Mini-Grant Projects

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 2017-2018 Mini-Grant Program
Recipients Announced!
Click here for information

Mini-Grant Program Recipients
from previous years – listed below… 

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What is the Field-Initiated Demonstration Project Mini-grant Program?

The CBSS Field-Initiatied Demonstration Project provides opportunities for direct service providers and administrators to develop innovative activities, to replicate successful practices, or to enrich and expand curriculum in ways that directly and positively affect services to the students with whom they work. Each year, CBSS awards up to four mini-grants (approximately $500 each) to individuals or groups who seek to support educational goals of children who have deaf-blindness, cortical visual impairment, or other severe and multiple disabilities.

Who can apply for mini-grant funding?

Provider(s) in Maryland or DC working with children birth through 21 who have deaf-blindness or CVI can apply for a mini-grant stipend of up to $500 for a field-initiated demonstration activity. The application form requests information about the name and nature of the project, the number of students impacted and the nature of student disabilities, the IEP or IFSP goals that will be impacted, and the cost of materials related to the implementation of the project. The application also requests information about impact of the project on social interaction of students, on staff training and collaboration, and on impact of the project or  use of the materials across environments (i.e., beyond the classroom or school setting).

How are grantees selected?

All applications are scored using a rubric that assesses how the project will:

  • Impact children with dual sensory impairment;
  • Support specific IEP or IFSP objectives;
  • Support student interaction with other students;
  • Support staff collaboration and training; and,
  • Support one or more students outside of the classroom or school setting.

Applications with the highest scores on the rubric move on to the final selection process. Typically, we receive about a dozen applications, and award up to four projects with the highest rubric scores, which receive up to $500 each.

What the responsibilities associated with mini-grant funding?

  • Grantees use the funds provided by CBSS to carry out the project as described in the application (modifications to the plan may be made if necessary as the project moves forward).
  • Grantees offer a brief presentation (approximately 15 minutes) on their project during the Spring Advisory Committee meeting. Written summaries, photos or videos, or powerpoint slides on the project shared by the grantees will be posted on the CBSS website as a part of our Universal TA Training & Outreach activities.
    NOTE: Grantees must secure a Photo & Video Release from students/staff in any images — CLICK HERE for FORM.

When can individuals or groups apply for mini-grant funding?

Information about our mini-grant applications is usually available by September of each academic year. Announcement of the application process and the deadline for application submission are both posted on our website ( and shared through our Constant Contact e-mail Connection.

If you would like to sign up for our Constant Contact e-mail list
for notifications about mini-grant applications and other News & Events,

please contact our Project Director, Donna Riccobono through our
Contact Us page (click here).

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teacher in front of screen making a presentation

Visit our Photo Gallery pages to enjoy highlights
of Field-initiated Demonstration Projects
across the years (or click here…)

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Field-Initiated Demonstration Project
Mini-grant Recipients
(news/information here…)

These recipients present on their projects during
the Spring 2018 Advisory Committee Meeting

Colleen Donaldson
Beth Ann Monn
Carroll County Public Schools
The Nifty Nook
Staci Forest
Beth Cohen
Regina Ajiboye
Maryland School for the Blind
Classroom-Based Multi-Sensory Studio
Lisa Gastelle
Caitlin Blake
Luke Fry
Maryland School for the Deaf
Accessing the Curriculum
Using Adaptive Technology

Gwynne Young
Prince George County Public Schools
Mini-Series of Make-n-Take
Workshops for Families

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Field-Initiated Demonstration Project
Mini-grant Recipients
(news/information here…)
These recipients presented on their projects during
the Spring 2017 Advisory Committee Meeting

Kim Durkan, TVI & Christina Wozniak, SLP
Rock Creek School, Frederick County Public Schools
Increasing Communication with
Tactile Symbols and Familiar Objects
  –Nifty Quote —

“Make it Tweet-worthy — a measure of success!”
 – CLICK HERE for SLIDES shared during meeting…
– (click here for AC Meeting Minutes/Notes)

