ASL class creates demand

American Sign Language course trial during summer school

Katie Palermo, Reporter

American Sign Language (ASL) is accepted as a second language credit in many colleges and universities. Until this upcoming summer ASL had only been a club at LT, but this summer ASL will be introduced as a course for the first time.

“There was a concern that student interest would not be there to sustain a four year ASL sequence,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Scott Eggerding said, “In order to determine interest, we decided to offer it in summer school.”

In the past few years Mandarin Chinese has lost popularity among students as a second language. While there are many language choices at LT such as German, Spanish, Latin, French and Italian, expanding the horizon of second languages for students is a goal of Assistant Principal Adam Davis.

“Providing students the option to work and communicate with a hearing impaired individual or group is a wonderful addition to have,” Davis said.

Like many of LT’s courses, ASL is something that not many schools offer. The class includes many unique elements such as having access to a video camera or webcam to record homework assignments to submit. The basics of sign language vocabulary, grammar, spacing and appropriate non-manual markers will be taught, along with deaf culture, knowledge of deafness and technology used by those who are deaf.

By piloting ASL during the summer, LT’s Curriculum Developing Team is testing to see if the class will receive enough demand to become a new addition. If the class obtains enough traffic, it would be added to the Fine Arts department as a Foreign or World language.

“Students often look for enrichment classes during the summer,” principal Dr. Brian Waterman said.

Special education teacher Colleen Gibbons is the advisor of the ASL club and will also be teaching both semesters this summer. The class has a maximum capacity of 30 students. Currently the first semester in summer school is full, and the second semester is close behind.