Strategic Plan


In 2019, the RSD community came together to imagine and plan for the future.  Faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and community members participated in surveys, focus groups, and workshops to identify RSD's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth.  Just as a five-year strategic plan was about to be rolled out, a global pandemic hit, and we needed to adjust our plans and priorities to serve and protect our students, families, and staff.  While some strategic initiatives identified in 2019 were put on hold, many were developed and advanced.  In Spring 2022, we resumed work on the strategic plan with consultants from the University of Rochester and stakeholders to take stock of the progress made, look at new issues that have emerged or been amplified by the pandemic, and adjust to the current landscape of education and needs of the RSD community.  
With the 2022-23 school year under way, we've rolled up our sleeves to implement the plan.  Below are the tasks outlined in the plan, as well as a general timeline for when we will initiate work on the tasks.  We are also pleased to share Year 1 highlights as they are evolving and plan to report annually.  It is important to remember that this is a five-year plan that we will continue to review and update to meet the needs of our students, staff, families and the wider RSD community.


RSD, a leader in creating a vibrant community of lifelong learners – one student, one family, one success at a time.


Rochester School for the Deaf provides exemplary opportunities in a bilingual environment to meet students’ unique learning. Together, as a community, RSD challenges and prepares students for participation in the ever-changing world by:
  • creating an environment that empowers academic achievement, enables communication, and enriches social engagement;
  • using both proven and innovative programming along with current technologies; and
  • nurturing students in mind, body, and spiritedness culminating in self-awareness, cultural identity and pride.

Strategic Priorities

Internal and External Communication - Improve communication among all stakeholders, including administrators, staff, students, families, alumni, and the community.
  • Create expectation guidelines for all forms of communication within RSD (Year 1)
  • Share communication expectations between key stakeholders (Year 1)
  • Develop a means of ensuring accountability for the expectation guidelines (Year 1)
  • Review, revise, and reshare guidelines (in subsequent years) (Years 2-5)
Hiring/mentoring – Attract and retain quality employees.
  • Review, analyze, and refine system-wide hiring processes (Initiate Year 1)
  • Enhance recruitment efforts to reach/increase a diverse pool of candidates (Initiate Year 1)
  • Create and maintain an effective mentoring program for all new employees that helps them gain an understanding of our community, policies, roles, and procedures. (Initiate Year 1)
  • Review, analyze, and implement orientation for all employees (Initiate Year 2)
  • Ensure that there is a system of accountability, team building, and recognition aligned with standards, expectations, and policy. (Initiate Year 2)
FamiliesEnsure all families feel welcome, included, and empowered in the RSD community.
  • Identify and develop areas where families need and want support, including ASL (Initiate Year 1)
  • Develop a database of Rochester community resources to support families (Initiate Year 2)
External Partnerships – Seek and establish partnerships with selected area businesses and colleges to support student success and experiences. (Initiate Year 2)
Alumni – Expand partnerships with RSD alums to support student success and experiences.
  • Develop a plan to track RSD alumni (Initiate Year 1)
  • Review and update alumni records/database (Initiate Year 2)
  • Create new areas of partnership with RSD alumni (Initiate Year 3)
4201 and Other Deaf Schools – Strengthen partnerships with other Deaf schools to support student academic success and enrollment.
  • Develop and initiate new areas for shared advocacy and lobbying for 4201 partnerships and initiate (Initiate Year 3)
School Districts and BOCES – Strengthen relationships with home school districts’ stakeholders to support student success and enrollment.
  • Develop and implement a communication plan and resources for engaging home school districts. (Initiate Year 2)
  • Develop and implement a plan for requesting and processing test scores from home districts annually (Initiate Year 2)
  • Identify possible mentor schools to exchange best practice ideas to enhance student achievement (Initiate Year 3)
Administration – Enhance the roles of the school leaders.
  • Review the organizational chart, including job responsibilities, to capitalize on the talent of all leaders to ensure student and teacher success. (Initiate Year 1)
  • Provide appropriate professional development to ensure leaders’ success. (Initiate Year 1)
ASL Policy – Enforce ASL communication policy school-wide.
  • Review the current ASL policy to establish consistent standards aligned with the current needs of RSD students (Initiate Year 1)
  • Develop and implement a new professional learning program for all employees to enhance ASL fluency (Initiate Year 2)
Board of Directors – Enhance the engagement of the Board of Directors in the school community. 
  • Ensure that the roles and responsibilities of Board members are clearly articulated (Initiate Year 1)
  • Develop and implement an appropriate Board orientation program (Initiate Year 1)
  • Ensure that the school community is familiar with members of the board and their responsibilities (Initiate Year 2)
Student Voice – Provide students with the opportunity for active participation in their school and residential environment.
  • Ensure student representation on decision-making committees (Initiate Year 1)
Emotional /Behavior Support for Students – Provide supports to ensure the physical and social/emotional well-being of all students.
  • Update and expand the technology for creative outlets (Initiate Year 2)
  • Explore the potential of developing an after-school program at RSD (Initiate Year 4)
Staff Awareness – Better staff awareness when dealing with emotional/behavioral students.
  • Ensure students are aware of the code of conduct annually, including consequences for their actions (Initiate Year 1)
  • Train all staff (dorm and academic staff) with coping strategies to better deal with students needing behavioral/emotional support (Initiate Year 2)
  • Ensure support for students new to RSD (Initiate Year 3)
Curriculum – Align curriculum and instruction to support student needs.
  • Define procedures and criteria for adopting, piloting, writing, and evaluating curriculum (Initiate Year 1)
  • Create K-12 benchmarks in each subject area (Initiate Year 2)
  • Examine current academic offerings in comparison to other schools and develop a plan to enhance college and career readiness for all students (Initiate Year 2)
  • Provide all students with opportunities within and/or outside of school so that they may explore and be better prepared for college or career (Initiate Year 3)
Data-Informed Instruction – Utilize data effectively to inform instruction and report achievement.
  • Adopt and implement data analysis protocols and procedures to enhance student learning (Initiate Year 2)
  • Utilize data to implement instructional support services to increase student grade level achievement (Initiate Year 2)
  • Use data analysis process to adjust curriculum, lesson plans, and classroom instruction and improve student achievement (Initiate Year 3)
Professional Development – Create and implement professional development that maximizes and supports student growth and meets the needs of all school employees.
  • Create a professional development plan that focuses on multiple methods of delivery, and is aligned with staff needs (Initiate Year 1)
  • Create a culture throughout RSD employees that encourage and values all forms of professional development (Initiate Year 4)
Student Achievement and SupportProvide programming and supports to ensure the success of all students.
  • Provide a rich ASL and English bilingual program for all students (Initiate Year 1)
  • Provide a continuum of educational support services aligned with Special Education law, SED requirement, to meet the needs of students (Initiate Year 2)
  • Ensure all students achieve, at minimum, a local diploma (Initiate Year 4)

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

RSD will create a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging statement and incorporate it into the way we implement this strategic plan, our work as a staff, and our teaching and learning with students.