In this classroom, everyone learns to speak with their hands

Building Better Minds OB Gates 2.jpg
Posted at 9:34 AM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 15:27:40-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. — Helene Grossman is going to Scotland.

She’ll be the first to tell you she’ll miss her students at OB Gates Elementary School, but they’re actually the reason she’s taking the trip this summer.

She plans to study how teachers in Scotland use sign language for students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"The loneliest job in teaching is teaching deaf kids in a public school. Because you're really very separate in a way," described Grossman.

She decided to change that at OB Gates by creating a program that places deaf or hard of hearing students into general education classrooms, and exposing all students to American Sign Language (ASL).

The results have been magical. Especially for two of her hard of hearing students, Kam and Liana.

“We'd sit back and watch sometimes as they would pair off. Instead of with each other, with other kids and they would play games. And they didn't need me," said Grossman.

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OB Gates teacher Helen Grossman created a program that places deaf or hard of hearing students into general education classrooms, and exposes all students to American Sign Language

Experts say whether it’s ASL or a spoken one, learning another language can make you smarter.

"Your brain just gets better," said Grossman. “You get smarter. Hey, you can't lose. It's a win-win. We have friends in Scotland already, me and the girls. Because we've been sending videos back and forth."

Grossman is using a nearly $15,000 REB grant to make the trip to Scotland; the award is all because of her efforts at OB Gates.

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