Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | A-Z Site Map | Get Updates | Divisions | About Us | Contacts | En Español

NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind
 
 

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

December 9, 2005

Call to Order and Invocation

Chairman Tim Jones called the meeting of the Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind to order at 1:10 p.m. on Friday, December 9, 2005.  Invocation was offered by Ms. Hazel Staley.  The following members were present:  Tim Jones, Hazel Staley, Ron Eller, Bill Apple, Gwen Sullivan (representing Prevent Blindness North Carolina).

Members Not Present:  Linda Lewis, Brian Lewis, Jim Shuart, Steve Walker, and Representative Verla Insko. 

Others Present:  Debbie Jackson, Francine Martin, Tom Winton, Pat Robbins, and Carla Parker

Approval of Minutes

Motion was made, seconded, and carried to approve the minutes of September 9, 2005. 

Report of Entities:

North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped—Francine Martin

New State Librarian Visits LBPH

Mary L. Boone began serving as the new State Librarian in mid-November 2005.   On her 4th day in the office, she toured the LBPH and met with all branch staff.   She was very impressed with the Friends of NCLBPH and has requested to attend the next meeting and receive minutes of the Friends meetings.  

A native of North Carolina, Ms. Boone received her BA and MSLS degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was director of the Chapel Hill (NC) Public Library from 1978 to 1985 and was a founding member of the North Carolina Public Library Directors Association. Since 1985 she has been a Foreign Service Library/Information Resource Officer with the United States Information Agency and the U.S. Department of State, with service in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Washington, DC. Her assignments included serving as the director of the Department of State's extensive international library program from 1999 to 2002 and overseeing the planning and establishment of the Jefferson Information Center, a new Department of State initiative incorporating its existing library and a new research service, from 2002 to 2005. The UNC-CH School of Information and Library Science presented her with its Distinguished Alumni Award in December 2003.

We welcome Ms. Boone back to North Carolina and look forward to working with her.

NLS Digital Talking Book Distribution Update

ManTech, the consulting firm hired by NLS has completed a report recommending distribution strategies for digital talking books, scheduled to be available in 2008.   ManTech recommend that for the first two to three years that digital talking books are produced, every regional library receive copies of every digital title produced, just as we currently do with cassette titles.   After that time, an option of a national center duplicating less popular titles on demand for patrons is recommended.   These titles would be ordered for patrons by their regional library.  Even then regional libraries would still receive copies of the most popular titles, the 20% of titles that constitute 80% of the circulation.  The full report is available on the NLS website at http://www.loc.gov/nls/technical/distribution/summary.html .

Planning, Facilities, and Staffing

  • We had anticipated and announced in the upcoming LBPH newsletter Tar Heel Talk, if all went well, our new telephone system would be installed at the end of December 2005.  However, at this point it appears that will be delayed several months.   Machine Repair Technician, Moses Garner, was promoted outside our Department to a position in Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in early October.   We have advertised and are currently interviewing for that position.
  • Processing Assistant III in the Machine area of the Collection Management Unit, Paul Luckham, accepted a higher-level position within our Department effective December 1, 2005.  That position is being advertised.
  • Receptionist Shonta Webb accepted a higher paying position at DHHS in mid October.   We have advertised and are currently interviewing for the receptionist position.

Volunteers and Public Relations Activities

  • The Friends of NCLBPH funded the 2005 Volunteer Recognition Ceremony, attended by 104 people celebrating the accomplishments of 115 NCLBPH volunteers.  Volunteers contributed 6,702 hours of work to NCLBPH during SFY 2004-2005, which constitutes 3 full-time positions worth of time.
  • LBPH Volunteer/Outreach staff or Friends presented information about NCLBPH at the following events or groups during the last 6 months:
  • Division of Services for the Blind (DSB) Mini Centers in Coats, Warrenton, Washington, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, and Goldsboro.
  • DSB Under 55 Week, Raleigh
  • National Federation of the Blind of NC state convention.
  • NC Council of the Blind State Convention
  • Lions VIP Fishing Tournament.  Gary Ray was the keynote speaker at the Wednesday night banquet.
  • DSB New Employee Orientation (Adjustment Training)
  • Table at a Durham Parks and Recreation Disability Walk. 
  • Table and provided volunteers for the NC Assistive Technology Expo
  • Gary Ray emceed the Awards luncheon for the NC TASH convention in Raleigh.  He handled the Awards for the various Mayors’ Committee winners from around the state.  Another good opportunity to network with other disability groups.
  • 1 hour TV interview program, called Speak Up, Speak Out, on the Raleigh cable Public Access channel.
  • Governor Morehead School Alumni Association (NC AWB) at their annual convention.
  • Gary Ray did a keynote presentation and a training session for the NC Community College Association Learning Resources Association conference.
  • Metrolina Association for the Blind Transition class in Charlotte.

