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Next Meeting:

May 18, 2018
JH CTE, Columbia, MD

Information to be posted soon… 

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Last Meeting:
November 3, 2017

for Agenda & Information
Topics to include:
Year 5 Needs Assessment
Planning for the new grant cycle
Project, family, provider, & policy updates

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Information about previous AC meetings,
including links to slides, handouts, & photos,
can be found at the bottom of this page.

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 What is the CBSS Advisory Committee?

Twice a year, the CBSS Advisory Committee meets to exchange experience and expertise. For about three hours, the 30 to 35 members participate in presentations, project updates, discussions, and brainstorming sessions — all with the purpose of ensuring that CBSS is on target with respect to grant and program priorities, and with the development of relevant and quality services and activities.

What happens during AC meetings?

The mission of each AC meeting is to facilitate ongoing coordination, collaboration, partnerships, and resource dissemination. This is accomplished through presentations, discussions, small group activities, information sharing, videos, research, and other activities.

Sometimes, there is a featured topic for an AC meeting — such as exploring advances in evidence-based practices (e.g., intervener training, early identification, or distance technology), the development of demonstration classrooms or schools, or presentations by recipients of the  Field-initiated Demonstration Project Mini-grant funds. And sometimes there are guest speakers, ranging from consumers and family members to representatives of organizations with resources beneficial to the deaf-blind community.

A highlight of these meetings is the “Connections Across the State” discussion —  during which members exchange information about local, state, and national resources, ideas, events, and activities of interest to families,  providers, and administrators working with deaf-blind students.

In addition, members have the opportunity to share information about their programs and projects, and to learn about new research and trends that can increase capacity and improve outcomes for children. The meetings are also a vehicle for dissemination of information about policies and practices that are evidence-based, which can result in systems change.

When and where do AC meetings take place?

The bi-annual meetings are held on a Friday morning once during the fall and once during the spring. The meetings take place in a location central to the state of Maryland and Washington, DC — usually Columbia, MD. Throughout the year, members of the AC interact with CBSS staff through e-mail, phone conversations, or during other meetings, events, or activities.

Who serves on the CBSS Advisory Committee?

The AC membership consists of representatives from MSDE, UMD, local school systems, national projects, and other relevant agencies, as well as parents and consumers. (A complete list of the current AC membership can be found lower on this page). Membership includes teachers of children who are visually impaired, deaf, and hard of hearing; therapists; administrators; representatives from state education agencies and schools in Maryland and DC; parents; graduates who have benefitted from CBSS services; presenters, consultants, and more. Some members serve on the AC for a particular grant cycle, but many renew their membership and serve across many grant cycles.

Can new members join the Advisory Committee?

CBSS is always open to new membership on the AC, and we welcome family members, providers, administrators, and others who are ready to exchange experience and expertise, as we work together to improve outcomes for children with deaf-blindness.

If you would like to join the CBSS Advisory Committee,
please contact our Project Director, Donna Riccobono through our
Contact Us page (click here)


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2013-2018 CBSS
Advisory Committee

2017 1103 music activity slider

(click on image to enlarge)

Current Members

Caitlin Blake
Interim Coordinator for Special Needs
Maryland School for the Deaf

Erin Buck-Skees
Outreach Coordinator
Maryland School for the Deaf

Donna Cain
Teacher, D/HOH
Prince George’s County Public Schools

Dr. Sheryl Cooper
Director, Deaf Studies Program
Dept of Audiology, Speech-Language
Pathology, and Deaf Studies
Towson University

Cheri Dowling
The Family Support and Resource Center
Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Campus

Karen Ehrhardt Lloyd
Program Head- Vision Services
Howard County Public Schools

Karen Frank
The Maryland School for the Blind

Heather Harmon
Montgomery County Public Schools

Marny Helfrich
Professional Development Facilitator
Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education 

Olivia Hill
Charles County Public Schools

Jeanine Hoffman
Frederick County, Maryland

Tandra Hunter-Payne
Program Manager
Visually Impaired & Deafblind Services
Maryland State Dept. of Education
Division of Rehabilitation Services

Sara Kempler
Senior Teacher
Delrey School, Baltimore, Maryland

Paul Khouri
Former Gallaudet Student & Intern
Equal Rights Center, Washington, DC

Zachary Lafratta
District of Columbia Public Schools

Dr. Lynne Mainzer
Deputy Director
Center for Technology Education/JHU 

Jennifer Miller-Themistokleous
Vision Specialist
District of Columbia Public Schools

Amy Morrell
Enhanced Services Coordinator
The Maryland School for the Blind

Elizabeth Nehrbass
 Instructional Specialist
Hearing & Vision
Montgomery County Public Schools

