What Makes Us


Group of high school students walking on sidewalk, engaging with one another.
Learning and friendships bloom here, regardless of preferred communication mode.
It is access to direct communication which sets Iowa School for the Deaf apart from public schools. Teachers provide instant information and feedback without needing to use an interpreter. Our students are amazed when food service staff, housekeepers and bus drivers sign with them.
For many of our students, Iowa School for the Deaf’s environment is the first time they’ve experienced best friends, invitations to birthday parties, and developed positive goals about their futures.
Many of our students find it easier to participate in class discussion with our specialized teaching staff. Often, Iowa School for the Deaf parents notice their children are more confident about themselves and are now joining sports and activities without hesitation.
When communication barriers are eliminated, our students aren’t “different” from their peers. They experience true inclusion and enjoy peer interactions that build a sense of belonging and identity.
Iowa School for the Deaf isn’t a special school. It’s an extraordinary school. Call us at 712.366.0571 for more information and to schedule a tour.



ISD’s traditions are more than 16 decades in the making. From the early planning stages, our special events have communication access in mind.

Summer Camp

Students need not enroll at ISD to enjoy the social and learning opportunities through its camps! See others pages for more information.

Read More>

Ice Cream Social and Memorial Service

A combined gravesite marks the final resting place of staff and students who were buried on campus more than a century ago. A Memorial Day service is held to remember their lives each year, followed by a school-wide ice cream social to welcome summer break.

Read More>

Sound Futures

The ISD Foundation works to raise awareness and funds at this spring luncheon. Families share their stories of how ISD has made a difference for their children.

Santa in the Elementary

Children’s eyes light up when Santa can sign to them! Community benefactors provide generous gifts for our youngest students.

School-wide Thanksgiving

Staff, students and friends of ISD celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional holiday lunch.

Bobcat Boutique

This fall holiday shopping event is open to the public. Plenty of interpreters and a lively atmosphere ensure easy interaction among all.

Job Olympics

ISD invites area special needs student to test their abilities at sacking groceries, sorting money and other job skills. ISD high school students often volunteer to judge and run the event.


We “do” homecoming differently, with two days of activity following a lively spirit week. Enjoy the museum, alumni programs, special tours and recognition events during this weekend.

Read More>

Celebrate ISD

This annual carnival event provides traditional games, face painting, cake walks, food and prizes. Profits benefit the dormitory recreational fund.


Yes, we dance! Many of our teens hear music; others may detect the vibrations through large speakers and wooden floors.

Read More>

Oratorical Contest


While our hearing audience claps, there’s a whole lot of hand waving going on during graduation! Alumni and the community also attend to wish our students well. A school-wide reception is held after the ceremony.

Trick or Treat

Clad in their favorite costumes, elementary students practice their “thank you” signs for candy received from school office staff.

Deaf Culture Celebration

Several school-wide hands on/voices off events are held during the school year, giving opportunity for staff and students to practice new signs while working on a group project.

Read More>
Iowa School for the Deaf
3501 Harry Langdon Blvd.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503

PH: 712.366.0571