Garfield principal Chris Cooper, school nurse Brandi McGivney, Title I reading teacher Judy Farris and assistant superintendent Dr. Denise Guy discussed their recent trip to a Wichita conference telling others about the district’s vision therapy program.
“Everyone is born with the ability for good sight, but not good vision,” McGivney told the board, explaining the district’s screening process and its partnership with the Jeffcoat Memorial Foundation, which has initiated a grant process through the Community Foundation of Dickinson County to assist families with the expense of the therapy.
Cooper and McGivney told the board they both have children with reading difficulties and discussed the benefits of screening and the use vision therapy.
Vision therapy is used when patients have reversals and other eye problems when learning to read.
They explained the time and expense, including the initial optometric meeting cost of $150 and around $900 for 12 vision therapy sessions.
“It’s exciting to help kids who may have struggled,” McGivney said, adding that while the treatment doesn’t fix all learning problems, it helps.
“If they can get screened, it can change their lives,” Cooper said.
Using the foundation’s granting process, eligible families can apply for funds to cover all the initial optometric costs and up to 80 percent of therapy sessions.
“We’ve been blessed to have a benefactor,” McGivney said.
Also during the meeting, Superintendent Dr. Timothy Shafer presented a Friend of Education Award to Abilene attorney Hank Royer. Royer and Wayne Burkland are trustees of the Jeffcoat Memorial Foundation. Shafer also thanked Royer and the foundation for their support of the program.
In other business, Shafer told board members and those attending Monday night’s meeting that Abilene High School business teacher Jacque Havice has taken the lead in training video production students who will take over taping of monthlb board meetings for airing on Eagle Communications. He said Eagle notified him that starting in November, they will no longer tape monthly board meetings, but would work with volunteers who would take over the responsibility.
Havice and AHS student Tom Yeager attended Monday night’s meeting to train on the production equipment with Brian Dennett of Eagle Communications.
In other business, the board:
• Discussed their 2009-10 audit report with Amanda Muntz of Varney and Associates of Manhattan, telling the board they had audited the district’s financial statements, prior year encumbered funds and other materials and found nothing out of order. She also discussed changes for the coming year.
• Received a presentation of $1,343 from the Abilene High School Class of 1970 members Marilyn Sidener and Vicky Chamberlin. Abilene School board president Paul Hettenbach, who is a member of the class, said during their 40th class reunion this past summer class members collected money to give to the Abilene Public Schools Endowment Association. They requested the funds be used to purchase supplies or provide fees for students who cannot afford them for art projects, special classes or other activities.