VES Consultation Meeting Minutes: May 4, 2016

Date: May 4, 2016
Time: 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Location: 400 1st Avenue, Manhattan, 7th floor

In attendance were: Gregory Santamoor, Educational Vision Services Director; Vincent Pedulla, UFT Chapter Leader; Milton Williams, UFT Assistant Chapter Leader; Esther Denis, ADA Para and recorder of meeting minutes; and Tomas Tobler, Technology Turnkey Trainer.

Issues discussed:

Functional Vision Assessments (FVAs)

Mr. Tobler said he believes Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) should provide the main bullet points of the student’s vision. His concern is that the template is overwhelming for the teachers. Mr. Pedulla suggested that the FVA template can be used as a starting point for the teacher. Whatever does not apply to the student should be disregarded.

Mr. Santamoor agreed with Mr. Pedulla and expressed concern that teachers are not following up with the FVAs for their students.

Mr. Pedulla asked how often must FVAs be redone. He expressed concern that the protocol was to evaluate students every three years but that David Cohen, the vision technology coordinator, has been inconsistent with the requirement of FVAs. If the FVA is older than six months, then the teacher has to redo the FVA. Mr. Cohen currently does not require an FVA for students who are totally blind. Mr. Pedulla and Mr. Santamoor both agreed that the teachers should still do a FVA for a child who is totally blind. Mr. Santamoor said the teacher can update an older FVA to reflect the current status of the student. Mr. Pedulla suggested the supervisors should approve FVAs. The supervisor should consult with Mr. Cohen as needed. This will be revisited.

Transition students and technology

Mr. Tobler asked how can students in the 3Rs classes be supported. He suggested that students can receive loaner equipment as they transition from elementary to junior high grades.

Fifth-grade students should get a FVA to see if they need technology to support the transition. Mr. Pedulla mentioned that evaluation coordinator Cynthia Zambardino could help with the FVAs as they are coming along. The classroom 3R teachers do not have time during the day.

Mr. Santamoor proposed that FVAs should be considered at transition points such as 2nd to 3rd grades and 5th grade to middle school. He also agreed that we should have programmatic equipment available to students who are transitioning. This will be re-visited.

School-Based Option (SBO)

Turnkey Trainer SBO was discussed. Mr. Pedulla reviewed the responsibilities of the position. He suggested that the DOE no longer require turnkey trainers to submit a monthly report. Mr. Santamoor asked if the information in the reports was available anywhere else. Mr. Pedulla said that the turnkey trainers are entering follow-up reports for each evaluated student in the evaluations database.

Between the evaluation reports, the follow-up reports and the monthly attendance, the information in the monthly turnkey report is now found in the above mentioned places. Mr. Santamoor agreed that the monthly turnkey reports are redundant. Both Mr. Pedulla and Mr. Santamoor agreed that it isn’t fair to the turnkey trainers to require monthly reports when the other SBO positions are not required to submit reports. Mr. Santamoor said he doesn’t require any of the EVS staff to submit monthly reports, and it would be unfair to continue to require the turnkey trainers to submit them.

Staff and Job Developer position

Mr. Pedulla said that the SBO should refocus on a transition coordinator. Mr. Santamoor agreed the person should focus on job developer. Jeannine Hobbes, the current Staff and Job Developer, is doing too much for one person. 

Mr. Santamoor said that the transition coordinator should not do transition for every student. Mr. Santamoor suggested that there should be two SBO positions: outreach coordinator and borough coordinator to assist the supervisors. Mr. Pedulla suggested an office coordinator position to support the supervisors and help with paperwork.

Mr. Pedulla asked Mr. Santamoor about the supervisors and what their needs are in terms of their workload. Mr. Santamoor said staff development is challenging. Mr. Pedulla suggested that instead of two SBO positions, schools create one: a person to assist in the office, do staff development and do outreach spoken about at a previous meeting.

The committee agreed on a new combined position.

  • The next meeting was scheduled for June 1.
Related Topics: Chapter News, Special Education
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