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Archived - DHH Newsletter (September 2021)

Mountain Top - Deaf Hard of Hearing Newsletter


Term: September 2021 | Issue 10 | Exceptional Student Services |


Welcome back to another year of opportunities and possibilities.  Although we are not back to “normal”, we do feel as though students are more connected and that we will have the ability to create more inclusive environments.  Our goal this school year is to continue the wonderful work that has been done in the past, and continue to improve our craft so that our students have the greatest possibility for success.   This year we are going to take a deeper dive into Equity, Diversity, and Meaningful Inclusion.  We are going to identify the barriers that many of our students may face, and work to eliminate these barriers or give our students the skills needed to overcome them.  As professionals and/or parents there is so much that you are already doing, and we want to make sure that we provide meaningful resources and tools to assist you in your efforts to support your students and children.  This year will provide us with it’s own surprises and challenges; however, remember that you are NOT alone and that there is a strong community in place to support you no matter what the 2021-2022 school year has in store.  We look forward to another great year.  We look forward to finding joy in our successes both large and small.  Most importantly,  we look forward to continuing the amazing work that the Colorado D/HH professionals and families are doing for the sake of our students.  We hope that you will join the D/HH Leadership Team as we venture into the new school year and all it has to offer. 

Oh, and by the way, let us know what you think of the “Quarterly News in D/HH” our “new look” to the Colorado Deaf/Hard of Hearing Newsletter!

Let’s make it a GREAT YEAR of learning and growing together,

The Colorado Deaf/HH Leadership Team


Welcome New Staff

We also want to take this opportunity to welcome new staff members:

Dawn Croasmun, D/HH Teacher at Chappelow Elementary

Amanda Clark, Au.D. Audiologist at East Central BOCES

Tyler Drake, Au.D. Audiologist in Adams 12

Rae Henson, Itinerant D/HH Teacher at Littleton Public Schools

Elizabeth Winslow, Remote D/HH Teacher in Delta County Joint School District 50J 

If you have new staff members that you would like to recognize in our next newsletter please fill out the input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter (Google Form)

Quick Links



A shout out to the individuals who engaged in extended learning around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion this summer.  During the months of June, July and August we dove deep into EDI issues related to the experiences of D/HH individuals.  The process of examining bias and comparing equity and equality took us on a journey that included evaluating our professional practices.  Listening intently to stories of Deaf adults of color while weaving themes of identity, connection and belonging into our learning was powerful!  One participant proposed three words suggesting how we might open our thinking to new possibilities as we implement our learning from this summer into professional practice this school year:




Thank you to the EDI extended learning participants who engaged with us this summer:

Ann Mandico

Annie DiNiro

Jessica Garcia

Kelly Tuomala

Kelly Welch

Lauren Lewis

Mandi Darr

Margaret Wisney

Patty Textor

Rhonda Urbach

Susan Elliott

What's New?

LLAA! Mark Your Calendar

Join us Thursday afternoons for Listen, Learn, Ask and Answer (LLAA) 

There will be a SHORT presentation ~ followed by questions, answers, and GOOD discussions!   Please review the topics and dates listed then register by clicking the associated links.

Registrants will receive the Zoom links for Thursday LLAA:  Those who “invite a colleague” and  you BOTH show up will be entered into a weekly drawing.  Make sure to invite those who are new to your program and those who support your program.  Group Learning is the BEST learning!

Statewide Zoom Collaborations will continue in 2021-2022

Thursday, September 16th (3:30-5:30pm) is our first Zoom Collaboration this year!  We will be discussing “what’s new” (and old) in the world of Covid in DHH, licensing “stuff”, identity and we will begin our large group journey into Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  We will discover how EDI distinctly impacts the work we do with students with hearing loss.  If you have not already, sign up for September 16, Zoom Collaboration!


