Rural Itineracy: General Discussion

TVIs on the road, traveling great distances to work with students have unique challenges. This is a space to share successes, ask for tips, and bring some collaboration closer to you.

May 9, 2024 09:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Since its inception in 2008, the Rural Technology Fund (RTF) has empowered students to embark on technology-based careers. Through initiatives that include classroom technology donations, scholarships, and facilitating access to assistive technology, RTF has helped overcome barriers for students and communities. Join us for a Partner Showcase where we will spotlight APH STEM solutions and outline how RTF’s support can help your students and community achieve their full potential.
Register Here: Webinar Registration - Zoom
Learn more here: https://ruraltechfund.org/

2 Likes

Hi everyone! My name is Autumn and I am currently a TSVI/COMS in Juneau, Alaska. My caseload is currently 17 students with about 1.5 hours of driving per day. I have no material prep person to work with, the B/VI department is just me this year. This is my 6th year teaching.
My first five years were in PA with a varying caseload. My max was 42 students (3 braille students) in 3 counties (6 schools districts) and driving 3.5 hours per day. It was a challenge for sure.

I am here to provide a listening ear or support for those who find themselves in a similar position. Our field is incredible and there is still a lot of good out there!

3 Likes

Hello all. I am an itinterant TVI in Wyoming. I have 23 kids on my caseload(2 braille kids and mostly students with CVI and multiple disabilities), the majority in Laramie, where I live. I do travel to other towns monthly, totaling approximately 800 miles. I also do not have anyone to support with material prep. There are not many TVIs in Wyoming, and especially not many itinerant TVIs. I am finding that we live in similar areas, which makes it difficult to serve students in the northern part of the state.

I think all of our itinerant TVIs are contracted. Autumn- in Alaska, how do you guys divide regions? Do you have different providers that serve certain areas in the state, or is it kind of unorganized like in Wyoming?

2 Likes

Hello folks - My name is Stephen Bailey, also from Alaska, teaching special education 26 years in the state, both rural and in Fairbanks. I am a TSVI and COMS and AT specialist. Glad to be a part of this conversation. FNSBSD is usually just under 30 in caseload size and currently have 6+ braille students of various levels. I know that Alaska has been refining rural services for years, including its SESA (special education agency), ACBVI (Center for the Blind/VI), and ATLA (AT agency) state organizations. School districts (in answer to Suzie’s question about Alaska’s organization) that are not serving bush communities (villages) hire or contract their own service providers. SESA affords an itinerate TSVI for all rural districts (big job!) and deafblind services for all districts, as it is specialized. But there are no regions per se. I have passed the mantle in this district and will contract next year in a different non-rural district which is spread by several hours between schools and some boat/plane trips. This will be more travel than what now may include a 60 minute trip one way to a school from central office. Maybe more to share later. Complementing in-person and virtual lessons is an art I am hopeful to learn quickly.

2 Likes

Hey Autumn! You are the only person in your B/VI person this year? Is that for your school district or for your area? How does Alaska determine caseload for itinerant TVIs? In Wyoming, a few of us are willing/able to travel, but we don’t have specific areas of the state that we are serving. So, if a student lives on the other side of the state, we have to figure it out between our few itinerants. It can be so frustrating! There are often other TVIs in the area of need that are working as a special education teacher as well, and they are unable/sometimes unwilling then to support vision evals.

Hi Stephen. I am also working on mastering virtual instruction! It is difficult for me at times, especially with my students with severe or multiple disabilities. It sounds like between all of your agencies, TVIs are pretty well hired? I may be interpreting that wrong. We don’t have a school or center for the blind in Wyoming.

Also, did you graduate from UNC? Your name is so familiar!

Hi Suzie, I had a response all written up on my phone a couple weeks ago but wasn’t able to post… and just noticed it is unanswered still, sorry.
We don’t have a school for the blind, but a center out of Anchorage that serves adults and transition students 14-22 for outreach serves. Pretty low on TVIs as with everyone else… so you can always consider relocating to another rural serving district further north than Wyoming :wink:
If the UNC question was for me, no, I did my work at Texas Tech. There were some Wyoming folk in my COMS cane course there. Had the cool state connection then…