Students at ASD fulfill the same basic curriculum requirements as any other Alabama school child. Our classes are generally small; a small class size allows teachers to get to know their students and take the time to guide them towards their full potential.
Reading skills are emphasized in the primary grades. Our students participate in the Accelerated Reader Program, which allows children to choose books on topics that interest them and receive credit for reading after completing a brief computer quiz. The program is designed to motivate students and increase independent reading while giving teachers detailed and objective information about their students' reading abilities. ASD students have responded with great enthusiasm. Alabama School for the Deaf also uses the STAR system, a computerized reading assessment program. The program helps teachers determine what books are appropriate for different students.
Teachers at ASD usually have a degree in their subject area, and another degree in education for the deaf. Our faculty and staff are encouraged to continuously update their training, and frequently attend development seminars and workshops in their subject area and/or in deaf education. Some of the teachers here are deaf or hard of hearing, providing role models of successful adults. Graduates of ASD go on to Gallaudet University, National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), Jacksonville State University, University of Alabama, Auburn University or numerous of other colleges and universities. Still others pursue career training through AIDB’s Gentry program or other vocational or technical program.
ASD students take art classes for the opportunity to express themselves through drawing, painting and sculpture. Our students make field trips to local, state and out-of-state programs for hands-on learning in science and social studies. Juniors and seniors are involved in leadership training opportunities. We regularly participate in the Academic Bowl competition, testing our skills against other students and schools from around the country. Every student at ASD has the potential to succeed at something, and it is our mission to discover what that might be.
Deaf babies start "babbling in American Sign Language at about the same age as hearing babies start babbling spoken language.
For young children with hearing loss, acquiring language skills is the most important task. Because they do not hear language, they do not have the opportunity to absorb vocabulary, syntax and grammar effortlessly as hearing children do. So deliberately exposing children to language, in effect saturating their environment with language, is one strategy for overcoming the problems deaf children have with language. At the Woods Center for Excellence in Language Arts, preschool children are surrounded by language -- plays, stories, pictures, puppet shows -- all kinds of ways to communicate. The teachers are trained to help very young children pick up English skills, and teach them using sign language. Using stories and play, teachers can increase a child’s vocabulary enormously, and that helps them succeed in school later on. The children are taught using all their senses, so the lessons are meaningful, memorable and fun.