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Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth

BUILDING

SUCCESSFUL

T O D AY S & TOMORROWS

h Language, Learning and Development Equity & Access

Task Force Report 2016


BUILDING

SUCCESSFUL

T O D AY S & TOMORROWS h The New Mexico Task Force Report Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgments

1

Task Force Members

2

Introduction

4

Early Identification and Intervention

8

Goal 1: Data and Tracking from Screening to Early Intervention

8

Goal 2: Qualified Service Providers and Fidelity of Service Delivery

10

Instruction

12

Goal 1: Standards for Evaluations and Assessments

12

Goal 2: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

15

Goal 3: Quality Standards for Instruction

18

Goal 4: School to Career and Post-Secondary Education Transition

21

Capacity Goal 1: Family Engagement

23 23

Goal 2: Qualified Educators

25

Goal 3: Qualified K-12 Interpreters

27

References

29

Appendix A: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights

31


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This report is a result of the enthusiasm, expertise, and dedication of the Task Force members who came together in the spirit of broadening their understanding of the experience of deaf and hard of hearing individuals as they embarked on the process that led to the recommendations put forth in this document. The work of the Task Force and the hope it encompasses for equity for deaf and hard of hearing students is a testament to the collaborative nature of New Mexico’s educational communities and concern for our children. The Task Force was first formed by a vision generated in 2003 by Dr. Ronald Stern, the New Mexico School for the Deaf Superintendent. This vision resulted in the first Task Report Toward Brighter Futures. The Task Force was regenerated in 2014 by members of our New Mexico Legislature who tasked the New Mexico School for the Deaf with gathering a stakeholder group to review progress and propose recommendations for next steps. Advocacy by the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as federal and NM legislative action formed the foundation for the work of this Task Force. The Task Force was able to move forward on developing next step recommendations because of the insight provided by deaf and hard of hearing adults, students, and professionals, who shared the reality of their educational experiences, Mr. John Serrano and his mother, Nanette Serrano and our panel members, Mr. Nolan Riley, Mr. Paul Twitchell, and Ms. Corina Gutierrez. The perspective of deaf and hard of hearing individuals provided critical information that helped ensure that educational leaders came to the table with the appropriate resources to make decisions that will positively affect children’s lives. We would like to thank the Task Force planning and writing team, Ms. Joanne Corwin, Dr. Rosemary Gallegos, Dr. Jennifer Herbold, Ms. Cindy Huff, Mr. Larry Siegel, and Dr. Ronald Stern for their diligence in implementing an efficient process that valued stakeholder time and input. We would also like to acknowledge NMSD staff for hosting the three meetings. The report would not have been possible without the willingness of individuals to participate in the three subcommittees, Early Intervention, Instruction, and Capacity. It was their task to summarize the input gathered during the Task Force meetings, gather additional information, and capture vital points for Task Force consideration. Also contributing to the Task Force process and this report were our advisors, Mr. Larry Siegel, Esquire, of the National Deaf Education Project and Dr. Richard Howell of UNM Center for Education Research and Policy. We are most grateful to readers of the report who provided final input, Maria Jaramillo (Central Region Educational Cooperative) and Donna Bush, (Las Cruces Public Schools). We also would like to thank Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Lynn Gallagher and Public Education Department Director of Federal Programs Denise Koscielniak for supporting DOH and PED participation on the Task Force.

1


TASK FORCE MEMBERS Name and Title Bickelman, Carol Chief Executive Office Bustos, Phillip Vice President Student Services Carlson, Marty Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing *Chacon, Susan Director *Coca, Grace FIT Program Coordinator Cortez, Tiffanie Program Director *Corwin, Joanne Director, Early Intervention and Involvement Division Elmer, Tricia Wilson, Deborah – ​Proxy Director of Special Programs Flores, Dorothy Special Education Coordinator *Gallegos, Rosemary, EdD, Task Force Co-Chair Superintendent *Gomm, Andy Ericson, Albert – ​Proxy FIT Program Manager *Gomme, Nathan Executive Director Gutierrez, Corina Director of Community Advocacy *Herbold, Jennifer, PhD Director of Instruction Wilding, Terry - ​Proxy *Huff, Cindy Director, Center for Educational Consultation and Training *Jones, Shirley Special Education Director *Keefe, Elizabeth, PhD Professor *Keilers Madsen, Marjorie Executive Director *Kernan, Gay Senator *LaGree, Seema, AuD Epstein, Chris, AuD – ​Proxy Revels, Susan – ​Proxy Executive Director Lovato, Michael Mark Mutz - ​Proxy Director of Special Education *Lyle, Linda 2 Superintendent

Agency Desert Hills Residential Treatment Center of New Mexico Central New Mexico Community College Albuquerque Public Schools Department of Health, EHDI Program – CMS Life ROOTS Early Intervention Program Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS) New Mexico School for the Deaf Santa Fe Public Schools

Las Cruces Public Schools New Mexico School for the Deaf Department of Health Family Infant Toddler Program

New Mexico Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Mexico Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing New Mexico School for the Deaf

New Mexico School for the Deaf

Carlsbad Municipal Schools University of New Mexico Hands & Voices New Mexico Chapter New Mexico State Legislature Presbyterian Ear Institute

New Mexico Public Education Department

New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired


*Keilers Madsen, Marjorie Executive Director *Kernan, Gay Senator *LaGree, Seema, AuD Epstein, Chris, AuD – ​Proxy Revels, Susan – ​Proxy Executive Director Lovato, Michael Mark Mutz - ​Proxy Director of Special Education *Lyle, Linda Superintendent Martinez, Raphael Executive Director *McLaughlin, Molly Project Manager *Pepper-Jojola, Susan Team Leader *Ramirez, Mark Former Student *Reeve, Mary Executive Director *Saenez, Paula Assistant Director Sanchez, Gwen, AuD Instructional Manager *Shaffer, Barbara, PhD Professor, Interpreting Department *Spencer, Linda, PhD Director/Assistant Professor Stevenson, Cathy Director *Stern, Ronald, EdD, Task Force Co-Chair Former Superintendent Stewart, Mimi Senator Vigil, Jim Former Student

Hands & Voices New Mexico Chapter New Mexico State Legislature Presbyterian Ear Institute

New Mexico Public Education Department

New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Albuquerque Sign Language Academy Project for NM Children and Youth who are DeafBlind New Mexico Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interagency Transition Alliance Deaf Consumer Regional Educational Cooperative, Region IX Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, Department of Diné Education Deaf and Hard of Hearing Programs, Albuquerque Public Schools University of New Mexico Department of Special Education Communication Disorders, New Mexico State University Long Term Services Division, NM Department of Health New Mexico School for the Deaf New Mexico Legislature Deaf Consumer

* MEMBER OF A SUBCOMMITTEE

*​Member of a subcommittee

ADVISORY Advisory

h

Ms. Donna Bush, Assistant Special Education Director, Las Cruces Public Schools Dr. Richard Howell, CenterBush, for Education Policy and Research, University of Las NewCruces MexicoPublic Schools Ms. Donna Assistant Special Education Director, xecutive Director, ​ ​Central Region Policy Educational CooperativeUniversity of New Mexico Ms. Maria Dr.Jaramillo, Richard​EHowell, Center for Education and Research, Mr. LawrenceMs. Siegel, Attorney, National Deaf Education Project Maria Jaramillo, Executive Director, Central Region Educational Cooperative

Mr. Lawrence Siegel, Attorney, National Deaf Education Project

Introduction 3


INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND In December of 2014, the New Mexico Task Force for Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth was reestablished. This working group had two purposes, to gauge the progress our state has made regarding the recommendations of the 2003 Task Force and the 2004 NM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights and to work collaboratively to ensure that students are obtaining an education in New Mexico commensurate with these rights. The following major initiatives represent progress in the last ten years to support equity and access to education and learning for children and youth statewide: • Legislative passage of NM Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights (HB 186) • Development and implementation of the Communication Considerations IEP Addendum (2004) • Strategic initiatives by NMSD which increased its critical mass of deaf and hard of hearing professionals • Expansion of statewide programs and services through NMSD’s Center for Educational Consultation & Training and Early Intervention and Involvement Division • Coordination to increase identification and early intervention of newborns

