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  • 24 Jan 2020 10:26 AM
    Message # 8671749
    Michelle Sumner (Administrator)

    This is a great place to introduce yourself. As you are aware, Adminisrative responsibilities within a Deaf Education program can be somewhat different compared to other administrative positions. We are Program Specialists, Principals, Vice-Principals, Program Managers, Directors of Special Education, Superintendents, Coordinators. 

    I am curruently the Coordinator of SPecial Education within Manhattan Beach Unified School District in South LA. We house the Regional (SW SELPA) Deaf Ed program currently labled Total Communication. We use ASL and English and our primary languages of instruction. This is not a SimCom program.  MBUSD Regional Deaf Program serves 12 local school districts within the SELPA. We currently have 56 students from PreK through 12. Typically, our student counts drastically increase in 4th grade. The reason for this is that the SW SELPA Oral Program, in Torrance Unified, ends at 3rd grade. We assume many of the students that need continued Special Education support beyong 3rd grade. 

    My role is primarily oversight of this Regional Program and the coordination of services. While evaluations and direct staff supervision is the responsibility of school site principals. Although, I do work closely with them when they are open to it. 

    I have two main challenges. First, I am Deaf, and given my experience in Deaf Education, the district has a tendancy to place me within a box. However, my job includes other responsibilities within the department of Special Education. I have a difficult time navegating these responsibilities as people associate me with the "SELPA" classes and are resisitent to my direction and ideas. The second is that I co-parent the Deaf Ed staff. I am not directly responsible for evaluation, however, sometimes, I have feedback and knowledge that is pertinent to the teachers (or staff's) actions. Some site administrators are very resistent to my involvement. They have a false positive image of their staff, becuase sign language is so cool, and the students are so cute. In these cases, they do not accept my input toward evaluation and program improvements.

    I look forward to conintued improvement of Deaf Education within California, and Nation Wide. It begins with us. We have a unique position to force change. We can not do it alone. I look forward to collaboration, sharing of ideas, sharing frustrations, and woring with you!


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