New American Sign Language Class at Saugus High


Saugus High now offers an American Sign Language class!

Aaron Morales Logan, Staff Writer

After a rather unorthodox 2020-2021 school year, Saugus High School has now returned to full-time in-person classes after nearly an entire year of virtual learning via Google Classroom and other platforms. Among the classes being held in-person is a new class: ASL, or American Sign Language. 

Sign language is a form of non-verbal communication that utilizes hand gestures and signals. This makes ASL unique amongst the other language classes taught on campus, all of which can be spoken and written while sign language cannot. The class is taught by one of the newest teachers on campus: Ms. Naticia Caranto, who teaches the class in room M1308 and is ecstatic to be able to teach something completely new to some students.

“I definitely try to involve my students as often as possible,” Ms. Caranto disclosed in an interview with The Scroll. This was her answer to a question about her teaching style, to which she answered that she really didn’t have one. She simply tries to involve her students and also play games, which involves them even further past the usual lectures. She also disclosed that she had even taken her classes into the quad a few times to play some games and involve the students more. Only ASL 1 is available at the moment, however ASL 2 through 4 will be added later on, one per school year. It is in these higher levels where the students will gain more independence using the language through activities such as signing entire videos and skits. 

At the moment, ASL is a very high demand class with all periods — which are periods 5, 6, and 7 — being at essentially maximum capacity. After Ms. Caranto was signed to a contract around June, very late in the year, the school counselors reached out to the students who had signed up for Spanish 1, asking them if they would be interested in taking the new ASL course instead. Many of them were interested. Word spread and thus, ASL had its students.

The class is in high demand for a reason. In an interview with the Scroll, Mr. Raza, a Saugus counselor, explained that it was very hard to find teachers for a few select classes which include the industrial courses and ASL. “The fact that we were able to find a Sign Language teacher that was credentialed was an amazing gift,” Mr. Raza said during the interview. The class of course was since added, and is now an official class on campus that even counts towards the A-G requirements. 

The class seems to be going extremely well. Mr. Raza also shared that, after watching one of Ms. Caranto’s classes in the quad, they —  the counselors — were very inspired. “We are really impressed, because a lot of the kids seem to be happy to sign, and they seem to be picking up on the language very quickly,” Mr. Raza stated. 

ASL already seems to be a very successful class, with students engaged and excited to learn the very unique language. With the higher levels coming to Saugus in upcoming years, the school can expect to see ASL become a very popular class as more space opens up and opportunities to take the course continue to emerge.