After chatting with friends and my hubby, I so wish there was a signing academy. Yes, a private school type of setting where the curriculum will be taught in sign language. Not only Deaf students will be attending, but their siblings as well as children of Deaf adults (CODAs) and signers.
Ideally, there will be two teachers in each classroom – both must know American Sign Language. Since we know how significant ASL is to young Deaf children, we also recognize that speaking in English to hearing children is just as important. So both will be incorporated by the team. Like English, the students will be required to take a ASL course at every grade level. While this school will support ALL options, ASL is the primary focus. ASL classes will be provided to the community as well as parents and other family members via classroom style or webcam (Skype, FaceTime). We know a school isn’t a school without a community as well as its allies.
When a new language comes to life, culture comes after. Hence, Deaf culture. The Signing Academy will not be just a center for learning, but to bring in all walks of life to one place. A cultural center. Think of them as Deaf figures, well-known CODAs, and outstanding interpreters. With our funding, we can invite them to our school to give some type of workshop, performance, be a part of a special assembly, or host an event. Oh, the possibilities. Heck, let’s throw in a mentorship program!
The academy will be a learning center…a cultural center…AND it should also act as a resource center. A huge database will be built to support our programs, students, parents, and community members alike. Everyone will have the opportunity to hear about the current issues within the Deaf community, organizations of all types (DYUSA, National Association of the Deaf, National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing), colleges that provides Deaf Studies/ASL courses or majors, and conferences that are occurring each year. We have no excuse to say, “We did not know about this.”
At the start and the end of each day, each student…teacher…staff…parent…community member…visitor will enter and exit witnessing a statue mounting high and mighty. From day one, he, a legend, stood on his own ground representing and preserving sign language at its finest. He was one of the FIRST to film sign language. This man is George Veditz. Below the very statue, his quote will be inscribed:
“As long as we have deaf people on earth, we will have signs. And as long as we have our films, we can preserve signs in their old purity. It is my hope that we will all love and guard our beautiful sign language as the noblest gift God has given to deaf people.”
This quote will remind each one of us that our right to sign language should never been taken away. That it does no harm to us as individuals and to the language of English. Put two languages together, the academy is sure to be one of the top schools in America. On a second thought, the Signing Academy should named as George Veditz Academy.