Frequently Asked Questions
Find Out More About ISD
Here are answers to questions often asked about Iowa School for the Deaf.
What are the hearing levels of students at ISD?
Our students have a variety of hearing levels. In this language-rich environment, students use sign language, spoken language or both. Some students use cochlear implants or hearing aids; others do not use assistive technology. Students on 504 plans, IFSPs and IEPs may be eligible; all placement decisions are made by the student’s IEP team.
Does it cost anything to attend 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.
If there is an interpreter at the public school, why should students attend Iowa School for the Deaf?
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. Iowa School for the Deaf’s licensed teachers of the deaf provide direct instruction. There are also rich opportunities to develop healthy social-emotional skills, identity and a sense of belonging.
Why not just give notes and have captioning for deaf students and keep them in public schools?
Most students with a different hearing level 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 if they are delayed in language.
Is ISD easier than public school?
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.
Do hearing impaired students attend ISD?
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 hearing level, 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. “Hearing impaired” implies an imperfection exists. Some students may also identify as Deaf. Using uppercase D describes people who identify as culturally Deaf and are engaged with the Deaf Community, sharing common culture as well as language- usually American Sign Language.
What diplomas are awarded?
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.
What do ISD students do after graduation?
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.
How many students are on campus?
With just over 100 students, ISD staff members focus on the individual needs of each child.
What is the school calendar?
The school year begins in mid-August and concludes in late May, just as other public schools do in Iowa.
Return to Learn & COVID 19 Resources
To ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, ISD will continue following guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education. Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, our most recent versions of the Return to Learn plan and COVID-19 safety protocols can be found by clicking the “COVID 19 Resources” button below.