On Saturday there will be a business meeting and banquet. During the general session, there will be discussion about the 2020 census. Joleen discussed Aira, which is like FaceTime, whereby a person can assist with any task.  There is another service called “Be My Eyes”. During the conference there will also be an employment panel, discussion of alternative and additions to the library of congress materials, and the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) and the WSSB will also provide updates. Breakout sessions will be held with an assortment of topics such as technology, essential oils and benefits, tips and tricks around the house, tandem bicycle riding, ham radio and ten must haves in ladies’ wardrobes. The DSB is also partnering with the WCB to provide a youth component during the convention. Joleen invited everyone to attend and check out the details of the convention by going to wcbinfo.org. Reg stated that the youth conference will incorporate mentors and that youth can register with Janet George at DSB. Reg feels this is the best way to learn about both consumer groups and to find a place to make a difference. 

o   Keri asked if the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) partners with the WSSB. Scott said they are very actively involved with activities at the WSSB and he is also their Board’s Vice-President and has participated on their board for the past eight years. Keri suggested having them as a department highlight. 

o   Joleen reported that Kevin Daniel from the Lighthouse for the Blind passed away unexpectedly. 

*      National Federation of the Blind (Marci Carpenter)

o   Marci stated that the NFB’s annual convention will be held November 1-3 at the Hotel RL in Olympia. Marci will send the agenda to Janet to forward to the Board. On Friday, November 1, there will be a Unified English Braille (UEB) recertification class and test offered.  Reg asked what the cost is for this; Marci said she will forward the information. On Friday, there will also be a job seeker seminar which includes assistance with resume writing, interviewing, etc. The NFB will be inviting legislators for a meet-up during the convention. There are now a core group of blind students which includes college and high school which are going to host a talent show and karaoke which will be held in the lobby area of the hotel. Pam Allen, Director of the Louisiana Center for the Blind will be attending. There will be break-out sessions for parents of blind children and another session for blind students. Some breakout sessions include technology, sightless self-defense, NW Access fund, etc.  A banquet will be held on Saturday and Pam Allen will be giving the banquet address. Ben Prowse will be the auctioneer and on Sunday there will be a business session.  The NFB is also working with the DSB regarding a youth component. The DSB will be hosting an optional taco-bar lunch on Saturday that DSB is sponsoring called “Taco-about-it”. 

o   Next January, the NFB will be hosting a legislative day at the state capitol and will have money to assist people with travel. People can come and learn how the legislature works. Keri is interested in participating. Discussion was held regarding teachers receiving their UEB certification and concerns surrounding this. Marci would like to talk to OSPI to encourage them to tighten up the monitoring of that so uncertified people aren’t teaching braille. 

o   The NFB will once again be participating in the National Fitness Challenge run by the USABA and the Anthem Foundation. People are welcome to sign up.

o   Nationally, the NFB is putting together a group to talk about concerns relating to bike share and e-scooters. These are launching all over the country and are a dangerous hazard for blind community members.  They are looking at model legislation. 

o   Reg asked if Marci has specific information regarding the youth conference that she could share.  Marci will share this information with Janet to disseminate.

*      Teachers (Stephanie Face)

o   Stephanie reported that all the teachers and a lot of residential staff went through training called Right Response. Many students have mental health impairments that could result in a physical situation. If students are injured, teachers could be legally liable. Staff learned through the training to first try to make sure the environment will not provoke the student, learn de-escalation for students, and then if it gets to the point of aggression, learn how to keep themselves safe without hurting the child. There was 12 hours of workbook training and 4 hours learning physical aspects.  There is legislation that if staff are certified under the program and trained then they are legally protected under the umbrella. Dennis said this program has been around a long time. Keri asked if this is open to all school districts. Scott said the trainer must be certified to train this and Jennifer Langley, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, is trained. 

