On Friday January 13, 2017, the FSDB Title I Parent Advisory Team (TIPAT) met in the Moore Hall training room for the First Semester Progress Review. Assistant Grant Coordinator and Meeting Chair, Tracie Snow, baked a tasty treat for parents to enjoy as usual (cherry dump cake). Presenters included Misty Porter, Parent Liaison in the Parent Services Department, and Christi Boortz, the Title I Coordinator.
Title I requires extensive parent input and consultation throughout the school year. Meetings are held on a quarterly basis to keep everyone up-to-date. All parents from the Title I schools are welcome (BES/BMS/DES/DMS) but the team contains specific school representatives who have committed to this valuable role.
Snow led meeting participants in a brief introduction before providing a summary of Semester I spending on academic programming. Federal Title I grant funds many integral part time (OPS) positions on the campus, including academic curriculum teams, inventory managers, braille transcriptionists, sign language assessment Evaluators, and a Title I clerk. A parent brought up a great point when she asked why Title I pays for part time positions rather than full time positions. Snow explained that the IDEA grant (also federal) pays for many vital campus full time positions that benefit FSDB students. The grant monies are carefully planned and work together to cover different critical needs. Title I also funds professional development conferences and supplemental materials for academics. This spending during the first half of the school year has gone smoothly, with more travel for conferences during the spring months. Also in the spring, students will receive their editions of the 7 Habits books.
Boortz provided a summary of the Title I tutoring program, which grew by leaps and bounds this school year. Students can now receive tutoring in multiple subjects. Also new this year, English Language Arts was separated into Reading and Writing, to provide more targeted instruction. Currently FSDB has 21 tutors for 80 students in Title I schools. Though Hurricane Matthew delayed the onset of services, the ball has been rolling since late October. FSDB will seek more funding for the tutoring program through the Roll Forward monies in the next few months.
Porter did an excellent job summarizing the semester parent expenditures and urging parents to spend the remaining dollars. She asked parents to let her know of any upcoming parent training opportunities they would like to attend with the support of remaining travel & conference monies. She provided information on a Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW) in the spring, tentatively slated for West Palm Beach. At the end of her presentation, a parent asked about summer camps. She explained that there will always be the K-2 and 3rd grade camps mandated by the state, but recreational day camps are dependent on grant funding. In the past few years, there has not been such funding available, though it is possible that the recreational camps will make a comeback in the future.
FSDB extends appreciation to the parent representatives who made it to the meeting, and the extra parents who showed up early for the PEW and thus provided additional feedback! The next TIPAT meeting will be held 8:30-9:30 am on March 3, 2016.
By Christi Boortz, Grant Coordinator
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible Pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.