Published by: California School for the Deaf, Fremont
California News Volume 124 • Number 16 • May 8, 2009
In this issue: • High School Spring Play • A Parent's Story • Parent & Staff Social Event • Math Festival • New Swim Club
Proof that mime isn’t the most effective means of communication in “The Deaf Queen” (L-R Brandon Call, Valerie Farr, and Michael Foust)
• ASL: The Earlier the Better! • Cyber Safety • CSD Alumna's Inspirational Story
Article by Heidi Burns Director
“...and the Story must go on...”
In January, actors from CSD's high school department started rehearsing a play called “Mayla the Monkey Girl” about a strong-willed girl who goes on an adventure and ultimately ends up saving an island of endangered monkeys. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the school had to stop working on that play after being in rehearsal for six weeks. This was, as you can imagine, a devastating blow.
California School for the Deaf 150th Anniversary Celebration October 22-25, 2009
Photographs for this issue by Alison Taggart-Barone
Luckily, our company of student actors didn't give up. For an entire week, we wracked our brains trying to figure out what to do. We decided—as a group—to put together an entirely new show in the remaining four weeks. That’s right; this year's dramatic production was put together in four weeks! Costumes, publicity, props, set, lighting; everything came together in only four weeks. But what really makes this show special is the script. The actors on stage also wrote the script. The stories came to us from a variety of sources: family, friends, and even the actors’ own experiences and imaginations. That is what I mean when I say that the new play was even “better.” This play was more than entertainment; it was filled with a heartfelt expression of the things that the acting company holds dear. I was so honored to be a part of this production. I cannot fully express how hard these actors worked—the double rehearsals, the late nights, the weekend hours that they have put in. I have to say, though, that the time commitment pales in comparison to the emotional investment. They put their heart and guts onto the stage. These are quality, hardworking people, and I feel blessed to have worked with each and every one of them. But why attempt the ‘impossible’? What was so important that we couldn’t just walk away? Was it the once-a-year chance to be in the limelight? Perhaps. I think it was actually something deeper. These actors know that theater is a powerful tool, and we couldn’t afford to waste this opportunity to tell a story. Our story. The story must go on.
Interview with Randi Medugno, actress What was your personal life story that was in the play? RANDI: My personal life story was about my early teen experience with an eating disorder: anorexia. Why did you pick that story? RANDI: I had a feeling that I had to open up about my past disease to let people know that they're not alone. Why was it important to you to share your story with the audience?
Three girls (Valerie Speir, Ashley MacDonald, and Brittany Farr) visit a wise woman (Anna Krutikova) in “The Lion’s Whisker” a story from Ethiopia.
RANDI: It is always easier for us to bond with people who have been through a similar experience. It touched me a lot that there were some good-looking women who came up to me after the play saying that they went through the same thing that I had been through. We told each other that we were beautiful, even when we had the disease. I also wanted the audience to realize that they would be much better off just being themselves. How did participating in the play help you develop as an actress? RANDI: Participating in the play wasn't just about having fun; it also made us become better team players, which made our acting skills improve even more! How did performing in the play help you learn more about your friends in the cast?
The princess (Randi Medugno) is imprisoned for plotting against the queen. (Craig Long, Jr)
RANDI: The thing I love most about participating in plays is getting to know new people, which leads me to having new friends. I love the bonds we develop by participating in the play that outside people wouldn't be able to understand. Especially this year, we went through a really difficult time having to prepare for two different plays; but, the more we went through those hard times, the closer we became.
