• Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

    2021 - 2026 Strategic Plan

    Dear Friends of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind,

    I am very pleased to announce the launch of Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026. Our strategic plan emerges from a wide-ranging, deeply collaborative conversation about how Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind will work to transform the lives of those we serve beyond expectations by refusing to let adversity limit any individual’s potential. This plan will guide us over the next five years in promoting ten core standards. 

    This plan results from the efforts of over 130 focus group participants representing our staff, students, consumers, and community partners who convened in twelve focus groups beginning in late 2020 and into early 2021. Over 1,250 person-hours were dedicated to the development of our strategic plan. 

    Our strategic plan will shape our programs, budget, and staff activities as we focus on our primary mission: 

    “To prepare individuals to reach their limitless potential by providing superior staff, facilities, training, and programs.”

    I am deeply grateful for the time, dedication, and creativity that so many brought to the creation of our strategic plan. As a staff, we are extremely excited to now begin the work to bring these ideas and goals into reality. We believe deeply that we can, and will, transform the lives of those we serve throughout Alabama and beyond.

    Together we truly are Deaf. Blind. Limitless!


    John Mascia, Au. D.

    By The Numbers

    10  Planning Phases
    Scope * Audit * Tenet * Analysis * Generation * Draft * Approval * Communication * Implementation * Review

    12  Focus Groups 
    Adult Students * AIDB Board of Trustees/AIDB Foundation Board of Directors * Building Administrators * Business and Community * External Stakeholders * Institutional Leadership * K-12 Students * Lead Strategic Planning Committee * Parents * Professional Stakeholders * Support Staff * Teachers

    131  Focus Group Participants

    84 Focus Group Meetings

    1,250+ Person-Hours Dedicated to the Development of the Strategic Plan

    433 Survey Responses to Gather AIDB Employee, Student, Consumer, and Community Input 

    Guiding Principles of AIDB

    MOTTO: Deaf. Blind. Limitless.

    PURPOSE: To transform the lives of those we serve beyond all expectations. 

    VISION: To be the recognized leader of diverse residential and community-based education, rehabilitation, and employment programs that prepare individuals who are deaf, blind, deafblind, and multidisabled to reach their potential in education, independence, and career.

    MISSION: To prepare individuals to reach their limitless potential by providing superior staff, facilities, training, and programs. 


    • Aspiring to excellence through passion
    • Embracing a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Integrity in all we do
    • Devotion to our students and each other
    • Belief in every individual’s potential

    AIDB is committed to providing:

    • Innovative instructional programs
    • A highly skilled and trained staff
    • A state and national network of education, service, and employment programs
    • Appropriate facilities, technology, and property management
    • New opportunities for partnerships and revenue development
    • Maximum accessible technology in education, training, and administration
    • Effective safety and security programs
    • Informative/effective communication and marketing strategies
    • Determine desired outcomes with designated measurement methods 
    • Evaluation of all programs

    The Strategic Plan Development Process 

    The Strategic Plan for Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) is a result of the collaborative work of twelve different stakeholder focus groups: adult students, AIDB Board of Trustees/AIDB Foundation Board of Directors, building administrators, business and community, external stakeholders, institutional leadership, K-12 students, lead strategic planning committee, parents, professional stakeholders, support staff, and teachers. A total of 131 individuals representing all AIDB schools and units served on these groups during the strategic planning process. 

    The planning process spanned a period of eight months, December 2020 to July 2021. During focus group work, a comprehensive audit was conducted in order to provide five years of data and other pertinent historical information. Audit areas included: academics, demographics, discipline, attendance, facilities, technology, fiscal, and personnel. 

    Each focus group met separately on several occasions to provide valuable input for the plan. Their work provided AIDB’s guiding principles, goals, and standard areas that are addressed in the improvement plan. The guiding principles were first developed to set the parameters for the development of remaining elements. The SWOT Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) was utilized to begin group considerations. The SWOT Analysis involved each group identifying strengths and weaknesses (internal factors) of AIDB and opportunities and threats (external factors) for factors lying outside the organization. Following the sessions, groups participated in brainstorming sessions to generate ideas on how the organization can make improvements regarding the ten standard areas: Leadership and Governance, Instruction and Learning, Outreach and Expansion, Finances and Resources, Risk Management, Technology, Workforce Development and Management, Rights of Persons Served, Health and Safety, and Stakeholder Involvement and Input. 

    Several drafts were constructed, followed by additional focus group meetings for suggested revisions. To garner public input beyond the group work, a draft was made available for public review and input for a two-week period. Prior to the construction of a final draft, the lead strategic planning committee and the AIDB President considered public suggestions for revisions. The President constructed a final draft and subsequently presented it to the Board of Trustees at the August 2021 meeting. This Strategic Plan will serve as a guide in AIDB’s work for improvement through the year 2026.

