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Illinois School for the
Advisory Council Meeting
September 18, 2009
Present: Dr. Michael Zost,
Dr. Derrald Taylor, Trudy Diepholz, Sharon Wimmer,
Chris Clark-Bischke, Lisa McDaniel, Jeff Schulte, Kelsey Thompson,
William Bielawski, Amy Grau (participated by phone)
Absent: Richard Schrumpf, Araceli Avina
Guests: Francisco Alvarado, Joe Lanier, Carmen Dennis, Janet McGovern, Rick
Drake, Jane Breen, Reggie Clinton, Donna Cockerill, Todd
Williams, Marsha Schoth,
Flora Dennison, Janice Thomas, Howard
Thomas, and Tameka Clark.
Chairperson, called the meeting to order. Each person who was present
introduced himself or herself. Dr. Zost welcomed Mr. Bielawski to the Advisory
meeting. Mr. Bielawski is representing IPVI and serving out the term for Lyle
Stauder who stepped down due to the fact he is no longer on the board of IPVI.
of Minutes/Adoption of Agenda
Members were asked to
review the minutes from the May 2009 meeting for
any changes or additions. Ms.
Wimmer was not in attendance at the May
meeting so corrections need to
be made to reflect that. Ms. Thompson also
requested a correction to be
made under item # 4. Corrections were noted
and made. A motion and second
was made to accept changes to the
Council Report - Chris Mankowski
Council report was sent out prior to the meeting. Dr. Zost
asked Chris if
there have been any freshman activities planned for the
year. At this
point, the Council is discussing several events to do: a rally,
activities. Dr. Zost asked if there have been any of these
activities yet this
year. Chris replied no, but they are looking to get things
going and possibly
having a spirit week.
IV. Old Business - Dr.
Membership – Filling
vacancies, replacement for IPVI, fill in for Alumni representative,
Outreach program status
Going over the membership terms and categories we have three memberships
that will expire in spring of 2009. Ms. Grau stated that she will be in
contact with the local Chamber of Commerce regarding their position on the
Advisory Board. The discussion was made that the Illinois Council for the
Blind will have a three year term. Mr. Howard Thomas or Mr. Dick Bledsoe
will represent this group. Mr. Thomas stated that due to the fact he lives
so close, he will be the one to represent ICB. This term goes from
2008-2011. The NFB will also have a three year membership after the ICB’s
term is completed. Dr. Zost has been in contact with ISBE about getting a
representative here for the meetings. Dr. Zost will get back with them to
see where we are on this subject. The bylaws state that there should only
be between, 14 to 17 members at a time on the board. As far as Ex-Officio
members we will discuss this at the October meeting. Mr. Lanier asked if
during Ms. Avina absence, that it be possible for Tameka Clark, a former
ISVI student, to represent the alumni in her place. It was agreed by the
membership committee that this would be fine.
Ms. Diepholz group decided to put things on hold due to the status of ISVI, and
not knowing whether funds were available. Mr. Alvarado did check with the media
person from DHS, but unfortunately, this person is out due to an illness. Mr.
Alvarado does think that this is a good idea and concept. Mr. Alvarado feels
that we should proceed with the project. This group will meet prior to the
October 23rd meeting to discuss further action. Mr. Alvarado will
attend if possible.
Ms. Grau would like to see
ISVI and DHS team up and do quarterly visits to school districts to spread the
word about ISVI and present information to the schools about ISVI.
Messages about ISVI to the
Ms. Grau also suggested
that ISVI have a one day workshop for school districts to attend. Another
suggestion from Ms. Grau is that ISVI be a resource center that can be utilized
by everyone in the state of Illinois. Dr. Zost asked if we could possibly offer
something regarding academics, technology here at ISVI.
relationship with ISVI students
LIONS publication about
Mr. Drake is in contact
with the Chicago Lighthouse. He does work with them regarding placing students
in jobs. These jobs are located in the Chicago area. Ms. Thompson has worked
closely with Mr. Drake on several items of interest. Ms. Thompson will work
with ISVI on vocational evaluations.
Mr. Schrumpf was unable to
attend this meeting. Mrs. Schoth did receive a copy of the last issue and ISVI
was indeed in the magazine. Dr. Taylor did state he saw the article and was
very pleased with it.
Partnership with MacMurray
Meetings with Grace Hou,
Senator Demuzio, and Representative Watson status
Mr. Clinton and Mrs. Breen
did meet with MacMurray staff regarding Braille courses. Mr. Schulte asked if
there would be any way to keep these courses on campus. Mrs. Clark- Bischke is
willing to try and apply for a grant to cover cost of the course or even
volunteer her time. We need to remember that there are certain standards that
need to be met when taking Braille course and being able to teach Braille. Mr.