From the mainstreamed students... Thank you for inviting us to the play, and thank you for giving us lunch. –Maria Your theatre was so big. My favorite part of the play was about the guard and the bicycle. –Rajay My favorite part was 'The Deaf Queen'. –Elmo The play was fun and it was funny. My favorite part of the play was the princesses going to bed. –Violet I loved your play. I hope I will come to see another play. –Thanmai I liked the hot dog, chips, and water. I had fun. –Hue I liked the girl eating the fruit. –Bella
Maria Nixon’s pride in her Ethiopian heritage is obvious as she demonstrates a dance from her country of birth. 2
Thank you for the ticket. The play was very interesting. I appreciate it. I had a lot of fun. It was pretty cool! –Nancy Dear CSD Fremont, I like you. I miss you, and bye. –Ruka Thank you for the buses you provided. –Karina May 8, 2009 | California News
Interview with Maria Nixon, actress What was your personal life story that was in the play? MARIA: My personal life story started in Ethiopia, Africa. That is where I was born. My parents adopted me when I was 6 years old. Flying to America on an airplane, my ears hurt so badly that I started crying. My mom gave me some medicine. I ate it, but felt like saying 'Yuck!' Later, I saw a set of headphones, grabbed them, and put them over my ears. I pushed the volume up very loud. It felt better and my ears didn’t hurt any more. The next day, I arrived in America. I felt like a 'rookie' with so many new, strange people. I saw many different types of buildings, restaurants, and nice homes; in Ethiopia, my home looked like a hut and the people there didn't have enough to eat. After living in America for such a long time, I thought I would never be reconnected with my country. My parents realized how important it was for me to feel that connection, so they brought me to an Ethiopian restaurant in San Jose. Then, they brought me to an Ethiopian camp in Santa Cruz. I was like wow! I met many children who were adopted from Ethiopia. Also, I have developed a love for Ethiopian dance. I'm so happy that I can connect with Ethiopia again.
Two old friends (Brandon Call, Cary Holcomb) meet at the border in “The Bicycle.”
Why did you pick that story for the play? Why was it important to you to share your story with the audience? MARIA: I wanted other people to know about my story because I think it's important for other people who might feel the same about their own personal life story. I want to encourage them tell their story and to remember ‘...and the Story must go on,’ which means keep telling your story. Never stop. Do you have any memories from your rehearsals working with the other students? MARIA: Yes, I do have some memories of the students in the play. One of my memories happened when the girls were standing on the scaffolding. Anna pulled me and I fell on top of Nageena. We both started laughing so hard that our bodies were shaking. We couldn’t stop laughing!
A king (Cary Holcomb) attempts to expand his daughters’ (Janel Schmidt, Nageena Ahmadzai) minds by having his butler (Brandon Call) serve them exotic food in the Czech folktale “Optimist and Pessimist.”
How did participating in the play help you develop as an actress? MARIA: When I first started rehearsals for the play, I was afraid to be on the stage—under the spotlight, with everyone looking at me. I wanted to be in the play so that I could develop my self-confidence and open my heart to find out who I am inside. I decided to work on feeling comfortable about being on stage. I think it was really great for me! I am no longer afraid to have people looking at me or of having so many lights on me while I am on stage. How did performing in the play help you learn more about your friends in the cast? MARIA: I have learned a lot about my friends in the cast. I learned that when Randi Medugno was a little girl, she wanted to be a fashion model. She decided to stop eating. I was like wow! I didn't know that. Thankfully, now, she is doing well. California News | May 8, 2009
Two college students (Ashley MacDonald and Marissa Mejorado) plan to escape communist Hungary.
Interview with Amelia Bernstein writer & director What did you write for the play? AMELIA: I wrote the collective deaf story at the end, 'The Deaf Queen'. Why did you pick that story? AMELIA: Being deaf is part of our heritage. I wanted to make sure we had a story to pass on that united all of us together as deaf people. Do you have any memories from your rehearsals and working with the other students (cast members) while writing the script? AMELIA: The script wasn't finalized until four days before opening night, so that left a lot of room for craziness with last-minute changes and hilarious pieces. The cast was very creative and entertaining right up to the final draft; I wish I could have kept some of our deleted scenes, because they made the best memories. How did participating in the play help you develop as a writer and student-director? AMELIA: This experience gave me some insight into the role of a director and the kind of leadership it takes to create a successful play. I gained valuable experience as a director and a writer, and in turn that helped me to learn more about acting. 4
How did participating in the play help you learn more about your friends in the cast? AMELIA: I learned that I'm surrounded by crazy people. But I wouldn't trade any of them for the world; they made this drama experience amazing and memorable.
Interview with Janel Schmidt actress Do you have any memories from your rehearsals and working with the other students (cast members) writing the script? JANEL: We all got to know each other, which was pretty nice. Instead of making new memories every single day, we made new memories every single minute! During rehearsals, I would always laugh. No kidding! It was a place where I could laugh for hours. I laughed so hard that my stomach would be aching when I'd return to the cottage. So many funny things happened during our rehearsals. Sometimes, when we'd forget our lines, we would try so hard not to laugh. Other times, we would trip over something and make up a new line to cover it up. That got really funny!
