Best Practice in Mainstream Education of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Conference

Join us July 31, 2020 for

Experiences with Remote Learning in Mainstream Deaf Education—A Virtual Panel Discussion

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The COVID-19 pandemic led to a rapid shift to online and virtual education. Teachers of deaf and hard-of-hearing students (TODHHs) had to change how they educated their students and collaborated with educators and parents. At this important time, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) would like to celebrate the successes of TODHHs regarding remote deaf education at the virtual Best Practices in Mainstream Education for Students who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) free online mini-conference on July 31, 2020. We aim to elicit, share, and learn from TODHH’s experiences in remote deaf education and compile a teaching resource to be used by others.

Virtual Mini Conference Schedule




Session I welcome, housekeeping/logistics/tech info


Panel Discussion (Session I)


Session I close, break, transition to PWG Session 1 for those participating


PWGs Session I




Session II welcome, housekeeping/logistics/tech info


Panel Discussion (Session II)




PWGs Session II


Virtual Networking Lounge

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About Your Workplace
Do you work with students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing?
Please select the grade level(s) of those students

Past Conferences

2018 Conference

The 2018 Conference on Best Practice in Mainstream Education of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students offered one and a half days of keynote presentations and concurrent sessions as well as poster sessions where teachers from around North America shared their strategies and methods. The conference also featured a choice of pre-conference workshops.

A "Radical" Trend for Change in Deaf Education: The Art of Being an Expert
Presenter(s): Michella Maiorana-Basas

The ongoing debate over modality still plagues our field, however, a “one-size-fits-all” approach cannot meet the unique needs of every single child. Still, there remains a divide among professionals, parents, and the d/Deaf community which has created barriers to collaboration and progress. This presentation will address these issues and offer solutions and reflections on how we can work together through “The Radical Middle” where researchers, parents, educators, and the Deaf community can collaborate on ways to bring a radical perspective to Deaf Education that is respectful and inclusive of all.

Action Research for Teachers of the Deaf Across Instructional Settings
Presenter(s): Jennifer S. Beal

Teachers in diverse instructional settings, including resource and itinerant teachers, will learn how to use action research and graphed data to create learning objectives and evaluate the effectiveness of their instruction based on graphed student performance data.

Brainstorming: Collaboration Between Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing & Educational Interpreters
Presenter(s): Janna Hasko and Whitney Weirick

There is a limited amount of research on the collaboration between Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ToDHH) and Educational Interpreters (EI). A think tank session to discuss the collaborative process between current ToDHH’s and EI’s will be examined.

Every Teacher is a Teacher of Reading: Practical Content Reading Strategies for Classroom Teachers
Presenter(s): Michella Maiorana-Basas

The current research indicates that deaf and hard-of-hearing (d/hh) readers struggle with content area text (and the skills associated with comprehension of content area texts such as making connections to prior knowledge, understanding text structure/ organization (e.g., cause and effect) attention to text features, vocabulary and inferencing (e.g., reading between the lines, predicting). This presentation will review the current literature on content area literacy among d/hh students and discuss potential strategies that address content area literacy in the content area classroom.

How can I advocate for educational audiology if the service doesn't exist?
Presenter(s): Kym Meyer, M.S., ABD, The Learning Center for the Deaf and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst

How can teachers of the deaf advocate for educational audiology services? This presentation targets regions where educational audiology is not an available related service. This presenter created an educational audiology consultation program and will discuss laws, provide resources, brainstorm with and empower participants to access educational audiology services.

Implementing Strategic Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) in the itinerant model
Presenter(s): Joan Weir and Rachel Saulsburry

Itinerant teachers need to be prepared to provide writing instruction that meets the needs of deaf/hard of hearing (d/hh) students. We examine how Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI), a writing framework developed for instruction with d/hh students can be successfully implemented.

Interactive Storybook Reading: Strategies That Work Across Settings
Presenter(s): Janna Hasko and Joy Kane

Put research to practice by learning the strategies to individualize effective vocabulary identification and meaning comprehension for your students. Current evidence to support the PEER and CROWD strategies will be presented along with a hands-on experience to implement the strategies in the mainstream setting.

