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ERIC Number: EJ871248
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1083-5415
American Sign Language: An Innovative Middle School Program
Burnside, Karen
Learning Languages, v15 n1 p40-41 Fall 2009
American Sign Language (ASL) began at Seminole Middle School in August 2007 as part of the program, D.E.C.A.L (Division of Communication and Law), the brainchild of principal, Dr. Kris Black. Her goal was to offer a program that would entice advanced middle school students from around Broward County to Seminole and the hook she used to entice them was the opportunity to receive up to seven high school credits by the time they leave eighth grade. Additionally, each student enrolled in the D.E.C.A.L. program had the choice of selecting ASL or Spanish as their foreign language. Seminole Middle serves as the only middle school cluster site for students in Broward County who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (D/HH) and since a teacher was already in place in the D/HH department when the D.E.C.A.L. program was launched it was a natural match to start an ASL program for hearing students. The ASL program at Seminole Middle offers three courses for the students who enroll. Sixth graders take Introduction to ASL for an entire year and then 7th and 8th graders take ASL 1 and 2, high school level courses for which they receive high school credit. The ASL 1 and 2 curricula align with the Florida Sunshine State Standards and the American Sign Language Teachers Association ( designed standards for high school courses. The students have the identical text used by all high school ASL programs throughout the county and, additionally, all ASL 1 and 2 students at Seminole take the common county high school midterm and final exams. Seminole follows a block schedule for all courses, so ASL classes meet every other day for a period of 85 minutes. The middle school students of Seminole have many ways to use their growing knowledge of ASL. Enrollment in these high school level courses enable them to participate in the high school countywide world language competition each February and this past year one of Seminole's students received the highest rating in the ASL 2 competition.
National Network for Early Language Learning. Winston-Salem, NC. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida