American Sign Language

HSDB is the only school in Hawai’i with an American Sign Language Department.  The ASL department provides support and instruction to both the students and teachers at the school in order to utilize a Bilingual Education approach.  This approach focuses on strengthening a student’s ASL skills in order to equip the student with the necessary language knowledge and skills to more effectively acquire mastery of the English language.

The ASL Department currently has two ASL staff members:

Ms. Olivia Malcolm, ASL Coordinator

Mr. Jonathan Reynolds, ASL Specialist.

These individuals provide ASL instruction and assessments for preschool students all the way up to high school and beyond.  They also support the school staff with additional instruction, resources and tools.

As of the school year 2019-2020, The ASL Department’s four main focus for the school are:

  1. American Sign Language Immersion: We work with students who are most in need of basic ASL acquisition focusing on different ASL skills such as fingerspelling, basic vocabulary words, proper facial expressions, and sentence production.
  2. American Sign Language Assessment: The assessments measure a students’ ASL acquisition and guides instruction and support. ASL assessment are conducted 3 times per year using various assessments ranging from evaluating ASL prompts and ASL comprehension and using a formal Visual Communication Sign Language Checklist.
  3. Curriculum Development: We provide a variety of support to teachers which includes providing:
    • ASL related materials to promote the bilingual philosophy within the classroom.
    • ASL Bilingual Grammar Curriculum.
    • ASL Workshops.
  4. Outreach Support: We provide outreach support to teachers and parents including providing:
      • ASL Workshops for teachers on outer islands: Our goal to maintain HSDB as core center for any other D/deaf programs happening in the neighboring islands.
      • Shared Reading Program: Sharing Reading Program is designed for parents to learn ASL through reading out loud in ASL with their child.
      • Storytelling in ASL videos: As ASL resources in HSDB, they may be used inside or outside of the school. Therefore, they may be used at home for parents to learn ASL with their children.
      • Family ASL Immersion Workshop several times a year

For more information at HSDB’s ASL Department and/or request ASL instructions, please send email to Olivia Malcolm, ASL Coordinator, at