Yesterday a couple of my Education Policy Center friends had the privilege of visiting a local charter school with a special program to serve a particular group of kids with special needs: Rocky Mountain Deaf School (RMDS).
RMDS is located in Jefferson County, but about half of its 61 students live in surrounding districts. That’s a sign of a school having success connecting with deaf and hearing-impaired kids and improving their learning horizons.
The RMDS vision statement highlights the clear focus and special status of the school:
As a high performing, innovative educational program for students who are deaf, we are deeply committed to providing a rigorous, standards-based curriculum. We prepare each deaf student to be literate, academically successful, and technologically competent. We provide a linguistically rich learning environment through the acquisition of American Sign Language and English both inside and outside the classroom.
Through strong collaboration with parents, the deaf community, the educational research community, the school community, and the business community, we are a model of best practices and an exemplary resource in the field of Deaf Education both nationally and internationally.
Now in its second decade of operation, RMDS is in its fourth location: a converted storefront on the west side of the Denver metro area. As its parents and leaders consider adding a high school to the preschool through eighth grade already served, the school has begun a capital campaign to raise money for a facility designed to better suit their students’ needs. If you know of anyone who can help, I’m sure they would appreciate it.
Just in case you don’t believe me about how well this school knows how to bring out the best in deaf students, then you should take a look at the book Deaf Education in America, written by RMDS executive director Dr. Janet Dickinson (formerly Cerney).
I wish them all the best of success!
(For all your Colorado school options, check out School Choice for Kids!)
PS: I forgot to say that I now wish to learn sign language so I can talk with the kids at RMDS!