*      WSFE Local #1225 (Jim Eccles)

o   Jim stated the classified staff all had a really good learning experience at fall workshop this year.  Jim felt the equity training generated a lot of lively discussion and information was shared among people.  Jim feels there are a lot of things going on on-campus to make sure that people are communicating with each other.  Jim felt the presentation regarding the Alertus system was good.  The most excellent part was when Dave Zilavy, Facilities Manager simplified it to an easy way to understand.  Jim felt it was one of the best presentations. 

*      Parent Representative (Krista Bulger)

o   Krista said her focus this year was trying to educate everyone that they are a ‘family group’ and they want to welcome everyone who is involved in the child’s life. Their standing meetings are the first Monday of each month from 6:30-8:30pm. People from out of town are encouraged to join through audio or visual means. Krista said the meetings are structured and they offer more open dialogue without WSSB staff being present. This year, WSSB staff will attend at the beginning of the meeting and then leave so WSSB families can have open discussions. Sean McCormick plans to attend some of the meetings. This year they are doing an agency highlight as part of the meeting.  Last month NWABA was highlighted.  Next month NFB will be highlighted (local chapter). 

o   Scott said on a related note, Irwin is using social media (Facebook and Twitter) to provide updates.   Krista asked if there could be another notification to families to let them know they can also access these updates via YouTube. Dennis asked if it was possible that some families do not have computers or access. Stephanie said that Irwin was working on offering parents low income options and access to internet.  Marci asked if we are making sure that alt-text is used to describe images.  Scott said yes.


Committee Reports:

*      No reports at this time.



*      Keri expressed a concern regarding the look of the carrots that were offered at today’s school lunch.  They appeared to be white and dry and asked if there was an option for healthier food in the cafeteria.  Scott said they have to work under the guidelines of USDA. Lily said the one way we could frame this discussion so it’s not a direct critique to our kitchen staff, is to focus on overall food sourcing, globally and climate change-wise, i.e. if we are getting carrots from 3,000 miles away when we could get them closer, that would be bettering our commitment to sustainability and a green campus.  Scott said there is an effort on campus of being a Green School and we now have a Green School committee. The WSSB also had a representative come to the school to advise us about being a salmon safe campus. 

*      Marci read a book by a Deaf/Blind woman who went through Harvard Law School and does a lot of disability law work. Marci felt the book was very factual and real.  The authors name is Haben Girma. 

*      Jim expressed his concern regarding the Ogden Resource Center report regarding the new requirements relating to students receiving parental permissions and asked if we are going to lose quite a few kids whose families don’t sign the permissions therefore losing out on quota funds. Scott said we saw a downturn in enrollment for registration due to federal requirements. This impacts about 200 kids not having access and If families do not have US citizenship they may be hesitant to sign off on the forms.  Scott has instructed Jennifer Fenton, Director of the ORC to have the documents translated into different languages.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:30pm.  The next Board meeting will be held on November 8 at 11am on the WSSB campus.





Greg Szabo, Vice-Chair                                                                  Scott McCallum, Superintendent




Board Reports – September 2019



This school year is starting full of excitement. I love our WSSB Outreach team. They never cease to amaze me with their dedication and commitment to students, families, and the mission of WSSB.


·         WSSB Outreach is beginning the school year working with existing districts and some new ones. Currently we have: 46 Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI) contracts, 18 Orientation & Mobility (O&M) contracts, 2 Para/Braillist contracts, and 1 evaluation contract. These numbers are expected to change throughout the school year.

·         Summer Institute was a great experience with 48 registered participants. There were 14 participants from Oregon. This year we had several Occupational Therapists (OTs), a Social Worker, and a Speech and Language Pathologist. The impact Summer Institute makes is priceless.

·         The Stephen F. Austin State University program continues to go strong, with the 3rd cohort starting over the summer. All the teachers who have completed the SFA program are working at TVIs around the state. Here is how the program stands:

2 finished in June of the 2017-18 school year.

5 finished in June of the 2018-19 school year.

1 from the first cohort is continuing on to get a master’s degree.

