MCB, Teachers, And Your Plans: Getting The Most From Your School

Beginning in their school years, and especially in the vital 14-22 years, MCB works together with school districts and Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) to advocate for blind students. While the districts have primary responsibility to provide support for their students, MCB plays an active role in supporting families and advocating for essential services and goals on their IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) for students.
College student using braille textbook in library

How MCB helps:

Brendan Foley, TVI, South Coast Collective
“It's mostly on myself and the school district to provide about 80% of what a student will need (from ages 3-22 moving through school). But once they graduate, MCB will be helping them through their adult life. So we work closely with an MCB counselor throughout their school, but more intensely beginning at age 14 as they begin to approach their future plans.”

Mariesa Mills, TVI, New Bedford Public Schools
“Our main goal is to make the curriculum more accessible for the students. Schools are obligated to provide ways for that to happen through technology and other assistive learning methods. Those methods are outlined in each student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), which TVIs manage with the student, parent, and the district itself.”

Mayanne MacDonald-Briggs, MCB Counselor
“I am there to represent MCB and help advocate for things students need. Sometimes a school won't have the right resources a student needs, so I'll step in to help TVIs and parents get technology or other accommodations from the district.”

Lynn Shortis, TVI, Pittsfield Public Schools
“TVIs work on the expanded core curriculum, which is nine areas of needs for students, including: technology, social skills, self-advocacy, career development, career exploration, compensatory skills (like Braille), and basic orientation and mobility. Of course, some of these tools overlap with things that MCB provides them outside of school, so communication between TVIs, families and their students, and MCB is really vital.”

Brendan Foley
“Our goal is to have students who are confident, who understand themselves, and can advocate for themselves. We want them to understand their limitations, but also how to overcome them.”

Lynn Shortis
“MCB has been able to arrange experiences at the Perkins School, at the Carroll Center (for a week or more) for students. These have given students confidence and perspectives they might not otherwise get if they're the only blind student in their school.”

Elana Regan, MCB Client
“I remember going to the Carroll Center when I was 10 or 11, and it was my first time meeting other blind people. It helped me accept myself. Around 14, as a high school freshman, I also spent time at the Polus Center, where they really focused on career explorations and internships. They and MCB arranged an internship with a lawyer that was really pivotal for me.”

Lynn Shortis
“We really recommend families reach out early to MCB. The earlier you can establish that relationship, understand what the agency can provide and how truly beneficial it can be for students, even at younger ages. It adds another layer to the support we provide students in school.”

Mayanne MacDonald-Briggs
“We really want to teach parents how to be advocates for themselves. Make sure the school system is providing the right kinds and amount of services. Make sure orientation and mobility training is written into their IEP. Together, TVIs and MCB can really help parents and students get the services they are legally obligated to receive.”

Margaret Detch, parent of a blind student, MCB Client
“MCB's partnership with our son's TVI has been really great. They work together to get him the resources he needs. I can't say enough about how valuable that is to know our MCB counselor is so invested in his needs.”

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