Mississippi School for the Blind 

Introduction Instructional Services
Comprehensive Home-based Intervention Program (CHIP) Instructional Resources Center
Outreach Program 1996-1997 Athletic Season in Review
The MSB Singers The MSB Band
Jackson Central Lions Low Vision Clinic at MSB

The Mississippi School for the Blind (MSB) has as its mission to promote the development of each visually impaired child's or youth's maximum potential by providing specialized services, materials, and technology. This mission has remained constant since MSB was founded in 1848 by an act of the Mississippi Legislature. It is accomplished through the collaborative efforts of the Mississippi Department of Education, MSB's staff, students, parents, alumni, and supporters throughout the state. MSB serves any eligible student without regard to the child's economic status, religious affiliation, ethnic background, or sex. This annual report provides a status on the services provided during the 1996-97 school year.

I. Instructional Services

MSB offers a fully accredited elementary and secondary program (K-12). The school continues to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Courses of study are offered that are comparable to those available in any accredited public school. Depending on individual needs, each student may also be provided training in the areas of braille, low vision, orientation and mobility, daily living skills, use of computers, and adaptive technology, as appropriate for the student's visual abilities and educational level.

Honor Roll and Perfect Attendance. Mississippi School for the Blind encourages and supports student achievement and regular school attendance. "Honor Roll" rosters, as well as "Perfect Attendance" accounts are calculated and posted each nine week's term. On the average during the 1996-97 school term, 45% of the elementary population and 51% of the pre-vocational enrollment earned grades "B or S" or better. Forty-six percent of the high school students maintained "B" or better grades for each nine weeks' period. Perfect attendance was attained by an overall average of 30% of the entire on-campus student body for the 1996-97 term.

Classes of 1996 and 1997 Profiles. The MSB class of 1997 graduated ten students. Of the ten seniors, nine (90%) graduated with regular, academic diplomas and all nine elected to take the ACT and to apply for college admission.

The 1996 graduating class consisted of five students; three (60%) of whom graduated regular, academic, and college bound. All three at the present time are enrolled and participating fully in college programs.

The non-academic graduates have had experiences ranging from work study programs to sheltered workshops, with the possible exception of one student.

Extended School Year (ESY) Thirteen students were served through our ESY program during the summer of 1997. Staff members traveled to the homes of the majority of

these students and provided services in the areas identified by the IEP team. In addition to the home services, several students were also served through an on-campus, day program. Extended School Year (ESY) services were provided during the summer of 1997 for 19 children.

II. Comprehensive Home-based Intervention Program (CHIP)

Eligible visually impaired children from birth to age five are served by teachers who are specially trained in both the needs of visually impaired children, as well as, the needs of young children. Services are home based and provided free of charge with the aim of preparing children for entrance in appropriate classroom learning situations. The specific developmental needs of each child are addressed, and direct training in methods appropriate for use in enhancing each child's overall development is provided for parents. Intervention ranges from baby rattles and parental nurturing programs to pre-mobility and lap-top computer pre-braille instruction.

The program served a total of 56 children during the 1996-97 school term. The children served resided in the following locations:
Biloxi (2) Kilmichael  Philidelphia
Beulah Kiln  Picayune
Brandon Laurel  Plantersville
Clarksdale Leland  Robinsonville
Columbia Louisville  Sherman
Decatur Meridian  Sidon
Ecru Merigold  Troy
Fulton Moorhead (4)  Tupelo (2)
Greenwood (2) Moselle  Vicksburg
Gulfport (2) Natchez (2)  Walls
Hattiesburg New Albany (2)  Walnut
Hazlehurst Oxford  Water Valley
Indianola (2) Pascagoula  Wiggins
Jackson (3) Pearl (3)  Yazoo City

III. Instructional Resources Center

The Instructional Resources Center serves as the clearing house repository for large-type and braille textbooks for the Mississippi Department of Education. Textbooks are purchased with state and federal funds and are provided on a free-loan basis to eligible students who attend public schools and certain private schools approved by the Mississippi Department of Education. A total of 305 students were served during the 1996-97 school year.

