Perkins School for the Blind Educational Leadership Program Holds Graduation


WATERTOWN — Perkins School for the Blind issued diplomas last week to 10 teachers from Asia, North Africa, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among those in attendance was the director of the orphanage in Armenia where two of this year’s Educational Leadership Program (ELP) participants work with children. Dr. Ruzanna Avagyan, director of the Gumri Children’s Home, said that Perkins international outreach and teacher training has helped the young children in their charge “walk, talk and participate” in programs not only with other children who are blind, but with all the children in the Gumri orphanage.

Through an interpreter, Avagyan said, “This program gave a result even before we came here [to Watertown].”

Avagyan visited Perkins School for the Blind more than five years ago. She took back what she saw to Orphanaty House in Gumri.

“Perkins staff came twice in one year to train us,” she said. “We had a good result. And the coordinators came to see our results.”

Both Hasmik Dzvakeryan and Astghik Nalbandyan are teachers from Orphanaty
House.

“Now, after our two teachers study here, they will continue training our teachers,” Avagyan said. “We want to integrate more people, to teach them and give them pre-school education. This [education] is for their future.”

In the 1920s, Perkins began training teachers of visually impaired and deaf and blind students from around the world. The Hilton/Perkins Program, established in 1989, laid the foundation and is the cornerstone of our international programs. More than 500 leaders from throughout the world have graduated Perkins international teacher training programs. Many of the graduates have become leaders in visual and multiple disability education. The 2009 class represents 11 countries.

Perkins School for the Blind, the nation’s first school for the visually impaired, provides education and services to help build productive, meaningful lives for more than 94,000 children and adults who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired with or without other disabilities in the US and more than 63 countries worldwide.