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About ISBVI

Excellence + Vision



The Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is nationally and internationally recognized for its excellence and best practices in educating children and young adults who are blind or have low vision. The School is a critical resource for Indiana’s children who are blind or have low vision and the teachers, parents, and caregivers who work with them. Every year, we educate hundreds of children and young adults ranging from 3 to 22 years old and living in all parts of Indiana, many of whom, due to severe or multiple disabilities, other schools in the state have difficulty serving or cannot serve.
Student in classroom listening to the teacher

Boy outside in front of a tree.




Our highest wish is to connect with and serve more children, families, teachers, and schools throughout Indiana thereby furthering our national prominence as a center of excellence for the education of children who are blind and visually impaired.







In working to achieve this vision, the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) offers several ways to connect with our academic, supportive, and recreational programs. ISBVI offers:
  • A residential academic program – including preschool, elementary school, and high school – that meets Indiana state educational standards and is located on the beautiful ISBVI campus in Indianapolis;
  • Outreach programs on ISBVI’s campus for students, educators, parents, and caregivers who go to school, work, or live in other parts of Indiana;
  • Outreach programs and services offered at schools and in communities throughout the state of Indiana.

In 2008, the School completed a progressive, 10-year strategic plan that outlines a set of actions designed to reorder the School and its outreach programs in a way that makes the School even more accessible to students, parents, educators, and other professional across Indiana. Implementation of the School’s Strategic Plan: 2008 -2018 will establish the School as a center of excellence in the education of children who are blind and visually impaired. 


Educational + Professional + Life Success

Through these paths that each connect back to ISBVI’s exceptional resources and expertise, children, parents, and our peer educators are supported to achieve educational, professional, and life successes:
  • An ISBVI experience gives children who are blind or have low vision a sense of self-confidence and peer acceptance that is unique and critical. 
  • ISBVI’s outreach initiatives provide a multitude of services to students throughout the state who are blind or have low vision and not enrolled at the school. 
  • ISBVI offers training and resources to support educators throughout the state who work with children who are blind or have low vision – supporting their professional development and service to their students.
  • ISBVI works with parents of children and young adults who are blind or have low vision, supporting and partnering with them in meeting the myriad challenges and possibilities their families face.

Academics

The Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired educates on-site approximately 175 students in grades preschool through high school with students ranging from 3 to 22 years of age.

The School's focus as an educational institution to this unique population is two fold: first to teach blind students or those who have low vision how to master the Indiana core curriculum at the level identified on each student's Individual Education Plan and also to work with each student through an expanded core curriculum, one that teaches students how to navigate their physical, social and personal world.


Teaching in classroom with student at computer
Elementary School

The elementary school at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired educates over 60 students in preschool to grade 5. A small class size, hands on activities and highly trained educators create an atmosphere that allows a student who is blind or has low vision the chance to thrive.

The highly trained teachers are trained both in Indiana's core curriculum as well as the unique needs of a blind or low vision student. In addition to working on educational core curriculum (math, science, language arts, etc.) the students participate in activities that entertain as well as prepare them socially. Elementary students participate in activities that include field days, cooking classes, therapeutic horseback riding, visits to the Indianapolis Opera Company, working farms and the Storytelling Festival.

The campus at ISBVI includes a greenhouse, pool, and sprawling grounds with paths that are safe and have easy access to the Monon Trail, one of the State's most beloved greenpaths.





Teacher working with teenage student
Middle School + High School

The middle and high schools at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired educates over 100 students in grades 6 through 12. The School provides an educational framework designed for the older student at ISBVI that provides instruction on basic academic subjects as well as preparing the student for independent living.

The Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides opportunities for community based instruction by organizing and participating in various programs in community environments. Students at the ISBVI may attend classes at North Central High School in a broader range of academic and vocational subjects. Assistive technology instruction trains students to compete at an even level with their sighted peers.








Extracurricular activities, including but not limited to: wrestling; cheerleading; swimming; forensics; track and field; scouts; and various clubs play an important role in enhancing the student's self esteem and provide opportunities for the students to develop teamwork skills.


Short Course

Short Course is an innovative, immersion program available to students in grades K – 12 who attend schools throughout Indiana. Students may attend school on ISBVI’s campus for a one or two weeks a month, as determined appropriate by a student’s Annual Case Conference (ACR) and/or short course staff. 

Summer Enrichment

Summer School provides instruction by teachers of the visually impaired to students going into grades 5 - 9 to enhance their vision specific skills. Emphasis has been on the Expanded Core Curriculum math and language arts enrichment. Questions can be directed to Jay Wilson at (317) 253-1481 ext. 140.

EYH Summer Camp

See Outreach 'Events' for more details.

