Student/Parent Handbook


WSSB takes great pride in providing the highest quality services possible to blind and visually impaired (BVI) students. This handbook is one more tool in helping provide parents, students and staff with useful information to assist in improving services and programs.  The content in this handbook includes information needed to help guide students and parents along a process of educational skill advancement.

The Student/Parent Handbook is a useful tool for helping students to be successful at WSSB. We realize that each student is a unique learner and may have additional needs beyond the scope of this handbook. In a situation of this nature, the educational team and school administration can alter the student’s program (which will supersede the handbook) to help the student be successful.

Should you have any questions or suggestions for additional information that would be helpful in the school’s handbook, please contact Janet Kurz at (360) 947-3302, or


Directions to WSSB from Interstate 5:

  1. Follow Mill Plain Blvd. to the East
  2. Turn left at the traffic light on E. Reserve
  3. Turn right on 13th Street for the Old Main entrance
  4. Follow approximately 1 block to the entrance marked by signs

Directions to WSSB from Interstate 205:

  1. From the North or South take City Center/Highway (State Route) 14 exit
  2. Go West on Highway (State Route) 14 and take Columbia House Way exit
  3. Continue West on Columbia House Way and take a right on Grand Blvd.
  4. Go North on Grand Blvd. (up the hill, past the School for the Deaf)
  5. After the second traffic signal, turn left onto East 13th Street.

General Information


Independence for blind and visually impaired children.


The mission of WSSB is to provide specialized 24‑hour quality educational services to visually impaired youths.

The school serves as a statewide demonstration and resource center providing direct and indirect services to students both on campus and in the children’s local communities.  Services are provided to families, educators, and others interested in assisting visually impaired youths to become independent contributing citizens.


WSSB values a safe learning environment and maintains a drug, tobacco, alcohol, and weapons free campus. (RCW 9.41.280, RCW 28A.210.310, RCW 66.44.100, RCW 69.50.435)


Parents are required to complete all registration materials before their child enters WSSB and on an annual basis.  These include tra­vel and various permission forms.  The permission forms are used as guidelines as circumstances require.  Please be aware that your child’s medical history, your family physician’s name, address, and phone number, any recurrent or chronic medical problems, any special diets or allergies, and current immunizations record must be on file each year.  To ensure the best medical care for your child, we must have this information.

Communication is key to good relations between home and school; therefore, WSSB staff will make frequent calls to students’ homes. It is imperative that parents inform the school of any change in general information (address, telephone number, e-mail, student permissions, etc.).  To notify the school of changes, call 360-947-3309.


Student files are maintained in the Irwin building. The custodian of the files may release information from the records only with written consent of parent, guardian or adult student; upon an order of a court; or as required by the Superintendent, Director of On-Campus Programs, Director of Transition Services, or their designee.  Requests for records should be addressed to:  School Secretary, WSSB, 2214 East 13th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661.


Photographs are often valuable in sharing information with parents, governing boards, officials, and the general public.  They can be used to inform others of available services as well as to help teachers plan instruction or evaluate progress.  Because they can be used so effectively to provide information, photographs are important to our program. We request permission to photograph your child with our assurance that the photographs will be used only for official school purposes. A photograph/media release permission form is included in the registra­tion packet.  Your signature on this form will permit us to photograph your child and publish or otherwise use the photographs, and to release the photographs to interested parties when in the best interest of the school and/or your child.  An example of this might be press coverage of the annual track meet, etc.


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), a federal law, requires that the Washington State School for the Blind (“District”), with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records.

However, the District may disclose designated “directory information” about your child without your written consent UNLESS you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The District has designated the following information as “directory information”:

  1. Student’s name
  2. School
  3. Participation in recognized activities and sports
  4. Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  5. Degrees, honors, and awards received
  6. Dates of enrollment
  7. Grade level
  8. Photographs and videotape of students participating in District and/or school events

The primary purpose of directory information is to allow your child’s school to include this information about your child in school publications. Examples of such uses include: a program showing your student’s role in a drama production, yearbook, honor roll or other recognition list, graduation programs, and sports activity sheets and rosters, newsletters, school and District websites or social media sites, newspaper articles, as well as television and radio broadcasts.

In addition, directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can be released to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.

Also, two federal laws require school districts to provide military recruiters and institutions of higher education, upon request, with three directory information categories – high school students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings – unless parents have advised the school that they do not want their child’s information disclosed without prior written consent.

If you do NOT want The Washington State School for the Blind to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must either 1) notify your child’s school in writing or 2) complete an opt-out form located at the student’s school by the 10th day of the school year. Only a parent/legal guardian or eligible student (18 years of age or older) can choose not to have directory information released.

Please note that you must notify your school EACH year if you do NOT want directory information released. You cannot choose what student directory information to release. However, you can specifically choose to exclude military recruiters and institutions of higher education from receiving a student’s directory information.


Personal pets of resident/day students are not permitted on campus as some students have allergies, fears, etc. regarding animals.  Animals may be permitted on campus with prior approval if the animals are part of a scheduled activity or program. It is the responsibility of the staff supervising such an activity or program to ensure sanitary conditions of the areas where animals are kept and to make a judgment on need for veteri­nary examina­tions.  Prior approval of animals on campus rests with the Director of On-Campus Programs or Director of Transition Services.  Service animals are excluded from this policy.


All visitors must obtain a visitors pass from the office or cottage.  WSSB staff acknowledge it is desirable for parents and relatives to be familiar with the total education program and instructional practices in the school.  It further recognizes that frequent and unannounced interruptions to the classroom or cottage can be detrimental to the educational process.  To provide parents the opportunity to visit classrooms and cottages with the least interruption to the teaching process, the following guidelines have been established:

  1. Visitors to the school, cottage and/or classroom shall obtain the approval of the building administrator or designee, and if the visit is to a classroom, the time will be arranged only after the building administrator, or designee, has conferred with the staff responsible.
  2. A conference with the teacher or cottage staff will need to be prearranged.
  3. Young visitors will be admitted to classrooms only: (1) when satisfactory arrangements are made with the teacher, (2) when (in the case of preschool youngsters) they are accompanied by an adult who will assume responsibility for the young visitor.


Any on or off‑campus selling projects by individual students or classes must be approved in advance.


The purpose of school is the opportunity for students to receive the best education as possible.  It is the student’s primary responsibility to receive an education, within an atmosphere that makes learning and teaching possible. The success of the educational process is based on a positive, safe atmosphere that promotes learning.  Disciplinary consequences are intended to aide students in learning greater responsibility, respect, cooperation and to help enhance their education potential.

Staff have the initial responsibility for supporting appropriate behavior and handing minor discipline issues.  Staff may contact parents if issues persist and further disciplinary action may be recommended after a referral to a school administrator.

It is the goal of the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) to provide education in a safe, secure, healthy, and mutually respectful teaching and learning environment in which all students are treated with dignity and respect.  Additionally, all students at WSSB will remain free from the unreasonable use of force. Reasonable force, isolation, or restrain may be used in a situation if it is necessary to prevent a student from harming other students, staff, themselves, or school property. Parents and guardians will be notified verbally within 24 hours and by written notification within 5 business days after the use of restraint or isolation.


The Washington State School for the Blind does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employee(s) has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination:

Sean McCormick,, 2214 E. 13th Street, Vancouver, WA  98661, 360-947-3308

You can report discrimination and discriminatory harassment to any school staff member or to the district’s Civil Rights Coordinator, listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of WSSB’s nondiscrimination policy and procedure, contact the school office or view it online here:


Students and staff are protected against sexual harassment by anyone in any school program or activity, including on the school campus, on the school bus, or off-campus during a school-sponsored activity.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior or communication that is sexual in nature when:

  • A student or employee is led to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct or communications in order to gain something in return, such as a grade, a promotion, a place on a sports team, or any educational or employment decision, or
  • The conduct substantially interferes with a student’s educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile educational or employment environment.

 Examples of Sexual Harassment:

  • Pressuring a person for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome touching of a sexual nature
  • Writing graffiti of a sexual nature
  • Distributing sexually explicit texts, e-mails, or pictures
  • Making sexual jokes, rumors, or suggestive remarks
  • Physical violence, including rape and sexual assault

 You can report sexual harassment to any school staff member or to the district’s Title IX Officer, who is listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of WSSB’s sexual harassment policy and procedure, contact the school office, or view it online here:


If you believe that you or your child have experienced unlawful discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment at school, you have the right to file a complaint.

Before filing a complaint, you can discuss your concerns with the principal. This is often the fastest way to revolve your concerns.

Complaint to the School District

Step 1. Write Our Your Complaint

In most cases, complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the incident or conduct that is the subject of the complaint. A complaint must be in writing. Be sure to describe the conduct or incident, explain why you believe discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment has taken place, and describe what actions you believe the district should take to resolve the problem. Send your written complaint—by mail, fax, email, or hand delivery—to the district superintendent or civil rights compliance coordinator.