How did participating in the play help you develop as an actress? JANEL: This year was different. We students got to direct our own play. We made the stories on our own instead of performing stories from fiction; the play was made from stories that you wonâ€™t find in a book. Though I have always loved performing, this was my first experience performing something that was non-fiction. The vibe inside of me felt different. The stories we performed werenâ€™t funny because so many of our stories were true. We showed the audience what the storytellers had been though and why their stories had changed them. Also, it helped my acting skills to perform characters that were so many different ages. How did performing in the play help you learn more about your friends in the cast? JANEL: When I look at my friends, I know who they are because of their stories from the play. I know why they are here. I look at them differently, now, in a good way. I thought it was really brave for them to share their personal stories with hundreds of people in the audience. They had the guts and the heart to do that.
May 8, 2009 | California News
A Parent's Story
My daughter, Alicia, has grown up deaf in a hearing family. Everyone in the family signs well enough to communicate with her, except for her grandparents (who communicate with her in other ways and who truly do admire her). Even Alicia’s aunt who lives in Washington DC is learning to sign in preparation for Alicia’s moving there, in the fall, when she will start attending Gallaudet University. Overall, the family is very supportive of her. We made a commitment that when Alicia reached high school she could start attending the California School for the Deaf. When she first started attending the school, she commuted from San Jose (where her father and step-mom live) all the way to Fremont where the school is located. That arrangement lasted for about a week and a half, until Alicia moved into the cottages at the school. Living on campus has been a far better arrangement for her, since she has been able to become involved in sports and social activities without worrying about a commute home after school. The school provides time for students to become involved in afterschool activities as long as they follow the rules. And Alicia has participated! She is always off doing something—from sports to parties and gatherings. For her senior year, Alicia has participated in the independent living program in the cottages. What a great program for the seniors! California News | May 8, 2009
All in all, Alicia has benefited fully from, and enjoyed, her high school experience. I am sure she will have fond memories of the school for the rest of her life. It has been hard on the family to only see Alicia on weekends, but we had to think of what would benefit her and her future needs. Because of her involvement with the school, she has been able to travel all over the nation with the basketball and softball teams. She was also able to travel to Italy, last year, with her international studies class. She has made friends and contacts all over the world. As a result of her experiences at CSD, Alicia now wants to travel the world, and I have full confidence that she will accomplish her goal. Our main concern when Alicia started attending the deaf school was
how she would be able to cope in a hearing world. Our fears were unfounded, as she has no problem with accessing the services she needs by going online to do such tasks as ordering supplies and banking. Grocery shopping, ordering food at a restaurant, and shopping are also not a problem for her. I love it that the deaf community is such a close-knit community, and it has been wonderful for our family to be a part of it; however, we recognize that most of the world out there is hearing. CSD has provided our daughter with the skills she needs to succeed in both the deaf world and the hearing world, and we are grateful for that. I am equally proud of both my two daughters: the one who is hearing and the one who is deaf. —Darice Johnson, Very Proud Mom
ASSOCIATION OF PARENTS, TEACHERS AND COUNSELORS (APTC) & COMMUNITY ADVISORY COUNCIL (CAC)
invite you to
All parents and staff are invited to attend. Please bring a side dish to share.
Tuesday, June 2, 2008
WHERE: Bunny and Hank Klopping’s home ADDRESS: 1411 Washo Drive Fremont, CA 94539
March 19: Math Took Over CSD! Kathleen K. Mockus, Content Area Curriculum Teacher Specialist
Counselor Jeri Keller, and middle schooler Phillys Brown figure out how many odd numbers you can write in one minute?
We spied! Fabian Lemus and Saul Mendoza share math in children’s literature.
