Welcome to Overbrook School for the Blind
Celebrating 181 Years of Educational Excellence

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Special Announcements

Director’s Message
September, 2014

It is with sincere enthusiasm that I write this year’s “Welcome Back” letter to all of our students, parents, guardians, teachers, staff and partners in the Overbrook School for the Blind community.

While some of you may be sad that summer vacation is over, there is always a certain air of excitement about the start of a new school year. There are, and will be big changes to our campus. This summer, we refurbished the historic main building and cloisters by beginning the installation of an entirely new roof and as of this date, four cupolas have almost been restored with one more to go. The most dramatic change on campus can be seen at the front entrance of the school where we ripped out the crumbling steps in preparation for a new entrance that will ultimately be historically accurate. We also finished all of the requirements from the Philadelphia Historical Commission to tear down the old pool building, and we’re happy to report that work there is almost complete.

Inside, the Early Childhood Summer Program, the Overbrook Summer Program, and the Elementary Extended School Year Program all completed their work, and the Transitional Vocational Initiative served nine students, four from OSB and five from public schools, who lived here on campus for approximately two weeks working on the skills they need to be gainfully employed.

Summer ended on a high note with a great guest speaker for our staff Professional Development Day. Ms. Annette Reichman, an accomplished professional in the field serving as the Liaison/Director, Office of Special Institutions in the U.S Department of Education, spoke to the OSB staff about employment opportunities for the visually and hearing impaired. Ms. Reichman spoke of her responsibilities overseeing the American Printing House for the Blind and Gallaudet University. She shared the fascinating story about the challenges she faced as a visually impaired and hearing impaired child, and she inspired and motivated everyone with her story. In the future, we are hopeful that Ms. Reichman will provide us with updates on what’s happening in Washington as it relates to our students and services.

Looking ahead, while we’re opening our doors to an enrollment of 195 students on campus, we’re expanding our scope by providing services to dozens more through a local school district and charter schools. Our creative EIO staff began this program last year, and it’s grown so much that we, and the OSB Board of Trustees, have established a full-time itinerant position to serve a number of charter schools and the Springfield school district. This year, we will also wrap up our Strategic Planning process, which recommits us to the task of preparing our students, expanding our programs, and reaching new populations. And in October, we will host the first-ever “Overbrook Experience,” a benefit to support Overbrook’s very own Farm to Table program and future on-campus greenhouse.

The 2014-2015 school year looks very busy with programs and projects to grow, expand and improve our campus and the educational opportunities for our students who are blind and visually impaired.

Welcome to our 183rd school year!

Sincerely,
Gerald Kitzhoffer
Executive Director and CEO

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