Florida Division of Blind Services logo



Florida School for the Deaf and Blind
207 San Marco Avenue
St. Augustine, Florida  32084

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Meeting called to order at 8:44 AM with the Pledge of Allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present: 14
Robert Kelly, Mikey Wiseman, Sylvia Perez, Victoria Magliocchino, Patricia Lipovsky, Lenora Marten, Bruce Miles, Donte Mickens, Robert Doyle, Gloria Mills, Sandra Burke, Jesus Garcia, Benedict Grzesik, Charles Brooks

Council Members Absent: 1
 Leanne Grillot

Council Staff: 1
Selena Sickler

DBS Staff: 6
Tom Austin, Robert Lewis, April Ogden, Mireya Hernandez, Brian Michaels, Madeline Davidson

DBS Staff via Telephone: 1
Bobbie Howard Davis

Attendee: 3
Paul Edwards, Howard Bell, Kim Carr

Attendee via Telephone: 1
Victoria Gaitanis

Mikey Wiseman made a motion to approve the Agenda. Sylvia Perez seconded the motion.  A vote was taken and it passed unanimously.


Robert Doyle presented the following:

Division of Blind Services (DBS) General Update:

  • DBS New Staff Introductions
    • Selena Sickler…………FRCB Staff
    • Mitchell Clark……….Operations and Compliance
    • Jennifer Phaneuf…..Personnel
    • Latoya Mitchell……..Contracts
    • Shanique Baker…….Director Doyle’s Executive Assistance
  • Lynn Ritter is retiring in May, 2016.  
  • Beth Crain is resigning effective June 17, 2016.
  • The Division of Blind Services will lose ten positions effective July 1, 2016.
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
    • DBS is continuing to work with core partners including Career Source Florida, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Adult Career Education and a number of other college systems.
    • The Unified State Plan was submitted in April and is available online at the Career Source website.
  • Federal Regulations
    • RSA indicated the Regulations will be published in late June.
    • Some provisions  were not clearly defined and  many agencies submitted questions to RSA and to the US Department of Labor relating to definitions like competitive integrated employment
    • RSA indicated they plan to monitor five agencies to access their progress.
    • DBS could be one of the agencies to be monitored in the first round.
    • RSA was pleased with Florida’s Unified State Plan.
  • Legislative Updates
    • There is a new bill that adds people with disabilities to Florida’s policy on affirmative action.
    • State agencies will have to submit an affirmative action plan that includes hiring people with disabilities.
    • Division of Management Services convened a team on April 13, 2016 to talk about how to implement the new act and employ people with disabilities.
    • Sylvia Perez asks if DBS has a blind representative who will attend the meeting and create some exposure.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that David Darm will represent DBS.


  • DBS Online Application
    • DBS received many inquiries from other agencies in Florida as well as out of state about the Online Application.    
    • Launch Date -  January 29, 2016:
      • Applications Received-340
      • Pending-46
      • Processed-294
      • New Cases-211
    • Distribution of Cases
      • Vocational Rehab Services-137
      • Independent Living Services-90
      • Transition-25
      • Children- 24
      • Babies Program-6
    • The largest services applied for is assisted technology followed by employment services and then personal management services.
  •  Dashboard System
    • Allows the team in the field to look at employment, performance statistics, distribution, case demographics and the rehabilitation rate
    • Districts 1,2,3 5,6,7  received Dashboards
    •  District 9 and 10 is slated to receive Dashboards in June.
  • The Pre-Employment Plan
    • Launching June 6, 2016 at the Rehab Center
    • Pre-employment program for ages 14-17 delayed until next year 
    • A residential program for ages 18-24 will begin July 11
  • Division of Blind Services 75th Anniversary Celebration
    • Kickoff held at the Rehab Center in Daytona
    • 150 – 200 people attended and included past and present clients        
    • Future events are planned for Fort Myers in July with plans to engage the FRCB, Orlando, Panama City and West Palm Beach
    • DSO suggested to incorporate Tampa  
      • Patricia Lipovsky attended the event and complimented DBS for a great turnout
  • DBS will continue to have dialogue regarding ways to create growth within the agency by creating area managers within the division.
  • Robert Doyle stated he was elected President- Elect-of the Council of State Administrators and Vocational Rehabilitation effective July 1, 2016. His term as president begins July 2017.
  • Paul Edwards asks about the current state of the budget.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that the biggest impact is the loss of the ten positions within DBS and the dollars corresponding to those positions.
  • Robert Doyle reported that DBS is going to be involved in a workshop with the State Board of Education on June 20th and 21st.
    • DBS, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, College System, Career and Adult Education will be present.
    • The purpose is to educate the workforce from a DOE standpoint.
  • Paul Edwards asks if there was funding for the Children’s Program.
    • Robert Doyle states the Legislature voted this year to give $750,000 which is $250,000 less than last year.
  • Mikey Wiseman asks about the status of the dollars set aside for the 20 hours of pre-employment training for high school students.
    • Mr. Doyle stated the transition contract was converted exclusively to Pre-Employment Transition Services Contract and the categories of services are being provided directly through the Rehab Program.
    • Brian Michaels stated that there was no specific hourly requirement in the law. He also stated the current contract is about 14.7% of the budget.  The hours you might be referring to are in our contract provide 11.4 hours per month for each student, 130 hours for the school year, and 100 during the summer. DBS is well on the way of meeting those requirements.


