NC ELSSP-VI Newsletter

April 2017

Each child will be honored, respected, and empowered to achieve success in school and life.

North Carolina Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Visual Impairments

NC Department of Public Instruction

Office of Early Learning

April's Quote

The first five years have so much to do with how the next 80 turn out.

-Bill Gates Sr.


Student Pictures Submitted by NC ELSSP-VI Staff

Professional Development Submitted by Lin Causey

Teacher Talk 101 Submitted by Kim Sawyer

Early Learning Progressions Submitted by Bethany Mayo

Vacancy Announcement

2017 Rachel Rawls Award Recipient Submitted by Becky Lowrey

NCCVIB Highlights Submitted by Heather Lister

EGGSplosion Submitted by Jennifer Simmons

Raleigh Playgroup Submitted by Sandy Bryant

Student of the Month Submitted by Sandy Bryant

Director's Spotlight Submitted by Bethany Mayo

Staff Birthdays for April

Photo/Video Credits

Professional Development Opportunities

Big image


Title: Implementing Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE) Hearing Screening and Follow-up:

A Four-Session Interactive Web Class

Topics for the web class include how to:

  • Plan and implement an OAE hearing screening program
  • Explain how OAE screening works
  • Conduct OAE screenings on young children
  • Outline the necessary follow-up steps when a child does not pass the screening
  • Access resources for tracking children through the screening and follow-up protocol
  • Access additional tools and resources that support successful quality improvement

Dates for series: April 24, April 27, May 1, and May 4, 2017

Time: 1 p.m. EST (Sessions approximately 1 hour each)

Sponsor: Office of Head Start
Who Should Attend?
This practical, hands-on skill-development class is intended for individuals working in programs that are committed to providing OAE hearing screening to the young children they serve. Programs are encouraged to have more than one staff member attend the class series to maximize practice and retention of material.

How to Participate There is no cost for the web class, but participants will need to have functional OAE screening equipment and be able to practice screening young children during the session. Advance registration for each participant is required.

Click here for Detailed information and a registration link.

The deadline to register is April 12, 2017.


To learn more, contact the ECHO Initiative at


Classroom Management Supports for ADHD Behaviors in Early Childhood Education Settings

from the National Resource Center on ADHD's "Ask the Expert" free webinar series

Desiree Murray


This webinar is archived, and you can watch it here.

About the webinar: Hyperactive, non-compliant, and disruptive behaviors in the classroom are often challenges for early childhood educators, regardless of whether a young child is diagnosed with ADHD or not. Understanding the rationale for and principles of behavior management and self-regulation approaches can help you support positive development for young children with challenging behaviors using evidence-based strategies.

More about the National Resource Center on ADHD's "Ask the Expert" series


Partnerships for Inclusion: Ensuring Access to High Quality Evaluations and Services

Webinar #1, ECDTL Series on High Quality Inclusion

National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning; The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center


Watch it now. (Also available here.)

Webinar #2 Supporting Participation for all Children: Essential Features of High Quality Inclusion is available here.

Webinar #3 is not yet available.

About webinar #1: FPG senior research scientist Pam Winton moderates a federal panel for the first webinar in the new series on high-quality inclusion from the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning. Research has long demonstrated that high-quality inclusion benefits children with and without disabilities, and that non-inclusive environments can impact learning negatively. Each of the three webinars in this series will focus on one of the three essential features of high quality inclusion: access, participation, and support.

The opening webinar uses the joint policy statement on inclusion from the DEC and the NAEYC to define access as “providing a wide range of activities and environments for every child by removing physical barriers and offering multiple ways to promote learning and development.”

In this webinar, federal leaders address screening, referral, evaluation, and the eligibility process for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) services, as well as resources available for these processes. Participants learn about Response to Intervention (RTI) and its relationship to screening, evaluation, and referral. Additionally, the first webinar covers Head Start policy requiring at least 10 percent of enrollees to be children with disabilities identified under IDEA, as well as each sector's role in ensuring that young children with diagnosed or suspected disabilities receive the evaluations, services, and supports they need to learn and develop to their maximum potential.

Planners designed the webinar to benefit a wide-ranging audience: Head Start directors, disability coordinators, and mental health consultants; local preschool disability coordinators; Pre-K specialists and early interventionists; child care TA specialists; higher education faculty in two- and four-year early childhood programs; and State Part C and 619 coordinators.

Accompanying resources: presentation slides, an early identification chart, and links and descriptions for additional resources.

Related Project(s):

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning

Teacher Talk 101

There have been a couple of news stories that have caught my eye recently. The first is about cornea transplants and the other about color blindness correction. So, in case you missed them, I thought I’d give you a short synopsis.