IV. Outreach Program

The Outreach Program offers educational assistance to local schools and school districts which serve visually impaired students in their regular or special education classes. A major means of assistance is a one-day inservice training activity provided each month of the school year on the Mississippi School for the Blind campus in Jackson. Teachers, teacher assistants, principals, counselors, and parents are eligible to attend these training sessions. Training exposes participants to information regarding types of visual losses; curricula and adaptations; specific educational concerns for visually impaired children; orientation and mobility; low vision assessment and aids; and how to obtain large print and braille materials. Instruction is varied and includes small group lecture, video tapes, group participation, hands-on activities, and observation.

During the 1996-1997 school year outreach training was provided for 25 individuals who worked with 16 visually impaired students across the state of Mississippi. The educational programs sending staff members to this training were as follows:
Clarksdale Public School District Clausell Elementary School
Jackson Public Schools Crystal Springs Elementary School
Copiah County Schools Hernando Elementary School 
DeSoto County Schools Houston Lower Elementary School 
Houston School District Lee County School District
Lift, Inc. (Headstart - Tupelo) Madison County School District
Moore Attendance Center  Oktibbeha County School District
Rankin County School District Scott Center (Oxford Public School District)
Winona Public School District Yazoo City School District
In conjunction with the Office of Special Education, a beginning braille course was taught by members of MSB's staff to 15 individuals during the month of June. Participants were introduced to the braille code, braille writer, and braille writing rules through small group and individualized instruction. Time was provided for individual practice with the code and the braille writer under the watchful eye of the instructors. By the end of the week, each participant had a beginning working knowledge of braille that could be used to continue his or her individual study and training in braille. Each participant was given a programmed learning braille text to continue personal study. If the participant was from a district that had not received a braille writer, the participant was also provided one to be transferred to his/her district inventory by the Office of Special Education. The educational programs which sent staff members to attend this training were as follows:
Martin Elementary School  Brookhaven Public School District
Winona Elementary School  Winona Public School District
Woolfolk Elementary School  Yazoo City School District
South Mississippi Regional Center West Side Elementary School
Picayune School District Poplarville Upper Elementary School 
Poplarville Special Municipal District Lipsey Middle School 
Brookhaven Public School District Plantersville Elementary School 
Lee County Schools Velma Jackson High School 
Madison County School District Carthage High School 
Leake County School District
Other services provided through the Outreach program were as follows: speakers for individual school classes or local service groups addressing topics related to the visually impaired; loaning materials, tests, etc. to local education agencies for special short term needs for their visually impaired students; providing materials and information to individual school students, teachers, and others who were preparing school projects or reports about visually impaired individuals; educational tours of Mississippi School for the Blind for school groups; and specialized technical assistance to school districts who expressed needs in addition to those provided through the day of outreach training.

V. 1996-97 Athletic Season in Review

Most people regard their experiences with high school athletics as high points in their youth. MSB's athletic department recognized this fact and provided its student body with an athletic season to remember. On April 15, 1996, an historic meeting was held on the MSB campus. Superintendents, principals, and athletic directors from schools for the blind in five southern and southwestern states agreed to form the SOUTH CENTRAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOLS FOR THE BLIND (SCASB), an organization that will provide opportunities for athletic competition, as well as, cultural, artistic, and academic enrichment. The schools represented were Alabama, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas. Athletic conference championships in cheerleading, wrestling track and field were also inaugurated during the 1996-97 season.

Over 50% of MSB's student body in grades 7-12 participated in one or more of the athletic programs offered by the school. Swimming, cheerleading, wrestling, and track and field are the sports offered.

Swimming.This was a productive inaugural season for swimming. Several team clinics were conducted by the Sunkist swim team. MSB's team members were given instructions and encouragement.

Cheerleading.The 1996-97 season opened with several team members attending a summer cheerleading camp held on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. The team had an outstanding season, conducting several on campus pep rallies and traveling to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama to display school spirit and TIGER PRIDE! Additionally, the team participated in the First SCASB Cheerleading Championship.

