July 10, 2014

Deaf and blind schools superintendent says work on regional system is behind

The Iowa Board of Regents accepted the retirement notice this week from the superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton and the Iowa School for the Deaf in Council Bluffs. Patrick Clancy will retire from overseeing the two schools on June 30th.”My family resides here in Iowa, I will retire here in Iowa and look forward to that,” Clancy told the board. “I have three adult children who have degrees from the find regent institutions, and I look forward to the next phase of spending more time with them.”

Clancy made his comments during his regular update on the schools. He says the move to a regional system scheduled to be implemented this fall is taking longer than expected. “We’re still working out agreements around the fiscal aspects of that as well as the locations. We’re making headway and there is a great group working on the tasks at hand for that. But it is slower than I had hoped  and all that,” Clancy says.

He believes they will slowly implement the change. “I think probably our best hope now is to start with a partial program in fall of 2014 that will then build into a full program as some of these other aspects work out,” Clancy explains.

One new program that is underway is the addition of American Sign Language into the curriculum for the deaf school. “It seems as I reflect upon this now,  surprising to me that that hasn’t been part of the curriculum there in the past,” according to Clancy. “Because it’s kind of like for those students who rely on manual communication as their primary means of communication, it’s kind of like not having English. So we have included this year American Sign Language within the curriculum — and that’s going well.”

Part of the program is also offered to students at Council Bluffs Lewis Central High School, which has a campus across form the deaf school. “Ten other students have enrolled now in American Sign Language for this second tri-mester. And I think that’s a real benefit to us at the School for the Deaf, and a real benefit to them,” Clancy says.

The goal is to eventually add the program to the distance education provided by the school. “And be able to provide American Sign Language not only on our campus — but to other students who are deaf and hard of hearing throughout the state in distance education. And potentially to students who are not deaf and hard of hearing, but want to take American Sign Language as a language course,” Clancy says.

The Board of Regents appointed a committee at their meeting Wednesday to begin the search for Clancy’s replacement.