Media Releases

April 5, 2003

All revved up for Indy
Serious business and a dash of excitement at the ASLTA Conference

The Second National Professional Development Conference of the American Sign Language Teachers Association is being held Thursday, April 10 through Sunday, April 13, at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. The theme is "Racing for Excellence–Put ASL Teachers in the Winner’s Circle!" Some 400 ASL, interpreter-training, and Deaf Studies teachers, students, and advocates from across the nation are expected to attend.

As the title indicates, the emphasis is on professional development: workshops, presentations, and skill-polishing. Over three dozen presentations–lectures, teaching demonstrations, interactive workshops, and panel discussions–have been scheduled. Presentations will cover various aspects of ASL linguistics, teaching, curricula, and research in K-12, college-level, and community tracks. There’s something for everyone. Teachers and students can earn credits towards their ASLTA certification by participating in these sessions.

Several presenters have connections to Indianapolis–as alumni or former faculty of Indiana School for the Deaf. ISD’s second Deaf superintendent, Eddy F. Laird, now Coordinator of ASL Studies at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, is a presenter. Matthew S. Moore, Conference Coordinator, is an ISD alumnus (’77).

During intersession breaks, attendees can enjoy complimentary refreshments in the Sprint Break Room. There will be opportunities for networking and late-into-the night discussions. Attendees have free time to socialize, stroll, do sightseeing, or dine out. Vendors’ tables near the session rooms will give attendees a chance to see what’s new. They can browse through and bring back a variety of ASL-teaching and auxiliary materials–books, posters, multimedia packages, and CDs.

The Conference officially kicks off on Friday morning. Moore will give the "Welcome" address. Dr. Thomas Kay Holcomb of Ohlone College’s Deaf Center will give the keynote address, "Speeding Toward a New Definition for Deaf Culture." Plenary and concurrent sessions follow.

A special attraction is the Silent Auction Gala slated for Friday evening, April 11–a semi-formal fundraising event open to the public and featuring original artworks and limited-edition prints with an ASL/Deaf Culture theme by a sampling of top Deaf artists. The Gala will be open to the public. Matthew S. Moore, Conference Coordinator, hopes to make it "an exciting and memorable event." The goals: to promote awareness of Deaf art in the Deaf community, to encourage Deaf people to purchase Deaf artworks, and to give the hearing public an opportunity to recognize the caliber of Deaf artists. Proceeds benefit ASLTA and participating artists. The preview starts at 7 p.m. Voice interpreters are provided. Gala tickets are sold through ASLTA’s Willard Chapter (WASLTA) in Indianapolis, and are available at the door.

Conference sponsors are MCI/IP-Relay; Sprint; Isoprime Corporation; Dr. Diana Piela; Gallaudet University Regional Center at Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, Kansas); National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York); Project TIEM (Teaching Interpreting Educators and Mentors) at University of Colorado-Boulder; Vincennes University’s ASL Program; Conference of Interpreter Trainers; and

Moore, a native of Indianapolis, has told registrants who are first-time visitors, "It’s a beautiful, bustling city," and encouraged them to schedule a bit of extra time for sightseeing.

Backgrounds: ASLTA is the national membership and certifying body of and for teachers of American Sign Language. It seeks to improve the standards of teaching ASL, to ensure that ASL teachers have the highest possible qualifications, to promote recognition of ASL as a language, and to function as a positive force in the community by encouraging greater Deaf awareness and appreciation of the beauty and power of ASL.

MSM Productions, Ltd. is an independent multimedia company founded in 1983 by Matthew S. Moore, an alumnus of ISD and Rochester Institute of Technology. produces high-quality media with a Deaf Culture focus: the Deaf Life Press imprint and portal site. Its new division, Redbird Conference Planners, offers conference-coordination services.

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