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TUTORING BEGINS TUESDAY

August 10th, 2020

While we all are under the Covid19Cloud, we are still working to get our students back into the school year schedule as soon as possible.

Our original plan had been to have full-time classes beginning TOMORROW, Tuesday 11 August.  BUT we will be continuing our tutoring schedule for this semester.  One student at a time.  No mingling. Working from distance of 6 feet as often as possible.

Today, we are doing last minute preparations – locating the missing math book, trying to figure out phonics for our partially hearing children, making horizontal spaces empty so they are easier to clean between tutoring sessions. We are trusting God that all things will come together for His glory even as I feel like I am stumbling around in the clutter of the classroom today!

In an effort to help our students learn at home (they LOVE youtube!)  we have been preparing videos as part of review and homework. Praying that parents will join them in watching and will learn the signs too. Pray with us for this school year. We are praying for the other schools on the island and the restrictions on numbers.

Personally, I am thanking God that our numbers are limited and our ability to serve the young students is excellent.  We have three adult deaf learners waiting for their turn in the tutoring schedule so pray with me for willing signing Spanish-English speaking volunteers to help out with those desiring to improve their skill sets.

 

 

week 8 of our semester

March 4th, 2020

To be seriously honest, not much has changed in the past few weeks.  Students come to school.  They learn.  They go home.  They return. It’s the cycle of school days and learning experiences.

To be SERIOUSLY honest, I think I, Betsy, the director, am learning the most in recent days.  I have been learning to listen to that quiet voice of God… sometimes I mistake MY INNER YELLING for His Voice so I am constantly trying to remain in prayer and discern WHAT is God doing, WHERE is He leading, WHAT would He have me to do or to say? Life with Christ is an amazing adventure and I am so thankful to be walking the journey of LIFE in His Way and Truth.

Yesterday (March 3)  I, Betsy, had minor surgery to remove a not really small but not worth a skin transplant basal cell carcinoma on my cheek. I did not announce it much beforehand.  I didn’t want to be asked  “WHERE is it?  Can I see it? Oooh Eeew” So I canceled our youngest student for the day and got a crew of others to handle the classroom. I drove myself to the office.  Had the procedure and drove back to the school in time to enjoy Tacos on Tuesday ( a regular menu item so come any Tuesday and join us!)

Today, I had a full classroom (THREE students – ages 7,16 and 28) who each had their own glitches to handle. One could not remember the letter R.  Another could not remember when or how to use a chair.  The other was lost in wonder over a pendulum experiment.  I spent much of the morning holding a cold pack on my bandage/incision as I felt rather pained.

But we learned together and eventually, the one remembered how to print an R and spell that word. The other found a chair and SAT on it.  And the pendulum student?  Well, there is much to be learned in physics and I am praying that happens!

Mostly, I am praying that my staff and I are able to show God’s constant LOVE and LIGHT in the lives of our children. Even when we are feeling pained by a surgical incision or the lack of memory for a word having the letter R, we can still be LOVING and sharing His light. With great JOY I hear my students say, “I MISSED YOU on the weekend”.  With great sadness, I hear my students say, “I missed you on the weekend”.  For our students, many times the only person listening, really listening to them, is one of the staff here. Families are busy places.  Parents are wrapped up in their stuff. But for a few minutes daily, we are able to take time to say, “What are you concerned about?  Let’s pray together.”  Our students KNOW we are here for them.

In the light of eternity, THAT is what we are meant to be doing.

 

October Fridays

October 18th, 2019

Friday, October 11, we were blessed to have only ONE student in attendance. That student took an interest in this millipede so millipedes became the focus of the day.  Today is October 18 and we are blessed to have only TWO students in attendance. They were given the opportunity for FIX YOUR FOOD FRIDAY and learned (or helped) to make chili for today’s lunch.

Sometimes, having a small number of students is a blessing.  We are able to spend time to chat about THEIR specific lives and needs and trials and joys. Often we have too many children and not enough hands to put into their learning.  More and more students coming to us, as a special school, have multiple needs in addition to being Deaf. What a joy when we have one on one time and can share in their lives specifically, learn more about them and pray with them alone.

Pray with us for the special needs of the Deaf in Puerto Rico.

