Published on Nov. 6, 2019
On Sept. 13, students enrolled in ASL came to class and were greeted by a substitute and administrator instead of the teachers they have been with since the beginning of the year.
ASL one was told that they had to get new class and ASL two classes were told that they were going to have substitute until a new teacher was hired.
Two months later some students are still feeling that they have been left...
Illustration | Crystal Yeung
By Angelina Buell and Jeneen Doctor
Junior Alyssa Hannah came to her third period class on Friday September 13 to and was unpleasantly surprised. Instead of her former American Sign Language teacher, Pamela Jenkins, she was greeted by a substitute teacher and assistant Principal Nicole Sandoval.
When Hannah came to class, she saw on the board a list of electives to choose from.
“She [Sandoval] was like, ‘choose your elective,’ and I was like, ‘No.’”
Hannah felt that it was unfair that she did not have an ASL teacher. Hannah expressed feelings of anger and disappointment and she wanted to do something about it.
Hannah first expressed how she felt on this matter on her Instagram and she got 257 likes. The post talked about how important ASL culture is and how important it is to keep ASL in schools.
Hannah went to the San Lorenzo Unified school district meeting, on Sept. 17, to voice how she felt. At the meeting she talked about how it’s unfair that students in AHS don’t have an ASL teacher. The district responded by saying if students want to get their language credits for the ASL class, they would have to go to Chabot College on their own time.
“I’m not asking for the teachers jobs back. I’m just asking to keep ASL.”
- Junior Alyssa Hannah said
Pamela Jenkins and Bret Bailey, the new ASL teachers were hired at the end of last year and were released after school on Sept 12, 2019. The two new ASL teachers were let go because they did not have the proper teaching credentials.
The California Department of Education states that in order for your classes to count, you have to have a fully credentialed teacher in the classroom, otherwise it won’t count for college.
“This was something that goes above us in order to protect the transcripts of the students so they can get into their four year college,” Sandoval said.
The ASL teaching test is one of the hardest tests to pass according to Sandoval, who once took the English Teaching credential test.
“I was an English teacher before and there was a test every month that I can take and it was in four little sections that I could keep going till it’s done. But for ASL, they have to line up people because they have to watch someone so it is not offered as often,” Sandoval said.
She went on to say that even people who have been in the deaf culture for a long time have even had trouble passing the test. A lot of people who are part of the Deaf culture and are proficient in the language will become and interpreter instead of having to get a teaching credential on top of everything.
Sophomore Madison Pomsyda joined ASL because her middle school had the language, but she didn’t have the chance to take it. This year is her second year of ASL and she had Bailey. She was disappointed to find out that her teacher was gone before the school year has even really begun.
“I was confused and I thought it was unfair,” Pomsyda explained.
The week of Nov. 4, the ASL two students will start an online program to learn ASL. According to a voicemail sent out by principal James Gray on Oct. 27.
“We will have an online credential teacher to support the curriculum for edgenuity,” Gray said in the voicemail.
Edgenuity is an online video based curriculum for middle and high school. Gray continues to say that the class will have two sections that is divided by semester. The students will have the whole year to finish the program. The tests that are given in that class will be supervised by a procter or the teacher in the class. The after school credit recovery teacher Jeff Baughman will be available for any students that want to work on the program after school. •
There has been 54 school days since the 2019-2020 school year started. The year started with two ASL teachers and more than eight class sections. Due to credentialing issues both teachers were let go in mid-September. As of Nov. 4, ASL one classes have been dissolved and ASL are starting a new online program. Below is a timeline of how we got here.
First day of school
Aug. 21, 2019
Junior Alyssa Hannah speaks
at School Board Meeting
Sept. 17, 2019
ASL teachers last day
Sept. 12, 2019
ASL two students start
online ASL program
Nov. 4, 2019