Step 2: School District Investigates Your Complaint

Once the district receives your written complaint, the coordinator will give you a copy of the complaint procedure and make sure a prompt and thorough investigation takes place. The superintendent or designee will respond to you in writing within 30 calendar days—unless you agree on a different time period. If your complaint involves exceptional circumstances that demand a lengthier investigation, the district will notify you in writing to explain why staff need a time extension and the new date for their written response.

Step 3: School District Responds to Your Complaint

In its written response, the district will include a summary of the results of the investigation, a determination of whether or not the district failed to comply with civil rights laws, notification that you can appeal this determination, and any measures necessary to bring the district into compliance with civil rights laws. Corrective measures will be put into effect within 30 calendar days after this written response—unless you agree to a different time period.

Appeal to the School District

If you disagree with the school district’s decision, you may appeal to the school district’s board of directors. You must file a notice of appeal in writing to the secretary of the school board within 10 calendar days after you received the school district’s response to your complaint. The school board will schedule a hearing within 20 calendar days after they received your appeal, unless you agree on a different timeline. The school board will send you a written decision within 30 calendar days after the district received your notice of appeal. The school board’s decision will include information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

[Note: The appeal procedure above is based on the Washington State School Directors Association’s (WSSDA) Sample Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment Procedures (3210P and 3205P). WAC 392-190-070 requires each school district to provide an option to appeal the district’s decision to a party or board that was not involved in the initial complaint or investigation. If your school district has adopted a different appeal procedure, please insert it here.]

Complaint to OSPI

If you do not agree with the school district’s appeal decision, state law provides the option to file a formal complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This is a separate complaint process that can take place if one of these two conditions has occurred: (1) you have completed the district’s complaint and appeal process, or (2) the district has not followed the complaint and appeal process correctly.

You have 20 calendar days to file a complaint to OSPI from the day you received the decision on your appeal. You can send your written complaint to the Equity and Civil Rights Office at OSPI:

Email: ǀ Fax: 360-664-2967

Mail or hand deliver: PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA 98504-7200

For more information, visit, or contact OSPI’s Equity and Civil Rights Office at 360-725-6162/TTY: 360-664-3631 or by e-mail at

Other Discrimination Complaint Options

Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education

206-607-1600 ǀ TDD: 1-800-877-8339 ǀ ǀ

Washington State Human Rights Commission
1-800-233-3247 ǀ TTY: 1-800-300-7525 ǀ


Students have the right to:

  • Expect courtesy, fairness, and respect from members of the school staff and from other students.
  • Attend class and pursue their education under competent instructors.
  • Privacy of their personal possessions unless there is reason to believe that the student possesses or is concealing materials prohibited by law or school regulation.
  • Expect and have available to them clear and understandable rules of student conduct.
  • Form and respectfully express their opinions on issues orally, in writing, or other modes of communication without jeopardizing their relations with staff.
  • Appropriate counseling for personal and educational problems. Access to consultation within a reasonable period of time should be assured.
  • Be protected by legal provisions which prohibit the release of personal information to other than legally authorized persons with the consent of the parent, guardian, or eligible students.


The physical facilities of WSSB are temporarily assigned to students for use by them, but are not and do not become the property of the students.  Contents in desks and rooms assigned to students are subject to inspection at any time for cleanliness, missing property, contraband, and evidence of vandalism.

Inspection and search can be conducted for the location and discovery of items such as non‑prescription drugs, apparatus for the administration of controlled substances, alcoholic beverages, pornographic materials, fireworks, tobacco, weapons, explosives, poisons, and stolen property.  Such items should not be brought on campus under any circumstances, and students who bring such items on campus may be subject to disciplinary action.

When a search focuses on a particular student because of a suspected rule violation, school officials will, if circumstances permit, record reasons for believing a search is justified before making the search. If possible, student consent will be obtained, and the student will be present when the search is made.  In the absence of the student, a witness will be present with the school official.

If a major reason for a search is to seek evidence of a criminal violation, school officials will report the information to law enforcement and allow them to conduct the search subject to standards applicable to police searches.  If the police seek permission from school officials to search a student, their property, or their locker to obtain evidence for criminal prosecu­tion, school officials will require the police to obtain a search warrant unless the search falls within one of the exceptions of the Fourth Amendment’s search warrant requirements.

The above safeguards will be observed unless in exceptional cases they interfere with school officials’ duty to maintain order and discipline in the school and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the students and staff.


Students may wish to use special equipment, books, and/or musical instruments at their homes on major vacations or during summer months.  School items of this nature may be checked out by students and/or parents by signing an Equipment, Instrument, and Book Agreement (form can be obtained from the school secretary).  A deposit may be charged.  If items are lost or damaged, the cost of replacement or repair will be charged to the individual borrowing the item.

Emergency Procedures

To ensure the safety and care of students and employees in the event of an emergency, written procedures have been established. These procedures are a guide for students and staff to follow in an emergency evacuation.

The procedures are reviewed orally with the students and drills are practiced regularly, both during the school day and the evening hours.  The emergency procedures are also reviewed annually by the WSSB Safety Committee.


In a drill and/or actual emergency, students will follow these procedures:


The fire alarm is an intermittent bell. When you hear the alarm, leave the building at the nearest exit moving at least 100’ away from the building, respond to the roll call, move to assembly area when instructed, and remain calm. Do not return to the building you exited until you receive instructions from a WSSB staff member to do so.

If you discover a fire, smoke, or intense heat and the alarm has not been sounded, you may activate the nearest fire alarm by pulling the handle on the fire alarm box in the area, or you may exit the building and report the fire to staff.

Volcanic Eruption:

In the event an eruption occurs, it is essential that the following procedures be followed to ensure the safety and welfare of students and staff:

  • If an alert is sounded during school hours, each teacher will distribute dust masks to their students (in the event of ash fallout) and escort the students to their assigned cottages.
  • Day students will not be sent home unless parents are contacted and can meet the bus or pick them up.
  • Students will remain in the cottages until the emergency is ended.
  • If an alert is sounded after school hours, RLC’s will ensure that all students remain indoors until the emergency has passed. Students not in their cottages at the time will be escorted back by staff where they will remain until the emergency is over.

Explosion and Bomb Threat (follow the same evacuation procedures as outlined for FIRE)

Tornadoes and High Winds:

In most cases, tornadoes and windstorms can be predicted in advance, usually with at least one hour’s warning.  When weather conditions indicate the possibility of a severe windstorm or tornado, the Superintendent or designee will monitor weather reports.  At the first indication that an emergency exists, the Superintendent will direct staff to move the students into the shelter areas where they will remain until the emergency has ended.  Persons are not to leave designated shelter areas until “all clear” is indicated by people in authority.


Since greater danger exists outside the buildings than inside, all students are to remain in the building they are in and be kept away from windows and away from the windward side of the building.  Interior hallways are the safest areas in severe windstorms or tornadoes.

If time permits, windows located opposite the direction of the approaching tornado or high winds should be opened to reduce pressure inside the building.

After the immediate danger has passed staff will escort students to assigned shelter areas where roll call will be taken.


Students within buildings at the beginning of an earthquake should “drop, cover and hold”, sitting, kneeling or crouching below the level of desks and tables.  In the absence of tables and desks, inner walls provide the safest places.

Students outside of buildings at the beginning of an earthquake should immediately move as far away as possible from buildings and other elevated objects which might fall or scatter debris.


In the case of any lockdown procedure, common sense must prevail.  In all cases, information will be shared with staff as the situation progresses and all must exercise best judgment in the situation.  We have many buildings on campus with many variables.  The safety of the students is our first concern.

If it is determined that there is sufficient cause to believe that imminent danger is present, the on-campus supervisor shall call for lockdown of all buildings in which children receive instruction.  Lockdown will be indicated by announcement made by administrator stating over the phone system “LOCK DOWN”.  Procedure:

  • All staff and students shall immediately go to the nearest classroom or lockable space in the building. All classroom doors shall be closed and locked. Students and staff shall move to the corner of the room that is out of the sightline of the classroom door or window. If feasible, shades should be drawn.
  • Physical Education building: students and staff to pool area or wrestling gym with closed and locked doors.
  • Shop building: to Arts and Crafts area.
  • Old Main (if appropriate) proceeds to lockable office area.
  • Staff is responsible for maintaining calm and order in the area.
  • If possible, log-in to your e-mail system to allow for updates of information.
  • Do not exit your area until told to do so by a known staff member or an identified police officer.
  • Special information or special needs should be communicated to the police by dialing 9-911.

Cottage procedure:

If an intruder comes into a cottage after the school day is finished and the supervisor determines that there is imminent danger, the RLC will announce: “Lockdown”.

  • If there is an intruder, students will immediately go to their rooms, close the door, and if possible move into the wardrobe in a sitting position.
  • Students will stay in this position and will be quiet until told to come out by a known staff member or police.
  • If the incident is in the neighborhood, students should gather in the interior hallway away from all windows.

Whether school or residential, in the event of a lockdown, staff in charge of the students in their immediate vicinity will call to inform parents.


Long distance lines are generally the last to be eliminated when an earthquake or similar disaster strikes.  If you are unable to reach WSSB in the event of such an emergency, you may call the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind at (208) 934-4457 for information regarding the status of WSSB and your child. Names of injured children will only be given to their parents/guardians.