The Governor Morehead School

Report submitted by Dennis Thurman

ENROLLMENT

Instructional services

The GMS Instructional Program did meet Expected Growth for the 2004/2005 school year.  All 3 alternative goals were met in addition to EOG scores.

Please join the Instructional Program on November 17 at 7:00 pm for our Winter Music Festival in the Lineberry auditorium.  Students will be performing theatre and songs to bring in the holiday cheer. 

The 3rd annual Braille Challenge is scheduled for February 16th this year.  We have had a student make it to the national level so far each year.  Please join us in celebration of our students and Braille literacy on this day.

All positions in the Instructional Program have either been filled or a name has been moved forward.

The Instructional Program is currently adopting all new Language Arts books in the Instructional Program and teachers are working closely with DPI to ensure texts meet both the academic and vision specific needs of our students.

Student Health Services

We have had 1561 total student contacts for the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year (August and September).  That is an average of 54 contacts per day for 29 school contact days.  A breakdown of the total contacts is as follows:

    • 3 of the contacts were Pediatrician visits and 5 Psychiatrist visits.
    • 1440 routine scheduled medication administration and treatments.
    • 102 unscheduled contacts (includes such things as treatments for upper respiratory symptoms, upset stomach, headaches and minor injuries) ***** 70 of these contacts occurred during the school day and the Student Health Center was able to address these health concerns right away. The student was able to return to class, thus reducing the loss of educational time.
    • 11 admissions
    • and 0 ER visits

Trainings:

    • 184 GMS employees and 17 volunteers have received the annual mandatory training in Universal Precautions and Bloodborne Pathogens. 
    • Direct contact staff received training in Diabetes and allergies with the use of Epi-pens for life threatening emergencies.  Direct contact staff also received general training in medication administration for non-medical personnel.   We provided more extensive training to 28 staff members who actually administer medications to our students for field trips.

Healthy Living Curriculum   We will be assisting the school in promoting healthy lifestyles by assisting with forums on hand washing infection control, etc.  We will promote increased activities during the day and after school, as well as healthy dietary choices.

SHAC: We will be having our first meeting of the Student Health Advisory Council November 3, 2005.  We have 13 members so far, including one very gracious GMS board member!  Mary Sugg Styres. Thank you.  This year we will be focusing on the nutrition and physical activity of our students. 

SNAP: We have just had the SNAP software program installed on the Student Health Center computer.  This program will provide computerized documentation of student’s medical records and create a database for student information.

The nurses attended the 22nd Annual School Nurse Conference through UNC School of Public Health in October.  They received updates on current health issues, such as immunizations, suicide prevention, MRSA outbreaks (and other skin conditions), as well as documentation of health services. 

We are currently in the information gathering stage of facilitating an exciting new program, the Tele-Medicine system.  We hope to implement it after next school year.  Currently, our pediatrician is on campus 2 times a week.  Access to this system would allow the Student Health Center daily access to a pediatrician.  Tele-Medicine has also been very successful at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf.   This program provides access to physician services from the East Carolina School of Medicine for students while they are on campus and can impact student absenteeism.  During the 2004-2005 school year, we had 20 student contacts in which we had to send the student home for further MD evaluation because we did not have an MD on campus.

