(Female with light brown hair up in a bun with bangs. She is wearing black rimmed glasses added with rhinestones on the sides. She’s wearing a black professional looking staff shirt, short-sleeved with a logo of an eagle with prints Oak Park High School on her right side of her chest. There is a gold line on both shoulders on the front side. The setting is in a high school classroom with many desks behind her.)
Hello CAD, Executive Board, North/Central/South Chapters, CAD members, and Californians.
Those of you who are not CAD members and have been considering in becoming a member or those of you who just checks the CAD website periodically, I encourage you to become CAD members because with your contribution, it is a way to improve the communities.
My job as the Chair of Ongoing Quality ASL is to give you a report (on where we are now). This (language learning/teachings) applies to L1/L2, K-12 children, Community Colleges, and Universities. Note: L1/L2 AKA Heritage Language (HL)/World Language (WL).
I will post 2 videos. One video will cover the history of how and why Ongoing Quality ASL started. The second video covers on the journey from 2017 to current of what was done so far and what the next goals will be.
This video is now the first video, the brief history.
In 2015, Californians and CAD members expressed concerns including myself on the concept of quality ASL. How teachers (that are not qualified) are being hired to teach the language. Who are the people (background experiences) hiring teachers to work with children using the language and in language teaching for high schools, community colleges, and universities? We question the scholars, educators, and administrators involved in a panel for the interview during the institution’s hiring process. Are they even qualified to justify and hire new employees? How does this work?
We also discussed about the screenings or testings for teachers to be qualified to teach regarding ASL Education for K-12 Deaf Schools and mainstreamed. For the state of California, we would like to focus on the ongoing quality ASL to give teachers support to improve. CAD listened to the members’ concerns and looked at the motions that were passed. CAD wanted to get the ball rolling in finding ways how to make it happen.
CAD did not want to work alone and agreed to work with other California’s organization that has similar goals. CAD create a draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing along with the Californians’ ASLTA. ASLTA has 3 Californian chapters, Bay Area-ASLTA, ASLTA-SoCal, and San Diego-ASLTA. What we talked about doing is to collaborate, communicate, and continue to proceed in what they always have been doing. The concept is that we gather (through emails and zoom meetings) to share information and make progress of what we need to do. We develop strategies of how to improve in what is needed to be done. CAD typed up the rough draft of the MOU while ASLTA chapters revised the MOU with feedback and we made changes together until all agreed with the final draft of the MOU. We all signed the MOU in the fall of 2017. (Note: The title originally was Quality ASL and with Keith Gamache’s feedback, he suggested the title to be Ongoing Quality ASL.)
According to the MOU, it contains the motions passed by CAD members, ASLTA chapters/CAD wanted to look at two important focus points from the motions, and a list of strategies to reach the goal of Ongoing Quality ASL.
The two main focus points are:
1. Highly qualified instructors using ASL as primary language working with HL students who are Deaf* from K-12 school settings.
2. Highly qualified instructors using ASL as primary language working with WL students from Secondary education, Community Colleges, and Universities.
Note: Deaf* includes variety Deaf individuals. For instance, Deaf/Blind, Deaf, Deaf Plus, Deaf with residual hearing, Deaf with learning disabilities.
Again, WL means World Language, when students are learning ASL as their second language. The MOU team really want to focus on those two pointers. During our first zoom meeting, the four organizations had dialogues of where we start according to the MOU. You do this, and the other does that, and CAD will do this. We agreed on a plan and went on our ways. The second video, will cover what was done and what we will do next.
The MOU- This is basically what is in the MOU (The original MOU is posted in CAD website)
ASLTA chapters and CAD will focus on the following:
• CSET (California Subject Exam for Teachers), this exam is for teachers-to-be to take before entering a training program to become a specialized teacher. Can we revisit the exam and discuss what is needed?
• Reach out to institutions that has ASL programs to increase awareness what ASLTA chapters has to provide and encourage them to get involved with ASLTA within their communities (North, Southern California and San Diego).
• Collect the demographic of all ASL programs
• Take a close look at ASLPI (ASL Proficiency Interview) vs ASL Praxis (the nation needs ASL Praxis). This is like LOTE (Language other than English) such as Spanish and French. They do have Spanish Praxis, French Praxis, and etc. ASL should have ASL Praxis and there is none in the nation as of now. This is basically for language teachers-to-be to take the exam to see if they qualify or not. Since there is a Praxis model, it’d be easier to set up an ASL Praxis by using that system.
• In what ways do we want to see ASL Education improved for HL and WL? For instance, the hiring process of hiring new employees who meets the requirement of being highly qualified. An idea in the dialogue was to find a way to have a bill written for the people who does the hiring needs to have at least 50% or higher with having Deaf individuals (who are qualified to teach) involved in the decision to hire.
• BTSA (Induction Programs)- Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (which is a law passed to support new teachers by having a mentor to work closely with them for one or two years. This was passed to decrease high turn overs in California teachers). How can ASLTA Chapters and CAD provide support involving mentorship/apprenticeship for new teachers with all the school districts?
