Dennis Thurman, superintendent
Vinton 52349;

The mission of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School (IBSSS) is to provide direct educational services to children and youth with visual impairments in the state of Iowa as well as to serve a leadership and resource role in statewide efforts to meet the needs of all children with visual impairments in the state. This role is carried out through cooperative efforts with all appropriate state agencies, area education agencies, and local education agencies. It is recognized that the mission of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School is a part of the continuum of services in the state delivery system.

Consistent with all appropriate sections of the Code of Iowa and the policies of the Board of Regents of the state of Iowa, the educational mission of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School is to provide an appropriate individual education program for children and youth with visual impairments who require the comprehensive programs provided by the school, whether enrolled as residential students or as part of the outreach program of the school.

The educational programs of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School will be consistent with the Philosophy, reflected in federal and state legislation, that disabled and nondisabled children and youth be educated together to the greatest extent possible. IBSSS assumes responsibility for providing an education for the visually impaired, including those with additional challenges, for whom the comprehensive educational programs of the school are most appropriate. The programs at the school are consistent with the philosophy of a continuum of services to disabled children and youth as mandated by federal and state law.

The educational programs of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School are based on the premise that the school exists to serve its students by providing a learning environment which maximizes each child's potential to become a contributing member of society. Enhancing the development of communication skills, knowledge, self-realization, human relationships, economic independence, and a sense of civic and social responsibility are among the many programmatic areas of the school. The needs of each child are determined individually by a team approach which includes appropriate professional staff, school leadership personnel, parents, and other working with the child.

The scope of the educational program includes provisions for the visually impaired from early childhood through secondary education. Among the options available for any student enrolling are full-time residential placement, day placement, summer programming and other short-term residential options to meet specific needs. Residential students also have available activities and experiences on a 24-hour basis as an integral part of their programs.

The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School also recognizes its role in providing services to children with visual impairments throughout the state of Iowa. The school serves as a state outreach and demonstration center for the education of the visually impaired. In this role, the school has a central and vital mission in the statewide education of the visually impaired and provides outreach services to other educators, related field professionals, parents, and all interested citizens of the state. This role affords the opportunity for the community at large to draw upon the specialized program and services available from IBSSS. These services are also available to all other regents' schools and universities, area education agencies, local education agencies, and all other public and private agencies.

Specific resource services are available to support such activities as the assessment, counseling and educational planning for children and youth with visual impairments. The development, use and dissemination of instructional materials and technological advances are part of the outreach services available from IBSSS. Other services included in the outreach program of the school are assistance with the development of programs to teach specialized skills and parent education.

Information services are provided to help foster public understanding of the causes, implications, and prevention of blindness and visual impairments and about the potential of blind persons.

IBSSS is governed by the state Board of Regents, funded by appropriations from the legislature and accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. IBSSS takes affirmative action and offers equal opportunity in its services.


Future programs of IBSSS will be determined by the ongoing evaluation of existing programs and an analysis of developing needs, both within the school and throughout the state of Iowa. Programs will be developed, modified, or eliminated based on the assessed needs and the most effective uses of resources. The school remains flexible so as to respond quickly and effectively to the needs of children and youth with visual impairments in the state of Iowa.


William P. Johnson, Ph.D., superintendent

Council Bluffs 51503;

712/366-0571, voice or TDD

The Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD) is a state, tax-supported residential facility open to all students in Iowa and Nebraska under 21 years of age whose hearing loss is too great for them to progress satisfactorily in a regular or modified public school program.

Located on a beautiful 120-acre campus three and one-half miles south of downtown Council Bluffs on Highway 275, the school's educational program is designed to provide successful and satisfying learning experiences which promote balanced intellectual and social growth.

Total communication programming assists each student in the education effort so that social interaction skills, as well as the concept development of each student, can evolve to maximum potential possible.

No charge is made to students for room, board, laundry, tuition, transportation, and limited medical and dental care. The school is governed by the State Board of Regents.

Through its mainstream and off campus programs, Iowa School for the Deaf works cooperatively with area schools to provide the opportunity for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to attend classes in the public school system. Conversely, students from Council Bluffs and other southwest Iowa school districts attend classes in ISD's vocational department through a "reverse mainstream" program.

Iowa School for the Deaf works closely with the state vocational rehabilitation division to help place students in college, advanced trade schools and industry upon completion of the school's curriculum. In short, ISD strives to prepare all the students entrusted to its care to live successfully, happily, and effectively in today's world.