Clinton explained that he looked into this last year and had many employees
interested in learning Braille but when it came down to the cost the numbers
dropped to about 3. There was also a problem with traveling to take the
courses. Mr. Williams stated that if classes were offered at MacMurray we need
to know if college credits will be given. Mrs. Clark-Bischke said that could be
a possibility. Mr. Thomas stated that Hadley offered courses on line. He feels
that we need to pressure this. The question came up if Lincoln Land Community
College could possible offer a general intro into Braille. Ms. Grau made a
motion to start intro to Braille classes with the Hadley program. Mr. Bielawski
seconded the motion. Mr. Clinton explained that he cannot mandate staff to
Mr. Alvarado along with Grace Hou's secretary did come up with the date
of October 23rd that would work for both parties. Ms. Hou will be
here to address questions that the Advisory Council members have put together.
It was suggested that we invite Senator Demuzio and Representative Watson to
another meeting in the future. Dr. Taylor would like to make a motion to invite
Betty Odem-Davis to the meeting. Dr. Zost will write a letter. A motion was
made to second. Ms. Grau would like to have a representative from the
Governor's office attend to talk about budget issues. Dr. Zost did explain that
a few people did meet with the Governor's Chief of Staff in Chicago recently.
Mr. Schulte suggested that this be run by Grace Hou prior to inviting this
person. Dr. Zost will look into this. Mr. Clinton suggested that we have Ms.
Hou on the agenda first. Dr. Zost asked that everyone send him questions and
concerns for Ms. Hou. Ms. Diepohlz would like to see questions on funding for
education and Braille tuition waver money. Ms. Grau would like to see the top
three questions prior to the meeting. Dr. Zost would like to have all these
suggestions by October 8th so that he can put the information
together and send to Ms. Hou.
Mr. Clinton stated that
there isn’t a transition position in public schools. Ms. Thompson stated that
she has over 100 students and also has other job duties. Dr. Zost asked about
our GATES program and where we were with it. Mr. Clinton stated that there
wasn't that much interest in the program and most students who come on campus
are here for evaluations. Sue Dolton does bring a group of parents, students,
and educators to ISVI usually in the spring.
Placement referrals with local agencies and assisting parents locate
agencies in their home districts with their local transition coordinator
Funding update for Opening
Mrs. Breen explained that
we have students on a waiting list for services. Mr. Drake explained that ISVI
does provide information to all parents prior to their child graduating. Once
our students depart ISVI, it is the Bureau of Blind Services that takes over
from here. Mr. Clinton and Mrs. Breen did go over to Macomb to meet with an
agency regarding placing our students in their homes. They were willing to do
this but due to the economy they had to back out of this.
Mrs. McGovern stated that
this year Opening Doors Program will be held on a Friday and Saturday so that
parents who are unable to attend during the week will be able to attend those
two days. With funding cuts, it is more economic to have it two days. Last
year, several changes took place with breakout sessions. Mr. Schulte had a
session for just dads and Mrs. McGovern did have good feedback on this. More
plans on this will follow later in the year.
update – Greening of ISVI
Status of ISVI staff
Mrs. Breen was happy to report that the boilers were delivered
yesterday. Dr. Zost asked if we were still burning coal and what we did with
the extra coal that was bought. Mrs. Breen stated that we are no longer burning
coal and the coal we had was given to JDC in Jacksonville. The coal was
purchased with money that was given to ISVI so it wasn't money from our budget.
We now have hot water on campus and heat should follow shortly. ISVI will now
be EPA compliant, which is the first time ever at ISVI. There are many projects
that ISVI is in the design phase of. CDS projects on several building
throughout campus will be funded by Stimulus money. We recently are in the
process of completing a $124,000 grant project from the Department of Public
Health. This grant was used to install cameras throughout campus. These
cameras will be used for the purpose of security and monitor students when out
and about campus. The cameras will also be used for discipline, which is
legal. We are also looking into a keyless entry for all buildings. Dr. Zost
asked if these cameras will monitor on a daily basis. Mr. Clinton stated that
they are recorded and if an issue comes up, they are reviewed. Every Monday a
guard does review the tapes for the previous weeks. Mr. Thomas asked where the
money came from. This was a Federal Grant that both ISD & ISVI was granted out
of the Stimulus money, not GRF money. The question came up as to whether ISVI
qualified for Stimulus money for other repairs. Mrs. Breen stated that we
aren't qualified because we aren't a public school. There are many requirements
in order to even qualify for these grants.
