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Reaching Out Newsletter #84
January 2017

TVI Spotlight: Lacey Long

In this edition I introduce you to Lacey Long.  Lacey is not only a TVI but also a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist for the Morton-Sioux Special Education Unit in Mandan. For the last 4 years she has been providing direct instruction and consultation services to students with visual impairments in her district, and also provides contracted O&M services to students in Bismarck.

Lacey achieved both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of North Dakota. Her undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education with an endorsement in English Language Learners (ELL). "It was during my ELL practicum that I began thinking about being a specialist, rather than a classroom teacher." That is when Lacey decided to apply for the Special Education Resident Teacher program from which she obtained a graduate degree as a Special Education Strategist with credentials in LD, ED, and ID.

Lacey started working in Mandan 8 years ago primarily as a teacher of students with learning disabilities in an elementary school. The TVI at that time (Diane Chielens) was planning on retiring to Alaska. That is when Tracy Klein (the special education director) approached Lacey about taking some VI coursework. "My first VI coursework at UND was 'Introduction to O&M', so I went back to my director and told him I also needed to apply to an O&M program." This is how Lacey completed two grad school programs at the same time, one being for Visual Impairments and the other a certificate in Rehabilitation of the Blind/Orientation and Mobility at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I have had several instances when it seemed like one door was closing, but really, another door had opened. I definitely appreciate all the opportunities I have had working in the field, and jump at the chance whenever a new opportunity presents itself to me."

Lacey is a highly motivated person with a passion for learning new things. Currently, Lacey is working towards a graduate certification in Deaf/Hard of Hearing education. She has completed modules in Deaf/Blindness, and recently applied to an Assistive Technology program to obtain CATIS (Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist) certification. "My ultimate goal is to help improve the quality of itinerant services for students with low-incidence and sensory disabilities in North Dakota."

Thank you, Lacey, for all that you do!

We will be featuring a TVI in each newsletter so if you would like to be included, email Ryan at rltorger@nd.gov for information.

Upcoming Events:

  • January 8-13
    Early Elementary STP

  • January 22-27                
    Middle School 5th & 6th STP

  • February 5-10
    Teen 9th-12th Grades STP

  • Friday, February 10
    Goal Ball Event

  • February 20-24
    Winter Break

  • March 5-10
    Adult STP

  • March 19-24
    Middle School 5th & 6th STP

  • April 2-7
    Teen 9th-12th Grades ST

Short Term Programming Fun

During two of our short-term programming weeks this fall, North Dakota author Loretta Welk-Jung shared her books about Crystalene, the Rainbow Snow-Girl, as well as her love of music with the students. A former elementary teacher (and second-cousin to North Dakota native Lawrence Welk), Loretta cast a magical spell over the students, who hung on her every word, and her every musical note. She gave each student an audio copy of her book, and the students in one group received sensory streamers from her, and the students in the other group each received a harmonica from her! Thank you, Loretta, for sharing your talents with us, and for being so generous!
After her presentations, the students created rainbow snow-girl ornaments for their family Christmas tree and for the State Capitol’s tree in Bismarck. Governor Dalrymple and the North Dakota Council on the Arts requested handmade ornaments for the State Christmas Tree, and encouraged schools, families, nursing homes, and other groups to make snowmen-themed ornaments for this year’s tree. Our students were happy to oblige to the Governor’s request!

Superintendent's Scoop

The fall has been a productive and exciting time at NDVS/SB. One of our highlights was the Vision Forum in Fargo on October 20th. This is a very valuable gathering of vision professionals in North Dakota where we learn together, network, eat and enjoy each other’s company. Our field is changing so rapidly that professional development is a must and collaboration with our partners is a necessity. Many of our teachers are also participating in a series of online courses to build their competencies working with children that have both a hearing and a visual impairment. This training is being provided through curriculum developed by the National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) but is being delivered by our own Dual Sensory Project Director—Sherri Nelson. We truly are attempting to be on the cutting edge in our profession so we can provide the very best services possible to our students.
     Another major focus this fall has been preparation for the upcoming legislative session beginning in January of 2017. We have a proposed budget that has been delivered to the Governor’s office for approval. We will then do presentations in front of both House and Senate committees hoping for recommendations for approval. On Monday November 14th we hosted an open house for local legislators. Our local legislators are often our most ardent supporters, so we make a significant effort to make them aware of our wide range of services. This year was especially enjoyable because we had teen students and a few other visitors for the event. Legislators heard one young student read a letter she had written in braille which was the award winner in her school for Red Ribbon week. Another student demonstrated her BrailleNote which allows her access to the majority of her high school coursework.

We at NDVS/SB wish you a wonderful Christmas Season and a happy New Year in 2017.

Available at The Store

Two new products available are a Rubik's cube that has tactile markings on it, and a stand to turn your Eschenbach lighted magno magnifier into a stand magnifier. The Rubik's cube is a challenging puzzle that you try match up the same colors and shapes to each side. The stand allows for hands free use of the magnifier you already love.

          T-shirts are the newest item in our Golden Guides line.  The shirts are grey in color with the Golden Guides logo on the upper left chest. In stock sizes are men's crew cut small to XL and women's scoop neck and V-neck medium to XL. These great products and many more are available at The Store and are listed in our most recent catalog that is available online at our website: www.ndvisionservices.com/services/the-store.html. Or a copy can be sent by contacting Ryan Torgerson at rltorger@nd.gov or by calling (701)795-2714.

Red Ribbon Week Award Winner

Submitted by: Midge Thompson (TVI)

NDVS/SB student Freya recently won an award at her school for a braille essay she wrote as part of Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week promotes awareness in students to stay away from drugs. The first grade classes all participated and Freya's was chosen out of the three first grade classrooms as the winner selected by the PTO! The prize for winning the essay contest was a morning ride to school on the firetruck at the Grand Forks Air Force Base! How exciting!

NDVS/SB on YouTube

We are now up to six instructional videos on our You Tube channel! Have you seen them all? NDVS/SB's Golden Guides YouTube Channel gives you tips on living independently with low vision or blindness. Our teachers and staff will show you step-by-step how to navigate all areas of life from the kitchen to the bus stop. We hope parents, families, and other teachers of the visually impaired will also enjoy and learn from these "golden guides" to an independent life.

If you've got an idea for a "golden guide" video, be sure to let us know. Email Emily, estenber@nd.gov or call 701-795-2709.

  • Pouring Liquids
    https://youtu.be/DtskTOHoqMQ

    Golden Guide demonstrating a straightforward and uncomplicated way to pour liquids if you are living with blindness or low vision.

  • Washing tables
    https://youtu.be/tRZZ0a51Ono

    Provides tips on how to clean tables or counter-tops if you have low vision or are blind.

  • Identifying Money
    https://youtu.be/amCY2XQUBFM

    This video provides tips to help people who are visually impaired learn to identify and organize their money.

  • Loading Paper Into a Perkins Brailler
    https://youtu.be/kklwdBGRxaI

    Video explaining how to load paper into a Perkins brailler. It is especially helpful to parents and teachers of braille writers who may not be familiar with how a brailler works.

  • Braille Tracking Techniques
    https://youtu.be/fbUmaUV02gg

    In this video, the braille instructor at NDVS/SB shares her tracking techniques for beginning braille readers and anyone needing a refresher in best practices.

  • Using the Built-in Magnifier in iOS 10
    https://youtu.be/xpUWovtDyQo

    In this Golden Guide, TVI Cindy explains how to use the magnifier that is now available in iOS 10.

Braille Bibles

If you have been looking for a braille bible, look no further! We have had several donations of braille bibles in the last few months. Contact Emily in the VRC for more information. She can be reached at 701-795-2709 or estenber@nd.gov

NDVS/SB Honors Delta Gamma

In November, NDVS/SB held a small ceremony to honor Delta Gamma from the University of North Dakota. This year marks the 100th anniversary of their sorority being on campus. Over the years the DG's have volunteered countless hours and have provided generous financial contributions to the school and its students. To honor them, the Foundation has purchased a tree that has been planted on the north side of the playground.

Thank you Delta Gamma for your continued support!

Reaching Out is published by the ND Vision Services/School for the Blind, an agency funded by the state of North Dakota for the benefit of people with visual impairments. ND Vision Services/School for the Blind is a division of the ND Department of Public Instruction. NDVS/SB does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in employment or provision of services Reaching Out is available in alternative formats upon request. Please send comments to:

REACHING OUT ND Vision Services/
School for the Blind
500 Stanford Road
Grand Forks, ND 58203-2799

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Kirsten Baesler

Superintendent, ND Vision Services/School for the Blind: Paul Olson - polson@nd.gov

Reaching Out Editor: Ryan Torgerson (rltorger@nd.gov) and Leslie Pederson (lespeder@nd.gov)

 
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