5 are doing student teaching currently, finishing in June of 2020.

1 teacher has postponed her student teaching until next year.

8 are starting now with a likely graduation date of June 2021.

·         Blind Youth Consortium. September 9 at the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB), Lacey. 

·         Outreach teacher, Carrie Tanner has been invited by the Louisiana Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) to present on Optic Nerve Hypoplasia at their conference in September.

·         Planning a statewide Unified English Braille (UEB) class taught by Shane Dittmar (WSSB music teacher). This class will be available via Zoom, free of charge with participants purchasing their own manuals.


On the horizon:

·         October 8-12, Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) Leadership Institute and American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Annual Meeting as the Ex Officio Trustee. Carrie Tanner has been chosen from applicant across the country as an APH Scholar to attend with all costs covered. Joe Dlugo will attend the COSB reception and APH Annual Meeting as he has been chosen as the Outstanding Outreach Service Provider of the year. 

·         Planning TVI Round-Ups around the state to be held sometime in October, November and December. We will be adding another location in the NW part of the state for a total of 5 VI Round Ups. This year they will be in Yakima, Spokane, Tumwater, Renton, and either Arlington or Anacortes.



On Campus

Total On-Campus: 69

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


Staffing Updates

·         One hundred percent of staff returned to Education and Residential departments this school year, with several changes.

·         Rae Jean Hendricks is WSSB’s new Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  Rae Jean has experience with several of the region’s school districts and with day treatment programs.  She will be supporting direct service to students through counseling and school-wide social emotional learning (SEL) activities.

·         Wayne Oshiro returns to WSSB as a TVI and Certified O&M Specialist (COMS). Wayne will have a caseload of students for braille and assistive technology.  In addition, Wayne’s role will be supporting the development of a smoother transition for students entering and exiting WSSB.  This role will be a bridge position between WSSB’s Outreach and On-Campus programs and facilitate a more seamless approach to gather data prior to a student’s enrollment and when providing support for local district teams as student returns.

·         Education department added student specific supports from current WSSB staff:

o   Gretchen Gianotti joins Education as Teaching Assistant. Gretchen has experience with on-call and support in Outreach.

o   Autumn Sellers joins Education as a Teaching Assistant.  Autumn has experience with Outreach and Residential.

o   Lori Hughes joins Education as a Teaching Assistant.  Lori has experience in the residential department as a Residential Life Counselor (RLC).

·         Residential department additions:

o   Jackie Bruketta joins WSSB as an RLC during the graveyard shift.

o   Tracey Power joins WSSB as an on-call and Sunday transportation support.

o   Carl Talley is providing part time support for student specific needs in Chapman Cottage.

o   Tarshene Daugherty-Pinney is providing part time support for student specific needs in Clarke Cottage.

·         Practicum students:

o   English Language Arts teacher and Transition Coordinator, Steve Lowry is earning his COMS through Portland State University (PSU) and completing his practicum hours with WSSB’s O&M team.

o   Math and Science teacher, Emily Owens is completing her final year of study through PSU’s Visually Impaired Learning program towards earning her endorsement as a TVI.

o   Hailey McManus is a COMS practicum student from Florida State University this semester working under the supervision of Judy Koch-Smith.


Students and Program Highlights

·         WSSB is no longer providing a weekly newsletter on student highlights and events.  Check WSSB’s Facebook page and Twitter account for updates regarding the most current highlights. 

·         Master schedule is tailored for student to have intensive math and literacy supports, with double periods for extension and supplementary instruction on both areas. 

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

·         Over thirty percent of new students at WSSB did not know how to swim when they arrived in August.  After 4 weeks of instruction from Jennifer Butcher, all students can swim independently now. 

·         Speech and Communication services are being accessed through video conferencing and demonstrating engagement with the new service delivery model.

·         Horticulture is being offered as a class this school year for the first time.

·         Ecology class at WSSB is raising salmon in the classroom through a partnership with Columbia Springs Hatchery.

