‌Alaska School of Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • ASSDHH teacher and student

    ‌Educational Philosophy

    The educational philosophy of ASSDHH is based on our core values and the belief of child-centered learning. Each child’s individual needs, identified in the IEP, are first and foremost in determining the communication mode in each classroom. Learn more about the core values goals in ASSDHH's Strategic Plan.



    The Alaska State School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides an educational option for preK‐12 for deaf and hard of hearing students that fosters and supports the development of both American Sign Language and English. This learning model will enable each student to acquire and effectively use the life and knowledge skills necessary to achieve his or her own personal, academic, social and vocational goals; and by so doing make significant contributions to society in general, and to the deaf community in particular.


    students doing project Vision

    • We are COLLABORATIVE: all stakeholders consistently share and strive to find or create better ways of pursuing our goals.
    • We are ENGAGED in learning: staff, students, parents and supporters alike, finding joy in its constant pursuit.
    • We are a COMMUNITY, a blended family, comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders bound by mutual respect of each other’s values and traditions.
    • We are COMMITTED to each individual learner's success and the ASSDHH mission.


    Prior to 1972, deaf children in Alaska were either sent outside to residential schools in the western part of the United States or kept in their home schools with little to no support. This changed when the state Department of Education in collaboration with Anchorage School District established and funded the Alaska State Program for the Deaf (ASPD). A committee was formed to address concerns about the lack of Alaska‐based educational opportunities for deaf children. This committee evolved into the Alaska Advisory Board for the Education of Deaf and Hard of hearing Students.


    students looking over project completion Earlier operational sites have included Susitna Elementary, Central Middle School of Science, Whaley (for Kindergarten), Romig Middle School and West High School. An oral emphasis class was at Aurora Elementary. In 1975, elementary classes for ASSDHH started at Russian Jack. Clark Middle School and East High were added in 1992, and Hanshew Middle School in 2002.


    The infant‐learning program was formerly operated by ASSDHH between 1980 and 2002. The student living center residences were operated by ASSDHH between 1984 ‐ 1996. The ARC of Anchorage now administers the SLC. Prior to 1984, students were placed in foster care.


    The name of the school was changed over the years. Between 1972‐ 1987: Alaska State Program for the Deaf. 1987 ‐ 1995: Alaska State School for the Deaf. 1995 ‐ present: Alaska State School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The current name change came about to reflect the inclusion of hard of hearing children in its student body.


    Funding for the school comes from the Anchorage School District (General Fund) and the Department of Education and Early Development (State and Federal Grants). ASD funds salaries for teachers, teacher assistants, and interpreters as well as employee benefits. The total funding from ASD is over 2 million dollars per year, plus in‐kind services (building usage, other classes, extracurricular access, etc.) while funding from DEED averages $420K per year. This pays for office salaries/benefits, teacher materials, training and expenses for EIPA administration.