Gallaudet University Facilitates Professional Development for NBOE Staff

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NEWARK, NJ — In October, the Newark Board of Education welcomed back Marianne Belsky, chief academic officer for the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University, along with chief administrative officer Nicole Sutliffe, who provided the staff of Bruce Street School for the Deaf and the staff of the Technology High School Deaf Education Program with a full day of professional development in American sign language/English bilingual education. The training was informed by Belsky’s 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 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. NBOE staff had the opportunity to learn about the seven principles of student success for deaf and hard of hearing students, and engaged in activities they can incorporate into their classrooms to develop ASL and English skills. They also learned about the new Clerc Center platform and its resources that are now available to the Newark Board of Education. 

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Gallaudet University, the premier institution for the deaf and signing community,” Superintendent of Schools Roger León said. “Collaborative relationships such as this result in student success.” 

“When our staff is well trained, they share that knowledge with our students to prepare them for the future,” BOE President Dawn Haynes said.

The Newark Board of Education and the district’s office of special education look forward to the continued partnership with the Clerc Center, professional development opportunities, and next month’s visit from Clerc Center trainer Barbara McRae Robinson, who has been assigned as the district’s dedicated representative. 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 Newark teachers.

Newark Teachers Union President John Abeigon also attended the training and announced that there will now be an ASL interpreter during every NTU meeting.

Photos Courtesy of Nancy J. Deering