We are excited to have our regular Friday handbell rehearsals and the dedication of the adult Deaf persons who are participating in that. They have their work and their families and yet have this desire for music.  One of them told me, “I work and I am stressed all week but I have THIS BELL TIME in my mind and look forward to this time all week.”

Praise God that through the ministry of handbells, this person’s emotional needs are being cared for.

 

August 2019

August 27th, 2019

Mizael came back to school

Check out the link above to read more about THAT topic.

Look who is hanging out at the school these days:

Gizmo the iguana!

Natalia – her broken arm has healed 100% without any apparent defect!

Zuleika who is learning and helping and growing in God’s amazing grace,

Diego who has an amazing smile and super-intelligent mind,

Mizael who is still having headaches (which are lessening in intensity) and he is pushing through them to have more time in school.

These are the regulars.  We have 4 students – one full-time teacher and two full-time volunteers.  Both of the volunteers help in the classroom as well as cooking and doing maintenance respectively.  As school principal, Betsy is so thankful for the faithful helpers who work alongside her to allow the school to have continuity and dependability.  Our students are all special needs and could be taught one on one all day if we had the resources.  Without the resources, we do a lot of  One Room Schoolhouse work.  The benefits are so cool as the older ones see how the younger ones think and the younger ones are challenged by the older students’ thinking.

Continue to pray for the school, for the students, the workers, the weather… a storm is in the area this week and we are hopeful that we will not have any lasting effects from it. Keep an eye on the weather and remember to pray for us.

Thanks!

 

sick kids’ month

March 29th, 2019

This month, I have had more time on my hands to do office and school administration work.  We have only 4 students!  HOW can I have so much admin to do?!

School insurance needs to be kept up.  The school license documents need to be prepared for our renewal of license. Reports need to be written.  IEP (Individual Educational Profiles) need to be kept current. And then there is the accountant and his questions about accounts and payments. Tax season!

So the extra time has been good for the administrator (me) but the extra time has meant that the teacher (me) is not as content as she would normally like to be.

THIS GIRL above pictured has been in a hospital for 2+ weeks now.  She was in hospital 1 for a week, released for 24 hours, returned to the emergency room and was ambulanced to hospital 2 which has better facilities to take care of the complications.  She’s in the Pediatric ICU. I’ve been doing “relief” work so her mom can get home to take care of the other kids a little.  The ICU has good nursing care too which makes it easier for her mom to feel secure in leaving her alone in the hospital for a few hours.

This one thing I KNOW:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

So as I drive to hospital 2 (it’s an hour’s drive away) and as I stand in hospital corridors or sit in hospital chairs and listen to whomever is nearby or talk with Larimar (sometimes she just wants a story and I love to story-tell) this is in my head, in my heart pounding away – the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases… so even though the new results seem worse than the previous study’s results, we are trusting the heart of our ever loving Father in Heaven.

In addition to this saga, my boys are both not in school today due to medical appointments and/or health issues.

Well, Deaf children are often multiply-challenged and so are these. Part of this day and age of working with children is addressing their specific needs in individual ways.  Working out how to get a boy who gets dizzy from lights to do online-work from home… maybe we need to resort to paper and pencil but he’s often too weak or dizzy to use his eyes… so I resort to prayer and seeking God’s peace for HIM (my student and his family) and me.

Pray for me as I walk alongside these families and their children with special SPECIAL needs. May I bring God’s peace and love to the situation. May “a merry heart do good like medicine” (Prov 17:22) and may my merriness not insult the gravity of the situations.

Yesterday I was kidding with Larimar and she started to cry!  NO!  Then her mom said, “What did you say?”

I had said, ” seriously, if you wanted to avoid a book report, we could have made a different plan”

Her mom said, “Don’t lie!  What did you say to upset her?

Larimar said, “She’s telling the truth! (cry cry cry)”

So I found a new subject and we had some more smiles… I left her smiling last night!

Pray that she continues to smile today!

Betsy

 

 

Pray for some little friends

March 7th, 2019

 

Needed:  one (or more) 7(ish) year old hearing-impaired or Deaf children to accompany Diego on his educational journey.

His teacher is older than his grandmother and she needs some help in the PLAY department… The other students are older too and don’t exactly want to swing and play baseball during recess time. Pray with us for the next group of little ones to join in the learning fun.

Needed: one (or more) 2ish something hearing-impaired or Deaf children to accompany Natalie on her educational journey.

