Janice Stotts

Janice Stotts

Hello, I am Janice Stotts. I am a deaf education teacher who has spent most of her career teaching English/Language Arts and who has done so for most of the time right here at WSD. I joined WSD as a teacher in 1997, but before working here, I also spent my first four years as a teacher at California School for the Deaf (CSDF) in Fremont, California. All together, this means I have been teaching for about 25 years, if my math is right.

Throughout my teaching career, I’ve always felt having been born into a deaf family who were themselves deaf educators (at WSD as well!), gave me a terrific basis from which to develop my work with deaf students. Also, as a hearing-impaired person myself who hears only because of the use of a hearing aid, and whom spent her entire education in K-12 without the benefit of support services, (Yes, I’m that old! My K-12 education pre-dates Public Law 94-142), I share with my students, the struggles of being deaf. The efforts that deaf persons have to make to learn in schools where learning materials are written for children who have auditory language exposure from birth, and in a world where encounters with people who talk first before they realize they could help communication exchanges with signs, is a day to day struggle. As you can possibly appreciate, this powerfully guides how I teach.

Back when I was starting to teach in California, ASL was just emerging as the language of the deaf. It hadn’t really received the respect that it has today and it certainly hadn’t made its way into schools as the instructional language deaf children learn best by. Teaching deaf focused on English skills development above all. As an example, in CSDF, and too, in my early years at WSD, I spent much of my time as an English teacher learning how to teach advanced English literature, essay and paragraph writing to my students.  Paragraph writing was so important to learn for deaf children at that time, it was made the graduation requirement.

How confusing it was for me to have come from an ASL/English language family with all the rich, fully inclusive family life I was able to enjoy with two languages, to find that my new profession was so preoccupied with teaching just English. There were no requirements to master ASL and ASL competence was unheard of or dismissed as “their” (deaf persons) social, home/dorms, language. How perplexing it was, day in and day out, to try to teach written English and paragraph skills to students with fluent ASL, who were soon to graduate, and who had college plans ahead of them, but were still struggling with the grammatical structure of a few sentences to compose a paragraph. That made absolutely no sense.

Today, many years later, my role as an English teacher has evolved. Today in the community of educators that is WSD, we all teach bilingually. This means we teach linguistic structures of ASL and of English, preferably side by side and we extend this to all classes and content areas. This directs students to examine their language against the new language they are learning, (just as English as a Second Language hearing students do) and to focus on the content of subject matter as well. California has long been a leader in the bilingual teaching movement nationwide, in fact.

At WSD, I teach bilingually with great pleasure, as you can imagine. There’s much still so much to learn what that means. Now, however, more and more, the deaf community themselves are, guiding us.  They are, now more and more, through research studies, involved with examining and developing deaf education practices, which is as it should be. We are seeing research on various topics concerned with deaf learning and language acquisition that look honestly at instructional practices against student growth, and we join in looking hard at what works vs. doesn’t work. WSD has regular, wonderful professional development trainings targeting essential knowledge our deaf students need us to understand; ASL linguistics, bilingualism and language development. I, myself am always working to increase my linguistic knowledge through self-study of both languages to better provide my students with what they need to learn.

My teaching assignments here at WSD in the past several years have been to work with students who may have had the least amount of normal first language development or early, accessible, language opportunities or have had language development from another country. Such students may or may not also have other disabling conditions that affect their language development. All of the students I work with need not only bilingual approaches and remedial skill building, but modified teaching approaches that include visual communication and teaching strategies that in fact are illustrative, to enable them to learn.

This year I am assigned a 7th/8th grade group that receives instruction from me in English, (reading, writing and grammar) math, social studies, communication (ASL expressive/receptive and grammar skills) and science.

I have a Masters in Special Education (formerly titled “Deaf Education”) from Lewis and Clark College (1994), a Bachelor’s degree in counseling from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington from 1981, an Associates of Arts and Sciences from Clark College and a high school diploma from Hudson’s Bay High school (Vancouver, WA) in 1978 and 1975 respectively.

Contact Information:
Video Phone: 360-553-4610
High School Secretary: 360-696-6525, ext. 4341
WSD Main Phone Number: 360-696-6525

I can be reached after school hours between 3:15 to 4:15 either by video phone, email or by stopping by the classroom. I can make special arrangements for necessary contacts at other times as well. I recommend you call or email first to make sure I am not in a meeting.

Courses taught: Middle School Life Skills English, communication, social studies, science, and math.
Grade levels: 7th – 8th grades
Daily Instructional Periods: 1st-3rd and 5th-6th periods, homeroom.
Fridays:  Alternating A, B, Schedules

  • A Schedule 1st-3rd classes
  • B Schedule 5-6th classes

Length of Courses: 2 Semesters
Credits:  .5 each course, per semester

Instructional Materials (All Classes):  A variety of curriculum and literature materials matched to student overall language, reading/writing instructional levels and designed to provide visual support for instruction are provided.  These include but are not limited to; teacher created or modified worksheets, individually created or purchased from online teacher worksheets web pages for concepts in all content areas, adapted and modified literature, illustrated educational videos, (BrainPop, BrainPop Jr. and Described and Captioned Media-DCMP) and use of online educational learning websites such as IXL online skill building practice.

