Welcome to the 2017-2018 academic year. This is a special edition of the PRCVI Connections newsletter for the back-to-school season. First, I want to take an opportunity offer my best wishes for a successful year ahead and then to provide some updates on what we're looking forward to at PRCVI in 2017-2018:
Further to the Save the Date sent out at the end of the last school year, please make sure that October 19-20, 2017 are on your calendars! These are the dates for this year's "Back to Basics" mini-conference held at PRCVI. On Thursday, October 19, Dr. Kim Zebehazy and Darrick Wright from UMass Boston will present on best practices and new ideas around Functional Vision Assessment. On Friday, October 20, Dr. Cay Holbrook will present on the upcoming new edition of the Learning Media Assessment guide. Given the topics of this mini-conference, only teachers of students with visual impairments (and those in training) are invited to attend. Recognizing how fundamental these essential assessments are to our practice, PRCVI is offering to cover all travel costs (e.g., airfare, ferry) for colleagues coming from outside of the Lower Mainland region.
An online registration form will be available soon.
Jen Jesso will be on leave from September 2017 until January 2018. While Jen is away, I will be acting as the outreach coordinator for all of her districts and schools - these are in the Lower Mainland and Okanagan regions. While it won't be the same without Jen, Ellen and I will be working closely together to ensure that we meet all outreach requests with the same level of care and attention.
Lesson Study. Last year, the PRCVI outreach team began experimenting with the process of lesson study as a means of professional development as well as supporting student learning in the areas of the ECC. We've followed a process adapted from the one described in this video to suit the realities of itinerant teaching. Not only is lesson study a powerful tool for collaboration and professional learning, but model lessons in areas of the ECC will provide examples to new TSVIs entering our professional community in the next few years. Special thanks to Janet Lee for collaborating with us to develop this sample lesson plan
With Jen off on leave, I will be managing the PRCVI UEB Correspondence Course until January. Please take a moment to check in with Braillist/EAs who are currently working on the course. We have a number of students in the course whose progress has stalled and if they are still serving students who read braille, we would like to get them back on track. There is a new registration form for the UEB Correspondence Course. Course fees have increased - please use the updated form posted on the PRCVI site
UEB Technical Extension Course (UEB_TE). Over the last year, our alternate formats transcription team at PRCVI has developed a 13-lesson UEB Technical Extension (UEB_TE) course. UEB_TE covers more advanced math and technical content than is available in the 22-lesson UEB Correspondence Course and is geared to transcribers producing materials for students in upper-level math/technical courses in grades 8-12. The materials fee for students is $50 - PRCVI will be subsidizing the overall course fee as with the main correspondence course.
However, we are currently looking for 1-2 braille transcribers who have completed the 22-lesson course or the UEB update course to participate in a pilot run. The course would be offered free of charge provided the pilot students are able to provide feedback to our team as they progress through UEB_TE. Please ask interested transcribers to be in touch with me directly.
There are still some Mountbatten Whisperers available for students in kindergarten to grade three for whom the Mountbatten is intended as a transitional device. The loan period is for one academic year. Requests can be initiated via an order in the online library catalogue or by contacting Ellen or I directly.
Of the cohort of 13 TSVI candidates that began the MEd/MA in Special Education program (visual impairment concentration), 7 candidates are based in BC. All 7 are supported by a grant from the Ministry of Education in recognition of the critical shortage of qualified TSVIs in our province. With Cohort One underway, our focus now shifts to securing funding for Cohort Two, slated to begin in July 2019 (December 2018 application deadline). Please find updated recruitment flyers here
I would also like to recognize our colleagues who have successfully completed their coursework in the O&M certificate program and are now working on internship. Congratulations - almost there! Finally, big congratulations to those who completed their MEd program this summer!
At the start of each year, we need to update our list of TSVIs and O&M Specialists who are available to work on contract. Please email me with the following information to be on that list:
If you are already on one or both lists, please be in touch to confirm your contact information.
There is much to look forward to in 2017-2018 - too much to fit into an email in the first week of school. Please be in touch with any questions, concerns, or with feedback. We want PRCVI to be continually responsive to the needs of our professional community and to the students we all serve with pride.
Best wishes, Adam
PRCVI Connections is a bi-monthly newsletter designed to keep you up to date about events and resources for teachers of the visually impaired. If you have any items you think would be helpful to include in this newsletter please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.