K-12 Programs

In kindergarten through 12th grades, standards-based instruction at RSD includes:
  • English Language Arts (ELA)
  • American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Studies
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Art and Music
Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) continues to be a vibrant community that fosters the academic and social development of students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students have equal opportunities to grow and flourish using American Sign Language in all facets of their school experience. Students at RSD are challenged to achieve academic success, develop leadership and self-advocacy skills, and respect people from every background and culture. The focus is on addressing the unique needs of each student and supporting them through a whole-child perspective to enhance their individual development. Students are provided with quality instruction that equips them with bilingual fluency, confidence in their personal abilities, and 21st-century skills to prepare them to have fulfilling futures. All families can obtain instruction in ASL through the Signs for All program, and the staff is committed to providing guidance to nurture family-child relationships.

The program for students is divided into three departments:

Elementary School houses kindergarten students through the 5th grade. All students learn American Sign Language and are accustomed to using it throughout the day to ensure accessibility for all. The Elementary School strives to obtain and review data to best address the learning needs of the youngest students. Academic instruction is aligned with the New York State Standards, with a new focus on the Next Generation Standards. Math instruction consists of a balance of both traditional math computation and the application of critical thinking skills. Students engage in hands-on learning activities while exploring the science curriculum through kits supplied by Mystery Science. The elementary students enjoy daily Morning Meetings to establish a sense of community, take turns sharing announcements with peers, and review behavior expectations with reminders of our collective responsibility to make RSD a “PAWS-itive” place for all. Elementary students are welcome to participate in the After-School Activities (ASA) program where they can continue developing social skills with peers while engaging in enrichment activities such as art, drama, and sports.

Middle School consists of the 6th-, 7th-, and 8th-grade students. As students transition to their secondary education, they are assigned lockers and move to different classrooms to receive instruction. Middle School students continue to learn American Sign Language and receive differentiated instruction. The students participate in Jumpstart every afternoon where they can explore independent projects or receive targeted support to further enhance academic progress. STEM programming is also provided to Middle School students as they experience instruction in 3D printing, simple robotics, and Lego constructions. During Middle School, RSD students are encouraged to sample technology-based career possibilities, be introduced to Deaf history and role models, and learn to sew and cook as part of their preparation for their futures as independent citizens who are ready for the 21st century. Many Middle School students participate in school sports teams for the first time and can receive targeted coaching as they develop coordination, athletic and sportsmanship skills.

High School offers students a variety of learning opportunities to best prepare each individual for their transition to independence. Students can take courses to obtain an Advanced Regents, Regents, or local diploma. RSD frequently enters into collaborative arrangements with local school districts so that our High School students are able to broaden their choice of course selections. Some students pursue a Career Development and Occupational Studies Commencement Credential (CDOS) or a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC) to ensure that the training and skills needed to enter the workforce are instilled. RSD partners with various BOCES programs where our students can receive cutting-edge education in their chosen trade. Our strong relationship with ACCES-VR ensures that students are informed about resources they can access upon graduation. The Modified program provides explicit instruction in work skills that prepare our students to be employable upon completion of their studies. Within this program, there are opportunities for students to work on campus, participate in off-campus sites, and be a part of a successful student-run business, “Lunch 4 You.” Extra-curricular activities are a popular portion of most High School students’ busy days. School pride is evident in the number of students who are involved in sports teams, yearbook club, Academic Bowl, Jr NAD, and the newly established Student Body Government. A sense of community and pride in accomplishments are commonplace at RSD and directly influence the development of leadership and self-confidence in our High School students.

For assistance in applying to RSD, to arrange for a campus tour, or for general intake referral information, call 585-336-5854; 585-286-2806 (Videophone), or e-mail: [email protected].

About RSD

Since 1876, Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD)—one of America’s premier private and tuition-free schools, has been successfully building futures for our students and their families.

Hallmarks of an RSD education include:

  • New York State Regents-level educational programs;
  • Direct communication through American Sign Language and English;
  • Highly skilled teaching and support staff professionals;
  • Inclusive, barrier-free approach to teaching and learning activities; and
  • Support to students and their families through a wide array of accessible services.
RSD strives to go above and beyond all expectations to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their families with a level of quality educational programs, support services, and resources to effectively ensure a satisfying and successful kindergarten through 12th-grade school experience.