Owens offers ASL classes in Perrysburg

PERRYSBURG — A new collaboration with Owens Community College has resulted in a solution to provide the canceled fourth-year American Sign Language class at Perrysburg High School.

Superintendent Tom Hosler said Owens and Perrysburg have collaborated in the past.

“We’ve worked with Owens in the past with College Credit Plus course offerings. I think they do a very good job delivering content. We’re very grateful that they were able to very quickly react and put together a solution that will certainly work for our students. I think that they have an established track record in working with schools, including Perrysburg,” Hosler said.

Perrysburg High School Principal Aaron Cookson sent out an email to parents indicating the new opportunity.

There will be three courses available, of 16 weeks each, covering fall and spring semesters.

The classes will be a combination of online and in-person work.

“Our sign language teacher met with the Owens people, and their instructor, and felt those three options were aligned pretty well with students who would be in their fourth year of ASL,” Hosler said.

The concern was that after taking three years of ASL, the students would not be able to have the skills to take the tests for bilingual certifications.

“They will be eligible to get those certifications. To get the bilingual seal you have to pass a test to do that. Certainly having a fourth year ASL course will help them to be in a position to do that, but it’s not an automatic to do that,” Hosler said.

He called the testing a pretty rigorous process.

Signing up for the class will be a case-by-case basis, but there will be some options to try to fit the courses into their schedule.

“Some students will have the opportunity to do it remotely and others will have the opportunity to drive to campus, if they want,” Hosler said.

If there are scheduling conflicts he said that the counseling office will work through that.

The problem started when the Perrysburg Schools ASL 4 teacher was put on leave in April and resigned in May, after the students had already submitted course scheduling requests. The district had difficulty finding a replacement teacher with the proper certifications. As the new school year approached a letter was sent out indicating the cancellation of the course option.

Students and parents were upset and brought their concerns to the July 18 board of education meeting.

The search for an ASL teacher for Perrysburg Schools continued, along with a parallel search for another option, resulting in the Owens collaboration.

Hosler described the situation with the former teacher and the reason for the suspension.

“She was on administrative leave, pending an investigation, after we began receiving some complaints about her use of social media in the classroom and her personal use. As we were investigating, she chose to resign,” Hosler said.

He said that several board policies were violated in relation to the teacher’s posting on social media. While there were references to things in the school, he said that there was nothing with students.

“When teachers mix personal and professional social media platforms, it’s never a good idea,” Hosler said. “You can’t be recording TikTok videos during your classes and then posting them to your personal TikTok account.”

He said some of the videos were taken during the school day and some of them had students involved in the filming.

The district is still looking for a replacement, in order to have the courses conducted by Perrysburg Schools.