Eagle Update March 2019

KSSB Eagle Update March 2019

Mr. Jon Harding/Ms. Aundrayah Shermer

Administrative Update:

Spring Break brings promises of warmer weather, new growth and springing forward into new and wonderful things. KSSB is springing forward with exciting news!

Our newly redesigned website is up and running! Grateful thanks to Unravel, who built the website, and KC Blind All-Stars. Our website will provide information and resources about each program that KSSB has, along with sections for parents and educators. Eagle Updates will now be posted on our New KSSB Website. There is also a new email address that will be used for all incoming inquiries and all outgoing informational emails. Please contact us

KSSB is opening a second preschool classroom on campus! This classroom will focus on young children who are blind or visually impaired who are ready to learn early literacy and braille skills, cane use, and assistive technology. This classroom will be taught by an early childhood special educator, with support from instructional assistants, therapists, and access to adaptive PE, music and art therapy, and interaction with same-aged peers. This afternoon classroom will open at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. Be sure to check our website over the next few months for more information.

KSSB is committed to involving more parents in our school’s governance and decision-making. A great way for parents to get involved is to get involved in the KSSB Advisory Board. If you would like more information, please contact Jon Harding: 913-305-3000 or jharding@kssdb.org.

Storm Season

Safety is our #1 priority, and as we move from heavy snows to tornado season, we are preparing staff and students by conducting regular tornado drills. KSSB has a FEMA approved tornado shelter on-campus that accommodates all KSSB students and staff as well as Head Start students and staff.

Signature Events

KSSB sponsored two Regional Braille Challenge events again this year. A snowstorm hit during the KC event, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of our scholars. Our Wichita-area (Derby) event last weekend was bigger (and better) than ever. Thank you to our Braille Challenge planning committee for making these two events special for students across the state who are working to improve their braille skills. Be sure to check out the pictures on all of our social media platforms.


Our classroom has been learning about the Solar System.  We learned about the planets in our solar system and talked about rotation and orbit. We also learned about the phases of the moon. The students enjoyed using Oreo cookies with frosting to demonstrate the different phases of the moon. Image:  A student, seated at a table, uses Oreo cookies to demonstrate the moon phases. Using photographs of moon phases as a model, she uses a plastic knife to adjust the amount of frosting on her Oreo to represent each moon phase.

Student sitting at a table with pens and papers of images of the phases of the moon.


The secondary classes are exploring ways to better incorporate technology into daily routines. In middle school Braille technology, students have identified what they need to work on and what they want to work on. Many students are working towards improving typing, access to technology, and Braille reading and writing skills. Mr. Taylor created a Google site to complete classwork in United States history and geography classes as they learn about different cultures, peoples, and economies around the world. Current Events is a new piece of the social studies units this semester.

Our after-school Tech Club is building on the coding skills they are learning in their technology class. The students in the Tech celebrate success flying a drone in the KSSB library.

Middle school/High school English has been working on reading comprehension skills and reading strategies. The high school class has begun to read the book “Gathering Blue” by Lois Lowry and is the second in the series that starts with “The Giver”. The main character is looked down upon because of a limb deformity and she has to learn to survive on her own. Students are making connections, predictions, and inferences as they read the book. 

The Middle School class has been working on “Read Works, a website that tailors the program based on individual interests and student reading level. Students read the selections and answer 10 questions at the end of each reading. All students in grades 7-12 are encouraged to read weekly to build speed, fluency, and comprehension.

After School/Dorms

Mr. Christian is prepping the Forensics Team for competition in April, while Mr. Taylor continues to expose students to the latest technology in Tech Club. The dorm staff help with homework as needed during our nightly homework time. If the student has no homework, they read, write, work on computer skills, listen to books, express themselves artistically, or research their own areas of interest.

Benefits of Orientation and Mobility – Miss Penny, COMS, TSVI

I cannot tell you the number of times I have had to explain what O&M means, and then what that entails. Use the link to read a good article called the: Benefits of Orientation and Mobility, from Texas School for the Blind.  Hopefully, it is helpful.

FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences)

The 5th-hour FACS class, or “Lunch Bunch” cook their own lunch every Tuesday. Cooking and eating were enjoyed immensely.

A student uses a spatula to flip his ham and cheese sandwich on the tabletop griddle.

Students using a spatula to toast a ham and cheese sandwich.
After cooking the meat, a student starts assembling the tacos.

Student making tacos.