The 3rd annual Mathematics Festival and Family/Cottage Math Night for kindergarten through 8th grade was a roaring success, thanks to the many volunteers from both on- and off- campus, and to the staff who made it happen. On March 19, all day and into the night, CSD elementary and middle school students, families, teachers, counselors, administrators, and volunteers got together in the small gym to celebrate math! This year, we had a number of high school and Work Readiness Program students join in, both as participants and as students, to provide service to their community. Through this exciting, almost school-wide event, participating members of our community were exposed to positive, self-exploratory, hands-on math activities in the areas of number sense and math literature. The Career Center provided us with a great spin-the-wheel game for math careers. We had computers set up for parents to get some hands-on time with our online Home Connect service at: https://hosted138. renlearn.com/280647/Home Connect/Login.aspx to share the Math Facts in a Flash program, and an introduction to explore our Macmillan-McGraw Hill and Glencoe math curriculum connection websites: http://macmillanmh.com/math/2009/ca/ http://www.glencoe.com/sites/ california/student/mathematics/ index.html http://www.glencoe.com/sites/ california/student/mathematics/ assets/workbooks.html
Working side by side, cottage counselor Natasha Chirkin and third grader Kristina Diaz learn just how long a minute really is.
Using scales, hour-glasses, dominoes, fraction strips, broken calculators, cubes, stickers, and markers, students worked with partners to solve math problems and complete reasoning tasks. Twentyfour tables were set up to contain 12 different interactive math stations, focused on one or more key math concepts from the CA math
standards. Each of these provided 12-18 levels of problem-solving math tasks so that no matter if you were 5 or 50 years old, you would be able to find something engaging and challenging. The activities were not only fun for the students; the adults who were there were also exposed to critical math topics that fit into our CA math standards. Students were empowered to choose which math activities they wanted to do with their 35-minute sessions. Some were fascinated by, and focused in on, one or two kinds of problems, while others got a taste of a number of different stations. But 35 minutes is not very long – just long enough to leave participants wanting more! The California Math Council’s Paul Giganti and CSD’s Kathleen Mockus welcomed the students, their families, and cottage counselors back for more math fun the very same evening. Students brought their families and cottage counselors to work side-by-side, taught them what they had learned earlier in the day, and enjoyed math together. Parents and guardians had the opportunity to experience what their children were learning in school, and everyone got a chance to share in the power of a whole community learning math together. There were refreshments provided for the visiting families and cottage counselors. And, ASL / English and Spanish interpreters were there to provide communication access for as many as possible. Those families and teachers who want to replicate the Math Festival activities in their classrooms are welcome to come by the Curriculum Resource Center in the high school building. A complete set of curriculum materials, including station instructions and task cards, is available. Many thanks, again, to all the wonderful families, volunteers, administrators, and teachers for making this year’s festival a resounding success. Most of all, thanks to the mathletes in grades K-8! Let’s do it again! May 8, 2009 | California News
Math Festival Student Reactions First grader Nancy Lopez Rivera: “The math festival was cool. I liked being able to pick from many different activities. Every station was fun!”
Middle School Students: Bemnet Tesfasilasie: “The broken calculator was my favorite activity because you had to figure 9,999 out with only 1,0,=,+. That’s all and I beat it! I want the math festival again next year.” Dakota Daniels: “It was my second time to go to the Math Festival. But I wasn’t sad to go back! I always have fun, learn a lot, think more, and enjoy. My favorite active booth was guessing the amount of blocks needed to match the random box. I made some bets with my buddy, Johnny.” Aneiya Russell: “My favorite activity was the multiplication ‘What’s Missing?’ I liked it because I like multiplying. It makes me relax and enjoy. I want the festival again, next year, because I love the activities.” Eric McCown: “The math festival was very fun. My favorite was the puzzle trying to add each line up to 15. I also liked the broken calculator.” Ka Youa Xiong: “I liked the scale activity.” Johnny Morales: “I liked doing the scale math because I liked guessing the number before putting it on the scale, and finding if I had the right number. I want to do the scale activity again next year.” Brittany Mahoney-Beaver: “My favorite activity was balancing things. I liked it because it was fun to guess how many blocks will equal the items to weigh against. I want the math festival next year!” California News | May 8, 2009
Mayra Rios: “My favorite was the math puzzles because I love multiplication.” Kendra Cossman-Sprague: “My favorite activity was the ‘In a Minute' game because I liked the challenge of doing things before the one minute time was up.” Meeya Tjiang: “I liked the game where you had to write your name really fast in one minute. When the time was up, you needed to count how many times you had written your name. Then, the person who wrote their name the most won the game.” Lian Jackson: “I am always glad to have the Math Festival each year. I love to see different games for kids to play around with. My favorite game was the broken calculator. It kept my brain working figuring out the answer! I hope it will keep happening in the future. Thank you for making it happen!” Irisa MacAulay: “My favorite activity was the one minute sand glass. I liked it because it was fun to rush and think at the same time. I want the Math Festival next year, because it’s fun to learn more math!”
