Utah #1 in high school completion for deaf, hard of hearing students


    The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) announced Thursday that it ranked first place in the nation for high school completion for deaf and hard of hearing students. (Photo: Courtesy Todd Keith)

    (KUTV) — The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) announced Thursday that it ranked first place in the nation for high school completion for deaf and hard of hearing students, a news release states.

    "Utah is transforming how we think about education for deaf and hard of hearing children," said Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano, a renowned expert on deaf education.

    The rankings were revealed at the National Deaf Center in Austin, Texas.

    The study's data was compiled over a period of five years.

    "I believe Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind is number one in the nation because of the comprehensive nature of our support to children and their families, starting at birth, and our personalized approach to their education," said USDB's Superintendent Joel Coleman.

    "We will literally do whatever it takes to make sure they cross the finish line prepared for life," Coleman continued. "They show Utah parents we work hard and do the right things for their children. A rising tide lifts all boats, we share our best practices with other schools across the country and around the world."

    "A strong blend of collaboration can be good for everyone," Coleman stated.

    Associated Superintendent of the Utah School for the Deaf, Michelle Tanner, said, "This data indicates Utah's deaf students are completing high school at a higher rate than any other state and we are the only state where graduation rates for deaf and hard of hearing students are actually higher than for hearing students."

    Tanner continues, "This is remarkable and such an honor for our teachers, aides, programs and campuses. More than that, it is, symbolically, a giant trophy for our students who are deaf and hard of hearing. They have amazing abilities, they can do anything a hearing person can, they just need access, whether that is through American Sign Language or a Listening and Spoken Language approach. We give our students access to all modalities of communication. Technology and self advocacy are also valuable tools for USDB students. We teach these children to advocate for what they need to succeed in school and in life. “

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