2020 – 2025
Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind
Serving Students with PRIDE
CSDB Mission, Vision, and Guiding Beliefs
The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB), in collaboration with families, school districts and community partners, educates and inspires learners throughout the state, birth through age 21, to achieve their full potential through comprehensive, individualized academic, transition, residential and outreach programs and resources.
CSDB aspires to be an exemplary global resource for families and professionals that excels in preparing diverse learners to transform the world with PRIDE: Positive attitude, Respect, Independence, Determination, and Excellence.
- Families, staff and community members are valued partners.
- Interagency and community collaborations are fundamental for providing resources and support for learners and their families.
- It is critical for staff, learners, families, and the community to embrace intersectionality and demonstrate respect for individual differences.
- Programs and services must be designed to meet the holistic needs of the learner to include academics, language, social-emotional, the arts, extra-curricular and athletics through safe, caring, supportive, and accessible environments.
- Instruction, support services, residential and statewide services must be provided by highly trained and certified professionals who are lifelong learners and who seek to promote excellence and innovation in every aspect of their work.
- Learners’ growth and achievement in the areas of character development and positive self-worth are as important as academic proficiency.
- Interactions with adults and peers who are blind/visually impaired, Deaf/hard of hearing or Deaf-blind play a vital role in the development of positive self-esteem and personal/professional growth.
- Maintaining high expectations through rigorous instruction and learner-aligned assessment is critical for academic proficiency and preparation for lifelong learning.
- All families should be provided support and balanced information, which enables them to make informed decisions for their family and their child. This is especially important for young learners.
- After school programming provides unique opportunities to develop specialized independent living and social interaction skills in a safe, nurturing and language-rich environment.
- Learners should be contributing members of society. Employability skills and work experiences appropriate to the age of the learner embedded in educational environments are essential for learners to succeed in their next environment.
- Postsecondary Workforce Readiness (PWR) skills embedded in educational environments from an early age are essential for learners to be contributing members of society.
For Learners Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deaf-blind, CSDB Believes:
- Concept development and experiential learning are foundational.
- The Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) is essential, embedded in the instructional program, and explicitly taught in all environments to provide pathways to independence.
- Providing instruction through the learner’s unique learning media modes (i.e., tactile, print with optical enhancement, auditory) is vital for achievement.
- Extensive instruction in and daily use of braille, as appropriate to the strengths and needs of the learner, provide a foundation for literacy and learning within and beyond the classroom.
- Orientation and Mobility (O&M) skills are crucial for learners to safely navigate their world as independently as possible.
- Effective use of assistive technology allows learners to attain a competitive edge in an ever-evolving digital world.
For Learners Who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-blind, CSDB Believes:
- A bilingual (American Sign Language & English) educational environment is required to attain proficiency in both languages, which is imperative for learners' current and future academic, social, and personal journeys.
- Immersion in an ASL and English language-rich environment from birth is optimal for learners’ linguistic, cognitive, and social development.
- All who work with Deaf/HH learners on campus recognize and use ASL as the primary language to ensure equitable access to language and communication.
- Auditory and spoken language services, as appropriate to the strengths and needs of the learner, are provided in designated areas as an essential component of the academic program.
- Learning about Deaf culture and heritage is integral to developing learners self-identify.
- Learners benefit from a visual-tactile language and communication environment. All employees contribute to creating this environment through demonstrating required proficiency in American Sign Language according to their positions.
For Families, Learners, Community Partners and Stakeholders statewide, CSDB believes:
The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) should respect and support each family’s informed choice regarding their child’s language, communication, and hearing technology options.
- Access to ASL instruction and other learning opportunities provided by qualified Deaf instructors and/or mentors for CSDB staff, community members, professionals, and families statewide is important.
- Ensuring the learner ‘s communication needs guide their annual Communication Plan is key for provision of effective supports and services in their educational placement.
- Learners who are blind/visually impaired require accommodations to excel in core content programming and education in the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC), which leads to independence and success within their local school district and community.
- Parental support, experiential learning, concept development, and introduction to ECC concepts are crucial for birth through age 2 learners and their families.
- School age students in Colorado who are blind/visually impaired critically need access to braille and large print textbooks and novels in a timely manner – as is provided through the Colorado Instructional Materials Center.
The Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind (CSDB) consists of the School for the Blind, School for the Deaf, Outreach Programs including Early Intervention, and an Employability Center. Established in 1874, CSDB has a long and proud history as a leader in the state of Colorado in providing services to students who are Blind, Visually Impaired, Deaf, Hard of Hearing or Deaf-blind and their families.
The Colorado Department of Education initiated a Program Review of CSDB in 2019. Recommendations from the review were instrumental in formulating the CSDB 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Additionally, CSDB conducted stakeholder meetings with students, families, staff, community, and statewide partners in February 2020 to corroborate the findings of the Review and identify other areas of focus for the next 5 years.
A steering committee meticulously reviewed and revised CSDB’s vision, mission, and guiding beliefs as part of the strategic planning process. They reflect the values of CSDB and provide the foundation for all decisions, actions, and activities to be taken during the life of this plan. The strategic plan includes five (5) strategic areas to be addressed in the next 5 years: School Climate, Instruction, Post-Secondary and Workforce Readiness, Learning and Living Beyond the Classroom and Statewide Services.
Strong leadership, dedicated staff, empowered students, involved parents, supportive alumni and invested stakeholders are committed to working together to accomplish the goals, objectives, and action steps in the strategic plan. CSDB invites you to become a partner and watch as its students lead the way into the future with P.R.I.D.E.