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December 27, 2002


From: KCDHH - 27 Dec 2002

News Release
Dr. Bobbie Beth Scoggins, Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
800-372-2907 V/TTY
Wilton McMillan, Kentucky Department of Education
502-564-4970 V/TTY



The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD), the oldest state-funded residential school for the deaf, would like to continue its efforts to inform interested parties of the direction the school is taking. KSD has always been under the supervision of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). Changes that are being made at the school are a result of the American Institutes of Research (AIR) study report. This report made many recommendations, including that a director be appointed by KDE to oversee services received by all blind/visually impaired (B/VI) and deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) students. When the final AIR report was submitted to the Kentucky Board of Education on June 11, 2002, it generated discussions among the Board members and the leadership at KDE. The decision was made after these discussions that a director would not be able to serve these two diverse populations adequately without additional resources. Consequently, it was agreed that a Collaborative/Oversight Team of four individuals would be formed to provide the oversight and support for the state. Additionally, an interpreter would be a member of the team in order to provide experienced insight on interpreting related issues for KDE, such as ensuring that educational interpreters are prepared to comply with Kentucky’s interpreter licensure law, which is effective in July of 2003. The AIR report echoed the concepts of the KDE goal that all schools reaching proficiency by 2014, as well as the federal ‘No Child Left Behind Act,’ so that KDE can provide support to each and every student in the state.

KSD and the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) are not combining. There are, in fact, two main school administrators for each school; a Principal/Director of Instruction over the academic program, and a Business Manager/Campus Administrator who oversees the day-to-day functions of the schools. While the concerns about the fact that there will no longer be a superintendent position at each school are very well understood, the Kentucky Board of Education is confident that the present administrative structure at each school, and the Oversight Team in KDE, will provide effective and efficient leadership.

The KDE Oversight Team consists of the following people: Barbara Kibler, Coordinator of the Team; Bill Stearns, Liaison to KSD and KSB; Kenny Jones, Consultant and former educator from KSB who is visually impaired; Wilton McMillan, Consultant and former administrator from KSD and MSSD who is Deaf; and Jeff Harris, a NAD certified interpreter. Lastly, the Team is supported by Pat Woods as an Administrative Specialist.

There were a total of twelve (12) recommendations that summarized the AIR report. Two of these specifically recommended that KSD and KSB develop clearer philosophies of services and purpose, and that the roles of both schools as statewide educational resource centers on Deafness and Blindness respectively be more clearly defined. Additionally, it was suggested that proactive responsibilities, such as tracking all D/HH and B/VI children in the state and collaborating with other agencies in meeting their needs, be instituted.

The Oversight Team has been charged with implementing the remaining recommendations, including early identification and intervention that would be bolstered to include all D/HH and B/VI infants and toddlers; family involvement; services being brought to those throughout the state that are not enrolled at KSD or KSB; training more professionals; increasing technology; increasing vocational training programs; and continuing to hold all D/HH and B/VI students to the same academic standards as all students statewide.

The Oversight Team is forming eighteen (18) stakeholders’ groups to gather input on the various issues raised in the AIR report. The Team is also working closely with the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH) to ensure the success of this consensus building process throughout the state. The Team will also be working with an entity similar to KCDHH that represents people who are B/VI.

Needless to say, change is always difficult and misinformation is sure to be a factor. It is the goal of the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing that the educational achievement of students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing will be comparable to their hearing counterparts, with ALL students reaching proficiency by the year 2014. For more information about what is happening in education in Kentucky, please feel free to contact Wilton McMillan at or Bobbie Beth Scoggins at