Gallaudet University Facilitates Professional Development for NBOE Staff


Marianne Belsky, Chief Academic Officer, and Nicole Sutliffe, Chief Administrative Office for the Laurent Clerc Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University, provided Bruce Street School for the Deaf staff and Technology High School Deaf Education Program staff with professional development in ASL/English Bilingual Education

In October, the Newark Board of Education welcomed back Ms. Marianne Belsky, Chief Academic Officer for the Laurent Clerc Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University along with Ms. Nicole Sutliffe, Chief Administrative Officer for the Clerc Center.  Together, they provided the staff of Bruce Street School of the Deaf and the staff of Technology High School Deaf Education with a full day of professional development in ASL/English Bilingual Education.  The training was also informed by Belsky’s Phase 1 classroom observations of the district’s programs and review of current curriculum materials this past Spring.

All teachers of the deaf, deaf and hard of hearing (hh) program paraprofessionals, members of the child study teams, and interpreters from both schools, along with some school-based and central office leadership attended the morning and afternoon professional development sessions.  The importance of ASL/English Bilingual Education and how it can support the development of the whole child was discussed in depth. Our staff had the opportunity to learn about the 7 principles of student success for deaf/hh students and engaged in activities they can incorporate into their classrooms to develop ASL and English skills.  They also learned about the New Clerc Deaf Education Center Platform launching next week and its resources that are now available to the Newark Board of Education.

Superintendent Leon said, “We are extremely excited about our partnership with Gallaudet University, the premier institution for the deaf and signing community. Collaborative relationships such as this, result in student success.”  Board President Haynes stated, "When our staff is well trained, they share that knowledge with our students to prepare them for the future."

The Newark Board of Education and the Office of Special Education look forward to the continued partnership with Gallaudet Clerc Center, professional development opportunities, and next month’s visit from Gallaudet Clerc Center trainer, Ms. Barbara Robinson, who has been assigned as the district’s dedicated representative.  Ms. Robinson is a former special education teacher and principal and will conduct classroom observations, provide coaching and actionable feedback to key staff and introduce the Clerc ASL/English Bilingual Teacher Observation Form to our teachers of the deaf.  The Clerc ASL/English Bilingual Teacher Observation Form will be introduced to promote language acquisition, support language use, student engagement, and bring us one step closer to providing exemplary elementary and secondary deaf education programs for our district students.

Newark Teachers’ Union (NTU), President John Abeigon, also attended and announced that there will be an ASL interpreter during every NTU Meeting beginning in November.

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