    Standards-Based Strategic Plan

    The AIDB Strategic Plan was developed using the Cognia and CARF standards as the framework. To promote excellence and continuous growth throughout the organization, AIDB completes the Cognia and CARF accreditation processes. These processes entail comprehensive programs of evaluation and external reviews, which are supported by the research-based standards of these accrediting agencies. 

    Standard 1: Leadership and Governance

    AIDB operates under leadership and governance that promotes residential and community-based education, rehabilitation, and employment programs that prepare individuals who are deaf, blind, deafblind, and those multidisabiled to reach their full potential in education, independence, and career.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

             In the area of leadership development

    1. Create and implement a succession planning program to evaluate talent, identify high potential, and develop leadership. 
    2. Establish a compensation structure to ensure AIDB is attracting and retaining top talent.
    3. Enhance the staff performance and evaluation processes to ensure that AIDB is recognizing and further developing talent.
    4. Establish a staff investment program to provide necessary educational leave and a tuition reimbursement philosophy that will meet current and future AIDB staffing needs. 
    5. Develop and implement policies and best practices that will promote an environment and culture that emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring, retention, development, connections, education, and awareness.

      In the area of marketing

    6. Update and implement a formalized, targeted Public Relations Plan messaging and layering information to tout existing local, state, national, international partnerships, programs, and services while building and establishing new ventures complementing AIDB’s Fundraising Plan.
    7. Update and implement a formalized, targeted Stewardship and Fundraising Plan, identifying applicable local, state, congressional, private, and corporate funding sources while building and establishing new ventures complementing AIDB’s Public Relations Plan.
    8. Develop a formalized External Partnership Plan to maintain and expand current local, state, national, and international partnerships and to identify and cultivate potential relationships – aligning missions and potential funding streams that complement AIDB’s Public Relations Plan.
    9. Coordinate a Quarterly eNewsletter along with an annual edition of Sights and Sounds; updated information on websites and dashboard; formal Annual Report; and redesign electronic, print brochures, and podcasts for each department.
    10. Coordinate Lunch and Shares with stakeholder groups.
    11. Develop a specific plan for the integration of social media platforms to share departmental information that complements the eNewsletter.
    12. Develop an Internal and External Call Center as a first Point of Contact Resource for internal and external information and as a training entity for K-12, E. H. Gentry (EHG), and Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB). Develop a forum for feedback providing for continuous improvement via accessible electronic means with the purpose communicated.
    13. Develop an AIDB box and online store through Alabama Industries for the Blind (AIB) and Office of Institutional Advancement (OIA) to sell promotional materials.

    Standard 2: Instruction and Learning

    The organization’s learning culture is characterized by productive teacher and learner relationships, engaging curriculum, quality instruction, and comprehensive support that enables all learners to be successful.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Provide formal and informal learning environments for all students and clients that continually enhance the foundational skills which promote independence.
    2. Evaluate the communication of the availability of advanced courses to ensure instruction that challenges the student according to his or her abilities.
    3. Conduct a needs assessment to expand the extracurricular programs options for students.
    4. Provide additional enrichment opportunities for students that will enlighten others to the World of AIDB.
    5. Have a comprehensive plan and process to assist students in preparing a career pathway toward college or workforce.
    6. Promote higher expectations for students.
    7. Develop a process to better inform parents and students regarding academic expectations and standards and student progress.

    Standard 3: Outreach and Expansion

    The organization acts as a resource to all stakeholders in providing services to enhance the equity of community and school environments for individuals with vision and hearing loss. Additional facilities and staff members provide an immense potential for reaching more clients.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Expand and enhance the footprint of the campus in Talladega, not replacing AIDB’s flagship programs, but instead intensifying the world-class operations by: 
    2. Developing the North Campus which will include the renovation of buildings to house special projects and programs to be developed in the future.
    3. Establishing the Decatur Regional Center and the Opelika Regional Center. 
    4. Providing rapidly growing STEM-based programs in mechatronic engineering, robotics, and cybersecurity. 
    5. Relocating Alabama Freedom Center for the Blind to AIDB North North Campus.
    6. Expand and intensify outreach through collaboration with Local Education Agencies and community partners to provide appropriate evaluations, supports, and services for individuals with vision and hearing loss in their school and community environments.
    7. Enhance programs that allow students and consumers to engage in their community with the confidence and knowledge of their importance to their community which will have a positive impact on the economy.
    8. Encourage AIDB staff, as experts in the field of vision, hearing, and dual sensory loss, to share knowledge and experience by training others on a state and national level.

