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Annual Registration of Legally Blind Students

California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter

December 5, 2016

Dear County and District Directors of Special Education, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Adult Education School and Regional Occupational School Principals, Charter School Administrators, and Private School Administrators:

Annual Registration of Legally Blind Students for the American
Printing House for the Blind Federal Quota Program

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Federal Quota Program allocates federal funds to public and private educational programs that register students who are legally blind. The amount allocated to each agency is based on the number of students registered with the APH. The allocation entitles students to receive textbooks in braille or large print, educational aids, and special equipment at no cost to the local educational agency (LEA).

  • Definition of legal blindness is divided into two categories:
    • MDB    Meets the Definition of Blindness: Central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with best correction (using the Snellen Chart); or a peripheral field so contracted that the widest diameter of such field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.

    • FDB     Functions at the Definition of Blindness: Visual performance reduced by a brain injury or dysfunction that meets the definition of blindness as determined by an eye specialist or neurologist.

The APH will be collecting the information below to enroll students who qualify for the program.

Return the completed registration forms after January 2, 2017, but no later than February 6, 2017

  • Agency Certification Form (Attachment 1) 
    This form must be returned to the CDE for all students (new and continuing students). Submitting this form certifies that the school/agency is complying with APH requirements. Students who are enrolled in more than one school must be registered by the agency that is providing the majority of related services.
  • Registration Form (Attachment 2) (Must be completed for new students only.)
    Complete and submit all information on the Registration Form for each new student only. Ensure that MDB or FDB is selected and right and left eye acuities are completed.
  • Instructions for completing the Registration Form (Attachment 3)
    This document details step-by-step instructions for completing the Registration Form and includes the reporting codes to identify the student’s grade level.
  • APH Federal Quota Authorization List(s) (Attachment 4)
  • Sample of Parent Permission Form (Attachment 5)

The Parent Permission Form must be signed and dated. The signed form should be kept with the student’s record onsite. The requirement for positive parental consent before releasing confidential student information is a provision of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA, 20 USC Section 1232g; Title 34, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 99) and its counterpart, California Education Code Section 49060. These requirements extend to nonpublic schools operating under contract with a public school.

Register only students who are legally blind and enrolled in your program as of January 2, 2017.

If your agency already has registered students, you should have received an e-mail with instructions on how to download the 2016 list of registered students. Please make all necessary updates and be sure to change the grade level if necessary. Please return the list along with the other registration forms.

Eye Report: An eye report prepared by an optometrist or ophthalmologist must be thorough and confidential and must confirm that the student’s vision falls within the definition of legal blindness. This report must be current within the last three years and must remain with the LEA. Partially sighted students are not eligible.

If you have any questions regarding the APH registration or submission process, please contact Laurie Garcia, Ex-Officio Trustee, by phone at 916-319-0964 or by e-mail at

For questions regarding this packet, and registering new students, please contact James Morrison, Associate Governmental Program Analyst, by phone at 916-323-1329 or by e-mail at or Kelli Cornejo, Manager I, by phone at 916-323-4737 or by e-mail at


Thomas Adams, Ph.D., Deputy Superintendent
Instruction, Learning, & Standards Support Branch



Attachment 1: Agency Certification Form (PDF)

Attachment 2: Registration Form (PDF)

Attachment 3: Instructions for completing the Registration Form

Attachment 4: APH Federal Quota Authorization List (PDF)

Attachment 5: Sample of Parent Permission Form (DOC)


Last Reviewed: Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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