State of the Union Update and Advisory Goals for 2009-2010
Dr. Zost would like to see
all the members contact their local representative regarding ISVI, making them
familiar with ISVI and what is needed to keep the school actively running. The
Mission Statement has been changed to reflect adding the word educational to the
Mr. Alvarado wanted to thank
Mr. Clinton for all the hard work he has done recently for ISVI. He has been
working closely with him on how to keep the doors open here at ISVI. Mr.
Clinton has provided much support for ISVI and has been pro-active for ISVI. He
has put together a plan that would provide a budget for ISVI and has been sent
on for approval. Both Mr. Alvarado and Mr. Clinton have been working on our
substitute teachers here at ISV, and how final payment hasn’t been paid for last
year. Ms. Grau asked if the freeze has been lifted for the schools. Right now
we have two subs on staff and this is what happened last year that we ended up
with subs for over 90 days. Mr. Alvarado replied that we are working to fill
these vacancies. Ms. Grau asked why DHS would cut education staff. Mr.
Alvarado stated that we had secured 3 education staff and then the State put a
freeze on so we need to use subs till the freeze is lifted. Ms. Grau
appreciated the support of Mr. Alvarado. Mr. Clinton explained that Mr.
Alvarado has been very supportive to ISVI; he has discussed our issues further
up the chain of command in DHS. Mr. Lanier asked if there was anything that an
outsider could do to help. Mr. Alvarado replied that the Alumni have done a
great job along with Mr. Clinton in contacting help from outside of state
government. Mr. Clinton explained that he is still making contacts and things
should be on a positive note. Dr. Zost thanked Mr. Alvarado for his support to
ISVI and he's been a wonderful addition to the Advisory Council.
Mr. Clinton presented a power point on:
Administrators & Counselors (Transition/Outreach)
Office of Education (Outreach)
Changes This Year
Tuesday Night Technology (Outreach)
Follow up comments
Due to reduction in cost, we
are now sending all correspondence for Advisory Council Members via e-mail.
All reports were sent out prior to this meeting for you to review from all
departments on campus. Mr. Thomas asked if ISVI could be the resource place for
all districts through the state of Illinois, and if this would help in the
overall picture. Mr. Clinton expressed that ISVI has two partnerships with two
schools and the local school district. This is a positive thing for ISVI. Mrs.
Strader our Guidance counselor had taken the junior high position, which is now
vacant due to an employee transferring to our sister school (ISD). Dr. Taylor
asked if she was highly qualified. Mr. Clinton explained that she was in that
position prior to becoming our Guidance Counselor. When we are looking for
educators, we are looking for highly qualified, special education in the core
subject and vision certified. This is very hard to find now. Mrs. Clark-
Bischke agreed with this point that there are no educators with these
qualifications available in the state of Illinois. There are 11 graduates this
year, which isn't enough to fill all the vacancies that are needed. We are
trying to encourage college students to pursue this avenue of education. Dr.
Zost asked if we have contacted other schools to see if they are facing the same
problems. Mr. Clinton has been in contact with other schools and yes they are
having the same problems with budget and money isn't available for travel. Our
students are traveling if we are able to make it a day trip. When it comes
to athletic events this is our student's social interaction with other blind or
visually impaired students.
Mrs. Schoth gave a report
on the upcoming Braille Car Rally. This will be held on October 3rd.
At this point, we now have 19 navigators. The course consisted of 40 miles of
in town and country road driving. The starting and finish lines were on ISVI’s
campus and there were two check points on the course. There will be media
VII. Committee Reports
Mr. Drake was asked if the
students were still going to be working in the Snack Bar. At this point, we
have 55 students placed in jobs on campus. Mr. Drake is working on getting
things ready to open the snack bar soon.
Mr. Bielawski reported
that at the end of October the ATIA will be holding a conference. If you
aren't able to afford to attend please come by and see the exhibits; this is
Dr. Taylor reminded
everyone that if a problem arises and he can help out with a donation from
the Blind Children's Foundation, please contact him and he will see if they
are able to help out.
A motion to adjourn was made,
and a second was made and accepted.
scheduled meeting will be held October 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This
meeting will be held in Unit 2 basement. There will be an Outreach meeting
scheduled for 9:30 a.m. that day. If you are on that committee, please attend.]
Birth to 3 Program
Low Vision Clinic
Workshops & Seminars