Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School

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Coordinates: 42°09′44″N 92°01′58″W / 42.162205°N 92.032732°W / 42.162205; -92.032732

Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School
1002 G Avenue

TypePublic special school
School districtIowa Board of Regents

The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School was replaced by the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Vinton, Iowa, hosted the school and continues as host of the state agency that replaced it.

Students from all over Iowa were housed and educated at the school. During its existence, students in special education were entitled to educational programming until age 21. Students could attend the school for short-term enrollment for specialized skill development and training. Students attended classes that met individual educational needs; some students attended select classes at the local public school. Instruction was provided in specialized areas of core curriculum for students with visual impairments, which include compensatory skills, orientation and mobility, social interaction skills, independent living skills, career education/work experience, use of assistive/adaptive technology and visual efficiency skills.

The school opened in 1852 as the Iowa College for the Blind. Mary Ingalls, sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House on the Prairie series), attended the school, graduating in 1889,[1] her stay was typical for blind students of that era.[2]

As of fall 2011, IBSSS no longer had a residential component. All school-age visually impaired children in Iowa now receive specialized instruction in their local school districts from professionals employed by the agency, whose administrative offices are located in the old school building in Vinton; as part of its transformation from a residential school to a state agency, it underwent a name change to the Iowa Statewide System For Vision Services. The plan called for students to continue to come to the school for short-term summer programs in the future, though the difficulty of maintaining trained staff without an ongoing residential program could affect the viability of such programs.

Since 2008, the North Central Region headquarters for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) has been located on the campus.[3] During the July 2011 derecho, the campus and buildings sustained considerable damage.

The school is a member of Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB).


  1. ^ Benge, Janet; Benge, Geoff (2005). Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life. YWAM Publishing. ISBN 9781932096323.
  2. ^ "Iowa Braille School - The Mary Ingalls Era".
  3. ^ "AmeriCorps NCCC". Corporation for National and Community Service.

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