On February 18th the CBS evening news aired a story in recognition of National Donor Day that was February 14th. Andriana Diaz reported that in China scientists are working on a cornea transplant procedure that uses pig corneas for humans. In China where the population is 1.4 billion, there is a severe shortage of organ donors. After trying many animals, the pig’s cornea was found to be most like a human’s. Doctors have performed 400 cornea transplants using pig corneas with a success rate of 95%. When Dr. Weiyun Shi was asked how patients feel about getting a pig’s cornea, he replied, “We don’t usually say it’s from a pig. We say it’s an engineered product. If we said that, some would refuse it, though others probably wouldn’t care, as long as they’re cured.”

You can read or watch the complete story on

The next story I’d like to tell you about was on FOX news. Ten-year-old Cayson Irlbeck from Johnston, Iowa was born colorblind. A special pair of glasses made by the California based EnChroma company changed Cayson’s world. Video shows Cayson putting the glasses on for the first time. The change was instant. Cayson said, “That was so amazing. It was so colorful. It was weird. I had never seen those colors before but I kind of knew what they were, I don’t know, it was just awesome.” Cayson’s parents said that he hadn’t realized before now that the marshmallows in his Lucky Charms cereal had color on them.

The EnChroma glasses filter out specific colors correcting the red and green overlap that occurs in colorblindness. They cost about 300 dollars and come in several fashionable styles. You can find out more about them at

You can view the emotional video of Cayson and get the complete story on

Early Learning Progressions

The North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five are an expansion of the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development (2013). Learning progressions were developed for each identified goal in four developmental domains, and show the steps through which children develop skills from birth to five years. During the first year of life, progressions are provided for skills achieved at two-month intervals; during the second year, three-month intervals; and from thirty-six to sixty months, skills are noted at six-month intervals. The comprehensive observation guidelines include age level, skill being observed, situation for observation of skills, strategies for eliciting the skill, if needed, what observed behavior indicates achievement of the skill, and routines-based intervention or embedded instruction. Instructions for navigating the NC Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five can be found here.

Vacancy Announcement

Teacher of the Visually Impaired

**Salary is based on the NC Department of Public Instruction Teacher Salary Schedule**Plan/develop, implement, and evaluate educational programming designed to meet the unique and individual needs of visually impaired infants, toddlers, and preschoolers assigned to that individual teacher.This position is Home Based and services the North Central Region/District 3 in North Carolina which includes Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Chatham, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Nash, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wilson.This position involves up to 75% regional travel.

Sandy Bryant: The 2017 Recipient of the Rachel Rawls Award

A few weeks ago, I sat at a table with Sandy Bryant, hardly able to contain myself. She was about to receive the Rachel Rawls award, probably the most prestigious award that the field of VI in North Carolina can give one of our own. She did not know it, and I could not tell her. I’d been sitting on this news for a while, as I had been one of the lucky ones to honor Sandy through a letter of recommendation. After Sandy’s extremely gracious acceptance of the award, she confided that she hoped she could one day read the letters of those who had supported William Tubilleja’s very timely nomination of her. So, Sandy – this is my letter. I hope I portrayed you as your friends from ELSSP/VI (formerly GMP) and so many others see you.

When I think of Sandy Bryant, I think of her warmth and smile. With this smile are often the words of praise and encouragement, as well as wisdom and advice about working with our very small students and their families. Sandy brings not only an incredible wealth of knowledge about visual impairment and early childhood to her teachers, but she brings empathy, as well as, visible and invisible hugs needed to help teachers grow, learn, and continue to care for the little ones on their caseloads. Sandy is not just a lead teacher who comes to observe with no other connection to her teachers in the east. Sandy knows what her teachers go through. She is out in the field with her own caseload of very young visually impaired children, as she has been for more than 30 years.

Sandy was teaching at GMS when she was hired as the first teacher for the Governor Morehead Preschool when the program began in 1987. Later, she became a lead teacher, and with the fellow lead, began training new teachers how to work with very young children with visual impairment, an often overlooked population of most VI certification training programs. This was how I met Sandy. I was a new teacher to the program when it had one of its largest expansions in 1998. Sandy jumped in feet first and embraced the training of a dozen new teachers and staff. Most of us would go to NC Central for our VI certification, but it was the training that Sandy and Camille, her fellow lead gave us that truly paved the way for several new highly qualified TVIs. I speak from experience about the training I was given by Sandy, not only from the many trips I made to Raleigh those first couple of years as a GMP teacher, but also because Sandy was my mentor. Her gentle and positive feedback always found the good in my lessons, and her ability to coach and support my reflection helped me to become a stronger and much more self-assured teacher. Sandy was the first to tell me that I was a “born VI teacher”. I am not sure I would have stayed in the field if it had not been for her. Furthermore, I honestly feel that one of the reasons that Governor Morehead Preschool (now the Early Learning Sensory Support Program for Children with Visual Impairment) has been held up as a model for early intervention in visual impairment nationwide is because of Sandy Bryant.

