iPad loan from Library for the Blind lightens educational load for visually impaired Southmoore student

three women with an iPad

OKLAHOMA CITY – Any high school student would rather use an iPad in class instead of a regular, old textbook. For Southmoore junior Katie Loman, who has a visual disability, a 1.45 pound iPad not only customizes print size, it liberates her from juggling more than 60 pounds of text books.

Students with visual impairments generally use three large print books for each standard print book. Braille students use seven to ten volumes.

Braille Challenge® to test students’ skills Feb. 28 at Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee

A Braille Challenge contestant smiles

MUSKOGEE, Okla. – Twenty-seven students who are blind or visually impaired are registered to compete February 28 in the Oklahoma Regional Braille Challenge® sponsored by the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee.

Last year, OSB eighth-grade student Richelle Zampella advanced from this regional competition to place second in the sophomore division at the national Braille Challenge® in Los Angeles.

She is the first person from Oklahoma to place at the national level in this competition.

Innovative job training project benefits Tulsa high school students

Two men in front of a school bus

TULSA, Okla. – Fourteen Tulsa students are one step closer to job success, thanks to an innovative training program that introduces them to work and a paycheck while they’re still earning high school credits.

Casey Middleton, age 26, got his start as an apprentice in the Tulsa Bridges Project, a successful partnership for 15 years between the state Department of Rehabilitation Services and Tulsa Public Schools.

High school students in the program work 10 hours each week at the TPS’ transportation department in jobs that range from auto mechanic to office administration.

Their paychecks come from TPS with funds reimbursed by DRS through the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

High performers like Middleton may be hired permanently by TPS, which manages one of the largest fleet centers in the state with more than 300 buses and other vehicles.

“The work these students do for us frees up journeyman-level staff to get more vehicles back on the road,” Shop Lead Clay Taylor said.

Like other Transition programs developed by DRS, the Tulsa Bridges Project helps students eligible for special education services transition successfully from school to work situations.