Welcome to Overbrook School for the Blind
Celebrating 181 Years of Educational Excellence
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Overbrook School for the Blind Family Handbook
Summer 2014 Message from the Executive Director
After a brutal winter and uncertain spring, summer is finally upon us, and what a relief it is.
Summers for teachers and students were traditionally thought to be a time of relaxation, rejuvenation, and retooling. In many ways they still are and at Overbrook they always will beóin the special way that our school does things.
School attendance during the summer is open to all our students, and they are, regardless of their program, a wonderfully diverse group with individual talents, abilities, and needs. Some are blind, some are visually impaired, others have additional challenges, and some are deafblind.
September - June
During the regular school year students are treated as the very special people that they are. Class sizes are small, and students who need one-to-one assistance receive it.
Orientation and Mobility instructors can be seen throughout the campus working with students indoors and out, and beyond the gates, when a student is ready to learn how to navigate the immediate neighborhood on foot, or practice traveling by bus. Physical and Occupational therapy, Speech therapy, Counseling, and Audiology services are available to assist students to perform at their highest level of ability. Older students who qualify live in the White Hall on campus apartments during the week as part of the transition project that concentrates on adult life skills.
Off campus, locally, the Outreach component of the Early Intervention Program (EIP) works with families of babies and young children from birth to three years of age. The International Program serves Chinese educators, whose blind and visually impaired students in China benefit from what their teachers learn with our assistance; and through ON-NET, our International Program addresses local and regional needs related to persons who are blind or visually impaired in Southeast Asia.
On campus, EIPís Early Childhood welcomes children three to six years of age who are having their first full time, on campus school experience. We continue to educate students through the following age-appropriate programs: Elementary, Middle School, High School, and School to Work. Additionally, through the Work Experience Program, qualified students are employed on and off campus.
How does this differ from what is available on campus for our students in the summer?
July and August
Mostly the difference lies in balances. For instance, when itís not alarmingly hot, there are more opportunities to work and play outside. Play? Yes, of course. We believe that learning is fun and further we believe that we have the obligation to help our students experience the pleasure that comes from learning new things. So, there is music, picnics, field trips, and more. But there are those things during the regular school year, too. The structures are somewhat different between ďregularĒ and summer, but in both instances, the students are the primary focus of all endeavors and all is done within the parameters of each studentís Individual Education Plan.
Through the Transition Vocational Initiative (TVI), which is funded by Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, qualified OSB High School and School to Work students with qualified students from other schools live on campus for approximately two weeks during the summer working on the skills that we all need to be gainfully employed.
During the summer, for education staff that work on campus, there is still time to relax, rejuvenate, and recreate; and this is true for the students as well. The advantages of teaching and studying during the summer lie in the maintaining of educational continuity, keeping up student skill levels, and continuing the relationships of trust and respect between teachers and students that are established September through June of each year.
My wish for all of us is an enjoyable and productive summer and, come September, an equally enjoyable and productive new school year.