Sandy believes in the numerous teachers she has trained, and she believes in our program and its mission. A large part of this mission is the support we provide the families of our students, and Sandy Bryant has been in the thick of this from the beginning. Just as Sandy works to help our young students to begin to advocate for themselves, she has worked equally as hard to assist parents and caregivers to be well informed and independent advocates for their children. Sandy has helped parents to connect and to find a voice for themselves and their children through playdates, parent groups, and family activities. She was a major catalyst in assisting parents to develop the Raleigh chapter of the NC National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairment, an incredibly active group that connects parents statewide.

I am now Sandy’s fellow lead teacher, something that I do not take lightly. I am not sure I will ever be able to match her positive sunny outlook and her continued energy with planning trainings for the many new teachers she and I have had over the past couple of years. Recently, I was lucky enough to observe Sandy teaching. She sat on a kitchen floor with the child and the mother surrounded by pots and pans and, of course, a book about pots and pans. Sandy lovingly coaxed the student to engage with an everyday activity and gently guided and coached the mother, so that she could be as equally involved as her child. The lesson was flawless and her modeling and conversation with the mother, effortless. I searched for something to comment on – as one should do in an observation. All I could think was how fortunate I was to once again be learning techniques from my mentor, and how incredibly fortunate North Carolina has been to have had Sandy as the first teacher of young visually impaired children, the first teacher to their families, and the first teacher of many, many teachers across the state. For this reason, I wholeheartedly support the nomination of Sandy Bryant for this year’s Rachel Rawls Award. I can think of no one else who deserves it more.

Big image
Sandy's Husband Ralph, Sandy and their children Samantha and Jordan

NCCVIB Highlights

Big image

7th Annual EGGSplosion Winston-Salem

It was a beautiful day for the 7th Annual Spring EGGSplosion held in Winston-Salem on March 25th. This beeping egg hunt was fully accessible for our children with visual impairments. However, the EGGSplosion was not just about egg hunting. There were also games, arts & crafts, face painting, and even a pony, just to name a few of the other activities. Children had the opportunity to talk to officers in the bomb squad as well as explore their equipment and uniforms. All of the children had a blast! It was a fun-filled time for the whole family. The EGGSpolosion was a huge success! Pictured below are two current students and one former student from the Early Learning Sensory Support VI Program.

Raleigh Playgroup

Raleigh Playgroup is held somewhere in the community each month. All ELSSP/VI families are invited. Our February Playgroup was held in the gym mat room on the GMS campus. March's Playgroup was held at the Marbles Museum (the pictures below are from the Marble Museum). The April Raleigh Playgroup will be at the NAPVI Beeping Egg Hunt on the GMS campus April 1st @ 10:00 AM. Finally, May's Playgroup will be held at the Bryce Martin Foundation Fundraiser on May 7 @ 11:00 AM.

April's Awesome Student of the Month...Josie

Josie joined the ELSSP/VI program last year. She just celebrated her first birthday. While she loved her presents and her baby doll the wrapping paper was the most fun. Josie loves to play at home with the edible paint that her mommy made. Her beautiful artwork is hanging on the fridge. After coming for a quick Beeping Egg Hunt in Raleigh this weekend, Josie heads off for a beach vacation with the family. I bet she will love the sand and water! Josie's Early Learning VI Teacher is Sandy Bryant.

Director's Spotlight

Maggie Dessing started her teaching career in 1987. She was a self-contained classroom teacher for children with special needs in Indiana. Four years after she started her career, she decided to move to North Carolina and has been here ever since. She started out in NC teaching in Brunswick County and was there for about 4 years teaching high school and elementary Exceptional Education. Maggie has even taught in the Private School sector of education. Maggie’s most favorite job by far was when she began working with Governor Morehead Preschool or what is now Early Learning Sensory Support in 1995. She has been with us for 22 years. Thank you, Maggie, for all your many years of dedication to children with visual impairments and their families. March 31, 2017 is Maggie’s last day with us before she retires. She is looking forward to spending time with her sister, son, and her poodle Chloe. Please join me in wishing Maggie a fantastic retirement.

April Staff Birthdays

April 3rd Beth Shaw

April 3rd Lori Bartram

April 7th Christina Tuton

April 8th Bethany Mayo

April 21st Megan Libby

Photo/Video Credits