Students Compete in Battle of the Books

battle-of-the-booksFanwood’s Middle School students competed Gallaudet’s Battle of the Books Competition. This is the first time the School has entered into this particular academic competition, and the team felt feelings of excitement and apprehension about what to expect in a “real” match.

The purpose of Battle of the Books is to promote literacy amongst Deaf and Hard of Hearing middle school students; promote a spirit of academic competition and good sportsmanship; and to encourage critical thinking skills. Click here for more info about the competition

Their first competition was against the Marie Philip School. The students were nervous at first, but handled their first ever game with poise! It was a very close game, but Fanwood took the win a final score of 36-34.

Excited by their win, and the growing audience of supporters, the team started match 2 vs. Michigan School for the Deaf with confidence.  The final score was 38-26..Fanwood earned their second win!

The team faced Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) in the final match of the day. It was the most challenging round yet, but they did a really great job of staying focused. Ultimately, MSD took the win with a final score of 24-42.

The Fanwood coaches, parents, and staff members are proud of the teams success in their first ever competition. They witnessed the hard work and dedication put forth by the students.  Judging by their smiling faces, it was clear the students felt a sense of pride and genuine enjoyment.

Athletes of the Month

Samantha, a 10th grader, is our female athlete of the month for October. It is her third year playing volleyball. Her leadership and plays on the court have been wonderful since the beginning of the season.

Samantha led Fanwood to a record of 12-12 during the month of October. At the ESDAA Volleyball Tournament, she earned the All Star Tournament Award and led Fanwood to 4th place.

One of highlights during ESDAA Volleyball Tournament was when Samantha ended the game vs. Lexington School for the Deaf with her trademark strong service point. As a setter, Samantha has a natural instinct and drive for the game. She has a really great intuition about which player to give the ball to, or when to try for a kill. Samantha controls the game really well.

Samantha’s expectation for her teammates is always high and this them to improve as players. When other players become frustrated or feel “off”, I love that she won’t let it affect her own performance; she continues to play at her best regardless. This year, her service skills have improved so much. Also, she is able to handle pressure really well. With that being said, she is an extraordinary player and teammate.

Congratulations, Samantha!

Fernando, a junior grade, is our male athlete of the month for October. This is his third year playing soccer and this year he started as goalkeeper for first time. In the past, he mostly played midfield.

Since Fanwood’s star goalkeeper graduated last year, we started the season without one. Coaches Nicolas and Paul asked Fernando if he would be interested in filing this position. Fernando accepted the challenge and was ready to learn!

Naturally, his first game was not as smooth as we hoped, but the coaches and team have watched him maintain a positive, hard-working attitude in order to become a stronger goalkeeper. Game after game, he improved more and more, and was soon able to consistently make many important saves for the team.

Fernando earned 71 saves during the month of October alone, which is a huge improvement from Septembers 25 saves. Although he showed frustration when he missed saves, he always sought out ways that he could improve, and grow as a player.

The coaches know that Fernando’s leadership on the team will grow and he will become key role on their team. He showed up on time for practice and was always ready to learn something new. Fernando was not a complainer; each time he fell, he picked himself up and readied himself for the next play. This is exactly what is expected of a goalkeeper. The coaches know that he is on his way to becoming a model play for the Tornadoes.

Congratulation, Fernando!

Importance of Clear Communication Between Law Enforcement and Deaf/Hard of-Hearing individuals

IMG_4724White Plains, NY August 25, 2016 – New York School for the Deaf, also known as Fanwood, raises awareness about the importance of developing a clear communication process between law enforcement and Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing individuals.

In the wake of a tragic fatal shooting of a Deaf man from North Carolina, Inside Edition asked Fanwood for an interview to learn more about the safety of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing (HOH) motorists.  Click HERE to view the captioned Inside Edition segment aired on 8/24/16.

When asked for comment about the North Carolina incident, NYSD Superintendent, Harold Mowl stated “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Harris family during this most-difficult time. The loss of any life, deaf or hearing, stemming from such tragic circumstances is devastating.”

Fanwood preferred to focus the discussion on what kinds of initial communication should take place between a Deaf/HOH person and a police officer. The School is using this time to focus on spreading awareness about what can be done to eliminate future incidents of this nature.

For example, in the Inside Edition segment, Jennifer Labriola-Megee, Fanwood Principal, explained what she would do if pulled over or approached by an officer. She emphasized “It’s important to wait for your instructions and not do anything. Just wait and see. When they ask for my license and registration, at that point, I would take out the items asked for.”