Outreach Services

Enrollment: Short-term: 3 Sessions, 14 students

New Employees:

  • Julie Kagy, former lead VI teacher with Wake County Public Schools, to Outreach (eastern part of NC)
  • Kathryn Flynn, 2005 graduate of NCCU VITP Program, Short-term teacher
  • Lisa Swink, VI Itinerant Teacher, Lincoln County Schools to Outreach (Morganton area)

Activities:

  • Short-term attended PE with NCSU:  basketball, water aerobics, horseback riding
  • Short-term kids participated in dance with Pierrette Sadler Dance Company in Cary
  • Short-term kids visited Hill Ridge Farms, State Fair, and Exploris museum
  • Short-term kids participated in the US Blind Golfers Association clinic the first week of Oct.

Billie LeTendre, Outreach Teacher, Chatham County, attended APH Julie Kagy, Outreach Teacher based in Raleigh, attended Closing the Gap in Minneapolis
Mike Switzer, Short-Term Teacher, continues his work with Skanska-Barnhill and their construction project on the new downtown Civic Center

Outreach teachers have had staff development from professors at NCSU and Emory University on educational testing and interpretation, Optelec (assistive technology), and learning media assessments (educational diagnostician from Iowa School)

Reminder:  NCCVIB Conference, March 9 - 11, 2006 on GMS Campus; presenters still being scheduled but some confirmed are Paul Rowland (DSB), Beth Finke (NPR), Laura Park Leach, Bob Kennedy.  This year's theme is social skills/leisure activities across the lifespan.

Student life services

Staff Recognition:

  • Nancy Doherty, Student Life Director, recognizes an individual staff member quarterly each school year.  In August, Carolyn Taylor, Residential Life Trainer, received S for Senior Recognition.  The seniors recognized her service, teamwork, adaptability, and resilience.

Vacant Position Updates:

  • Interviews and Referrals for the vacant Trainer and Substitute Trainer position were conducted in Sept.
  • We are waiting for approval from OES to post the vacancy for a Trainer and part-time Permanent Trainer.

New Staff:

  • Nina Adams is our new Behavior Technician.  She was a Teacher Assistant in Johnston County.

Recreation:

  • We have opened a Fitness Room which ties into the Health and Wellness Curriculum mandated by the legislators.  It includes 2 Cat eye (game) bikes, 1 stationary cross trainer bike, 1 total gym fitness apparatus, stretching mats, therapy balls, and health videos. The room was designed by Teresa Merrill, Residential Life/Recreation Coordinator, and decorated by the students.
  • We are currently designing a Student Art Gallery and Conference Room.  

Volunteer Training:

  • We have had two training sessions for a total of 45 individuals from the community who want to volunteer at GMS.  All volunteers have criminal background checks and are trained on the Code of Conduct and Volunteer Policy.

Please see “Student Life Chatter” at end of packet.

PRESCHOOL

Enrollment*: 0-3 year old: 277

                     3-5 years old: 273

*THESE TOTALS ARE CUMULATIVE FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Dana Fox recently presented at the national DEC conference in conjunction with Deborah Hatton and the Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments.  The full day pre-conference workshop was on Multimedia Resources for Infants and Toddlers with Visual Impairments.  An additional session entitled Improving the Lives of Young Children with Visual Impairments through Developmentally Appropriate Orientation and Mobility was also offered.

Charli Arman, the inclusion classroom teacher in Raleigh, has been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, which is the graduate-level honor society at North Carolina State University.

On September 29 and 30, over 40 people attended a two-day workshop on functional vision and learning media assessments. Debbie Gleason with the Perkins School for the Blind, was the presenter.

 Preschool students served on the GMS campus went trick-or-treating on Thursday, October 27.  A number of GMS staff members and campus agencies participated, including administration, K-12, the infirmary, dietary, maintenance, Rural Health, and DSB.