Audiology Corner

Summer is often the time when students and families pay an annual visit to the clinical audiologist for updated testing and technology fitting. Hopefully, the clinical provider, with permission from the student’s caregiver, sends a report to the educational audiologist so that the team has the updated information to provide necessary services and technology for the start of the school year. In a perfect world, the educational audiologist gets the report early, has in stock the correct devices, audio shoes, or cables; not to mention the expertise to do this without checking the website or user manuals. In reality, the process is a little more messy. Technology advances quickly in our field and educational audiologists have to maintain a working knowledge of dozens of devices from multiple manufacturers and this requires not only loads of professional development, but also a lot of hands-on trial and error. All of the professionals serving students who are D/HH have to know about hearing technology in order to effectively support our students. Therefore, do not miss the upcoming Listen, Learn, Ask, Answer (LLAA):  Audiologist Edition on Thursday 10/7. All are welcome as we discuss all things technology! Register for October 7, LLAA Here!


Educational Interpreter Mentoring 

Per Colorado requirements, Educational Interpreters who have not earned a 3.5 or higher on the EIPA performance assessment must engage in a mentorship.  During the 2021-2022 school year CDE will pilot a new interpreter mentoring program. This program will consist of a Deaf adult and an experienced educational interpreter who will collaboratively provide mentorship.  Collaboratively the mentors and mentees will create a professional growth plan based on the strengths and needs identified in the mentee’s most current EIPA assessment.  Mentors will provide activities, exercises, and assessments designed to meet the individualized needs of the mentee.  The cost of the program will be shared between CDE and the educational interpreter receiving the mentorship.  If you have questions about the new program, please reach out to Shauna Moden at or Pat Himes at

Continuing Education for Educational Interpreters

Knowledge Training  

Knowledge Training is a learning activity that has a direct relationship to classroom content and enhances the understanding of the interpreting process. Acceptable activities include educational conferences, workshops, seminars, or in-services.

Knowledge Training


What is it?

Who can provide it? 

Required Documents

30 Hours

Continuing education that can be directly applied to work as an education interpreter

Formal district, region, state, RID, CRID offerings
(contact/clock hours)

Certificate of Attendance with required data
(see Validation of Workshop Attendance)

Accredited college courses
(Continuing Education Unit - CEU)

Official Transcript 
(1 College Credit - 15 hours of instruction)


Skills Training

Skills Training is a learning activity with a stated scope and sequence for building interpreting skills, as well as practice and feedback. In order for a training to be approved by Educator Licensing for reauthorization, the hours must be accrued in 7.5-hour increments (hours do not have to occur in a singular session), and the presenter(s) must have one or more of the following qualifications:

  1. Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certified
  2. National Association of the Deaf (NAD) level IV or V
  3. Signing Exact English (SEE) Center certified
  4. Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) level 4.0 or above
  5. Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT), current membership
  6. American Sign Language Teachers Association (ASLTA), current membership
  7. National Cued Speech Association, Certified Instructor
  8. Oral Transliteration credential
  9. Approval from the Educational Interpreter Advisory Board (EIAB)

Skills Training


What is it?

Who can provide it? 

Required Documents

30 hours: must be in 7.5-hour increments
(hours do not have to occur in a singular session)

Continuing education hours that can be directly applied to interpreting skills. 

Appropriately credentialed presenters
(contact/clock hours)

Certificate of Attendance with required data
(see Validation of Workshop Attendance)

Approved interpreter preparation programs or accredited college courses

Official Transcript
(1 college credit = 15 hours)