NEW MEXICO DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING STUDENTS New Mexico is a geographically large and predominantly rural state. Approximately 552 deaf and hard of hearing students are identified by the New Mexico Public Education Department as receiving special education services in Pre-K, K-12 programs. About 160 of these students attend school in NMSD’s Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Farmington, and Las Cruces programs; about 119 students are in Albuquerque Public Schools; about 40 students are in Las Cruces Public Schools. The remainder are served in Local Education Agencies (LEAs), private schools and charter schools across the state. The Task Force agreed there are more students in the state with hearing loss but there are limited or no mechanisms for tracking these students. This includes students who are receiving services through 504 plans under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It also includes students who are eligible for special education services because of multiple learning challenges in addition to being deaf or hard of hearing and students eligible under the designation of speech-language impaired. There are approximately 180 children in the 0-3 age range identified as deaf or hard of hearing statewide who are receiving specialized early intervention services through the New Mexico School for the Deaf. Additionally, Presbyterian Ear Institute, located in Albuquerque, serves about 25 children in this age range. Given New Mexico birth rates and the nationally recognized incidence of hearing loss, the state should be identifying and serving between 75-80 infants each year by the age of six months. New Mexico is currently identifying and serving less than 50% of these infants in a timely manner. For the purposes of this report, the term “deaf and hard of hearing” recognizes diversity within this population including but not limited to children who: are culturally Deaf, have multiple disabilities, are deaf-blind, are from linguistically diverse backgrounds, use spoken language and/or ASL, and use listening and amplification technologies. Deaf and hard of hearing children are often receiving education in environments where they are in the extreme minority. Mitchell and Karchmer (2006) found that eighty percent (80%) of neighborhood schools serving deaf and hard of hearing students had three or fewer students with hearing loss or deafness and 53% of schools were serving only one deaf and hard hearing student. These demographics continue to be alarming as reflected in the current introduction of the Alice Cogswell and Annie Sullivan Macy Act (H.R. 3535) calling for the assurance of high quality special education services for deaf and hard of hearing children including opportunities for direct communication with peers and adults. The low incidence of students who are deaf or hard of hearing and the rural nature of New Mexico exacerbates the likelihood that a deaf or hard of hearing student will be the only student like themselves in a classroom, in a school, and possibly in the whole school district. This is extremely problematic for a deaf or hard of hearing student who can experience social, academic, and language and communication isolation in these settings. Additionally, planning and providing specialized services for a small number of deaf and hard of hearing children, who are likely not at the same academic level, can be very challenging for school districts. 4


CRITICAL NEXT STEPS To identify the critical next steps in supporting children and youth statewide and to determine if the state is meeting its obligations under the Bill of Rights, the reestablished Task Force brought together 34 representatives from the following stakeholder groups: Public School Special Education Directors; Charter Schools; Private Schools; Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumers; Legislature; Universities; Parent Advocates; Regional Education Cooperatives; State Special Schools; Native Programs; Early Intervention Programs. The 2014 Task Force used the Deaf Education Bill of Rights and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing experience as their guide and framework. They also started every meeting by gathering information from deaf and hard of hearing stakeholders to ground their work in the experiences and realities of being deaf and hard of hearing in the public education system. The Task Force scanned the state for services that are successful for students and identified the areas where additional strategies are needed for more effective outcomes for children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Task Force had three one-day meetings (December 2014, April 2015 and September 2015). Three subcommittees were formed (Early Intervention, Instruction, and Capacity) to push forward the work between the scheduled Task Force meetings. Recommendations and goals created by the Task Force, and honed by subcommittee work, are outlined in this report. With an iterative process, which allowed every member to revisit information and provide input at each stage of the process, the Task Force identified the following priority areas.

Early Identification and Intervention

•Increase data and tracking from screening to early intervention •Increase access to qualified service providers and develop assurances relative to accountability and fidelity of service delivery

Instruction

•Develop standards for appropriate assessments to measure a variety of skills and areas •Clarify and implement what constitutes a “Least Restrictive Environment” for deaf and hard of hearing students •Develop quality standards for a variety of instructional-related areas •Develop and expand upon school to career and/or post-secondary education transition services and connections between agencies and school programs

Capacity

•Increase family engagement through opportunities for families to learn from other parents and professionals •Ensure qualified educators of the deaf and hard of the hearing (ECE, K-12) including building local professional capacity •Ensure qualified K-12 interpreters including building local professional capacity

LANDMARK DOCUMENTS GUIDING THE WORK OF THE TASK FORCE The findings and recommendations of the 2014 New Mexico Task Force are the product of an inventory of educational services for deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico including input by the Task Force membership. Supporting the content of this final report are important legislation and documents representing the hard work of a cross section of the field, including state and local administrators, teachers who work with D/HH students, students, families and academics. Task Force members used scholarly and legislative input critical to the development of recommendations. In 2003, the New Mexico Task Force on the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing published Toward Brighter Futures which acknowledged a variety of national efforts, including publications focusing on the need to reform that education, to make it language-driven and to ensure that the concept of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) reflected the central language needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. As the report stated “the broader complexities of the LRE mandate continue to pose difficulties for many children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing.” As a result of the work of the Task Force in 2003, New Mexico enacted the Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights (NMSA 28-11C-3) which required that “deaf and hard-of-hearing children be placed in the least restrictive educational environment and receive services based on their unique communication, language and educational needs” and receive services from educators who are “specifically trained to work with hard-of-hearing and deaf pupils and can communicate spontaneously and fluidly with these children.” 5


TABLE 1 YEAR

1988

REFORM EFFORT/EVENT

Deaf President Now (DPN) movement at Gallaudet University

COED Report

1989

Dr. Davila appointed as Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services

1997

2005

2015

A student led protest fighting for the appointment of a Deaf President of Gallaudet University gave global awareness to the deaf as a cultural minority. “It was a victory for all people who ever felt the pain of being stereotyped, devalued, and unrepresented” (Rev. Jesse Jackson, Gallaudet Website). Commission on the Education of the Deaf (COED) report includes the recommendation for “refocus of the least restrictive environment concept by emphasizing appropriateness over least restrictive environment” (COED Report, 1988).

1988

1992

DESCRIPTION

Dr. Davila, a deaf man, drafts policy guidance based on the COED report (Lang, Cohen, & Fischgrund, 2007). Policy guidance by the Office of Special Education reflects the recommendations of the COED report to take into consideration unique learning and communication needs of a student who is deaf (57 Fed. Reg. 49274) (Lang, Cohen, & Fischgrund, 2007).

Policy guidance written by Dr. Davila published

Special Factors for deaf and hard of hearing students included in IDEA

A roadmap for education reform, the National Agenda, prompted states to develop “communication plans” for IEP teams to use in guiding their discussions about student needs. Some states have passed into their state law “Deaf Children’s Bill of Rights” (NAD Website).

National Agenda: Moving Forward on Achieving Educational Equality for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

IDEA reauthorization includes special factors for deaf and hard of hearing students requiring education programs for deaf and hard of hearing children to consider their language and communication needs (CFR Sec. 300.346[a][2][iv] ).

Introduction of the Alice Cogswell Act of 2015

IDEA reauthorization includes special factors for deaf and hard of hearing students requiring education programs for deaf and hard of hearing children to consider their language and communication needs (CFR Sec. 300.346[a][2][iv] ).

