Illinois School for the

Visually Impaired
658 East State Street Jacksonville, Illinois  62650-2130
Toll Free: 800-919-5617 Voice: 217-479-4400 TTY: 217-479-4415 Fax: 217-479-4479

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Education Department News

2nd Quarter Activity Period Choices


Name of activity: "Mrs. Claus and the Elf Rebellion"
Age level: K-12th grade (no 5th year students)
Description: Holiday play to be performed at the December program

Name of activity: Girl Scouts
Age level: Elementary and Middle School girls (new girls accepted)
Description: Girls will work on badges and activities that they choose. Activities may include: art, science, cooking, community service, and off-campus events.

Name of activity: UEB Forum
Age level: All ages of braille readers—priority given first to those who are not currently enrolled in a braille course at ISVI
Description: Did you know that the braille code could be changing soon? Be part of ISVI's Unified English Braille (UEB) Forum in order to learn more and discuss the pros and cons with a teacher and your peers.

Name of activity: Goalball and Wrestling skill development
Age level: JR AND SR HIGH
Description: during the goalball season and then wrestling season, team members may work to further develop their sport specific skills

Name of activity: Silent Sustained Reading
Age level: High School and 5th year
Description: Students will bring their book of choice, nook or kindle to read for 30 minutes. Periodically, we will share what we are reading, make recommendations, etc.

Name of activity: FCCLA
Age level: High School—students must have had or are presently enrolled in an FCS class
Description: Become a member of our FCCLA chapter—a state organization related to the Family and Consumer Sciences are. Community, civic and school related activities will occur.

Name of activity: Getting My "Docs" in a Row
Age level: Seniors and 2nd Yr. Seniors who have not had or currently not taking Ms. Christian's Employability Skills classes.
Description: At the completion of this 10th hour activity, you will have documents ready to get a job. Ex.: Resume, Fact Sheet, and Cover Letter. There will also be small group discussions related to personal appearance and work habits that employers are seeking in new employees. This is a great activity for those who are seeking employment. You will be on the road to employment success!! 

Name of activity: Study Hall/Silent Reading
Age level: All ages
Description: Students will either do homework or read.


Name of activity: Book Group
Age level: All ages
Description of activity: Continue listening to A Wrinkle in Time read aloud reader's theater style by a group of staff members.

Name of activity: Fall and Winter holidays
Age level: All ages
Description: Learn about fall and winter holidays, their origin, history, and customs associated with the day.

Name of activity: LEGO-rama
Age level: All ages
Description: Building objects with Legos

Name of activity: FFA Activity
Age level: 6th-9th graders
Description of activity: Students will participate in FFA activities each week.

Name of activity: Art Club
Age level: Middle School and High School students
Description of activity: Complete various art activities as a group. Art Club members may only work on individual projects if those projects are approved by Art Club teachers before signing up for Art Club.

Name of activity: Study Hall/Silent Reading
Age level: High School and 5th Year
Description: Students will complete homework or read a book.

Name of activity: LLCC Study Hall
Age level: Seniors and 5th years
Description: Students attending LLCC or planning to attend LLCC will meet to discuss classes, teachers and their college experience so far.


Patriot Day Assembly

A Patriot Day Remembrance Assembly was held on Monday, September 10, 2012, in the Joshua Rhodes Auditorium. The assembly was to recognize the heroes of 9-11 and to show unity. The pledge of allegiance was led by Jacksonville Major Andy Ezard. Principal Mr. Verticchio spoke of personal feelings related to 9-11. He was followed by two ISVI Educators who shared their personal remembrance of the day. "We Remember" ribbons that were made in the ISVI Braille Dots Print Shop were passed out for staff and students to wear on Tuesday, September 11. The ribbons had Braille on them that read "We Remember". A student sang "Where were you when the World Stopped Turning?" which was followed by the concert choir leading the group in "God Bless the USA". While leaving the auditorium the group chanted in unison ,"All we are Saying, is Give Peace a Chance".


