Bilingual Bicultural Itinerary

 Robert Hoffmeister, PhD, is founder and director emeritus of CRT and associate professor emeritus of Boston University. At BU, he is currently principal investigator of The American Sign Language (ASL) Vocabulary Resource and Video Library Project, a competitive award from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop the ASL Clear in partnership with The Learning Center for the Deaf. Also, Hoffmeister was principal investigator of a $1.5 million grant by the US Department of Education (2010-2015) to research the American Sign Language Assessment Instrument (ASLAI), which he originally began developing over two decades ago. With his advisement, CRT now administers the ASLAI in schools throughout the    country. As a faculty member in the School of Education at Boston University, Hoffmeister co-founded the Programs in Deaf Studies. He has published over 100 book chapters, research articles, working papers and participated in more than 100 national and international presentations. Much of his research and publication focuses on the improvement of language skills in Deaf children. His interest in language and Deaf children stems from being raised by two Deaf parents, both of whom were teachers in a widely respected school for the Deaf. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota in psycholinguistics and education, his Master's degree from the University of Arizona and his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut.

Disclosures:  Financial – Invited Teacher & Speaker for Cleary School for the Deaf and receives a speaker fee. Independent trainer for AVT and receives consulting fees.  Nonfinancial – No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist.


Jeanne Reis, MEd, CI & CT, MMP, is the Director of Center for Research and Training at The Learning Center for the Deaf. Jeanne Reis oversees CRT’s consultancies with schools, districts, and states on effective bilingual instruction and assessment practices. Jeanne also facilitates CRT’s partnerships with university principal investigators to advance research related to bilingual education using technology. Jeanne is project director of The American Sign Language (ASL) Vocabulary Resource and Video Library Project, a competitive contract (Boston University, Prime) with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop the the ASL Clear. At Boston University, she has served as project coordinator and lead instructor of Educational Interpreter Role and Ethics Institutes, funded by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. She has served as a consultant to numerous K-12 schools and is an interpreter educator who co-founded the Boston University Center for Interpreter Education and established the first mentorship program for educational interpreters in Massachusetts with a team of Deaf and hearing mentors. Since 2008, Jeanne has collaborated with expert teams to create ASL versions of standardized Mathematics tests. Jeanne served as a national sign language and Math content expert for the Guidelines for Accessible Assessments Project, a multi- year, multi-year research and coalition effort funded by The U.S. Department of Education. She is published in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education and co-authored two chapters in the recent publication Research in Deaf Education: Contexts, Challenges, and Considerations (Oxford University Press, 2017). Jeanne holds a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University, a BA in Linguistics from University of Southern Maine, and a Master Mentor Certificate from University of Colorado Boulder. Jeanne is the daughter of Deaf parents .

            Disclosures:  Financial – Invited Teacher & Speaker for Cleary School for the Deaf and receives a speaker fee.  Nonfinancial – No relevant nonfinancial relationships exist.




Cleary School for the Deaf


Robert Hoffmeister, PhD

Jeanne Reis, MEd

Bilingual/Bicultural Education for Deaf Children and Language Acquisition

Tuesday November 7, 2017

Course Site:  East Islip Middle School Library

100 Redmen Street, Islip Terrace, NY




8:00 -8:30 a.m.: Introductions

8:30 -10:30 a.m.: ASL and its influence on Deaf children's reading skills and academic success

10:30-10:45 a.m.: Break

10:45-12:15: p.m.: ASL Assessment and Classroom Implications

12:15-1:00: p.m.: Lunch

1-2:15 p.m.: ASL and STEM (Science, Math): Academic Language in the Classroom

2:15-3:00 p.m.: Questions/Discussion

3:00 p.m. Adjourn                   


Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize and identify support for bilingual education for Deaf and hard of hearing students;
  2. Identify the role of L1 (ASL)  in Deaf students and its impact on L2 (English via print) in Deaf and hard of hearing students
  3. Distinguish that meaning and learning of academic information can be accessed in ASL
  4. Identify features of ASL that can be evaluated in language assessments;
  5. Analyze, on a basic level, newly coined academic terms in ASL for grammatical and conceptual alignment;
  6. Describe classroom implementation of educational tools in ASL;
  7. Evaluate academic discourse in ASL.


 To register for this conference, please visit our website:

Professional:  $150

Group Rate:  $130 (3+ people form the same school or agency

Students/Parents:  $75

This intermediate course is offered for .60 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate Level, Professional Area).




Abstract and Summary of the Presentation

     The recognition of ASL as a first language (L1) in Deaf students has been supported by both theory and practice from bilingual education, research on Deaf children and Deaf adults and from educating Deaf students.  Implementing ASL as the language of the classroom and recognizing the role and development of English as a 2nd language creates a learning environment that takes advantage of cognitive, language, social and learning processes of the mind.  All Deaf st udents are capable of excelling in  bilingual and biliterate skills that lead to enhancement of academic knowledge.

The morning discussion will focused on building an understanding of bilingual functioning in Deaf students and some of research that underlies principles of learning an L1 and its impact on learning an L2.  The expectation that Deaf students  are capable of developing high level academic skills in the L1 and these skills will significantly impact their academic knowledge.  The academic and social environment that provides full access to an L1 both in its social and academic forms (registers) will enhance learning an L2 and will encumber the advantages of being able to access academic information in two languages.

A second component of the morning discussion will provide an overview of the assessment of ASL in Deaf students.  Originated by Robert Hoffmeister, The American Sign Language Assessment Instrument (ASLAI) is designed provide an age related measure of ASL knowledge and to track the yearly progression of ASL and English print literacy over time for students ages 4-18. The ASLAI consists of eleven receptive tasks: five related to vocabulary, three pertaining to syntax, and two reasoning and comprehension tasks and one measure of English knowledge.

Creating and sharing ASL materials online and in the classroom can foster authentic lifelong learning in ASL, and content areas such as Science and Math. Strong language fluency, and mastery of a variety of subject areas, gives students of all ages the ability to succeed in classrooms and careers. It is now possible to build tools in ASL that foster bilingualism and critical thinking among students, teachers, interpreters and others.


The afternoon discussion  will be focused on STEM instruction in ASL. Principles and practices based on our work in the develop of the ASL Clear will be presented. ASL Clear is designed to serve as a key educational tool for deaf and hard of hearing students learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) material. Unique ASL‐feature search functionality allows students to access all content using their knowledge of ASL.