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
Welcome to the second semester of this school year and to the new year, 2020!
With the start of the new year, VSDB welcomed students and staff back to campus from the holiday break and the campus has been buzzing ever since!
The start of the 2019-2020 school year highlighted the 180th birthday of VSDB. As the oldest school in the nation to serve both the Deaf and the Blind and as the second oldest school in the nation to serve the Deaf, VSDB is proud of its heritage and beautiful historic campus! This year, the campus has been busy with long awaited renovations of several of these treasured buildings. The Infirmary will soon return to its home in the newly renovated Bradford Hall. This historic mansion has been redesigned to better meet the needs of the students and the infirmary staff. Everyone is excited for the grand rededication later this school year of one of VSDB’s iconic historical features.
In addition to renovations occurring in Bradford Hall, Battle Hall, one of the older residential halls, is also experiencing renovations. Historic Battle Hall, is best remembered as one of the residential halls that served the Blind Department. It holds fond memories for many of the alumni and now will glisten with new flooring and other updated features.
As VSDB strives to increase awareness of its unique programs and services throughout the Commonwealth, marketing efforts continue with the development of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that will air close to the start of the 2020-2021 school year. These PSAs will feature small video clips highlighting many of the wonderful programs and services offered at VSDB. at no cost to students, within Virginia, who are blind/vision impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, deafblind, or deaf or blind with other disabilities. Information packets will be posted on the website or mailed to individuals upon request.
Aligned with the Governor’s Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) initiatives, VSDB will be working with VDOE and other resources to support an enhanced preschool and kindergarten readiness program. VSDB’s Outreach program will be an integral part of this initiative.
The VSDB sports programs continues to provide students with opportunities to be a part of a team and to develop confidence and skills beyond expectations. VSDB is proud to be a leader in the effort to develop a national Blind Soccer league. The VSDB Blind Soccer team is one of two in the nation and has partnered with Maryland School for the Blind in an effort to expand the sport nationwide. Thanks to funding from the VSDB Foundation Board, the VSDB Blind Soccer team will have the equipment they need to take Blind Soccer to the next level! Go VSDB!
VSDB Family Engagement Specialist, Julie Saum in collaboration with several other departments at VSDB, continue to bring families together in an effort to support students at VSDB. Family ASL classes, held on campus have grown in popularity and are expanding for this semester! The first ever, ASL Family Dinner Night was recently held on campus and was a huge success! The goal of the event was to provide families an opportunity to practice what they have learned in the ASL classes in a safe ASL setting. The evening started with a spaghetti dinner and included a family ASL workshop for all. Approximately 75 people were in attendance! Look for more Family Engagement activities in the future!
VSDB is proud of its unique programs and services that it offers. VSDB is the place where students are not the only one, but one of many. As students of VSDB, they benefit from the expertise, accessibility, and the community that makes VSDB a leader in the field of education for those students who are deaf and/or blind. This semester promises to be a busy one but one full of learning opportunities and successes!
As always, thank you for your support and interest in VSDB, where students DO….GROW…and BECOME the best they can be!