Dana Miles has been a teacher for 10 years, the last six of which she has taught Work Experience and Applied Bilingual Language Arts (BLA) at the Washington School for the Deaf, located in Vancouver, WA

In Miles’ Applied Bilingual Language Arts classes, she teaches English and American Sign Language interchangeably, preparing students for life after high school using real-world contexts like housing (such as comparing costs and types of housing), transportation (including bus training, directions, and car shopping), and more.

“Mrs. Miles is excellent at researching and employing instructional methods that intrigue and inspire her students,” wrote Jason Cox, Secondary Principal at Washington School for the Deaf. “She works with students individually to ensure each one receives the best education possible before they graduate.”

Working in the school’s transitional Work Experience program, Miles works tirelessly to equip her students for the working world by teaching them to advocate for themselves. In her classes, students learn skills from résumé writing and workplace benefits to self-advocacy and understanding their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Self-advocacy benefits all students from all walks of life,” said Miles. “I am passionate about seeing my students develop self-advocacy skills because these skills will carry them far in life.”

Miles, herself a part of the Deaf community, shares the way she advocates for herself with her students, and hopes they apply the strategies she learned in their own lives.

“Dana wants to make sure that her students are getting access to the resources and best education they can get, including Social Emotional Learning (SEL),” wrote Amy Blades, Washington School for the Deaf School Counselor. “Students with additional disabilities are at risk of being harmed or taken advantage of. Dana wants to make sure that they get education on self-advocacy, recognizing unhealthy behaviors in themselves and others, trusting their intuition, learning communication skills, and tools to navigate the outside world.”

“The work Mrs. Miles does to prepare her students for the world after high school is phenomenal,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “The way she makes her students’ learning applicable to their lives and the use of real-world contexts sets them up for success after high school in a variety of ways.”

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