Good Neighbor Treat Shop

On March 1, 2012, the Middle School opened their Good Neighbor Treat Shop to sell delicious treats to go!! The choices included tasty treats such as savory crackers, puppy chow and green colored popcorn. The students worked hard to prepare the treats, package them, and sell them. They raised $200.00 which they will give to the New Directions Homeless Shelter in Jacksonville. It is a good feeling to be a “Good Neighbor”!

Students help at the cash register at the event


Seniors Plan Fundraiser

On Sunday, 2/12/12, the ISVI Senior Class had a “Theater Day” fundraiser to earn money for their Senior Trip. They held two movies in the Joshua Rhodes Auditorium here at the ISVI; Shrek The Final Chapter, rated PG, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, rated PG-13. The movies played at 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

The seniors had several planning sessions and preparation days, where they came to the art room and made posters including photos of the movie characters. Posters were hung around campus. Students, staff and families were invited to participate with a donation for the movie and unlimited popcorn. The seniors made $125.00, with hopes of planning another theater day in the spring.


ISVI Celebrates 162 Years!!!

On January 11, 2012, students and staff gathered in the ISVI Dining Hall to recognize ISVI’s 162nd anniversary. Two students led the group in the celebration. One student welcomed the group and a second student led the group in singing “Happy Birthday”. Everyone enjoyed cake, punch, assorted fruits, and vegetables and dip.

ISVI birthday Number 162's cake   Two students singing happy birthday



Blind Vendors’ Christmas Party

The annual Blind Vendors’ Party was December 7, 2011 at Northfield Inn in Springfield. Every year on the day of this party the excitement level is high. This year sixty-three students attended and enjoyed a delicious dinner followed by entertainment. An Elvis impersonator entertained the group and then students had the opportunity to do karaoke. As always, every student received very nice gifts from the Blind Vendors. Thank you Blind Vendors!

A group of students sitting at a table posing happily for the picture

Annual Vocabulary Parade

October 28, 2011 was the annual Vocabulary Parade hosted by the middle school students and teachers. Each student donned a costume that depicted a vocabulary word. The student described their costume and then a group of staff and students had the opportunity to guess the word and win a prize. It was a really fun way to learn new vocabulary words. After the word was guessed, or the group gave up, the student in the costume gave the definition of the word they represented and told why they choose that word. From left to right, the words that the students are representing are: flash flood, bulletin board, element, ecology, ligament, prospector, astronomy, precipitation, black codes.

.Vocabulary Parade


Smile Illinois Dental Clinic Returns to ISVI

On November 8, 2011, the Smile Illinois Mobile Dental Clinic brought their portable dental clinic to the ISVI Health Center. Twenty-five ISVI students participated in this dental clinic. A dentist completed a thorough exam and screening and then the dental hygienist completed a dental cleaning followed by a fluoride treatment. Some of the students had sealants applied to their teeth. The dentist and hygienist gave each student advice on brushing and flossing and also gave each student a new toothbrush. A dental report card was sent to each student’s parent or guardian. ISVI appreciates the services that are provided by Smile Illinois.

Red Ribbon Week

October 24 – 28, 2011 was Red Ribbon Week at ISVI. The Middle School Student Council sponsored activities and contests throughout the week. Each day had a different theme. One was “Peace Out Against Drugs” and staff/students wore tie-dye clothing or peace signs. Another day the theme was “Show School Spirit Day” and staff/students wore ISVI wear. They supported not doing drugs and the staff vs. students goalball match. October 28 was “Red Day” and staff/students wore red for a contest to see who was wearing the most red.

Students and staff wearing read pose in the library

First Annual Flea Market a Huge Success!!!

The Residential Staff at ISVI organized a first annual Flea Market /Craft Fair/Bake Sale that was held on the ISVI front lawn on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, 2011. Residential staff gathered donated items and made homemade baked items and the results were absolutely amazing! The event brought in over $1900.00 and some items are still being sold so the number will go up! These funds will go toward student recreational activities. Thank you Residential Staff for planning and hosting this event! Thank you to anyone who supported this event in any way!