• For instance, Ventura County has about 20+ school districts. How do they make it work provide mentors that are qualified to provide support to the new teachers. From my own experience as a new teacher, I had a mentor who taught Math for 30 years. During my second year of BTSA, my mentor was a language teacher like myself and she taught Spanish. There was something missing during my experience. I needed support as a Deaf individual in meeting my needs: Language support, working in a hearing environment which I had many questions relating to this issue. Having the Math and Spanish teachers support me was a valuable experience as they did give me support with tools I can use in classroom management and teaching strategies. However, knowing that something was missing, I asked the Spanish teacher if I could hire a Deaf individual, who has a background of language teaching and is a scholar and colleague of mine to observe me with her. The Spanish teacher responded positively and did not mind. They both observed me teaching my class and took notes. Afterwards, they both gave me great feedback in their own ways. However, their feedback were significantly different. It was the Deaf mentor who gave me what I needed. Therefore, how can ASLTA/CAD provide tools to the mentors to support Language teaching in ASL who has the eye, experience, and Deaf Culture background to give support to Deaf teachers. Deaf to Deaf support.
• With WL, how can we have College level and Secondary Education (HS) work together to improve language teachers for students who graduate from high school to transfer to Colleges for ongoing quality language learning. How can we improve the curricula for high school and colleges to use?
• Communicate and work with California Department of Education (CDE) to work the network of legislators protect and support ongoing quality language teaching in ASL.
• ALSTA Chapters and CAD will continue to communicate, collaborate, collect data, support each other, make progress and to meet the passed motions.
We gain knowledge by sharing information. This is what we are trying to accomplish from the MOU. Now the next video will cover was what done and what is next.
(Female with light brown hair up in a bun with bands. She is wearing black rimmed glasses added with rhinestones on the side. She is wearing a black professional looking staff shirt, short-sleeved with a logo of an eagle with prints Oak Park High School on her right side of her chest. There is a gold line on both shoulders in the front side. The setting is in a high school classroom with many desks behind her.)
Now I explain in how the four of us, the ASLTA chapters and CAD, have been working together since 2017 to 2019. What has been done and what we want to accomplish.
ASLTA chapters have been productively busy providing different workshops for language teachers, educators and different individuals.
For instance, Bay Area-ASLTA provided the following workshops (only mentioned a few and they have done more than I mentioned):
• Incorporating technology in language teaching
• ASL STEM for K-12 teachers in working with HL Deaf students. STEM means Science Technology Engineering and Math
• TRUE+WAY Curriculum provides a workshop to train professionals in how to use the curriculum. Perhaps, some language teachers want to switch from a curriculum they have been using to a new one.
ASLTA-SoCal has been busy promoting and getting ready for the national ASLTA conference happening in San Diego that is taking place from June 30th to July 3rd. (Kristen Hall-former president of ASLTA-LA is involved in making this work out)
San Diego-ASLTA has been providing different workshops (again, mentioned in the video of a few examples but not mention of all they have done)
• Ted Supalla-Safeguarding ASL Heritage
• Kevin Struxness-Mouth Morphemes and Fingerspelling
• Bilingualism-focusing on ASL and English prints (read/writing)
All of these workshops applies to (for those working with) Deaf children, language teachers (WL/HL), and a diverse population who take these workshops. ASLTA chapters continue to provide workshops to support language teachers.
It is crucial to attend to these workshops for professional development. If you have not become a member of ASLTA in your community (North-Bay area, Southern California, and San Diego) or perhaps you live in LA and want to go to the workshops provided in San Diego (an vice versa), become a member. It’s usually for a 1-year membership. You will be notified of different events and upcoming workshops.
Bay Area-ASLTA wanted to share that since 2016, there were only 80 members. Currently, there are about up to 250 members! The members are language teachers, educators, tutors, and different employers. Some just attend to learn so they are in the loop of what happening in ASL today.
So, I encourage Californians to become members and be involved.
Also CAD will post a flyer of an upcoming workshop on March 30, 2019 that will share the newly revised California World Languages Standards. How to incorporate the expected World Language Standards in your lessons. I found one interpreter available and she is looking for a team interpreter (We now have two interpreters!). The workshop will be located at California Lutheran University (CLU) from 8:30 to 4 PM. It’s an all day kind of event.
CAD have been collecting data of most of the ASL programs in California. In the past, CAD felt bothered by the fact that we cannot visualize where the ASL programs are. We wanted to visually see where they are on the map (with 53 counties in California State). ASL programs in high schools? Community Colleges, and Universities? Where are they located on the map. CAD started with Breanna Andrews. She works at Crafton Hill College. For several years, there was a gathering of ASL teachers (mostly southern Californians) once a year to take workshops and some of them presented in sharing lessons, activities, teaching methods. This was to support each other in how to improve language teaching. Breanna had a list of teachers/educators’ names along with what institutions they teach.