Upcoming Skills Training

  • Social Studies Presented in ASL (September 10th-12th, 2021)
    By:  Paul Glasser
    Social Studies signs play an increasing role in teaching and learning in the classroom. Many teachers and interpreters have different signs for Social Studies terms, and it is possible that a lack of standardization may influence learning. This presentation was designed to assist new and experienced Social Studies teachers and K-12 interpreters who may not have signs for advanced Social Studies terms.
    *Note* - this training is currently full and is accepting waitlist registrations. Join the Social Studies Presented in ASL waitlist.  
  • ASL Discourse Mapping  (January 7th-9th, 2022)                
    By:  Dr. Deborah Cates
    Understanding ASL Discourse Features:  ASL discourse features, often called "expansion techniques", are ways in which ASL is structured to convey meaning. This workshop reviews the seven features known as contrasting, faceting, reiterating, use of 3D space, describe then do, explain by example, and scaffolding. In this workshop, interpreters will review these techniques, practice identifying them in native ASL conversation, and then practice incorporating them into interpretations. Special consideration will be given to the application of these techniques for interpreting field-specific concepts.
    *Note* - this training is currently full and is accepting waitlist registrations only. Join the ASL Discourse waitlist.
  • Pat Himes is working to provide at least three more skills workshops before the end of the school year.  Keep an eye out for notifications in the ListServ and the D/HH Statewide Calendar

Educational Interpreter Handbook

What's New in Transition

"Is he lazy, does he have a behavior problem, or is something else going on?"

Service providers commonly ask questions like this, and it may be that students are struggling with executive functioning (EF) skills. These skills develop in the frontal lobe beginning in elementary school and do not fully develop until well into young adulthood. EF skills such as task initiation, planning, time management, working memory, and emotional control are critical for success in higher education and the workplace. As part of our D/HH Transition Project, Colorado will partner with Nebraska and Arizona to provide multi-state collaborations focusing on executive functioning during the 2021-2022 school year. Joseph Smail, Ph.D. of Maryland will lead this charge. Dr. Smail has worked with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in a variety of placement settings and is an expert in executive functioning.  He recently presented a national webinar for the American Society for Deaf Children on this topic and was a captivating presenter. For example, he described how EF can be applied to understand perplexing student behaviors and how IEP goals targeting EF skills can support student success. Keep your eye out for opportunities coming soon to join the EF dialog.


To be an expert, listen to the experts. 

- Jenny Feraer

Learning from Their Words:  Listening to General Education Teachers

At the request of one of our fabulous D/HH professionals, we reached out to General Education Teachers across the state to find out what they wished Special Education support would look like in their classrooms.  General education teachers from preschool through high school AP Chemistry, from Denver to Strasburg, in charter and neighborhood schools shared their thoughts.  Here are the questions we asked and what general education teachers had to say:

What are 2-3 things you most appreciate from specialists when approaching you about the specific needs of students on IEPs?

"I appreciate when Sped professionals ask me what I see in the classroom and involve me in goal settings. I also appreciate being involved with deciding on appropriate accommodations, many of the “cookie cutter” accommodations are not appropriate for my class and won’t help the student."

"I appreciate having face time to actually review the IEP, the snapshots simply do not tell me enough, and emails get buried ESPECIALLY at the beginning of the school year!"

"The BEST Sped providers inquire about my needs to support a student.  I also want to know what are the strengths of this student, if you have been with the student for a while I want to know how to connect with the student on day one and create a positive relationship.  I can read about the students areas of needs, but what I really want to know is how I can build on what he/she CAN do."

"I appreciate Sped Providers who can find ways to work IN general ed setting.  I always want ALL of my students to feel like they are a part of my classroom community, the more time away the less they feel like they are a part of the community.  I also like to watch you in action, if you show me how you are doing it I am better equipped to help the student when you are not there."

"I appreciate when Sped Providers work with me to create materials that are age appropriate and will help the student make growth and not just “exist” in my classroom.  I want help coming up with ideas about what I can do in the classroom that won’t make the student stand out and that other students won’t notice anything different, and most importantly I want to make sure that the student stays in the classroom as much as possible!"

"I appreciate when a Sped Provider can identify the language needs and we can brainstorm ideas on how both of us can increase their language skills.  I also want to know what the goals are for the student and I want to collaboratively decide how I can work on these goals WITH the provider.  Having command language is critical!"

"I appreciate resources that I can use that will help me address the specific needs of the students.  I also want REAL examples and strategies that have worked in the past for this specific student (not just strategies that theoretically work for a student with this specific disability)."

At the beginning of the year and/or semester what is the best way for Special Service Providers (SSP) to connect with you?

