Superintendent’s Corner – September 2020

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!  Despite the pandemic, VSDB has had a smooth start to the new school year! Students arrived to campus for Registration Day on August 16th in preparation for the first day of school, Monday, August 17th.  VSDB opened providing five days a week in-person instruction in order to meet the needs of its diverse and complex population.  After months of the campus being quiet and empty, VSDB was alive again with students and employees!  Everyone was happy to be back and to have the opportunity to see friends and get back to the business of learning!

Many hours went into the planning and reopening of VSDB.  VSDB’s COVID-19 team worked diligently to address student, parent, employee, and community concerns, and to develop the VSDB Health and Instructional Mitigation Plans.  The plans were developed with every aspect in mind to support a safe, healthy learning and working environment to the greatest extent possible.  The team worked closely with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) and the local Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to ensure compliance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as well as those set forward by the VDOE and VDH.  The team examined all aspects of “a day in the life of a student” as well as “a day in the life of an employee” and established processes and procedures to support a safe return for everyone.  The VSDB Health and Instructional Mitigation Plans are a work in progress and are updated as needed given new information and guidance.  The Plans can be found on the homepage of the VSDB website.

VSDB looks forward to a great school year and is confident that with teamwork with parents, employees, and the community, that VSDB students will be served effectively during these challenging times.  Please review the VSDB website for more information regarding VSDB programs and services as well as the COVID-19 resources that are posted and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Here is to a great 2020-2021 school year!



Pat Fahed Trice


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Extraordinary Awards for an Extraordinary Student

The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) congratulates one of its 2020 graduates, Taode Ogden, for his high academic achievements during his tenure at VSDB!  During Taode’s  last two years at VSDB, in addition to his classes at VSDB, he also attended the regional Governor’s School for part of the day, where he excelled in his studies. Taode earned three additional academic seals for his hard work:
  • The Board of Education Seal
  • The Board of Education’s Seal for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
  • The Board of Education’s Seal of Advanced Mathematics and Technology.  

Taode has been accepted and plans to attend the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in Rochester, New York.  Taode, best wishes and good luck!  VSDB is proud of YOU!

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Expanded Core Curriculum – Learning for Life!

Join us for a webinar –

Expanded Core Curriculum – Learning for Life!

for families of children with blindness or vision impairment, birth through elementary school

June 25, 2020, 4:00 – 5:15 pm

Register now at:

(you may have to cut and paste this into your browser)

Registration deadline is noon, June 22, 2020. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Join us as we explore the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).  Learn how your family can start early in sharing concepts and skills from the ECC with your children throughout normal, daily activities!

Some of the areas uniquely affected by impaired vision and included in the ECC are:

  • Sensory Efficiency: Using all senses to access information in an efficient manner;
  • Orientation & Mobility: Navigating independently and safely by knowing one’s position relative to other people, objects and places;
  • Social Interaction: Learning how to behave in social situations without the benefit of non-verbal cues;
  • Recreation & Leisure: Participating in physical activity and learning how to plan for and incorporate social and leisure time in one’s schedule; and
  • Independent Living: Taking care of oneself as independently as possible.

Target Audience:  Parents of children with blindness or vision impairments and professionals.  The focus is on children from birth through elementary school, but all are welcome.

This webinar is sponsored by Education Services of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired and Outreach Services of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind.

We hope you can join us!

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Working Toward Continuity of Learning: Children with Blindness or Visual Impairment

Join us for a webinar!

Resources for Educators Working Toward Continuity of Learning:

Children with Blindness or Visual Impairment

 April 16th, 2020

3:00 – 4:30

 hosted by the VI Consortium, GMU

PRESENTERS:        Wanda Council, Virginia Department of Education;

Kim Avila, VI Consortium, GMU;

Caren Phipps, Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired; and

Debbie Pfeiffer, VSDB Outreach Services

Please Register for this Webinar at:

(if needed, copy and paste in browser)

OBJECTIVES:         To share information and resources that may be useful during this extraordinary time when teachers are working from home and serving children and families who are in their homes.  1.5 hours of participation CEUs

TARGET AUDIENCE:  Educators and related service providers working with children, ages birth through grade 12, with blindness or visual impairment.

Registrants will receive an email confirmation on April 16 with connection information for joining the webinar.

 This Webinar is sponsored by the VI Consortium at GMU; the VA Department of Education, the VA Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, and VSDB Outreach Services.  Questions should be directed to Dr. Debbie Pfeiffer at

We hope you can join us! 

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Passing of VSDB’s Former Superintendent

It is with great sadness that we share of the passing of VSDB former Superintendent, Sheldon Melton (1978-1991). Superintendent Melton was instrumental in VSDB’s 175th Anniversary, assisting in the opening of the time capsule that had been buried in front of Main Hall. He spoke at that time of his goal of trying to get the students home more often and shared a story of putting a toy “ET” doll in the time capsule to represent his efforts for the students to “go home” more often.

Superintendent Melton was a leader who is remembered fondly by VSDB for his dedication and commitment to the students, families, staff, and to the mission of VSDB. Please see the link below for visitation and funeral information. The visitation will be this Sunday from 2-4:00pm at Henry Funeral Home and the funeral will be Monday at 1:00pm.…/Sheldon-Melton/Memories

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