Dear Mr. Malkowski:
Thank you for your letter dated August 7, 2010 regarding Newfoundland and Labrador’s Provincial School for the Deaf closure. The decision to close the Newfoundland School for the Deaf was made after careful consideration. Since 2003, the enrollment at Newfoundland School for the Deaf (NSD) has been in decline and the number of students in the building is extremely low. With advancements in medical technology, many families are choosing to fit their children with cochlear implants which allow their child to attend their neighborhood school. The Department of Education’s auditory verbal therapist works throughout the province to support the itinerants for the Hearing Impaired to ensure appropriate programming for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
In 2007, when families were presented with the option to educate their children in their community schools, many chose to do this and a teacher of the Deaf was hired or reassigned to work with the children.
Curriculum is changing to accommodate the needs of all types of learners and teachers are being trained to meet the diverse needs in their classrooms. Assistive technology and alternate format materials to enhance learning are provided, and courses in American Sign Language are being offered to students and teachers.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing students will be provided with the supports needed to promote their educational, social and emotional growth. They have access to the services of a teacher of the Deaf, an ASL interpreter, an itinerant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, a departmental liaison, an auditory verbal therapist, a special education teacher, a student assistant, an audiologist and a guidance counsellor, depending on their academic, language, emotional and social needs.
The Department of Education will continue to provide a sound education and opportunities for networking within the larger community by supplying iPhones to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students, their teachers and parents to create better access for communication. We are working in liaison with Canadian Hard of Hearing Association – NL (CHHA-NL) to keep abreast of the latest technology and advice for setting up classrooms that are conducive for learning.
DARIN T. KING, PhD
MHA, District of Grand Bank
Secretary to the Minister (A)
Department of Education
P. O. Box 8700
3rd Floor, West Block
St. John's, NL AlB 4J6