Since the school’s founding in 1823 as the first state-supported school of its kind‚ the Kentucky School for the Deaf has been a model institution for the education of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. With its philosophy of teaching every subject offered in a traditional K-12 school – and by challenging its students to participate in extra-curricular activities such as athletics‚ debate and leadership activities – no one is considered disabled at KSD.
High Level of Success
“At KSD‚ being deaf doesn’t make you different‚ it just puts you on an even playing field‚” claims the school’s Web site. Such a bold assertion is easy to make with highly successful students and a deaf superintendent‚ Harvey Corson‚ walking the halls of KSD.
Typical examples of student achievement at the school include two elementary students who won the Lowe’s Heroes Day art contest recently in competition with students from all over the country. Another example comes from kids at the middle-school level who contributed a scrapbook of articles‚ photographs and student writings to Centre College as a commemoration of the 2000 vice presidential debate there.
“We believe that deaf people can do anything except hear‚” says Artie Grassman‚ outreach services and community relations director at the Kentucky School for the Deaf. “We do not limit them based on their disability. Instead‚ we empower them through education and deaf adult role models to become all they can be and to live their dreams.”
Giving testament to the school’s motto‚ students often expand their education through a program that allows transfers between KSD‚ Boyle County Schools and Danville City Schools.
“With the support of interpreters‚ we place a number of students in local public schools so that they can benefit from that environment‚” Grassman says.
But the switch is not just one-way. City and county school students often attend vocational classes such as horticulture and construction at KSD.
Behind the successes of the students are members of the school’s faculty and its lasting commitment to meet all learning needs.
“Our aim is to individualize our instruction based on the needs of the student‚” Grassman says.“Many of our students use American Sign Language‚ some use American Sign Language and speech‚ others are very oral and are learning to sign.” Additionally‚ students benefit from technological advances in hearing such as auditory trainers‚ FM systems‚ hearing aids and cochlear implants.
What began as the first of its kind‚ the Kentucky School for the Deaf stays true to its pioneering roots by continuing to turn eager students into highly confident graduates.