Health Center Services

The WSSB Student Health Center is committed to providing excellent nursing care to promote the physical, emotional, and social well‑being of each student enrolled without regard to race, national origin, creed, color, age, sex, ability, or impairment.


Phone:  360-947-3388 (Voicemail available)

Fax:  360-690-4603

E-Mail: /

Texting:  The Health Center is unable to text information to parents/guardians.

Health Center Hours:

Day Hours
Sunday 5:30PM-10:00PM
Monday 6:30AM-10:00PM
Tuesday 6:30AM-10:00PM
Wednesday 6:30AM-10:00PM
Thursday 6:30AM-10:00PM
Friday 6:30AM-12:00PM
Saturday Closed

Health Center Staff-Registered Nurses

Robin Williams, RN, BSN

Justine Mings, RN, BSN

Consulting Pediatricians: Dr. Katherine Vaughn and Dr. Laurie Metzger


Registered Nurse (RN)

The RNs provide the day-to-day nursing care to all students at the WSSB.  Some of their responsibilities include administering prescribed medications, administering as-needed medications, assessing student’s health status and making necessary clinical judgments, assessing and treating injuries, carrying out necessary treatments such as wound care, communicable disease surveillance, communication with parents and staff about a student’s health condition, educating staff on emergency care procedures, education for students and staff on health promotion topics such as nutrition, sexual education and CPR/First Aid.

The Health Center RNs prepare Individualized Health Plans (IHP) for students in based on information provided by student, family and students medical care provider as well as the nurse’s assessment and judgment.   IHP’s are designed to assist students to maintain and achieve their maximum level of health. The RNs in the Health Center strive to promote and prepare students to manage their health conditions independently when possible.

When indicated, the RN will also participate in the student’s IEP and include goals related to health.

Cottage Staff:

Cottage staff are trained to care for the children who attend WSSB. This care may include washing scrapes and cuts, applying Band-Aids, applying sunscreen to prevent sunburn, stopping nosebleeds, and taking tempera­tures of children who appear ill.  Cottage staff also notify the Health Center when a student needs additional evaluation.  Cottage staff may also administer some as-needed medications after-hours when a nurse is not available.

Consulting Pediatrician:

The consulting pediatrician visits the school twice a week as needed and is available on call. The consulting pediatrician is not available as the student’s primary care physician through WSSB.


The Health Center has the following expectations of all parents/guardians of WSSB students.

  • Complete all Health Center forms prior to the beginning of the school year and provide a copy of their child’s Health Insurance card.
  • Relay medical information directly to the Health Center Nurses.
  • Promptly notify the Health Center of changes to medications/new medications.
  • Provide medications needed by their child to the Health Center in their original containers. Medications cannot be past their expiration dates.
  • Meet with the Health Center before each school year on registration day.
  • Schedule routine dental and medical appointments during vacations or on extended weekends.
  • Provide the Health Center with documentation of a general medical exam every 1 years.
  • Pick-up students when they are too ill to attend classes or are infected with a contagious disease.
  • Notify the Health Center if their child has been exposed to a contagious disease.


What You Can Expect from the Health Center

  • The Health Center will contact you before your child has a non-urgent contact with our consulting pediatricians.
  • The Health Center will keep you informed of any changes in your child’s health.
  • The Health Center and other trained staff will treat minor illness/injuries.
  • The Health Center will transport your child to urgent/emergency care as needed.
  • The Health Center will notify you if your child had been injured, contracted a communicable disease or come in contact with someone with a communicable disease.


Who administers medications at WSSB?

Medications are primarily given to students by the Health Center nurses.  During field trips and outings, certain medications may be delegated to trained staff. Cottage staff may also administer some as-needed medications when the registered nurses are not available.

Medication Storage

Any medications (including over-the-counter) or vitamins received or brought from home must be immediately given to the nurse.  Students may not keep them in the cottage or elsewhere on campus. Exceptions:

  • Asthma inhalers may be kept in the student’s possession, under a physician’s order
  • Epi-Pen, under a physician’s order
  • Topical acne medication, with approval from the Health Center nurse
  • Certain topical creams or lotions, with approval of the Health Center nurse
  • Participation in the Self-Directed Medication Program

Medication Packaging:

The Health Center requires that all medications be bubble-packed. The exceptions to this rule are over-the-counter medications, vitamins, topical ointments, inhalers and eye drops.

The Health Center prefers to use the Medication-On-Time packaging system to bubble-pack and refill student medications.  This local pharmacy refills medications and delivers them directly to the Health Center.  You may also use your local pharmacy or health system to bubble-pack your medications.

If you chose to use Medicine-on-Time, they will bill you or your insurance for the cost of the prescription and the bubble-packing.

Medication Transportation

It is more efficient to have medications at home as well as at school so that medications will not have to be sent back and forth each weekend.

If your child uses Medication-on-Time, we will send home weekend medications once per month when we receive the monthly refill.

Medication Refills

If you use Medication On-Time, the Health Center will coordinate the medication refills.  If you chose to use a different pharmacy, parents are responsible to arrange for medication refills and timely delivery to the Health Center.

Self-Directed Medication Program

WSSB is fortunate to have the Self-Directed Medication Lock Box Program. Qualified, motivated students will learn about the purpose of their medication, side effects, and learn to administer their own medica­tions with training and close supervision of the Health Center nurses. Students on the Self-Directed Medication Program will be provided with a lock box for safe storage of medication in the Health Center or cottage.


Should my child stay home sick?  When would my child be sent home from school?

Our goal is to facilitate a healthy learning environment for all students.  If your child has any of the conditions or symptoms on the following list, please do not send them to school.  If your child comes to school with these symptoms, or gets any of these symptoms at school, you may be contacted to pick him or her up.

  1. Any health condition (behavioral, physical or emotional) which causes the student to be unable to participate in normal school activities (not including P.E. restrictions)
  2. Symptoms of Contagious Diseases or Confirmed Contagious Diseases that include, but are not limited to the following:
    • Breathing difficulty, unresolved wheezing
    • Chicken Pox
    • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
    • Congestion (severe, unresolved, colored nasal drainage)
    • Cough that is persistent, coarse or has a whooping sound
    • Diarrhea and fever or unresolved diarrhea
    • Fever over 100.4 in the last 24 hours
    • Influenza “the flu”
    • Skin infections that are contagious or undiagnosed
    • Fungal infections or scalp or feet
    • Herpes Simplex (Cold Sores)
    • Impetigo
    • Scabies
    • Vomiting/unable to eat due to nausea
  3. Other conditions may be included on this at the discretion of the Health Center staff.
  4. Students must be excluded from school attendance for any diarrhea or vomiting and may not return to school until 48 hours after last episode per Clark County Health Department precautions.

What do I do if I keep my child home due to illness?

  1. If your student is residential, call the cottage and leave a message
  2. Call the health center nurses 360-947-3388
  3. Call the WSSB school attendance line, 360-947-3292
  4. If your child rides the charter bus, please call the transportation line, 360-947-3278

What if my child recovers early in the week?

If your child has recovered enough to return to school by Monday or Tuesday, WSSB will pay for public transportation or for personal car mileage. This offer is based on an assumption the student will be fully ready and able to attend classes on Wednesday morning at the latest. WSSB must be notified prior to the student’s return. Final authorization will be granted after considering the distance, age of student, capabilities to travel independently, weather conditions, etc. Children returning to school following an illness should be seen by the nurse before admittance to cottage or classroom.

What if my child becomes ill at school? 

Parents living within 45 miles or one hour, whichever is shorter, from WSSB are expected to take their child home when the child becomes ill. Parents living greater distances from WSSB may be expected to take their ill child home also, but in the case of greater distances extenuating circumstances are considered (e.g. severity of illness, weather conditions, etc.).

Public transportation such as the charter bus, train, or airplane are not options if your child has a communicable disease.

Head Lice

In the classroom or in the cottage, it is not uncommon for a child to contract head lice.  If your child has head lice, he/she may be sent home for treatment and removal of all nits. If we have two or more cases of head lice in the same classroom or cottage, parents of other children will be advised of possible exposure.

Educational Program

Educational programming is provided for eligible students up to the age of 21, or through the age of 21 if the student’s birthday occurs after the beginning of the school year.  WSSB students all experience visual impairments or blindness, however, there may be a significant range of functioning vision for individuals with a vision impairment.  Many have sufficient vision to use large print for reading, low vision aids, and other materials in their education.  Appropriateness for attending educational programs at WSSB is not related to visual acuity.  Attending WSSB is based on each student’s need to develop skills for future success towards greater independence.  The next step for students may be the next grade level, high school, career/tech preparation program, college, or employment.  The timeline for each student’s placement at WSSB depends on the priority of skills needing to be developed in order to prepare them for the next step on their pathway.  Some students are enrolled at WSSB for one or two years, while some may remain enrolled longer.  It is critical that WSSB provides a safe learning environment for challenging students to develop skills for independence, and support their journey as a life-long learner.


