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Frequently Asked Questions

What ages are students at OSD?

Preschool children are typically three to five (3-5) years of age. Students in the school-age program are between five (5) and twenty-two (22) years of age. No student may remain at the school after he/she has earned a high school diploma.

Do any students attend the school during education hours only?

Yes, day students who live within Franklin County or within transportable distances (typically one hour) may return home each day after school. About 45 percent of OSD's students are Day Students.

May Day Students participate in after-school activities? 

Yes, parents of elementary and middle school day students need to let the residential office know ahead of time when their child will remain at school to participate in sports practices or after-school events.

May Day Students sleep overnight in the dorms?

Normally the ratio of staff to student supervision is based on the numbers of residential students only. However, if a sporting event or other special activity ends after 8:30 p.m., it is possible to make arrangements ahead of time for a student to sleep one night in the dorm.

How do I make arrangements to tour OSD?

All tours should be scheduled through the school office by calling 614-728-1424. This includes tours for prospective students as well as tours for professionals, or college students.

Are there costs for students attending OSD?

OSD is a State-owned and supported agency, which provides services at no costs to students or their parents. Room, board, and tuition are covered by state funding. The student's local school district is responsible to provide transportation to and from the school on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the child's IEP stipulations.

Can a parent enroll a student without involving the child's home school district?

No, the Local Education Agency (LEA or local school district) has the ultimate responsibility for educating each child who resides within its district. The LEA must be involved at the earliest stages of inquiry and evaluation. The decision whether to place the student at OSD lies with the child's local IEP team.

How do I enroll my child at OSD?

The child's local IEP team makes the determination if the Ohio School for the Deaf will provide the appropriate educational program for that child. This decision is based on an initial evaluation and a consideration of the child's unique needs.

Where do I get an appropriate evaluation for my child?

Your local school district may provide a multi-factored evaluation (MFE) for your child. In addition, the Ohio School for the Deaf offers specialized evaluation services designed with deaf and hard-of-hearing students in mind. The MFE Center at OSD provides a day-long evaluation at no charge covering the following evaluation domains: hearing status, oral and signed communication skills, written English, academic achievement, psychological testing, fine and gross motor testing, vision screening, visual-perceptual testing, social and emotional status, and adaptive behavior. A parent or school district may request evaluation referral information by calling the MFE Center at 614-728-6900 or 614-728-1424.

Suppose my child just finished an MFE with our local school district, do they have to have another evaluation before my child can be considered for enrollment at OSD?

If the local MFE has been completed within a year, including a physical (medical) examination, it is usually not necessary to re-do an evaluation. Sometimes OSD will ask for additional testing or information in an area or two.

If my child is only hard-of-hearing, can he/she attend OSD?

Yes, about 40 percent of OSD's students have some functional hearing abilities and some speech skills. Most OSD students have a hearing loss of 50db or greater, but it is possible to attend OSD with a less severe hearing loss level. The IEP team would consider if the hearing loss has had an adverse effect on educational performance, particularly if there was a more severe hearing loss during younger ages, there has been a history of chronic ear infections, or a delay in diagnosis or amplification.

My child has a cochlear implant. How does OSD accommodate students with a CI?

About 10 percent of the OSD students who have enrolled in the last few years have had a cochlear implant. The IEP team determines what special services the student with a cochlear implant might need, including amplification, auditory training, speech and language therapy, or voice-on instruction for clarification. The parent, student, and the IEP team need to also consider the development of socialization skills within a signing student population and development of academic skills within a bilingual bi-cultural learning environment.

What does BiBi mean?

BiBi refers to Bilingual Bi-cultural educational program, meaning the use of two languages within two primary cultures. The two languages at OSD are English and American Sign Language, while the two primary cultures are hearing culture (or majority American culture) and Deaf culture. Most students develop fluency in American Sign Language (ASL), which is used to develop connections in learning to read and write English. While teachers uses ASL throughout most of the day to convey content information, reading and writing assignments use English. Students are taught the similarities and differences between the expectations of hearing culture and Deaf culture and to acknowledge the capacity and accomplishments of persons who are Deaf.

Is OSD safe?

The Ohio School for the Deaf has a campus security system that involves security personnel, motion lighting, patrol cars, fencing around the perimeter of the campus, and consultation by the Ohio Highway Patrol. All OSD employees who work directly with youth must be cleared of criminal involvement through fingerprinting and a thorough background reference check. Visitors on campus are greeted regarding their purpose on campus and referred for registering and identification checks. OSD has a written Safety Plan and procedural guide for responding to emergencies such as tornado warnings.

Where are the Topiary Gardens?

