Future Reflections Special Issue1989, Vol. 8 No. 4

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NEBRASKA TEACHER WINS DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR OF BLIND CHILDREN AWARD

Editor's Note: The following report is reprinted from the October, 1989, Braille Monitor.

At the banquet Saturday evening Dr. Jernigan called Sharon Maneki, President of the NFB of Maryland and Chairman of the committee making this year's selection, to make the presentation. She said:

"It is most appropriate that we in the National Federation of the Blind recognize a distinguished educator of blind children. The blind children of this nation belong to us. Their future is of prime importance. Tonight we honor Mrs. Kim Bosshart, a vision teacher in the public schools of Fremont, Nebraska.

"Kim Bosshart is a person who is changing what it means to be blind for the children of Nebraska. She is a model for the teachers of the entire nation. Tonight we present Kim Bosshart with a $500 check and with a plaque that symbolizes our confidence and support. The plaque reads:

National Federation of the Blind honors Kim Bosshart, Distinguished Educator of Blind Children, for her skill in teaching Braille and the use of the white cane, for generously devoting extra time to meet the needs of her students, and for inspiring her students to perform beyond their expectations. "Congratulations, Kim." Kim Bosshart responded:

"Thinking back on my first year teaching blind children, I remember sometimes feeling very angry and frustrated with teachers and parents. Of course, he can use the stairs; he doesn't need to use the elevator. Yes, she can participate in P. E. [Physical Education] and Home Economics. It just seemed so logical to me. Expect from these blind children what you would from any other child. But it didn't always happen. Then the realization came to me that this was not entirely their fault. I needed to take a leadership role to help educate them about the abilities of blind people. It was at that point that I began to develop a more community-based program which culminated in my selection as the 1989 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children.

"I am extremely grateful for this award, and I know that it will serve as an inspiration for me to continue to improve the quality of education that I provide to blind children. Since you bestowed this honor on me, I would like to share with you quickly my approach to the education of blind children. It's based on the mission statement of the Fremont, Nebraska, Public Schools, which reads as follows:

'"The mission of Fremont Public Schools is to produce creative, adaptable, productive, self-sufficient citizens, who are committed to lifelong learning and capable of effecting responsible change, by providing a quality education that is designed to meet the needs of individual students.'

"How will these needs be met? Well, after having been at this convention all week, I can list three areas in my curriculum that will definitely continue to remain strong. First, it will be imperative to continue having realistic but very high expectations, not only from the students I teach, but also from their parents, the school staff, and the community in general. Second, I will continue to seek out competent blind adults to be role models for the students I work with and sources of valuable information in the schools and community. And third, a well-rounded curriculum will continue to be offered; very specifically but

Kim Bosshart (center) accepts the "Distinguished Teacher of Blind Children Award" from Sharon Maneki and President Marc Maurer.

not inclusively this will include Braille reading, beginning with toddler youngsters; Braille writing, using a slate and stylus first and then the Braille writer; and also, with support of the services in Nebraska, continuation of early cane travel for students.

"The end objective will be for the students to have a sense of self-esteem and dignity that will inspire their own motivation to achieve. So with combined effort of all people who work with blind children, we will ensure that every child is provided the very best education possible, and we must all work together to help produce creative, adaptable, productive, self-sufficient citizens of the future. Thank you."

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