Direct instruction is best. Interpreters are state-licensed professionals who are experts in interpreting, not teaching. They relay information to students. If an interpreter is not familiar with a subject, the vocabulary and key points of the lesson won't be clear to the interpreter, and concise signing won't be provided to the student.
Most students with a hearing loss are born into hearing families. When children can't hear language to imitate and learn it, they have large vocabulary gaps and struggle in school. The written word may have no meaning for a student who is deaf.
ISD maintains rigorous academic standards. Our direct instruction enables students to focus on content and participate in class discussions. Communication barriers they faced in public school are eliminated. In this manner, they may consider ISD to be "easier" than their public schools.
We respect individual and family preferences regarding classifying a child's hearing level. Although an audiology report may show three different students have the same degree of loss, one child may consider themself deaf; another may want to be referred to as hard of hearing; and the third may classify themself as hearing impaired. At ISD, most students consider themselves deaf or hard of hearing. To them, "hearing impaired" implies an imperfection exists.
ISD students meet the same Iowa Board of Education criteria to graduate (same as public school students) and are issued standard Iowa high school diplomas.
Some pursue work or college on their own. Others find our transitional program, 4PLUS, provides welcomed support to be successful with employment and/or at college.
With just under 100 students, ISD staff members focus on the individual needs of each child.
The school year begins in mid-August and concludes in late May, just as public schools do in Iowa.