Students are arranging some clothes for the Flea Market



Trip to Knight's Action Park

The 2011-2012 school year began with a trip to Knight's Action Park in Springfield. This outing was August 27, 2011 and it also included a meal at McDonald's. The students had fun doing the water activities.

a student is riding on an innertube at the waterpark. He looks full of joy.



Captain of the Green Pod Named

Nathan Lawson was chosen to be the first green pod captain of the year. Every two weeks the RCW's will choose a pod captain based on general attitude, successful completion of homework assignments, good behaviors, and keeping up with responsibilities. As captain, Nathan got to choose a pod activity or an outing for the green pod boys. The RCW's were aware of his wish to meet Jacob Tucker from Illinois College, the winner of the 2011 NCAA Slam Dunk Contest. Jacob accepted their invitation to ISVI and what a treat it was for the green pod boys!

Jacob Tucker visits Nathan Lawson

New Bus Shelter

Ms. Christian and Student Council members are shown with the new bus shelter on the ISVI campus. Last year the ISVI Student Council suggested that a bus shelter be added near the front parking lot. It will be used by many to protect from inclement weather while waiting for rides off campus. Thank you Student Council members for the great idea!

Students are posing for the camera inside the new bus shelter



ISVI Students Meet Mr. Kareem Dale

On May 19, 2011 Matt Lawson and Bria Franks represented ISVI (Illinois School for the Visually Impaired)  at a Round Table meeting in Chicago with Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to President Obama on Disability Policy.  Also in attendance were ISVI Superintendent Marybeth Lauderdale, ISVI Vocational Principal Serena Preston, and Jeff Schulte of the ISVI Advisory Council.

Kareem Dale, who is partially blind, coordinates the Administration’s efforts to see that people with disabilities are on a level playing field with all Americans. He is originally from Chicago. Mr. Dale spoke to the group about disability issues and policies and then answered questions. Matt and Bria both had the opportunity to ask questions and give Mr. Dale a sense of the needs of ISVI students. They were proud to represent ISVI and enjoyed the opportunity to meet Mr. Dale.

Kareem Dale visit  



Graduation 2011

It was an emotional ceremony on May 27, as ISVI honored nine graduates. The ISVI Choir sang two selections: "Remember My Song", and "Friends". State Rep. Ron Stephens of the 102nd District was the guest speaker. He gave a motivational speech which was followed by several awards, and the presentation of diplomas by Principal Janet McGovern, and Superintendent Marybeth Lauderdale. As the nine graduates received their diplomas, a slide show of each graduate was shown. Each graduate had pre-recorded a message about what activities they participated in during their time at ISVI. In the recording most of them thanked staff for helping them to achieve the goal of graduation, and for encouraging them to achieve more.  Lunch was served, along with cake, punch, and cookies, in the dining hall following the ceremony. Congratulations graduates!  And, good luck in all you do!

ISVI students are waiting for the parade to start  

Prom 2011

Prom was held on May 21, 2011 and the theme was “Hollywood Nights”.  The decorations were spectacular! They included a background that looked like the front of an old movie theatre, with movie star posters, a large group of balloons in the shape of a star, and a “red carpet”.  The students entered the dining hall in grand fashion, on the “red carpet”.  The highlight was the naming of the King and Queen, and the Prince and Princess. Thanks go out to Mr. Thompson for providing the music, the dining hall staff for serving a wonderful meal, the staff who chaperoned, and to the residential staff for all of their assistance.  Two students provided the music for the Post-Prom party at the Teen Center which lasted well into the night. Once again, it was a prom to be remembered!

ISVI students are waiting for the parade to start the students are excited about the parade and put their hands up in a cheer
Two ISVI cheerleaders girl and boy are by the ISVI parade float. The ISVI parade participants are following behind  

ISVI Participates in Jacksonville Parade

Dressed in ISVI spirit-wear and Braille t-shirts, a large group of staff and students represented ISVI in the Jacksonville Downtown Turnaround Celebration on May 21, 2011. Students from the music department played drums as they rode on a decorated trailer. And, ISVI Cheerleaders proudly led the group in cheers.  ISVI spirit signs were held high as many in the group tossed candy to the crowds along the street. Everyone had a good time!

