St. Mary's School for the Deaf Communication Policy


    SMSD, a leader in creating a vibrant community of lifelong learners - one student, one family, one success at a time.

    • We are CHILD FIRST.
    • We believe that ALL children can learn.
    • We believe that ALL SMSD students have a right to learn, utilizing every accessible communication avenue.
    • We believe that ALL SMSD students have a right to a safe, healthy, and positive school environment.


    SMSD is committed to providing equitable access to exemplary educational programs that prepare deaf students to be self-directed, lifelong learners, who are productive members of society.  We accomplish our mission in the ever-changing world by:

    • We inspire ALL to achieve personal goals and strive for excellence.
    • We office a rigorous and relevent curriculum that addresses the diverse learning styles of all our students.
    • We instruct our students in basic and critical thinking skills.
    • We promise to collaborate as a community and with the community at large.
    • We expect ALL members of the SMSD community to act with integrity.

    Our Communication Philosophy

    SMSD recognizes the right of its students to have full and ongoing access to language and communication, both incidental and planned.  Optimal access to all communication is vital to our students' academic and social development.  American Sign Language (ASL) and English are the languages used at SMSD for communication and instruction.

    SMSD is fully committed to ensuring that our students reach their maximum potential in  ASL and English, while also supporting their individual communication needs.  Recognizing that ASL and English are unique, distinct separations and clear boundaries between both languages are not ideal but crucial and necessary also.  To that end, SMSD will serve as a language-rich environment for our deaf and hard of hearing students.

    Operating Principles

    1. SMSD is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural, and inclusive school.
    2. Making optimal use of their cultural capital, students will apply their knowledge, experiences, and connections to succeed in life.
    3. Individual Education Plan requirements for language, communication, and speech will be met through each student's area of strength, including American Sign Language, Printed, Spoken, and Written English.
    4. Students are expected to gain mastery of English and other content areas required by the New York State Board of Regents.
    5. SMSD will continue to develop and utilize curriculum maps to effectively plan for rigorous, robust, and vibrant instruction for students.  The New York State Common Core Learning Standards will be the backbone of all instruction at SMSD. 
    6. Students are expected to become involved with the world through cutting-edge technology.
    7. Students are expected to contribute to the safe and supportive environment at SMSD by keeping the school free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment, and bullying.