6


THE STRENGTH OF COLLABORATION New Mexico is a state ripe for collaboration. The 2003 Task Force is an example of the resolve of New Mexicans to voice their concerns and move toward appropriate and equitable education for deaf and hard of hearing students. The 2014 Task Force continues this resolve to achieve equity, so that no deaf or hard of hearing student is left isolated and uneducated because their educational environment creates language and communication segregation. Members shared perspectives and information to collectively understand the need in the state and to create goals that will favorably alter the educational status and life course of deaf and hard of hearing students. The Task Force held values of inclusivity, high expectations, forward thought and child/student centeredness. Moving forward, New Mexico’s State Agencies, the Public Education Department, New Mexico School for the Deaf, the Department of Health, Department of Dine Education, and Higher Education Institutions will be working together to concretely address the recommendations and goals established by the Task Force. May the contents of this report, and the initiatives it stimulates, lead to the education and whole person development that all deaf and hard of hearing children deserve.

7


EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION GOAL ONE: Data and Tracking from Screening to Early Intervention

Goal Statement The New Mexico Department of Health’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Program of Children’s Medical Services (CMS) will increase fidelity in data collection, tracking, and real-time data reporting from screening to early intervention.

Background A tremendous amount of research compiled during the past 20 years confirms the critical need for immediate access to language among children who are deaf or hard of hearing (JCIH 2007). Mounting evidence clearly shows that a newborn’s brain craves immediate and sustained language stimulation (Petitto, et al, 2012). New Mexico has worked to keep pace with this information. Federal and New Mexico state regulations have already put in place safety measures specific to early intervention to assure earliest possible access to language. Through these mandates, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) Children’s Medical Services has been empowered to ensure screening and follow-up of newborns relative to hearing sensitivity (Subsection G of 7.7.2.29 NMAC). Children’s Medical Services is also the recipient of federal HRSA grant monies dedicated to Early Hearing Detection and Intervention and is responsible to reporting and compliance measures identified through EHDI. Other mandates empower the NMDOH Family Infant Toddler (FIT) Program as the lead agency for IDEA Part C services. As such, FIT is responsible for providing early intervention services to children birth to age three with, or at risk for, a developmental delay (Section 24-1-3 and Section 28-16A-18, NMSA 1978). Additional legislation and agreements, such as The Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights Act and the NMSD/DOH Memorandum of Agreement, confirm that the Department of Health (CMS and FIT) and the New Mexico School for the Deaf will work collaboratively regarding early intervention and newborn hearing screening follow-up. 8


Rationale Despite the very best efforts of many follow-up personnel, audiologists, and hospitals, the data reported on the Center for Disease Control website indicates that New Mexico falls significantly behind other states relative to progress toward EHDI 1-3-6 outcomes. These outcomes are: all newborns are screened by one month, infants are diagnosed by 3 months, and into early intervention by 6 months. Given the obstacles in New Mexico, such as the rural nature of the state, poverty, and lack of resources for non-English speaking families, some divergence may be expected. Yet, even considering these factors, the data as reported is greatly concerning. However, closer analysis of New Mexico’s data indicates that this negative profile may, in large part, be due to how the picture of the health of the state’s EHDI system was captured. In short, much of the problem with the data may be the result of the data system itself. Data contributors sometimes report sporadically or in non-standardized ways. This may likely be a training issue. Likewise, the database in use at the time of Task Force meetings, Challenger, has presented itself as being inflexible to EHDI needs. These factors have left data as unpredictable and unreliable. Without accurate data, it has been difficult to generate next steps for the state’s EHDI system. Conversely, accurate data will allow strengths and gaps in the system and services to be evaluated. Service delivery can be adjusted to better achieve the established EHDI 1-3-6 outcomes for infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing. The last step in the EHDI 1-3-6 outcomes, early intervention, also has self-identified gaps. Given New Mexico’s birthrate, it is anticipated that between 70-80 children will be born each year as deaf or hard of hearing. This is not the number of children reported to CMS. It is anticipated that a more concise data system, with renewed training on reporting protocol, may decrease the gap between number of children projected to be referred to CMS and the actual number referred. The result of these actions should be a reduction in the age of identification and an increase in the number of infants identified. This goal matches precisely the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing’s (JCIH) goal that “All children who are D/HH and their families have access to timely and coordinated entry into ED [Early Development] programs supported by a data management system capable of tracking families and children from confirmation of hearing loss to enrollment into ED services” (JCIH, 2007).

Recommendations NM Department of Health, Children’s Medical Services will:

→ Acquire a database appropriate to the needs of New Mexico’s EHDI system (Currently using Challenger) → Train CMS staff on new system input and reporting → Train hospitals and other contributing entities (i.e. midwives, audiologists) on data submission protocol updates to match new system needs

→ Evaluate data produced by new system for accuracy → Use updated data to evaluate strengths and gaps in meeting EHDI 1-3-6 outcomes → Adjust service delivery (if needed) based upon accurate data → Continue current referral practices to Part C services once referrals are received

9


EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND INTERVENTION GOAL TWO: Qualified Service Providers and Fidelity of Service Delivery

Goal Statement New Mexico families with infants and toddlers who are deaf or hard of hearing will have increased, immediate and ongoing, access to Part C service providers with specialized training and experience. Assurances related to these specialized service providers will also be in place relative to accountability and fidelity of service delivery.

Background Language and communication access, beginning at the time of birth, is critical for all children. It is a basic human right. It is the foundation for linguistic, cognitive, social, and emotional development as well as the foundation for future learning and educational success. Naturally, this need for access includes children who are deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, this need is even more poignant for these children given that they frequently have reduced opportunities for planned and incidental language interaction. Safeguards must be in place to make certain that families have the resources, information, and support necessary to ensure that their child has unimpeded and complete language access to the world around them. These safeguards must be family-centered, compliant with state and federal mandates, and provided as close to birth as possible. This early access will positively impact the child’s entire learning trajectory. All studies with successful outcomes reported for early-identified children who are deaf or hard of hearing have early and consistent intervention provided by specialists trained in parent infant intervention services (Yoshinaga 1998, Moeller 2000, JCIH 2007). Professionals with a background in parent-infant deaf education, or a related field, are typically able to provide the most appropriate intervention services. The Joint Commission on Infant Hearing (JCIH) states, “Professionals should be highly qualified in their respective fields and should be skilled communicators who are knowledgeable and sensitive to the importance of enhancing families’ strengths and supporting their priorities.” JCIH also includes access to Deaf adults, as well as other parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, as essential to this component of early intervention. Each year approximately 80 infants are born in New Mexico with significant hearing loss. Less than one-third of these children are seen by a specialized service provider before the age of six months, which is the standard of care 10


established by JCIH and the federal Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) guidelines. This delay is primarily due to a lack of understanding as to the urgency of specialized contacts. Training and an examination of current state standards are essential steps in correcting this detrimental situation.

Rationale The goal of families having access to providers who have specialized knowledge and skills is not new. Several JCIH (2007) goals touch upon this critical topic:

JCIH Goal 2- All children who are D/HH and their families experience timely access to service coordinators who have specialized knowledge and skills related to working with individuals who are D/HH.

The individual needs specialized knowledge and experience related to: •Infancy/early childhood •Educational strategies for young children who are D/HH and their families •Parent counseling •Development of signed and/or spoken language •Auditory skill development •Cognitive development •Social-emotional development

JCIH Goal 3- All D/HH children from birth through 3 years of age and their families have ED [Early Development] providers who have professional qualifications and core knowledge and skills to optimize their development and well-being. JCIH Goal 12- All children who are D/HH and their families are assured of fidelity in the implementation of the intervention they receive.

This NM Task Force goal also aligns with the intent of the New Mexico Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights, the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) Standards, the National Agenda Goals 1.1 through 1.7, and the joint NM Department of Health’s (DOH)-NMSD Letter and Protocol (NMSD, 2016

Recommendations New Mexico key stakeholders (the New Mexico School for the Deaf, the DOH Family Infant Toddler Program and the DOH Children’s Medical Services) will:

→ Update and re-train potential referral agents on formal guidance from the NM Department of Health that

→ Update the DOH Developmental Disabilities Supports Division (DDSD) FIT Service Definitions and Standards

→ Provide training and formal notification on established state protocol to ensure that the general early

→ Have in place Family Service Coordinators and other first interveners who are knowledgeable of all services

→ Develop fidelity standards through such measures as endorsements and specialized training certificates

→ Create assurance measures that will guarantee the full array of information and services made available to

supports earliest possible access to specialized service providers is in place to reflect JCIH recommendations

intervention community is knowledgeable about state guidance and procedures

and supports available and explore these options with families including the establishment of specialized training programs

families include access to deaf and/or hard of hearing adults and other parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing

11


INSTRUCTION GOAL ONE: Standards for Evaluations and Assessments

Goal Statement All deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico must be appropriately evaluated and assessed by knowledgeable assessors and evaluators in a student’s language. Assessments and evaluations used will inform students’ Individualized Education Plans and support instruction and services in order to equalize educational opportunities and maximize potential.