·         WSSB is now offering two Advanced Placement courses in computer science. 

·         Students receive Social Emotional Learning instruction every Monday afternoon during 8th period.

·         Student Council has elected new representation and will be hosting events and community support drives throughout the school year.

·         Residential is implementing a new Independent Living Skills assessment for all residential students.



Transition Services

Youth Service Specialist (YSS)/Transition Program

·         Coordination of WorkForce South West Washington’s Partners in Careers (PIC) program at WSSB.  There have been 13 identified WSSB juniors and seniors, who will potentially participate in weekly soft skills classes on campus.  Students will have monthly job shadow and business tour experiences, focused on a different career sector each month, and seniors in the group will participate in internships.  PIC is also planning for WSSB students to participate in job fair events they are planning.  These events will take place at local high schools and will each will focus on a specific job sector.

·         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 (DDA) job supports once they graduate from high school.  DSB is reviewing a proposal for contract development and funding.

·         YSS participated in the Blind Youth Consortium meeting on September 10, 2019.  The discussion included ways to provide transition services to graduating youth who do not have documentation to work, and a review of DSB Youth Services summer programs.

·         Skills Vancouver – Skills Vancouver took place on June 24-28, 2019 with 6 youth participating.  This year’s conservation themed activities included a field trip to the Water Resource Center and a presentation by a Fort Vancouver archeologist.  The group traveled by bus to the local Trader Joe’s, for a tour of the store, discussion of jobs available in the store and shopped for groceries. Students learned food preparation skills while preparing their lunches and snacks.  They participated in a scavenger hunt for recycled materials and worked in teams to create an art piece from those materials.  The students wrote thank you letters to the activity hosts as well as a Haiku poem about their camp experience.  They presented their recycled art projects, and read their poems to their parents, on the last day’s award ceremony.

·         Skills Longview cancelled due to lack of applications.

·         Youth Employment Solutions 1YES 1 took place on July 7-18, 2019 with 16 youth participating. The group participated in a value’s auction, created a job application, prepared for and participated in a mock interview with community business members.  They created a Career Cruising accounts and completed interest, skills and learning styles inventories.  The youth attending YES 1 for the 2nd year participated in job shadows with a judge at the Clark County Courthouse, at Central Park Daycare, at Paper Tiger coffee shop, with a photographer, at the Humane Society and with a DSB Assistive Technology (AT) specialist.  The youth attending for the first year went on tours at the YWCA, Clark College, The Humane Society and Guide Dogs for the Blind, and Vancouver City Hall (with the mayor of Vancouver as the tour guide).  All of the youth participated in tours at the Harley Shop in Lacey, at Concentra Occupational Health Clinic in Seattle and a tour of the University of Washington campus during the 3-day trip to visit the YES 2 program.  While in Seattle, the youth spent an afternoon at Jack Straw Recording Studios, creating a group song with individual statements of self-advocacy.  The youth had the opportunity to experience dorm life at the University of Washington campus, including eating in the dining hall. The YES 1 and YES 2 groups also participated in an afternoon workshop focused on self-advocacy.  The YES 1 youth split into three work groups and provided community service for 3 days.  The groups worked at a city cemetery, edging and cleaning graves markers, during the morning and at the YMCA lunch program in the afternoon.  The second group cleaned playgroup equipment at a local park in the morning and worked at a temporary tattoo station during another park’s concert in the park event.  The third group worked at the Meals on Wheels programs in both Vancouver and Battle Ground. Their tasks included setting up, stocking, and greeting, serving and socializing with the seniors present. The youth worked hard at their community service tasks, developing work skills and participating in activities to increase their social awareness and communication skills.  On the last day of camp, the youth heard presentations by three successfully employed visually impaired adults, and had the opportunity to view demonstration


Health Center

·         Nurses worked during the summer at summer camp and to prepare the health center for this busy school year.

·         Nurse Robin will be precepting a visually impaired Clark College medical assistant student from September through December.

