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Family Support

Families are critical to the success of our PSD students. Our parents and family members are the most important part of the educational team and influence student achievement and success more than any teacher will. Parent/Family input, feedback and perspectives are strongly encouraged to ensure that a child's experience at PSD is a successful one.

PSD parents and families are invited to participate in several activities to support the education of their child including Parent Support Groups, Shared Reading, Deaf Mentoring, and Family Sign Language Classes.

For more information, parents and families are encouraged to contact Brenda Wilford at

Parent Support Program

PSD facilitates two Parent Support Groups: one is for hearing parents of young deaf children that meets on Saturdays, and the other group is for Deaf parents with young hearing children that meets on Wednesday evenings. Each group has two 12-week cycles, and enrollment is open to PSD and community families. Transportation, childcare and refreshments are provided for each meeting.

Both groups have discussions about various topics that pertain to child development, family dynamics, community resources and other issues that are of importance to the group participants. The Saturday group goes on community outings approximately one-a-month to places such as the Philadelphia Zoo, Please Touch Museum and Linvilla Orchard. A Spanish language interpreter is also present at the Saturday group.

For more information regarding these programs.

Shared Reading Program

The Shared Reading Project is designed to teach parents and other caregivers how to read to their Deaf child using American Sign Language and how to use strategies to make book sharing more fun and effective. Deaf tutors visit the home to demonstrate how to sign the stories and provide instant feedback to family members.

The Shared Reading Program is provided at no cost to PSD families and is provided at a time that is convenient for the family. Many families take advantage of this additional opportunity of connection with their child. If you think you and your family would be interested in our Shared Reading Project, please contact Deb Schanbacher at

ASL Classes

PSD offers family sign classes to meet the needs and schedules of busy families. These classes are held on campus and are provided at no-cost to families of our PSD students. Every PSD family is invited to participate!

The sessions are taught by PSD staff members in six (6) week sessions throughout the year and a five (5) week program in the summer. The content of the course is intended to boost useful communication and language between the family and their child with hearing loss. Activities are designed to promote interactive exchanges both in the class setting and at home. We offer our Family Sign Classes on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings and afternoons.

We welcome families (including extended families and other people involved in the lives of our students) to join us for any sessions held throughout the year. If you have any questions about these programs, please contact Melissa Draganac-Hawk



Family involvement increases student achievement. Our PATCH&S group is a "quilt" of child-centered partnerships here at The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.

PATCH&S is comprised of families, students, PSD staff, and community partners, that provide clear, family-friendly practices and activities to PSD families.

PATCH&S meets bi-monthly for lunch on Wednesdays at 11:30 am - 1:00 pm in the Family Welcome Center located in the West Wing building of PSD (formerally known as the CCPS Building).

For further information please contact: PATCH&S Brenda Wilford :


Overall Goal: 80% family involvement in every grade through high school

#1 Parenting

Establish Parent/Family Resource Center to be located in the Family Welcome Center via :

  • Strengthen PSD’s library resources for parents, including books, magazine articles, internet resources, dvd’s, etc. (located in the professional library, serving as an additional space for parents when the Family Welcome Center is in use with other meetings)
  • Set up the computer in family welcome center with recommended websites on a variety of topics pertinent to all ages, from birth to 21. Include a small library of dvd’s to watch on the computer or TV.
  • Establish dedicated time for access by parents to the Center during school hours.
  • Encourage more school-family collaboration

#2 Communication

  • Keep Family Section of the PSD website updated
  • Maintain PSD Family List Service
  • Continue to share information to help teachers know how to communicate with non- English speaking families
  • Seek to engage ongoing parent conversations through parent and staff corners within the Family Exchange Newsletter

#3 Volunteering

  • Identify fundraisers for PACTH&S for the 2016- 2017 school year
  • Develop an accounting system for prospective ASDC attendees
  • Develop list serve for each prospective ASDC and People of Color Conference attendees
  • Follow up with the Family Volunteer Sign up list both in soliciting and all responses

#4 Learning at Home

  • Based on Family Technology Survey and the data received from last year, encourage family use of PSD website, Facebook page and Schooltube to acquire information. This will include information on upcoming events as well as tutorials on ASL signs for specific subject area vocabulary.
  • Work closely with our Educational Technology Department, to provide free computers to our families. The "Family Education Series" and the "Chat and Chews" support our families with technology training.
  • Communicate to our families an awareness of technology based learning at Home.

#5 Decision Making

  • Continue to provide families access to community services and school.


  • Continue sharing summaries of new school policies via our Family Newsletter
  • Make a “No Place for Hate” video to include community members ( Ist responders, residents, politicians, etc)
  • Partner in implementing May “Fish Fry for Families and First Responders” Event

#6 Collaborating with the Community

  • Strengthen bonds with Alunmi and neighboring community via:
    • Creating Alumuni and Student partners
    • Distribute pens to neighboring community with notes from kids
    • Participate as supporters/workers/volunteers for all PATCH&S events
    (PATCH&S won the 2011 Partnership School Award from the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) at Johns Hopkins University. PATCH&S was "recognized for applying research-based approaches to develop comprehensive, goal-oriented programs of school, family,and community partnerships and for making excellent progress.")

Parent Resources

Educational Resources for Children with Hearing Loss (ERCHL): Initi...

American Society for Deaf Children (ASDC):

Raising Deaf Kids:

Hands & Voices:

Express Yourself baby:

Deaf Services Center:

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Telecommunication Device Distribution

Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD):

Catalogs for products for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing: