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Student Programming

Student Programming by Cindy Williams

Welcome back to the 2022-2023 school year and welcome to Student Short-Term Programs at NDVS/SB! I am honored to be the Coordinator of Student Programs and am looking forward to this school year and working with you and your child/student. Our Short-Term Programs (STP) are designed to offer individual and small class instruction through collaboration with families and local schools. While attending our STP's, students share similar experiences unique to the world of visual impairment and take away self-awareness and confidence through this shared experience.

Before I discuss our upcoming school year programs, I want to share with you some information about our summer programs. NDVS/SB offers students in North Dakota with visual impairments opportunities to come together in the summer to interact socially, learn new skills, experience lessons in the Expanded Core Curriculum and have fun. We were all so excited to partake in new adventures this summer through the following programs:

Our Middle School/Teen Summer Program took place in the beautiful Lake Metigoshe area from June 4-7. We collaborated with Annie’s House and some of the experiences students enjoyed included a nature hike, riding horses, and taking aim during a session on archery. During a self-determination lesson, students pushed their limits at the rock-climbing wall and at the Zipline at Higher than the Mountains. Each day the students also had lessons on self-advocacy and self-awareness and journaled about their day and discussed their experiences and feelings.
The students who attended NDVS/SB’s High School Capital City Career Program in Bismarck June 13-16 experienced days filled with wonderful learning opportunities and experiences that incorporated lessons regarding college and employment readiness – including higher education access and employment skills such as those needed for a high school or college job. They also had some fun taking in the Superslide Amusement Park and learned more about ND at the ND Heritage Center and State Museum. Students gave back and “paid it forward” by volunteering at a woman’s shelter.

Our elementary program, Oceans of Possibilities, took place from July 31 – August 3rd and incorporated adventures and learning around an ocean theme. The students read and listened to numerous stories and facts about ocean animals and exploration. Besides many expanded core curriculum lessons, we ventured to the Oceanarium at MSUM where students got to hold and learn about various sea creatures including urchins and sting rays, the ND Museum of Art where they listened to a concert, and to UND to learn about and hold snapping turtle hatchlings and juvenile turtles. At the end of our program, the students put on a program for family and friends where they shared what they learned, and assisted in preparing the refreshments.

A special thank you to the ND School for the Blind Foundation for their financial support which enhances our summer programs through special outings and experiences for our students. We appreciate the opportunity for our students to enjoy socializing out in the community and experiencing social opportunities through the foundation’s additional funding.

2022-23 Short-Term Programs
I would like to provide information and expectations for the process of attending and registering for our Short-Term Programs (STP). Our STP’s generally take place on-site at our campus in Grand Forks with occasional programs occurring off-site. Our Elementary and Middle School Programs will typically run Sunday evening through Thursday, while our High School Programs may run longer (through Friday or Saturday) depending on the program. A report is disseminated to parties involved following our program. Specific information for each STP will be emailed out about a month prior to the STP occurring. Please refer to our Short-Term Program Calendar which is included in this newsletter for dates of programs for your child/student.

Our programs feature training sessions in the Expanded Core Curriculum or ECC. The ECC is a specialized set of vision-related skills for students who are blind or visually impaired and include the following:

Compensatory Skills: These critical skills include concept development and organizational skills, as well as communication skills, such as speaking and listening, sign language, tactile symbols, braille or print reading and writing, and accessing recorded materials.

Orientation and Mobility: Skills to help a child to know where she is in space and to move safely, independently, and efficiently in the environment

Social Interaction: Skills needed to participate actively and appropriately in social situations Independent Living: Skills of daily living needed to care for oneself independently, including personal hygiene, food preparation, cleaning, clothing care, and money management

Recreation and Leisure: Skills to promote the enjoyment of leisure activities, including learning new leisure activities and making choices about how to spend leisure time

Sensory Efficiency: Skills that help students to use all of their senses, including functional vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell

Assistive Technology: Skills to use computers and other electronic equipment to function independently and effectively at school, home or work

Career Education: Skills that encourage students to explore career options and learn about the world of work

Self-Determination: Skills that enable students to become effective advocates for themselves based on their own needs and goals

I communicate with educators and families mainly through email; however, information and forms can be mailed to educators/families upon request. Forms and information will be sent through email and are available on our website in the printable or fillable forms at https://www.ndvisionservices.com/programs/registration-forms. Our goal is to conduct our registration electronically. Please feel free to contact me via email or phone with any questions or concerns as we work together to schedule your child/student for our Short-Term Programs at NDVS/SB. Also, please let me know if there is anyone to add to my email list.
I hope you are all adjusting well to your new school routine. I am excited for the school year and look forward to serving students as they attend our short-term programs and am honored to be a part of your child’s/student’s educational team!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My office phone number is 701-795-2704 and my email is ckwillia@nd.gov.



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