Wednesday , July 24 2019
Home / Family / Michigan School for the Deaf hires interim principal; parents, students raise concerns

Michigan School for the Deaf hires interim principal; parents, students raise concerns

FLINT, MI — The announcement of the hiring of a new interim principal for the Michigan School for the Deaf was met with criticism and concern from parents and students at a meeting Tuesday.

Effective this week, Angela Horne, a life skills teacher at the MSD High School, will serve as the interim principal while the state is in the process of hiring a full-time replacement following the resignation of Natalie Grupido in April.

Director of the state’s Office of Special Education Teri Chapman addressed the state’s administrative hiring process at a meeting Tuesday, June 18. She was later joined by Scott Koenigsknecht, deputy superintendent, to field further questions from students, parents and teachers.

The meeting was scheduled at the school after several people held a protest outside the building Monday over the the transparency of the hiring process and other issues, including the ASL proficiency of administrators. Due to the meeting’s short notice, a second meeting has been scheduled for from 6 to 8 p.

m. Tuesday, July 9, in the Jeter Center at the school, located at 1235 W.

Court St., in Flint, for those who could not attend the meeting Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 18 in the Jeter Center at the school, located at 1235 W. Court St.

, in Flint and comes after several people held a protest outside the building over the hiring process and other issues.

The interim principal position can last no more than a year, Chapman said.

While the state hopes to have a new permanent principal hired as soon as possible, she said the temporary position will suffice in the time it takes to complete the open hiring process for the administrative role.

“It’s done as a temporary measure to get a person in a role to do work that ne to be done so school can start on time, ready for children,” Chapman said.

Chapman said the community will have to opportunity to be highly involved in the search for the school’s new leader in the coming months. In the meantime, Horne will take on all principal duties and aid in training the new principal when the final decision is made.

According to an email statement sent by MSD, Horne is highly proficient in American Sign Language with an associate’s degree in Sign Language Interpreting, a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Teaching Certificate with a Deaf Education endorsement.

However, many students and parents at the meeting said they have worked with Horne and her level of education and certification does not equate to ASL efficiency in the classroom.

Jake Zanavich has been a student at the school for four years. When in class with Horne, he said she would often teach without using sign language.

This experienced was echoed by two other students at the meeting.

“I’m talking about accessibility for our community — access for our community,” Zanavich said.

“I don’t want her to feel like we’re targeting her, but this is about access for our community to feel safe and comfortable with a person who signs and knows our background. That’s it.

That’s all we’re asking for.”

Christian Hamby, a MSD alumnus, said through an interpreter that students deprived of language and direct communication between teachers and administrators feel isolated.

To demonstrate his point, he asked the interpreters at the event not to translate in spoken English for a few minuets.

“Did you understand what I said?” Hamby asked the department of education representatives.

When they answered “no,” he said, ”Yeah, that’s one of the things you need to work on.”

Every candidate for the job will have to be ASL proficient, Chapman said before the comment portion.

That will be determined in multiple ways. The state cannot make it a requirement that the person is part of the deaf community, but can make it a preference on the application.

Sarah Houston’s 10-year-old son has attended the school since he was in kindergarten. To implement positive change, the school ne leadership to be an expert in ASL, she said

“You need to have a person there who is an expert or who is well versed in deaf education, who has love for the deaf community, who has an understanding, a cultural understanding, something,” Houston said.

“I’m not saying they have to be deaf. I don’t care if they can hear or not.

I want these hands to move,” she said, motioning with her own hands.

.

RelatedPost