The Little School That Could: A Bilingual ASL Inclusive Charter School

The American Sign Language Academy was created by families of children who are Deaf and is the first Bilingual ASL school in the nation. The panel will share the journey of this remarkable school. Participants will hear from family members, school staff, administration, and community partners about the triumphs and challenges involved in creating inclusive settings for ALL students now and into the future. 1) Participants will learn the critical importance of bilingualism in ASL/English to the success including students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. ASLA is the first bilingual charter school in the nation and the school has worked with the New Mexico Public Education Department to develop a bilingual endorsement for ASL. 2) Participants will learn how ASLA staff and administration work as an interdisciplinary team to meet the needs of all students whether they are Deaf or hearing, and whether they have a disability or not. 3) Participants will appreciate barriers to including students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the ways in which these barriers can be addressed in a way that respects the cultural diversity of the Deaf community. 4) Participants will hear the perspectives from family members, school staff, administration, and community partners to gain a broad understanding of the benefits and challenges involved in creating inclusive settings for students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, students with the full range of disabilities, and students without disabilities.

Liz Keefe, Rafe Martinez, Jennifer Thompson, Kim Silva,” Ben Martinez