Facility/safety/dietary services

MAINTENANCE DEPARTMENT

  • Capital Project for road resurfacing and sidewalk repair has had some items added to be sure we use all the money and insure some of the paving needs are addressed. Hoping to start this project during the winter sometime.
  • Capital Project for HVAC upgrades for the campus ($1.4 M) is being rebid due to the cost over run, and some changes being made, mainly to insure the student dorms are completed correctly. Construction scheduled to begin at Christmas break.
  • Capital Project for door and egress hardware replacement for the student dorms and the dining hall has been bid and a contract awarded. The first stage (Lineberry doors) is scheduled to begin the first week of November.
  • The Maintenance Dept. is presently building an entire stage full of props for the upcoming shows presented by the students.
  • We have still have 3 vacant positions in Maintenance, 1 selection has been made.

SAFETY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Conducted  33 fire drills.
  • Conducted 12 inspections of cottages and campus buildings for fire and trip/fall hazards, egress lights function, fire extinguishers and paths of emergency exits.
  • Purchased and distributed three weather radios and five transistor radios for early warning of severe weather for residential life staff.
  • Participated with DHHS Central Safety Committee to update departmental Safety Policies and Procedures.  Have produced 16 of 20 new policies for further ratification by GMS.
  • With entire management staff, oriented 10 new employees to GMS.
  • Crisis Management team dealt with one workplace violence issue – situation defused.
  • Conducted annual orientation safety training for all employees.
  • Trained all bus drivers, monitors and students in emergency evacuation from buses.

DIETARY SERVICES

  • School started without any problems in the Food Service Dept.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction—Tom Winton

 

55th Conference on Exceptional Children – The 55th Conference on Exceptional Children was held on November 7-9 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.  Approximately 2,850 teachers, administrators, related service personnel and parents attended.  Two instructional sessions on visual impairments and two on deaf blindness were conducted, all with good attendance and excellent reviews.  Several vendors from the VI field were among the exhibitors.

 North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness – Planning is continuing on the 4th annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness.  This professional conference, which brings together agency and education professionals from across the state, is scheduled for March 9-11, 2006 at the Governor Morehead School.  The Exceptional Children Division looks forward to continue its involvement and sponsorship of this worthy conference.  It will contract with NCAER to sponsor a keynote address.

Federal Quota Funds – As of December 9, 66 separate orders had been placed with APH in the Fiscal Year 2005-06 to procure instructional materials with Quota Funds. 

NCCU-VITP Advisory Board – The Consultant for Visually Impaired continues to serve as co-chair with Dr. Deborah Hatton on the NCCU-VITP Advisory Board.  The Board has recently advocated for the transfer of the program from North Carolina Central University to a strong special education department in another university in the UNC system.  Representatives from the Board (Tom Winton, Deborah Hatton, Herman Gruber, and Kathryn Flynn) and John Miller met with UNC General Administration and NCCU officials to discuss these concerns.  The General Administration decided to keep the program at NCCU for another year but under close monitoring.  The Advisory Board then met with legislators of the General Assembly to discuss their concerns and ask for guidance.  The meeting was productive and the legislators promised their attention to the matter.

Registration of Legally Blind – The Annual Registration of Legally Blind students will begin in early January.  The Consultant for Visually Impaired administers this annual registration.  An official count of the registered students with legal blindness will be available at the next C&A Advisory Committee meeting in March 2006.

Staff Development Opportunities– The Exceptional Children Division is offering continuing education certificates to licensed VI teachers for participating in staff development activities offered by Orientation & Mobility Services, Inc.  Offerings in “Foundations in Orientation & Mobility”, “Computer Games/Software for VI Students”, “Reading for Pre-Braille and Braille Learners”, and “Monoculars and Low Vision Aids” are being conducted in various sites across the state.

Assistive Technology EXPO– The Exceptional Children Division co-sponsored the annual Assistive Technology EXPO again this year.  It was held on December 1-2 at the North Raleigh Hilton.  Our Division offered continuing education certificates to attendees.  The Consultant for Deaf-Blind, Chris Jones, again sponsored many teachers of students with deaf blindness to attend.

VI List– The Exceptional Children Division continues to operate a successful email list for VI professionals throughout the state.  Currently there are 153 active participants, including VI teachers, braillists, university faculty, administrators, agency employees, and others.  C&A Advisory Committee members are welcome to join this list and contribute to discussions about pertinent issues in the VI education field.  Contact Tom Winton for more information.

