Interpreters bridge the gap between English and ASL what is your superpower
Educational Interpreters
Our theme for February is on Educational Interpreters! Continue reading for some great resources, information, and news!
Written in collaboration with Jennifer Francisco
Educational Interpreter Project Florida DOE with interpreter hands
Educational interpreters play an essential part in the success of students who are deaf/hard of hearing (D/HH) in the classroom. It is crucial to remember to include educational interpreters into consideration while planning for lessons and activities. They may provide great ideas or feedback to make sure students who are D/HH are included or accommodated. Interpreters also are with students who are D/HH daily; they have a strong impact on the students’ language development. Interpreters should be given materials, lessons, books, and more ahead of time so they can prepare in advance. They are a part of the student’s team so they should be invited to meetings to share input of what they observe in the classroom. Interpreters could use the Interpreter Input Form for Florida’s Communication Plan to provide input in the student’s IEP.

The Educational Interpreting Project (EIP) is a discretionary project funded by the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) within the Florida Department of Education to support educational interpreters in Florida. The goal of the project is to encourage educational interpreters to grow and improve their skills by taking workshops and to take the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA). The project provides stipends for the EIPA and for college tuition. Workshops are provided for free for all interpreters and CEUs are included in all workshops at no cost. The EIP provides support and resources to all school districts and they provide advice and suggestions on topics and issues regarding Deaf Education and interpreting.
Do you have teachers who have never had an interpreter in their classroom or are unfamiliar with this important role in the classroom? Do you have interpreters with little/no educational experience? Do you work with staff members that need to know more about the highly-specialized skills educational interpreters possess? Well, then do we have a treat for you! 

RMTC-D/HH has curated resources in an online Educational Interpreter LiveBinder . This continuously-updated online tool contains materials and treasures for providing information and professional development about educational interpreters. Some materials are Florida specific such as Florida’s Communication Plan, Communication Plan Interpreter Input Form, and the Educational Interpreter Project. Other resources in the LiveBinder are national resources. This resource can be used to provide a local district professional development on working with an Educational Interpreter.

One way for teams to use the LiveBinder is to hold a professional learning community (PLC) or workshop for staff members to become familiar with the unique skills of educational interpreters. A lead professional can use the presentation slides to facilitate discussion regarding roles and responsibilities, resources for further information and training, and how the interpreter fits into the IEP team. After the slide deck, the team can use the LiveBinder to look at the Communication Plan and the Communication Plan Interpreter Input form. This allows interpreters to showcase their role as a member of the educational and IEP team. 

To replicate or develop district-specific professional development, team members can look at the LiveBinder section on resources related to interpreters and interpreting to the level of need for the assembled group. The attendees could each be given a resource to look at ahead of time to present to the group. “Each one teach one” is a way to not only share information, but also to ensure those presenting have a firm understanding of concepts. 

If you have questions about how to use the LiveBinder to conduct your own training or PLC, do not hesitate to reach out to us at .
News from RMTC-D/HH
Working with the Experts Deaf Hard of Hearing with RMTC logo
RMTC-D/HH staff are in the final stages of developing Putting it All Together, Part 2: From Compliance to Quality , coming up February 20-21, 2020 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. In this two-day professional development opportunity, participants will have the chance to roll up their sleeves and look at IEPs that not only ensure students have the full opportunity to participate in academic endeavors, but also that these federal documents adequately express the abilities, needs, and goals of the child they represent. Ready to get your hands dirty? Register now as space is limited and only a few seats remain! Email for more information.

Did you miss part one? Are you interested in getting caught up? Do you want to learn more about the Optimizing Outcomes for Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Educational Service Guidelines and the foundations for a quality program for students who are D/HH? If so, join us on Tuesday, February 11 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. EST for Putting it All Together, Part 1 REVIEW . Sherry Conrad will be presenting an overview of the topics included in this highly-requested topic. The event will be held via Zoom and recorded for future viewing. You must preregister to attend the live event or to watch the recorded webinar.

You can download the slide deck and a resource guide prior to the presentation. Both will be discussed during the recording. Email for more information.
Teacher of Students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (TODHH) Spotlight
Jennifer Francisco is the current coordinator for the Educational Interpreter Project (EIP) . She comes from a fourth-generation Deaf family, which has fostered a love for education and sign language. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Minor in English from the University of Wisconsin. She has a Master’s in Reading Education from the University of South Florida. Before becoming the coordinator of the EIP, she was a teacher of students who are deaf/hard of hearing (TODHH) in Pinellas County Schools for 12 years. Additionally, she has 8 years experience teaching at the collegiate level.

She loves to share her knowledge and experience with anyone who wants to have an impact on children who are D/HH. Language Arts is her favorite subject to teach because she knows and understands how difficult it is for children who are D/HH to learn two languages at the same time. When she is not teaching, she is with her family (pictured above). She has two children who are CODAs, fluent in ASL and becoming fluent in Greek. They all love to explore and travel together as a family.
Pic of Jen Francisco Family
Pictured above is Jennifer Francisco with her family.

RMTC-D/HH conducted a written interview with Jennifer to ask her about her experiences and advice when working with educational interpreters. Check it out now!

Know a teacher of students who are deaf/hard of hearing who is doing amazing things in their classroom? Email a description of what they are doing to Candace McIntire to appear in an upcoming Tech Notes!
Expanded Skills Spotlight
SP.PK12.MD.4.1b:  Articulate interpreting needs, including describing how to work effectively with an interpreter for school and community activities, stating when services are needed/not needed, and describing the preferred mode of communication.
 SP.PK12.MD.6.1c:  Articulate the need for specialized or a preferred mode of communication with peers, adults, community members, and employers.