All of our General Education Teachers said the SAME thing.  “Connect with me in person!”  All of our General Education Teachers identified the need for a relationship with the other adults that they are working with.  Although email communication may be best to set-up a time to talk and collaborate, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation that is scheduled during a time that they are NOT teaching class.

What do you wish a Special Service Providers would ask/share when discussing a specific student with you?

"I want to know what skills the Special Service Providers are working on and how they can support the growth of those skills within the general education classroom.  We know that working on skills in isolation is not effective, so I want to make sure that we are all working on the same thing in the most similar way possible."

"Staffings and IEP meetings always start with what the child CAN do.  I wish that my initial conversations with Sped Providers also started that way.  Let’s celebrate what the student can do and build on their strengths!"

"I really want good examples about what HAS worked in the past. Resources (ex.forms, point sheets, behavior sheets, etc.) that have been used and have worked would be great. I often feel like I'm starting at square one and figuring it all out for each kid year after year."

"I want Special Services Providers to ask how we can work together and plan goals/strategies that can help support the student.  I also want them to work with me to create the best way to communicate throughout the year not just right before an IEP meeting or when a parent is upset."

"I want Special Service Providers to give me some insight to the student.  What interests them and what should I avoid.  Let me learn from previous teachers’ mistakes."

When you are struggling with a student in your classroom, what is the one thing you most wish a SSP would do to help support you and/or the student?            

"Push in to provide 1 on 1 services with the student. This way the student can still have access to what everyone else is doing with help.  This also gives the Special Service Provider a more realistic view of what happens day to day when they are not there."

"Observe the classroom, provide suggestions/feedback, assist with difficult conversations with family."

"Acknowledging the things that I have done well up until that point, as I’m already struggling with the situation. I wish they would give models/examples of what they want/need to do to improve the situation. Show me an example with the child that works, stay with me until something works."

"I'm all about collaboration and discussing student needs and capabilities. Setting even a 10 minute meeting would be helpful to ensure accommodations and modifications are in place starting on the first day."

"Give more materials on the student level or "a need" (ie. vocabulary or signs) for them to practice. ESPECIALLY, if the student is unable to complete a classroom task (worksheet, etc.)"

"Work with me to ensure that we have a plan of action and a way to measure the success of the plan.  I want to be part of the solution, however I look to Special Service Providers to give me insider tips for this specific student that I may never be able to come up with on my own!"

Any other strategies that would strengthen the collaboration/relationship between general ed and special ed that you would like to share?

"Model the strategies suggested, roll up your sleeves and do the work alongside me :-)"

"Make connections between teams so they can acknowledge the strengths of the other teachers.   All teachers are co-teaching this child. This is a team for the child’s success, not a competition to see who did  or didn’t do what."

"Have an open relationship. We are a team and we should work together!"

"Keep the communication coming, check in to see how things are going. Follow up! Sometimes you never hear from the SSPs unless there is an IEP coming up or a BIG problem on the horizon."

A special thanks to Nicki Eaton, Lottie Anderson, Amy Oakeson, Amanda Palmer, and a few other teachers who wish to remain anonymous.  Your comments were candid, from the heart and full of insight and wisdom!  You remind all of us we are a team and collaboration is KEY to serving students successfully!

Student Spotlight

John Wilson

John Wilson is a Senior at East High School in Denver. He plays on the Rugby team and was elected captain during his Junior year. This doesn’t happen very often; the last junior elected captain of East’s Rugby team was twenty years ago! In June, John led his team to a victory over Legend High School to win the 2021 Colorado State Rugby Championship. John will continue as captain of the team for this year, his senior year. John relies on his vision while playing rugby because he cannot hear his teammates on the field; John has bilateral moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss.

In addition to his leadership on the Rugby team, during his junior year, John also served as a student ambassador to the Denver Public Schools Special Education Advisory Council. In this role he collaborated with students and staff from across the district to develop solutions to the issue of students with disabilities in our schools feeling misunderstood and undervalued as part of their classrooms and school communities. The solution they developed was one of targeted education and empowerment around the disability experience in schools and district wide. This education campaign will be implemented throughout our school district in the month of October, disability acceptance month.