Model of professional learning that supports evidence-based, collaborative services
Presenter(s): Danial Salvucci and Susan Lenihan

This presentation will describe a model of professional learning that supports evidence-based, collaborative services for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in inclusive settings. The presenters will identify obstacles facing deaf educators working in general education environments and pathways for better student outcomes.

Monitoring Students' Progress in Reading and Writing with Avenue:PM
Presenter(s): Susan Rose, Simon Hooper and Rayne A. Sperling

Avenue PM (AVE:PM) is a free suite of game-like apps designed to monitor students’ progress in the areas of reading and writing using Curriculum Based Measures designed specifically for students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Strategic Planning and the Itinerant Teacher
Presenter(s): M. Christina Rivera, Ph. D. & Elizabeth Brauss, University of Arizona

Itinerant teachers are responsible for supporting the language and literacy needs of their DHH students and prepare them to participate in their mainstream classes. Strategic planning is one way to ensure itinerant teachers address students’ IEP goals and the demands of the general education classroom.

Using Cued Speech to Support Literacy
Presenter(s): Karla Giese and Stephanie Gardiner-Walsh

One of the most important goals of Cued Speech is to support student development of literacy. Knowledge and understanding of the phonemic pattern of English is an integral part of learning to read and Cued Speech can be used to support that process.

Vocabulary Instruction in the Content-Areas
Presenter(s): Jessica W. Trussell

In contrast to younger readers, adolescent deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students must read discipline-specific textbooks like experts in the field. One strategy to advance adolescent DHH readers’ vocabulary abilities is teaching word parts. Analyzing word parts may eventually lead to self-generated vocabulary learning.

Portrait of Marc Marschark as a child

Keynote #1: Evidence-Based Practice in Deaf Education?

Marc Marschark is a Professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a faculty of Rochester Institute of Technology, where he directs the Center for Education Research Partnerships. He also is Honorary Professor of Psychology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. His research focuses on relations among language, learning, and cognition among deaf learners across the lifespan. His recent emphasis on evidence-based practice in the classroom has led to a variety of research findings clarifying the sources (and realities) of myths and misunderstandings in deaf education.

Evidence-Based Practice in Deaf Education?

Marc Marschark, Ph.D.

Center for Education Research Partnerships

National Technical Institute for the Deaf – Rochester Institute of Technology

Deaf education and research have had a long but uneasy relationship. Without pointing fingers, it is evident that political and philosophical "preferences" with regard to deaf children's language and learning frequently have trumped research, either ignoring relevant findings or arguing that such studies are unnecessary (or even inappropriate). Findings from recent research, however, mesh well with teachers’ observations and intuitions, pointing the way to real progress. In particular, consistent results from diverse studies now indicate that we are not taking advantage of some early strengths demonstrated by deaf learners, squandering their potential for greater academic outcomes. It is time to abandon myths, clear up misunderstandings, and re-examine some of our assumptions about raising and educating deaf children. Only then can we offer deaf children the opportunities they deserve.

Keynote #2: Deaf Children’s Comprehension of Direct vs. Interpreted Education

Portrait of Kim Kurz

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Dr. Kim Kurz is Chairperson of the American Sign Language & Interpreting Education department at NTID, works in the NTID Associate Dean’s Office for Curriculum and Special Projects, and is the Co-Director of Sign Language Research Lab in NTID’s Center of Cognition and Language. She earned her doctorate in Education from the University of Kansas with a minor in Linguistics. She is a primary author of Learning Outcomes for American Sign Language Skills: Level 1-4 and worked closely with the New York State Department of Education related to outcomes for “Graduates of Baccalaureate Interpreter Preparation Programs Specializing in K-12th Grade Settings” and the ASL teacher’s certification exam design. She served on the American Sign Language Standards National Committee to develop learning outcomes for students learning a language as their second or third language.

