FAQ for School Administrators

What qualifies a student to attend ISD?

A student between the ages of 2 and 21 who has educational needs as a result of deafness or hearing level may be referred to ISD.

Upon the request of a local school district or Early Access provider, ISD will assist school districts in determining the educational needs of preschool and school-age children who are confirmed or suspected to be deaf or hard of hearing. A referral for evaluation or placement decision by the IEP team will be preceded by a review of a student’s file by the ISD referral team to determine if the student’s academic, developmental, medical, social/emotional and behavioral needs can be met by the available services and programs at ISD.

Link to ISD Referral and Enrollment Procedures

Can a student attend ISD if they are not on an IEP?

Students who qualify for Section 504 services may be referred to ISD if their hearing level limits life activities such as living, learning or working.

Link to Section 504 and ISD
Link to ISD Referral and Enrollment Procedures

What’s unique about ISD’s programs and services?

ISD provides a barrier-free, language-rich communication environment supporting spoken English and American Sign Language. Students have access to deaf peers and role models.  ISD teachers are state licensed in both deaf education and content areas for pre-K through 12th grade. ISD has a 4PLUS program specifically designed and staffed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing in need of additional transition services. ISD support staff include counselors, speech language pathologists, school psychologist, audiologist, American Sign Language specialists, staff specializing in English Language Learners (ELL), and reading specialists who are fluent in ASL and spoken English.

What makes ISD extraordinary?

Is ISD accredited?

Yes, ISD is regionally accredited by Cognia and nationally accredited by the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf. ISD meets the same standards as public schools for high school graduation and students are eligible for an Iowa high school diploma. The instruction program utilizes Iowa Core Standards and the Iowa Expanded Core Curriculum for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The preschool program utilizes the Iowa Early Learning Standards for 3- and 4-year-olds.

What does the ISD curriculum look like?

ISD follows the Iowa Core Standards and the Iowa Core Essential Elements. Additionally, ISD follows graduation requirements as set forth by the Iowa State Board of Education. ISD staff utilize many programs and assessments designed for use with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Pathways to Regular Diploma

What educational opportunities are available to ISD students?

Classes at the local public school such as Advanced Placement (AP) courses are open to ISD students, as well as dual enrollment at the local community college. Students also have the opportunity to access work-based learning on and off campus.

Does ISD have extracurricular activities?

Iowa School for the Deaf offers extracurricular activities to satisfy students’ interests outside of the classroom. These opportunities are the ideal setting to gain real-life experience, develop leadership skills and make friends. Students compete in local, state and national competitions. Middle and high school students can participate in volleyball, cheerleading, basketball, cross-country and track. We compete against public and private schools in the local area and other schools for the deaf in the midwest region.

Activities & Clubs

What does it cost to send a student to ISD?

ISD is part of the Free Public Educational (FAPE) system in Iowa. ISD receives a legislative appropriation for its core educational program and residential services. There is no cost to attend ISD. However; just like in public schools when a student needs individualized supports/services for FAPE, there may be costs incurred for the school district.

Link to Funded Services: ISD and School Districts

Who provides transportation for dormitory students?

Weekend transportation to and from ISD is provided for dormitory students by ISD.

What responsibilities does the resident school district have for students who enroll at ISD?

When a student attends ISD, the resident school district continues to be the agency responsible for FAPE. A designee from the school district is involved in IEP or 504 meetings. We keep in contact and update the district with ongoing communication and school records like grades, attendance, state assessments and IEP goal progress monitoring.

If we want to refer a student, what happens next?

We recommend students, families and school district staff visit ISD prior to making a referral. If the school district wants to make a referral, the district should send ISD school records with parent permission. The ISD referral team will review records to determine if the student’s needs can be met with the services and supports available at ISD. After the review is complete, ISD will contact the resident school district to discuss the results of the review.

Link to ISD Referral and Enrollment Procedures

How is residential placement determined at ISD?

Eligibility for ISD’s instructional services does not mean the child is automatically eligible for residential services. To qualify for residential services, the child has to meet specific criteria that includes the following:

  • Child lives more than a one-hour commute to ISD, one-way. Certain exceptions may be considered.
  • Child is five years or older by September 1 of current school year.
  • Child must not be a danger to self or others and does not engage in illegal activities.
  • Child does not have a medical condition that is beyond the capacity of care of the ISD Health Center.
  • Child must have basic self-help skills and does not require one-on-one assistance or one-on-one supervision and is able to follow the residential program’s age-appropriate schedule.