WSSB derives the greatest portion of its support from the citizens of the state. Tuition, trans­portation, board, room, limited medical care, and limited educational materials are provided without cost to parents of every child who is eligible for attendance if the child is a Washington resident.  Parents are required to pay for clothing, personal expenses, medical costs, and some school supplies. Students are responsible for keeping necessary school supplies on hand to adequately meet the needs of their educational programs. Basic school supplies include: two sets of headphones (to be use with the computer), pens, pencils, notebooks, and one ream of copy paper. A student’s first cane is provided at no cost.  Additional canes (tips, etc.) are provided at cost to students.

In general, personnel working in the administration, instruction, residence, building and grounds area, and other support services are paid from general operation funds. These funds are appropriat­ed by the state legislature.  Other funds which are designated for specific projects may come from private or government grants. Revenue secured from such sources are set in special accounts, and persons working on these projects are paid from such accounts. WSSB encourages parents, teachers, and other interested parties to make suggestions regarding possible programs worthy of funding through alternative grants.


WSSB, like school districts in the state, has 180 school days per year.  In order for your child to benefit from our program, it is imperative that your child be in attendance. If the student reaches five unexcused absences in any month or ten unexcused absences in the current school year, WSSB may file a petition in juvenile court alleging a violation of Washington State’s mandatory attendance law.  Excessive absenteeism may result in a change of placement back to the student’s home district.  Temporary alternative attendance may be provided through the use of Skype or other video conferencing applications on a case by case scenario.


The middle school program consists of students in grades 6-8 and focuses on an integrated learning style, with reading, writing, language arts, and math as a focus.  Braille, daily living skills (DLS), and mobility, study skills and technology are emphasized for students and may be individualized for greater support in a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).


The secondary academic program consists of students in grades 9-12 and focuses on an integrat­ed learning style with reading, writing, language arts and math as a focus. Braille, DLS, mobility, study skills, and technology are emphasized and may be individualized for greater support in a student’s Individualized Education Plan(IEP).  This program leads to a fully accredited high school diploma which is recognized by post-secondary schools and colleges.


Percentage Grade
100.00 – 93.00 A
92.99 – 90.00 A-
89.99 – 87.00 B+
86.99 – 83.00 B
82.99 – 80.00 B-
79.99 – 77.00 C+
76.99 – 73.00 C
72.99 – 70.00 C-
69.99 – 67.00 D+
66.99 – 60.01 D
60.00 – 0.00 F


Students attending WSSB are required to meet standards for program completion in order to earn a diploma. This includes a minimum of credits in selected courses and/or evidence the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) has satisfactorily met the student’s needs and credit requirements.

Updated information can be found on OSPI’s Graduation Requirements webpage.

Subject Class of 2017 & 2018
English 4 Credits
Mathematics 3 Credits*
Science (Lab) 2 Credits
Social Studies
U.S. History 1 Credit
World History 1 Credit
Contemporary World Problems (CWP) and Civics 1 Credit
Physical Education 2.5 Credits
Health 0.5 Credits
Arts 1 Credit
Occupational Education 1.5  Credits
Go Out And Live Successfully (GOALS) 0.5 Credits
Electives 5 Credits
Senior Project 0.5 Credits
Total Credits Required to Graduate Class of 2017 & 2018 23.5 Credits
Subject Class of 2019
English 4 Credits
Mathematics 3 Credits*
Science 3 Credits (2 Lab)
Social Studies
U.S. History 1 Credit
World History 1 Credit
Contemporary World Problems (CWP) and Civics 1 Credit
Physical Education 1.5 Credits
Health 0.5 Credits
Arts 2 Credits (1 can be PPR**)
Career and Technical Education 1 Credit
General Electives 3.5 Credits
Go Out And Live Successfully (GOALS) 0.5 Credits
World Language or Personalized Pathway Requirement (PPR) 2 Credits (Both can be PPR)
Total Credits Required to Graduate Class of 2019 & Beyond 24 Credits ***
* The 3 Math Credits consist of:
Algebra 2
OR A student may elect to pursue a 3rd credit of math other than algebra 2 if the elective is based on a career oriented program of study identified in the student’s High School and Beyond Plan, and the student, parent or guardian, and a school representative meet, discuss the plan, and sign a form.
** Personalized Pathway Requirements are related courses that lead to a specific post high school career or educational outcome chosen by the student based on the student’s interests and High School and Beyond Plan, that may include Career and Technical Education, and are intended to provide a focus for the student’s learning.
*** Up to 2 credits can be waived locally for students who have attempted 24 credits
Non-Credit Requirements
Washington State History (typically taken in middle school)
High School and Beyond Plan

Senior Project/Portfolio

Assessment Requirements Class of 2017 and 2018
High School English Language Arts Smarter Balanced Assessment
Or state-approved alternative
One math End-Of-Course (EOC) in Algebra 1 or Geometry
Or High School math Smarter Balanced Assessment
Biology End-Of-Course Exam
Assessment Requirements Class of 2019 & Beyond
High School English Language Arts Smarter Balanced Assessment
Or state-approved alternative
High School math Smarter Balanced Assessment
Or state-approved alternative
Biology End-Of-Course Exam or Next Generation Science Standards Assessment
Course Replacement or Waivers
Specific required courses may be waived through the IEP process, but this must be explicitly addressed in the IEP. A student may not be denied a diploma because of his or her disability. Waiving a class may be done in the “Course of Study” section of the transition plan

High School Academic Level Courses Taken Prior to High School

Courses taken prior to high school may only be included on the transcript if high school credit is awarded and only at the student and family’s request.  High school credit may be awarded if the course is taken with high school students, the academic level exceeds the requirements for seventh and eighth grade classes, and the course would qualify for high school credit upon completion of same requirements and examinations as high school students enrolled in the class.

Graduation and Diplomas
All students will receive a high school diploma with the attainment of a Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or A Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA).
The student will graduate with a regular diploma and standard credits. Performance standards in reading writing and math have been met on state assessment (with or without accommodations for a student with a disability). All other school graduation requirements have been met.
The student will graduate with a regular diploma with special education or replacement credits as established in their IEP and Alternative assessments have been completed in reading, writing, science, and math to determine performance standards.
CAA or CIA is noted on the student’s transcript. Neither is noted on the high school diploma.  Both CAA and CIA pathways lead to earning a regular high school diploma in Washington state.
Graduation Date and Eligibility
Students must have an anticipated graduation date declared before turning 16.  This date is entered into the student’s IEP in the year in which they turn 16.  This date may not be changed once it established.
Special Education services will continue until graduation requirements are met or through age 21.  Student turning 21 after the start of the school year may continue through the end of that school year.

Senior Project/Portfolio

The senior project is a requirement for graduation.  The goal is to integrate the knowledge and skills gained throughout the high school experience with exploration into real life experiences available in the community.

Components:  Portfolio containing the following: resume, cover letter, letters of recommendation, 2 best works samples, VIP resource file with contact and community information, personal eye report, High School and Beyond Plan.

Student choice: Student generated topics allow for real work experiences. Students are encouraged to venture into any area of study where they have an interest, curiosity, or an urge for exploration.  Students may use community based experiences to propel them forward in the development of their portfolio.

Community involvement: Students will have the opportunity to work with members of the community who have consented to serve as mentors for the various projects.  Volunteering and community involvement may be eligible for credits to support graduation.  All high school students may earn up to 1.0 credits per year through a structured volunteer/community experience.  Prior approval of community involvement plan is required prior to eligibility to earn credits.

Kevin’s Law: Each year as graduation approaches it is questioned whether a student who is in 12th grade, but is planning on continuing until age 21 should take part in senior activities and the graduation ceremony. Kevin’s Law allows for the student to walk with their graduating class and continue on with their education.


These services (classes) are provided in a digital environment through on-line classes from interactive video to web based learning.  This has opened up hundreds of additional class options for students.  Students may be eligible for these programs based on their individual needs.


Students who attend Short Course Programs may participate in up to two courses per year. Special circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to allow students to take additional courses. While students are participating in WSSB functions, they will be held to the same expectations as other WSSB students as outlined in this handbook.


The expanded core curriculum is a program designed for BVI students of all ages.  The team stresses those skills necessary for independent living:

  • compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes
  • orientation and mobility
  • social interaction skills
  • independent living skills
  • recreation and leisure skills
  • career education
  • use of assistive technology
  • sensory efficiency skills
  • self-determination

LIFTT PROGRAM (Learning Independence for Today and Tomorrow)

This program teaches skills for adulthood to young adults who are BVI.  Young adults (generally 18-21 years) who have completed high school graduation requirements but need additional training to successfully transition to post high school life are eligible for this program.


  1. Education is a joint responsibility of the home and school. Homework plays a significant role in student achievement. In keeping with WSSB’s philosophy of mastery learning, teachers will make assignments according to the needs of the pupil. In order for homework to be meaningful, evaluation by the teacher is mandatory. Time suggestions for daily homework: Grades 5-6: 1 hour; and Grades 7-12: 2 hours (all subjects).
  1. The following guidelines may be used, keeping in mind the appropriate modalities of learning:
    1. Secondary Academic: ½-hour assignment per academic class 3 times a week. This may include weekends.
    2. Upper Elementary: 15-20 minutes, two to three times per week.
  1. At the end of each day teachers should notify cottage staff a list of all students who did not complete their work.
  1. Students will have access to the library, study hall and technology for completing assignments.
  1. Secondary academic students should register with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic for additional materials.


