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|Maryland School for the Blind|
Newcomer Hall, built 1909
3501 Taylor Avenue
|School type||Private, special needs (visually impaired)|
|President||W. Robert Hair|
MSB is a non-profit, private, statewide resource center providing outreach, educational and residential programs. Over 65% of the 2,000 students identified in Maryland as blind or visually impaired are served by the school every year.
The Early Learning Program provides instruction for children with visual impairment ages birth to five years, within two programs; Infants & Toddlers, and the center-based programs including both Preschool and Kindergarten.
The Preschool and Kindergarten program serves children, ages three through five years of age. The purpose of the program is to promote readiness for school-age programs in the most integrative setting possible. Typically developing students, without disabilities, are included as an integral part of the daily program. Activities and materials from the curriculum are modified to meet the Maryland Early Learning Standards and support the development and learning of all students. The program is licensed through the Office of Child Care.
The MSB General Academic Program, serves students who are on an academic diploma track. Students also receive direct instruction in functional academic skills as well as in the areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum for students who are blind or visually impaired. The program is designed to address specific skill needs of students, address learning issues and facilitate a successful return to their local school system. The General Academic Program follows an academic curriculum based on the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards.
The MSB Functional Academic Program consists of a full complement of programming to meet the educational and social needs of students who are blind and visually impaired. Vocational training is emphasized. Academic instruction is presented at a student's instructional level and is based on significantly modified content standards. Students also receive instruction in the content areas of the expanded core curriculum for the blind and visually impaired learners.
The MSB Program for Students who are Blind with Multiple Disabilities, serves students with severe and profound disabilities with emphasis on functional life skills, including communication, and a strong multi-sensory approach to learning.
The Unique Learning System based on Common Core standards is used. Students also receive instruction in content areas of the expanded core curriculum for blind and visually impaired learners. The educational program takes into consideration the complex health and physical needs of each student, while developing age-appropriate adaptive skills to increase independence. This program also includes students with dual sensory impairments of both hearing and vision.
The MSB Program for Students who are Blind with Autism, serves students with disorders of communicating and relating, including those on the Autism Spectrum. Emphasis is placed on functional life-skills and communication and learning is supported in highly structured, sensory controlled environments. The Unique Learning System based on Common Core standards is used. Students also receive instruction in content areas of the expanded core curriculum for blind and visually impaired learners.
MSB offers wrestling, track and field, and "goalball" (a variation of handball for the blind). In 2019, MBS began soccer as a varsity sport on a specially designed field with kickboards on the sidelines to keep the ball in play. The game is further adapted for the visually impaired by having the ball weighted with ball bearings to produce a jingling sound the players can hear. They must shout "voy" to alert other players to their location. Only the goalie is sighted.
MSBl began developing blind soccer under former school president Michael Bina in 2017, hosting the first North American Blind Soccer Training Camp in 2018. After two years of training and practice, MSBl played the first actual game against the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, on September 24, 2019. Players on the Maryland team, the "Bees", said afterwards that they enjoyed the camaraderie, sportsmanship, and fun playing soccer.
MSB is a co-ed day and residential school located on a 95-acre campus in northeast Baltimore. The campus includes academic, residential and recreational facilities for students who are blind, visually impaired and multiply-disabled. The dorms at MSB are called "cottages". Each cottage houses six to eight students and consists of bedrooms with 2 beds and a bathroom in each. Each student typically has a roommate. The common area consists of a living room, dining room and kitchen. The cottages are occupied and supervised by residential staff members including child and youth care specialists who assist the students with daily living routines. Approximately one half of the enrolled students live on campus during the school week, while the other half are day students who commute to and from the school on a daily basis.
MSB has had thirteen leaders since its founding in 1853, including the current and 13th leader, William Robert Hair. With the appointment of W. Robert Hair, the title has been changed from "President" to "Superintendent" to assuage confusion as to the role he plays at the institution. This reflects back to earlier roots of the school as the first few presidents were called superintendents.
The 12th, and previous president was Michael J. Bina. When the school opened up in 1853, David E. Loughery was the first superintendent followed by Frederick Douglas Morrison for forty years and then John Francis Bledsoe for thirty-six years. Eventually, Herbert J. Wolfe became a superintendent and then Dr. Richard L. Welsh after him. The 10th president/superintendent was Louis M. Tutt and the 11th was Elaine Sveen.