Robert Lewis presented the Casa Monica Hotel with the Employer’s Award. Kimberly Wilson, General Manager accepted the award and recognized DBS client Carlos Tavarez for being an exceptional member of their team.

Morning Break (take photos)

VR Goals Update

Tom Austin provided an update on VR goals for the 3rd quarter. A summary of the report is below.

The division served 3763 consumers;  The total number of closed cases is 503; the number of unsuccessful closures is 309;  the number of unsuccessful closures after receiving services is 162; the number of successful closures is 194; the number of partially or legally blind consumers successfully closed is 84; the number of other visually impaired individuals closing successfully is 50; the number of totally blind individuals closing successfully is 24; the number of clients closing successfully as a result of restoration is 36.  This brings our Rehabilitation Rate to 54%.

  • Bruce Miles states that he is looking at State FY 2014-15 report and he comments there appears to be a discrepancy.
  • Tom Austin states they worked to get this report generated because there were errors in some of the questions and the report Bruce Miles is referring to may contain errors. Tom states that we can go back and look at the report to compare it to the data we have now.
  • Bruce Miles states the numbers are off.  Total number closed last year 1878 and this year 1521.  Total number served last year showing 5047 and this year 4750.
  • Tom Austin asks if Bruce is looking at third quarter.
  • Robert Doyle states we should be comparing third quarter data to third quarter data.
  • Jesus Garcia asks is it correct to assume there has been a substantial drop in the number of cases this year compared to last year.
  • Tom Austin states that he doesn’t think so.
  • Bruce Miles states that if you just look at third quarter and discount total, we are a little behind but not a lot.
  • Tom Austin states we will look at the Total Number Served of 4750 for FY 2015-16. The quarters are accurate.

Career Source:

Lisa Parlipiano, Disability Program Navigator presented a report to the council. 

Career Source serves Baker, Clay, Duval, Putnam, Nassau and St. John counties. Career Source serves veterans, provides training scholarships, administers the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program and works with The Department of Children and Families.  Career Source reaffirms its commitment to work together by providing training opportunities and maximizing resources while ensuring collaboration with core partners as set forth in Governor Scott’s Executive Order 13-284. Career Source created an Integrated Resource Team which works collaboratively with local agencies like DBS.

  • Mikey Wiseman asks to elaborate on individuals facing obstacles.
  •  Lisa Parlipiano states accessible formats and websites present a significant challenge as well as learning the transportation system.
  • Gloria Mills asks about statistics that show that collaboration with local agencies are helping more people get jobs.
  • Lisa Parlipiano states the low unemployment rate is an indication that more people are getting back to work.
  • Patricia Lipovsky asks about accessibility at the Career Source office.
  • Lisa Parlipiano states personalized services as well as Jaws and Magic are available. Screen readers and headsets are also available.
  • Paul Edwards asks about the disappearance of disability navigators.
  • Lisa Parlipiano states the problem is money and funding.
  • Mikey Wiseman asks if Career Source offers Work Incentive Planning and Assistance in house or out of house.
  • Lisa Parlipiano states out of house.
  • Robert Kelly states he is encouraged by the collaboration between DBS and Career Source.

Camp Group Report

Tom Austin presented a report to the council. A summary of the report is below.

The idea of a camp for The Children’s Program was raised because of the lack of services for clients in the program. Ronnie Silverman suggested instead of having one central camp we could work with the CRPs through the new contracts and develop a sustainable children’s camp model that would be somewhat consistent across the state. All members were in agreement. A major concern was how to run a children’s camp that doesn’t overlap or duplicate what the CRPs will be doing under contract. Brian suggested using this camp as a feeder for the CRPs.  A survey was developed and sent out and we are currently waiting on the results.