Quarterly progress reports are communicated to parents following the end of each nine‑week period.  These reports provide parents with information on how their child is progressing and toward meeting their IEP goals.  Copies are also transmitted to the student’s local education agency (LEA) to keep the local school informed of the student’s prog­ress each semester.


Students will be provided with supplies needed to meet their individualized needs and provide reasonable accommodate for necessary tools to be successful and participate in learning at WSSB.  School supplies that a student has preference to should be purchased and brought to school for use.  Personal computers are permitted for use at school, however, students requiring the use of a computer for school use may be provided upon request based on availability of devices.

WSSB will give to each student (as appropriate) his/her first long cane as part of the instructional process.  Replacement long canes can be purchased from the orientation and mobility department at school.  Folding or specialty canes may be purchased through outside vendors.  The school can provide a list of resources upon request.

It is expected that students will have lockers to keep their materials and personal possessions.  Classroom teachers cannot be responsible for lost items on campus.


Opportunities for learning specific living skills and personal independence are provided to students through courses in Daily Living Skills and experience in residential cottages.  Areas of emphasis include the following:

  • Personal grooming and hygiene, including daily bathing, care of teeth, and proper use of cosmetics and personal items.
  • Clothing care, including folding and hanging clothes, orderliness in drawers and wardrobes, selection of appropriate clothing, laundry, and minor clothing repairs.
  • General room care, including making and changing beds, mopping floors, dusting.
  • Foods and kitchen skills, including shopping and food preparation, menu planning, and personal eating skills.
  • Use and care of personal possessions and school property.
  • Earning and spending money for goods.
  • Eating management, weight control, nutrition.
  • Personal management and organization.


WSSB subscribes to the following statements of Orientation and Mobility (O&M) philosophy.  It is of utmost importance that students develop a positive self-image and confidence in their ability to function within their environment.  One way to achieve this is the ability to move within one’s environment, thereby increasing the number of experiences and concepts available, as well as the ability to control one’s own life and immediate environment.

  1. O&M is an integrated part of the educa­tional curriculum and an integrated part of life. It there­fore must be taught as such and not as an isolated skill.
  2. O&M training should begin during early childhood and preschool years.
  3. The long cane is a primary tool for BVI students, which may be supported by other O&M aids.

More specifically,

  1. The IEP team must consider the need for an O&M goal on each student’s individual education plan (IEP).
  2. Students will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine need based upon parent, student, and staff input.
  3. Appropriate mobility aids shall be offered/prescribed for each student. No student shall be denied the opportuni­ty to use any mobility tool.
  4. Students shall be encouraged to use the long cane and/or other mobility devices in all areas. No student shall be denied the right to use a cane or other aid in any area.
  5. Students for whom it has been determined by an O&M instructor, that they should use a cane, should carry a cane at all times, for traveling on and off campus.
  6. Canes or other mobility devices shall not be removed from students except in cases of imminent danger (e.g., use as a weapon).


Definition: “Walking Papers” are the permission granted to students who demonstrate proficiency on specific routes leaving from WSSB.  Students must demonstrate for their O&M Specialist safe travel to and from desired destinations.  Parents/guardians are an integral part of this process: students are to obtain written permission (kept on file in the office) for each route completed.

  1. Age requirements:
  • Students must be at least 13 years old to earn walking papers from the cottages;
  • Students under the age of 16 must travel with at least one other student who also has earned his/her walking papers;
  • Students 16 and over can earn “night travel” papers for travel off campus after dark.
  1. Signed permission:
  • The Walking Papers forms are kept in the Irwin school office for each student, initialed by the current O&M instructor when a new route is learned.  A copy is sent to the Cottage of residence for each student.
  • Each route should have a signed parental permission slip behind the form.  Instructors are to contact the parent or guardian to discuss new routes learned and to answer any questions parents might have regarding their child’s travel off campus.
  1. Annual Renewal:
  • O&M specialists will evaluate students on their previously acquired walking papers at the beginning of each school year to insure safe travel after summer break.  RLC’s will be informed by O&M instructors when a student is “cleared” to use her/his walking papers again each September. Renewed walking papers will need to be signed by parents and returned to the office or mobility staff prior to students traveling independently in the community.

Note: Specific parts of town may be off-limits for “Walking Papers” due to safety or security concerns.


The goal of Residential Services is to provide an environment that encourages each student to reach his/her maximum potential and to develop independence.  Students will grow in social awareness, self-confidence, and participate in leisure activities.


The cottage settings are located in four buildings on campus: Watson, Clarke, Hall, and Chapman. A kitchen, living room, bathroom, and laundry room are located in each cottage.  Students are provided a room with a bed, dresser space, closet, bulletin board, and desk. Sheets, blankets, pillows and towels are available, but many students prefer to bring their own. Students most often have a private room to themselves. Students are encouraged to bring items from home to place in their rooms to make them more personal.  Many students bring stereos, recorders, etc.  Each cottage has computers, a television, Brailler, CCTV, electronic equipment, and a supply of toys and games for students to use.

Students residing on campus are assessed at the beginning of the year to evaluate skills and needs in the Expanded Core areas of Skills of Daily Living. Individual and/or group instruction is provided by Residential staff throughout the year to build student skills in these areas.  Progress reports are written at the end of each quarter and are submitted to parents with progress reports from the school.  Assessments are completed again at the end of the school year to measure growth in skill development.

Communications between parents and cottage staff or teachers is important and may be initiated through various forms. Residential staff ask parents on move in day what method and frequency they would like to use for regular contact with staff about their student. The most common methods are through e-mail or phone calls.


“How often does my child come home?”  Your child is scheduled to go home each weekend and for the holidays.  Transportation is provided on closure days by WSSB to designated stops near your home area.  If your child is needed at home prior to closing day, the child may be excused from school, but the transportation must be arranged by the parent.

“How much do the services my child receives cost?”  There is no cost to students or their families for instructional and residential services if the custodial parent(s) live in the state of Washington.  Families provide for their child’s clothing, medical care, personal needs, recreational spending, and special fees.  Some scholarships are available to students in need.

“May my child bring personal electronics, stereos, games, or toys?”  We encourage students to bring some of their favorite items.  Many students bring radios, stereo/CD players, laptops, stuffed toys, and games.  WSSB assumes no responsibility for personal items brought by students or their families.

“When am I allowed to visit my child at school?”  We are always pleased to have parents visit the school and cottages.  Please inform the Director of On-Campus Programs, in advance, of your intention to visit during school hours, or the Residential Program Manager when visiting cottages. It is imperative that you notify the appropriate staff person if you plan to take your child from school or from a cottage area. This helps the school assure the safety and protection of your child.

“May friends and relatives visit my child at school?”  We encourage visitors to come see your child.  Permission must be granted (or denied) by the parent and is included in our application form. Please provide advance notice when visitors are coming.

“Whom can I talk with about my child’s progress?”  RLC’s, school nurses, teachers, the Director of On-Campus Programs, director of curriculum and assessment, Residential Program Manager, student advocate, and the Superintendent are always willing to discuss matters relating to your child.  To encourage close home/school ties, yearly conferences are scheduled for the parents of all children.  However, please feel free to call or stop at school any time you have questions.


In order to promote an environment which encourages positive growth and self-esteem for all students, WSSB has banned a number of materials from campus.  The banned materials include, but are not limited to, the following: alcohol, drug paraphernalia, drugs, fireworks, guns, knives, and pornography. Music, clothing, videos, posters, magazines, and graffiti which promote racism, violence, suicide, drugs, etc., are not allowed.

If you have questions regarding any banned material, or if you are not sure whether or not the material is allowable, please check with the Residential Program Manager.


Students should not borrow, lend, buy, sell, or give any person­ally owned items to others.  We need parental support and cooperation in this area.  Parents are urged to question their child regarding possessions or items brought home on the weekend when they are not fully aware of how the child came into possession of the item.  Anytime you have a question, please call the cottage and ask for more information.


All students are expected to check in and out with cottage staff when leaving their cottage areas, whether going to class, off campus, or to recreational activities.  Residential counselors may deny permission to leave the cottage if chores or homework have not been completed.  Hours of independent off-campus privileges vary according to the age and abilities of the student and are limited to daylight hours unless night travel is approved by the O&M staff.


WSSB does not favor any religious viewpoint.  This in no way restricts your child from taking part in religious activities off campus. Parents requesting their child attend specific church activities, prayer meetings, Bible study, etc., should make arrangements through the local church and then provide WSSB with information regarding the day, time, and transportation arrangements.


Students travel about campus to attend classes and need appropriate clothing for inclement weather.  It is suggested that enough clothing be left at home so the student does not have to take clothes home on the weekend.

Coats, jackets, and hats for all students must be appropriately marked regardless of your child’s age.  Clothing should be marked with student name. Local day students should label all coats, hats, swim suit, cane and backpack.

