April ASB Newsletter


Did you know that April is Deaf History Month?

Deaf History Month is an opportunity to emphasize the inclusivity and support to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or losing their hearing. Deaf History Month started on March 13th, 1996 when two deaf employees working at the MLK Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. started teaching their co-workers sign language. This is why Deaf History Month actually used to be March 15th – April 15th but has since then been moved to allow a more natural flow of events.

Deaf History Month is important as people with disabilities struggle through everyday life without an ability that is important but not many people value greatly. This profound hearing loss makes the average life so much harder and even dangerous as hearing is one of the senses that not only humans but also many organisms heavily rely on.


Did you know that April is Autism Acceptance Month?

What is autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition of variable severity with lifelong effects that can be recognized from early childhood, chiefly characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication and by restricted or repetitive patterns of thought and behavior

What is Autism Acceptance Month?

April used to be known as Autism Awareness Month. But in 2021, the designation changed to Autism Acceptance Month. It’s a simple – but important – revision.

The Autism Society of America announced the suggested shift in terminology last year, urging the media to go along, in order to ignite change in the lives of those with autism and their families, said Christopher Banks, president and CEO of The Autism Society of America.

The Difference between Awareness and Acceptance: “Awareness is knowing that somebody has autism,” Banks said. “Acceptance is when you include (a person with autism) in your activities. Help (them) to develop in that community and get that sense of connection to other people.”

Educational and social programs are vital to improving the opportunities of those with autism. Encouraging inclusive employment, living and social environment can help in the acceptance of the autism community, Banks said.

Who are some inspirational figures who have autism?*

Elon Musk

Albert Einstein

Isaac Newton

Mark Zuckerburg

Temple Grandin

Greta Thunberg

And maaaany more!

*Some historical figures showcase signs of autism but were not officially diagnosed.

Things you may not have Known About Autism

To start… 70 million individuals (about twice the population of California) worldwide have autism.

  1. Around 50% of individuals with autism wander from a safe environment, and over 50% go missing.
  2. Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States.
  3. 1 in 27 boys are diagnosed with autism.
  4. 1 in 116 girls are diagnosed with autism.
  5. Over 7 million individuals (about twice the population of Oklahoma) in the United States are autistic.
  6. Rain Man has the most Oscar wins of any autism-related film.
  7. Temple Grandin has the most Emmy wins of any autism-related film. April is World Autism Month
  8. The average age of diagnosis of autism is 4 years old
  9. Half of children identified with an autism spectrum disorder have average or above average intelligence.
  10. A child can be diagnosed with autism as early as 18 months (about 1 and a half years) old.

We encourage you to visit these websites to learn more about autism spectrum disorder, and find out how you can make a difference!





Did you know that April is Arab American Heritage Month?

The month of April is designated to honoring and recognizing the many achievements of Arab Americans through this celebration. This is a time where groups all throughout America host special events to celebrate the community’s rich heritage and numerous contributions to society through learning about their cuisine, history, art, etc. and many prominent figures which have played a key role in the US.

This initiative began in 2017 and since then, has been increasingly recognize in states and throughout institutions; President Biden has officially recognized this celebration in 2021, saying “The Arab American community is essential to the fabric of our nation, and I am honored to be a part of this celebration of Arab American culture.” The Arab American Foundation, a non-profit, first proposed this, a way to celebrate diversity.

Around 3.7 million Americans have Arab roots with ancestors traced to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, most commonly Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and many more! Immigration to the United States began around the late 1800s, and they live in every US state today.

If you are interested in learning more, please check out the following links:

https://arabamericafoundation.org/national-arab-american-heritage-month/ (from the organization who first began this movement)




April Comic Strip & Art Gallery

Original artwork by Heidi B

Original artwork by Jay L

Original artwork by Yesenia G



Want to submit YOUR artwork? Scan the QR Code down below! If you’d like to scan it directly from your computer, use this link and upload the QR code 🙂 https://webqr.com/index.html


Games & Resources



Arab American Heritage Word Search

Word Bank












We encourage you to try learning and practicing ASL with these fun online resources!



April Teacher Interview & Biography


Teacher Interview: Mr. Layden

INTERVIEWER: What do you love about teaching?

  1. LAYDEN: I’m enthusiastic about social studies, and I really love teaching social studies, and I’m very passionate about the skills that are associated which are incredibly important for future success. What I love is when I’m super passionate about a segment, and I can get students excited about that, and when they’re excited about it, that’s when the learning happens the best. Their engagement rises, and their willingness to create within the curriculum that we’re trying to give them, increases. So, that’s just a good feeling when all of that comes together.

INTERVIEWER: What would be your message to students in general?