During his Senior year, John is attending both East High School and the Denver Public Schools’ Career Education Center where he is studying Emergency Medical Science and is planning to get his EMT Certification at the end of the course.

John is looking forward to attending college after he graduates from East in the spring and plans to study biology to prepare for a career in the medical field. He is considering Western Washington University and University of Denver and also has his eye on Saint Mary’s College in California where they have an outstanding Rugby program.

student playing rugby

Help Us Highlight Students

Students are the reason that we do what we do.  I want us to continue to highlight the amazing skills of our students throughout the state!  Let’s remind them that we see their not so hidden talents. 

If you have a student who has some artistic abilitieswe want help designing our newsletter and webpage please submit artwork to Shauna Moden for the following “corners”:

  • Kudos
  • What’s New
  • Teacher of the Deaf Corner
  • Audiology Corner
  • Interpreter Corner
  • Family Corner
  • Student Spotlight

If you have a student that is modeling leadership skills within their school or community, we want to hear about it.

If you have a student who is exceeding in any area, we want to hear about it.

If you have a student you would like to “spotlight” in a future Quarterly News in D/HH, please fill out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter form.


New Section - In Loving Care Corner

Our community is small but mighty!  We care deeply for the students that we serve and the professionals that we work with side by side.  Over the past couple of years folks have asked if we can share stories of those struggling within our community and how we can support these individuals and their families through difficult times.  This year we are adding a section to our newsletter called “In Loving Care” where we can share tragic news within our community AND ways that we can support those around us.  Please know that CDE is endorsing the stories shared or the activities or calls for support.  This is simply a place that D/HH professionals can share the information within our community.  If you want to share information in our next newsletter, please fill out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Newsletter form.

Cheryl Johnson

Our first story for the new section of this newsletter is connected to our beloved Cheryl Johnson, Ed.D.  Many of you know that Cheryl was instrumental in creating strong D/HH programming throughout the state of Colorado and as one of the founding mothers of Hands & Voices, she is a leader who creates change wherever she goes.  This year Cheryl lost her daughter, Jennifer Anthea DeConde, to cancer.  Jennifer was also a strong educator and passionate about creating change in the world.  To honor Jennifer and her family, the D/HH Leadership team is creating a team to walk/jog/run in the 2022 Hands & Voices 5K.  Join our team.  Let’s show our support by coming together and raising money for an organization that both Jennifer and Cheryl value.

Cheryl, our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we hope to see you in person next year!

Family Corner

Parents Encouraging Parents (PEP) Conference

Decades of research show that the participation of families in their child’s education, through specific coordination between home and school, results in improved outcomes (Jeynes, 2012).   PEP Conferences are designed to promote family and school partnerships that are essential in supporting students with disabilities and their families in schools and the community.  PEP brings parents and professionals together by sharing ideas, discussing concerns, celebrating successes and obtaining information related to parenting, educating and partnering to support student learning.  PEP Conferences are offered at no cost to attendees.

2021 FALL PEP Academy Dates

The PEP Online Academy will be presented via live and pre-recorded sessions through Zoom and Moodle over the following dates:

  • Friday evening, November 5, 2021 – 6:00 pm-9:00 pm (3 hours)
  • Saturday, November 6, 2021 – 8:15 am-1:15 pm (5 hours)
  • Saturday, November 13, 2021 – 8:15 am-12:30 pm (4+ hours)

PEP Registration

 Registration will close on Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

The registration link for the fall PEP Online Academy is now available on SurveyMonkey at the following link for parents and for professionals. Please click on a link to apply!

Spanish Interpretation 

During the online PEP conference interpretation in Spanish will be available for confirmed participants. We do not provide Zoom training, but we will provide technical assistance during the conference for anyone who has issues with their computer.

 If you have any questions, please contact Pahmela Mendoza at

Learn more about PEP Conferences

Questions About PEP? 

