Frequently Asked Questions
Download the FAQS as a pdf: VSDB FAQ
How many students are in the typical classroom?
A typical classroom size consists of approximately five students. Depending on specific student and/or classroom needs, there may also be a teacher aide to support instruction.
How do students enroll at VSDB?
Families are welcome to contact VSDB if they are interested in their student attending. VSDB will work with families to obtain a required referral through their local school systems. Once a referral is made, VSDB works closely with the school division and family to complete the admissions process. Upon receipt of a completed application packet, VSDB will schedule an admissions interview with the family, the student, and any other interested parties to gather information and answer any questions in order to ensure that VSDB is the most appropriate educational placement for the student.
How does the Special Education process work at VSDB?
When a student first enrolls, the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) from the local school system is transferred and implemented at VSDB. Within 30 days of enrollment to VSDB, the IEP team, including the local school division, meets and VSDB will establish a new VSDB annual IEP. VSDB strives to maintain a high level of engagement with parents and their local school systems. We work collaboratively with the referring school system to ensure that the needs of the student and the family are met. Participation in meetings may occur in person, by video phone, or conference call.
Do students stay at VSDB all year long?
VSDB follows a regular school calendar similar to public schools. The VSDB calendar includes holiday breaks as well as summer vacation. Students go home every weekend, leaving Friday at noon, and returning on Sunday in order to prepare for the upcoming school week.
Are students required to live on campus?
Students may choose to enroll as day or residential students.
How are students transported to and from VSDB?
VSDB provides all transportation for residential students weekly at no cost to families or to school systems. VSDB delivers students to established “hubs” throughout the state, per a predetermined schedule on Friday where parents or school systems pick them up and head home. On Sunday, VSDB picks the students back up at their assigned hub locations and times and transports them back to VSDB in preparation for the following school week. Depending on the length of the route, students are accompanied by VSDB staff in chartered busses, VSDB busses, or state vehicles. Day students are transported daily by their local school division or parents/guardians.
How can parents keep in touch with their child during the week?
VSDB strives to support family engagement while students are enrolled at VSDB. Parents may call at any time to speak to their child whether during school or after school hours. Deaf students have access to videophones to support communication and both school and residential staff will assist students in making and receiving calls as necessary.
How do parents keep updated on what is occurring during the week in school or in the residential halls?
Parents/guardians keep in close contact with teachers through email, video phone, and/or phone calls. Residential reports go home weekly informing parents/guardians of good news from the week or any concerns that may arise. Both school and residential staff will communicate immediately with parents/guardians and/or the local school division should concerns arise. If the need arises, an IEP meeting will be called to address specific concerns.
What do residential students need to pack to stay on campus?
VSDB supplies towels, sheets, and pillows for all residential students. Beyond that, students may bring approved items to personalize their rooms. The Residential Program will provide a list of suggested items once a student is accepted to VSDB. Personal technology devices are allowed as long as students comply with the rules and expectations outlined in the VSDB Student Code of Conduct Handbook.
Are residential students required to have a roommate?
VSDB strives to meet the needs of individual students. Although the bedrooms are designed for a maximum of two people per room, a student may request a single room based on individual needs. The Residential Program Director will consider all requests based on room availability.
How are students supervised overnight in the residential halls?
VSDB provides supervision around the clock. Overnight staff perform bed checks every 30 minutes. Day staff arrive in the morning to ensure a successful transition to the school day.
How are students supervised while traveling on the VSDB campus?
Elementary students are always under close supervision when travelling around campus. Middle school students are required to be within eyesight of staff when travelling outside of the classroom or residential halls. High School students travel independently on campus and are expected to follow the rules and expectations outlined in the VSDB Student Code of Conduct Handbook. Should a student not adhere to the rules, the privilege to travel independently may be suspended. For high school students who still need supervision when traveling, staff remains with them, providing support as needed in order for each student to achieve his/her greatest amount of personal independence.
How does orientation and mobility instruction support independent travel for blind students in high school?
Students in the Blind Department work with orientation and mobility specialists to learn the layout of VSDB’s campus. As students demonstrate the ability to safely navigate campus both within the school buildings and outside, they earn clearance to travel independently.
How does VSDB maintain student safety?
Safety is of the utmost importance to VSDB. We conduct background checks for all employees working on our campus. Additionally, campus security is present 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to maintain a secure environment.
Does VSDB have students who are oral, wear cochlear implants, and/or hearing aids?
VSDB supports effective communication skills for all students who are deaf/hard of hearing, including those who communicate through speech and/or American Sign Language. We have many students and employees who utilize assistive technology to enhance communication skills and who serve as role models for others. VSDB supports the needs of all students with a full-time audiologist and speech therapists.
Are there special services offered for students who are deafblind?
VSDB is proud to offer support services for deafblind students by nationally credentialed Interveners. VSDB’s Interveners are experienced in providing this unique support that facilitates communication, learning and independence. There are also students who are deafblind who are able to access instruction without the use of an intervener. Every student is assessed on an individual basis to determine what is most educationally appropriate. All students, particularly those who are deafblind, have regular access to specialists in deafness and/or blindness who are able to provide assessments and consultative services as needed.
Can students obtain help with homework or have opportunities for tutoring?
All students have access to support services, such as tutoring if needed. Typically, tutoring occurs during after school hours either in the school or residential hall.
Are students allowed to have cell phones at VSDB?
Students are allowed to have cell phones but must adhere to the rules and expectations outlined in the VSDB Student Code of Conduct Handbook. VSDB does not take responsibility for personal technology devices.
Does VSDB have sports?
VSDB students have opportunities to participate in a variety of sports and activities to include but not limited to basketball, volleyball, goalball, track, cross country, and the walking/running club.
Will my child have role models and friends?
VSDB offers a unique educational setting where many of the staff share the same life experiences as the students. Students enjoy the opportunity to interact with adults who are successful and independent in their own communities and can share valuable insight and experiences with students. For many students, VSDB provides their first opportunity to interact with adults who share the same day-to-day real-world experiences and challenges. At VSDB, no student is “the only one” but is “one of many” and is able to interact in a fully accessible educational setting with same-age peers fostering friendships that last a lifetime!
How do students access health services?
VSDB has a fully staffed Student Health Department to address injuries, illness, and medication management. Additionally, a physician is available 24 hours a day while the students are in residence. Nursing staff is on duty from 7:00am until 12:00am with the Director of Student Health on call overnight. VSDB works collaboratively with the contract physicians, local hospital and other health care providers in order to address emergency situations.
What type of after school activities are available?
The School and the Residential program work collaboratively to promote many activities during and after school hours. At VSDB, learning extends beyond the classroom into the residential program with educationally based field trips that support the development of independent living, social, communication, and functional life skills. Students enjoy sports, game tournaments, dances, holiday parties and programs, guest speakers, cultural programs, and community events. All activities are designed with age appropriate goals in mind. Students also enjoy our Student Center including a snack bar, pool and air hockey tables, televisions, and board games.