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AIMing for the 2017-2018 School Year

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Five tips to help DRMs prepare

One of the central beliefs of the AIM-VA project is that accessible instructional materials should be provided to the students that need them in a timely manner; that all reasonable steps are taken in order to allow students with disabilities to receive accessible formats at the same time as other students receive instructional materials at school. To that end, AIM-VA has developed multiple systems to ensure that you, as a DRM, can prepare for the next school-year before this current school-year ends. Whether you’re a TVI requesting braille conversion and need a large amount of lead time, an elementary reading specialist that wants to convert an entire years’ worth of “short readers”, or you are just an educator looking to get a head start to ease the welcome-back workload; use the following tips to help yourself prepare for the 2017-2018 school-year.

Passing the Torch

Whether they are new to your caseload or to your classroom, you may find yourself working with students that have used AIM-VA materials in the past and are already AIM-VA certified. If this is the case, these students’ certifications remain active on the AIM-VA Portal and you can simply order any reading materials that they need for the 2017-2018 school-year now. If you can not find the reading material on the Portal, new production for individual students can be sent to AIM-VA using the shipping label generator on the Order Management page. All digital orders will be available to download by August 1st. All large print or CDs will be shipped mid-July.

Lighting the Torch

The summer is a time that many divisions hold IEP meetings; thus, a great time to make sure that eligibility requirements for AIM-VA are in place. Whether it’s your first IEP meeting for a student or an annual review, discuss the student's ability to read print-related material. Here are some questions that might indicate that a student may benefit from using accessible instructional materials:

  • Do the present levels of performance indicate that the student struggles to read print text?
  • Is the student reading below grade-level?
  • Do students have read aloud or audio accommodation considerations?

For students who you find may benefit from using accessible instructional materials, pass along your Division’s approved medical documentation form to the parents so that it can be completed during the summer months!

Retain and Reorder

Don’t reinvent the wheel; use the information provided on your Order Management screen of the AIM-VA Portal to make getting accessible instructional materials you’ve used in the past easier to order for your upcoming students.

  • The re-order button, which looks like a circle formed by two arrows, will allow you to quickly place an order for the 2017-2018 school-year without going through the searchable library. Using this button not only allows you to order for the new school year but also to order for multiple students or in multiple formats.
  • Need the same large print or braille materials for the next school year? The retain button will let you assign your current Large Print books to a new student and keep them for the 2017-2018 without the hassle of shipping them back and forth to AIM-VA Production.

Ready-To-Go Book Collection

Don’t know what students you will be working with next year but have a good idea about what books will be assigned as part of their curriculum? Don’t fret; the Ready-To-Go Book Collection system is for you! The Ready-To-Go Book Collection system allows DRMs to send multiple books to AIM-VA, ensuring that materials are converted over the summer before the student needs them. By pre-converting materials using the Ready-To-Go Book Collection system, you can avoid the back-to-school rush of collecting books. So, in the fall, you will simply have to orders accessible books from within the AIM-VA Library for eligible students!

Professional Development

AIM-VA is more than just a Production Lab or Accessible Instructional Materials Library. AIM-VA offers trainings and consultations to educators across the VA Commonwealth. Whether you need the basics detailing the benefits of accessible instructional materials (AIM), step by step instructions on how to obtain AIM, or technical assistance based on the assistive technology and/or the students you have in your school division; consider contacting AIM-VA to schedule a summer or back-to-school professional development session.

Get a head-start on next year by preparing your accessible instructional materials today.

Avoid the hustle and bustle of the ‘start of the school year shuffle’ and ensure your students receive AIM in a timely manner.

** For more specific details on how to use the systems discussed in this blog and for additional considerations for wrapping up the current school year please check out the AIMing for the next school year archived webinar.