Hadley School for the Blind Wins RSA Commissioner's Award, Receives Federal Braille Grant

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International school for the blind wins Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Commissioner's Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation Education and Training.

The Hadley School for the Blind provides braille courses free of charge to people who are blind and visually impaired

By offering braille instruction at a distance with personalized attention from highly-qualified instructors, we are doing something unlike any other organization. We are thrilled that the RSA has recognized our efforts to address the current crisis in braille literacy and is providing us with additional funding to continue training professionals in the field.

The Hadley School for the Blind has received the prestigious Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Commissioner's Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation Education and Training. Hadley also received a $500,000 grant ($100,000 per year for five years) from the RSA to continue its successful distance education braille courses for blindness professionals.

The RSA award recognizes programs that support the state-federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) program, honoring excellence in effective partnering among state agency, educational and federal leaders. It was given in recognition of the Hadley School's ongoing commitment to braille instruction and the teaching and training the school provides to ensure that individuals who are blind have the braille education necessary to be contributing members of society. Hadley currently offers 13 different braille courses - 10 for tactile learners and 3 for sighted individuals - taught by 14 braille instructors.

"For nearly a century, Hadley has been teaching braille at no cost to people who are blind and their families around the globe," said Hadley President Chuck Young. "By offering braille instruction at a distance with personalized attention from highly-qualified instructors, we are doing something unlike any other organization. We are thrilled that the RSA has recognized our efforts to address the current crisis in braille literacy and is providing us with additional funding to continue training professionals in the field."

To be considered for the RSA Commissioner's Award, nominees must be a current or past RSA training grantee, have demonstrated an innovative training program and shown a special emphasis on partnering with the vocational rehabilitation program or the public vocational rehabilitation community. Michigan State University's Office of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies is also a recipient of this year's award, which will be presented today during the National Rehabilitation Education Conference in Arlington, Va.

Effective October 1, the federal braille grant will support the continuation of Introduction to Braille and Contracted Braille as well as the development of two new courses, Braille Teaching Methods for Pre-Readers and Braille Teaching Methods or Previous Print Readers. The grant will also allow Hadley to convert its Basic Nemeth Code course to an online format. Over the next five years, more than 1,500 blindness professionals will complete these tuition-free courses, making them more confident and competent in their work with blind and visually impaired students and clients around the country. The grant represents Hadley's only government-funded curriculum.

Founded in 1920, The Hadley School for the Blind's mission is to promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers. The world's largest educator of braille, Hadley enrolls more than 10,000 students in all 50 states and 100 countries each year. For more information, visit the Hadley School for the Blind or call 800-323-4238.

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Josie Whetstone
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