Wrestling. The 1996-97 season was a "senior-dominated" team and will be ranked as one of the best to pass through the MSB wrestling program. The Tigers participated in many of the top public school wrestling tournaments in the southeast region. In the Germantown (TN) High School Wrestling Tournament, the team had two wrestlers to win their weight class and three to finish in the top five of their respective weight classes. The team placed 10th in this twenty-five team tournament. The Tigers also participated in the Capital High School and Robert E. Lee High School tournaments held in Baton Rouge. The team captured third place at the SCASB Wrestling Championship in Talladega, AL.

Girls' Track and Field. The 1996-97 girls' track season started with a new coach and a winning attitude. Dedication and hard work by the team led them to a second place finish in the 1st SCASB Track and Field Championship.

Boys' Track and Field. This team continued the tradition of success in this sport by winning the 1ST SCASB Track and Field Championship. The Tigers had won the last three championships of the old conference, thereby winning the last championship of the old conference and the first of the new conference.

VI. The MSB Singers

The MSB Singers, a small choral group of high school students, had the privilege of performing for many functions during the 1996-97 school year. The first performances were all home based and encompassed American Education Week, MSB Homecoming Coronation Ceremony, the Lions Club Meeting at downtown Sun 'n Sand, and the Annual Christmas Program sponsored by the Lions Clubs.

The new year opened with a performance by the Boys' Quartet at the SCASB Music Festival in Talladega, Alabama. The quartet received a standing ovation following their performance. The MSB Singers also performed for the MOSES Conference held at the Ramada Renaissance, Carver Elementary School for Black History Month, MSB's Spring Program, and MSB's graduation ceremony.

VII. The MSB Band

During the 1996-97 school year, our band consisted of 23 students. Of this group, 15 earned the chance to perform as members of the band for special events. They performed at events and places such as Tougaloo College President's Inaugural Parade, Murrah High School, Lions Club, Lions Club Christmas Program, and MSB Spring Festival. The Pep Band performed at pep rallies before special events. Also, individual band students performed on special programs as the need arose. Less experienced students were able to perform on some programs due to special adaptations of arrangements to include them. As a result, most of the students were able to actively participate at some time during the school year.

VIII. Jackson Central Lions Low Vision Clinic at MSB

The Jackson Central Lions Club Low Vision Clinic at MS School for the Blind celebrated its tenth year of providing low vision consultations for children across the state whose vision is not correctable by conventional prescription glasses or contact lenses.

Functional visual evaluations and assessments were performed for 108 individual students suspected of having a visual impairment from schools and programs around the state. The majority of students at MSB were either assessed or trained by the staff of the Low Vision Clinic. These evaluations and training sessions were completed by the clinic's multi-disciplinary team which included a Doctor of Optometry, assisted by an orientation and mobility specialist, and a classroom teacher, all with training in the area of low vision.

Low Vision Clinic Annual Report for 1996-97
Off-Campus Students (Students not enrolled at MSB)
Ages  Full
FollowUps  Total
0-4  16  15  31
5-12  25  33  58
13-21  12  10  22
Total 53  58  111*
*Three students seen twice; actual number of off-campus students was 108.

These students were from Amory, Biloxi, Bolton, Brandon, Carriere, Carthage, Clarksdale, Collinsville, Columbus, Corinth, Crawford, Crystal Springs, Decatur, Fernwood, Gautier, Greenville, Gulfport, Gunnison, Hazlehurst, Hollandale, Holly Bluff, Houston, Iuka, Jackson, Kiln, Madison, Mendenhall, Merigold, Monticello, MS School for the Deaf, Natchez, New Hebron, Nicholson, Olive Branch, Oxford, Pass Christian, Philadelphia, Pearl, Petal, Poplarville, Raymond, Ridgeland, Shuqualak, Smithdale, Terry, Tupelo, West Point, and Winona.

MSB Students
Ages  Full
Training  Total
5-12  10  12  28  459*  509*
13-21  12  18  52  291*  373*
Total 22  30  80  750* 882*
 * These figures represent the total number of low vision clinic visits and training sessions conducted throughout the school year as specified by the IEPs for our on-campus, low-vision students.

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