Monday, January 9, 2012
Deaf-Friendly School Trips
In addition to coordinating dates, times and subject matter with each specific venue there are forms for parental permission, a "statement of purpose" to be submitted to the principal for his or her approval, paperwork for transportation (school bus or subway), lunch forms (are we eating there or when we return?) and arrangements for payment (collecting money from parents or submitting a request for payment to the school's office manager).
At our school, we must also consider the scheduling of Sign Language Interpreters. This process involves calling the Office of Sign Language Interpreting Services to check availability, followed by yet more paperwork.
However, there are some organizations that make this process a bit easier because they regularly offer interpreters as part of their standard operating practices.
One of these is the outstanding New Victory Theater. Every one of their amazing productions has a sign language interpreted performance built into the schedule. I simply request that date through their education department and we're off.
This past week I took my first grade class to see their production of Miss Ophelia (a play based on Ophelias Schattentheater by Michael Ende) and was blown away! They consistently offer high-quality, dynamic and engaging shows and their equal access policy pushes them even further ahead of any other theater for young audiences in New York City.
Another deaf-friendly institution that I frequently visit with my students is The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met offers educational talks and tours of its galleries and provides sign language interpreters upon request.
Whitney Museum of American Art.
Our school visits to the Whitney have been particularly enjoyable because there we had no need of an interpreter. For our last several visits our guide has been a deaf woman who communicated directly with our students via American Sign Language.
Thanks to the New Vic, the Met and the Whitney for making my job a bit easier and for providing outstanding services to support the education of all children.