Deaf Children’s Comprehension of Direct vs. Interpreted Education

Kim Kurz, Ph. D.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf – Rochester Institute of Technology

This research study compared learning of 6-9th grade deaf students under two modes of educational delivery – interpreted vs. direct instruction using science lessons. Nineteen deaf students participated in the study in which they were taught six science lessons in American Sign Language. In one condition, the lessons were taught by a hearing teacher in English and were translated in ASL via a professional and certified interpreter. In the second condition, the lessons were taught to the students in ASL by a deaf teacher. All students saw three lessons delivered via an interpreter and three different lessons in direct ASL; the order of delivery of each presentation was counter balanced between the two groups of students. Following the instruction, each group was tested on the science lecture materials with six comprehension questions. The presenter will share the results from this study.

Keynote #3: Bystanding: Incidental Learning is Everyone’s Business?

Portrait of Gina OlivaPortrait of Mindy Hopper

Gina Oliva’s professional career at Gallaudet University spanned more than 35 years, and included work in student activities, outreach/community development, and health/fitness.  Prior to her retirement from Gallaudet in 2009, she achieved the rank of professor in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation.  In the 1980’s, Dr. Oliva received several national awards for her pioneering work with the use of visual cues for group exercise classes. 

Gina has been a tireless advocate for Deaf children through her books: Alone in the Mainstream:  A Deaf Woman Remembers Public School (Gallaudet University Press, 2004), and Turning the Tide: Making Life Better for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Schoolchildren with co-author Dr. Linda Lytle, Turning (Gallaudet University Press, 2014). 

Gina has been on the ASDC Board  since 2014, taking on the role of Secretary in 2017.  In September 2017 she was named to the Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

Dr. Mindy J. Hopper is entering her 35th year of teaching. She earned her Masters in Education at the Illinois State University and Doctor of Philosophy in Education at the University of Rochester.  Dr. Hopper’s pedagogy is based on access to a language and students’ motivation to participate in a community of scaffolding events.  A professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, she asserts that Deaf students have been positioned as relegated bystanders due to spoken language privileges and embedded institutional ideologies Dr. Hopper views incidental learning as lifelong social and academic practice. Moreover, she believes that the Access-Participation theory (APT) is a valuable framework for assessing learning phenomena in various situated contexts.  Professor Hopper reminds her colleagues that incidental learning, in addition to formal and informal learning, is a vast and critical component of daily learning. Finally, she argues that schools are accountable for ensuring that their environments be conducive to deaf students’ access to incidental learning opportunities.

Bystanding:  Incidental Learning is Everyone’s Business?

Gina Oliva, Ph.D.

Gallaudet University

Mindy J. Hopper, Ph. D.

National Technical Institute for the Deaf – Rochester Institute of Technology


Drs. Hopper and Oliva both chose the sign “pac-man” to describe dynamic and ongoing spoken conversations that permeate social settings and are inaccessible to Deaf individuals.  The sign (“pac-man”) for this phenomenon includes the concepts of “everywhere, all the time -- ubiquitous.”

Dr. Oliva’s focus has been on developmental consequences of this lack of access: low self-esteem, identity issues, and limited peer relationships – an overall sense of not belonging.  Dr. Hopper’s research elucidated the nature of the “missed information” and provided us with a grounded theory: the Access-Participation theory, which highlights how having more immediate and full access to incidental learning opportunities results in having more choices for participation.

Hopper and Oliva propose ways to ameliorate the lack of access and support deaf students’ ongoing effort to navigate these ubiquitous conversations at school. They encourage reframing the school culture to one that embraces all diversity, including the concept that there is something to be gained from having a deaf or hard of hearing student.