Background The 2003 New Mexico Task Force report on the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth, Toward Brighter Futures and in a wide variety of national reports and recommendations, language development is central to educational progress. There can be no language development if there is no understanding of the deaf and hard of hearing child’s specific communication mode, unique language needs and current skill level. Only with that information can families and educational staff know what must be done to ensure that these children, like all others in our nation, have the opportunity to develop age appropriate language in the individual’s communication mode and language. Every national organization committed to the education of our students have recognized the importance of early and effective language assessment, including the National Association of State Directors of Special Education – devoting 11 pages and 7 separate recommendations to this crucial need (NASDE, 2006). Similarly, the National Agenda (2005) made 11 separate recommendations in this area. We strongly urge that these and other national reports are used as guidelines when the recommendations of our 2014 Task Force are implemented. Data driven instruction has been at the forefront of educational practices over the past two decades. PL-107-110, also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 and more recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed by President Obama in December 2015 specifically address educational accountability and testing. With ESSA, each state is tasked with the duty of ensuring that each student is making progress specifically in the areas of reading/language arts and mathematics. 12


Numerous research articles have been published on the challenges and considerations when it comes to testing deaf and hard of hearing students. For example, in the Journal of Deaf Studies, Qi and Mitchell (2012) write an in depth analysis of academic achievement tests when assessing deaf and hard of hearing children. Section 300.304 of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates appropriate assessments to identify students who may be eligible for special education services and continued evaluations to provide appropriate services and to assess whether the child remains eligible for services. In July 2011, the New Mexico Public Education department released a Technical Evaluation and Assessment manual to support the determination of eligibility for special education services. This manual addresses various areas that may need to be assessed for eligibility and considerations such as cultural and linguistic diversity. In addition to this, the New Mexico Statewide Assessment, PARCC, has guidelines that address accommodations appropriate for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Rationale In the 2003 New Mexico Task Force report on the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and Youth, Toward Brighter Futures, recommended a “communication and language driven educational delivery system in New Mexico.” The Task Force listed 13 key components with “communication and language assessment” at the top. Language development is central to the educational success of any student, indeed at the heart of being human. Language development for deaf and hard of hearing students is of the utmost importance but is significantly missing in the evaluation process. Early and ongoing appropriate assessment of the communication and language needs of children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing is critical in order to provide parents, guardians, and professionals with accurate data. This information is fundamental to the educational decision-making process. The New Mexico School for the Deaf provides evaluation services to school districts throughout the state in which qualified personnel assess deaf and hard of hearing students for continued eligibility and academic progress. However, only a small percentage of children are evaluated through this system with the majority of classroom and statewide assessments being provided by the Local Education Agencies. During the dialogue of the Task Force, various representatives from school districts stated the need for better understanding and guidance to support them when it comes to considering the testing needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. There are numerous recommended resources available that address the following concepts: 1) Types of academic and psychoeducational assessments that are more appropriate for deaf and hard of hearing students; and 2) Appropriate accommodations and supports that should be considered when testing/assessing deaf and hard of hearing students. This information can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for teachers and support service providers who only work with deaf and hard of hearing students on an occasional basis. It is essential that New Mexico have clear assessment and evaluation standards for ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico develop the language and academic skills they need to make a successful transition to post-secondary education, employment, or job training. To ensure the quality of instruction and equity of educational opportunities, the state of New Mexico needs to collect data from reliable assessment tools on the progress of all deaf and hard of hearing students that inform instruction, future educational strategies and possibly legislation.

Recommendations The New Mexico Public Education Department, the New Mexico School for the Deaf and representatives from LEAs will:

→ Develop assessment guidelines that provide specific direction/requirements which recognize the various communication modes and language options to ensure proper evaluation of a deaf or hard of hearing student’s:

•Language skill level •Academic skill level •Cognitive/development skill level (formal triennial evaluation tools) 13


•Independent living skills •Early Childhood Assessment •Social Skills/Soft Skills

→ Develop and distribute a list of recommended formative and summative assessment tools within the

→ Develop and distribute guidelines for various testing accommodations for deaf and hard of hearing students

→ Develop guidelines which consider a child’s readiness for the use of an interpreter during assessment and

→ Provide training for the use of the guidelines and recommendations that support various stakeholders’

→ Develop a plan for tracking the progress of deaf and hard of hearing children in the state of New Mexico

aforementioned areas including a plan for review and revision as needed. This list should include recommendations for substitute assessments that are mandated by the state or districts that may not be appropriate for deaf and hard of hearing children including the need for qualified evaluators

evaluation and the validity of test results when an interpreter is used

ability to implement quality evaluation recommendations and provide accurate and appropriate information that support the development of quality IEPs using standardized types of data collection across all school districts, special schools, and charter schools.

14


INSTRUCTION GOAL TWO: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

Goal Statement Deaf and hard of hearing children and youth, whether using American Sign Language and/or Spoken Language will have an education in the “Least Restrictive Environment” (LRE) which includes the following:

•Instruction from qualified personnel with high expectations that results in language and communication skills commensurate with the child’s age, academic achievement, self-determination, and a positive self-identity

•Linguistic and deaf cultural immersion to enable the student to develop self-identity and the self-determination needed to compete academically •Access to a critical mass of language and communication peers for ongoing, direct (not through an interpreter) and varied communication opportunities •Direct access to curriculum by placement in programs in which there is a critical mass of staff that can communicate directly and proficiently in the child’s language in order to provide quality and complete vocabulary and language models •Qualified/certified/licensed educational interpreters for the deaf or hard of hearing student who is mainstreamed or placed in schools, classes, programs or school activities where direct language access is limited •Placement and services that fit the child’s linguistic, communication, and social emotional needs for learning. Each deaf and hard of hearing child in New Mexico has unique communication and language strengths and needs and therefore all these determinations will be based on those individual needs Language and communication planning to ensure development at the earliest possible age 15


Background In 1997 the IDEA added specific language to the law requiring that the unique communication needs of D/HH students be a central consideration for the IEP team, which must: Consider the communication needs of the child, and in the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child’s language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode, academic level, and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and communication mode….(34CFR 300.324(a)(2)(iv)). In 2003 the New Mexico Task Force on the Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing published Toward Brighter Futures which acknowledged a variety of national efforts, including publications focusing on the need to reform that education, make it language-driven and to assure that the concept of LRE reflected the central language needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. As the report stated “the LRE mandate continues to pose difficulties for many children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing.” In 2004 New Mexico enacted the Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights (NMSA 28-11C-3) which among other things required that “deaf and hard-of-hearing children be placed in the least restrictive educational environment and receive services based on their unique communication, language and educational needs…” The law also requires a communication considerations process for deaf and hard of hearing students as part of the IEP, which includes detail, as to how those students are provided a LRE that directly addresses their language and communication needs both in and out of the classroom at school. The National Agenda (2005), Moving Forward on Achieving Educational Equality, stated the following about LRE: “A determination of what constitutes a communication and linguistically appropriate placement option and therefore LRE must be based on where the child is able to directly communicate with age and language peers and communicate directly and most easily with staff.” The National Association of Directors of Special Education (NASDE), Meeting the Needs of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Educational Service Guidelines (2006), stated that a determination of a LRE for a deaf or hard of hearing student must include consideration of his/her “language preferences, language usage and abilities, level of communication access available in the classroom and overall school environment, availability of consistent, quality interpreting services, availability of age appropriate peers who share the student’s preferred language and communication mode, opportunity for direct language and communicate access with school personnel, availability of highly qualified staff with language and communication competencies…” The NASDE Guidelines further stated that “while children are more alike than different, children who are deaf or hard of hearing have unique cultural and linguistic needs….ongoing access to language, communication and information in and out of the classroom, opportunities for incidental learning and….through peer interaction are important considerations when considering placement options [LRE].” In 2012, the Child First Campaign of the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD) was established and is continuing to work toward ensuring that “deaf and hard of hearing children’s IEPs and educational placement facilitate full language and communication development, which will lead to greater educational success.”

