ISD and IESBVI 2015-16 Year-in-Review
Iowa School for the Deaf and Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired continue providing the state’s youngest learners with specialized education to prepare them for independent futures. The two agencies continue to combine administrative functions and seek efficiencies that will positively affect its students across the state. Students in both programs are held to the same graduation criteria and academic standards as their peers in public schools. Transition skills are emphasized for college-bound and work-seeking students, which increases their confidence and ultimately, success as independent citizens.
During the 2015-16 school year, more than 600 students with vision challenges benefitted from IESBVI’s itinerant teacher and orientation/mobility staff. One IESBVI student became the 145-pound weight class wrestling champion at a national competition; another advanced to the national Braille Challenge competition. Learning weekends that incorporate socialization and opportunity for family networking also were offered throughout the year.
By the end of the 2015-16 school year, 111 students were enrolled at Iowa School for the Deaf. Individual programming is offered to each of its preschool through post–secondary students. ISD was awarded accreditation by the national AdvancED organization. Its review team noted the passion ISD staff demonstrates for its students and mission. One ISD high school student became the first deaf student to participate in the state’s student health occupations contest, where she became eligible to participate in the national competition. ISD provides free sign language classes to parents across the state through internet conferencing, and has expanded its offerings to accommodate increasing parent demand. Support for educational interpreters in Iowa’s schools also is offered by ISD.