Keynote #4: Instruction and Service Time Decisions: Itinerant Services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Portrait of Mindy Hopper

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Shirin D. Antia is the Meyerson Distinguished Professor of Disability and Rehabilitation, in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, at the University of Arizona, College of Education. She has directed the program in education of DHH since 1980. She teaches masters- and doctoral-level courses in the areas of language development of exceptional students, inclusion, and research. Her  research has focused on peer interaction, and social and academic integration and inclusion of DHH children. She is currently one of the co-principal investigators of the Center for Literacy and Deafness (CLAD). Together with the CLAD Arizona team, she is working on a series of research studies on interventions to enhance expressive vocabulary and syntax of DHH children.  Dr. Antia has been honored as a University of Arizona College of Education Erasmus Scholar, and received a life-time achievement award from the Association of College Educators – Deaf Hard of Hearing for her professional contribution to the field.

Instruction and Service Time Decisions: Itinerant Services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Shirin D. Antia, Ph. D.

University of Arizona

Based on a five-year longitudinal study of DHH students in general education classrooms, this presentation will a) describe the specific kinds of services provided by itinerant teachers to deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students in general education settings, (b) examine the relationship between student academic performance and instructional support provided by the itinerant teacher, and (c) examine how service provision decisions are made by itinerant teachers. Results indicated that itinerant teachers of DHH students provided direct academic instruction to 60% of students on their caseload. The majority of students received instruction in reading and writing, although some received instruction in other academic areas. Low-achieving students were the most likely to receive academic instruction from the itinerant teacher. Teachers provided instruction in nonacademic areas including self-advocacy, study skills, auditory skill, and learning strategies to 80% of students on their caseload. Decisions regarding service time were influenced by student needs and performance, age, parental request, and transitions. Based on an analysis of assets and risks, suggestions are made regarding the specific itinerant services are likely to be most effective.

Sign Language in the Classroom (CSD-1300)

This 3-hour workshop is designed to provide participants (educational professional working with deaf and hard of hearing students) strategies and skill building to deliver the academic content in and through signed language effectively. Educational interpreters and teachers of the deaf will enhance their sign language skills for the purpose of conveying specialized concepts (i.e., science, mathematics, social studies) accurately. Focused areas include specialized vocabulary, delivery strategies, and assessment modifications.

  • Brief lectures on academic topics presented in ASL will be shown
  • Linguistic features of signed language from those lectures will be highlighted for the group
  • Academic ASL terminology will be introduced, defined and discussed
  • Instructor will discuss ASL delivery strategies, assessment modifications, and phrasal and topic contexts for effective delivery
  • Participants will translate texts and video materials, incorporating terminology previously introduced, observing the structure of ASL sentences and text, and maintaining an engaging delivery  
Helping STEM Students Learn through Writing (CSD-2445)

Presentation Description

This session presents writing activities that enhance student learning in STEM courses. Topics include the value of writing, writing activities for in-class and out-of-class assignments, and effective response techniques.

Presentation Plan

Current research shows that student learning in all disciplines is enhanced through the practice of writing. This session will give STEM faculty hands-on practice in developing a variety of writing activities for in-class and out-of-class informal writing that assures more effective student learning. Participants will also learn how to manage the paper load through effective response techniques. Session leaders will use power point presentations, video clips and small group activities to engage participants. Handouts will include: listings of different writing strategies, examples of informal writing activities, a booklet describing successful response protocols, and web resources for additional support and information on using writing to learn in STEM disciplines.

Access and Audiology Technology Update (CSD-1310)

This workshop will be in two parts, one that focuses on access technology for the classroom, and one that focuses on the latest in hearing aid and cochlear implant technology.

The access technology portion of the workshop will highlight NTID’s use of  Microsoft Translator to transcribe classroom lectures in real time to help students who are deaf or hard of hearing feel more engaged. This solution is not meant to replace sign language, but rather expand classroom offerings for deaf and hard-of-hearing students by providing multiple channels of access that can be particularly useful for math, science and technical classes with subject matter that can be difficult to interpret.

The audiology portion of the workshop will review the current state of hearing aid, cochlear implant and Roger technologies, as well as accompanying accessories. Come learn more about how the latest digital technology allows for sophisticated signal processing, feedback cancellation, nonlinear amplification, and adaptive directionality.

RIT/NTID Overview (CSD-2405)

Join us for information on RIT/NTID, including an overview of programs, admission requirements and other information as well as a tour of the campus.