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History of the Development of the Statewide System for Vision Services

The creation of the Statewide System for Vision Services is the result of three years of study and planning from 2004 - 2007, directed by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. The planning was a collaborative effort, first conducted through the year long work of the Task Force for Vision Services. Major task force collaborators included the Board of Education, the Board of Regents, the Department for the Blind, the University of Northern Iowa, the Area Education Agencies, Parents, Consumers, and the Iowa Braille School. The Task Force led to the establishment of a Coordinating Council. Coordinating Council reports may be accessed on the Board of Regents website. The Coordinating Council developed a Preferred Future for Vision Services in Iowa statement. The February 2008 Board of Regent docket item 13 created the Statewide System for Vision Services and also implemented the Management Team.

Management Team of the Statewide System for Vision Services:
• Steve Gettel, Superintendent/Administrator for Statewide Vision Services
• Dwayne Ferguson, Legislative Services Agency, Fiscal Services Division
• Richard Sorey, Department for the Blind
• Marty Ikeda, State Department of Education
• Laurabelle Sherman-Proehl, State Department of Education
• Maria Cashman, Director, Grant Wood, Area Education Agency 10

ad hoc members of the Management Team
• Pam Rubel, Regional Director, East (retired)
• Gwen Woodward, Regional Director, West
• Megen Johnson, Department for the Blind

The Goals of the Statewide System for Vision Services include:
• Provide equitable access to a continuum of high quality services for all students in Iowa who are blind and visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities;
• Assure an adequate supply of highly trained teachers and orientation and mobility specialists; 
• Assure adequate and professional supervision, ongoing professional development and equitable job assignments for professionals working with blind and visually impaired students;
• Eliminate duplication in service delivery by creating a seamless coordinated system of services to blind and visually impaired students across multiple funding sources and agencies responsible for this population;
• Maintain a center of excellence in Iowa for discipline specific expertise at Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS).

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