The following is a suggested clothing list for residential students.  Please send enough clothing to meet the needs of your child.

7-8 matching school outfits

1 dress outfit

7 complete sets of underwear

2 pairs of shoes/5 pairs of socks

1 sweater or jacket

1 bathrobe (required)

1 winter coat (required)

1 swimsuit (required)

1Rain Jacket

Personal items:








Nail clippers

Sanitary supplies


School supplies


Hair brush


Soap/Body Wash (personal hygiene items)

Students may wish to duplicate some items to keep in their PE locker.

For those with bladder and or bowel control issues, please send an ample supply of clothing. Swim diapers are required in addition. This applies to both residential and day students.


Each cottage has individual rules, consequently students must check with their cottage staff to confirm the rules regarding curfew.  If a student is off campus shopping, dining, attending a concert or sporting event, etc., a later curfew may be allowed.  Most campus activities are completed by 9:00 pm.


Students who live within 45 miles or one hour from the school will reside at home and are day students. Parents wish­ing to enroll their child as a resident student may request such placement through the IEP process as part of the need for more intensive residential services.

Day students are welcome to participate in afternoon activities.  They will be assigned a cottage while on campus and will follow the rules of the cottage or obey all rules and regulations when they are on campus or under the jurisdiction of the school.  Whenever the situation deems it necessary, parents must accompany the student to events to maintain staffing ratios. Transpor­tation to and from WSSB for these functions will be provided by the family and should coincide with the scheduled activity.

The Superintendent has designated the Residential Program Manager to approve individual day students to spend an overnight in the cottage on a space available basis, if the request meets the following criteria:

  • Student desires to take part in a school-sponsored program that necessitates staying overnight, i.e. if event is over after 11:00pm. Prior to 11:00pm parents/guardians are required to pick up their child.
  • The parents give written permission for the overnight stay; and
  • Parents must provide written notice requesting overnight stay 72 hours in advance.


Harassment is taken seriously and addressed as outlined in WSSB’s established student conduct standards and disciplinary process.


Student mail will be directed to the student and must be opened by the student.  When a reader is needed, the person reading the mail is chosen by the student. This could be a staff person or a peer. Staff members selected to act as readers will not disclose the contents of the mail to others.


Every effort is made to provide nutritious meals which are served in the dining room and cottages. Breakfasts and dinners are served family style in the cottages.  Lunches are served cafeteria style in the dining room.  There is no charge for the breakfast or dinner meal for students.  For student lunch prices, or free and reduced price applications, call 360-947-3309.

All food and beverages (except water) are stored in the kitchen/dining room areas in the cottages.  No food or drink in bedrooms is allowed.  WSSB strongly recommends providing nutritious snacks.

Students are required to be present for every meal unless ill or excused.  Students may obtain special permission from cottage staff to eat off campus.  It is necessary to notify the cottage staff one day in advance when planning to be away from the cottage at a meal time or if a guest has been in­vited to dinner.

Kitchens are available for use by the students in each cottage. They are encouraged to prepare their own snacks and are required to participate at their present level of independence in the cook­ing program.


In order to promote an environment which encourages positive growth and self-esteem, WSSB believes certain forms of music and entertainment are not appropriate. Students who bring music/videos/games considered to promote such things as alcohol, drugs, suicide, death, violence, racism, and/or sexual content will be required to take them home. Parents are asked to screen media prior to students bringing them to school. Material on campus found to be questionable may be referred to a committee made up of students and staff for a final determination. No rated R/mature movies/video games are allowed on campus. Students will follow individual cottage rules about the use of electronics, etc. to insure a safe and healthy lifestyle.


Students are encouraged to use their mobility skills when travel­ing off campus, shopping, or at­tending meetings or recreational events. Students must first be approved for such travel by the O&M instructor, have parent approval, and have approval of their RLC for the specific trip. While the student is off campus, he/­she is expected to behave in a manner which is consistent with school rules and policies.


To the extent possible, personal possessions will be secured in the student’s room, storage area, or closet and will be accessible only to that person.  (Serial numbers and model numbers of recorders and stereos will be recorded and kept in the student’s file to help in identification in the event the items are lost or stolen.)  Staff or others will not intrude into these areas, or take students’ personal items, except when, during a routine room search, when illegal drugs or banned materials are found or suspected in the student’s possession.  In such case the incident will be documented and materials will be confis­cated.  Whenever possible, room searches will be conducted with the student present.


The purpose of the recreation program is to develop life­long leisure skills and interests through a wide variety of activities made available at WSSB and in the community of Vancouver. Recreation programs are a part of the total student program and are offered to all students enrolled at WSSB. Whenever possible, students are encouraged to integrate into rec­reational activities within the community. Transportation is provided when possible for students who participate.

Many recreational activities extend beyond campus in the form of shopping trips, pic­nicking, concerts, fairs, theater, and athletic events. Although recreation programs and travel are provided at no cost to the student, entrance fees to off-campus events may be (1) paid by the student, (2) paid with the student and school sharing the costs; and/or, (3) paid by the school. Students are alerted to special events well in advance and are encouraged to make their own plans, when possible, as part of their program in gaining independence.  Students are encouraged to follow through in attending as planned.


Between students:

The relationship between students should be one of mutual respect.  Healthy relationships are a part of the WSSB environment (classes, meals, recreation, and most activities are co-educational).  Students who are involved in off campus organizations or who attend Vancouver community schools and develop friendships are encouraged to invite friends on campus with permission from their cottage staff.  Relationships between students are closely monitored by staff.

Between Student and Staff:

The relationship between a staff member and a student should be a professional one of mutual respect. It is only appropriate for a student to have a staff member’s telephone number when there is a direct need related to the student’s program.  Students and Staff should refrain from contact outside of school.  Any questions or concerns a staff member may have about a student should be directed to the student’s family.


The purpose of this fund is to provide financial assistance to students in need of clothing, personal items, books, medications, etc. The fund is administered by the Super­intendent and is supported by donations made by the public. Parents or students wishing to use this fund should make a request to the Residential Program Manager.


The Lion’s Den is a coffee shop located in the recreation center.  The Student Store is operated by WSSB students under the supervision of staff.

Students who work in the Lion’s Den and Student Store gain experience in buying, selling, and promoting of merchandise, handling cash, su­pervising other workers, and in general food handling.  Students working in Lion’s Den are required to obtain a state food handler’s card which can also be used for employment elsewhere.


Though most students have personal cell phones and use those to contact family, students are per­mitted to make and receive telephone calls using the telephone in their cottages.


Because of the potential injury to health, as well as the legal implications for students under age, the use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or non-prescription drugs is prohibited.

Student Conduct


The purpose of school is the opportunity for students to receive the best education as possible.  It is the student’s primary responsibility to receive an education, within an atmosphere that makes learning and teaching possible. The success of the educational process is based on a positive, safe atmosphere that promotes learning.  Disciplinary consequences are intended to aide students in learning greater responsibility, respect, cooperation and to help enhance their education potential.

Staff have the initial responsibility for supporting appropriate behavior and handing minor discipline issues.  Staff may contact parents if issues persist and further disciplinary action may be recommended after a referral to a school administrator.

It is the goal of the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) to provide education in a safe, secure, healthy, and mutually respectful teaching and learning environment in which all students are treated with dignity and respect.  Additionally, all students at WSSB will remain free from the unreasonable use of force. Reasonable force, isolation, or restrain may be used in a situation if it is necessary to prevent a student from harming other students, staff, themselves, or school property. Parents and guardians will be notified verbally within 24 hours and by written notification within 5 business days after the use of restraint or isolation.


WSSB students have PRIDE, which represents our schools focus and the acronym is our common language.  This message is shared from classroom to cottage and throughout the school.  PRIDE stands for:

  • Positive (students and staff will lead an “I can” and “I will” attitude in their learning).
  • Respectful (students and staff demonstrate high levels of respect for themselves and others).
  • Independence (students demonstrate independence with staff support for their growth).
  • Dependable (students and staff are dependable; you can count on them).
  • Engaged (students are involved in hands on/minds on learning at all times).

Students and staff receive acknowledgement for demonstrating behavior that is outlined in the PRIDE Model.


Any student who willfully violates or fails to follow WSSB rules or regulations, or performs an act which materially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of a classroom or school, a school‑sponsored activity, or any other aspect of the educational process at WSSB shall be subject to disciplinary referral or action.

In the case of suspension, the nature and circumstances of the violation must reasonably warrant a suspension and the length of the suspension imposed.  As a general rule, no student shall be suspended unless another form of restorative or corrective action has been previously imposed upon the student as a consequence of the same nature.  If, however, the violation of school rules for student conduct constitutes “exceptional misconduct” as defined belowsuspension may be imposed without prior alternative corrective action.


For clarification, the following definitions will apply for the named offenses. Many offenses are self‑explanatory and do not require a definition.