Dr. Mowl demonstrated a different, and very useful method of communication that can be used when interacting with law enforcement. If pulled over, Dr. Mowl would roll down his window, lower his visor, and upon the officer’s approach, he would point to a large “Deaf Driver Communication Card” that clearly displays the words “I am Deaf or Hard of Hearing”.

The card also includes instructions on what a motorist should do when pulled over, as well as tips for using the visor alert. While very helpful, not all Deaf/HOH people have access to this card. The “Deaf Driver Communication Card” was developed in collaboration by the Rochester, NY Police Department and Regional Center for Independent Living’s (RCIL) Deaf and Police Interactive Committee. This card is available in locations limited to the City of Rochester.

Currently, police departments across the nation do not have one standard policy in place with respect to how to approach and initiate communication with Deaf/HOH individuals. Fanwood maintains a strong relationship with the Greenburgh Police Department, collaborating on issues ranging from teaching students what to do when approached by a police officer to inviting officers on campus during school emergency drills.

Taking a cue from Rochester, Fanwood will be teaming up with the Greenburgh Police to develop a similar communication card that Deaf/HOH people can show law enforcement officers when approached in their car or on the street.

Over the years, Fanwood has and will continue to provide basic ASL lessons to local police departments so that they can better communicate with students, staff members, and local deaf community members.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

GradsThis year’s graduates are a special group of seniors who leave Fanwood with a great deal of love, laughter and memories!

On Friday, June 24th, 2016, seniors arrived on campus for the last time as Fanwood students.  As they lined up in their blue and white gowns, there thoughts were on their fond memories as well as the excitement that awaits them.

Following the signing of the Pledge of Allegiance, the graduates, their families, local legislators, and NYSD staff members were welcomed by Superintendent, Dr. Ronald Stern.DSC_2924

This year, Valedictorian, Agron Deski, and Salutatorian, Victoria Pon, took the DSC_3000opportunity to address their classmates one last time.  The two graduating seniors shared fond memories of their time at Fanwood, as well as a strong message encouraging their fellow classmates to pursue their dreams, refuse to give up, and to continue to work hard.

Graduation Speaker, Bernard Bragg "BB", and NYSD Board of Trustees President, Alexis A. Kashar

Graduation Speaker, Bernard Bragg “BB”, and NYSD Board of Trustees President, Alexis A. Kashar

We were thrilled to welcome Mr. Bernard Bragg as the 2016 Graduation Speaker.  Mr. Bragg is the Co-Founder of the National Theater of the Deaf, as well as a well-known actor and producer.

Bernard Bragg is one of Fanwood’s most prominent alumni and one of the world’s most accomplished performing deaf artists.  A pioneer as a deaf mime and actor, “BB”, as he is fondly called in the deaf community, was central to paving the way for many deaf and hard of hearing actors in Theatre, television, and movies.

Additionally, BB’s dedication to working hard and following dreams a trait that we hope our graduates will emulate.

Congratulations to the NYSD 2016 Graduates…we wish you the best of luck in your future and cannot wait to welcome you back home as alumni!

Click HERE for more pictures from the 2016 Graduation ceremony.

Popular App “Glides” Into Fanwood

IMG_3029On October 29th, the Glide app spokesperson, Sarah Snow, (more popularly known as Sarah Glide) visited with Fanwood students and gave a “School-To-Work” workshop. Sarah and her team shared details about why and how the app was created, and why is continues to grow more and more popular.

Glide is a mobile video messaging app that streams video messages, live or recorded, between mobile devices. The app allows for messages to be watched live, or viewed later, if the sender permits. This app is extremely popular in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities because it is all about visual communication.

Glide’s mission is to “transcend the boundaries of human communication through the power and personality of live video messaging.” New York School for the Deaf wholeheartedly supports this initiative.IMG_2965

The students asked thought provoking questions about the app’s creation process and challenges along the way.  One student asked how Glide got it’s name. Great question! Glide was named because of the seemingly effortless way in which it allows for communication: it’s as smooth as gliding!

While Glide wasIMG_3053 not created for any specific group of users, it is most widely utilized by people in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.  Upon realizing this, Glide teamed up with deaf professionals around the world to get feedback on changes that could be made to make the app even more accessible for the deaf community users. Sarah said was that she would bring this idea back to the product team to see if captioning could be implemented in 1:1 messages at some point in the future. She also captions the videos she creates to sends to users.

Thank you to Glide, Sarah, and her amazing team.  The students loved the presentation…as well as their Glide hats and shirts!  Click here for more pictures.