Maryland Teacher Honored for Excellence In Braille Instruction
“She takes the time to understand her students individually and customizes instruction to fit their specific needs. She works tirelessly, showing love and dedication to her students, who thrive under her guidance.”
Demaris has been with the Wicomico County Public Schools in Salisbury, Maryland for more than 20 years. She works with students across all grade levels who have visual impairments. “Mindy cares deeply about her students and her role as a teacher. During the past two years of the pandemic, she not only worked with her students to keep pace with their education but went above and beyond resulting in her students placing above grade level,” said Calli Pettit, a fifth-grade teacher at Glen Avenue Elementary School and colleague of Demaris.
Demaris has been a certified Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVI) and an Orientation and Mobility Specialist for nearly 20 years. She is a leader in the field and serves on the Maryland State Steering Committee which focuses on the communication, professional development and advocacy of students with visual impairments and the professionals who serve them. She was also the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award from the National Federation of the Blind, Maryland.
“Melinda is very well deserving of this award,” said Peter A. Mindnich, President, Braille Institute. “She takes the time to understand her students individually and customizes instruction to fit their specific needs. She works tirelessly, showing love and dedication to her students, who thrive under her guidance.”
TSVIs make an indelible contribution on students who are blind or have severe vision loss. They have a unique and special relationship with their students, teaching life skills in addition to academics. “I want to thank Braille Institute for this honor, and it is a privilege to be recognized for something I love doing,” said Demaris.
In 2018, 63,501 students met the definition of blindness, while only 5,011 (7.9 percent) of them were primary braille readers according to the nonprofit American Printing House for the Blind. Braille literacy plays an important role in an individual’s long-term future and professional opportunities.