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

The program for students is divided into three departments:

The Elementary School is where students in kindergarten through 5th grade receive instruction through American Sign Language (ASL) and English. Our bilingual program provides content instruction for Elementary students using both social and academic ASL and English to promote higher levels of language, literacy development and critical thinking skills. Teachers within our program individualize and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of our diverse student population. Our goal is for students to master academic work at their grade level as outlined in the Common Core State Standards. Using interconnected curriculum, opportunities to experience multi-disciplinary hands-on learning and incorporation of technology, students discover their strengths as learners and develop self-confidence as the academic demands increase.

RSD Middle School includes 6-8th grades where a sense of being part of a community is encouraged and instilled. The Middle School years at RSD span two great transitions: from Elementary School to High School. During these important years, students experience significant physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Our Middle School teachers and staff are instructors and role models to help shape students they grow and learn about the world. Students receive instruction in English, ASL, math, science, social studies, technology, family and consumer science, art, music and health. We offer many opportunities for hands-on learning both on and off campus. Students have access to the highest quality of academic, leadership, residential and extra-curricular opportunities.

The High School prepares young, deaf and hard of hearing adults to experience the world on their own terms. RSD offers a full range of courses and experiences to help students graduate with Advanced Regents, Regents, or Local High School diploma, or a Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential or a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC), as required by New York State. The transition planning process at RSD helps students become “College and Career Ready.” Students and their parents work closely with a guidance counselor to provide the framework for high school coursework and post-secondary plans. In addition to the academic and work readiness components of the high school program, we offer a multitude of extra-curricular opportunities that promote self-advocacy, leadership, teamwork and self-confidence.  Students graduate with an “I can do it!” attitude and a strong sense of pride in being Deaf.

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:

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.

Physical Education

Physical Education at Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) is based upon the acquisition of knowledge and skills that are the foundation for engaging in physical activity. The mission of RSD Physical Education is to empower all students to sustain regular, lifelong physical activity as a foundation for healthy, productive fulfilling life. Physical Education is a sequential educational program. It is based on physical activities undertaken in an active, caring, supportive and non-threatening atmosphere in which every student is challenged and successful. Students with special needs are provided with a learning environment that is modified, when necessary, to allow for maximum participation.

RSD enjoys a proud tradition of physical education, recreational, and wellness programs for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. The school’s physical education, athletic and recreation facilities and equipment are among some of the finest found in Rochester area schools. RSD facilities include: a full-court gymnasium with spectator bleachers and a recreation-sized gym; a competition soccer and softball field; an indoor competition swimming pool; a fully-equipped weight and fitness room with state-of-art work-out stations, a climbing wall and play area for younger students; two recreation centers; and, a wide array of sports equipment for students who enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, golf, camping, kayaking and many other activities.

The RSD campus is uniquely situated along the Genesee Riverway Trail system, with access to miles of running, hiking and biking trails, the Seneca Park Zoo, parks, as well as numerous cultural, historical and educational sites.

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  • For help in applying to RSD.
  • To schedule a campus tour.
  • For general intake referral information.
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Elementary, Middle and 
High School Program Brochure
RSD Parent 

View and download a PDF file of the Parent Handbook.



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