Rationale The LRE mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] is often misunderstood. While the IDEA strongly encourages the placement of children with disabilities in regular school environments, the determination of what constitutes a LRE is both an individual determination and must be made based on the child’s unique needs. In the case of deaf and hard of hearing students, language and communication needs are so fundamental that they are central to any LRE determination. The misapplication of the LRE mandate has had significant deleterious impact on many deaf and hard of hearing students, limiting or even ending their access to, and development of, language. Twelve years after the enactment of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights and the implementation of the IEP Communication Considerations requirement, there continue to be IEPs for deaf and hard 16


of hearing students in New Mexico that do not address the key language, communication, and social needs of these students. The 2014 Task Force agrees that training and guidance is needed in order for IEP teams to understand the complexity of LRE for a deaf and hard of hearing students, to achieve a full conversation regarding language and communication considerations and the continuum of placement options, and to track the required implementation of this component of the IEP process. The underlying rationale for this goal is a reflection of a deeply human need to communicate with others and be social, to express thought and hope, to discuss matters of personal and national importance, in short to reach out, communicate with and learn from others. As the famed linguist Steven Pinker (1994) has stated, “language is so tightly woven into human experience that it is scarcely possible to imagine life without it.” Deaf and hard of hearing students, like all children, need to be able to communicate directly and easily with those around them. They need, like all other children, to be able to develop proficient language so they can become literate, access education and have the tools to grow into healthy adults. The Task Force recognizes the fundamental importance of language access in school and, therefore, the indisputable need to apply LRE to deaf and hard of hearing students squarely within a language/mode and social context. This is consistent with the thinking and research of our best scholars, advocates, academics, teachers, families with deaf and hard of hearing students and deaf and hard of hearing adults and students.

Recommendations The New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico School for the Deaf will convene a work group to:

→ Review and revise the current Communication Considerations document to better facilitate the LRE dialogue and include a language and communication plan that:

•Includes detailed descriptions of how the communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing students will be met consistent with IDEA 34 CFR 300.324(a)(2)(iv), the New Mexico Bill of Rights (NMSA 28-11C-3) and Communication Consideration directives. Such detail includes but is not limited to: 1) availability of a critical mass of age, language and cognitive peers; 2) availability of staff that communicate directly and proficiently in the child’s language and communication mode; 3) how the child will develop age appropriate language skills including reading and writing; 4) availability of daily, rich and varied language opportunities in all aspects of the school day •Addresses the individual learning needs of each deaf and hard of hearing child in New Mexico who use ASL, spoken language or both ASL and spoken language. For all students the IEP team will need to address resources and services to meet those learning needs •For a student who uses a visual mode of language and communication such as ASL, IEP teams will need to determine services and placement where a student is immersed in that language and has educators who are proficient in ASL •For students primarily using an auditory mode of language and communication, such as spoken English, IEP teams will need to determine how the learning environment supports continued growth in spoken language and ensures adequate modifications and accommodations for language access •For students who use both visual and auditory modes of language, IEP teams need to emphasize the ongoing development of each •For all students there needs to be a focus on the development of written English skills

→ Examine the full continuum of placement options, in particular those that will provide equal access and

→ Develop a process, including training, resources, and rubrics to ensure that all IEPs for deaf and hard of

appropriately serve the individual communication, language, and social needs of deaf and hard of hearing students hearing students include all of the components listed above

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INSTRUCTION GOAL THREE: Quality Standards for Instruction

Goal Statement Deaf and hard of hearing children in New Mexico, whether using American Sign Language (ASL) or Spoken Language or using both ASL and spoken language will have a language-driven education in which staff, instructional practices, curricula, services and programs are based on high quality standards that include clear professional requirements consistent with the latest research.

Background The 2003 New Mexico Task Force on the Education of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing – Toward Brighter Futures stated:

Given the crucial communication and language needs of children and youth who are deaf or hard of hearing, this Task Force strongly recommends the development and dissemination (including training and follow-up) of program standards, best practices and quality indicators, including educational and linguistic strategies, technical assistance and use, and other recommendations for improved literacy among [these children]…

The National Agenda (2005) recommended that deaf and hard of hearing students be entitled to an educational program with clear system-wide procedures for accountability, high-stakes testing, assessments and standards that include: •Accountability systems in each state •Statewide accountability procedures and audits that evaluate local programs •Assurances that detailed demographic information is secured •A “best practices” guide •State certification standards aligned with the Council on the Education of the Deaf •State teacher preparation programs that insure qualified, language-proficient teachers and fully qualified interpreters 18


The National Deaf Education Project (NDEP) Statement of Principle (Siegel, 2016) proposed a language-driven educational paradigm for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students which includes:

•Development of teacher and support staff (e.g., interpreters) standards to insure a high quality language-driven program

•Development of programmatic standards that insure a true language-driven educational program for all deaf and hard of hearing students

The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NADSDE) guidelines (2006) specifically called for an assurance by educational entities that personnel have appropriate certification, knowledge, and language proficiency to work with deaf and hard of hearing students and also to “design and maintain” programs for these students. Numerous states have issued their own recommendations regarding the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students including the importance of programmatic and staff standards. For example, the “Pennsylvania Agenda for Students who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deafblind ” (2013) focused on comprehensive “system responsibility” to ensure that “language and communication needs” are “fully understood and fully and appropriately addressed in the IEP/ IFSP process.” In 1986, 1999, and 2000 the California Department of Education issued comprehensive guidelines and recommendations including “standards, assessment and accountability,” “rigorous content and performance standards,” and the development, implementation and monitoring of state standards to address the language and communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. The California Department of Education also recommended coordinated compliance review, program guidelines, and a system to manage and report information.

Rationale Quality standards encompass a number of important areas. The rationale for them are rooted in the concept that no effective educational program is possible without goals, which in turn must be based on:

•Strong and clear programmatic goals/standards/best practices

•Specifically focused credential and other requirements for those working with deaf and hard of hearing students

•Accountability standards and a process for investigating, analyzing and reporting on all programs in New Mexico serving deaf and hard of hearing students Underlying all aspects of “quality standards” components is the foundational importance of providing language-driven programs for deaf and hard of hearing students, which in turn puts the greatest emphasis on language development and language access.

Language development and access means both:

a) Program standards and components provided by fully qualified educators and support staff that provides deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico the opportunity to develop age appropriate language skills (whether spoken English or ASL) and;

b) Program standards and components to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico have access to programs in which there is a critical mass of age, language and cognitive peers and to the extent that is not possible due to geographic and/or population factors, standards exist to provide those students with such access.

In New Mexico, many deaf and hard of hearing students are taught by regular and special education teachers; no specialized training in deaf education is currently required. This is a fundamental problem. There are no requirements or standards for the expertise needed to work with this ‘unique’ community. Of equal importance, there is no requirement that the teacher is able to communicate fluently with and serve as a language model for his/her students. 19


The members of the Task Force agreed that there is a need to provide informational guidance to various programs in New Mexico that informs the curricula, resources, strategies and practices that they use with their deaf and hard of hearing students. This guidance would enable the programs to make appropriate and informed decisions about their own programs and materials. It would also ensure IEP services decisions are appropriate for individual students.

