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Special Education

Memorandum on Requirements for Registration of Sign Language Interpreters Who Work in Educational Settings

To:Special Education Administrators, Directors of Private Special Education Schools, Charter School Directors and other Interested Parties
From:Marcia Mittnacht, State Director of Special Education, and Heidi Reed, Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Date:April 4, 2012

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), in conjunction with the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), reminds school districts of the requirements for registration of sign language interpreters who work in educational settings.

To register with MCDHH, please go to and follow the link for "Educational Interpreter Registration," or contact Janice Cagan-Teuber at 617-740-1600 or .

Since July, 2007, any staff members providing educational interpreting for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in schools, including private special education schools or collaborative schools, must be registered through the MCDHH. Existing staff members providing educational interpreting services must register immediately. New hires must register no later than one week after employment begins and may register prior to employment at any time. Educational interpreters will receive documentation of registration and must provide this documentation to school districts, private special education schools, or collaborative schools to be maintained with documentation of other staff licensure. Initial review of our Education Personnel Information Management System (EPIMS) indicates that not all currently employed educational interpreters are appropriately registered with MCDHH. We will increase our specific outreach and efforts to address this issue and suggest you take steps to address it locally. Program Quality Assurance will review evidence of registration of educational interpreters currently employed in educational settings as part of its Coordinated Program Review (CPR) process.

This important registration activity results from several years of cooperative efforts between the DESE, MCDHH, professionals and stakeholders in the educational community to improve knowledge and quality of sign language interpretation provided by educational interpreters. Registration through MCDHH will ensure that DESE and MCDHH are aware of the use of educational interpreters across the Commonwealth and will ensure that educational interpreters are aware of training opportunities. Additionally, DESE and MCDHH will be communicating with educational interpreters as we develop specific requirements to ensure that educational interpreters possess the appropriate training, experience, and skill levels to meet the communication needs of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students.

We appreciate your cooperation with this requirement and welcome your input as we continue to move forward to ensure that all of our students, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, have the best opportunities to learn that this Commonwealth can provide.

Last Updated: April 9, 2012

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