Governor Baxter School for the Deaf
Our instructional services are geared toward students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing based on their Individualized Education Plans (IEP). Each student's strengths and needs are identified in his or her IEP and addressed in classroom instruction. Each student's IEP goals and objectives are aligned with the state performance standards identified in the Maine Learning Results and assessed within our Comprehensive Local Assessment System, which we are still in the process of establishing. In this way students are provided access to the general curriculum at their zone of proximal development.
Over the last few years, we have been keeping our curriculum, instruction and assessment in line with the changing educational trends in Maine and across the country.
We incorporate both the Whole Language and the Dual Language philosophies.
The Whole Language Philosophy guides instruction and supports our students' acquisition of English and American Sign Language by providing them with instructional strategies that promote building schema and scaffolding knowledge base. In addition, it provides the bridge to other disciplines.
When students learn new concepts, they need to relate them to information that they already know. When we build students' schema, we are building on what they already know before we introduce new concepts. In addition, this philosophy supports scaffolding of information learned in earlier grades but more in-depth. This in turn supports the State of Maine performance standards identified in the Main learning Results which provide a spiraled set of skills within each grade span: K-2, 3-4, 5-8 and 9-12.
The Dual Language Philosophy promotes both American Sign Language and English as languages of equal value. Since the first language of most of our students is American Sign Language, we use it as Our statewide community of students, families, personnel, alumni and school board affirms its commitment to honor and respect each student as a unique and whole person . We support activities that promote physical development, emotional maturity, leadership, fellowship and which build strength of character. We also dedicate ourselves to providing a continuum of educational opportunities which will assure that each student:
• Is held accountable to the highest expectations for academic achievement and personal responsibility.
• Has the opportunity to grow to full potential as a contributing member of society, with an awareness of the meaning of freedom and the responsibilities of citizenship.
• Is nurtured to develop good work habits and pride in work.
• Will acquire skills in evaluative reasoning and effective communication.
• Is encouraged to complete school and aspire to advanced education.
Is provided the tools to make learning a life-long experience. the language of instruction.
Written English is taught as a second language and aligned with skills and knowledge that students develop more readily in American Sign Language. Spoken English is offered in individual or group sessions. Students are strongly encouraged to use both languages to the best of their abilities. We acknowledge that our students come from a variety of communication, language and educational backgrounds so teachers work hard to match each student's language strengths and choices on an individual basis.
Literacy is a strong focus in our academic program. One of the primary goals of the program is to develop students' literacy skills in written English (reading and writing) and American Sign Language. Students are expected to become proficient users of both languages.
We support the philosophy of assessment-driven instruction. The more a Teacher knows of a student's abilities and areas of challenge, the more effectively a program can be designed. In-house evaluations are followed by teacher workshops to address common concerns. We are in the process of developing common assessments for all subject areas.
We invite you to follow the above links for specific information about each of our academic programs.