  1. LAYDEN: I’d tell them, “Have fun but don’t waste your time.” One of the challenges of middle school is balancing. There’s a time to work, and there’s a time to play. For example, I might be commuting to work, and I’m on my own time. But as soon as I walk through that door and I turn on my computer on, now is the time to work and you must be able to do that switch. I want my students to be able to do that to switch back and forth between those moments.

INTERVIEWER: What was the most embarrassing moment you’ve ever had teaching?

  1. LAYDEN: Every single time I’ve ever gotten a student’s name wrong, it’s like I’m broken. I don’t know what my problem is, but occasionally, I just switch names, and it’s so embarrassing every time I mess up.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have any goal that you want to achieve in the next five years?

  1. LAYDEN: I wanna feel like much more organized with the curriculum, and I’d also like to teach 8th grade, as I’ve done a lot of 6th grade.

INTERVIEWER: What’s something that you’ve already accomplished that you’re proud of?

  1. LAYDEN: I’m proud of how I have been able to build relationships with students. It’s about trust and respect, and I’m proud of trying to make a space where students feel comfortable being themselves.

INTERVIEWER: What hobbies/interests do you have?

  1. LAYDEN: I’m a big backpacker, love the outdoors, love fishing, and travel.

INTERVIEWER: What is your greatest fear and how do you try to overcome that?

  1. LAYDEN: My greatest fear is to not be remembered. I do a whole bunch of things in my life, and then if there’s no impact, then it’s feeling like the things that I do don’t have a use. To overcome it, you do the work, and you try to figure out ways to make an impact and to make it last. You just keep trying, and you hope that years from now you have people that remember it.

INTERVIEWER: What’s your greatest strength?

  1. LAYDEN: My greatest strength might be in trying to build relationships with students. I am strict at times, but I try to stay fair, and my students know that I care about them.

INTERVIEWER: What is one book, movie, or quote that has had a significant impact on your life and why?

  1. LAYDEN: “Courage is found in unlikely places,” by JRR Tolkien. And there’s another line in it, “only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.” There’s two ways to look at that, and that is you can look at it from the standpoint of someone who is the hero, and it’s powerful where Gandalf is saying that he might be this powerful wizard, but he has only got this small part to play in the grand scheme. However, it’s also if someone who feels like they’re small, then only a small part is needed to be a hero and do something great. The quote is both humbling and empowering.

INTERVIEWER: If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be?

  1. LAYDEN: Winston Churchill. He was incredibly dynamic, and I have a few questions to ask Mr. Churchill. He has a certain tone and character, and I wonder how much of that is rehearsed or his actual genuine personality.

INTERVIEWER: What was the happiest moment of your life?

  1. LAYDEN: I did a backpacking trip two years ago, and my partner and I trained for 113 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from Snoqualmie Pass up north, and the happiest moment of my life was conquering that section with her and doing it a day earlier from what we thought we were going to be able to do. We just blew past that itinerary by a day, so realizing that we were more capable together than we thought we were going to be, that was a good moment. And it’s a definite bucket list item, to hike the whole thing from Mexico all the way to Canada.


Spreadsheets to Smartboards

By Sahana S, co-authored by Joseph H and Chloe L

Mr. Layden didn’t have a great middle or high school experience and wanted a better one for future students. At first, he wasn’t sure whether we wanted to work with middle or high schoolers. But in his student-teacher era, he was able to see that “It was the craziness of the Odle students and like the relationships we had within seconds…they had fun. But you go to a high school, and they’re super serious.”

His strength is building relationships with students; being strict when needed but knowing when to have fun. His students know that he genuinely cares about them. “It’s about trying to make a space where students feel comfortable.”

Mr. Layden didn’t start his teaching career until around seven years ago, when he was working in the marketing department at Safeway and Albertsons. Burned out with the numbers that he felt didn’t mean much, he decided to pursue something else. “I tried to go back to my education (my education is in history, primarily),” so he decided to quit his marketing job, and he asked himself, “what did I love about that, and then how do I make myself feel more useful?”

“I know this is gonna sound really weird, but [my greatest fear] is to not be remembered,” he says. I think it has a part with feeling useless.” It could be described as feeling unimpactful, or just feeling unable to create a memorable impact on someone’s life, whether it be a student who remembers him in the years to come, or his fellow colleagues, just how and if he changes and influences the people around him. He says he overcomes this fear by doing everything he can to be influential and significant in a positive way.

He shares both a humbling and empowering quote from J.R.R. Tolkien: “only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.” In a humbling way, it represents how someone who is already great and powerful who is recognized by everybody only plays a small part, but if you turn that around, it empowers people who feel small or overlooked, by telling them that only a small part is needed on their part to collectively make an impact.





The Tyee ASB

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.