  • Bruce Miles suggested adding Camp Kulakua to the summer camp list.
  • Bruce Miles suggested to remember that kids are kids first and blind second.  The kids should have fun.
  • Patricia Lipovsky asks what age group of children you are targeting.
  • Paul Edwards responded that the original proposal was to serve a population of the community that were underserved which was the high end of the Children’s Program.  
  • Patricia Lipovsky asks if there are plans to offer recreational activities.
  • Paul Edwards suggested all of the activities for the kids are intended to be fun.
  • Mikey Wiseman suggested to combine survey questions 2 and 3 due to overlapping.
  • Wayne Jennings stated that questions 2 and 3 were originally one question, but it was suggested that they be separated into two. Wayne stated only 35 responses have been received so far. The biggest area that people are looking at are daily living skills, accessible technology, and orientation mobility.
  • Lenora Martin stated the original age group we were targeting was 6-14.
  • Donte Mickens suggested the low response rate was that the activities listed in the question don’t sound fun.
  • Robert Doyle suggested the challenge will be the emergence of the Children’s Program.
  • Robert Kelly stated that new resources and the Camp Group for kids 6-14 there is always enough work in this field for all of us. We need to keep in mind that social activity is very important for these kids as well as having fun.
  • Bruce Miles asks what age group are the CRP’s covering with their camps.
  • Sylvia Perez states all.

District Administrators Report

Robert Lewis presented a report to the council.  A summary of the report is below.

District 9 is comprised of the main office in Jacksonville, Florida and a satellite office located in Gainesville.  The District serves 13 counties.  The district has implemented monthly meetings with Florida State College at Jacksonville and Career Source in order to strengthen alliances and meet the needs of clients efficiently. The District has reached out to Teachers of students with Visual Impairment (TVI) teachers and City Government officials in an effort to establish partnerships in the community. District 3 collaborates with four CRP’s which include The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Elder Care of Alachua County and The Florida Center for the Blind in Ocala. The district has consistently put in place a plan where every CRP will be visited by the District Administrator every month to continually keep strengthening those relationships.

  • Donte Mickens asks what the biggest challenges for your district is. What is your perception of transportation for clients in the district?
  • Robert Lewis states that we have not received complaints in St. Johns County.  The transportation is fairly reliable and economical.  Transportation in St. Augustine is more of a challenge because it’s a tourist city.   Robert Lewis suggested the district has been working to build better relationships with the business community and schools.

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind

Cindy Day introduced the staff from Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. Kim Carr presented a report to the council. A summary of the report is below.

FSDB school campus serves the entire state of Florida. The Parent Infant Program/DBS Blind Babies has two contracts; West Palm Beach and Jacksonville/Gainesville. The Parent Infant Program is a home based program in which Parent Advisors make regular visits to the family’s home to determine goals and priorities. As part of the Parent Services Program at FSDB, The Parent Infant Programs (PIP) offers early intervention, family-centered services for children ages 0-5 who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired, free of charge.  Currently, FSDB serves about 600 students on campus in Pre-K and K-12 academic programs, as well as about 400 infants and toddlers and their families across the state of Florida through Parent Service Programs. Of the 400 infants and toddlers, 250 have been seen in the FSDB PIP Blind Babies Program since July of 2015. As of July 2015 there were 74 closures, of those 74 closures only 6 were goals not met.

  • Bruce Miles asks what year the Blind Baby Program began. What is the number of Braille students at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind?
  • Kim Carr states the Blind Baby Program began in 1975 when we started receiving funding and hiring advisors.   I would estimate 20% of the population of students are Braille students.
  • Sylvia Perez asks are you going to be updating
  • Kim Carr states we have discussed in our office about updating those materials.  We have tweaked the programming where we come up with creative and new ideas on how to make it different yet still teach the same concepts.
  • Paul Edwards asks do you hire or recruit early Interventionist Specialist who are visually impaired.
  • Kim Carr stated yes.
  • Donte Mickens asks have you seen any trends with regards to students with secondary disabilities.
  • Kim Carr stated yes. We are seeing more of the younger students with medical issues.
  • Patricia Lipovsky asks how does the school handle inappropriate mannerisms such students walking with their eyes shut or rocking.
  • Misty Porter, Parent Liaison for the school states we use whatever works and it varies with each child. We begin working with parents on techniques and give them a tool kit to pull from to negate those behaviors. Teachers speak with the students on how certain behaviors are inappropriate.


