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Education Outcomes and Achievements Meeting Minutes 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meeting Location: Illinois School for the Deaf, Main Building, 1st Floor Conference Room; 125 South Webster Ave Jacksonville, IL
Telephone: (712) 338-8710

Members Participating

Becki Streit
Denise Avant
Marybeth Lauderdale
Jane Breen
Randy Shearburn
John Miller
Shelle Hamer

Review of Notes (11/21/11 Meeting)

ML asked for any additions or revisions to the meeting notes for 11-21-11.

DA: In the notes did we cover how kids at ISD and ISVI compare to kids in public schools?

ML: The problem is that we can’t really get all the kids and the testing results.

DA: I have a question about that later.

BS: I thought the minutes looked great.

ML: Are you ok with the way I added the information I received from ISD and ISVI staff?

BS: That was great.

Assigned Tasks

JB reported that she is still digging for information on the Texas Registry and looking for other information as well. One thing is clear in all her communication we need to decide what information to collect and what we will do with it. JB stated that the information may be out there but ISVI is not part of the data collection or the accuracy of the information. She hopes that whatever we come up with will be the same for all students in Illinois.

ML: BS and SH, I got the info you sent on costs for co-ops and special education services. It’s very good. If you can get more, please send it to us.

SH stated she finds that there are more programs for the deaf/heard of hearing that there are for the visually impaired. She just gave the group what the rates are of the programs she had.

ML: What do you mean?

BS: They don’t take out of district students. I am still waiting to hear from Lake County because they do take students, I will remind her again. None of the schools in the southern part of the state have vision programs, but they have hearing impaired programs. People are busy at the holidays and I will try to send a reminder again after the holidays. I have information about 6 that I will send to Marla Twyford now.

ML: Did you get more information on the database that ISBE is working on?

BS: I don’t remember saying that.

ML: Anyone know who might have said ISBE is working on a data base?

BS: I will follow up on that and send you the information. Part of the problem is small districts don’t put kids down for all their disabilities. The numbers don’t match. We don’t know if school districts will count students the same way.

ML: Would it be a recommendation that data be more accessible/accountable?

BS: Some don’t put down all serving districts

ML: My tasks were to get information from Kathryn Surbeck about assessments and Gail Olson on early intervention. We just got to hire a Hearing/Vision Outreach person for Gail Olson.

SH: Seems to me she mostly talks about babies who are deaf and hard of hearing.

ML: I will have her go back and get the same information for vision impairment. I will ask my group at ISVI to get Gail the information. I did get information from ISVI regarding transition. I will also remind Kris Smith that we need her information.

SH: We won’t know about information from the literacy conference until tomorrow.

BS: I know that I need to get information from deaf/hard of hearing programs around the state about what assessments they use.

ML: For next time Jane Breen will have more information on the Texas Registry. SH will have the literacy information and BS will have the tuition and assessment information.

DA: I will inject my question at this point. In Illinois all kids take tests at certain grades?? I am assuming kids at ISD and ISVI do as well as others throughout the state? Do we have information on how deaf and visually impaired kids score versus other students?

BS: As far as I know there is no information. Do we bug ISBE about this?

DA: It would be good to know our kids are learning the same as other kids.

SH: We have 3 kids (VI-Braille) who are exceptional. Not sure you can compare them to other students.

DA: There are some kids who will score higher or lower. We want to be able to say if it’s an equitable education or are we saying that VI-D/HH kids don’t do as well. If our kids are lacking how do we help them? There may need to be other ways to assess to level the playing field for a good outcome.

SH: Do you compare by grade level? I don’t know if it’s fair to compare kids in wealthier districts against less fortunate districts. We must compare within the school to be valid.

DA: Are we saying we use the same factors as other children or are we saying we don’t know?

BS: That is a really interesting discussion. SH is right about how to compare or trend is a very complex statistical job to handle. How do we communicate what to do with the numbers? Who can be a resource to shape this data analysis? First, we need the database.

ML: Then we say our first recommendation is to identify students and our second recommendation is to get someone to help us determine where the kids are now.

DA: Who at the universities can help and who does this for the state overall?

ML: Perhaps Perkins for the blind and Gallaudet for the deaf/hearing impaired.