ISVI students are waiting for the parade to start the students are excited about the parade and put their hands up in a cheer
Two ISVI cheerleaders girl and boy are by the ISVI parade float. The ISVI parade participants are following behind  



Career & Employment Expo at MacMurray College

A large group of ISVI students attended a Career and Employment Expo on April 14, 2011. They had the opportunity to meet with a large selection of representatives from businesses, colleges, medical providers, employment agencies, and providers of adult rehabilitation. The students practiced their job-seeking skills by gathering important information from the representatives. They found out what skills are required for careers they are interested in, what type of dress code is required, what the work hours are, and what training programs are required. It was a good learning experience for when they are ready to be in the job market or attend college fairs.

An ISVI student talks with an employer at the Job Fair.


School Fundraiser

A Sport A Thon was organized by Coach Raabe and Coach Chambers for April 19, 2011. Prior to the event the participating students collected pledges for their three hours of cupstacking, jump roping, hula hooping, and basket shooting. They did an excellent job at gathering pledges which will go to the Hines Veteran's Hospital, and to the ISVI Out of State Travel Fund.

two students are competing at cup stacking

Rep. Jim Watson attended the event and accepted a $400.00 check from the ISVI students that will go to the Hines Veteran's Hospital. Rep. Watson was thankful for the generous donation and appreciated the efforts of the students. He then competed against an ISVI student in a cup stacking competition. Excitement filled the air!
Representative Jim Watson shake hands with a student.


Illinois Library Day at ISVI
Library day. In this picture Betty Kay is giving her presentation in front of the students who listen attentively in the library.

ISVI celebrated Illinois Library Day on Friday, April 15, 2011 with an open house in the library. Betty Kay, a local author, came and gave a presentation on the Civil War. In her presentation she portrayed three different women from Civil War times. All three of these women lived very interesting lives. The students had the opportunity to ask Mrs. Kay questions following the presentation. There were door prizes, and the popular jar of jelly beans for students to guess the number of candies. Refreshments of cake and punch were enjoyed by all. It was a fun day in the library!


Workers helping with the roof repair

Shown is a photo of a recent roof repair project at ISVI. We are fortunate that two buildings on campus received roof repair.


ISVI Staff Participate in 2011 IAER Conference

The Illinois Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired  (IAER) is a valuable resource for ISVI.  Each year IAER holds an exciting conference which provides valuable information, techniques, and strategies for staff at ISVI.  The February 2011 conference was held in Schaumburg, Illinois.  It was called “Focus on the Future”.

Various ISVI staff were volunteers on committees for the conference.  Pat Langdon , Cindy Miller, and Marilyn Sorrill were in charge of registration and name tags.  Cindy Miller and Pat Langdon served on the scholarship committee.  Pre-registering printing and mailing committee included Pat Langdon and Cindy Miller.  And, Brenda Christian was on the program design/printing committee.

Three keynote speakers included:
Carl R. Augusto, President and Chief Executive Office for the American Foundation for the Blind, spoke of his personal story and keys to success.

N. Scott Johnson, a Neurophychologist, spoke about brain-based factors in vision and perceptual procession.

Dr. Lauren Lieberman, full professor of adapted physical education, spoke about physical activity, sport, and recreation for all.

The two days of the conference included over 35 different sessions from which to choose.  Thirty-three exhibits were displayed for attendees to gather information, learn about programs and resources, and learn about the latest technology for the visually impaired.  Marsha Schoth, ISVI School Development Director at ISVI, was available at the ISVI display for questions, and to provide information about the programs available at ISVI. Gail Olson of Hearing and Vision Connections was available at the HVC display to provide information about HVC’s statewide training and technical assistance program for infants with vision loss.  In addition to sessions and exhibits, there were numerous networking opportunities.  ISVI Superintendent Marybeth Lauderdale, Vocational Principal Serena Preston, Jane Breen, Director of Support Services, and Marsha Schoth, School Development Director, participated in a recruiting session to let employees in the field of vision know about job opportunities at ISVI.

