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for the Blind

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Minnesota State Academy for the Blind - AFB Directory Profile

General Information

Minnesota State Academy for the Blind
400 SE Sixth Avenue
Faribault, MN 55021
(507) 384-6700 (Local)
(507) 333-4825 (Fax)
(800) 657-3634 (Toll-Free)

Brief Description

The Minnesota State Academy for the Blind (MSAB) is a statewide public school with dormitory facilities that provide 24 hour programming for blind/visually impaired students. Students receiving educational services through the Academy range in age from 0-21, come from all regions of the state, and often have additional disabilities.

MSAB offers coursework through the Faribault Public Schools which provides opportunities within a mainstream environment; students participate in competitive sports with other state schools for the blind; 24-hour educational programming; high expectations of all students; low teacher/pupil ratios as necessary to create a quality learning environment.

Hours of operation: Mon.-Fri. 6:30 AM-4:00 PM (office hours). School office telephone: 507-384-6700
Clients served on average per year: 200+
Staff description: Professionally trained staff licensed in content areas and visual impairments; full range of related services as support to the educational program.
Geographic area served: Statewide.


John Davis, Director, (507) 384-6701,
Kris Tolzmann, Special Education Director
Terry Wilding, Superintendent, (507) 384-6600 6602,

Services Offered

Services for Children

  • Assessment
    • Offers assessments for the following: vision, O&M, assistive technology, learning disabilities, autism, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, adaptive physical education, and audiology.
  • Braille and Reading Instruction
    • Has a full-time braille instructor and a full- time braillist. Offers instruction in the use of braille notetakers, JAWS, CCTV, audio books. Has a reading specialist on campus.
  • Community Outreach Programs
    • Collaborates with the local Lions Club in its vision-related activities.
  • Computer Training/Assistive Technology
    • Assistive technology instructor provides computer training for all students. Full-time technical support available. Laptops with JAWS provided for students.
  • Counseling
    • Full-time psychologist on staff. MN State Services for the Blind serves as resource. Works with outside professionals as per student's IEP requirements.
  • Daily Living Skills/Independent Living Skills Training
    • As part of the overall Academy curriculum for students, independent living skills are taught both in the classroom, community, and as part of residential programming. Offers a specialized program for 18-21 year old students, with emphasis on independent living skills, employment, and post-secondary education.
  • Early Intervention/Infant Services
    • Provides outreach assessment and consultation services to school districts throughout the state of MN in the areas of O&M and vision.
  • Education Services
    • Provides the required coursework for graduation as per the State of Minnesota requirements. MSAB provides mainstreaming opportunities for MSAB students in the local school district. Also provides post-secondary opportunities at a local college. Core and expanded core curriculum taught. Provides instruction from 0-12th grade.
  • Employment/Job Training
    • Transition services, career and skill counseling, prevocational evaluation, career preparation training, and vocational placement are provided through the Academy Plus program (18-21 year olds) and partnering with MN State Services for the Blind and MN Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
  • Health
    • MSAB has 24 hour/day nursing services for students with an on-site health clinic.
  • Information and Referral
    • Offers information and referrals in collaboration with the MN Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  • Low Vision Services
    • Conducts a low vision clinic on an annual basis for students both at the Academy and in various school districts.
  • Preschool Programs
    • Offers limited pProgramming for pre-school children.
  • Recreation Services
    • A wide range of activities are provided such as social events (both on and off campus), art, crafts, music, drama, forensics, swimming, goalball, wrestling, cheerleading, and track and field. After-school religious education is offered on campus on a weekly basis. The students operate an after-school snack bar and recreation room and social lounge.
  • Summer/Day Camps and After-school Programs
    • Summer programming includes: LIFE (Learning Independent From Experience), Elementary Camp Independence 101, Building Bridges (students with multiple disabilities), and Basic Skills Remediation. For after-school programs, see description for recreation services., Choir, braille, and sign language classes are also offered after school.
  • Support for Parents
    • A Family Transition Weekend is held on campus each year. This is a two-day seminar for youth and their parents who are blind/visually impaired in transition to adult living.

      In-home visits and referrals to appropriate agencies for services provided.
  • Support Groups
    • Holds the Family Transition Weekend in collaboration with the MN Resource Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
  • Travel/Orientation and Mobility
    • Provides a full spectrum of independent travel techniques, excluding guide dog training, both on and off campus to include traveling to Minneapolis/St. Paul for experience.
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