  1. Arson: Willfully setting fire to property (either school or personal property).
  2. Assault (physical): A physically unprovoked attack on another person or persons.
  3. Dangerous weapons or objects: Includes knives, guns, or objects made into weapons.
  4. Extortion: To obtain something by force or inappropriate pressure (i.e. bribe, threat of physical harm or well being).
  5. Discriminatory Harassment: Conduct or communication that (1) is intended to be harmful, humiliating, or physically threatening, and (2) shows hostility toward a person based on their real or perceived sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran or military status, disability, or use of a trained dog guide or service animal.
  6. Intimidation and Bullying: Any intentional written, verbal or physical act including, but not limited to:  race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability that:
  • Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property, or
  • Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education, or
  • Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening environment, or
  • Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school
  1. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment includes specific types of behavior, whether or not directed specifically to any individual. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated at WSSB, and employees or students who engage in such conduct are subject to the full range of the school’s disciplinary policies.  For example:

        Verbal: sexual innuendoes, suggestive or insulting comments or sounds, jokes teasing of a sexual nature, sexual propositions or threats, continuing to express personal interest after being informed the interest is unwelcome.

        Visual: sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or letters; leering, whistling, or obscene gestures;

        Physical: unwanted physical contact, including touching, pinching, brushing the body, impeding or blocking movement, sexual intercourse or assault.

  1. Theft.
  2. Disruptive dress: See WSSB dress code.
  3. Academic dishonesty: Includes plagiarism, soliciting responses from other students, or unauthorized use of print material.
  4. Disruptive behavior: Any activity interferes, distracts or obstructs or restricts the learning process and school building operations.
  5. Insubordination: Willful disobedience of staff in following rules and regulations including defiance of reasonable instruction.
  6. Immoral conduct: Behaviors which are lewd or suggestive (sexual or physical violence to self or others).
  7. Fighting. Mutual participation in an incident involving physical violence.
  8. Use, possession, or sale of an alcoholic beverage: Includes drunkenness or influence of alcohol.
  9. Use, possession, or sale of a controlled substance: Includes under the influence of a controlled substance.
  10. Use or possession of tobacco.
  11. Vulgarity or profanity: Use of overly familiar language to include words of a sexual nature.
  12. Verbal abuse: Use of language which belittles or lowers self‑esteem.
  13. Destruction or defacing of school property: Any act which changes or alters the surface of school property.
  14. All students are required to attend and be timely to activities they are assigned to.
  15. As defined in the absence policy.
  16. Criminal acts as defined by law.
  17. Repeated violations. Students who repeatedly violate school rules will be subject to progressive disciplinary action.


The following will be used as a guideline for students who require disciplinary actions.

  • Informal talk: A school official will talk to the student and try to reach an agreement regarding how the student should behave.
  • Conference: A formal conference is held between the student and one or more school officials. During this conference, the student must agree to change his/her behavior.
  • Parent Involvement: A parent/guardian will be notified and a conference may be conducted between the student, parent/guardian, school officials, and other individuals involved.
  • Disciplinary Intervention: This may include a referral to counseling, a schedule change, revocation of walking papers, cottage restrictions, and/or an optional work assignment around the school. At this time, students may be advised of school or community alternatives which will be recorded in a student behavior file.
  • Detention: Before school, lunch, or after school detention may be assigned by an administrator.
  • Suspension: Exclusion from school and related activities. A manifestation determination meeting is required if students are suspended for more than 10 days per school year.
  • Discipline: This will be at the discretion of the disciplinarian to include detention, in‑house suspension (1‑2 days), or may result in immediate suspension (1‑10 days).


Should any student become subject to disciplinary action or suspension, the following will be used to determine consequences:

  1. A multidisciplinary team (MDT) consisting of: student, parent/guardian, student’s WSSB advocate, IEP team, member of the WSSB administrative staff, and others as appropriate, shall meet within 24 hours to review the situation.
  2. The MDT shall make the following determina­tions:
  3. Does the situation warrant suspension?
  4. Is/was the situation related to the student’s disability?
  5. What type and length of suspension (if determined appropriate) should result?
  6. What, if any, additional agencies (i.e. CPS, LEA, police, etc.) shall be notified/become involved?
  7. Which team member shall accept responsibility for such notification?
  8. The school shall develop a re-engagement plan for students that includes consideration for shortening the length of time of suspension, other forms of corrective action, and supportive interventions that aid in the student’s academic success.


  1. Students are responsible for personal hygiene.
  2. Students coming to school unwashed, unkempt or in need of personal hygiene will be directed to their cottage before school.

Examples for which students will be sent to the cottage include: hair uncombed, unwashed; need for deodorant; need to have teeth brushed; dirty clothing, improper clothing.

  1. Students are responsible for proper attire.
  2. The dress and appearance of students is the direct responsibility of their parents/guardians/resident life or school staff.

If a student’s dress and/or physical appearance causes a disruption to the educational process, a school official may ask the student to refrain from wearing such apparel, jewelry, accessories or using such manner of grooming while at school or school-sponsored events.  If the student refuses to comply with the request, a referral for discipline may be made.

Prohibited dress or physical appearance specifically includes, but is not limited to: Displaying lewd, sexual, drug, tobacco or alcohol-related messages in clothing and headgear, wearing apparel that indicates gang affiliation as reported by the Gang Task Force or law enforcement agencies.

Exhibiting a bare midriff or underwear is not allowed.  Pants must be worn so that no undergarments or bare skin is displayed during normal student activities (bending, standing, sitting).  Spaghetti strap/halter/crop tops or other tops or shirts which display a large amount of skin are not allowed.

Shorts and skirts may be no shorter than mid-thigh when seated.

Coats and hats can be worn in the school building, unless staff asks that they not be worn in his/her class.

Any student wearing, carrying or displaying gang-related apparel or exhibiting behavior or gestures which symbolize gang membership, or causing and/or participating in activities that intimidate or otherwise place other student in fear of personal safety shall be subject to discipline.

Personal grooming should occur in the restroom and not in classrooms.

  1. Students shall wear proper clothing to off-campus events which may be determined by staff conducting the event. Failure to arrive in proper attire for the field trip will result in the privilege being denied for the trip and credit (if appropriate) shall be lost.  Closed-toe, flat shoes should be worn on mobility lessons.  Appropriate clothing for wet, cold weather may be required for mobility lessons.
  2. Middle and high school students are responsible for a complete set of clothes used for athletic activi­ties only which include: shorts, shirt, tennis shoes, socks, athletic supporters, swimsuit, and personal hygiene items.

Appeals regarding attire can be taken to the Director of Education.


Walking papers issued by Orientation and Mobility staff will be required for students to leave campus. Students must check in and out of the Irwin office during academic program hours. Students may not leave campus during class time, study hall, or lunch time without authorization.  Residents wishing to leave campus after school hours must check out with cottage staff.  Any student needing to leave campus must have appropriate permission and check out with the office or cottage staff.

Parents who are aware of the need for their child to leave campus before a scheduled departure time should let WSSB staff know.  Do not depend upon your child to inform us.


Students are not allowed to bring or access pornographic materials on campus.  Such items will be confiscated and parents will be notified.


Students are not permitted to gamble on school property or at school-sponsored events.


Students will not go through the room, locker, desk, purse, grade book, or office mail of staff or of other students.


Students may bring cell phones to school. Phones may be used, with teacher permission, as a tool to complete assignments and are expected to follow classroom rules regarding usage.  Cell phones may be used after students have exited the lunchroom but not in the cafeteria.  If a student needs to place a call at other times they must get permission from their teacher. Use of personal devices shall be respectful of others in their surroundings and headphones may be necessary.


A prerequisite for the use of WSSB’s Network is an authorization form (obtained through the school office).

Data transmitted on WSSB’s network is the property of WSSB. WSSB will supervise the use of such property.

During school hours or study hall students are to use the school’s computers/network and the Internet connection for teacher-assigned, educational work.

Ethical Use Requirement

  1. Network/E-Mail:
    1. Students are expected and required to avoid illegal or unkind actions, including:
      1. Any use of WSSB’s Network for illegal activity.
      2. Sending, display, downloading or using obscene language or images.
  • Harassing, insulting, or attacking other.
  1. Using programs to willingly damage any computing system or software components.
  2. Employing the network for commercial purposes.
  3. Using e-mail for political or religious purposes.
  1. E-mail messages are subject to WSSB review and deletion at any time with or without notice.
  2. The purpose of WSSB’s Network is to promote the exchange of information to further education.
  1. Security – The following security provisions are required:
    1. Users will respect the rights, property, and confidentiality of others and will not improperly access, misappropriate or misuse the files, data or information of other.
    2. Users may not share their account with anyone or leave the account open or unattended.
    3. Users will keep all accounts and passwords confidential and will change passwords regularly.
    4. Users are responsible for making back-up copies of documents critical to them.
  • Software – The following precautions are required:
    1. Users are responsible to take precautions to prevent viruses on their own hardware and software and WSSB’s hardware and software.
    2. The illegal installation of copyrighted software or files for use on computers is prohibited.

Violations of these rules may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to termination of access to the school’s computers, detention, and/or suspension. Violations also may be referred to the appropriate legal authorities and/or other legal action may be pursued.

Enforcement:  WSSB shall uphold laws pertaining to the use of technology, hardware, and software and the information contained in them or generated by their use. Anyone found to be violating such laws may be subject to suit for civil damages and discipline by WSSB.


