Communitas Awards 2010 Nomination Narrative
Category: Excellence in Community Service Organization Community Service Leadership in Organization’s Community Service Entry: Vegas PBS Described and Captioned Media Program
Program Objective The Vegas PBS Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides specialized learning tools and services for Nevada’s students with visual or auditory impairments. The state does not have a school solely for these students, so Vegas PBS stepped in to meet the need. DCMP provides an-in house library of over 4,000 videos and other media, as well as a growing online library. Other instructional resources for students, families and professionals serving K-12 students are also available. Program Components The Vegas PBS DCMP has become the sole distributor of described and captioned media for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired (VI), deaf and hard of hearing (HH) students in the state of Nevada.
DCMP’s services include: (1) a library of free-loan described and captioned educational media, (2) a clearinghouse of information related to educational media access, (3) a gateway to Internet resources, and (4) specialized educational materials. These services are offered at no cost. The DCMP website (VegasPBS.org/dcmp) offers information about the program, our Family Literacy Kits, Vegas PBS’ DCMP programming and links to several advocacy resources. Literacy Kits: Vegas PBS has designed unique literacy-learning kits for use by K-3rd graders, who are blind or visually impaired. Each kit includes: an Arthur DVD with audio description, interactive Arthur and DW dolls, books in both Braille and large print, hands-on and Braille literacy activities, and a Parent Guide detailing how to use the kit. DCMP kits, available at Vegas PBS, are also available at the following locations: Clark County School District’s (CCSD) Vision Impaired Services Department, Easter Seals of Southern Nevada, Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, and Paseo Verde Library in Henderson. Descriptive Dolls: The most unique aspect of the Family Literacy Kits is the interactive toys that were modified to include audio devices that describe the characteristics of each doll. Two CCSD students did the voice-overs for the dolls. The Arthur and DW dolls are to be used with the “Getting to Know Arthur and DW” activity. Partnerships Since the very beginning of this project, the Department of Education, who funded this program, and the National Association of the Deaf, have been supporters of the Vegas PBS DCMP. Other program partners
include: the Nevada Blind Children's Foundation, the Clark County School District, as well as several consultants and content editors with experience working with students with visual or auditory impairments. Challenges Nevada does not have a state school for the deaf or blind. Establishing our service required time, commitment, and the formation of relationships that would positively reflect upon the DCMP. Program successes The Family Literacy Kits have been recognized for educational excellence and innovation by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Educational Telecommunications Association. Future Program endeavors In order to expand service to Nevadaâ€™s VI students and their families, within the next few weeks, Vegas PBS will be debuting its newest learning kit. The Vegas PBS Classroom Kit entitled Understanding Visual Impairments will allow students and teachers who do not have visual impairments to see how VI students see and do things differently, and the ways to make the classroom environment a comfortable and supportive place for all students.