The Topiary Gardens are at the site of the Old Deaf School on West Town Street near downtown in Columbus. The Gardens show Victorian scenes through large shrubs designed and trimmed to depict Victorian figures. There is no charge for visiting the Topiary Gardens. One building remains on the grounds of the Old Deaf School, occupied by a private business.

Is there school in the summer time?

The school-age program is closed for summer vacation in June, July, and most of August. The school's Outreach programs, maintenance department, and administrative staff work throughout the summer. The Preschool has a summer child care component.

Is OSD accredited?

OSD is accredited through the North Central Association (NCA). The NCA conducts a thorough examination into OSD's educational, residential, and operational programs annually, measuring our performance against national standards. The NCA verifies such information as staff to student ratio, credentials of teachers, operational efficiency, student performance, funding stability, validity of continuous improvement planning, scope of extra-curricular programming, adequacy of supplies and teaching materials, health and safety precautions, and nutrition. OSD was also the recipient of a Tier 1 recognition in the quest for excellence in school improvement planning through the Ohio Award for Excellence (OAE). The OAE was patterned after the national Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The process of applying for OAE recognition is intensive and the standards OAE requires of recipients is rigorous.

OSD received provisional accreditation from the Council of Educational Administrators Serving Schools for the Deaf (CEASD) during the 2000-01 school year. Again, the CEASD standards for accreditation are used to compare OSD's performance against indicators of excellence in schools serving deaf students and will involve a site visit.

What credentials are required to be a teacher at OSD? 

Teachers of the deaf at OSD must have at least a bachelors degree or a masters degree in deaf education, eligibility for Ohio teacher licensure, completion of a criminal background check, and fluency in using American Sign Language at the Advanced Level on the Sign Communication Proficiency Interview. Teacher applicants need to submit a resume, a transcript of college classes and grades earned, and an Ohio civil service application form. Specialists, such as counselors, speech pathologists, or librarians, must meet similar requirements for licensure within their field of training and application for employment.

Is OSD the only residential school for the deaf in Ohio? 

OSD is the only publicly-funded residential school for the deaf in Ohio. The St. Rita School for the Deaf in Cincinnati is private.

What's ASL and why does OSD use ASL instead of another signing system? 

ASL is American Sign Language, the native language of most deaf adults which is acquired naturally by deaf children. ASL embodies the culture of the Deaf community and is recognized as a full-blown language with its own grammar, word order, idioms, literary genre, and inflection. Other signing systems such as Signed English or Signing Exact English are coding systems for English, rather than languages. As such, they do not contribute to language development.

Who is Agnes? 

Agnes is the name of the bronze statue of a young female figure which was placed within a fountain on the front lawn of the Old Deaf School. Agnes was rescued by the Ohio School for the Deaf Alumni Association and restored to her original beauty when the Old Deaf School was demolished. The fountain had been 40 feet in diameter and was built in honor of America's centennial celebration in 1876. Powered by a new engine house at the time, the fountain's stream was fifty feet in length. Agnes presently looks over the Alumni Park on the grounds of the present school.

Do deaf students have any unique needs that should be considered when designing their IEPs?

According to federal and state law, the IEP team should consider the child's use of residual hearing if any, amplification or special technological devices, social-emotional needs including opportunities to interact with other deaf students, communication modality preference, and academic achievement skills.

Does OSD have sports?

OSD is a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). In Fall we offer soccer and volleyball at the high school level. Winter brings ; in the Winter, OSD participation in middle and high school levels of basketball, high school wrestling, and cheerleading. In Spring, students participate in field and track or softball.

Can a deaf student from another high school play on an OSD team?

Sorry, the OHSAA rules do not allow any student to play on another school's team.

How do students learn to drive while at OSD?

Students' parents make arrangements through a local drivers education training business, which has an agreement through the Deaf Services Center to provide interpreters for class instruction. Parents pay the fee charged by the drivers education business. Students can walk to the nearby classes or take a COTA (city bus line) bus to get to class.

How can I learn more about deafness?

OSD's library has the largest collection of materials on deafness in Ohio. Patrons can sign up for a library card to borrow books and videotapes for a few weeks at a time.

What if my child needs medicine, gets ill, or becomes injured while away at school?

OSD's Student Health Services (SHS) has a registered nurse on duty twenty-four hours a day. The SHS is a 16 bed facility. For emergencies, OSD will transport the student to the hospital or call 911 for an ambulance. OSD's nurses monitor students care, prescription or over-the-counter medication, and medical treatment.

What are OSD's "colors?"

Royal Blue and Sparkling White.

How is OSD funded?

OSD is funded by the State of Ohio. In addition, the school receives some federal grant money, private grant money, and occasional donations.

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