In 2016, the Fund approved a three-year grant of $330,062 to Perkins School for the Blind, the oldest school in the nation for children who are blind and multiply disabled, for two purposes: (1) building the capacity of Perkins’ Resource Center in Cordoba, Argentina, to strengthen the practice of K-12 teachers and schools that serve children who are blind and multiply disabled in targeted Spanish-speaking South American countries, and (2) helping to stabilize and strengthen the financial management of three model schools for such children in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Lima, Peru. The project would be evaluated by tracking the number of delivered trainings, participating trainees, and children taught, as well as with qualitative information gathered from course participant surveys.
By grant’s end, 177 trainees had participated in Perkins’s courses and 139 received certification, benefitting the 1,058 children with visual impairments and multiple disabilities taught by them. Additionally, Perkins succeeded in expanding the delivery of its material to reach educators in 11 of Latin America’s 19 Spanish-speaking countries. During follow-up evaluations, course participants were observed to have increased their knowledge and skills in line with course contents and to have incorporated the training received into their actual classroom practices.
The School effectively established a Resource Center in Argentina which includes a website available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese that is a virtual resource center for educators across the region and the hub of an ongoing professional network. Moreover, Perkins fulfilled its goal of providing critical support to its 3 model schools in their efforts to build their financial management capacity and organizational sustainability, leaving them on stronger footing.