Recommendations The New Mexico Public Education Department and the New Mexico School for the Deaf will collaborate to:

→ Gather experts in the field of deaf education in New Mexico across New Mexico to develop a Best

Practices document for the education of deaf and hard of hearing students which should include but may not be limited to the following:

•Staff Quality Standards for staff who work with deaf and hard of hearing students •Standards for Selection and use of Quality Resources: This section will focus on supporting various schools and programs’ ability to select appropriate resources for use with their deaf or hard of hearing students •Instructional Practices Quality Standards that include: •A description of a language appropriate program for deaf and hard of hearing students regardless of which language or mode they use •The concept of critical mass of peers and adults •How deaf and hard of hearing students will be provided a comprehensive academic program, including social, emotional, linguistic, scholarly and other daily educational components •A description of specific programmatic components to provide deaf and hard of hearing students with formal instruction to help them develop age appropriate expressive and receptive language skills

→ Plan to provide training for various stakeholders including statewide agencies and Local Education Agencies

→ Create and implement a system for tracking progress and supporting educational agencies in meeting the

in how to use this document to support the education of all deaf and hard of hearing students

quality standards outlined in the Best Practices Document

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INSTRUCTION GOAL FOUR: School to Career and Post-Secondary Education Transition

Goal Statement Deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico will have access to meaningful career preparation and instructional opportunities that relate to the careers and higher education they wish to pursue.

Background States are required to develop and meet Performance Plan Indicators specified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA related to many areas including transition planning and post-secondary outcomes (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). These indicators require states to set measurable targets and report data on graduation rates, competitive employment rates, postsecondary school enrollment rates, and percent of eligible IEPs that meet standards for containing transition elements. President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law on July 22, 2014. The act promotes program coordination and alignment of key employment, education, and training programs at the Federal, State, local, and regional levels. WIOA continues to highlight the significance of collaboration to support career opportunities. In New Mexico, transition planning is required for all students ages 14 and up or in the 8 th grade (whichever comes first). New Mexico agencies responsible for deaf and hard of hearing students participated in a national 5-year planning transition summit (Pepnet2). Participating agencies were New Mexico School for the Deaf, New Mexico Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, New Mexico Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NMCDHH), and New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. To support the successful transition for deaf and hard of hearing children in New Mexico, a collaborative process is being developed between the agencies listed above for the purpose of data collection and sharing through the recently established New Mexico Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interagency Transition Alliance (ITA). This Alliance focuses on improving interagency collaboration between agencies serving deaf and hard of hearing transitioning youth. It is expected that other agencies will be included at a later date. 21


To support increased understanding of the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children, trainings for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and Workforce Solutions are jointly provided by the NMSD and NMCDHH. These trainings are mandated by the DVR for all of their counselors as well as program managers and some office staff. In addition, NMSD’s Center for Educational Consultation and Training and NMCDHH have provided joint trainings for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) including parents, students, and teachers/staff working with deaf and hard of hearing students. The first Career Expo for deaf and hard of hearing students was hosted by NMSD with support from a Carl D Perkins Grant from the College and Career Readiness Bureau of the Public Education Department, the DVR and NMCDHH along with various community members in the spring of 2015 and included participation of students from schools across the state. NMSD also provides Career Assessments to deaf and hard of hearing students across New Mexico through its Center for Educational Consultation and Training.

Rationale In New Mexico, only 36.1% of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing ages 18-64 are employed (Disability Statistics Compendium, 2014). However, we know from various educational agencies that New Mexico deaf and hard of hearing students who have support during the transition process do enroll in community colleges and 4-year colleges in New Mexico and out of state. They also obtain employment upon leaving high school and college. Those students who return to very rural and remote areas of the state have a very difficult time finding employment. Continued collaboration between state agencies and schools to ensure training for agencies and systematic transition planning for students is of utmost importance to increase the number of deaf and hard of hearing students who successfully transition to college and/or career.

Recommendations Schools and agencies in New Mexico and the New Mexico Deaf and Hard of Hearing Interagency Transition Alliance will collaborate to improve services for deaf and hard of hearing students transitioning to college and/or career by developing a plan to:

→ Coordinate efforts for data collection to locate students, track student outcomes, and inform services and

→ Increase the number of DVR Counselors, Local Education Agencies including Special Education Directors

→ Provide students with meaningful work study, apprenticeship, and training opportunities → Increase student access to appropriate career, skill, and interest assessments → Increase collaboration between all agencies to expand and increase enrollment in agency programs and

supports, ensuring compliance with IDEA transition indicators

and other staff working with deaf and hard of hearing students trained on addressing the needs of transitioning students. This should include a focus on supporting students from both populated and remote areas

utilization of agency services

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CAPACITY GOAL ONE: Family Engagement

Goal Statement Families of deaf and hard of hearing children and youth will have access and a welcome entry to resources that support and merge with their cultural and family priorities.

Background It is well known that families shape the development of their children in the most fundamental and essential ways. For all parents, this responsibility can feel daunting at times. For parents of deaf and hard of hearing children the pressures can be heightened as they face navigating systems and service providers along with their personal questions of how they will successfully raise a deaf or hard of hearing child. Despite a sizable availability of supports in New Mexico, the 2014 Task Force expressed concern that a low percentage of families utilize available resources. New Mexico has many agencies specifically charged with parent and family support. The New Mexico School for the Deaf’s Early Intervention and Involvement Department, the Center for Educational Consultation and Training and all school programs provide family-specific programming. Hands and Voices NM, Parents Reaching Out (PRO) and Education for Parents of Indian Children with Special Needs (EPICS) provide support and advocacy for families of deaf and hard of hearing children. All of these agencies and organizations report they constantly grapple with how to better serve families in championing for their children.

Rationale The distribution of population in New Mexico, with significant rural areas, creates challenges in providing applicable resources for families of deaf and hard of hearing children. Programs serving these families have difficulty recruiting and hiring qualified individuals who are from our local communities to provide services. 23


The 2014 Task Force discussed the impacts of not having a deaf education or early intervention degree program located within New Mexico that trains teachers and early interventionists from our NM communities. One common result is a cultural disconnect between the service providers or programs and the families they serve. While there are many well-founded programs and efforts, a high percentage of families have not participated or have had limited participation. The Task Force agrees that families have commonly not perceived programming as culturally compelling. To know someone who shares your experience can be a life-altering experience for families raising a deaf or hard of hearing child. Many New Mexico families are challenged in meeting and having meaningful relationships with other families who parent a deaf or hard of hearing child. To nurture a meaningful relationship such as this can require travel, resources and significant motivation. Linkages between families need to be increasingly nurtured and utilized by all professionals serving families.

Recommendations New Mexico programs and agencies that are designed to support families whose children are deaf or hard of hearing will:

→ Identify strategies that make family programming and communication welcoming, pertinent and inclusive

→ Include opportunities for parent leadership and mentoring within existing programs that provide

→ Establish mechanisms for LEAs to provide parent support groups and to partner with parent advocacy

→ Include family systems content in coursework standards when specialized educator training requirements

→ Participate in the development of an early intervention and teacher pre-service training program

of diverse families family supports

programs for the benefit of families and their deaf and hard of hearing children are developed in New Mexico in New Mexico

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CAPACITY GOAL TWO: Qualified Educators

Goal Statement Deaf and hard of hearing children and youth, in all locations of New Mexico, will receive educational services from educational professionals who have ongoing access to deaf education learning communities and are specifically trained and specifically licensed or certified to work with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Background The NM Deaf Education 2014 Task Force agrees that deaf and hard of hearing students have a right to qualified educators with specialized training including language and communication proficiency. Their finding is validated by many reports and guidance at the state and national level including the New Mexico Deaf Education Bill of Rights, New Mexico Deaf Education Task Force, National Agenda, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, and Child First Campaign. Specifically, the state of New Mexico addressed this standard through passage of the Deaf Education Bill of Rights (NMSA 28-11C-3) in 2004, which charges New Mexicans to work toward ensuring that:

‌deaf and hard-of-hearing children be given an education in which teachers, related service providers and assessors understand the unique nature of deafness, are specifically trained to work with hard-of-hearing and deaf pupils and can communicate spontaneously and fluidly with these children.

