47 - PS 347 The American Sign Language & English Lower School
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Deaf and hearing children learn American Sign Language.
Middle school academics could be more challenging
The American Sign Language Lower School is based on the philosophy that deaf and hearing children learn best when they are taught together. A full-day pre-kindergarten program, small classes, and the chance to learn to sign language have attracted children from the neighborhood and across the city.
Built in 1908, the building that houses the American Sign Language School was formerly known as the School for the Deaf. Faced with a dwindling population of deaf students, the administration decided in 1999 to admit hearing children as well. The lower school has PK-8; the high school in the same building has grades 9-12. [Photo by DNAinfo]
All teachers are fluent in American Sign Language. There are at least two adult in each class, and instruction is offered simultaneously in English and ASL.
The school offers a “nurturing and supportive environment” with excellent pre-kindergarten classes, in which children “demonstrate sophisticated problem-solving and analytical skills,” according to a Department of Education official who toured the school for the Quality Review. “As the children progress towards the upper grades, however, there are uneven levels of rigor across the classrooms. In particular at the middle school level students are not being given tasks that are uniformly preparing them for high school.”
Admissions: Unzoned. The school gives priority to children who are deaf, regardless of where they live. For pre-kindergarten admisssions, contact Patricia Mollor: [email protected] Many of the hearing children attend for pre-k, then transfer to their zoned neighborhood schools for kindergarten. (Clara Hemphill, web reports, August 2013)