Department for the Deaf

Teacher signing with student seen from the back

VSDB Department for the Deaf

Our focus is on the whole child. VSDB serves both residential and day students who are deaf or hard of hearing, including students with multiple disabilities.

We offer a comprehensive educational program throughout  the continuum of learning from preschool through 12th grade, and beyond that through workforce transition programs.

We are student centered. By building on the gifts, strengths, interests, and unique needs of each student, VSDB helps individual students maximize their potential and meet their personal goals.

We organize a team: You know your child, and we know education. That’s why we work collaboratively with families, local school divisions, and other state agencies including Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the Department of Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC), and the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) to ensure that students have the benefit of all available insight, resources, and supports.

We are academically strong. Our course content meets the statewide standards of the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and prepares students to succeed in higher education, in the workforce, and in their communities.

Unique VSDB Benefits

Because of VSDB’s mission and status within Virginia’s educational system, we are in a unique position to provide educational benefits that are rarely available through local school systems and experiences that help your child develop skills to his or her fullest potential.


  • Direct instruction from highly qualified Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing, using a bilingual model that encompasses English and American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Educational programs and supports specifically designed for students who are deaf/hard of hearing, deafblind, or deaf/hard of hearing with additional disabilities
  • Instruction focused on the “whole child” so that areas including academics, social/emotional skills, self-advocacy, and independent living skills are part of each student’s educational program
  • Instruction that is developmentally appropriate and fully accessible at all ability levels
  • Curriculum specifically designed for students who are deaf/hard of hearing to support daily living skills, functional academics, and workforce skills in preparation for effective transition


  • Fully accessible learning environment including visual/audio safety alarms and current technology to support learning
  • Daily opportunities to interact with adult role models who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
  • An educational setting where students can communicate directly with peers, develop friendships, and have the opportunity to be “one of many” and not “the only one”
  • Language-rich environment that supports the development of communication and literacy skills in both English and American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Educational and recreational activities that support confidence, self-worth, and self-advocacy

Beyond the Classroom

  • Activities that promote age-appropriate interactions and social skills
  • Opportunities for all students to be involved in after-school educational activities that extend education beyond the classroom
  • For middle and high school students, community-based instruction and work experiences that are fully accessible and are supported to meet the prescriptive needs and abilities of each child
  • For high school students, opportunities to participate in Driver’s Education
  • For older students, opportunities to increase independence on campus, while under supervision, through participation in the Gold Card Program, 18+ Residential Program, and the Independent Living Apartments