On Friday, 02-18-11, three ISVI educators, Darla Chambers, Pat Langdon, and Dawn Chambers, shared their expertise and personal experience in a presentation called “Tap into iPad”.  Dawn Chambers  is a visually impaired educator and she shared her personal use of the iPad.

ISVI staff received “Record of Continuing Education Credit” for participating in the conference sessions and they brought back valuable information, techniques, and strategies to use at ISVI.


Educational Opportunity

On March 3, 2011 eighteen ISVI students were invited to attend a board meeting of the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors with officials from the Division of Rehabilitation Services. The students observed blind and visually impaired adults advocating for the 100 statewide constituents they were elected to represent. Students learned about Robert's Rules of Order, and about serving on a committee and advocating one's rights under federal law. A pizza lunch was provided by the blind vendors.


IHSA Solo/Ensemble Contest on 03-05-11

The ISVI Concert Choir competed in the IHSA Solo/Ensemble Contest in Petersburg on Saturday, March 5, 2011. There were fifteen schools competing. The results for ISVI were as follows:
Four individual performances took first place.
Two individual performances took third place.
The girl's ensemble took first place with a perfect score.
The mixed ensemble took first place.

To celebrate, the group went to Dairy Queen and enjoyed a meal and good company. Congratulations to Mrs. Kerhilkar and all members of the ISVI Concert Choir!


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On February 25, 2011 a ceremony was held to mark the grand opening of a new program at ISVI. It is called VISABLE, which stands for Visually Impaired Students Accomplishing Beneficial Learning/Work Experience. The first work project that students are completing is to clean purses and shoes that will be sold in the local Salvation Army Store. This program is a wonderful opportunity for ISVI students.

A sign for VISABLE Students, Staff and guests stand in front of the entrance, just before cutting the ribbon at the ceremony



Middle School News

The ISVI middle school students recently enjoyed a visit to the Jacksonville Public Library and lunch at Steak 'n Shake. In order to qualify for the off-campus lunch, the students had to meet a set of criteria related to academic performance and social skills. All nine students met the criteria; so it was burgers and shakes for everyone!


ISVI Hosts Japanese Visitors

Illinois College recently had Japanese students from Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan visiting their campus. On February 15th those students visited ISVI. While at ISVI, the Japanese students had the opportunity to experience traveling with the aid of a white cane. They spent time in classrooms and learned about Braille from ISVI students. At the end of their visit they gathered with ISVI students in the dining hall for conversation and refreshments. It was a fun social activity in addition to an opportunity to learn about different cultures. ISVI has been part of Ritsumeikan's visits to the United States for the last eighteen years.

a student observes the work of two ISVI students

Reading of Lincoln's Farewell Address

On February 11, 2011 a large group of ISVI students participated in a simultaneous reading of Lincoln's Farewell Address at Lincoln Land Community College in Jacksonville. There were 190 people participating in the reading. The event was part of an observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.


Elementary Lincoln Parade

The elementary students proudly wore the costumes they created as they paraded down the hallway in honor of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

students show their Lincoln customes

ISVI Celebrates 161 Years!

Students and staff celebrated ISVI’s 161 years of existence on January 10, 2011. Prior to the celebration, students were given the opportunity to submit a drawing of something related to the school or campus. These drawings will be transferred onto fabric and turned into beautiful quilt squares and be added to several already completed squares. At the birthday celebration, the students who submitted drawings received a coupon for a free pizza from the ISVI Snack Bar. Following the presentation, a student led the group in singing Happy Birthday. Then the group enjoyed cake and punch.  Healthy refreshments of grapes, bananas, yellow tomato slices, and celery sticks filled with peanut butter were also available. Happy Birthday ISVI!