Jennifer Willis, Teacher of the D/HOH,
— MSD-CC Family Education,
Maryland School for the Deaf – Family Education
Getting In Touch With Our Worlds
Through Active Learning and Exploration
Nifty Summary —
  —“Adaptability and independence, time efficient and educational,
   —tthese lead to empowerment, which gives students a ‘sense of ME!'”
 – CLICK HERE for SLIDES shared during meeting… 
– (click here for AC Meeting Minutes/Notes)

Lisa Gastelle, SLP & Erin McCoy, OT
Maryland School for the Deaf – Frederick Campus
Utilizing Todays Technology
for Better Curriculum Access
– (click here for AC Meeting Minutes/Notes)


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Field-Initiated Demonstration Project
Mini-grant Recipients
(news/information here…)

These recipients presented posters
on their projects during the

CBSS Spring 2016 Advisory Committee Meeting
which was in conjunction the Spring 2016 STW.
To learn more about the event and
to view photos from the poster presentations


Kelly Jarrett (AT Specialist) and
Karin Nord (AT Specialist)
Maryland School for the Blind
 “On the move! Bringing Multi-sensory Experiences 
to Students that Need Them Most” 
Sensory / multi-sensory experiences are often essential for learning
for children with disabilities. These experiences provide them with
additional information needed to learn a concept, assist staff with
understanding behavior, and  to help organize the students
sensory system. For students with dual sensory impairments,
activities that incorporate lights, sounds, smells and vibrations
are essential for learning. The use of a mobile multi-sensory cart
would allow all service providers access to these activities for
their students in their natural classroom environment.

Sara Kempler, Special Education Teacher
focusing on deaf-blindness and CVI
Delrey School (CBSS Demonstration Project)
“Instructional Strategies – Adapting Curriculum for
Students with Sensory Impairments” 
The objective is to increase the ease of visually seeing objects
in order to access curriculum. Expected outcomes are
to enhance the students learning and increase staff involvement
in facilitating access to students so they can review and practice skills. 

Nikki Woodward (TVI) and
Louise Rollins (D/HH)
Montgomery County Public Schools
Montgomery County Infants & Toddlers Program
“Social Learning and Community Play Program
for Toddlers with Dual Sensory Loss”
Learning opportunities will address the use of multiple sensory channels
to access early literacy, language, pre-numeracy, problem solving,
and pre-writing skill development using developmentally appropriate
themes and materials. The target goal is to empower and support families
with the knowledge and know how to engage their
toddlers in learning and social exchanges during play. 

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Field-Initiated Demonstration Project
Mini-grant Recipients
(news/information here…)

Carla Brown (Teacher of the Visually Impaired)
& Courtney Amsellem (Special Educator)
Rock Creek Valley School
Montgomery County Public Schools
“Use of Concrete Objects to Enhance
Literacy and Concept Development”

 Lisa Gastelle (Speech Pathologist)
& Cyndy Stieffenhafer (Special Educator)
Maryland School fo rhe Deaf
Frederick Campus
“Using Today’s Technology for
Better Curriculum Access”

Angie Geffen (Special Educator)
Maryland School for the Deaf
Frederick Campus
“Innovative Instructional Strategies and
Accommodations for High School Deaf Students
with Additional Learning Needs ”

Ms. Lydia Marchiano (Special Educator)
Delrey School
“Instructional Equipment & Materials 
for Students with Complex Needs” 

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Field-Initiated Demonstration Project
Mini-grant Recipients

Cairna Boda (Speech Pathology)
Chelsea Pagar (Special Education)
Virginia Cusick (Physical Therapy)
Charles County Public Schools
Community Trips for Young Students
with Deaf-blindness

Bethany Provost Tinsley (Special Education)
Anne Arundel Public Schools
Story Boxes & Literacy Kits
View her Slide Presentation HERE…

Bev Upshur (Assistive Technology/TVI)
Mara Clement (Deaf/HOH Education)
Montgomery County Public Schools
Cortical Visual Impairment Assessment Kits
for Staff Training/Education

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