American Sign Language

Photo: Olivia Malcolm, Monica Keller, and a female HSDB student

HSDB is the only school in Hawai’i with an ASL Department and where classroom instructions occur in ASL. Through the use of students first language (L1), ASL, the ASL Department and teachers prepare students to gain mastery of English, their second language (L2).

The ASL Department currently has three ASL staff: (1) Ms. Olivia Malcolm, ASL Coordinator, (2) Ms. Monica A. Keller (ASL Specialist) and Mr. John O’Loughlin (ASL Specialist). These individuals provide ASL instructions to students from preschool all the way up to high school. They also regularly support the school’s teachers and assess all students three times per year.

Our school year 2018-2019 goals come in 4 sections:

  1. American Sign Language Immersion: We work with students who are most in need of 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 assessment provides a guide to measure students’ ASL acquisitions . ASL assessment are conducted 3 times per year using various assessments such as ASL prompts, ASL comprehension, and Visual Communication Sign Language Checklist.
  3. Curriculum Development: We provided support to teachers including providing:
    • ASL related materials for our teachers to maintain bilingual philosophy within the classroom.
    • ASL Bilingual Grammar Curriculum.
    • ASL Workshops.
  4. Outreach Support: We provided outreach support to teachers and parents including providing:
    • ASL Workshop 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
    • Storytelling in ASL videos: our goal is to develop ASL videos that support teacher’s unit plans throughout the year. These videos can also be shared with students’ family for teach them ASL.
    • Parent ASL Immersion Workshop: ASL immersion workshops occur once monthly on the first Saturday of the month.  Our goal is to arrange eight immersions workshops throughout the school year.

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