Alternate Academic Programs
Alternate Academic classes at Tennessee School for the Blind serve students with multiple disabilities from across the state of Tennessee. Our students are encouraged to become Contributing, Participating Members of Society through direct instruction in the areas of communication, cognition, self-help, pre-vocation, fine and gross motor and socialization. Our curriculum includes instruction in core curriculum subjects as well as Expanded Core Curriculum.
Our students also participate in music and physical education classes and have the opportunity to visit the media center to check-in and out books as well as develop social skills while working with our media specialist and her assistant. We have two full-time speech therapists, occupational therapist, and a part-time physical therapist who provide individual and group therapy in and out of the classroom. Teachers have access to a fully functioning home style kitchen for food preparation activities as well as additional programming spaces in our “Alternate Academic Building” used for larger group activities.
A multi-sensory experience is available in our “Wonder Room” for use throughout the school day. This room provides sensory stimulation with a variety of lights, music, tactile toys, bubble tube, musical bean bags, and stationary exploration walls. Teachers also have access to a taxidermy collection of wild animals for hands-on learning and real-world experiences outside of TSB.
Our Alternate Academic teachers have developed a work program for older students centered-around shredding, recycling, and a classroom/cafeteria laundry service. Students first work on the needed skills in the classroom before implementing them school-wide. They rotate on a three-week cycle to gain experience in the following routines by collecting materials throughout the school and processing them at an on/off-campus center.
Our Alternate Academic program also offers a bi-monthly “On-Campus” field trip program where students experience off-campus events in a safe and secure environment on campus. These programs have been extremely successful with a variety of professional musicians and performers coming to entertain and interact with our students. Students have been exposed to the music and hands-on learning of a wide variety of stringed instruments, (including harp), brass, bagpipes, piano, vocal performances, and sing-a-longs. Students learn through regular practice how to be a good audience, greet new friends, and follow up with written appreciation. This program has been a collaboration between teachers and a local volunteer.