If you have additional questions, please contact:

Joyce Thiessen-Barrett
1560 Broadway, Suite 1100
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 866-6757



After we settle back into school in the fall, Zoom Collaborations will resume monthly starting in September 2021 and if all goes well, we will be back in person February 2022!

Mark your Calendar with these upcoming meeting dates and keep an eye on the Statewide Collaboration WebpageD/HH Events Calendar and our NEW D/HH Bulletin Board for upcoming events and registration links.

D/HH Statewide Collaborations 

Virtual Collaborations

Collaborations will be held via Zoom from 3:30-5:30pm on the following dates: 

In-Person Collaborations

We are planning to resume in-person collaborations the week of February 14th. Dates and locations to be determined.

Additional Dates:

  • April 21st
  • May 12th  (Attend to learn about “What’s Happening in Summer 2022”)

The D/HH Collaborations are brought to you by your Colorado Deaf/HH Leadership Team.

Meet the D/HH Leadership Team


Partner Agency

Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind

Staff at CSDB are buckling up for what is looking to be a BUSY year, from the babies to the school age students, here are some things that are happening!

Early Literacy Events

Colorado Early Literacy Events are back for children who are DHH, birth-5, and their families. View the Colorado Early Literacy Events Flyer

  • In-Person Outside Events - for families who have children birth-5, who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. The event theme this fall is “Transportation” following locations and dates:
    • North Denver – August 28
    • Northern Colorado- September 11
    • South Denver – September 17
    • Colorado Springs – September 23
  • Community Farm Event - will be held in October for families who have children birth to age 8 who are Deaf/HH.
  • Family and Friends - Statewide Virtual Events - for families who have children birth to age 5 who are Deaf/HH
    • Birth - 3:  November 5, 2021 5:00—6:00 p.m.
    • Age 3 - 5: November 11, 2021 5:00—7:00 p.m.
  • Community Holiday Event - will be held in December for families who have children birth to age 8 who are Deaf/HH

Deaf + Autism

The Deaf + Autism Family Day is back.  We are excited to be back at Happy Dog Ranch on Sunday, Sept 26th.  View the Deaf + Autism flyer.

Colorado Shared Reading Program

The Colorado Shared Reading Program has undergone a few changes such as decreasing the number of years for 1-on-1 services (from 5 years to 3 years) and expanding the opportunities for classes. The program is still open to families who have children who are DHH ages birth-9 (ending on their 9th birthday).

ASL Immersion

Be on the lookout for ASL Immersion for Professionals- happening 3 times during the year!


We are still accepting applications for the Director of Outreach Position. CSDB welcomed Tammy Phillips, Teacher of the Deaf, to our itinerant team over the summer!  Tammy joins us from Wyoming. Welcome Tammy!

Tools & Resources

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

This year we are diving into Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  We highly recommend that you review the following resources as we will be using both of them during our Zoom Collaborations!

The Four “I’s” of Oppression (PDF) - Knowing the I’s of oppression will help you stop contributing to it AND will help you empower your students overcome the barriers created by oppression.

The Race Card Project - What is your story in 6 words?

Colorado Deaf/HH Statewide Events Calendar

Click on the calendar icon to check out events for students, families and professionals!  Feel free to share this calendar with your families and members of your school teams!  Don’t forget to add this calendar to your own Google Calendar.

Picture: Calendar

Do you want to get the word out about your event?  Post an event on the Colorado Deaf/HH Events Calendar Here

Now Hiring

View the current Deaf/HH job openings in Colorado

 If you would like to submit your own posting, Visit the D/HH Job Posting Request Form


Input for the Newsletter

We want to provide you with a Newsletter that shares information from across the state.  If you want to add to any of the sections of the Newsletter or you want us to add another section to the Newsletter, please provide us with information to share by filling out the Input for Deaf and Hard of Hearing form


Questions about any content in this newsletter, please contact Shauna Moden. 

Email Shauna Moden

Having trouble with this webpage?


If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact the Exceptional Student Services Unit at Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.