By: Seth Johnson

Amanda Bruce stands next to a plant outside of the ISBVI school building, as she poses for a photo. Bruce is wearing a blue and white t-shirt that features the words “ISBVI Hero” on it.Since her start as a life skills teacher at Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI), Amanda Bruce has made sure she meets each and every one of her students where they’re at.

“We work on our timeline, however long it takes us to get there. And I totally accept that and support that,” Bruce says. “It may not be the typical timeline for students, but with my students, we support what it takes for them to reach their lifelong goals.”

Having worked as a life skills teacher for the entirety of her professional career, Bruce was drawn to work at ISBVI after hearing about the school’s close-knit staff.

“I had just heard what a wonderful place it was here, how everybody worked as a team, and that it was like a big family,” Bruce says.

After originally joining the ISBVI staff as a middle school life skills teacher, Bruce then worked as a high school life skills teacher before eventually ending up in her current role as a transition-aged life skills teacher (ages 18-22).

“I have grown with some of these kids throughout most of their educational careers,” Bruce says. “We started in middle school together, we moved to high school together, and then we’ve worked on those transition skills from age 18 to 22 — getting them ready for Adult Services and life after high school.”

While preparing her students to live independently, Bruce will often take them on trips out into the community, whether that’s a visit to a nearby restaurant or the Indiana State Fair.

“I really like to help them make those connections in the classroom and apply it out in the real world,” Bruce says. “So I love to get out in the community and do extended activities based on what we’ve done in class.”

With her specific age range of students, Bruce particularly places a major emphasis on career exploration and independent living skills.

“We work on Expanded Core Curriculum, but we focus on career exploration and job skills,” she says. “We focus on educational opportunities and training after high school based on what they want to do after school as far as a job. That also includes independent living skills. So if they would like to live in an apartment with a roommate but they don’t quite have those skills, we work on that.”

At the end of the day, Bruce simply finds joy in seeing her students work toward their dreams.

“I love watching them become more independent,” she says. “My goal for every one of my students is to be as independent as possible across all areas based on their abilities.”



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