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Adapting a New Model: Hackensack High School Program for the Deaf

This information is part of an online guide, Resources for Mainstream Programs

The information on this page is a sidebar to an article that appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Odyssey. Dr. Candi Mascia-Reed of Bergen County Special Services School District, New Jersey, contributed this article. See the full article here.

Hackensack's deaf education programs are unique in the state of New Jersey in their use of the Consultant Teacher Model. The more common forms of instructional support for mainstreamed deaf and hard of hearing students are: a support teacher who stays with the student(s) all the time; or a pull-out model, with an itinerant teacher of the deaf coming in to provide resource assistance; or a co-teacher of the deaf who teaches alongside the general education teacher. So how did a school district manage to think outside of the deaf education box and implement a new approach?

Three years ago, Bergen County Special Services established a new high school program for the deaf in Hackensack, New Jersey. We decided that we would only set up this program if we could be trained in the Consultant Teacher Model that was already in use with special education students attending Hackensack High School. Once trained, we realized that we had to adapt this model to fit the needs of our deaf students. The Hackensack model, for instance, has the general education teacher, the consultant teacher, and teacher assistant, while our model includes the educational interpreter and a component of student responsibility for learning (the Student Resource Room Log), a mandatory resource period each day, scheduling of interpreters and the speech teacher infused in the resource period to support language/vocabulary/course content, and a system of sharing all observation information across team members. When we began the program, we used the Hackensack Consultant Teacher reporting Model; however, after the first year, we revised some procedures and forms while still keeping the consultant model concept intact.

We received support from the Hackensack High School administration and other community members during this process. My team of teachers, interpreters and school audiologist provided two workshops to the Hackensack High School staff prior to the beginning of the new school year. In addition, I-as well as the teachers of the deaf and the educational interpreter team-met on several occasions with the Hackensack High School special education team to receive information on the Consultant Teacher Model. The model proved so successful in the high school program that we started using it in the Union Street School program last year.