    Standard 4: Finances and Resources

    The organization acquires, administers, and provides fiscal oversight, workforce development, and facilities management services that support its guiding principles.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Develop a plan for an organized and systematic evaluation of all positions on a regular and consistent basis.
    2. Conduct performance evaluations of programs.
    3. Continue to build relationships with state and federal legislators to obtain necessary funds to further develop and improve programs.
    4. Streamline the hiring process to provide for more timely and efficient employment.
    5. Develop and implement annual facility evaluations to ensure physical resources availability.
    6. Provide professional development funding to retain highly qualified staff.
    7. Establish an annual public service and advertising budget to implement marketing plans.
    8. Explore additional revenue sources.
    9. Develop key performance indicators in the major areas to be measured. 

    Standard 5: Risk Management

    The organization identifies potential risks, analyzes them, and takes appropriate risk mitigation steps.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Implement an internal audit compliance capability.
    2. Manage risks associated with cyber security including identifying, assessing, and treating risks including those of confidentiality, integrity, and protection of the organization's assets.
    3. Conduct facility assessments to determine the areas of need to provide a safe and accessible environment.

    Standard 6: Technology

    The organization has a comprehensive view of the technology resources utilized by all departments.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Update and communicate the organization’s technology plan.
    2. Upgrade and expand classrooms, dormitories, student and staff technology, and resources to include personal assistive technology to provide a baseline of equality for all students and clients. 
    3. Provide technology and professional development to support school improvement, organizational programs, and students’ needs.  
    4. Continuously improve and enhance hardware and software programs for management of critical functions.
    5. Continue to improve business processes, communications, compliance, data governance, systems integration, resource inventory, and use data to improve results to become more efficient in basic functions. 
    6. Upgrade data management systems to include reviews of data integrity and network security. 
    7. Upgrade school internet connectivity and wireless access to meet the increasing demand for online access to digital resources for productivity.

    Standard 7:  Workforce Development and Management

    The organization helps employees advance in their careers and ensures a highly skilled staff and service providers.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Implement, contract, and engage in formal cultural diversity training for staff and students.
    2. Use digital processes for purchases, contracts, employment, and signatures.
    3. Develop and implement a mentoring program to support new employees in each department.
    4. Assess plans for recruitment, professional development, and retention of qualified staff.
    5. Improve internal and external opportunities for professional development specific to the needs of students and teachers.

    Standard 8: Rights of Persons Served

    The organization provides informal and formal methods to protect and promote the rights of all persons served. 

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Review and revise policies and procedures related to clear communication of rights, confidentiality of information, privacy, and freedom from exploitation, abuse, retaliation, humiliation, and neglect. 

    Standard 9: Health and Safety

    The organization provides a culture and climate devoted to health and safety in every program and activity.

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Update the crisis communication plan template to be utilized by AIDB’s Units whereby a formalized, overall AIDB Plan will then be developed.
    2. Complete the safety projects that are in progress:
    3. Replace message boards with Beacon software that works with Smart TVs, Alertus, and mass communication system.
    4. Complete the implementation of the Master patented key system.
    5. Continually maintain life safety items and eliminate accessibility hazards. 
    6. Evaluate and update student and employee policies addressing bullying and harassment.
    7. Review available employee assistance programs for providing services that address the health and wellness of employees.

    Standard 10: Stakeholder Involvement and Input

    The organization values the input and involvement of all stakeholders to promote improvement in all performance outcomes. 

    Action Plans: In fulfillment of this standard, the organization shall:

    1. Develop an electronic forum for feedback providing for continuous improvement. 
    2. Conduct annual surveys concerning programs and services to solicit input from stakeholders and share the results upon conclusion of the analysis. 
    3. Utilize feedback to create action plans that address the needs and improvements for all programs.
    4. Continue to use advisory groups of diverse stakeholders that provide input for continuous program development and improvement.

    Lead Strategic Planning Committee

    John Mascia, Au.D., President, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Donovan Beitel, Diversity & Outreach Coordinator, Alabama Industries for the Blind; Anton Chatman, Employment Specialist, E. H. Gentry Facility; Alan Cope, President, Board of Directors, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Foundation; Jessica Edmiston, Executive Director, E. H. Gentry Facility; Amanda Fuller, Executive Assistant to the President, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Kyle Gregg, Executive Manager, Alabama Industries for the Blind; Vera Hendrix, Vice President of Instructional Programs, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Stephanie Hood, Parent, Alabama School for the Deaf; Mike Hubbard, Director of Safety and Security, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Bradley Hurd, Data Analyst, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Joey Hutto, Director of Physical Plant, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Kelley Park, Director of Human Resources, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Paul Saunders, Principal, Alabama School for the Deaf; Jonathan Sherbert, Chief Financial Officer, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Jackie Smith, Member, Board of Trustees, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; Karla Smith, Executive Director of Field Services, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind