August 2, 2021
ROMNEY, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) and the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Technical Assistance Center (TAC) for Accessibility and Transitions on Friday, July 30, 2021. The event was held at the TAC, located on the campus of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (WVSDB) in Romney, West Virginia. The facility will be a resource for those who work with students with exceptionalities in the areas of deaf, hard of hearing, blind/low vision, and deafblindness as well as students who require Accessible Education Materials, assistive technology, assistance with print disabilities and transition needs.
The TAC for Accessibility and Transitions aims specifically to improve educational equity for students with access exceptionalities. This will be done by providing educational materials and supports statewide through training and technical assistance to district-level staff. The WVSDB will become the hub of innovation, training and guidance for administrators, educators and service providers. The center will also provide programs for family engagement and involvement.
“This facility will be a beacon in our state setting the standard for professional learning and resource development in the care of children with exceptionalities,” said State Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “This, along with the other TACs throughout the state, will be centers of excellence and expand the capacity to serve children academically, social-emotionally and developmentally.”
“The Board of Education understands the increased needs our children and families will bring to our schools this year after enduring 18 months of the pandemic,” said WVBE President Miller Hall. “The TACs will help us not only meet the immediate needs of children through higher levels of training and networking, but they will also provide a sustained structure of support that will serve the state for years to come.”
Partner agencies for the TAC for Accessibility and Transitions include:
West Virginia Adult Education Strategic Planning in Occupational Knowledge for Empowerment and Success (SPOKES) and the Economic Projects Impacting Communities (EPIC) programs; West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR); West Virginia Instructional Resource Center; West Virginia Birth to Three; West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services; and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Outreach Program Birth to Five.
Interview with MARY ANNE CLENDENIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF WV TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER FOR ACCESSIBILITY AND TRANSITIONS:
SOT 1: THE SKY IS THE LIMIT, WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND ALL OF THESE AGENCIES THAT WE WORK WITH, OUR MISSION IS TO GROW TO HELP AS MANY STUDENTS AS POSSIBLE IN THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA, AND TO SUPPORT EVERY TEACHER IN WEST VIRGINIA, WHATEVER THEIR TRAINING NEEDS ARE.
SOT 2: IT’S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO SERVE ALL STUDENTS ACROSS THIS STATE, JUST BECAUSE WE’RE LOCATED IN ONE CENTRAL LOCATION, WE STILL PLAN TO FOCUS ON SERVICES STATEWIDE TO TEACHERS AND COUNTIES AND STUDENTS. WE PLAN TO DO THAT WITH MOBILE LABS, IF THOSE TEACHERS CANNOT COME TO ROMNEY, WE WILL COME TO THEM. WE LEARNED IN THE PANDEMIC THAT WE CAN DO VIRTUAL TRAININGS, SO WE REALLY ARE A ONE STOP SHOP HERE SO TO SAY. IF A TEACHER NEEDS TRAINING, WE CAN PROVIDE THAT SO THAT STUDENTS GET THEIR NEEDS MET.
SOT 3: THIS IS THE FIRST TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER LIKE THIS. THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE CENTER THAT HAS EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES AND SERVICES PROVIDED WORKING TOGETHER COLLABORATIVELY AND PARTNERING FOR THE BETTERMENT OF OUR STUDENTS WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES, DEAF, BLIND, HARD OF HEARING, LOW VISION, PRINT DISABILITIES; SUPPORTING STUDENTS STATEWIDE THROUGH TRAINING, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR COUNTIES AND TEACHERS. WE ARE JUST SO EXCITED THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF ED HAS DECIDED TO LAUNCH THIS INITIATIVE AND THEN BUILD IT WITH MORE AGENCIES. SO, WE HAVE A WHOLE GAMBIT IN THIS CENTER, WE HAVE WEST VIRGINIA BIRTH TO THREE, ALL THE WAY UP TO DRS. SO WHETHER IT BE TRANSITION NEEDS OR POST- SECONDARY NEEDS, WE CAN PROVIDE THAT HERE.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Communications at 304-558-2699 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.