·         Nurse Justine has started her PhD program at WSU Vancouver.

·         The health center is coordinating with Pacific University for another dental van visit this month.

·         Nurses taught CPR to staff this summer.

·         The health center purchased a few new CPR accessories in June.

·         The health center purchased 4 new AED’s, the 4 we had previously were old and out of warranty.


Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT)

·         The first day of the 2019-20 LIFTT year was September 8. New participants, with the help of their families moved their belongings into their rooms and started their year of adventure as they transition to independence in adulthood. We have 5 participants and a Resident Advisor. They are a bright, lively bunch, most of whom will attend Clark College. Participants are spending their first weeks getting oriented to the program space, getting bus passes, groceries, etc. Those going to Clark College are getting final preparations done and learning the campus.

·         Our staff team remains the same as last year.

·         In October, all six LIFTT residents will attend the APRIL conference held this year in Grand Rapids Michigan. DSB is supporting participants attendance at this 5-day conference. APRIL is a national consumer organization that supports young adults with disabilities, in gaining personal independence.

·         The hope for funding to build a new building designed for a permanent home for LIFTT moved forward a little this summer. We plan to submit a request through the supplemental budget process this fall. Stay tuned.



Business Office

1.      2017-19 Budget FY2

Phase 2 of our year-end close was completed August 30, and our final disclosure forms have been submitted.  We had a key member of the business office team resign which made the closing process extremely challenging.  Thanks to the team for rising to the challenge and meeting all the deadlines.


The total expenditures in each of the funds were as follows:

General                                        $8,285,000

19B                                                 $1,081,544  (Revenue generated:  $1,461,902)

03K-LNI Retro Refund           $     20,988

Capital                                          $   695,142

Betterment                                $     28,733

Braille Access Center             $   369,509  (Revenue generated:  $459,549)


The carry forward balance in 19B fund was $3,308,626


2.      2019-21 Operating & Capital Recast & Budget Allotments

        Our budget re-cast and allotments have been submitted as follows:

        001-1 General Fund                                                                                               $ 18,104,000

        001-7 General Fund                                                                                               $        34,000

        19B-6 School for the Blind Account- Non-Appropriated                       $   6,143,000

        489-1 Pension Funding Stabilization Account-State                                $      590,000

        Capital 2019-21 Campus Preservation                                                          $      580,000

        Capital 2017-19 Campus Preservation Re-Appropriation                      $      150,000      

        Capital 2017-19 Independent Living Center                                               $      143,000


3.      2020 Supplemental

        We will submit a supplemental request for the design phase of the Independent Living Center and additional funding for the State Data Center/Cloud co-location.  Scott McCallum and Dave Zilavy can provide more information on the request.


4.      One Washington

        We continue to work on different processes and attend various training and meetings as the state moves forward with implementing One Washington. Some phases will be implemented mid-year in 2020.



Human Resources

New Hires:  

·         TVI – Birth to Three – Stephanie Haynes

·         Administrative Assistant 3 – Christine Basauri

·         School Social Worker – RaeJean Hendricks

·         TVI – Wayne Oshiro

·         Teaching Assistant – Gretchen Gianotti

·         Residential Life Counselor – Carl Talley

·         Residential Life Counselor – Tarsheen Daugherty -Pinney

·         Residential Life Counselor – Jacqulyn Bruketta


Open Recruitments:

·         On-call Teaching Assistant

·         On-call Residential Life Counselor


Trainings/Functions Attended:

·         Safety Summit – Safe Schools Task Force

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

·         Labor Relations Roundtable – Facilitated by (OFM)

·         Safe Schools Task Force

·         HR Manager’s Meeting – ESD 112



Ogden Resource Center (ORC)

Prison Braille Program:

On September 18, Correctional Industries held their annual recognition event. The 20 inmate transcribers working for the ORC were recognized for their excellent work. Jennifer attended and shared an update about the program during the event.


