In 2012, an extensive study involving stakeholders across the state concerned with the education of children who are deaf or blind occurred. The study concluded students do not receive the same intensity of services, largely due to their geographical location.
To help balance the services provided, it was determined regional academies would offer day programming for students living within about an hour’s drive of the academies. Students enroll at the academies based on their Individual Education Programs.
Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (IESBVI) and Iowa School for the Deaf are primarily responsible for establishing the academies. The Northeast Regional Academy, located in Charles City, started providing additional services in the form of extended learning opportunities fall of 2014. A regional director was hired in August of 2015, and under the director, an educational interpreter was hired to work with students in the Charles City School District. With the hiring of a teacher of the deaf in spring, 2016, more consultation will be offered in the AEAs 1 and 267.
Primary goals of the academies are to:
- Increase proficiencies in math and reading through specialized services provided to deaf or blind students
- Increase opportunities for employment/post-secondary education
- Provide consistent-high-quality instruction
- Ensure a full continuum of equitable education services are available for Iowa’s children who are deaf or blind
Jay Colsch, Northeast Regional Director