Superintendent Shauna Bilyeu shares why Washington School for the Deaf is the B.E.S.T.
A Bilingual Approach
WSD provides a comprehensive educational program that includes a commitment to promoting the acquisition, maintenance and study of American Sign Language (ASL) and English for all deaf and hard of hearing children.
What People are Saying
Every deaf child can learn just the same as hearing children can. I think that is one problem is that often there are misconceptions about deaf children’s abilities.
ASL is their language. That gives them the self-esteem and they have a foundation then to support their English development.
So in one year [Jonathan] has made amazing progress. I think that just how much ASL is going on in the classroom has really made all the difference. So he is exposed to it all day.
Our daughter’s first language is ASL. It’s very important she understand ASL.
With ASL I could learn everything. I’ve made so much progress since I came here. I’m grateful to my parents for sending me to WSD. In my opinion, you’ll want to come here.
Once Nicolas started coming here, he blossomed and bloomed. I’m happy to say he walks, talks, runs, reads and plays basketball and does all the things they said he would never do.
A strong language foundation is very important for their success in life. Research shows that deaf students who have American Sign Language skills are then more successful in English.
I like that I can look directly at my teacher. I don’t have to look at the interpreter. I can get the teaching directly from the teacher.
I’ve seen a lot of changes because the communications was there to be able to interact, socialize, boost her self-esteem. The teachers, the staff, very positive reinforcements here.
[We] came to the school. She fell in love with it. The teachers, the one-on-one, the bi-lingual, the support for speech, for occupational therapy Gabby had at that time. There was a plethora of resources for us. And my husband and I had children. They are our responsibility. We want the best for her. We want her to succeed in the world. Here she goes.
It is very crucial that the children have access to language development. A natural acquisition of language right from the very beginning.
Before I got to WSD, I didn’t sign well. I used a little bit of gesturing. When I got here, I got better and better.
I asked my mother to send me here. It was a big decision for her because I lived 8 hours away from here. My mother made the right choice to send me here. It was worth it.
He would start telling me ‘I just want to read at recess. I don’t want anybody to talk to me,’ and I’m like ‘no’. He’s outgoing. That’s not in his spirit. We started looking at different schools and was wowed by this school because of the socialization at recess and lunch and in the classroom is amazing.
We know that learning is a social activity. It’s social in nature. People learn from each other all the time. Children learn the fastest from their peers.
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