Timmy Rees-Rice feels the domino effect of so many math games.
Middle schooler Rolando Middlebrooks and pal Christopher Monroe, 5th grader, find sums to solve a chip number puzzle.
Maribel Ibarra-Saucedo: “My favorite station was the ‘In a Minute' game. It was really fun because I had to finish writing my name as many times as I could in under a minute. The other tasks there were fun, too. It was really a different game.” Enrico Harmount: “I liked the math puzzles because I learned more about how to add up to given numbers. I want the Math Festival back next year with new and different games!”
Leprechaun Talia Boren and her kindergarten friends, Justine Locatelli, Naomi Brock, and Jaden Reader, create mathematical artwork. 7
Spin-the-Wheel for Math Careers
Did you ever watch “The Price is Right” on TV? Our kindergarten through 8th grade students played a new game called, “The Math is Right” during the Math Festival. This game was sponsored by the Career Center staff. We were amazed and delighted by the class with the most correct answers. Read to the end to find out who the winners were. Students spun a wheel with four different sections. Each part of the wheel showed a pay range (such as $8.00 - $12.00 per hour). The amount of money earned went up to $60.00 per hour. When the wheel stopped spinning at an arrow by a pay range, students had to guess which math-related career earned that amount of money. Jobs included cook, math teacher, doctor, cryptologist, robotics engineer, construction worker, and recycling center receiver, among many others. Each time a student answered correctly, they dropped a multi-colored cube into a cup for their class. There was one cup for each class, from kindergarten through 8th grade. Guess who won?! The kindergarten class! They had 10 correct answers. The 4th graders were close behind with eight correct answers. Eighth graders came in third with five correct responses. Hooray for the kindergarteners! It’s great to see these young Eagles starting to think about careers at such an early age! CJ Hyatt Career Counselor Career Center 8
New swim club on campus The California School for the Deaf has a swim club! The Flying Eagles Swim Club. Perhaps you have seen some of the swimmers walking around with their orange swim club shirts on. We had a very successful swim meet, last month, where EVERYONE received their two ribbons swimming the freestyle and the backstroke. Our last meet of the season is on May 14. The swimmers will be able to show off in their breaststroke, butterfly, and individual medley events. We hope that you’ll make time to come out to the pool and watch our little Eaglets swim in this meet. It will start at 3:30 p.m. All of our practices, thus far, have been on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. We have a fine coaching staff in Kathy Sallade and Valerie Farr who are volunteering their time to help our young swimmers excel in their strokes and improve their muscle endurance. Go Eaglets! —Kathy Sallade, Coach
Malvana Ramborger focuses on breaststroke arm / breathing coordination.
Coach Kathy helps Brianna McCarthy with her breaststroke arm placement.
Claudia Barthelmess working hard on her cardio-endurance.
