Below is a letter that was sent to as many LSL parents in Utah as there were emails for. If you are a parent of an LSL child and would like to be added to the email list please use the contact form on this site or leave a comment with your email and that you want to be added to the list.
Ellen O’Hara Hanna made a short video to keep the ASL community update with what is happening with USDB Superintendent Search.
Her video is this link – http://youtu.be/kkCCqB3ZtAo
It talks about the finalists being announced in Salt Lake Tribute and there will be the final interview with the Utah State of Education on June 6. Public is welcomed to watch.
The article can be found in this link – http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/
UAD’s monthly newsletter also has a write up that you may be interested in as well, it can be found on pg 4 here: http://www.uad.org/archive/
There will be many ASL who will be in attendance tomorrow, it would be extremely powerful if as many of you as can would email Lorraine Austin (her info is at the end of this email) and ask her to put your emails/letters in the boards packet for tomorrow. Please, if you email Lorraine or the whole board, cc or bcc me on that email.
As we know, one of the most vocal deaf groups is the ASL community. They have every right to be vocal and advocate for their children. The Oral (Listening & Spoken Language) group as well as the Blind should ALSO BE VOCAL!
The majority of children being served by USDB for hearing related services are the ORAL or LSL children. We need to make sure that ALL OF OUR VOICES are HEARD. There is no way we can complain if we do not speak up for our children.
As ORAL parents and advocates, we are concerned about the applicants who will be part of the final interview process for the position of Superintendent.
The state school board has named as finalists for the position: Joel Coleman, a state school board member, chairman of the board’s committee on the school and a charter school founder and trustee; Larry S. Taub, executive director of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf & Center for Community and Professional Services in Philadelphia; and Karl A. Wilson, Utah director of Title I and federal programs at the state office and former state director of special education. (here is a link to the SLTrib article: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/
The ASL community has been trying for years to create changes that would make our oral/lsl children HAVE to learn to sign before getting oral services, thus wasting precious developmental years.
If I were to make suggestions to USOE this is what I would suggest:
1. All groups served by USDB should have equal representation or representation equal to the number of children enrolled in each area.
2. Applicants should be properly vetted and be credentialed for Special Needs Education. There ought to be work experience, schooling, etc.
3. Applicants should be non-biased and believe strongly in the rights of parents to determine the correct path for the child and no one else!
Glenna Gallo at USOE has agreed to accept letters of complaint on behalf of the Utah Association for the Deaf. If you would like to send your letter to her, I would bet she would accept yours as well. I do also know that Lorraine Austin is the contact that we have used in the past and she has always been glad to help. In the subject line, you will want to identify what the email/letter is regarding. You could use the following as the subject line: “USDB Superintendent”.
Her contact info is:
I know many of you have championed valiantly in the past for the rights of our children in the Oral (LSL) Deaf Education & Special Needs arena. I’m hoping that we can all come together again and make sure that we watch out for our kids in the program now and for those who will be in the future.
With a new USDB Superintendent to hire, the State Office of Education needs the input from the ORAL/LSL perspective. Please take time to write a short and to the point email to the state school board and the Superintendent of USOE (Martell Menlove). Below is a sample.
USOE needs to hear from more than just the ASL community. Make the letter your own and be sure to sign it so that it is counted as a valid letter.
Please do this TODAY! USOE does not expect to hear from us parents & advocates but the NEED to hear from YOU!
Dear Superintendent & School Board,
As a parent/advocate of a hearing impaired/deaf/blind child I am writing to ask that you take a few things into consideration when discussing the applicants and their ability to lead USDB.
There is much concern regarding the applicants and the only one Deaf person on this committee. This is unacceptable. The Oral parents are greatly concerned and invested in USDB. Oral children make up the largest group of children served at USDB whether served at a USDB school or via the Outreach program and should at least have an equal position on any committee discussing changes to USDB of any nature.
I respectfully ask the board to consider the needs of each group that makes up USDB and the percentages of the children served in each area (currently over 3/4′s of students are in the oral program). There is great opposition in this group and it is important to make sure that we not only meet the needs of the children today but also in the future. Please consider the needs and wishes of all parents when hiring the next USDB Superintendent. The children need someone who will allow parents to be the expert of their child’s needs.
(stakeholder position:whichever you are)
Deaf/Blind/Hearing Impaired/Oral adult
Here are the state school board and superintendent’s emails (minus Joel Coleman’s): Board@schools.utah.gov, Martell.Menlove@schools.utah.
Please write and tell USOE that we care and we want a qualified Superintendent that will allow Parent Choice! Please email me with any questions.
Concerned Parent & Advocate