Graphic reading: Kentucky School for the Blind Advisory Board, July 12, 2022

The Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) Advisory Board discussed updates to campus facilities and additional security measures being put in place during its in-person meeting July 12.

KSB is in the process of making various renovations, including installing fencing around campus, updating roofs, replacing HVAC units and lighting, and repaving parking lots and walkways on campus.

John Aaron, operations manager for KSB, shared updates on renovation projects around campus.

A new playground has been ordered but will not arrive until after school starts. Aaron hopes to begin demolition on the old playground as soon as possible.

The new running track is in the final design stages and should be completed by mid-fall. They have begun replacing fencing around campus, which will increase social distancing between the public and students, and provide additional safety for the campus, he said.

Other renovations will include installing new door hardware in classrooms, tinting classroom windows, replacing water heater systems with tankless systems, and replacing sinks in the Scoggin building. Aaron said he hopes to replace the turning circle in the parking lot near the campus entrance by next spring to make access easier for buses and emergency vehicles.

In the wake of the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, KSB Principal Peggy Sinclair-Morris discussed additional security measures at the school.

She said the Kentucky Center for School Safety provided crisis response training to staff on May 25.

KSB also has been in touch with local law enforcement agencies to secure school resource officers (SROs), but due to agencies being short-staffed, finding SROs to cover all three shifts has been a challenge.

During the 2022 legislative session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 63, which requires an SRO on every school campus in Kentucky, with exceptions allowed by the Office of State School Security Marshal. However, the legislature did not appropriate the funds necessary to pay for the positions or put into place the supports for law enforcement to properly train new SROs. 

Sinclair-Morris said it’s important to keep students and staff safe and move away from the mindset that events like school shootings will never happen on campus.

“We need to be vigilant; we need to protect our kids. It’s unfortunate, but this is the way things have to be now,” she said.

Sinclair-Morris also discussed that the advisory board is looking for new applicants to volunteer to serve on the board, so current members may rotate off. The board needs new members representing parents, KSB alumni and community partners. Interested individuals may fill out the form, include a cover letter and resume, and forward it to Carol Ann Morrison.

In other business, the board heard:

  • KSB registration will be held on Aug. 14. Sinclair-Morris said they hope to transition to online registration through Infinite Campus, but also will keep paper documents for the time being. The first day of school is Aug. 15.
  • Sinclair-Morris said they are implementing a new program called Step Back this fall. The Step-back Program has been developed to provide a whole school approach to support educators, caregivers and other professionals to understand their role in supporting children/young people with additional learning needs to become as independent as possible, with a focus on maximizing the child/young person’s independence.
  • KSB will start using a new communication tool for the upcoming school year to increase communication with families. There will be weekly blurbs about what’s happening in classes and sports, and it also will include a counselor’s corner.
  • KSB has started working with the Autism Center at the University of Louisville to provide training for teachers as KSB starts to enroll more students with autism.
  • KSB also is in the process of starting a bowling team. Sixty-seven students have registered so far.
  • Carol Ann Morrison, director in the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Division of State Schools, provided an update on the Parent Involvement Survey. She said KDE is looking to increase parent participation. The survey is open until Sept. 1.