May 8, 2009 | California News
ASL: The Earlier, the Better! Maureen Yates Burns, Student Outcomes/Language Planning Teacher Specialist Rory Osbrink, Bilingual & Deaf Studies Teacher Specialist Why ASL? Like all languages, American Sign Language (ASL) is a complex language that has vocabulary and grammar. There are rules in ASL that Deaf children need to learn. When people can analyze their language—any language— they understand it better and become more skilled at it. Developing ASL skills helps Deaf children learn English because they can compare vocabulary, grammar, and rules. The more they learn about ASL the better they will be at English, because they can translate the languages. They can play with signs the same way they could play with words. These are very important skills to develop while learning any language. That is why the California School for the Deaf (CSD) emphasizes the importance of learning ASL on a deeper level. Using sign language just to communicate is not enough. If we want our children to become better readers and writers, they need to learn, analyze, and use ASL so they will be able to learn English vocabulary, grammar, and rules. But the doctor said…? Often, audiologists and doctors in hospitals and medical centers tell parents not to let their Deaf babies sign. The common myth is that if they sign, they will not learn English. Not true! Doctors and audiologists are trained medically; they are not aware of the negative impact of their advice on a young Deaf child’s academic, social, and family life. Children need a language that is accessible, natural, and quick to learn. There are more and more studies that show that Deaf children need ASL to learn not only academically, but also for problem solving and social development. Deaf children can learn ASL because they are able to see it. It becomes a way California News | May 8, 2009
for children to make a connection between both languages: ASL and English. One of the biggest mistakes that researchers often make is that they assume Deaf children all learn ASL from birth. In most cases, that is not true because such a large percentage of Deaf children are born to hearing families who do not know ASL at the time of their child’s birth. This means that most Deaf children arrive at CSD (or other Deaf schools and programs) with no ASL skills or very basic sign language skills. In other words, many Deaf children start school with no language at all. It makes a big difference when a child learns ASL. This is actually a very serious problem because children learn the fastest and easiest when they are very, very young. The best time for them to learn language is between the ages of 0 - 5. This means it is important for children to learn ASL when they are babies. When they are past 5 years of age, it becomes more difficult for them to acquire language. If children are not fluent in at least one language (such as ASL, spoken English, or Spanish), then it becomes harder for them to communicate with other people and learn in school. What about speech…? Many times, parents are not informed or told about ASL; they may think sign language will not help their children. Many parents are scared that their children will not learn how to talk, read, or write if they do not teach them how to speak in English when they are young. They are told that their Deaf children need to focus on their speech skills first. This is a mistake because teaching speech to a Deaf child is not the same as teaching a language. It is better to let children sign so that they can develop
important language skills. They can learn speech skills when they have enough language to understand what they are being taught. It is very important that they have 100% access to language. Learning how to speak while having limited hearing is very difficult for any Deaf child. When they have visual language, they will not miss out on access to information. Their minds will continue to absorb information at the same time they are learning new skills. They can use ASL as a tool to learn such skills as reading, writing, and speech. Again, Deaf children simply must be given the chance to learn ASL. Research shows that there is no difference in speech skills between the children who are only taught speech (with no ASL) and those who have used ASL since birth. In other words, Deaf children who are never exposed to ASL have speech skills similar to those who use ASL to communicate. In addition to that, research shows that Deaf children with fluent or advanced ASL skills outperform children with lesser ASL skills in reading and writing. Does this mean if my child does not learn early, it is too late…? Deaf children who do not learn ASL early can still learn to sign, even when they are teenagers; however, they may struggle with English because they are behind with their language development. The fact that they finally learned ASL will still help them make some progress with learning English. In fact, many students who have learned ASL later will continue to improve their English skills even after graduation. It is never too late! Continued from Page 10 9
Continued from Page 9
Keeping Your Kids Safe: Cyber Safety Travis Clevenger, Intern School Counselor Technology is integrated into our lives in many ways. In fact, it is almost impossible to go through our day without technology. Numerous great things have come from the use of technology, such as: We can send mail faster—without using stamps; we can contact our friends without having to find the right change for pay phones; and we can shop online instead of driving all over town. We can accomplish all of this, and more, from the comfort of home (or Starbucks!), with devises we carry in our pockets, purse, or on our belt. Technology has provided accessibility for our children. However, as our technology evolves, so do the dangers that come with technology:
The earlier, the better! It is easy for children to learn ASL when they are young. Learning ASL means that they are learning about everything. They will learn that people have names. They will learn how to ask questions and give answers. They will understand stories and become curious about books. They will learn how to read and write. What can I do…? Parents who learn to communicate in ASL will see a huge benefit. Parents who learn ASL can talk to their children and show them words in English or Spanish—or any language—and sign to them what that word means. Deaf children learn written language through their eyes. It is easy for them to get information through ASL because it is visual. You need to ask yourself… What do I want for my child? Are speech skills alone enough? Or, do I want a Deaf child who has reading and writing skills, full access to family life and world knowledge, and possibly good speech skills? If the answer is the latter, then your Deaf child needs to learn ASL as early as possible.
