MSA Superintendent Update Transcript January 2021

Last Updated: 1/19/2021 2:26 PM

[An animated title screen appears. Text: Minnesota State Academies, Superintendent Update. January 2021. Video opens to Terry Wilding standing in front of two large colorful posters.]

Terry: Hello, everyone. This is Terry Wilding. I'm here at the blind school with a few updates. 2020 is now behind us, and I hope that you all had a happy new year. 

We are closing out for the semester and beginning second semester with a few changes. We will be starting to bring students back to campus shortly. This information has been communicated previously, but in fact next week after the Martin Luther King break, students will begin returning to campus in different phases. There are some modifications to our health and safety plan to ensure continued safety for everyone on campus. More about that in my weekly COVID updates.

Right now, I wanted to take the opportunity to share what we've been doing while our students were in distance learning. Some of our staff have been redeployed to different projects on campus. For example, as you can see behind me -- these posters are new and have been placed in our main entryways and other areas around campus to show our vision, our mission, and our guiding beliefs. This is just one of the many projects staff have been working on so far. I'll be taking you on a brief tour to show you the changes on both campuses.

[Video transitions to Terry standing in the MSAB museum, in front of several displays.]

Terry: I am here in the MSAB museum.This museum has been a work in progress for some  time. Lately, we've been able to do a more in-depth inventory of our pictures and other things. Our dorm staff, as well as others, have been working diligently to organize all of our materials and set up new displays, as well as scanned pictures so they can be available digitally. There have been several projects going on that have helped move us forward in our organization and future planning and improvement of our museum. Here are the displays that our staff have been working so hard on.

(Description: this video is panning throughout the museum showing some displays, including student artwork, desks, old typewriters, and braille machines.)

[Video transitions to Terry standing in a dorm hallway.]

Terry: Here I am in one of the MSAB dorm wings. Our dorm staff have been busy making repairs and giving the hallways and rooms a fresh coat of paint. It's a nice facelift for this dorm and it's really great to see these projects getting completed.

[Video transitions to Terry standing in a large kitchen-like area.]

Terry: Here is our brand new MSAB Family And Consumer Science classroom. The major renovations are complete and it will be ready for student use soon. As you can see the kitchen behind me, everything has been designed to fit the needs of our blind students as well as being physically accessible for everyone. The students will learn many life skills here. One neat feature of this classroom, that we will show you shortly, is the braille wallpaper. We look forward to students using this classroom soon. 

(Description: a close-up of the braille wallpaper. The video zooms out showing the whole wall and whiteboard.)  

[Video transitions to Terry in Smith Hall.]

Terry: I'm currently standing inside Smith Hall on the MSAD campus. You may remember last year during homecoming, we announced the selection of distinguished alumni and staff that we would honor by naming hallways and conference rooms after them. After those selections were announced, we began installing name plaques and posters detailing each individual's background, as you can see here.

(Description: the video pans over John Mathews' hallway sign and poster.)

[Video transitions to Terry standing in a library, with children’s books and chairs visible in the background.]

Terry: I am now in the library at MSAD, and there have been many changes here. The layout has been rearranged to make it more spacious, accessible, and provide better sight lines for communication. Our librarian and his staff have taken up -- taken on the updates and rearranging. We will also show you the new green screen room, which is an area for students to create and edit videos. There have been many changes here. Stop by and visit sometime soon. 

(Description: the video is panning throughout the library showing the changes just mentioned.)

(Description: the video is now briefly showing the green screen room.)

[Video transitions to Terry standing in the empty MSAD museum.]

Terry: I am now here in the MSAD museum. This was formerly the superintendent's residence. After removing the exhibits, our staff inventoried and cataloged each item into an inventory system. And now that it is vacant, we will begin doing renovations in preparation for eventually returning the items to the museum. There has been a great deal of work done here, and we look forward to the end result.

[Video transitions to Terry standing next to a large fireplace in the MSAD museum.]

Terry: We hope you have enjoyed seeing the different projects our staff have done. Keep in mind that we could only show you a few, and there are many other projects that have kept our staff busy in different places on both campuses. 

Another thing I wanted to add is signs were finally installed along I-35 for our schools. This was already shared on Facebook, but I wanted everyone to be aware. These signs will lead visitors to our campuses and be placed both north and southbound. These will ensure people are aware of our schools, and hopefully serve as advertising for our programs. 

(Description: here video cuts to a photo of one sign with Representative Daniels and Alex Caddy.)  

[Video cuts back to Terry next to the fireplace.]

Terry: With that, I would like to close in remembrance of one of our students.  Vanesa Ortiz was a student of ours who passed away during winter break. This has impacted our campus. Our staff are doing different activities to support our students as well as Vanesa's family. If you would like more information about this, it is available on our Facebook page. It is tough for us to lose a student. It's important that we keep her in our memories and continue to support her family. Thank you. 

(Description: the video ends with a photo of Vanesa Ortiz.)

[End transition slide: the MSA logo.]