Project Overview

The Braille Excellence for Students and Teachers (BEST) Grant awarded to the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio/OCALI, is funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

One objective of the BEST Grant is to increase access to high-quality braille materials. In addressing that goal, the BEST Grant will establish three Local Braille Production Centers (LBCPs) in school districts during the first year of the grant period.

School districts chosen as new LBPC sites will receive an embosser, scanner (when needed) and software as needed for the production of incidental braille materials for students within the districts.


School districts (K-12), individually or in collaboration with State Support Teams or Educational Service Centers, serving students who use braille to access the curriculum, are eligible to apply.

Project Design

This project is designed to provide the means to produce incidental braille materials that include the following text materials:

  • Supplemental reading materials
  • Workbook materials
  • Teacher created materials
  • Testing materials (excluding standardized tests)

The hardware and software is not to supplant the districts/agency responsibility to purchase braille textbooks.

BEST Responsibilities

BEST Grant collaborative partners and technical assistance consultants will provide:

  1. Equipment and software (based on indicated need in initial application)
    1. Braille embosser, which will remain property of the purchasing agency and will be placed in the LBPC on loan as long as needed. The embosser must be returned to the AT & AEM Center at OCALI when no longer needed by the awarded district/agency.
    2. Tabletop Scanner (provided only if there is no networked scanner/copier/printer in the building capable of producing a multi-page PDF file).
    3. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software (ABBYY FineReader).
    4. Braille translation software (Duxbury).
    5. Software to assist in the production of braille mathematics (MathType).
  2. An on-site consultant to install and set up hardware and software.
  3. Ongoing training and technical assistance (on-site, phone, email) for LBPC personnel in operating the equipment and in the procedures for producing instructional materials in braille.
    1. ABBYY FineReader OCR software two-day trainings.
    2. Duxbury Braille Translation software two-day trainings.
    3. MathType trainings.
  4. Collect follow-up district data from LBPC site.
    1. Students served
    2. Districts served
    3. Grade levels

Local Educational Agency (LEA) Responsibilities

The school district/agency must provide:

  1. Staff member who will be responsible for:
    1. Gathering materials from classroom teachers that need to be produced in braille.
    2. Transcribing those materials into braille.
    3. Attending a two-day training in using the OCR software, two-day training on the use of the Duxbury braille translation software, and one-day training on MathType. All trainings are typically held in the Columbus, Ohio area.
  2. Separate room to adequately house the LBPC equipment.
    1. A site which isolates equipment from general populations, because of the noisy nature of this equipment.
    2. Eight-foot table or equivalent surface for equipment.
    3. Power outlets in proximity to table location.
  3. Networked Windows computer.
    1. At least 4 gigabytes of RAM (8 preferred).
    2. Hard disk drive or network storage capacity to accommodate large files.
    3. At least two USB ports.
    4. Windows 7 or higher.
    5. Microsoft Word 2010 or higher installed.
  4. Technical support at the local level to assist the BEST consultant with administrative access for the installation and configuring of software.
  5. Email account for the staff member producing the braille.
  6. Consumable materials including braille paper.
  7. Access to an ink/toner printer, networked or local.
  8. Access to a networked printer/copier/scanner capable of producing multi-page PDF files (If the printer/copier/scanner is not available in the building, see 1. b. under Best Responsibilities). The copier/printer/scanner should be equipped with a USB port (for writing to a thumb drive) or IT personnel should create a network drive where large image-based PDF files can be stored and accessed by the braille production computer.
  9. Incidental office supplies in support of the project at the LBPC location.
  10. Maintain updates on all software provided through the BEST Grant (i.e. Duxbury, ABBYY FineReader, MathType). Braille software updates occur frequently (every one to two years) as braille standards evolve. Minor service releases are free, depending on the date of purchase, (prices are prorated). The school district/agency is responsible for purchasing all software upgrades beyond initial purchase.
  11. Maintenance of equipment beyond warranty period. Once the initial equipment warranty/maintenance agreement has expired, the district/agency must pay for any necessary hardware repairs and software updates.
  12. If the equipment is lost or stolen, it’s the responsibility of the district/agency to replace.

Contact Julie for the application form at

The deadline for submission of application is October 18, 2019.

For questions contact:

Thank you for your interest. Applicants will be notified of selections by Nov. 1, 2019.

Set up of selected LBPCs will occur in November or December.