Transition students had two favorite activities this winter: floor hockey and dancing. The floor hockey photo is a little blurred because the students were moving fast!  The students love to line dance, fast dance, and do the two-step, which is pictured below right.

Students holding sticks and playing field hockey in the gym.  Students paired up in two's, in the KSSB gym, practicing the waltz dance.

Life Skills

February has been filled with cooking, Valentine’s, and Snow Days for the Life Skills class. We made and bagged Valentine popcorn treats to send home to our families on Valentine’s day. We also baked, bagged and delivered oatmeal, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies to the security and maintenance staff in appreciation for keeping us safe during all the winter weather we have been experiencing. Thanks again!!

Image 1: (on left) Student scooping sugar with a measuring cup from a container into a bowl. Image 2: (on right) Student sitting in his wheelchair being assisted hand underhand to open a microwave, along with another student standing next to them holding a paper bag and smiling.

Student getting sugar from a container and putting it into a green bowl. Student sitting in his wheelchair being assisted hand under hand to open a microwave, along with another student standing next to them holding a paper bag and smiling.


Several of the Transition students are preparing to leave the program and enter the workforce at the end of the school year. They have begun to apply for jobs and transportation services in their home communities. All resumes and letters of recommendations are up to date, so students are learning to fill out online job applications. Some students are beginning to look for summer work experiences in their home communities. They are trying to decide what activities will help them stay busy, learn some skills, and perhaps put some money in their pockets over the summer.

The entire Transition group is working on their interview skills. They are learning about the most common questions and working on providing clear, concise answers. Lots of practice will help them answer questions smoothly and help them overcome some of the nervousness surrounding interviews. The transition group is also working on cooking skills. This week they made fajitas for lunch and muffins for the coffee cart. Learning to feel comfortable around the stove and oven are important skills to master before attempting to live on your own.

A student uses tongs to remove cooked fajita meat out of a hot pan before placing it in a large Ziploc bag that a teacher is holding open.

Student removing cooked meat from a skillet.

Field Services

Field Services was incredibly busy in February. At the beginning of the month, our early childhood team traveled to Austin, TX to attend an Active Learning “Train the Trainer” seminar at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They rounded out the month attending the KDEC (Kansas Division of Early Childhood) conference in Wichita, KS. It was the first year for KSSB to have a booth at this conference, and the team was asked to present and have a booth next year.

The image on the left is the school sign for TSBVI with the word Welcome in lights. The image on the right is the Early Childhood Field Service team members at KDEC.

Large School Street Sign with Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Words WelcomeField Service Early Childhood Specialists standing in front of a table a blue table cloth and KSSB Logo. Books and equipment on display on the table.

Another team member has been traveling the state, attending teacher interview days on college campuses. She is sharing information on how to start a career working with children with visual impairments. Kylie attended Pittsburg State University teacher interview day to meet potential candidates interested in pursuing graduate work to become Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments or O&M Specialists. Kylie is an alumnus of Pittsburg State.

Image: Kylie stands in her booth Image of KSSB booth at Pittsburg State University a

Field Services Specialist standing by a table with a display containing images of KSSB and information.

Image: KSSB Table Display at Kansas State University

A KSSB Display table at Kansas State and the words K-State Wildcats on the wall above the Table Display.

Regional Braille Challenge – Derby Kansas and KSSB Campus

The biggest event for Field Services, especially in Derby, Kansas, was organizing and running the Regional Braille Challenges in the state. KSSB hosts one Challenge on campus, and the second site is in Derby, KS. Students range in age from early elementary school through high school. It was a snowy day on February 15th in Kansas City, but March 2nd gave us beautiful weather for a great challenge in Derby, KS.

Image: A high school student is focused during one of her Challenge sessions, actively typing on her Brailler.
Student sitting in front of braille writer.

Image: Another student is listening to a reading – through headphones in preparation for a reading comprehension test.

Student listening to headphones and a braille writer sitting on table in front of her.

Image: A student checks the settings on her Braille Notetaker before starting her work.

Student sitting at a table with braille writer in front of her.

COMS Street Crossing Practice – Wichita

Our orientation and mobility specialists had a street crossing training in Wichita at the end of the month. It was well attended and everyone had a great time! Image: 16 orientation and mobility specialists pose for a group picture at the street crossing training in Wichita, March 28, 2019.
16 orientation and mobility specialists posing for a pictures - holding their canes.


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