The National Association of Directors of NADSDE (2006) Meeting the Needs of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing specifically calls for an assurance by educational entities that personnel have appropriate certification, knowledge, and language proficiency to work with deaf and hard of hearing students. Despite the local and national mandate for qualified educators, New Mexico still does not have standards for educators entrusted with the education of deaf and hard of hearing students. In New Mexico, an educator or administrator responsible for deaf or hard of hearing students is not required to have specialized training or knowledge or credentials to verify their capacity to educate deaf or hard of hearing children or evaluate the quality or efficacy of a program.

Rationale As a result of the recommendations of the 2003 Task Force, the state of New Mexico has invested resources into supporting educators in understanding the unique learning characteristics of students who are deaf or hard of hearing through a consultation and resource model of the Outreach Department of the New Mexico School for the Deaf. 25


Task Force Members representing school districts attest to the value and critical nature of these services in their ability to serve deaf and hard of hearing students. However, the New Mexico 2014 Task Force agrees that in order to comply with the NM Deaf Education Bill of Rights the state must go further. A deaf education license/credential for those educators working with deaf and hard of hearing students and access for professionals to a deaf education learning community is the next critical component to providing an equitable learning environment for our deaf and hard of hearing students in New Mexico. Being deaf or hard of hearing is a low incidence occurrence. Educators find themselves working in isolation without the daily collegial support of other educators or administrators who are trained in working with deaf and hard of hearing students. They also find themselves without interaction with deaf and hard of hearing adults, which is critical for ongoing development of ASL skills and social cultural competency necessary for understanding the deaf or hard of hearing student’s educational needs. There is currently no teacher-training program in New Mexico in Deaf Education. Prospective teachers interested in this field from New Mexico must attend colleges or universities in other states. Public school programs who are committed to highly qualified standards find themselves recruiting heavily from out of state to fill positions. The current licensure system in New Mexico for those teaching deaf and hard of hearing students is unacceptable. This license does not qualify a teacher or administrator to work with deaf and hard of hearing students and does not result in the outcomes that are possible for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Recommendations The New Mexico School for the Deaf, LEAs serving deaf students, the Public Education Department and Higher Education Institutions will:

→ Conduct a feasibility study regarding steps to creating a pre-service training program in New Mexico for

→ Work in tandem with the state best practice standards committee to guide creation of degree and/or

teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing

certificate coursework requirements and standards that encompass:

•Ability to formally and informally assess student progress in all domains •Proficiency in ASL •Full understanding of bilingual (ASL/English) strategies and verbal development •Full understanding of language and communication development and its interaction with cognitive development and academic achievement •Development of the whole child, including identity, self-determination, self-advocacy, career preparation and social skills •Ability to design appropriate learning environments with language access, a critical mass of deaf and hard of hearing peers and adults, and high expectations for every student •Ability to create a collaborative educational team of educators and related- service providers •Cultural consciousness and discourse analysis of ablism and IDEA including frequent and quality interaction between teachers who are hearing (not deaf or hard of hearing) with deaf and hard of hearing professionals and individuals

→ Establish a deaf education license or credential → Provide quality training and incentives needed to recruit and prepare educational professionals who will teach deaf or hard of hearing students

→ Provide a system of ongoing professional development requirements for deaf educators and those working

→ Create a plan to embed relevant deaf education concepts in various preservice educational programs (e.g.

with students who are deaf or hard of hearing

special education, general education, support services, and educational leadership) provided by educators who have completed advanced deaf education degrees

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CAPACITY GOAL THREE: Qualified K-12 Interpreters

Goal Statement Deaf and hard of hearing children and youth, eligible for interpreting services, will have interpreters who are qualified. These interpreters will receive meaningful monitoring, supervision and professional development. They will function as part of an educational team that understands the interpreters’ role in the student’s education, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Background When opening a discussion about interpreting in schools, it is imperative to acknowledge that direct, multidimensional communication in the K-12 setting is more efficient, effective and empowering than interpreted communication which is much more linear and involves a third party. However, when direct and multidimensional communication with peers and staff is not possible for all or part of the educational program, it is critical that quality standards for interpreters and student programming to be in place. Not all students are ready to access instruction through an interpreter (Huff, 2010). Before a student is placed with an interpreter, it is critical to consider and evaluate a spectrum of communication and language competencies of the student. This information will assist the educational team in determining the student’s strengths and needs in accessing the general curriculum through an interpreter. In order for the school experience to be accessible, all aspects of the day must be considered. Incidental learning is a powerful component in academic and social development. Opportunities for peer engagement is equally important as engagement with staff. Overheard conversations can enhance and support academic content development. Often there are multiple conversations happening simultaneously and interpreters must weigh several factors in determining which messages to interpret. 27


Rationale The demand for qualified and licensed K-12 Interpreters has never been higher. Today, the majority of deaf and hard of hearing students are educated in public schools in their home communities. It is common for these students, sometimes the only deaf student in their school, to experience social isolation and segregation. Unless strategies geared towards visual learners are utilized, the quality of instruction will likely be compromised. Interpreting services must be implemented correctly and with ongoing considerations for the progress being made by the student, addressing their specific language and communication needs and the continuum of educational placements options as delineated in IDEA (34 CFR 300.346 (a) (2) (iv)) and the New Mexico’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights (NMSA 28-11C-3) . Commonly, interpreters are underprepared to work in the K-12 setting. The majority of interpreter training programs place minimal emphasis on interpreting in K-12 school programs, which is notably different than interpreting for deaf adults in a community setting. Interpreters who are not appropriately qualified cannot provide access to free and appropriate public education (FAPE). As a result of the Signed Language Interpreting Practices Act (§61-34-1 NMSA 1978), all interpreters working in K-12 settings must hold a state license to practice. The intent of this law is to ensure quality interpreting services that enable deaf students to access all aspects of their education as outlined in the National Agenda and the New Mexico Deaf and Hard of Hearing Educational Bill of Rights. Other roles that commonly support deaf students, such as teacher’s aides or sign language models, must be clearly distinguished from the role of an interpreter. Schools in New Mexico are challenged with recruiting qualified interpreters. In response to interpreter vacancies after licensure was implemented, rural school districts commonly fill vacant positions with recent graduates of interpreter training programs. If an interpreter starts their career in a school that lacks other experienced K-12 interpreters or mentoring programs, the ability to navigate their position and role can be challenging. Like all professionals, interpreters need ongoing opportunities to be challenged and to grow their skills. They must have a great deal of personal incentive to seek appropriate ways to develop in their profession and their skills. They also need supervisors and colleagues who understand the complexity of interpreting and recognize the success of a student is the responsibility of a collaborative educational team. While interpreting is a critical and revered profession serving the deaf community, even the most qualified interpreters do not inevitably ensure an effective education for deaf students. However, as noted by the 2003 New Mexico Task Force Report and the 2005 National Agenda having a highly qualified and reflective interpreter as an essential part of the student’s educational team is a necessary step in building an appropriate educational program for the deaf child.