It’s just more fun to learn with a friend and have someone to talk with other than the older people around you.

We truly know that language is best learned in community.  We have established an environment that is linguistically rich and visually accessible for our students. Pray with us for the little ones in the area – we hear of some in public schools where they are not linguistically stimulated, where they are developing delays in their linguistic development due to the non-accessibility of a visual stimulus accompanying their language experience. Deaf children learn by SEEing and DOing.  Hearing children learn by hearing.   English and Spanish are but auditory languages.  They do not reach into the brains of a child who has a hearing loss of any significant levels.

And hearing aids don’t FIX things the same way glasses can fix things. My students all have hearing losses into the orange region of the audiogram at this LINK. They do not hear most of the speech sounds without extra help – that means raising my voice, using a hearing aid or other amplification. Most parents don’t take the time to look their hard-of-hearing/Deaf child in the face to have a conversation.  So the child misses out on 82.9% (totally off the cuff estimation) of what is said. They are left wondering, guessing, trying to fill in the blanks.

On the other hand, most parents don’t raise a HAND to help their hearing-impaired child:

About 90%of the deaf population has two hearing parents and 88% of those parents do not know sign language. LINK HERE

And so I know there are children experiencing LANGUAGE DEPRIVATION simply because someone told their parents that having an interpreter is the answer.  Suppose you don’t know ASL (American Sign Language) and you travel to China and you are given an ASL-Chinese interpreter.  How much are you going to learn about China from watching the ASL interpreter?

Exactly what a child who doesn’t KNOW ASL faces when watching someone batting their hands around in first grade.  The child MUST be in a place to learn the language so that they can then access the materials of learning. How does one learn a language? Come on, you know.  You learned a language.  You are reading this.  YES!  You learned by listening to your world from the time your ears developed (about week 16 of gestation inside your mom) you were learning the language of your world. But a child born deaf missed out on even that opportunity. Of course, some babies are born hearing and then lose the sense through trauma… but alas, without a language, they are left behind.

And so, would you pray for those children who are in this area, on this island?  Because we have some lovely little ones here beginning to learn ASL and speaking and communicating in glorious ways… and my heart breaks every time I meet a small child who is SO isolated because the significant forces at work for the child haven’t grasped the idea that LANGUAGE development is IMPERATIVE to life experience and learning.

Thanks for praying.  Thanks for your interest.

 

a happy little family

September 29th, 2018

Every weekend, when I have a little time to sit quietly, I stop to look back to recent days and reflect on what’s been happening. This week, I’ve been so thankful for the little family we have here at CSCD. Mizael is now the older brother to our young Diego and even younger Natalia.  Glenda and Mike Coupe, Valie, and I are the elders- watching over, teaching, guiding – our young charges.  Larimar is the older sister – a little above the children, keeping herself distant, not to be too annoyed by the little ones.

Teaching a little Deaf child takes so many hands. While one plays with the littlest, another is needed to insert the language of the activity.  In the above photo, you wee Glenda swinging with Natalia while Mizael tells Natalia about her experience. I love the way our age groups work together naturally to create a linguistic environment in which language is accessible to everyone. Of course, it takes time.

Diego still needs to be reminded to “use your hands to talk.” But he is more often signing and trying to make his thoughts known to the signing/Deaf people around him. He is also becoming more alert visually – using his eyes to take in what his ears are missing, using his creativity to come up with signs when he doesn’t know one, using his Spanish vocabulary to explain new ideas for which he is lacking words… it’s an amazing honor to be a part of this little boy’s learning.

Thank you for your prayers for our school and thank you for continuing to support us with your boxtops for education, your goodsearch.com support and your prayers.

 

15 school days into the 2018-2019 session

August 31st, 2018

This year, we have three students every morning.  Two are doing High School work and we are thankful to have English and Math volunteers working with them.  Our English tutor meets with the students two hours each week by Facetime while our Math tutor walks into the classroom when he has time free to do so. We are thankful for the ways God provides for morning assistance so that our principal, Betsy Hoke can work with our new 6 year-old student who is learning the alphabet, learning to sit in class, learning to ask before taking or doing things, learning to use his hands to communicate, learning so many life skills!

Pray for teachers as Diego (6) and the two older students all need full time teachers to be present in their learning times. We also have a little 18 month old girl who we would love to have full time – again the need of someone to be her guide and language model through the day is holding us back.

