When visually impaired students across the state of Tennessee look to receive education and training, Tennessee School for the Blind stands equipped and ready to meet the challenge.  Students living outside of the Nashville area are able to gain easy daily access through the school’s blue ribbon residential program. Years of committed caring leadership have developed a relaxing and safe “home away from home” for up to one hundred and twenty students. 

Large Residential graphic with photos of tiger posed with photos of cottage, cottage kitchen, cottage bedroom and cottage living room.

The Residential Program at Tennessee School for the Blind purposes to accommodate students who are in need of on campus living with safety and comfort while presenting a platform to learn and master Activities of Daily Living (ADL). A majority of the school’s students living outside of the greater Nashville area cannot practically be bused to the school daily. With 10 modern cottages designed to accommodate the visually impaired, the school is equipped with the facilities necessaryto meet the need. As resources and staffing are available, local students may also stay on campus in order to participate in extracurricular activities, or to develop daily living or social skills. If a local student is interested in staying on campus, their parents should contact the Director of Residential Services.

Photo of student cooking in the cottage kitchenIn the evening, students participate in a very active recreation program that provides residential students opportunities to develop team work, leadership, socialization, and independent living skills, among others. Though there are many opportunities for recreation, students are aware that school work always is top priority. Instructional staff are encouraged to email the residential staff regarding homework assignments, upcoming tests, projects, etc. at .  

24/7 campus security ensure TSB is a safe and secure environment for all students and staff. Youth Service Workers enforce security measures within each cottage, making sure all staff and visitor logs are completed as well as being aware of the whereabouts of all students in their care. Students who are older and who have earned mobility clearance to travel independently also must sign in and out of their cottage as a safety measure. In addition, Youth Service Workers organize monthly fire and tornado drills with the students so that all are prepared in case of emergency.

Designed to provide more than just the means to conveniently gain an academic education, the residential program provides students the opportunity to gain skills that will help them in their life’s journey after TSB.  Through the devotion and direction of dedicated staff students are able to have daily hands on learning opportunities that will build the confidence they need to succeed.  

 

As with any organization, success rises and falls on leadership. The mark of the residential program has long been one of service to the students and the school. The department is led by the Director of Residential Services. Working with the director is an administrative assistant and five supervisors. Together these six staff members have a lengthy history of working with children. The residential leadership team constantly work together to implement new ideas and improve the education and experience of the students in the residential program. They are always looking to make sure that the support and instruction in the area of ADL’s remains relevant and individualized for every student.

Within each cottage Youth Service Workers (YSWs) have the responsibility of providing the daily care and oversight for the students when not in school.  Under their care the students are taught everything from proper personal hygiene to etiquette in dining.  They learn valuable lessons ranging from self-discipline to getting along with others. The Youth Service Worker creates a safe and nurturing environment where each student can learn and develop to the best of their ability the daily living skills necessary to function successfully in their world.

Depending on the number of students, there will be anywhere from 2-5 YSWs assigned to work in a cottage, with an average ratio of about four students to one staff member. At the end of each nine week marking period a summary sheet is sent home with the student that provides families with information on how their child is doing in the cottage and what skills they have mastered or are working on in the area of activities of daily living.  

The residential department places strong emphasis on communication between all members of a student’s educational team. The most important member being the student’s family. Parents/guardians are encouraged to call the cottage anytime to speak with their child or a residential staff member. In addition, families also can call the school and ask to speak with any residential supervisor or the Director of Residential Services. YSWs communicate regularly with classroom teachers and educational assistants to make sure that classroom needs are being supported in the cottage. It is our firm belief that students will succeed when we are all working together.