WSSB recognizes the effects to the school, home, and community resulting from drug and alcohol use/abuse. While the primary obligation to seek assistance rests with the student and their parents/guardians, school staff shall work with the home and community to develop and implement a comprehensive prevention and intervention program. Blood test and/or urinalysis may be requested and results utilized for specific incidents.

 Tobacco: The use or possession of tobacco in any form, including smokeless or look-alike tobacco, by students under the age of 18 is forbidden.  The use of tobacco by students over the age of 18 is limited to before or after school hours while attending WSSB.

  • Students over age 18: Tobacco use is forbidden during the school day or during school sponsored activities. Smoking is forbidden on school grounds. Tobacco must be held in cottage or school office and checked out to student before or after school.  Tobacco must be returned to office when returning to campus.  Tobacco must not be sold or shared with students under the age of 18. WAC 72-120-100.13

First offense: Conference with administrator; training on dangers of tobacco use by nurse (smoking cessation program at cost to student or family).

Additional offenses: Progressive discipline will be implemented.

  • Student under age 18: Possession or use of tobacco is forbidden.

First offense: Warning; parent notified both by phone and in writing; parent/student/administrator conference; education by health center on dangers of tobacco use (smoking cessation program at cost to student or family).

Additional offenses: Progressive discipline will be implemented.

Alcohol or illicit drugs:  The use or possession of alcohol or illicit substances or drug paraphernalia by any student while under the jurisdiction of WSSB is forbidden. Presence of student at WSSB after consumption of alcohol or drugs elsewhere is grounds for discipline.

 *walking papers: issued and signed by O&M Specialists and signed by parents giving student over age 13 permission to travel off campus when accompanied by another student or students over 16 permissions to travel off campus independently.

**cottaged:  equivalent to being “grounded.”  Student is not allowed to leave cottage during the evening.


In case of damage to or loss of school property, a school administrator will conduct an investigation and seek appropriate restitution for the loss or damage.  Parents will be informed that grades, diploma, and transcripts may be withheld in cases where restitution is not provided to the school.


Change of educational placement may require a reevaluation according to Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Eighteen-year-old students are recommending to secure an adult advocate to assist in their representation during IEPs and disciplinary procedures.  An 18-year-old student may not list the school as their home address.  Regardless of age, all students must abide by the rules of the school.


Consistent with Washington state law, when a special education student reaches the age of 18, unless declared incompetent by a Superior Court, the following shall occur:

The LEA or other public agency shall provide any notice required to both the student and parents; and

  1. All other rights accorded to parents under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) transfer to the student.
  2. All rights accorded to parents under Part B of the IDEA transfer to students at the age of majority who are incarcerated in an adult or juvenile state, or local correctional institution.
  3. Whenever an LEA or other public agency transfers rights under this section, they shall notify the individual and the parents of the transfer of rights.

What does this mean to parents?  It means that unless legal action to assign guardianship to the parent after the student turns 18, parental rights will transfer to the student.   This does not mean that all students need to have a guardianship established. However, if a student does not have the cognitive ability to make those decisions and parents wish to be involved, a guardianship needs to be established. Regardless of whether the student is very bright or has multiple disabilities, if we do not have legal documentation that a guardianship has been established, the student will make the final determination.



Day student transportation is arranged through ESD 112 and the rules are based on the policies of ESD 112. We suggest you check with your LEA for specific rules and regulations.

Some general guidelines include:

  • Have your child ready ten minutes ahead of the scheduled pickup time.
  • Call ESD 112 and WSSB immediately when you change your address or phone number. In the event of an emergency, it is essential that we have a number where you can be reached. Please let us know two weeks in advance of your move (if changing school districts).
  • Parents who bring their child to school or take them home must notify WSSB (at least 1 hour prior to ESD scheduled pick-up time) so the ESD 112 bus driver can be contacted.
  • Regarding bus routes: WSSB has no control over the routes or times that are assigned to your child. If you have questions, please call ESD 112 (360-750-7510).
  • Changes in routes, drop-offs or pick-up spots require a three-day advance notification (in writing).
  • Backpacks are allowed on buses. Small items that can be carried with the student in his/her seat may also be carried on the bus.

Visiting among students:

  • If your child plans to visit another student during the week or weekend, or if another student is visiting your home, transportation may be provided by ESD 112 dependent upon space availability. WSSB will not accept responsibility for such visits, but will see that the arrangements for public transportation made by parents are carried out.
  • Both sets of parents must complete and sign an Alternate Transportation form. Forms are available from WSSB at (360) 947-3278.  Forms must be received in the school office a minimum of one-week in advance of the visit.  Fax copies are acceptable (360-737-2120). Permission for multiple, open-ended visits will not be accepted.  Separate permission must be given for specific dates.
  • Parents of the visiting student should know the family of the student their child will be visiting, and the type of home environment before granting permission. School administrators reserve the right to deny the permission based on known circumstances and credible information.

Permission will not be granted for students to stay overnight at a staff person’s residence regardless of parental permission.  Students will be allowed to visit staff homes for designated and planned field trips only.  Exceptions can be granted exclusively by school administrators.

Chartered Bus/Van

The chartered bus is accompanied by WSSB monitors that have pertinent informa­tion on students and emergency pro­cedures.  Students leave campus for home after lunch on Friday, and return to WSSB Sun­day evening unless otherwise noted on the school calendar.  WSSB provides lunch­es to students on Fridays. Par­ents are responsi­ble for their chil­d’s meals for the return trip on Sundays. Snacks are provided at the cottages on Sunday evenings, but there is no dinner meal.

When picking up your child at the designated stop on Fri­days, please allow the monitor time to relay any messages he/she might have for you. On Sundays, please give all messages or medications to the bus monitor on duty.  The monitor will forward the items to the cottage, school department, nurse, or wherever needed.

On Friday’s the bus will wait no longer than 10 minutes beyond the scheduled pick up time before continuing to the next stop. On Sunday’s the bus will not wait beyond the scheduled pick up time.  It is the responsibility of the parent to be at the designated stop 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time. In the event the student is not picked up at the designated stop, other arrangements may be made to deliver the student to the parents, which may result in additional transportation costs at the parents’ expense.  If an authorized adult is not on site to meet their child and contact cannot be established with the parent, guardian, or other designated emergency contact person, WSSB will contact Child Protective Services (CPS) to assume custody of the child.

Luggage should be labeled with student’s name and home address. The charter buses are used for trips oth­er than transport­ing our students and if baggage is clearly labeled it can be quickly re­turned when found.  We encourage a man­ageable bag (backpack) for carry-on when trav­eling.  WSSB cannot be held responsible for lost items.  Please notify the school immedi­ately if luggage is missing so it can be traced through the proper chan­nels. Advance notification when a child is bringing a special item back will prompt an immediate search if the item does not arrive.

Telephone calls will be made to students’ homes when a decision is made to postpone or cancel transporta­tion to or from school due to adverse weather conditions.

If the student must remain at or return home during the school week for a medical appointment, family event, early vaca­tion, etc., the parent will assume the cost of trans­portation.

WSSB must know one week in advance of any changes in a child’s travel schedule.  Please contact the WSSB Charter bus transportation line at 360-947-3278.


For students who fly home on the weekends, airline tickets are purchased a minimum of one month in advance as a cost savings measure. The staff in charge of transportation will contact parents on a monthly basis prior to the reserving of tickets to allow for any changes in travel. Once airline arrangements are finalized, parents assume the responsibility for a minimum $125 processing fee and any additional costs incurred due to changes.  Students can carry belongings in a backpack or carry-on bag.  Costs for checking luggage will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian. If an authorized adult is not on site to meet their child and contact cannot be established with the parent, guardian, or other designated emergency contact person, WSSB will contact CPS to assume custody of the child.

Students traveling by plane must be at the airport at least one hour prior to scheduled departure.  Students should not be left at the airport unattended as sometimes flights are cancelled due to weather conditions, etc.

If a child is ill and cannot return to WSSB as scheduled, contact the Charter bus transportation line at 360-947-3278. The same ticket may be used for a child’s return although there may be a fee for changing the ticket, which will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

If a student remains at or returns home during the school week for a medical appointment, family event, early vacation, etc., parents will assume any additional costs for transportation.  It is critical that the WSSB transportation coordinator be notified (360-947-3278) at least 4 weeks in advance of planned changes to airline itineraries, as tickets are booked well in advance to take advantage of most competitive/economical airline fares.

Student Visitation: For visiting among students, both sets of parents must complete and sign an Alternate Transportation form (contact 360-947-3278). Forms must be received in the school office 30 days in advance of the visit for students who normally fly.  Fax transmission of the signed forms is acceptable (fax 360-737-2120).

School administrators reserve the right to deny the permission based on known circumstances and credible information.

Permission will not be granted to students to stay overnight with a staff person regardless of parental permission. Students will not be allowed to visit staff homes except for designated and planned field trips.  Exceptions can be given only by the school Superintendent.


**Airline Award miles earned are the sole property of WSSB (not the family or child).  These miles are used to assist WSSB in school year flights and helps WSSB make efficient use of limited resources.