A student leads the Happy Birthday song Guests enjoy the food

2010 Holiday Play and Music Program

Many parents and guests joined us for the ISVI Holiday Program on December 16th.  A group of students presented a musical holiday play entitled “Christmas at the O.K. Corral”.  It was filled with humor and music. Students wore creative costumes and the stage was full of beautiful holiday scenery.  Following the play, the Community Chorus, Elementary Chorus, and Concert Choir sang holiday selections.  Other features of the program were a “Christmas Lullaby" duet, and a solo performance of “White Christmas”.  Santa made an appearance at the end of the program and joined staff and students for refreshments in the Teen Center.  Staff from the Dining Hall provided refreshments of holiday cookies, punch, and fruit and vegetable trays .  Everyone enjoyed the program and the sharing of holiday spirit.

Picture of students playing at the musical another picture showing the stage decorations, the students singing and the audience enjoying the musical play


Good NeighborTreat Shop

On Wednesday, November 24, 2010, the ISVI Middle School sponsored the Good NeighborTreat Shop. The pictures show the students preparing and selling the treats. They sold "people" treats and dog treats. The profits will go to the Dog P.E.N. Shelter

Good Neighbor Snack Shop students preparing treats A student is selling treats at the Good Neighbor Treat Shop


Visit from a Veterinarian

A student is listening to the dog's heart with a stetoscopeDr. Evans is a veterinarian in a clinic in Alabama. She and her dog Sonny visited ISVI on 11-23-10 to tell students about how she became a veterinarian. It required interest in science, biology, anatomy, and 8 years of college. She also talked about the option of becoming a technician, which is an assistant to a veterinarian. To become a technician is a one - two year program.

Dr. Evans treats only dogs and cats. She brought along her stethoscope and students listened to Sonny's heart beat. The students asked Dr. Evans many questions about being a veterinarian.  A student is petting a dog

Special Veteran's Day Program

A soldier is showing pictures and military food to a student from a displayOn Nov. 9th, the program began in the auditorium with the Presentation of the Colors by some members of the American Legion. An ISVI student then led the group in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by officers of the Student Council. Then veterans of various wars spoke of their experiences.
Rep. James Watson was one of the speakers. A musical tribute to the veterans was given by the ISVI Chorus prior to dismissal to the dining hall for a delicious lunch. Students had the opportunity to eat lunch with and have conversations with the veterans. Uniforms were on display along with other service items. The veterans were very flattered when students asked them to autograph their programs

An army soldier is speaking at the auditorioum in front of the students  

Smile Illinois Dental Clinic Provides Services to ISVI Students Some veteran soldiers are having lunch with students

Each year the Smile Illinois Mobile Dental Clinic sets up their portable dental clinic in the ISVI Health Center. On November 2nd, 2010 twenty-one ISVI students participated in this clinic. A dentist completed an exam and screening. Then a dental hygienist completed a dental cleaning followed by a fluoride treatment. Some of the students had sealants applied to teeth and were then referred to another dentist for further dental work. Each student received a toothbrush and instruction on proper brushing technique.  Parents/Guardians will receive a report from the Smile Illinois Clinic.  ISVI is fortunate to be able to offer this service to students.

Watermelon Eating Event

Students in the classes of Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Hauck enjoying themselves eating watermelon. They even decorated hats for the event!

two students are wearing the hats for the Watermelon Eating Event Five students are competing on the Watermenlon Eating contest


Knight’s Action Park Trip!!!!

student enjoying a water ride at the Kinght's Water ParkThe Blind Children’s Foundation donated funds to cover the cost of tickets to Knight’s Action Park so that students could spend the day there on Saturday, August 28th, 2010.  Residential Care Workers went along to assist. Everyone had a great time at the water park. The ISVI Dining Hall staff made sack lunches for everyone and before returning to ISVI the students enjoyed a meal at McDonald’s.  A special thanks to the Blind Children’s Foundation for providing the tickets so that this trip could happen.  It is an activity that the students always look forward to.

  Two students are helped by a staff member from the water park at the end of a waterslide ride