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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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] 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.
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.
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.
Join other Deaf students (age 5-18) for a fun day of skiing and snowboarding! Click here for details.
March 7-8, 2018
This annual event brings Deaf students from Oregon, Washington, Montana and the Vancouver B.C. areas together for two days of competition in ASL literature and art.
Click here for information and to register!