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A Sense of Texas

Apr 2021

Superintendent Roundtable - Episode One

While the pandemic has affected everyone in some way it hasn't affected everyone in the same way. Joining us this week we have asked superintendents Robert Hair from Maryland School for the Blind; Gina Ouellette from the California School for the Blind; and Scott McCallum from the Washington State School for the Blind who, along with our own Emily Coleman, will talk about safety, remote learning and how vaccines are changing the way we educate blind and visually impaired students across the country.

These effusive educators had so much to say this episode requires a booster. Join us for Episode 2 later this month. 

Mar 2021

Jill Robbins-Silver: Audio Description for Theater

With the proliferation of streaming media- especially over the last year- many have become familiar with the audio describing services that companies make available for their visually impaired audiences. But- in a time and place when gathering in crowds is not a public health problem- the same applies to live theater (and some places you may never have thought about before). Jill Robbins-Silver joins Emily for a discussion about how she got into the line of work, its uses and procedures, and the value it brings to so many cultural experiences.

Links mentioned in this episode:

American Council of the Blind Audio Description Project

National Library Service Audio Description Resources

Jill's Email Address

Mar 2021

Dr. Kirk Adams - AFB

In 1921 the American Foundation for the Blind was created to expand opportunities and access for people with vision loss. This week we're so lucky to have AFB President and CEO Dr. Kirk Adams joining us to talk about the history of the foundation, how they're celebrating their centennial and how they plan to use the next 100 years to expand opportunities for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. 

For more information on the American Foundation for the Blind visit https://www.afb.org/

Feb 2021

Paul Schroeder - Public Advocacy and APH

Paul Schroeder heads up the American Printing House for the Blind's efforts in government affairs in his new position at that venerated organization. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience dating back to the earlier days of government advocacy which found him on the White House lawn for the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. He speaks with Emily today about some of those experiences and how we can better advocate for our students and children in this changing world.


Links referenced in this episode:

American Printing House for the Blind

The Hive

Career Connect

Cogswell Macy Act


Feb 2021

April Love - The Oregon Project

Almost all of us who have worked with visually impaired students in early childhood know about the Oregon Project. Created in the 70's by Mark Moskowitz the OR Project is a great tool for parents, teachers, vision specialists, and counselors. April Love from the Southern Oregon Education District and home to the Oregon Project joins us this week to tell us all about it. Also, TSBVI Curriculum Director Debra Sewell comes along to tell us about how we use the Oregon Project here in Texas. 

To find out more about the Oregon Project visit https://www.soesd.k12.or.us/special-education/or-project/

For ordering information visit https://www.soesd.k12.or.us/oregon-online/

Jan 2021

Dr. Rachel Schles - Accurate Child Counting

Perhaps the most important factor in providing services to our students with visual impairment or who are Deafblind is knowing how many of them there are in a given state or district. This duty falls to state education departments down to the most local level. Texas has its own particular way of gathering this information and is currently in the midst of its Registration of Students with Visual Impairment and the Deafblind Child Count. In this episode, Emily speaks with Vanderbilt University's Dr. Rachel Schles, the recipient of the DVIDB Deborah D. Hatton Dissertation of 2021 Award. Dr. Schles has dedicated her work to the ways we collect this data and how it can be improved to deliver the most accurate and helpful information. Her work continues and she invites anyone interested to contact her at her at rachel.schles@vanderbilt.edu to either contribute information or access her findings so they can advocate for their home states and districts.


Afterwards, we hear from TSBVI Outreach's Brian Sobeck, who heads up the annual effort in Texas. He has some changes that have been implemented this year and some tips for completing the registration. If you're in Texas and need help, please don't hesitate to contact him at sobeckb@tsbvi.edu.

Jan 2021

Emily Gibbs - NFB of Texas

2021 will hopefully bring a return to some form of normalcy but some things we learned in 2020 will help us become better educators going forward. Emily Gibbs of NFB (National Federation of the Blind) Texas joins us to discuss some of the innovative ideas, and some of the challenges, in helping students across Texas access the resources they need during a global pandemic. 

If you'd like more information on NFB Texas please visit their website https://nfbtx.org/ or the Texas Parents of Blind Children facebook group. 

Dec 2020

A TSBVI Holiday Special

"Our regularly scheduled program will not be seen so that we may bring you the following special presentation."


It's been a year, hasn't it?

As we go into winter break and recollect, reassess, and recharge ourselves for another year we thought nothing would be better than to say what they used to say almost every night back when TVs were square and there were only three or four channels. After a year of lockdowns, cancellations, reschedulings, emergency protocols, and working tirelessly to maintain, let's put our 2020 to bed with a holiday special.


TSBVI Theater Teacher Robert Pierson has pulled together some of his talented students to give you a short program of winter poetry.  Sit by your real or virtual fireplace, pour a beverage, and enjoy their work and inspirations.  Since many schools, including ours, have had to cancel their usual holiday programs, we hope this one serves as a suitable alternative.

All of us here at TSBVI and A Sense of Texas hope this episode finds you safe and warm and with loved ones and/or friends.  We hope all the best for you and yours in 2021 and beyond. We will be back to provide you with information, expertise, and companionship as we face the challenges and joys of the new year.

Dec 2020

Our 50th Episode!

Oh wow, can you believe it? 50 episodes!?!?! Me either. For this momentous occasion we decided to kick back and relax at the TSBVI pavilion where Outreach Director Kate Borg asks Emily about the blessings and challenges of our first 50 episodes and what we have planned for the future. We like it so much we think we'll make another 50. I sure hope you'll join us.

Nov 2020

Robbin Clark - The ECC and 21st Century Teaching

TSBVI Outreach Director takes over the controls again this time to talk to her colleague and friend Robbin Clark from(among many places) the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind about the value and power of the Expanded Core Curriculum. She delves into the challenges of being a teacher for 21st century learners and how we can meet the mandate set out by The National Agenda.

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

9 More Than Core on Faceboo


9 More Than Core on Instagram


Robbin's Blog

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