Visual Impairments (VI)

Welcome back to the 2015 – 2016 school year!  I hope you all had time to do something you enjoy, relax, and have fun. This summer was busy at MDE beginning with the Parent Child Institute (PCI) at MSAB in June, the 33rd Summer Transition Program (STP) at St. Catherine’s, and the MN BVI Mentoring Program Workshop held at MDE last week. I’m looking forward to all the professional development opportunities and BVI Initiatives that will happen this year, and hope that you will contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Statewide Vision Community of Practice meetings (available remotely via Mediasite) and BVI workshops are planned for the following dates:

  • September 2nd & 3rd, 2015 SSB UEB Transcribers Workshop, MDE CCB-16
  • September 24, 2015 MOMS (MN Orientation & Mobility Specialists) Meeting, MDE CCA-14
  • September 25, 2015 Statewide Vision Community of Practice (CoP) Meeting, MDE CCA-14
  • October 2, 2015 BVI Advisory Committee Meeting, MDE CCA-1&2
  • October 14, 2015 White Cane Day at MSAB
  • October 29 & 30, 2015 Fall Vision Conference sponsored by MDVI
  • November 4, 5 & 6, 2015 Low Vision Clinics: Sartell, Marshall, MDE
  • November 25, 2015 BVI Roundtable Webinar
  • December 11, 2015 BVI Advisory Committee Meeting, MDE CCA-1&2
  • December 17, 2015 MOMS Meeting, MDE CCA-14
  • December 18, 2015 Statewide Vision CoP Meeting, MDE CCA-14
  • December 23, 2015 BVI Roundtable Webinar
  • January 27, 2016 BVI Roundtable Webinar
  • February 5, 2016 BVI Advisory Committee Meeting, MDE CCA-1&2
  • February 24, 2016 BVI Roundtable Webinar
  • February 25, 2016 MOMS Meeting, MDE CCA-14
  • February 26, 2016 Statewide Vision CoP Meeting, MDE CCA-14
  • March 30, 2016 BVI Roundtable Webinar
  • April 8, 2016 BVI Advisory Committee Meeting, MDE CCA-1&2
  • April 24, 2016 Charting the Cs Statewide Vision CoP Meeting
  • May 25, 2016 BVI Roundtable Webinar

The following resources for TBVI and COMS in Minnesota will be included / updated on the MDE BVI webpage soon:

If you are unable to access them, please let me know!

  • American Printing House (APH) Ordering Procedures
  • Assistive Technology Loan Project Inventory
  • BVI List Guidelines
  • State Services for the Blind (SSB) Accessible Materials Ordering Procedures
  • Parent Supports
  • Statewide BVI Resources
  • UEB Implementation Information

We currently have a surplus of APH quota funds that must be spent by the end of September. Please submit student specific requests for APH material as soon as possible.

Thanks for all you do and hope you all have a great year!



Accessible Instructional Materials – Information for School District Purchasers.

Accessible Font APHont –

  • APHont™ (pronounced Ay’-font), was developed by APH specifically for low vision readers. APHont embodies characteristics that have been shown to enhance reading speed, comprehension, and comfort for large print users.
  • The entire APHont Suite is available free-of-charge to qualified users for non-commercial purposes. The APHont Suite consists of Regular, Bold, Italic, and Italic Bold. You must certify use for or by a person with a visual impairment before downloading.

Educators for students who are Blind/Visually Impaired in Minnesota

  • Mission:  The mission of the Minnesota Resource Center: Blind/Visually Impaired Low Vision Community of Practice is to support the educational rights of students with low vision.This includes the right of the student to:
    • have optimal access to the normal visual environment,have visual capabilities evaluated comprehensively and accurately through clinical low vision evaluations, and
    • receive services from competent and qualified professionals.
  • Belief:  The Minnesota Resource Center: Blind/Visually Impaired Low Vision Community of Practice believes that
    • All students with low vision have a right to participate in a clinical low vision evaluation without cost inhibitors or geographical barriers.
    • Clinical low vision evaluation is a necessary component of a student’s medical care and it does not replace existing medical services.
    • Low vision services are a critical component of effective educational services to students with low vision.
    • Students with low vision have individual needs, which may be met through a range of services, tools, and solutions.