Adrienne, Kandi and Jennifer hosted guests from California, Kentucky and Iowa from the program, Braille Beyond the Walls, at the Washington Correctional Center for Women (WCCW) in August. The team was impressed by the quality of our inmate transcribers and invited them to put together proposals to present via Skype at future braille conferences and help develop curriculum for new prison braille programs. The visit was very successful and received acclaim from the visiting guests, the inmates and Correctional Industries managers.


The inmate transcribers who are Nemeth certified are currently teaching a Nemeth class to the newer transcribers. ORC staff have been attending the class virtually to observe.


Training/Professional Development:

Adrienne Lattin and Jennifer Fenton facilitated an equity session at the Fall Workshop for staff.


Kandi Lukowski will be attending the Lean Conference in Tacoma in October while Jennifer will attend the APH Annual Meeting and Prison Forum in Louisville, KY. While in Kentucky, Jennifer will present at the APH Prison Forum for “On the Inside: Preparing Inmates for Reentry and Successful Careers as Transcribers.”


Adrienne and Kandi have been working with an Irwin student who is interested in being a proofreader. Adrienne is providing resources and mentorship to the student.


Instructional Resource Center:

The ORC is working towards full compliancy with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) which governs information gathering online from or about children under the age of 13. Under COPPA, a website or online database must get parental permission before collecting personally identifiable information about a child under the age of 13. 


To become compliant with COPPA and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act FERPA, the ORC will be removing all students from the ORC Online database on January 1, 2020 if they do not have parent permission on file.


In addition, all students registered in ORC Online beginning September 13, 2019 must have parent permission on file. Account holders will no longer be able to add students to the database, they must be added by the ORC and then the account holders can edit the students.


Currently there are 178 students (from 62 districts) who will be removed from ORC Online on January 1.



Buildings and Grounds

1.      51 KW photovoltaic array is being installed on west roof of Irwin School Building. With this $235,000 project we are expecting to cut 1/3 of the annual electric use in the school.

2.      Chapman Cottage boiler was found to be in an inoperable condition. A new boiler should be installed by mid-October at a cost of $53,000.

3.      We have contacted the Salmon Safe non-profit organization to explore their certification program for site design, development, and operations that help restore urban watersheds.




As you know the Birth to 3 Program continues to grow every day, week, and month!  As of the end of September, we were providing direct ongoing supports to 82 infants/toddlers and their families, with 10 open referrals.  We have 21 direct service contracts with Early Intervention (EI) agencies (including a few school districts and ESDs) in 15 counties across the state.  Every week we get referrals for new kids, of all ages (infants and toddlers) and visual concerns.


As for the Birth to 3 Program staff, we hired a 3rd full time staff person to our team, who will serve the Northwest corner of the state and include Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and Island Counties.  Her name is Stephanie Haynes.  Stephanie is not a certified TVI yet but is currently a graduate student at PSU and studying to be both a TVI and COMS.  She comes with knowledge and excitement about early childhood.  She started July 22 and DeEtte will mentor her closely the first year or until she finishes her program and is certified.


We have 234 children registered in the statewide BVI registry.  DeEtte continues to work with Early Support for Infants and Toddlers (ESIT), the state lead agency for early intervention services, to create another method of “counting” children within their existing data management system, but this may not happen for a while as the system is being re-vamped.  This feature is in the new plan however, so we will not need agencies to go to an outside registry to identify children with BVI.


Other statewide activities include DeEtte’s participation on the In-service subcommittee of the State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) Training and Professional development committee.  She is currently acting as the subcommittee’s leader in partnership with ESIT staff.  Her focus is not only to a maintain statewide presence, but also assure that BVI content is included in statewide training initiatives.




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 (BVI) throughout Washington State.



