For the past 30 years, MNCDHH has worked with parents, professionals, and advocates to develop public policies, programs and products that have improved outcomes for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing students. These policy changes have led to increased accountability; increased financial resources; and support for children, parents, and teachers.
Since 2009, we have worked through the Minnesota Collaborative Outcomes Plan for children who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. We work with diverse stakeholders in four age-specific work groups (Birth - Age 5; Kindergarten - Grade 4; Grade 5 - 8; and Transition Age). A full list of our collaborators is available, with information about who is on our Steering Committee and who is in each of the four age-specific work groups. In addition, we host the annual statewide Collaborative Experience conference. The Collaborative Experience is geared towards professionals.
The 2014-2019 Strategic Plan Education Goals and Indicators: Improve outcomes for children and youths who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment Test Scores: We will compare children and youth who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing over time to determine progress and advancement, as well as, comparing them with overall scores.
Progress monitoring scores: We will demonstrate one year's academic progress by encouraging participation of teachers to use progress monitoring measures as documentation of appropriate services for individual students.
ASL instruction for parents: We will compare the needs for ASL language learning opportunities with the numbers of families interested in learning and support districts in setting up classes for families of students who use ASL as their instructional language.
Skilled teacher, intervenor, transliterator and ASL interpreter availability: We will compare need and supply to identify any shortages and collaborate with partners to increase the number of skilled professionals and offer and support with professional development
Uniform standards and tools: We will identify where uniform standards related to the education of children and youth who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing exist and where they are needed and develop them.
Public policy initiatives: We will develop public policy solutions that address institutional barriers in education.
- Shortage of interpreters, transliterators, and teachers
- Decrease in direct instruction by teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing
- Lack of tracking of students with a secondary disability of deaf and hard of hearing or have a 504 Plan
- Teachers assigned caseloads that exceed recommended guidelines.
- Lack of uniform standard for communication plans in IEPS/IFSPs for students who are deaf and hard of hearing
- Lack of captioned videos for deaf and hard of hearing students in flipped classrooms. Intermediate School District 917 colleagues created a video designed to explain why providing closed captioning is so important for students (external link).
- Lack of captioned instructions with Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments
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Should All Deaf Children Learn Sign Language?
There are no dangers in learning sign language along with spoken language - the more a child is exposed to languages from parents, teachers and community members; the better they are able to communicate.