Perkins School for the Blind Teams with MIT to Host Hackathon: The Super Bowl of Accessibility

A team working on ideas to adapt technology for those with disabilities at #HackDisability: AI for Accessibility Hackathon hosted by MIT and Perkins School for the Blind. (Courtesy of Perkins School for the Blind)

CAMBRIDGE — On any given Friday night at MIT there’s bound to be a few stragglers hanging around the Strata Center, the architecturally world-famous building in Cambridge that houses the MIT Computer and Artificial Intelligence Lab. On Friday Feb. 23, there were more than a few folks about, and not just from MIT: people from Perkins School for the Blind, Amazon, the Museum of Science, Cisco, and even a representative from the White House gathered for Perkins’ “#HackDisability: AI for Accessibility Hackathon,” the Watertown-based school’s second-ever hackathon and the first focused specially on harnessing artificial intelligence for a group that is often left behind by technology. The task was seemingly simple.

Watertown Man Gives Perkins School a Gift Through Cummings Community Giving

Cummings Properties associate purchasing manager Mike Kashgegian of Watertown gave a gift to Perkins School for the Blind. The following announcement was provided by Cummings Properties:

Holiday cheer is alive at Cummings Properties, where employees just directed nearly half a million dollars to local nonprofits. Through Cummings Community Giving, the regional commercial real estate firm annually invites staff members to each select a local nonprofit to receive up to $2,000 from the Company in their name. The program, now in its 12th year, aims to support the communities where Cummings team members live and work. This cycle’s $495,000 will help fund more than 200 causes in approximately 100 local cities and towns.

Perkins School Sheltered in Place After Getting Threatening Phone Call

Perkins School for the Blind went into lockdown after the school received a threatening phone call on Tuesday morning. The School shifted to shelter in place while the school was searched by Watertown Police, who cleared the school to go back to normal activities at about 2:45 p.m.

The Watertown Police announced on social media that the phone call came in at around 10:45 a.m. and school officials contacted the police. At about 1 p.m. Watertown Police released a statement saying, in part: “We responded and are currently working with school officials to ensure the safety of the students and staff. As a precautionary measure Perkins initiated a lockdown. This is an ongoing investigation, and we will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

Two Gap Year Opportunities at Perkins School for the Blind

Watertown-based Perkins School for the Blind has opportunities for people looking to spend a service year helping students with a complex mix of disabilities, including visual impairments. The school will be working with AmeriCorps and Commonwealth Corps. See more information below. AmeriCorps Service Position at Perkins

Join a transformational organization focused on supporting disability and inclusion locally, nationally and globally

This AmeriCorps Service Opportunity with Perkins School for the Blind will allow you to have a positive impact on young people with complex disabilities and visual impairments, while also building professional development skills in disability education and job readiness that support your career. This 11-month/1700-hour position with a historic educational institution in Watertown, MA provides a number of benefits for those interested in engaging in a year of service through AmeriCorps.

Perkins’ New Howe Innovation Center Accelerating Accessibility to Technology for Disabled

Perkins SchoolOn May 5, Olin College of Engineering students came to campus to demonstrate their CLEW technology at Perkins School’s Howe Innovation Center. The following announcement was provided by Perkins School for the Blind:

Perkins School for the Blind announces the launch of the Howe Innovation Center at Perkins. Named in honor of Perkins’ forward-thinking founding director, Samuel Gridley Howe, the Center is designed to unlock the power of the entrepreneurial and disability communities to create purpose-built solutions for a more accessible world. Every day, entrepreneurs and designers work to incorporate technology into new products to benefit the growing disability population, which is estimated to be 1.85 billion people or approximately 15 percent of the global population. In the disability tech field, these companies are leveraging recent advances in natural language processing, computer vision, and wireless communication to unlock accessibility for people with disabilities.

Perkins School’s Holiday Concert Available Live & Remotely

Perkins School for the BlindPerkins School for the Blind students will perform two holiday concerts in 2022. The following announcement was provided by Perkins School for the Blind:

As the holiday season approaches, we are excited to invite you and your families to attend one or both of our upcoming holiday concerts this December in person and virtually. Sunday, December 11 at 4:30 p.m. (In person)Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. (In person and virtual)No RSVP is required.Please note that guests are asked to wear a mask and ensure they are not experiencing any of these symptoms before arriving on campus. You can view the full guidelines on our website. We’re delighted to welcome our community back to campus to what’s always been a highly-anticipated and simply awesome annual performance by our students.

Perkins Students Show Some Bruins a Thing or Two About Goal Ball

Charlie BreitroseBoston Bruins players Tomas Nosek, left, and Pavel Zacha, shake hands with one of the Perkins School for the Blind goal ball players. Two members of the Boston Bruins got a lesson on what it’s like to play a sport designed for people who are blind or vision impaired on Thursday afternoon. Pavel Zacha and Tomas Nosek each donned a pair of goggles that blacked out their vision, and had to defend a goal that was about 30 feet wide. On the other end were three experienced members of the Perkins School for the Blind goal ball team. Charlie BreitroseBoston Bruins player Pavel Zacha rolls the goal ball in the exhibition game against students from Perkins School for the Blind.

Perkins School Teacher Participating in USA Blind Soccer Summit

USABAA teacher from Perkins School for the Blind will take part in the inaugural USA Blind Soccer Coaching Education Summit. The following information was provided by the U.S. Association for Blind Athletes:

Kelsey Linsenbigler, an adapted physical education teacher at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, is among the 26 coaches and educators from across the United States attending the inaugural USA Blind Soccer Coaching Education Summit this week in Staunton, Virginia. 

The inaugural USA Blind Soccer Coaching Education Summit will take place June 22-23 at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind. The camp will host coaches from schools for the blind, parks departments, soccer clubs, adaptive sports groups and other organizations to learn about blind soccer and how to integrate it into their programs and their communities. The camp is a collaboration between the Clemson University Adaptive Soccer Program, Maryland School for the Blind, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB), and U.S. Association for Blind Athletes (USABA). Blind soccer is in a grassroots phase of development as the USABA works to develop a national team for the L.A. 2028 games.