CAD and Dr. Jordan Eickman, a professor at CSUN, have been working together. We asked Breanna for the list of teachers and the institutions of who they work with so that we can start there for data. We asked Bay Area-ASLTA, ASLTA-SoCal, and ASLTA-San Diego for a list of names and ASL Programs as well. Dr. Eickman had his own list of data as well. We had about a total of 200-300 names and ASL programs. There were some on the list that still needed cleaning up (duplicate information and no longer existed as we checked the website for verification).
Dr. Eickman has a program that allows us to do a mapping and this is where he inserts the names of the institutions and the addresses of where they are located in California. There are other columns we fill in and the last two columns are the main thing we needed which are the longitude and latitude of the ASL program site so that the program can create dots on the picture of the California map.
The goal is for us to be able to click on that dot (maybe click a dot in the middle of nowhere) and it will pull up further information about where the ASL program along with who the teachers are, what program it is for, and what levels are being taught (Secondary Education of private/public schools or higher learning institutions). ASLTA Chapters and CAD agreed to take the first step in finding the ASL programs in the state of California. With the 200-300 of ASL programs, I recently discovered more ASL programs due to the fact that I am a high school ASL Teacher and have been developing new courses to get them approved through the UC/CSU system (for my students so they are counted as credits when they go to College). I was submitting courses such as ASL 3 Honors and ASL IV Honors so that students can take four years of ASL at the high school. While typing up the course, I discovered other institutions that were approved in the state of California. I looked at their courses to compare what I typed up and to revise using their statement or ideas, but also to be able to compare my course along with others to be similar or better.
Those institutions were already UC/CSU approved (UC-University of California and CSU-California State University schools) for high school credits as LOTE.
I checked the total of schools (approved through the system) for the state of California and there was about 593. There was a long list of data! We need to insert them in (Dr. Eickman’s mapping program). And again, we need to make sure the institutions are not duplicates from the list we already have. These schools are a combination of private, public high schools, and charters.
We want to include community colleges and colleges as well.
This is how we started in putting together the data.
At the end of this month, you will see the map posted in the CAD Website. When you see all of the ASL Programs on the map that we have so far (the original 200-300 schools from last year’s collection), please keep in mind that this is a progress and not a completed map yet. It is not current. We just obtained a new setting of data from the UC/CSU system. Therefore, it requires to take the time to insert the information in the mapping system. The goal is to complete by this June in putting all of the data of what we have now and it will be cleaned up and tweaked during this process.
Next goal that the ASLTA chapters and CAD would like to do is to send out a survey. We are hoping to have a dialogue in determining the types of questions the survey will have. What do we want to know and how will the survey promote ongoing quality ASL?
As I mentioned, inserting the data in the mapping system will consume time so to help speed up the process, we will have ASLTA Honor Society students insert them as well (focusing on counties, which is easier to break down into chunks).
When this is done, Dr. Eickman and I will work together and double check that it’s clean and mostly current by checking the institutions’ websites before posting on the CAD Website and the ASLTA Chapters’ websites. This will hopefully happen between June and September. Remember, this is an ongoing process. New programs will appear overtime and this is when we add them.
If you Californians see the map and notice that an ASL program is not included, ASLTA chapters and CAD would love to have your support by letting us know (so that we can make revisions). Recently, a new ASL program appeared just this year in Moorpark. Moorpark High school. Perhaps more throughout the state will start in a year or two from now.
This is the goal of CAD’s so that we all can visually see where the ASL programs are in the state of California.
(Female with light brown hair up in a bun with bands. She is wearing black rimmed glasses added with rhinestones on the side. She is light blue blouse covered with a hooded dark grey jacket. The setting is in a high school classroom with many desks behind her.)
Education Testing Service (ETS), their Praxis program is now ready to start developing an ASL Praxis! The ASL Praxis test is a test for language teachers-to-be before they enroll a teacher’s training program for their credentials. In the past, this is like ASLPI (ASL Proficiency Interview) is required to screen out and permit the ones who passed in order for them to participate in the teaching training program to become a language teacher. ETS mentioned that there were quite a few states to requested for an ASL Praxis to be developed so they are making it happen. This is supposedly to be a more challenging exam using the Praxis model to help screen out unqualified language teachers-to-be. This step is imperative when it comes to ongoing quality ASL.
Amy T. Andersen was invited to be one of them members of the committee in the development of the ASL Praxis. Amy gratefully told ETS that she would be happy to participate but she also recommended a few names of Deaf individuals who are ASL teachers and educators because of their expertise in the language, active members of the Deaf community and practice the lifestyle of Deaf Culture. The program coordinator used the list and have contacted the names Amy suggested. A few have been selected and the committee has been formed this month (February 2019). In February and March, they will have meetings to start the development of the ASL Praxis this year.
This same organization will also be having dialogues in developing AP (Advance Placement) tests. In secondary education (High Schools), LOTE (Language Other Than English) such as Spanish and French already have AP courses (challenging classes). AP courses are usually taken during students’ fourth year of high school.
For instance, a high schooler will take ASL 1, ASL 2, sometimes there are ASL 3 Honors or just ASL 3 then during the 4th year in high school, an AP course can be taken. Currently, there are no AP courses in the nation. The team is making progress and the ETS and their programs are having dialogues of making this happen. Soon things will change for the better!