The Mission of the Mississippi School for the Blind is to promote a strong foundation for learning and independence by providing specialized adapted services and materials to enhance maximum potential for students with visual impairments or blindness. Mississippi School for the Blind is a fully accredited elementary and secondary program (PreK-12) designed to focus on the unique learning needs of children and youth with visual impairments or blindness, including those with additional disabilities. Every student receives instruction and guidance from teachers and staff who have been specially trained to work with children and youth with visual impairments. Courses of study offered are comparable to those of any accredited public school. In addition, students receive instruction and services unique to those with visual impairments or blindness known as the Expanded Core Curriculum depending on their particular strengths and needs. This includes compensatory skills that help students access the state’s college and career readiness core curriculum, orientation and mobility skills, social skills, independent living skills, recreational skills, use of assistive technology, self-advocacy skills, and career education so they are adequately prepared for their college or career goals. In compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and state regulations, all students must be determined eligible for services through the special educational process. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed for each student, and the plan is reviewed and revised at least annually.
Over one hundred seventy years ago on March 2, 1848, the Institution for the Instruction of the Blind was officially established by the State Legislature (Article 9, Chapter 43 – Laws of Mississippi) with an appropriation of $2500. Prior to this, a blind philanthropist, James Champlain, made an appeal to the legislature to use state aid to establish an institution for the blind. Since its establishment, the school has been known by several names: Institute for the Blind, Asylum for the Blind, and Mississippi School for the Blind.
The school initially served 28 students; presently it provides services to visually impaired and blind children throughout the State of Mississippi through its Early Intervention Program, on-campus PK-12 educational program, the Mississippi Assistive Center Jackson Central Lions Low Vision Clinic, and the Mississippi Instructional Resource Center.
Mississippi School for the Blind has occupied several locations during its long history, at one time moved to Monticello in south Mississippi to allow its facilities to be used as a hospital during the Civil War. A school for black children with visual impairments was established in 1929 at Piney Woods Country Life School, where Martha Louise Morrow Foxx, a graduate of Overbrook School for the Blind, became its first teacher and later principal. Helen Keller visited this school, as well as the school on North State Street, in 1945. In 1951, a new school on Capers Avenue replaced the one at Piney Woods. In 1948, a new school for students at the North State location opened on Eastover Drive. All students moved to the Eastover site in 1980. In December 1999, MSB moved to its present location on the south side of Eastover Drive with the Mississippi School for the Deaf.
The Mission of the Mississippi School for the Blind is to establish a strong foundation for learning and independence by providing individualized adaptive services and materials to enhance maximum potential for students with visual impairments or blindness.
- Learning is the chief priority for students and the primary focus for decision-making.
- Students with visual impairments or blindness learn in different ways and will be provided with a variety of instructional strategies.
- Educators should be knowledgeable about the educational needs of individual students. Students with visual impairments or blindness learn best when they are actively involved throughout the learning process.
- Students with visual impairments or blindness should receive services from highly qualified professionals.
- Positive relationships and mutual respect among and between students and staff should be present.
- A commitment to continuous improvement is imperative for preparing students to be lifelong learners.
- The expanded core curriculum should be a part of the course of study for all students with visual impairments or blindness.
- Students receiving instruction in Braille should receive services from a TVI certified teacher with expertise in delivering braille instruction.
Mr. Eddie Spann completed his Educational Specialist degree as the first graduate in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College in 2003. His action research study focused on the impact of effective communication on the overall work performance of staff and the academic achievement of students in a specialized-school for the visually impaired. He has also completed doctoral coursework in educational leadership from Walden University. With 35 years of experience in education, Mr. Spann has served as a special education teacher, social studies teacher, teacher of the visually impaired, lead teacher, coach, program director, educational consultant, assistant principal, principal, and special education director in various school districts across the State of Mississippi and the Mississippi School for the Blind. He has mentored prospective principals from two Mississippi universities and taught special education and courses in education of the visually impaired as an adjunct professor and program coordinator at Belhaven and Jackson State Universities. Mr. Spann most recently served as Projector Coordinator/Instructor for the Deep South Synergy TVI Project at Jackson State University. He has trained extensively across the United States in the areas of visual impairment and deaf blindness, as well as serving as a speaker and trainer. He and wife Ester have two sons, Troy Michael and Edward Elijah, who is a freshman at Hinds Community College. They also have a special godson, Terrell and three grandchildren.
A letter from the Principal
Greeting MSB Parents and Community,
Welcome to the new MSB webpage! It is my distinct pleasure to serve as principal of this outstanding school. We hope you find our new webpage easier to navigate and the information helpful to you and your families. MSB continues its effort of serving visually impaired and blind students in the State of Mississippi since 1848.
The 2021-22 school year has been very busy as we have undertaken new initiatives such as: strengthening our curriculum to include new AP, Art and Cyber Foundation courses, a new specially trained assistive technology person to provide additional support and training to students and staff, increased enrollment, and continued efforts to ensure Apple 1:1 devices and additional specialized equipment are being provided that will have the greatest benefit for your visually impaired children. Thus far, we have had a very busy and productive semester as students are learning and teachers are teaching bell-to-bell. Additional interventions and instructional support have also been instituted to strengthen teaching and enhance quality learning for all our students. Our athletic program and student organizations have returned to action, with our GoalBall team closing out its season and wrestling and cheerleading gearing up to begin. We are so excited about having all of our students back on campus and eager to learn at school!
We are continuing to ensure the safety of all staff and students through our sanitation and disinfection procedures campuswide. Staff and students must continue wearing masks and social distancing at all times while indoors. If your child is sick, with or without fever, please keep them home and have them tested as soon as possible. Please see the MSDB 21-22 Safe Start Plan 3.0 concerning our COVID-19 protocol. We ask that you continue to check our web page for information about sports, upcoming activities, events and special recognition involving your children. Many great things are happening around MSB and we look forward to you and your child being a part of them. Thanks for all you do and feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns at 601.984.8200.
Eddie Spann, EDS, TVI