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American Annals of the Deaf

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Black Deaf Students: A Model for Educational Success

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organizations that focus on student resilience and transition. They will also coordinate efforts with community agencies that would provide the necessary resources to help facilitate transition. However, specific persons should be designated to provide individual, group, and workshop training for students, parents, teachers, and community organizations. Programs that focus on resilience and transition need to be well-planned and well-coordinated. The following are recommendations for support staff:
  1. Develop manuals of activities for the elementary middle, and high school levels that would be used in workshops and groups to teach students about different careers. These activities should be age-appropriate and include problem-solving, decision-making, and self-advocacy skill development activities; social skills activities; role playing; video tapes for use in workshops; and topics for research on careers. It is suggested that student input is included in developing the manual.
  2. Develop mentoring programs.
  3. Develop a program for students to shadow adults in the school on their jobs and to visit their parents for a day to learn what they do.
  4. Develop workshops on various careers, resources, self-advocacy skills, and colleges, and discuss at the high school level how to access resources and financial aid.
  5. Develop transition workshops that facilitate studentsí moves from elementary to high school and from high school to college. Students who have successfully transitioned from elementary school and middle school to high school could help those currently entering high school. Students who are in college and those who have graduated from college could be asked to share their perspectives on what helped them succeed and how they handled obstacles that interfered with their progress.
  6. Develop a comprehensive work-study program that has a variety of careers that require college degrees that students can apply for based on their interest level. Make this program a part of the studentsí requirements for graduation that they can fulfill either during the school year or during the summer.
  7. Develop collaborative relationships with colleges and universities that allow students to take courses and visit and ask presenters from those schools to come to the high school for presentations.
  8. Develop mentor programs that will provide African American deaf and hard of hearing students with mentors who will provide ongoing and open communication on an informal basis, It is important that the students have mentors that they can also relate to as role models.
  9. Develop career and college fairs with input from African American students and parents and partlcipa6on of African American parents and former graduates.

The Role of Community Organizations, Businesses, and Key Stakeholders

Community organizations and key stakeholders can provide a variety of resources and opportunities for students to enhance their resilience. This was evident in the participantsí description of how VR, churches, and cultural organizations contributed to their transition by providing care and support, high expectations, and learning opportunities.

The model uses regular meetings to obtain feedback arid to discuss ways to enhance collaborative efforts, and it will ensure that African American deaf and hard of hearing individuals and advocate organizations included in the process. Written agreements, which include policies, programs, and procedures, need to he developed with the community organizations, other schools arid local colleges so it is clear what is expected from the schools, colleges, and the organizations in collaborative partnerships.

VR is a very important agency in the transition of deaf and hard of hearing students, which is why students and their parents need to be aware of these services. VR administration helps deaf and hard of hearing individuals obtain competitive employment and enhance their independent living skills. Eligibility for this service is based on individual physical or mental impairments that interfere with the individualís ability to obtain or maintain employment. This agency provides training, educational assistance, and employment services to eligible individuals to help them become and remain employed. There is no cost for the services. For financial assistance for college, students should check with their local VR counselors discuss the services available to them. Studentsí VR cases should be opened no later than the end of their junior year in high school so that they will be able to enter college with the proper support services and financial aid, High schools need to coordinate their transition programs with VR by having periodic meetings with them to discuss their students and boss they can work together to help them and their families understand how to use this service effectively. The school and VR representatives should arrange an orientation session at the school for students and their parents that provides information about VR services. The school should also arrange office space for VR personnel to come to the school to meet with individual students and their families.

All of the organizations and individuals who work with the school in the transition process should be invited at least twice a year to school, The first meeting would focus on how the school and all of the agencies could collaborate in meeting the needs of the students. A second meeting at the end of the year will evaluate the yearís work and include a reception to thank the community agencies for their contributions to the studentsí resilience and transition. The following are some recommendations for working with community agencies and key stakeholders. It is proposed that schools provide training in Deaf culture and sign language for mainstream school personnel employers, and other stakeholders who are providing transition services for the students. In addition, schools will need to provide workshops on resilience and transition. The collaboration of family, school, community organizations and key stakeholders will provide a more comprehensive approach to developing and strengthening resilience.

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