Happy School Year Signing ACEs Family! We are excited to be in another school year and to see all our Signing ACEs (K-12) again!
WHO ARE THE SIGNING ACES?
Our Signings ACEs are D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and hard of hearing students in grades K-12. Some are culturally Deaf with American Sign Language as their native language. Some wear cochlear implants and choose to be oral and/or use sign language. Some wear hearing aids or other assistive devices. Hearing siblings of our students are also welcome.
Our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Many are born here in the United States. Many were born in other countries—like Mexico, Ukraine, Somalia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and—and have been adopted or immigrated to this country with their parents. Many of our students live in homes where English, Spanish, Arabic, or other languages are the primary languages of the parents and siblings.
Many of our students are in mainstream schools where they are in hearing classrooms with interpreters. Others attend the Tennessee School for the Deaf and are here for weekend and summer activities.
Often, our Signing ACEs are the only D/deaf or hard of hearing people in their households, and that makes this program all the more important for their linguistic, academic, and social-emotional well-being.
WHAT’S THE COST?
Signing ACEs is FREE! There is no cost!
WHAT DO THE SIGNING ACES DO?
Everything! We have an after-school program for grades K-12 (more information in this packet). We have Game Days and fun trips to the park, bowling, pizza places, museums, etc. We have picnics and sports. We meet Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and hard of hearing role models and set goals for our futures. We talk about schools and careers. We volunteer together. We have internships. We have summer camps, many adventures, and wonderful friendships.
We build a strong community that supports—Advocacy, Community, and Empowerment.
Your child can be part of the Signing ACEs and choose to join any and/or all of our activities.
HOW DO WE SERVE FAMILIES?
We have many activities for the entire family. We provide free workshops on all sorts of topics, including advocacy, knowing your rights, IEPs, etc. We will attend IEP meetings with you, and we offer FREE parent ASL classes—both virtually and in person. Families also have access to our Empowerment program, which is a social work program that can help with housing, employment, food security, insurance, and anything and everything.
WHO LEADS THE SIGNINGS ACES?
Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is excited to have Daniel Timlen as our new Director of Youth Education & Services. Daniel is Deaf and grew up in both mainstream classrooms and Deaf schools. He has a Master’s in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University. In his thirty years of experience, he has worked with Gallaudet University, the Maryland School for the Deaf, and the New Mexico School for the Deaf. He has experience in the classroom, in transition planning, and in early childhood development.
Most importantly, our program is led by the Community. Some of us are paid to be here and to bring specific expertise and experience, but all of us work for the D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and hard of hearing communities. That means we work for your children, and we take that privilege, responsibility, and opportunity seriously.
THE AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM
We have made some exciting changes to our after-school program.
Our elementary students are invited to attend on our regular days—Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, but we are also opening up Wednesdays with a special focus on our elementary students. Students from Eakin Elementary would be picked up from school at 3pm and brought to Bridges for the Deaf and Hard Hearing. The after-school program ends at 5:00pm, and students would be transported to two, pick-up locations details below) to meet parents.
We provide transportation from Eakin Elementary, but any student who can provide her/his own transportation is welcome. Elementary students throughout Middle Tennessee are welcome for all Signing ACEs activities even if they do not participate in the after-school program.
Because middle schools in Nashville don’t dismiss until 3:55pm, it’s been hard to pick up the students and bring them to our campus and have much time together, so instead of bringing the students to us, we are going to them! We are now meeting with our middle school students two days a week at West End Middle School during the school day! These meetings include tutoring, mentoring, and goals discussions.
Middle school students who want to be part of the after-school program are welcome though we are unable to provide transportation from the school at this time. Middle school students throughout Middle Tennessee are welcome for all Signing ACEs activities even if they do not participate in the after-school program.
High school students are invited to attend the program on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and to volunteer with the program on Wednesday afternoons. The high school program will offer some tutoring and mentoring, but we will have a significant focus on transition planning and goal setting. We will be looking at jobs, vocational schools, and colleges/universities, applications for all, and we will have volunteer and internship experiences.
Students from Hillsboro High School would be picked up from school at 2:00pm and brought to Bridges for the Deaf and Hard Hearing. The after-school program ends at 5:00pm, and students would be transported to two, pick-up locations details below) to meet parents. We provide transportation from Hillsboro High School, but any student who can provide her/his own transportation is welcome. High school students throughout Middle Tennessee are welcome for all Signing ACEs activities even if they do not participate in the after-school program.
Language Acquisition: We will continue to build American Sign Language and English language skills with all our students.
Clubs: Our clubs have been a hit, so we’ll be asking students what sorts of clubs might interest them.
FUN!: We want to have fun! We will offer game days and special outings and gatherings that are safe! These will take place once or twice a month and will be on Fridays or Saturdays. Some will be family activities as well.
We will have social outings and special events, special volunteer opportunities, and internship opportunities.
We offer FREE ASL classes to the parents and guardians of D/deaf, Deaf-Blind, and hard of hearing children. These are available online and in person.
We have a Deaf Education series of workshops taking place monthly. These are virtual and FREE.
We will attend IEP meetings or other events if you need support.
All our staff is fully vaccinated, and we are following CDC guidelines based on the rate of transmission in Davidson County. We have addressed ventilation in the building to ensure we have the maximum fresh air flow, and we have HEPA filter air purifiers in rooms.
We recognize that masks are a barrier for our community, so we are trying to create a safe environment that allows us to be mask free and/or to use clear masks to allow for full access.
If your child feels bad, symptoms or not, please keep him/her home. We will err on the side of caution always, and we want to create the safest possible environment for all children and staff here. Even a possible exposure disrupts school and work, and for us, that means it disrupts our ability to serve our community. We are also mindful that we do not each person’s health status nor health needs or risks of their loved ones at home. We will do whatever is needed to respect each other and to keep each other safe and healthy.
Please remember that you can invite advocates and advisors to join you in IEP meetings and that our qualified staff is available to attend meetings with you or to help advise you beforehand.
We look forward to seeing you!
If you have any questions, please contact Daniel Timlen, email@example.com or 615.657.7903 (videophone).
PLEASE REVIEW OUR POLICIES HERE.