The mission of the Missouri School for the Deaf is to provide educational opportunities and outreach support for students to become successful life-long learners and productive citizens in a global society. Missouri School for the Deaf provides well-rounded educational opportunities. Students are prepared for the world of work and for higher education according to each individual’s potential and preferences. MSD provides separate academic programs for elementary, middle school, and high school students in three main buildings on campus. Programs embrace a multicultural, language-rich environment that emphasizes fully accessible communication through American Sign Language. MSD’s Student Life program goals include providing students the opportunity to assume leadership roles, develop their collaborative abilities and strengthen their social skills. Students have access to a broad range of after-school programs and activities, clubs, and sports, many of which are open to all MSD students. Tailored to the individual’s needs and interests, MSD’s after school programs effectively support the social and emotional development of each student.
Prior to March 2020
MSD campus was open and functioning well during the year, with four students set to graduate in May of 2020. MSD did not provide any online courses prior to March of 2020. Information was shared weekly with parents, staff, and stakeholders through the MSD Newsletter as well as through social media.
During March-June 2020
Beginning in March of 2020, MSD communicated with all students, staff, and stakeholders regarding the extended closure following spring break, due to the pandemic. Distance learning was quickly put into place through the MSD Digital Learning site as well as through packets sent home to all families, regardless of access to technology.
Communications were made through weekly family and staff check-ins, in order to keep up with our students, families, and staff. MSD Superintendent Stailey began posting weekly vlogs to keep everyone informed on important information and updates on MSD’s campus. Information was shared through weekly newsletters, social media, website, and our new digital learning site.
How the School Rose to the Challenge
As changes happened in a blink of an eye, staff stepped up to ensure MSD students had everything they would need to continue their education. Teaching staff began to collect materials to send home, developing at-home lesson plans, creating educational videos, and developing a list of resources for families to use during the state closure. MSD dormitory staff collected all the residential students’ belongings and drove them to pick up sites across the state, so that students would not be without their belongings during the summer. For the graduating seniors, yard signs were made and delivered to each individual’s home to celebrate their success. MSD also ordered graduation caps and gowns and sent them to each senior. MSD staff have continued to strive for greatness through many hours of professional development through a variety of online sources.
Where the School is Now
MSD’s last day of school was May 22, 2020. Extended School Year began on June 1 and continues through June 26. Teachers and staff are wrapping up the school year and are already looking ahead to the 2020-2021 school year. MSD is looking into online classroom platforms that can be used through distance learning, in person, or a blended learning that can be used for the next school year. MSD has established a re-entry committee to develop procedures when school begins in the fall. This committee is working in collaboration with Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the recommendations of the CDC.
During the state’s closure, much has been learned. Students need access to a tech device such as iPads for eLearning. Not all students and staff have access to technology. MSD has also realized that not everyone has the same technology skills and that further training is needed. MSD is currently looking at how to address these issues and the issues associated with cleaning procedures, transportation, sporting events, and classroom and dormitory social distancing.
Superintendent: George Stailey