Division on Visual Impairments


A quarterly newsletter from the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Visual Impairments containing practitioner tips for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments, Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and other professionals.

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Page 67 of 89

VIDBE-Q Volume 66, Issue 2 68 March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Community Programs was faced with the need to rapidly pivot to virtual instruction for all of its students. While not without challenges, our work over the past year demonstrates that virtual instruction, when done with committed program leadership and the creativity and collaboration of teachers and parents, can be an effective model of education and support for students with low incidence disabilities. In June 2019, Perkins, through generous philanthropic support, began a pilot project to look at the effectiveness of virtual visits. 5 teachers were trained in a hybrid approach of in-person and virtual visits, and 10 Infant Toddler Program families enrolled into the pilot. Data was collected on family engagement, teacher experience, and cost-savings. We partnered with the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, a neutral third party, to analyze data. Though the project was planned before the pandemic, the lessons learned helped shape and target our professional development to rapidly pivot and scale our program, implementing the new virtual teaching model across Community Programs. We continued our partnership with the Donahue Institute, allowing us to further collect and analyze our data on the effectiveness of virtual teaching, now with a much larger cohort (See figure 1). The initial 2-week period in March 2020 when Massachusetts closed all schools, Community Programs used that time to engage in intensive professional

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