Welcome to Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired on the Web. Our school for the blind and visually impaired is the only school of its kind in the great state of Wisconsin. There are currently students with varying degrees of visual impairment enrolled full time, with other students, receiving short term educational services. WSBVI offers state-standard K-12 education, extracurricular activities, meals/housing, as well as the latest in adapted technology to its participants.
We have great pride in our school. Our mascot is the Badger and our school colors are orange and black. School pride is a feeling deep down inside of us. We feel it each morning when we walk through the front doors of our school. It's pride, it's caring, it's treating each other with respect and it holds a very special place in our hearts! You know it when you see it, hear it, and feel it. It is very much alive and well at WSBVI!
Our education is thorough. Most of our staff is VI certified by the state, and experienced in teaching blind children. We offer all required academics in a format customized to each individual. Along with core academic content, we offer physical education and health, vocational education, independent living skills development, Orientation and Mobility, music--general and individualized vocal, and instrumental--Braille, technology, as well as specialized classes and therapy for students with multiple handicaps. If parents find the school lacking a course they desire for their child, they have the additional option of enrolling him/her in that course at an area public school through our inter-school co-op program.
WSBVI offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities. Students can train and compete in everything from track and field to swimming, wrestling, and cheerleading. The athletic teams offer an excellent opportunity for students to stay fit, have fun, and socialize with kids from the community, as well as other blind children and teens from around the country. Non-athletic activities include area Scouts, volunteer community service, student council participation and activities, horseback riding, 4-H, speech and music competitions, and our annual prom. The recreation department takes care of what little downtime remains with optional outings, bike rides, bingo games, and supervised hangout sessions in our teen center.
Gem of Rock County
The Wisconsin School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (WSBVI) is located in southern Rock County on the south bank of the Rock River. It has been in this residential Janesville location since June 1, 1852, although the school was actually incorporated on February 9, 1850, four months after instruction had begun for its first eight pupils. Though several changes have occurred in its programming, facilities, and grounds, its original mission - providing an exemplary education to prepare blind and visually impaired students to live independent, full, and rewarding lives - has remained the same for those who have served as faculty and staff throughout its history.
Today the school serves boys and girls from ages three to twenty-one who have needs that cannot be met in a regular classroom setting. For some students this means several years at WSBVI; others come for a shorter period, to work on skills such as Braille, adaptive technology, Orientation and Mobility, daily living skills, vocational education needs, social interaction, recreation and leisure, career education, visual efficiency training, or compensatory academic skills.
Students enroll in either residential or day programs. Those who live within a 40 mile radius are transported daily. Students farther away are bused home (with the exception of those who live in the northernmost part of the state who are flown) each Friday afternoon and return on Sunday evening. This helps ensure family cohesiveness. The youngest students, in the early education program (ages three to five), are day students only. We are confident that this program will see continued growth.
Teachers, staff, and parents never tire of seeing changes in WSBVI students. These are most noticeable in the areas of self-confidence, independence, and belief in their own abilities. Being able to spend time with peers who understand their struggles, because they've "been there" brings a sense of camaraderie, trust, and determination to overcome obstacles. Blind and visually impaired teachers help reinforce students' realization that there is nothing, within reason, they cannot do through hard work and determination. These types of experiences may not be as readily available in any other school situation in the state.
As parents and staff, we feel that the WSBVI story must be circulated throughout the state. It is our desire that each parent of a blind or visually impaired child knows what we have found to be true: WSBVI is a rare gem worth much more than money. It has given a harbor, help, and hope to hundreds.
Thank you for visiting our Web site. Keep browsing to find out if WSBVI is right for your child. However, remember that students are placed at our school through an IEP process with your local school district. The IEP team must consider our school the least restrictive environment for the student and an appropriate placement. Call us if you have any questions. Ask about upcoming open-house events such as the track meets in the fall, winter Holiday concerts, or the musical solo and ensemble in the spring. Both events are open to high school participants from public schools around the state. All ages enjoy our annual Braille Olympics, also in the spring. This event gives students the chance to exhibit and sharpen their Braille skills by competing in Braille reading and writing games.