Next month, our Tech Notes theme is on Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT). Have an idea or lesson plan for Expanded Skills standards related to this topic? Email your idea to Candace McIntire .
Sample Lesson Plan: Using an Interpreter, Grades 6-8

 Transition Skills Guidelines (Cler Center, 2006):
STANDARD 1: Student demonstrates the skills necessary to advocate and empower for him/herself.
Interpreting Objectives Grades 6-8 :
  • Provides examples of variations in ASL.
  • States when the service of an interpreter are needed.
  • Describes how to work effectively with an interpreter for school activities (e.g., physical arrangement, language preference).

Notes for Teacher : Educational interpreters at the middle school level may need to interpret differently than a community interpreter or an educational interpreter at the high school level, depending on the abilities and skills of the student utilizing this service. ( Classroom Interpreting , n.d.)

Teacher Toolkit
RMTC Family corner with outline of two parents and one child with RMTC logo in left corner
RMTC-D/HH Family Corner

Family Corner is a section that will address how professionals can help parents to be more involved and be more collaborative. This section will be from the perspective of a parent of a child who is deaf and has other disabilities and who also happens to be an educational professional. Depending on the topic, this section may deal with how to approach parents on a topic or help you understand
the parents’ perspectives on a particular topic or issue. 

What parents need to know about: Educational Interpreting

For parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing, educational interpreting can be something of a mystery. If a child uses an interpreter, parents will typically know that the child has an interpreter. However, they may not completely understand the role and responsibilities of the person in that role. Parents will have varied experiences with the understanding that the interpreter is there to translate auditory information into sign language and sign language to spoken word, and that having the interpreter is critical for their child’s educational success. 

There will then be another subset of parents who, for whatever reason, have a more granular understanding of what an educational interpreter is and what that person does.  This subset of parents will also understand the importance of having skilled interpreter working with their child and expect the district to provide an educational interpreter who is proficient in ASL, is a part of the educational team, and is more than simply a conduit for communication in an educational environment. 

As a professional, your role with families should be to help ensure that all families understand the importance of the educational interpreter and the central role that interpreter will play in the educational, linguistic, cognitive, and social development of their children. If that family is going to participate effectively as members of the IEP team, then it is important that they understand the role an educational interpreter plays in the education of their child.  

As more children who are deaf or hard of hearing are taught in an inclusive setting and served by an itinerant teacher of the deaf, parents need to understand the heightened level of importance of the educational interpreter. In many instances, the educational professional with expertise in deafness who is spending the most time with a child is not the teacher of the deaf: it is the interpreter. It is important for families to understand how this level of exposure to the child, coupled with the interpreter’s knowledge, equates to the educational interpreter being a major participant in the IEP process.

If a district truly wants to do what is right by the child, and have parents as a collaborative, full member of the IEP team, is necessary that the district and district staff make sure the parent understands how all the gears mesh together to serve that child. Not only will this help make the parents more effective team members, but it will also help remove misunderstanding, confusion, or possible conflicts brought on by a simple lack of knowledge. In this case, silence is not golden, and knowledge is not just power but also a facilitator to cooperation.
Did you know?
  • RMTC-D/HH has been working in collaboration with the ACCESS Project and Technology and Learning Connections to support an exciting, invitation-only professional development opportunity. Assistive Technology Lesson Integration is a 1-day training for teachers of students who are receiving instruction by way of Access Points, including teachers of students who are D/HH. In this hands-on training, participants will have a chance to learn about and implement assistive technology practices related to English/Language Arts Access Points in the K-12 setting. If you are interested in attending one of the opportunities or would like more information, please contact Sherry Conrad. Please include the number of students you serve on Access Points and the date you would like to receive an invitation to attend. Upcoming dates and locations are as follows:
  • Tallahassee on February 11, 2020,
  • Wesley Chapel on February 26, 2020, and 
  • Broward County on May 5, 2020. 
  • The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) Regional STEM Center at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) is searching for a STEM trainer. Check out the job posting here!
  • April 16-18, 2020 - The 11th annual National American Sign Language and English Bilingual Early Childhood Education (NASLECE) Consortium Summit will be held at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Register for the NASLECE Summit today!
  • ACI Alliance is offering a workshop and exhibit on March 21, 2020, from 12:30 PM to 4:30 PM. The topic is how recent scientific discoveries are advancing cochlear implant benefits. For specific details including location, registration, and agenda, please see the ACI Alliance Workshop Flyer.
  • February 3 - March 10, 2020 - The Online Itinerant is hosting the Sign Your Way to Fluency Bootcamp. This 6-week course includes two hours of “Bootcamp Training” and the option of three hours of additional time in the Signing Room. There will be multiple Deaf language models that will work with participants individually. There is a cost for this opportunity.
Upcoming Events: Save the Date!

*Teachers with students on Access Points only. Registration by invitation only. Contact  Sherry Conrad   for more information on attending.

Check out the   RMTC-D/HH 2019-2020 Calendar   for more upcoming events!
Do More. Be More. Achieve More.
RMTC-D/HH provides Tech Notes as a free resource to teachers, professionals, and parents around the state in order to pass along potentially useful information and expand the knowledge and opportunities available to educators and families of children who have hearing loss. This email was funded by the Florida Department of Education Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services through federal assistance under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Part B funds. The information included does not reflect any specific endorsement by any parties involved.