Alexia (Alex) Papanicolas
District of Columbia Public Schools

Ania Picard
Prince George’s County, Maryland

Kathy Pongor
Resource Teacher, D/HOH
Clerc Center, Washington, DC  20002

Bethany Provost-Tinsley
Special Educator
Anne Arundel County Public Schools

Steven Salembene
Baltimore County, Maryland

Stacy Taylor
Baltimore County, Maryland

Christine Telford
Deaf-Blind Specialist
Office for Blindness and Vision Services
Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services 

Josie Thomas
Executive Director
The Parents’ Place of Maryland

Lauri Triulzi
Vision Teacher/Coordinator
District of Columbia Public Schools

Susan Weigert
OSEP Project Officer
Office of Special Education Programs

Jen Willis
Family Education
Maryland School for the Deaf

Nikki Woodward
Vision & AT Specialist
Montgomery County Public Schools

Lisa Wright
Vision Instructional Specialist
Prince George’s County Public Schools 

CBSS Project Staff

Donna Riccobono, Project Director
Dr. Sandra Newcomb, Education & TA Specialist
Dr. Jeni Stepanek, Education & TA Specialist

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AC Highlights & Photo Albums

Fall 2017 Highlights
2017 1103 music activity slider
Creating Connections —
Introductions & Activity
Updating Connections —
Project, Policy, Practice & Partnerships
Year 4 Review & Year 5 Preview
Sharing Connections — 
School, County, State & Beyond
Guest Presentation – Provider
Rene Averitt-Sanzone
New PPMD Executive Director
Guest Presentation — Family
Tasha Howland
Working with the System
Planning Connections
Preparing for the Next Grant Cycle
Group Activity — Needs Assessment


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Spring 2017 Highlights2017 0512 activity slideConnections Across the Area
 CBSS Updates — Policy, Training, Activities, & Partnerships
Mini-Grant Recipient Presentation —
Kim Durkan, TVI, Frederick county
“Increasing Communication with
Tactile Symbols and Familiar Objects”
Mini-Grant Recipient Presentation —
Lisa Gastelle, SLP, MSD – Frederick campus
“Utilizing Today’s Technology
for Better Curriculum Access”
Mini-Grant Recipient Presentation —
Jennifer Willis, DHOH / Early childhood, MSD
Columbia campus / Family Education
“Getting In Touch With Our World
Through Active Learning and Participation”
 Special Topics Presentation —
Barbara Raimondo, Esq.
Updates on HR 1120
 Special Topics Presentation —
Sara Swetzoff (Family Member)
“Tales from the Oonaverse”


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Fall 2016 Highlights2016 1014 Advisory Committee "hobby" connecting activityConnections Across the Area
 CBSS Updates — Policy, Training, Activities, & Partnerships
 Special Topics Presentation —
Sara Kempler: “ESSA vs NCLB”
 Special Topics Presentation —
Alexia Papanicolas: “IFHE Review”


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Spring 2016 Highlights
2016 0513 CHARGE Syndrome STW with David Brown

The Spring 2016 AC meeting was in combination
with a Special Topics Workshop on
CHARGE Syndrome presented by David Brown at the
Maryland School for the Blind, Columbia Campus.

During the lunch break,
CBSS AC members were able to network.
Also during lunch,
the recipients of the 2015-2016 Mini-grants
presented posters, shared information on their
demonstration projects,
and had the opportunity to interact with
all STW participants & AC members

For info & photos from the STW


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Fall 2015 Highlights
2015 1106 AC meeting "what holiday" connection activity
Connections Across the Area
 CBSS Updates — Policy, Training, Activities, & Partnerships
 Special Topics Presentation —
Mark Campano: “How We All Learn”


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Spring 2015 Highlights

2015 0424 shoe slider Connections Across the Area
 CBSS Upates — Families, Training, Policy, & Partnerships
Delrey Demonstration Project Update — Sara Kempler, M.Ed.
Mini-Grant Recipient Presentations — 
 Carla Brown & Heather Harmon (Concept Development)
Angie Geffen & Paige Gardner (High School Students)
Lisa Gastelle & Cyndy Steffenhofer (Technology)


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Fall 2014 Highlights
Review of Year 1, Plans for Year 2 — CBSS Grant
Policy Updates (HR 4040, DC Extended IFSP, CVI)
Mini-grant Presentation — Bethany Tinsley: Story Boxes

Panel Presentation — Interveners
Overview: Lauri Triulzi
Family Perspective — Eric Lewis
Provider Perspective — Heather Harmon


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Fall 2013 Highlights
Introducing the 2013-2018 grant cycle
Guest speaker: Paul Khouri (DB Consumer)
Guest Speaker: Jeanine Hoffman
(Parent: 2014 CBSS Brunch Coordinator)

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Spring 2013 Highlights
Celebrating the 2008-2013 grant cycle successes
“Mr. Omelette”
Mini-grant project presentations


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View our Spring 2012 e-Connection update
featuring the CBSS Advisory Committee here… 

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