June 14:               Clark County Superintendent’s meeting

June 18:               Pacific Foundation for Blind Children (PFBC) Board meeting

June 18:               Tour and informational session with community member

June 19:               Accessibility webinar

June 20:               Conference call with Electronic Engineer regarding BVI needs and accessibility

June 24:               Tour with Low Vision clinic interns

June 24-28:         Summer Camp “EmPower”

June 25:               Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS) meeting

June 27:               Council of Schools and Services for the Blind (COSB) planning meeting



Graduation sets a high bar for June and the entire campus takes a few deep breaths before we get back into the swing of things.  As you can tell from my schedule, I spent some time meeting with stakeholders and partners of WSSB.  We continued to work through our plans to transition the Washington DeafBlind (DB) Project to WSSB from Puget Sound ESD, where it has been housed for decades. This transition includes the movement of the Washington Sensory Disability Services (WSDS) to the Washington Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youth (CDHY) from its previous home at North Central ESD in Wenatchee.  CDHY is the new name for what was the Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss (CDHL).  The Washington School for the Deaf continues to be part of CDHY. We are hopeful that the transition of the DeafBlind Project will be complete as of January 1, 2020.  We have been working with State HR, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), WSDS, and CDHY to successfully integrate WSDS and the DB Project into the two state schools.  As natural partners, we hope that the new structure allows for more efficient and cost-effective means of serving students who experience DHH, BVI, and DB. The DB Project has three full-time staff who will become employees of WSSB.  Funding for the project and move comes from Federal and State dollars and will not have an impact on WSSB’s legislatively appropriated budget.



July 2:                   Results Review meeting (Access to Living Wage Jobs)

July 3:                   Meeting with new SW regional project manager, Glen Gipe

July 7-18:             WSSB/DSB YES (Youth Employment Solutions) Program

July 8-10:             COSB Board Meeting – North Dakota

July 15-19:           EPIQ Computer Programming Camp

July 18:                 Staff and family summer picnic – Governor’s residence

July 22:                 Meeting with staff regarding cottage remodel project

July 22:                 Meeting regarding Alertus emergency notification system

July 23:                 Conference call with Kelly Wicker, Governor’s office – annual check-in

July 23-26:           Summer Institute

July 24:                 Community Foundation meeting (scholarship committee)

July 25:                 Zoom meeting with superintendent of the Texas School for the Blind & Visually Impaired

July 30:                 Gated funding kick-off meeting (state data center)

July 31:                 WSDS Retreat



I have the honor of serving on the board of directors for COSB.  I was nominated for this position by my peers last year.  I had the opportunity to travel to my alma mater, the University of North Dakota (UND), for our annual board retreat and institute planning session. In addition to planning this year’s leadership institute we were able to tour the university’s air and space program which has close ties with NASA. It was great to collaborate with the other board members who are acting superintendents at Kansas, North Dakota, Illinois, Idaho, and Lavelle School for the Blind in New York. I will have the opportunity to present to all COSB members this fall at the COSB Leadership Institute. I will be presenting alongside an old friend and fellow superintendent, Emily Coleman, about Collaborative Partnerships. I will be highlighting our work with WSDS to address the shortage of TVI’s through a partnership with Stephen F. Austin University in Texas.  To date, we have been able to support about 30 new teachers in Washington and provide ongoing mentorship to these new teachers.


As a matter of routine, I had my regular check-in with Kelly Wicker, Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Inslee.  Kelly acts as my go-to person in the Governor’s office.  Each year, Kelly schedules a meeting with me to discuss how things are going at WSSB and if I have any concerns, questions, needs, etc. Since day one, I have been offered excellent support from the Governor’s office. Things at WSSB have been going very well and we appreciate the support from both the Legislature and the Governor’s office. Because of this support, many exciting projects are in the works.