BVI Websites:

Accessible assessments:


Early Intervention

Orientation & Mobility


  • MN Resource Libraries
    MN Resource Libraries is a statewide library providing information and resources to help families and educators meet the educational needs of Minnesota children and youth who have a hearing and or vision loss.
  • MN Resource Libraries Online Catalog

MDE AT Loan Project

Resources to support Teachers


Free Matter:

Regional Contacts

Region 10 Vision Network Members:

  1. Sandy Gorham – HVED
  2. Mary Ann Honeycutt – Albert Lea
  3. Gwen Howard – SMEC
  4. Mary Kautto – Austin
  5. Terri Kersting – HVED North Cluster
  6. Rita Sanderson – Rochester
  7. Connie Telschow – MSAB
  8. Jeannie Worden – MSAB


Below is a listing of the new numbers for the braille section:

  • Main switchboard,  Toll-free: 800-652-9000 Ph: (651) 539-2300
  • Manager: Donna Marhoun: 651-539-2307
  • Braille TechsGeneral line: 651-539-2315
    • General line: 651-539-2315
    • Eileen Baker: 651-539-2303
    • Yvette Hennies: 651-539-2306
    • Sharon Obrestad: 651-539-2308
  • Braille Library Librarian, Vicky Roberts: 651-539-2310
  • Library Assistant, Pat Barrett: 651-539-2304
  • Transcribers:
    • Penny Carpenter: 651-539-2305
    • Valerie Snider-Wojack: 651-539-2314
    • Gail Stefanick: 651-539-2313
  • Proofreaders
    • Allison O’Day: 651-539-2309
    • Judy Sanders: 651-539-2311

Bookbinder, Jim Sarbacker: 651-539-2312

State Contact

  • Kristin Oien
    Blind / Visually Impaired Specialist Minnesota Department of  Education
    1500 Hwy, 36 West, Roseville, MN 55113
    (651) 582-8843 / fax (651) 582-8729

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Simple Calendar

February 25, 2017
    Starts: 9:00 am
    Ends: February 25, 2017 - 2:00 pm

    Location: Rochester Community and Technical College, 851 30th Ave SE, Rochester, MN 55904, USA


    Health Science (HS) room 136


    SAVE THE DATES! - Saturdays, January 28 & February 25, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

    Developing Number Sense for ALL Learners, is a graduate level course designed to expand your current practice and understanding of effective practices and strategies that encourage conceptual development of numeracy skills.

    This five-week hybrid model allows for assignments to be completed through an online learning platform.

    Participants may earn two Winona State University graduate credits or 30 non-credit clock hours.

    Contact Christian Wernau ( for more information or with questions.

March 2, 2017
  • MASE Day at the Capitol
    Starts: 8:00 am
    Ends: March 2, 2017 - 3:20 pm

    Location: the Capitol


    Save the Date! MASE Day at the Capitol
    Thursday, March 2, 2016

    The day will begin with a breakfast and legislative meeting starting at 8 am at the Best Western Capitol Ridge and the group will then head to the Capitol to meet with various legislators. The group will then reconvene back at the hotel at around 2:30 pm.
    All MASE members are welcome to attend!

    Event Details
    Date: March 2, 2016
    Time: Meeting will begin at 8 am
    Location: Best Western Capitol Ridge | 161 St Anthony Ave, St Paul, MN 55103
    Room: Sibley Room

    If you need lodging, please call the Best Western Capitol Ridge at 651-227-8711 to request a room the MASE room block.

    Questions? Contact MASE Executive Director John Klaber at

    John P. Klaber
    Executive Director
    Minnesota Administrators for Special Education
    Cell phone 507-469-9096

March 3, 2017
  • MDE State Director Forum
    Starts: 9:00 am
    Ends: March 3, 2017 - 3:20 pm

    Location: 1500 MN-36, Roseville, MN 55113, USA