  • Life English Instructional Materials: Daily Language, Gr. 2 and Oxford Dictionary Workbooks.  Step Up to Writing Online Writing instruction Program
  • Life Math Instructional Materials: Mammoth Math Curriculum for K-2, 3-5.
  • Specific Life Social Studies Instructional Materials: Online teacher created teaching units and worksheets.
  • Life Science Instructional Materials: Foss Kit:  “Pebbles, Sand and Silt,” and “Solids and Liquids.”

Student Supplies Needed (All Classes):  1-three ring binders with index tabs for each class, at least 2 spiral (wire) notebooks (70 pages), a regular supply of pencils, erasers, color pencils, glue, and scissors, Please re-supply  quarterly.

Grading Policy 

All grading at WSD in the secondary program is based on a Point Scale with each point clearly defined by a numerical score based upon percentage of earned correct answers, (point scale; 0-4) by a numerical score based upon a letter grade supported by a rubric, or a numerical score based upon a simple +/-/0 point scale.

Grades will factor student level of competence in completing work (Independent Performance Level Scale) and will be as individualized as is necessary according to grading accommodations defined in student Individualized Education plans (IEP’s).

Note:  In the event of a grade of “0” is earned by a student for failure to complete and submit work,  the student will be given the opportunity to make up missed assignments within a reasonable timeframe or complete an alternative assignment or demonstrate his/her knowledge or skill in mastering the learning objective by an alternative form of assessment.

An “I” for incomplete may be awarded when a student has missed a significant amount of school due to illness, accident or other reason approved by the school administration. Students who receive an “I” in any course will have 6 weeks to complete work and convert this to a grade.

Grade point averages (GPA) are calculated by dividing the sum of the point value of all grades received for all courses attempted by the sum of the credits for all courses attempted.

 Semester grades calculations reflect the average of first quarter and second quarter grades combined. Final exams or final projects may be used as appropriate to the subject at the discretion of teachers as culminating assessment activities for each quarter of instruction. Final exams or projects may not exceed 20% total weight in a quarter-grade calculation.

WSD/Ms. Stotts’ Modified Grade Marks-For IEP based grading accommodations students
Scale Value (Report Card Scores) Letter Grade (Report Card Scores) Percent Ranges Grade description Independent Performance Level Scale
I = Independent (84%-100% scores)
PI=Partial Independence (60%-70%  Independent-30-40% dependent-guided)
D=Dependent (70-100% dependent-guided)
4.0 A 100- 93 Exceeds Expectations/Independent Independent
3.7 A- 92.9 – 90 Independent
3.3 B+ 89.9 – 87 Independent
3.0 B 86.9 – 83 Meets Expectations Independent
2.7 B- 82.9-80 Partial Independence
2.3 C+ 79.9-77 Partial Independence
2.0 C 76.9-73 Approaching Expectations Partial Independence
1.7 C- 72.9-70 Partial Independence
1.3 D+ 69.9-67 Partial Independence
1.0 D 66.9-1 Does not meet expectations. Working toward increased ability to meet expectations Dependent-guided
0 F 0 No evidence No participation, responses, submission of work, effort to make up work despite intervention
Course Description:

Life Skills learning designed to provide students with developing American Sign Language and English with basic bi-lingual strategies with which to comprehend both is the overarching focus throughout the year.  Instruction is based on the following two groups of learning standards; the Foundational skills in reading, language, writing, and speaking and listening Common Core Essential Elements and the American Sign Language Content Standards.  Grades K-2 skills for both sets provide targets for instruction.

Bi-Lingual Strategies:  Students will analyze both languages for linguistic features and structures in order to participate in conversations, discussions and to use language to meet a variety of personal and academic needs.  Bi-lingual language competence to enable students to read and understand a simple to compound sentence, understand daily events, school schedules, and environmental visual language as well as print is emphasized initially, gradually leading to expanded language applications that focus on academic selections.  Students will learn to use a variety of online and print resource materials to assist in developing independent learning and study skills.

Course Description:

Life Skills science this year will examine two units.  The first will be exploring Earth’s properties, “Pebbles Sand and Silt,” while the second examines “Solids and Liquids.”  Science skills such as inquiry, how to plan and conduct a simple investigation to gather data in order to develop reasonable explanations for phenomena introduce the concepts of evidence based on knowledge is introduced at this level (K-2).  Standards for both units are based on National Science Education Standards.  Throughout instruction, bi-lingual vocabulary and language development in science concepts are emphasized and the interaction with aspects of daily life are brought forward for examination.

Course Description:

Life Skills social studies instruction follows units of study provided by Washington State Social Studies guidelines from the Office of Public Instruction for grades K-1.  In these units, community and events in history are viewed through the lens of families, cultures and traditions and the geographical elements affecting them.  Map and geography skills learned are used to help students develop the real world awareness of how intertwined people and their environments are.  Throughout instruction, bi-lingual vocabulary and language development social studies concepts are emphasized.

Course Description:

Life Skills Math instruction takes advantage of deaf students’ natural ability to work with concepts visually represented by numbers, patterned structures and routine, repetitive, step by step processes.  Math applications that are beneficial to daily life such as telling time, measurement and simple money skills gives math instruction Life Skills meanings.  At the same time, individualized learning targets based on assessed grade level skills are designed, whenever possible, to maximize student math skills growth and increase depth of knowledge. Such skill development may move beyond basic operations to fractions, decimals and conversions.  Throughout instruction, bi-lingual vocabulary and language development math concepts are emphasized.

Skills Targets are based upon Common Core Math Standards for the K-6th grades.