August 1:             2019 Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA)/OSPI Special Education Conference

August 5:             Administrators Safety Summit

August 6:             Admin. Retreat

August 7:             Meeting and tour with Director of Medical Assisting at Clark College

August 8:             COSB Board meeting

August 12:          Results review conference call (topic:  students with disabilities)

August 13:          PFBC Board meeting

August 13:          Meeting – “Creating a Campus-wide Emergency Operations Plan”

August 20:          Fall Workshop/All-staff training

August 21:          PFBC Friend-raiser

August 26:          WSDS meeting

August 29:          Conference call with Department of Enterprise Services regarding charter bus transportation contract



August is turning into one of my favorite months of the year. I was able to attend a portion of the State Special Education conference with Sean McCormick and Jennifer Langley.  At this conference we have the opportunity to engage with Special Education Directors and administrators from all parts of Washington.  I also spent some time staffing the WSDS display table and answering any questions that came my way.  This year’s conference had a significant focus on inclusion and meeting the needs of “all” students.


WSSB administration gathered for a day of teamwork and collaboration.  We spent the better part of a day, diving into what we feel is important for our strategic planning.  We established who we believe should be included in the core planning group, as well as identifying important stakeholders such as students, parents, teachers, district representatives, DSB, and our consumer groups (National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Washington Council of the Blind (WCB)). The administrative team felt it was equally important that at least one member of the board remain engaged throughout the process.  Also, the administrative team felt that the help of an outside facilitator should be sought to lead us through the process. We plan to submit our request for strategic planning facilitator through the state procurement system during the month of October.  Our goal is to have an updated strategic plan for the start of the 2020-21 school year. 


The ultimate highlight for the month was welcoming all staff back on August 20.  We packed the day with campus and staffing updates, safety/mandatory trainings, and a focus on equity. We had arranged for the Lt. Governor to be our keynote speaker, though he had to cancel due to changes in his travel schedule related to his recent climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.  Lt. Governor Habib sent a previously recorded video that was presented to all staff during my welcome back speech. The Lt. Governor provided an inspirational and thankful message for the great work of WSSB, highlighted by a personal story of the positive impact that our programs had on him as a young person. The welcome back in-service provided an opportune time for staff to engage with one another, learn about some agency updates, and complete some of the training that is mandatory for all staff each year.



September 4:            Meeting with Stephanie Face (Board of Trustees/Ex-Officio onboarding)

September 4:            Meeting with Residential Program Supervisor regarding transportation contract

September 5:            COSB Board meeting

September 12:          Meeting with the City of Vancouver regarding ramp design individuals who are VI

September 16:          Results Review meeting – dry run

September 17:          Union/Management meeting – Washington Public Employees Association

September 18:          COSB Institute planning meeting

September 23:          Meeting with Washington State University Museum committee

September 24:          Executive/Small Agency Cabinet meeting

September 26:          Governor’s Results Review



The campus is buzzing with new students and staff. We have had a smooth start to the school year

with a few minor hiccups along the way.  We experienced an issue with the procurement of an updated

bussing contract which was being handled by the Department of Enterprise Services (DES).  Some quick

collaborative work between CDHY and WSSB has provided a temporary solution while our contract is out

for bid.  I have received a waiver from DES that provided the authority to seek a temporary contract outside

of the state procurement system.


We have sixteen new students this year.  As our cottage space is limited to about 52 rooms, we have

discussed plans if enrollment continues to increase. One challenge is that our short courses require that we

keep a few rooms unoccupied in both girls’ and boys’ cottages.  We have creative solutions currently in place that will benefit the impacted students and likely lead to increased levels of independence.  I have really enjoyed getting to know our many new students as well as those here temporarily for short course. Overall, it has been very positive start to the school year.


By the time of our board meeting, I will have had the opportunity to present to Governor Inslee and agency representatives at the Results Washington meeting on September 26. The topic is students with disabilities and I will be sharing about ways that WSSB supports inclusion and belonging for students who experience visual impairment. Several other agencies will also be presenting such as OSPI, CDHY, Office of Education Ombuds, and the Governor’s Senior Policy Advisor on Education.  I look forward to sharing about WSSB’s contributions in this space as well as challenging agency leadership to champion accessibility, embrace diversity and different ways of doing things, and challenge negative attitudes, bias and beliefs about persons who experience disability.



Department managers and administration team meetings

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