NC Division of Services for the Blind—Debbie Jackson

Major renovations have begun on the Cox Dorm located on GMS campus.  Students were moved out of Cox at the end of September and work began the first week of October.  It is anticipated the project will be complete in 9 months.  After Cox is completed, renovations will begin on the Milsap dorm. 

The News and Observer will be writing an article on one of our consumers.  For the past several months, the writer has been time at the Rehabilitation Center attending classes with the student.  Beginning on Sunday, December 11, the first of a series of four articles will appear in the News and Observer.   

Voting Machines—DSB staff will have an opportunity to participate in the evaluation of accessible voting machines. 

Rehabilitation Program Needs Assessment—The Needs Assessment began in September, questionnaires have been mailed, and telephone calls are being made to some consumers.  Feedback should be back by mid-January.  Not sure if report will be finalized by next meeting in March.

Prevent Blindness North CarolinaGwen Sullivan

A “Governor’s Vision Care Program” was established during the last legislative session.  A copy of the legislation was distributed.  A Governor’s Commission on Early Childhood Vision Care is in the process of being developed.  The Children and Youth Branch Advisory Group did meet to discuss the logistics of this program and compiled a list of concerns that will be given to the Commission once it is developed.  Prevent Blindness NC will continue to provide updates as they occur. 

The NC office as well as the other Prevent Blindness affiliates throughout Country are working on recruiting people for an advocacy event that is scheduled for March in Washington DC.

“Eyes on Capitol Hill” is a special program to let people with chronic eye conditions speak out about the importance of vision health care and share their personal stories with lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

NC Council of the Blind--Ron Eller

Ron Eller recognized David Alexander’s outstanding work and support of visually impaired and blind people.  

Projects—Six State Leadership Conference which will be sponsored by Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina and, hopefully, South Carolina. 

The Council had a very successful convention in September in Burlington, NC.  Next year, the convention will be held in Fayetteville. 

The National organization, American Council, has 36 scholarships available this year.  If anyone would like an application, contact Ron Eller.  The State organization has 6 scholarships and will be taking applications until July. 

A committee has been formed to determine if local hospitals have the Patient’s Bill of Rights in accessible format for blind/visually impaired people.  If not, the Council will have those documents put into braille or onto cassette tape.  Radio Shack will donate tape players for hospitals that will allow documents to be put on tape.  The committee hopes to contact at least half of the hospitals in North Carolina. 

National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina—Hazel Staley

The State Convention was held in Raleigh in September.  The agenda items were very interesting and informative and the exhibit room was full of helpful items.  The pocket-sized reading machine was on display and should be ready for marketing next Summer. 

A new Federation Chapter in Craven County will be organized.  

The Federation is beginning to plan for their Washington seminar which will be held the first week in February.  This is the time when we lobby the Congress for issues concerning the blind and visually-impaired.

NC Association for Rehabilitation and Education of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)—Bill Apple

Planning is underway for the NC Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness which will be held March 9 - 11.  AER is a sponsor of this conference. 

The Annual Business Meeting of the NC AER will be conducted in the Weathers-Hill Dining on March 10 at 5:15 p.m.

The NC AER Website is up and running and provides links to the national office, bylaws, and board member names and addresses. 

To boost membership, for a limited-time only, if you are not a member and haven’t been a member for 3 years, NCAER will contribute $50 toward your membership fee. 

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones

The Business Enterprises Program is maintaining 84 Blind vendors across the State in various locations with average income a little over $40,000.

Annual training conference will be February 17-19 at the Holiday Inn-Winstead in Rocky Mount. 

 Old Business

None

New Business

 After the first of the year, we will be contacting you about the Congressional H.E.L.P. Committee (Health, Education, Labor, Pension).  Randolph Sheppard will be under investigation.  Congress has received some questionable and inaccurate information regarding the Randolph-Sheppard program and we will need to present to them the facts. 

Adjournment of Meeting

With no further business, a motion was made, seconded, and carried that the meeting adjourn.  The meeting adjourned at 2:45 p.m.

 

top

State of North Carolina Home Page