Dr. Minna Jia, Director of Florida State University Survey Research Laboratory presented a report to the council on the results of the Client Satisfaction Survey for Quarters 1-3 of FY 2015/16.  A copy of the report is attached.

The report summarizes data gathered for the first three quarters of FY 2015/16.  The report includes cases closed from July 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016.   The Customer Satisfaction Survey gathers perspectives of former DBS clients concerning program services, levels of satisfaction, and areas for program improvement. 

Client Satisfaction Subcommittee Survey Review

Bruce Miles presented a report to the council. A summary of the report is below.

Bruce reported to the council the main intention of the subcommittee is to clear up any confusion by clients on whether they are answering questions about DBS or a CRP or both.  The subcommittee categorized every question and rewrote many questions. The committee will be prepared to submit the entire report at the October meeting.  Bruce stated the committee would have report available for the council to review within 30 to 40 days before the July 21st teleconference.

Florida Deaf Blind Association

Vicky Magliocchino presented a report to the council.  A summary of Ms. Magliocchino’s report is below.

There is currently 1.214 million Deaf/Blind people in the United States. The biggest barrier is communication as well as mobility. The Deaf Blind Association’s mission is to enable the Deaf/Blind community to achieve their potential through independence, productivity and integration.  The Florida Deaf Blind Association’s goals is to increase outreach, to increase Deaf/Blind awareness, to create social events, to provide workshops for people interested in the Support Service Provider program, to host an annual meeting, to increase awareness within the Deaf/Blind community regarding different communication options and technology that is available such as sign language, tracking, and the tactile mode.

  • Paul Edwards asks if there are levels of certification for Support Service Providers.
  • Vicky replies no, but the more experience the better. Consideration, sensitivity and the love for the community are characteristics that make a great Support Service Provider (SSP).

Protocol for Promoting the Forum

  • Email a letter and Flyer to the District Administrator to share with the clients
    • 6 – 8 Weeks prior to the meeting
    • Mail outs sent to clients at least 2 weeks before meeting
  • Advertise in the Florida Administrative Register
    • Submit notices for publication 5 weeks before the meeting
    • Notice should come out 2 weeks before the meeting
  • Division of Blind Services Website
    • Send meeting info to web administrator to be posted 1 month before the meeting
  • Division of Blind Services Newsletter

•    Send meeting info by the 15th of the month prior to the meeting month

  • National Federation of the Blind Newline
    • Send meeting info 3 weeks before Public Forum
  • Division of Blind Services Library
    • Email public forum info 6 weeks before the meeting
    • Mail outs sent to clients 1 month prior to meeting
  • Division of Blind Services District Administrators

•    Send notice at least 1 month before the meeting

  • Community Rehabilitation Providers
    • Send notice at least 1 month before the meeting
  • Donte Mickens asks when it says send out notice to the Community Resource Provider (CRP) and also to the District Administrator (DA) a month before, is there any instruction or are they to disseminate as they see fit. Should they email or mail out to the clients? What’s the next step?
  • Selena Sickler responds that a flyer is sent to the DA’s to mail out to their clients.
  • Robert Lewis states also that counselors are encouraged to notify any client that has a valid email address the information and flyer.
  • Lenora Martin states she recalls discussions regarding automated phone calls as a reminder about the public forum.
  • Robert Doyle states there have been discussions and options are being considered.
  • Sylvia Perez suggests using Phonevite.
  • Mikey Wiseman states there is a disconnect resulting in poor attendance. 
  • Robert Doyle states we have a list of seven or eight different methodologies. He suggest we can always do more such as Phonevite, email, and Facebook.  But I don’t want to suggest that because we have low attendance that we are not doing all that we can.  Maybe they’re not satisfied enough to show up.  Maybe they are satisfied and don’t feel they need to show up.
  • Vicky Magliocchino states she has never received an email about the public forum as a consumer.  The second thing is that I did put it on my list serve.
  • Paul Edwards suggests having a particular topic for consumers to voice their option.
  • Sylvia Perez states the information be provided in an accessible format. She suggests opening up to conference calls for people who live in the district.
  • Bruce Miles states we have done as well or better than everybody else.
  • Patricia Lipovsky states there was good turnout in the past with telephone conference calls when working on the state plan.
  • Robert Kelly states he would advocate doing conference call if we have the technological capacity and callers are from the region.
  • Donte Mickens suggests finding out who the key people are in the area.
  • Robert Kelly proposes to close on this issue.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 PM