Vallejo high schools to add American ...

Vallejo high schools to add American Sign Language

Posted in the Martinez Forum


Vallejo, CA

#1 May 5, 2013
Vallejo high schools to add American Sign Language

The Vallejo City Unified School District will offer a new language class next year -- one that that could give voice to students who struggle to speak.

"Some of our students, particularly our special education-designated students, have difficulties with expressing themselves verbally, so we want to make sure they can meet the world language requirement with this American Sign Language class," Superintendent Ramona Bishop said Friday.

The district is searching for instructors to teach the new courses, which will be offered at both Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools. Students in Vallejo must complete at least two years of studying languages other than English to earn their diplomas.

American Sign Language would also be helpful to other students, Bishop added.

"Studying a second language is so much easier when you have a mastery or you're really strong in the first language, so we wanted to make sure we had an option," Bishop said.

American Sign Language will not replace any of the district's existing language courses: Filipino, Filipino for Filipino speakers, French, Spanish and Spanish for Spanish speakers.

However, as time goes by and the district's 10 career academies mature, it might make sense to remove language offerings that attract few students and add more relevant to the academies -- for example, Chinese Mandarin to pair with Bethel's international finance academy.

Bishop said the idea was developed by teachers and staff, but that there have so far been no comprehensive conversations with students about the upcoming program.

The addition of American Sign Language to the district's offerings follows a wider trend in education as the program becomes increasingly popular among college students, ranking fourth in the latest Modern Language Association survey.
A Thought

Vacaville, CA

#2 May 5, 2013
This is good.

I've a question though... There is Exact English Signing, American Sign, and who knows what else around the world. Bishop states preparing them for the world. Does the world generally learn American Sign?
Lamont Hightower

Vacaville, CA

#3 May 5, 2013
Can we also get an Ebonics refresher course so normal people can understand what the kids are saying? I can understand the "Iz, aint, finna and fixin" but I struggle with the real street talk!

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