A statewide summit on educational interpreting at Fresno State will address the need to have readily available qualified sign language interpreters in the state of California.

The summit will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, at Fresno State’s North Gym (Room 118).

The two-day summit, a collaborative partnership between The Silent Garden program and the California Department of Education, will bring about 200 administrators and educational interpreters from throughout the state to campus. Participants will discuss roles and responsibilities of educators and interpreters of the deaf and hard of hearing, learn new state standards and curriculum goals and receive information about required assessments and certifications in the field.

“The Valley has significant needs to improve the quality of services to deaf and hard of hearing training,” said Dr. Janice Smith-Warshaw, director of the Deaf Studies program at Fresno State. “Many administrators and teachers in the area have limited understanding of the needs of deaf children and how to provide quality services through a sign language interpreter. Moreover, there is a significant shortage of qualified sign language interpreters in the Valley and we need to improve the quality and numbers of interpreters we have here.”

University President Joseph I. Castro will open the summit with welcome remarks on Friday, a day focused primarily on deaf and hard of hearing program administrators and directors.

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Jon Levy, an administrator at University High School in Orange County with more than 30 years of experience in the field, will serve as the keynote speaker. His school, the regional hub providing services for deaf students in the Orange County School District, has been effective at utilizing quality educational interpreters and teachers.

Saturday will be specifically for K-12 educational interpreters, Interpreter Training Program coordinators, interpreting students and the community.

Leading the day’s keynote remarks is Dr. Melissa Smith, an interpreter trainer at Palomar College in San Diego who is nationally renowned for her work in educational interpreting training and consulting.

Fresno State offers the Educational Interpreter Preparation Program, made possible by a $1.2 million training grant from the Federal Office of Special Education Programs, designed to train students to work in the K-12 educational setting and to improve educational outcomes for deaf children.

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“We’re positioned to make an impact not only with the interpreters we train, but to also partner with California Department of Education to improve the quality of interpreting services for deaf children throughout California,” said Dr. Peter Crume, director of the Educational Interpreter Preparation Program at Fresno State.

The summit is sponsored by The Silent Garden, a program at Fresno State within the Department of Communicative Sciences and Deaf Studies that fosters opportunity, understanding and awareness for the deaf and hard of hearing community. Other sponsors include DawnSignPress, a deaf-owned publishing company.

Registration for the free, public summit is available online.

For more information, contact Dr. Peter Crume at 559.278.0351 or pcrume@csufresno.edu.