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Avon High School Cancels Second Level of American Sign Language Program

The first ASL section with Susan Steers will continue as planned.

After piloted an American Sign Language (ASL) class last year, there were six students signed up to take the next level in the fall.

However, high school officials did not find a certified candidate to teach ASL 2 in time, so the additional course will no longer be offered.

Susan Steers will return to teach ASL 1 in the fall but was not avalable to take on an additional section, Avon High School Principal Jason Beaudin said Tuesday. The district posted the job opening on www.applitrack.com Aug. 2 and describes the positions as a "one-year appointment."

"Maintaining the program with Susan was very important to us," Beaudin said. "We posted an opening for a .2 position and we were unable to find a certified candidate and waited as long as we could...."

For now, the high school has shelved adding a second part to the new ASL program in order to give the students signed up some time to choose another course to fill that slot.

However, that does not mean Avon will never add another level. If the district does find someone to teach ASL 2, Beaudin said school officials will discuss accordingly "what we can potentially do with it." Administrators will assess "where we are as we move forward with the curriculum," he added.

"We’re going to need to look at the program and enrollments and plan for the future to see where we’ll go with it," Beaudin said.

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, an student who died in a car accident before her senior year in 2010. Andrew used sign language often to communicate with her younger brother, Aidan, now 7, who has Down syndrome. Thanks to donations to Smiles for Mellissa, a charity her family established in her honor, through a memorial golf tournament and other efforts to fund ASL at the high school last year and continue it this year.

, Mellissa's mother, previously told Patch she hopes the school will eventually approve it as a world language course for credit and fund it.

The course will need to go through a review process for board adoption of a new course, Beaudin said.

Editor's Note: If there's something in this article that you think should be corrected or if you have questions or a news tip give Avon Patch Editor Jessie Sawyer a ring at 860-356-6339 or shoot her an e-mail at Jessie.Sawyer@patch.com.

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