BS: We could also use ISU and NIU. Sounds like our groups are looking for this data. Especially post-graduate. We don’t know this information when they are in school let alone once they graduate.

ML: Maybe a recommendation could be to use standard assessment tools everywhere in the state for Blind/VI and Deaf/HH.

BS: This would be good to have so data would be more accurate.

ML: While we were talking Fara Harper joined us.

ML: As far as recommendations go, we have: Some kind of registry; what to collect; data from ISBE; more standard/accurate assessment data. Are there other recommendations you can think of for action or discussion?

BS: Only other thing would be looking at meaningful ways to analyze the data once we get it.

DA: Another piece of the puzzle, especially for visually impaired kids, is could we get information from colleges about how visually impaired or deaf students are doing.

BS: Better data is what happens the second year. That’s a whole other layer of data we can’t get to.

DA: At colleges, we may have to start with state universities.

JB: The California School for the Blind does a longitudinal study but my last one is from 08-09. I will try to get some of their resources.

ML: Gallaudet has that too. I believe it comes through GRI; Gallaudet Research Institute.

JB: I will try to get the most up-to-date study.

ML: We will recommend getting more information about the second year of college from the study.

JB: We should discuss types of information in those reports that might be useful.

BS: Some of those questions might be good to use for our students.

FH: At Gallaudet as a student, they gave us a test at the beginning of our school career and then a post test at graduation. Now I get a yearly survey. Perhaps we could get that information.

JB: The VI reports discuss several criteria covered that address comprehensive levels at various points in time.

ML: Does COSB (Council on Schools for the Blind) include day programs?

SH: Good question. There is a Bureau of Blind Services. Perhaps I can get data from them.

ML: SH that can be your task for next time.

ML: So Jane you can do COSB and I will do GRI. More discussion?

FH: We want to be careful and not compare apples to oranges. Maybe we should try comparing scores when they enter our programs and again when they leave.

ML: We also should consider standardized tests are not nrmed for deaf students which needs to be considered.

SH: It’s understandable that people want to see where our kids compare.

BS: This will be data that bears a second look and determine how to help our kids progress. I feel no one respects or understands norming for deaf/hard of hearing. It may not be the best, but it’s what we’ve got.

DA: That’s what I was referring to, also.

DA: You are stuck with what the State of Illinois uses to measure kids over the state. We can factor in the standard ISAT.

FH: I do not agree. Standard tests do not really address what our students have accomplished. We need to focus on what kids are doing after school to determine success.

BS: Although important, we have to talk about deaf and visually impaired within the confines of what we are given.

FH: Our school will become a dumping ground because we don’t get kids until it’s too late.

BS: Is that your take on this situation?

ML: (clarifies that she is voicing for FH, not expressing her opinion)

BS: That may be true for some but not all. Some kids come to ISD because they want other options even though they are doing well academically. They decide to come to ISD because they are offered choices and opportunities.

JM: I’m curious after listening, is there any way, if students transfer, to measure their progress at the start and finish at ISD/ISVI?

ML: At ISD, we do have the capacity to compare test scores. You saw what Kathryn Surbeck listed as assessments use. We also assess ASL skills. We also use Skyward to record scores, and can use this database to compare.

DA – You probably have kids who have been there since they were five. You can probably compare those kids to kids who come later and see what’s missing as well.

ML: We have scores and could do this. Coming young doesn’t happen often anymore.

JB: I agree that most kids are coming to us much later such as to the TLP programs. We do have some younger students. We can talk about assessments and how students compare to others. I have been involved in testing for many years and it has taken a long time to assess student needs. We have had ISBE here talking about this. We still get wrong information to accommodate students.


  • Data needs to be more accessible and accountable
  • Identify Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Blind/Visually Impaired students in the state
    1. Find assistance in locating where the students are now
    2. A registry is needed to identify students
  • Use standard assessment tools everywhere in the state for blind/visually impaired and deaf/hearing impaired students
  • Determine what data needs to be collected
  • Meaningful way to analyze data collected
  • Get more information about the second year of college

Next Meeting Dates

SH: Can we pick a date for the next meeting?

DA: I would prefer late afternoon.

FH: Yes, please as I don’t want to miss school.

FH: Next year??

The next meeting is scheduled for February 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm. Call-in information will be forwarded prior to the meeting.