• Internet addiction • Exposure to porn sites • Videogame addiction • Kids exchanging contact information with strangers (leading to possible abduction, etc). • Circulating embarrassing photos • Kids spending money online • Exposure to nudity or older strangers on the videophone The Pupil Personnel Services department provided a workshop for parents, on January 27, on the topic of Cyber Safety. The purpose of the workshop was to help families access the benefits of electronic tools while avoiding possible dangers. The workshop allowed parents to share their concerns about how to deal with their children who were spending too much time on the computer, Internet, videophone and game stations. We also discussed how parents can set limits by setting up electronic devices in various locations around their home (such as the living room or dining room) that can monitor their children, and about the benefits of fostering open communication with their children about the potential dangers in using certain electronics in the home. Tips Available on Website Parents at the workshop were strongly encouraged to take the time to look through a worthwhile website www.ctap4.org which provides a great deal of information and tips for dealing with cyber safety. This website also has information designed to teach children and teenagers to learn how to protect themselves. Even if you were not able to attend the workshop, we recommend browsing the website with your children. It will provide your family with an excellent opportunity to begin important conversations about cyber safety. We encourage you to check it out. Parent’s Comment “I thought that the workshop was good. This is a serious problem nationwide, and we need to be more aware of what is happening in the real world. This should not be just a one-time workshop. I hope to see similar workshops offered in the future.” Recognition We counselors greatly appreciated those parents who attended the workshop and contributed their ideas and concerns to the discussion. The Outreach Division, once again, did a wonderful job of bringing parents and staff together for the benefit of our Deaf children. May 8, 2009 | California News
Determination & Dedication Can Move Mountains! Submitted by Susie Devergranne Transition Partnership Program California School for the Deaf
Yadira Arroyo-Avalos started out with the cards stacked against her. But she did not let that slow her down. Yadira arrived in America several years ago. She then started attending the California School for the Deaf. In her junior year, she went to the Career Center and asked if she could get some help looking for work. Even though she was very eager to work, she was told that without legal documentation to work in the United States, she would have to wait. During her senior year, she met almost daily with her career counselor, CJ Hyatt, with many questions. Yadira wanted to know when she could work, which classes to take, how to become more independent, and what her future would look like. She wanted to make a plan for after graduation but had few options. She knew that she lived in a dangerous neighborhood but worried that it would be hard to move and live on her own. Finally, near the end of her senior year, she got her green card and was given the green light to look for work. After leaving CSD, Yadira started getting support from the school’s transition specialist, Susie Devergranne. Together with Department of Rehabilitation counselor Toni Solorzano, they made a plan. Even though there were several obstacles to overcome—the labor market was not easy; Yadira had no work experience: and she was planning to relocate two hours away from her family—it was finally time to look for work! California News | May 8, 2009
Susie started contacting employers in the South Bay while Yadira road BART and the bus for three hours each time she went job hunting. Susie and Yadira met in San Jose and “hit the road” driving from store to store. Several days of job search paid off. Yadira took the Target Personality Inventory (that took two and a half hours to interpret into ASL) and was granted an interview with Target. First, there was some groundwork to be laid with phone calls to Target about how to use an interpreter and what to expect. Then, there were the practice interviews and making sure Yadira had the right clothes for the interview. Finally, the day arrived and Yadira had to make it through two rounds of interviews! The staff members were definitely not going to be easy on her because she couldn’t hear. For her part, Yadira appreciated them treating her as an equal. Yadira rose to the occasion by having fantastic answers to some very challenging questions. Many of the questions were scenarios whereby the applicant had to say how they would handle a particular situation. Despite living in a new country and starting later in life with a new language, American Sign Language, Yadira fired back with very strong answers and made it to round two of the interview process...and was hired! That was just the beginning. Yadira was hired for the only position available; the graveyard shift. Toni and Susie figured out Yadira's transportation
and helped with her orientation. CSD provided interpreters free of charge for the orientation and training. Then when Yadira started working, CSD sent staff interpreter Carla Wetzel to help out during the middle of the night! She went several times until Yadira was “on her feet” and ready to go. It also helped that former CSD student Jose Aldana was already working there and could act as peer coach in the beginning. Since that time, Yadira has relocated to her new city and is living in her own apartment. She has passed the 6-month probation period and has full benefits. She works in the “flow” department moving merchandise from the trucks out onto the floor. Yadira had to “move mountains” just to start looking for work and now she truly “moves mountains” of merchandise at Target. Her determination and never-give-up attitude sets her apart from others. She knows that obstacles are only there to be knocked down, and she does so with a smile on her face! 11
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