Recommendations The New Mexico School for the Deaf, LEAs serving deaf students, and the Public Education Department will convene appropriate stakeholders to:

→ Establish a process for monitoring licensure compliance in public schools → Ensure that administrative teams adhere to licensure requirements when hiring → Provide progress monitoring for provisionally licensed individuals → Foster a collaborative team approach to ensure the deaf student has optimal access and engagement in the whole school experience

→ Create a plan to provide incentives to interpreters who accept positions in high need areas → Create a plan to provide support and professional development to interpreters who lack a critical mass of colleagues → Explore the potential of a centralized body for hiring, placing and supervising interpreters in high need locations → Create comprehensive training for families, educational teams and teachers in training to understand the implications and limitations of receiving an education via interpreting

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REFERENCES Annual Disability Statistics Compendium (2014). Employment-Civilians with hearing disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community for the United States and States: 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2016 from http:// disabilitycompendium.org/statistics/employment/2-3-civilians-with-hearing-disabilities-ages-18-64-liv ing-in-the-community-for-the-u-sCalifornia Department of Education (2000 ). Programs for deaf and hard of hearing students. Guidelines for qualify standards. Retrieved October 27, 2016 from http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ss/dh/documents/proguidlns.pdf Commission on Education of the Deaf - COED (1988). Toward equality, education of the deaf. A report to the President and the Congress of the United States. Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf, Inc. (CEASD) Child First Campaign. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.ceasd.org/child-first/child-first-campaign Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights, 28-11C-3. New Mexico Statutes Annotated, 2015. Every Student Succeeds Act (2015). Retrieved October 26, 2016 from www.ed.gov/essa Federal Register (October 30, 1992). Department of Education. Notice of Policy Guidance, Vol. 57, No. 211. Gallaudet University. Deaf president now. Retrieved April 8, 2014 from http://www.gallaudet.edu/dpn_home/profiles_and_viewpoints/notable_quotes.html Gallegos, R. (2016). Interaction with deaf and hard of hearing individuals and decisions made by IEP team members. Dissertation. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico. Huff, C. (2010). Determining a student’s readiness to successfully use interpreting services. Odyssey. Vol. 11(1), 30-34. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, 20 U.S.C. Chapter 33, Sec. 1412. Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. Pub. L. No. 108-446, 118 Stat. 2547 (2004). Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. 2007 position statement. Retrieved July 3, 2016 from http://www.jcih.org Lang, H. G., Cohen, O. P., & Fischgrund, J.E. (2007). Moments of truth Robert R. Davila the story of a deaf leader. Rochester, NY: RIT Press. Mitchell, R., & Karchmer, M. (2006). Demographics of deaf education: more students in more places. American Annals of the Deaf, 151(2), 95-104. Moeller M., (2000). Early intervention and language development in children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Pediatrics, 106(3) :e43. National Agenda: Moving Forward on Achieving Educational Equality for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students (April 2005). National Association of State Directors of Special Education Inc. (2006). Meeting the needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, educational services guidelines.

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National Association for the Deaf. Bill of Rights for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.nad.org/issues/education/k-12/bill-of-rights New Mexico School for the Deaf. Department of Health-NMSD Procedures and Protocols. Retrieved November 8, 2016 from http://www.nmsd.k12.nm.us/statewide_services/early_intervention_programs/department_of_health_ nmsd_procedures___protocol New Mexico Public Education Department (2011). Technical Evaluation and Assessment Manual. Retrieved October 26, 2016 from http://ped.state.nm.us/ped/SEBdocuments/technical/NMTeamManual.pdf No Child Left Behind Act (2001) PL-107-110. Retrieved October 26, 2016 from http://www2.ed.gov/nclb/landing.jhtml Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (2013). PARCC Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual. Retrieved October 26, 2016 from http://www.isbe.net/assessment/pdfs/parcc/field-test/sy14-resources/acc-features-accomm-manual.pdf Petitto, L.A., Berens, M.S., Kovelman, I., Dubins, M.H., Jasiska, K. & Shalinksy, M. (2012). The “Perceptual Wedge Hypothesis” as the basis for bilingual babies phonetic processing advantage: New insights from fNIRS brain imaging. Brain and Language, 121 (2), 142-155. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2011.05.003. Pinker, S. (1993). The language instinct. How the mind creates language. United States: Williams Morrow and Company. Pennsylvania Agenda for Students Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deafblind (2013). Retrieved October 5, 2016 from http://pattan.net website.s3.amazonaws.com/images/2014/01/14/ERCHL_1213.pdf Qi, S. & Mitchell, R.E. (2012). Large-scale academic achievement testing of deaf and hard-of-hearing students: Past, present, and future . Journal of Deaf Studies and deaf Education, 17(1), 1-18. Siegel, L. (2000). The educational and communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing children: A statement of principle regarding fundamental systemic educational changes. Retrieved October 5, 2016, from http://www.ceasd. org/acrobat/NDEPStatement.pdf U.S. Department of Education (2011). Building the legacy: IDEA 2004. Questions and answers on secondary transition. Retrieved October 5, 2016 from http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,QaCorner,10 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014). Retrieved October 5, 2016 from http://www.nawb.org/ documents/Publications/WIOA_Overview.pdf Yoshinaga-Itano, C., Sedey, A., Coulter, D., Mehl, A. (1998) Language of early- and later-identified children with hearing loss. Pediatrics, 102 :1161– 1171

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APPENDIX A AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION; ENACTING THE DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL BILL OF RIGHTS. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO: Section 1. SHORT TITLE .-This act may be cited as the “Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights”. Section 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE .— A. The legislature finds that: (1) hearing loss affects the most basic human need, communication. Without quality communication a child is isolated from other human beings and from the exchange of knowledge essential for educational growth and, therefore, cannot develop the skills required to become a productive, capable adult and a fully participatory member of society; (2) children with hearing loss have the same innate capabilities as any other children. They communicate in a wide variety of manual and spoken modes, languages and systems. Some use aural/oral modes of communication, while others use a combination of aural/oral and manual communication. Many use American sign language, which is a formal language, as well as the preferred everyday language of the deaf community. Obviously, all children need to develop English proficiency; and (3) it is, therefore, critical that all New Mexicans work toward ensuring: (a) deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children, have quality, ongoing and fluid communication, both in and out of the classroom; (b) deaf and hard-of-hearing children be placed in the least restrictive educational environment and receive services based on their unique communication, language and educational needs, consistent with 20 U.S.C. Section 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; (c) deaf and hard-of-hearing children be given an education in which teachers, related service providers and assessors understand the unique nature of deafness, are specifically trained to work with hard-of-hearing and deaf pupils and can communicate spontaneously and fluidly with these children; (d) deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children, have the benefit of an education in which there are a sufficient number of age-appropriate peers and adults with whom they can interact and communicate in a spontaneous and fluid way; (e) deaf and hard-of-hearing children receive an education in which they are exposed to deaf and hard-of-hearing role models; (f) deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children, have direct and appropriate access to all components of the educational process, including recess; lunch; and extracurricular, social and athletic activities; (g) deaf and hard-of-hearing children, like all children, be provided with programs in which transition planning, as required under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, focuses on their unique vocational needs; and (h) families of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing receive accurate, balanced and complete information regarding their child’s educational and communication needs and the available programmatic, placement and resource options, as well as access to support services and advocacy resources from public and private agencies, departments and all other institutions and resources knowledgeable about hearing loss and the needs of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. B. Given the central importance of communication to all human beings, the purpose of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights is to encourage the development of a communication-driven and language - driven educational delivery system in New Mexico for children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. 31


Section 3. EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS OF DEAF AND HARD-OF-HEARING CHILDREN--ADDITIONAL DUTY OF PUBLIC EDUCATION DEPARTMENT .— A. The state of New Mexico recognizes the unique communication needs of children who are deaf or hard-of- hearing and encourages the development of specific recommendations by all state agencies, institutions and political subdivisions concerned with the early intervention, early childhood and kindergarten through twelfth grade education of students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, including the public education department, the New Mexico school for the deaf and the department of health, to ensure that:

(1) these children have what every other child takes for granted, including an educational environment in which their language and communication needs are fully addressed and developed and in which they have early, ongoing and quality access to planned and incidental communication opportunities; and (2) the recommendations, consistent with the findings and purpose of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children’s Educational Bill of Rights, be completed expeditiously.

B. Since 20 U.S.C. Section 1414(d)(3)(B)(iv) of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that the individual education plan team consider the unique communication needs of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, the public education department shall develop a model “communication considerations for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing”, to become part of the individual education plan process. The model shall be disseminated to all local school districts, with training to be provided as determined by the department.

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Printing of the Task Force Report made possible by the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico School for the Deaf

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• Photos: Hope Bakker • Kris Eaton • Keri-Lynn McBride • Cheyenna Wilding



NMSD Task Force Report 2016