[CCCNFBW] FW: Article from Vancouver Columbian Clark County News Section 2020 05 20
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Thu May 21 16:55:40 UTC 2020
An article discussing WSSB and working with the students during the
From: NFB-NEWSLINE Online [mailto:publications at nfbnewsline.net]
To: Robert Sellers
Subject: Article from Vancouver Columbian Clark County News Section 2020 05
Washington State School for the Blind tests recipes for distance learning.
Columbian staff writer. Like many people, Kevin Danley is doing plenty of
cooking during this pandemic. What's different about Danley, however, is why
he's spending so much time in the kitchen. Danley is a volunteer at the
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver's public school for
students who are blind or have other visual impairments. Normally, he's in
the campus kitchen, walking students through safely navigating the kitchen.
But with kids at home, Danley is making dozens of videos showing him
whipping up basic meals and baking treats so students can listen and cook
along at home. "It's fun doing the videos, but it's very, very different,"
he said. "I do miss the kids. The Washington State School for the Blind,
located off of McLoughlin Boulevard, serves about 50 students with visual
impairments. Many come from across the state, sleeping in campus dormitories
during the week as they attend school. Like other schools, navigating
distance education for students is a work in progress. But the school's
unique student body means staff are finding unique solutions to serving
families from a distance. "There is no shortage of work to be done, and I
feel we are giving all we can to our students right now," Principal Sean
McCormick said. "It's a tricky balancing act. 'It's a necessity' In a recent
video, Danley stands in the kitchen of his Vancouver home. A voice over
dictates the video's title as it appears across the screen. "In a kitchen,
text appears," the voice says. "Baking lemon pound cake with Kevin. For
students who attend the Washington State School for the Blind, academics are
paired with personal skills. Lessons like these are actually baked into
their special education plans, or Individualized Education Programs. The
plans outline the services students with disabilities receive. They often
mandate support for academic needs, such as a reading tutor or additional
time for students to complete assignments. They often also include details
about a student's medical needs or access to occupational therapy. Some
students at the Washington State School for the Blind are also guaranteed
time in the kitchen, learning how to cook, or getting lessons on personal
hygiene, or other life skill lessons that are a hallmark of the school's
mission. "It's a necessity," said Danley, who is semiretired after a
decadeslong career as a caterer. "It's really good for self-esteem, when
they can feel proud that they've made something. Independent skills When it
comes to academics, the school has set up a series of Zoom meetings students
can pop into throughout the day to visit teachers and disability
specialists. Once a week, paraeducators put together packets of Braille and
large-type materials to send to students. At times, teachers have had to
drive hours to deliver supplies to students or swap out their computers.
"It's so individualized," McCormick said. "We're all in the same storm, but
we're in different boats. That goes for each of our households and families.
Corey Grandstaff, the school's recreational program manager, said Danley's
video lessons have been key in ensuring the school is still meeting
students' continued need to learn independent skills. "For them to be
competitive, they're going to need to be independent," Grandstaff said.
"They need to be participating students after they're done with us. We have
to provide that instruction explicitly. Seventh-grade student Charles
Johnson, 13, has taken so much to the video lessons that he's even started
sending his own back. His mom, Tammy Johnson, filmed him making gluten-free
cookies to show Danley. "Making videos is quite fun," Charles said. "Why
not? I can make food and turn it into a video. Johnson is grateful for the
opportunity to have something to do with her son. "They're being pretty
creative with not being able to do it in person," she said.
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