STEP – Student Training And Employment Program

The STEP program is a unique and exciting program that gives students who are blind or visually impaired an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of finding and keeping a job. The program is operated by the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Bosma Enterprises. Students must be residents of Indiana; age 16 – 21; exhibit independent, age-appropriate self-help, daily living, and social interactions; and can commit to one complete session. Please see the enclosed brochure for more details. Questions can be directed to Judy Reynolds at (317) 253-1481 ext. 307.

Expertise + History

Our primary asset as an institution of learning is our dual ability to:
  1. Teach students who are blind or have low vision and who may experience other handicaps how to master the Indiana core curriculum and meet state standards at the level identified on each student’s Individual Education Plan 
  2. Through our expanded core curriculum, teach students how to navigate their physical, social, and personal worlds.


Expertise

Over the past 150 years, the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) has developed substantial and unique expertise regarding the education of students who are blind and visually impaired. Specifically, the School’s experience in and knowledge about how to help students who are blind or have low vision master core curriculum in the context of exposing these students to expanded core curriculum that teaches them how to navigate their physical, social, and personal worlds is unparalleled in the state. As such, the School has at its disposal a set of unique educational assets and resources that – through the development of an appropriate institutional structure – can be accessed and used by local educators to substantially improve the education of all of Indiana’s children who are blind or have low vision.

The School’s vision is to provide diverse and salient opportunities for students, educators, and families to access and benefit from these resources. This vision is not a new direction for the School; rather, it is a logical and strategic next step that builds upon the School’s existing capacity. The capacity the School has built as an institution of learning can now be strategically directed and invested in ways that expand its ability to reach more children, their families, and the educators with whom these children work.

The School is poised to serve as a center of educational excellence and a broker of best practices research and training for educators, students, and families – which will have the effect of significantly improving the educational experiences and lives of children who are blind or have low vision. ISBVI has identified the necessary institutional structure to achieve this vision. This structure is identified in the School’s Strategic Plan 2008 – 2018. In order to put this structure in place, the School requires an investment of financial capital.


Testimonials

Parents value the unique work of the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Below is a sample of testimonials from ISBVI parents:

When my daughter first started attending ISBVI, she did not speak a word of English. The School helped set a foundation for an impressive academic career. After years attending ISBVI, she is now at the top of her class at Fishers Junior High. - Ravi Pinnamenini

I credit ISBVI with giving my son life skills beyond the actual academic training. He feels wonderful and comfortable at the school. I feel that the educators at ISBVI do whatever it takes to make the children successful, of course sometimes we redefine what it means to be successful. - Michelle Barrett


Black and white photo of students from original school.

History

History The Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired was established in 1847. The School has grown into an institution that provides educational resources that include both a residential program and a day school, outreach services, and consultative services to those in local agencies.



Black and white photo of old school downtown


Leadership

Indiana School for the Blind & Visually Impaired is one of the largest schools for the blind and visually impaired in the country, in terms of its student population. ISBVI is frequently recognized nationally by peer schools for its best practices. ISBVI’s Superintendent has over 30 years of experience in various capacities in the field of educating children and young adults who are blind or have low vision. And, he sits on the Board of Directors of the Council of Schools for the Blind – of which all schools for the blind and visually impaired in the U.S. are members – where he is able to participate in the sharing of innovative and best practices and the development of national standards. 


Because of its strong national reputation, ISBVI is frequently able to attract highly qualified administrators and educators who add substantial value to the School. And, the School attracts students from other states whose parents move to Indiana specifically so their children can attend the ISBVI.

Residential

The Residential Program at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides boarding for students who are Indiana residents (K through 22 years old) - who live beyond a reasonable distance to be transported to school on a daily basis and is designed to nurture the students physical and educational needs.



Boy at window

Dorm Life

The benefits of living on the beautiful ISBVI grounds include residential staff who provide assistance based on student's daily care and special needs, access to recreational activities, and on site health services and meals. Students prosper socially and learn independent living skills. Residential students stay on campus five nights a week.








Little girl swinging in tire swing.

Semi-Independent Living

Semi-Independent Living The Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers a semi-independent living program for students enrolled at the school who will benefit from a more formal opportunity to develop independent living skills. The program is designed to provide skills essential to a healthy, safe and personally fulfilling life. Throughout the program students learn skills such as meal planning and shopping, cleaning, budgeting, emergency plan and conflict resolution.







Two teenage boys talking outside

Recreation

The recreation and activities department at ISBVI is essential to the School's success. Monthly recreational schedules include evening activities including shopping at local stores and movie nights as well as access to the School's pool and art department. ISBVI prides itself on offering the students a large range of extracurricular activities including but not limited to: track, goalball, cheerleading, wrestling and forensics. 



  


Health Services

The health center at the ISBVI provides general health maintenance including routine medical evaluations, first aid and a highly trained and skilled staff who provide medical intervention for students with medical considerations. A member of the health center is available to care for students 24 hours a day.-