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Bilingual Education

Metro Deaf School follows a bilingual educational philosophy for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Children. Curious what that means for education in the classroom? On this page, you will find resources in Bilingual Education, research that supports this philosophy, as well as examples from our classrooms of how this is making a difference in the education of our students.

In this video, you will see Jason Valentine, the school social worker using bilingual strategies to teach about Character Counts Education with the Kindergarten class. He uses both ASL and English print to build the students conceptual knowledge of responsibility and stopping bullying.  
This image depicts Jason Valentine, the school social worker, explaining to the kindergarten students about Character Counts. This image shows Jason attaching language to an image of bullying.
Character Counts is a school-wide program that helps to instill the 6 pillars or characteristics of a good person. Character Counts is addressed in all grades at MDS through teacher-led as well as Jason run lessons plans both in ASL and English activities. Throughout MDS classrooms and hallways Character Counts education is visible.     
   Jason is showing the students the English word for responsibility which is one of the 6 pillars. Jason then uses ASL to express this to the students in order to make connections between the English print and the ASL sign.


Mandy, the English teacher, co-teaches with Kelly, the ASL teacher, explained the signing process checklist to the class.  This checklist helps the students to evaluate their own work while also receiving feedback so that they create a final draft in ASL. (click here to see an example of the checklist) The student researched about tapeworms, broadening his knowledge on this topic so that he can create a strong finished draft in ASL and English.


Mandy’s high school language arts class was researching data for their assigned topic, which was a parasite. They were to answer several specific questions about their parasite and have this information ready.  After they have collected this data, they then created a presentation in ASL.  They were also learning about ASL (6+1) Traits along with 6+1 Traits of Writing, building both ?their ASL and English skills throughout this project.  Research shows that a strong first language, ASL, allows for development of a stronger second language, English.  For this project, the student concentrated on the voice (or style) trait, in both ASL and English.

The student reviewed his facts in English so that he can present the content in grammatically correct ASL, using appropriate voice. The students used computers with webcams to develop their ASL presentations in the computer lab.


The video is an example of Mandy's language arts class using the principle of Purposeful Concurrent Usage or PCU. PCU refers to the teacher's intentional switching between two languages, ASL and English. The purpose for using each language is essential to the students' development in both languages. As for Mandy's language arts class, the students are shifting between ASL and English, in order to build both languages. The final result is a well developed ASL text and a well developed English text. The goal for using PCU is to create a equal balance between the two languages. At times, the content may be heavier in one language rather than the other, such as the several lessons before in Mandy's class as the students were developing their skills in using voice in ASL. Now the students are applying that knowledge to their English skills.

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