Quarterly Meeting Minutes (Thursday, October 27, 2011)

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired
408 White Street
Daytona Beach, FL 32114


Paul Edwards, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:45 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:  Paul Edwards, Jesus Garcia, Henry Alexander, Bruce Miles, Ted Hull,  Vicky Magliocchino, Andrew Raines, Christopher White, Donté Mickens, Dan O’Connor, Joe Minichiello, Paul Kaminsky, Michele Polland, Sylvia Stinson-Perez,
Sue Townsend and Joyce Hildreth.  Gloria Mills represented NFB.

Council Members Absent:  Sheryl Brown and Ben Grzesik
Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff: Antionette Williams, Wayne Jennings, Jim Woolyhand

Interpreters:  Grace Daily and Keonna Evans

A motion to adopt the Agenda as written was seconded and passed.

District Administrator’s Report

Jim Woolyhand presented the Council with an overview of activities in district five and its relationship with the local CRPs.

Employer Recognition

Mr. Woolyhand, District Administrator gave the Council a summary of LLC, Industries and its relationship with the district.  On behalf of LLC, Industries, Will Ryan, Production Supervisor and Marisa O. Chrismon, PHR, VP Human Resources, accepted a plaque of appreciation for employing individuals with visual disabilities.

Photos were taken of Mr. Ryan and Ms. Chrismon with Ms. Hildreth, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Woolyhand.

Library Overview

Susan Roberts, Bureau Chief presented the Council with an overview of the Library and assured them it was on solid ground. 

Ms. Roberts answered questions asked by the Council as follows:

Morning Break

Director’s Report

Ms. Hildreth’s report included the following:

Legislative issues:

Needs Assessment:

Ms. Hildreth asked Antionette Williams to speak about the Needs Assessment. The document was sent to the Council last week. The assessment will be included in the next submission of the State Plan and is available upon request.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that a number of the recommendations made were currently being done.

Ms. Hildreth informed the council that as part of the reorganization, DBS combine the caseload for the babies, children and seniors into one caseload versus two.  She stated that vacant positions across the state were reassigned to reduce caseloads and whenever a vacancy occurs, DBS reassess the average caseload per district and reassigns the position to the district with the highest. Originally the goal was to keep the caseloads between 70 and 80; now the goal is between 50 and 60 per counselor.  She stated that when any position becomes vacant within the state, DBS senior management pulls data and reassigns or reclassifies the position to meet the greatest need.

Paul Edwards voiced his concern and asked if DBS was monitoring the impact of the combined positions, especially the children’s counselors.

Ms. Williams informed the Council that DBS added the combined children and adult caseload to the Quality Assurance efforts and looking at ways to efficiently monitor the caseload. 

Council Appointments:

Ms. Hildreth informed the Council of a Technical Assistance Communication (TAC) that the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) sent out to all the state directors.  It addressed the state rehabilitation councils and appointments.  In the past DBS allowed Council members to continue to serve and funded travel expenses after their term expired. 

The TAC clearly states that when a member’s term is up and there is not an appointment or reappointment made, the division can not fund it and the individual can not serve or vote. 

After discussion on the issue of appointments, Jesus moved that Paul Edwards compose a letter, with the Council’s concerns about appointments, to the Governor.  Motion received a second.

Ms. Hildreth asked the Council to consider including letters from DVR, SILC and FRC to be provided to the Commissioner to support his recommendation to the Governor.

Jesus moved to amend his motion accordingly.  Motion received a second.
The Council agreed it would rather the appointments be made by the Governor so it would maintain its importance at the state level; and only delegated to the Commissioner as an alternative.

The amended motion affirms that Paul Edwards compose a letter to the Commissioner of Education asking that he intervene with the Governor to resolve the issue concerning appointments.
Motion passed.

Ms. Hildreth updated the Council on DBS’ strategies to improve the outcome and approaches in employment.   She stated that DBS now includes job readiness in the contracts with CRPs as well as opened up the Employment Opportunity Program training.  Also, DBS is offering the districts and CRPs to work collaboratively on job placements.   The DBS counselor will still be responsible for job development and placement of their clients.

Lunch Break

Meeting resumed at 1:00 PM.


Michelle Polland took the lead on the presentation with Suzanne Dalton, Leanne Grillot and JoAnn Carrin joining via teleconference.

Ms. Dalton is the Supervisor at Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired (FIMC) in Tampa.  Her contact info is:  (813) 837-7826 or (800) 282-9193 and her e-mail address is: sdalton@fimcvi.org .

Ms. Grillot is the Program Specialist for the Blind/Visually Impaired Ι Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing Ι Dual Sensory Impaired with the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services in Tallahassee.  Her contact info is: (850) 245-0478 and her e-mail is: Leanne.Grillot@fldoe.org

Ms. Carrin is the Communications Director with DBS in the State Office.  Her contact info is: (850) 245-7858.  Her e-mail address is: JoAnn.Carrin@dbs.fldoe.org

Ms. Polland informed the Council she will retire next year and surmises that Ms. Grillot will be her successor on the Council.

Ms. Polland read each question provided by Mr. Edwards for response.

Question 1.  How are we doing at assuring that on line courses required by students are accessible?  Does Hadley offer high school credit for its courses?


Question 2.  What about progress in the area of accessible electronic testing?  As we move to electronic FCAT, will it be fully accessible?   If not, why not?  If so, how will mathematics be handled for students who can not read print or Braille?  How will we handle inaccessible elements?  If the test is fully accessible, will we make FCAT waivers harder to get?  How?


Question 3.  We are on notice that we are moving to paperless text books.  Where are we with regard to accessibility of that process?  What is FIMC doing?  Are there problems on the horizon of which we need to be aware?  Are all publishers managing acceptable NIMAS?  Do these include descriptions of diagrams? Is NIMAS sufficient unto the day or do we need a standard that requires more?


Question 4.   What is the state of Braille teaching in Florida? We have Braille laws and requirements that are part of IDEA.  Are these being enforced or monitored?  How are violations being dealt with, if there are any?  Would we know if there were?  What can be done to create more universal access to Braille instruction?


Question 5.  What is known about the qualifications of teachers specifically assigned to teach blindness skills?  In some districts, many teachers are getting to the point where they are retiring.  We are told that there is a huge shortage of qualified teachers. Is this reflected in out-of-field appointments?  What are we doing to assure more training for these out-of-field teachers?  Are we doing anything to assure that districts hire in-field teachers, when possible?

Question 6.  We would like to know about access technology provision by districts or the state, perhaps through quota funds.  There are three entities with responsibilities for technology provision as students’ transition.  The school system, DBS and post-secondary educational institutions.  How are we working to create and foster smooth transition of technology for blind students?

Conklin Center

Robert Kelly gave the Council an overview of the Conklin Center.

Bureau of Client Services Update

Antionette Williams reported the following information:

Data for the first quarter (July 1, 2011 thru September 30, 2011)
Total number served - 3,691
Successful closures - 116
Unsuccessful closures – 305
Legally blind closures – 34
Other visual impairments – 41
Totally blind closures – 9
Closed as result of restoration – 31
Veterans closed – 17

Lynn Ritter addressed two policies provided to the Council earlier.

New policy #2.28 – Written verification that original or amended plan has been signed by all parties prior to execution of services.

It was suggested the addition of “contract” in the last sentence between the words “provide and services”.

Motion to accept the policy was seconded and passed.

Policy #10.9 – Identification Cards

A motion to defer discussion of policy #10.9 until the January meeting received a second and passed.

Mission and Vision Statements

A motion to approve the following Mission statement was seconded and passed.   
“The Florida Rehabilitation Council is committed to increasing employment, enhancing independence, and improving the quality of life for Floridians who are blind or visually impaired.”
Vision: Ms. Dill read FRC’s Vision Statement –
“Partnering to create opportunities to employ all people with disabilities in competitive jobs of their choice.”
After discussion Mr. Edwards appointed an ad hoc committee consisting of Christopher White, Sylvia Stinson-Perez and himself.  The committee will review other states Vision Statements and create a statement to be sent out the middle of December for review by the Council.  It will be voted on during the January meeting.

Approval of Annual Report and July Minutes

A motion for acceptance of the July 2011 minutes was seconded with no discussion.  Minutes were accepted unanimously.

A motion for acceptance of the 2011 Annual Report was seconded with no discussion.  Annual Report was accepted unanimously.

Agenda Items for January 2012 quarterly meeting in Tallahassee (One day meeting)

Florida Outreach Program – Emily Taylor Snell (need to invite)
Employer Award
Election of Officers
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Agenda Items for next Meeting
Location of January 2013 meeting and date
Director’s Report
Bureau of Client Services Update w/ Policies for review (Policy #10.9)
District Administrator Report
Client Satisfaction Survey
Local CRP
Vision Statement
New VR Director - Aleisa McKinlay

Mr. Kelly informed the Council the 2013 Vision Summit would probably be held in February.

Re-address July 2012 meeting location  (item moved from Friday’s agenda)

A motion to move the meeting to Jacksonville received a second and passed.

Dates remain July 25, 26 & 27.

Business meeting adjourned at 2:55 PM

FRCB minutes continued

Friday, October 28, 2011

Paul Edwards, Chair called the meeting to order at 8:35 AM.

Council Members Present:  Paul Edwards, Ted Hull,  Jesus Garcia, Henry Alexander, Bruce Miles, Dan O’Connor, Paul Kaminsky, Vicky Magliocchino, Andrew Raines, Christopher White, Donté Mickens, Joe Minichiello, Michelle Polland, Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Sue Townsend and Joyce Hildreth.  Gloria Mills represented NFB.

Council Members Absent:  Sheryl Brown and Ben Grzesik
Council Staff: Phyllis Dill

DBS Staff: Antionette Williams, Wayne Jennings, Ed Hudson

Interpreters:  Grace Daily and Keonna Evans

Rehab Center Update

Ginger Lancaster, PA and Ed Hudson brought the Council up to speed on the Rehab Center.

Ms. Hildreth informed the Council that DBS recently purchased 5 MAC computers.  The intention is for them to “go on the road” around the state.

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB)

Mary Lou Hoffmann-Sitten, Principal presented the Council an overview of FSDB.

Location and Date of October 2012 Meeting

A motion to conduct the October 2012 meeting in Daytona received a second and passed.
The agreed on dates were October 25th and 26th with travel day on October 24th.

Previous/New Business

Mr. Edwards read the Florida Statutes 413.091 pertaining to ID Cards.  After discussion, the Council deferred to the previous motion to readdress Policy 10.9 during the January meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 10:05 AM

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