In our next blog entry, I will introduce you to our missionary staff for this school year. Busy busy busy days prevent me from getting the photos I want to post!

Next Friday, September 7 is Deaf Social Night – come if you are able and join in games and fun with us!

 

Day 3 of the 2018-2019 school year

August 13th, 2018

The work continues – for the visiting team, they are pushing to get things DONE now that their work days are down to 3 days. Tammi Wolfe is doing things in the chapel to help out the school year while Joe Landis continues to weld in the carport.  And yes, we hang out the clothes the old-fashioned way. After more than a week here, everyone is in need of something being washed – even if it’s just to prevent the dorm rooms from becoming too scented by sweaty clothes.

Hayley and Shanna started a rhythm group today while the gentlemen started to put the panels on the carport.  Just a few minutes ago it rained quite hard so I am guessing the men on the roof were pushed to take a break.  God knows when they NEED to stop to prevent them from overdoing it.

Annette has been presenting some really good lessons in the morning chapel time.  We are thankful for her hard work in preparing – very different than for a hearing class.  OOPS  there is that rhythm photo again! Pray for Betsy’s attention deficit – she has a cold/cough this week and the medication is not helping her to focus!

Lastly, the older students are spending time with Danny Vidal, former student who graduated in May 1986 from ESD.  Danny has been on a recent mission trip to a Deaf church in Portugal and the students are learning some Portuguese signs and about life after high school… maybe one or both of them will catch the vision of serving God as missionaries or at least serving God in their local churches.

Pray for all of these and all else that God puts on your heart for our school.  Without your prayers and support, we would be struggling.  WITH your prayers and support, we are praising God and strengthened for more again tomorrow.

 

the work continues

March 24th, 2018

While many people don’t understand it, or believe it, Puerto Rico DOES have a “winter” season. We don’t have snow but our temperatures do go down… on the average to the high 70Fs (21C) in Luquillo and to the low 40Fs (4.4 C) in the mountain areas. Some lovely quilters from New York state sent us three boxes of quilted blankets and throws and wall hangings. In the photo about, you will see how one student immediately adopted a blanket as her own.  One former student took a quilted blanket home for his mother who hugged it and cried. Thank you quilters for your gifts of love!

The work to return the school campus to it’s pre-hurricanes (P2H) state of functioning is continuing. As God brings us workers (from left above) from various places like Calvary Chapel,  independent families, and the local Internet installer, we are slowly beginning to get the grounds and infrastructure back to P2H normal.

A special group of workers has worked this past month to rebuild our sport/storage room as well as our awning at the dining room entrance. Additionally, some of the men in the group from Ontario Canada had some electrical savvy – they were able to work through the wires and restore power to parts of the dorm that were not powered up and were able to configure a solar backup for the school kitchen (not for every day purposes but in case of a power outage, we can now use the solar power system to run the fridges and freezer).  Their inventiveness will save us many headaches from generator issues in coming years… assuming their power cord remains aloft.

Oh and the phone line to the school office is now working again! AND the CableTV company has restored the service to the TV in the school library – a donation of their service for educational purposes.

Mail is arriving as it had been P2H and our little corner of the world is fairly back to normal.

Please do not misunderstand me, the rest of the island (and our little part) still carries the scars and still has delays.  Since the FEMA satellite link ended, it has taken a few weeks to get back online so our e-giving donors have not heard from us this month (yet).  We will be working on that this coming week.

Trees remain broken and the ones that will grow new leaves are working on it. The DTOP guys are out there trying to get the traffic lights working to restore order – yesterday I was in Carolina and after a few blocks of non-functional traffic lights on the business roads, I was glad to get back to the autopista and take the bypass from all of the tangle.

Some stores have not re-opened and some have announced that they are not planning to reopen. OurSam’s Club is one of them.  The two nearest Sam’s are both about an hour’s drive away so we will have to rethink the cost effectiveness of that choice. But, meanwhile, we have plenty of fresh produce again.  Plenty of meat in the grocery stores.  Plenty of options to enjoy choosing from.  And the students have been enjoying choosing the Monday Make Your Meal Menu option that has been given to them this year.

Thank you for your prayers and for your assistance and your parcels and your partnership in our ministry.