Welcome to the Wisconsin School for the Deaf (WSD). WSD is a residential school for deaf and hard of hearing students in the state of Wisconsin. We operate under the direction of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and provide educational services for deaf and hard of hearing students aged 3 – 21.
What the School Offers
The Wisconsin School for the Deaf provides educational programs and services for students in grades preschool through twelve. We offer a day school setting for our youngest students as well as students living in surrounding communities. WSD has a residential component for students living further than a 30-45 minute commute. The school offers innovative learning opportunities for students who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as students who have hearing loss coupled with additional disabilities. The students at WSD come from across the state of Wisconsin to receive an education based on solid research-based best practice models for deaf and hard-of-hearing children as well as to participate in extra and co-curricular activities.
WSD offers a curriculum that is very similar to those offered in the local public schools. Our curriculum is based on Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards which includes core academic areas (Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, P.E., Art) as well as curricular areas specially designed to meet our students’ unique needs (Deaf Studies, ASL). WSD students participate in the Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) and students in those grades that are tested take either the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) or the Wisconsin Alternative Assessment (WAA).
Each student at WSD has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which lists out his/her annual educational plan as well as any specialized related services provided to help the student meet goals. Aside from that, the most significant difference between a student’s local school and WSD is the environment in which learning occurs. Classes and activities are presented in American Sign Language, with English as the supplemental language. There is no need for students to use interpreters. Many visual communication mechanisms are used at WSD (i.e. visual messaging boards, videophones, text messaging). Staff including teachers, house parents, teacher assistants, maintenance personnel, nurses, administrators, and office staff are skilled in using sign language. This provides a barrier-free communication environment for students and staff alike.
WSD is located in rural Delavan (population 8,000), which is in the south central portion of Wisconsin. The school has been serving Wisconsin’s deaf and hard of hearing children and their families since 1852. WSD has had an average enrollment of 130 students (highest enrollment was 215 in 1980, lowest enrollment was 113 in 2007). WSD stresses quality of service to students and parents and is committed to being a model Bilingual school for other DHH programs in Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest.