Family resource center counselors are required by law to perform vision tests for second- and fifth-grade students — a task that proved difficult with old and outdated screening machines.
The 29-year-old machines also required some language comprehension, which meant preschool students, kindergarteners, first-grade and some second-grade students, as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) students often couldn’t take the tests.
So Krissy Hutchason, Daviess County Public Schools social worker, appealed to the Foundation for DCPS for help to purchase two new vision screening machines. The machines run about $6,000 each.
The Foundation approved Hutchason’s request, and she was able to purchase one of the machines in December. Foundation Board Member Casey Hamilton then asked if she could talk with local eye care professionals to see if they would be interested in helping to purchase the second machine.
Hamilton said the “response was amazing.”
Soon there were donations from RiverPark EyeCare, Advantage EyeCare and Owensboro Family Eye Care totaling $4,500 for the new vision screening machine.
Hamilton’s husband, Rob Hamilton, of RiverPark EyeCare, has helped the district perform the vision screenings in the past. He said it’s important to know as soon as possible if there are any irregularities in children that could impact education.
“We were excited to work with the Foundation for DCPS in helping to provide a vision machine for students,” he said. “Better vision is essential to learning, especially in today’s digital world.”
The new machines are about the size of a hand-held camera, and have the capability to screen eyes quickly. A photo and information about the students’ eyes are then available for eye care professionals, which can indicate if the student has any issues.
The new machines will also allow the family resource center coordinators to screen every elementary school student every year.
Vicki Quisenberry, Foundation for DCPS executive director, said the organization is honored to be able to work with local professionals in the community to help provide advanced technology for district staff to benefit students.
“We are exceedingly grateful for our active board members, like Casey, who work to create solutions that engage local professionals interested in helping students succeed in the classroom,” she said.
Matt Robbins, DCPS superintendent, agreed, and said the district values and appreciates its community partners. The generous support of RiverPark EyeCare, Owensboro Family Eye Care and Advantage Eye Care will make it possible for DCPS to help students with vision issues that district from the classroom.
“Thanks to generous eye care professionals in our community, our children can truly look forward to a brighter future without limitations,” he said.
Bobbie Hayse, firstname.lastname@example.org, 270-691-7315