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Elementary School (Grades 1-5)

The Learning Center’s Elementary Program, located in the Marie Phillip Elementary Building, serves children in the first through fifth grades. Within these classrooms, students typically work in groups of 2 to 10 students. Groupings are flexible and may vary, depending on the changing needs of the children. Some students remain with their primary teachers for the majority of the day, while others work with 2 or 3 different subject teachers throughout the course of the school day. On occasion, groups will combine and teachers team-teach. Creating these groupings allows students to learn from one another as they work together.

The Elementary Program is bilingual, encouraging the use of both American Sign Language (ASL) and English. ASL and English are the primary languages of instruction in all classes. In most circumstances, teachers utilize ASL for communicating academic concepts and teaching English as a Second Language. Reading and writing English are at the heart of all coursework and classroom activities, but literacy in both languages is a principle goal of instruction.

In some cases, students who have auditory access may receive a portion of their instruction in spoken English to help provide a more comprehensive path to fluency in the language. All students, including those with auditory access, receive instruction in ASL and written English. Our staff are highly qualified in assessing the needs of students and each child's classroom placement will be discussed during their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

In addition to the general curriculum areas of:

  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology
  • History and Social Sciences

Students also take classes in:

  • American Sign Language
  • Deaf Studies
  • Literature
  • Health/Human Development
  • Library/Media
  • Art
  • Physical Education

The Elementary Department has also adopted the Responsive Classroom, the Steps to Respect (STR) and the Michigan Model for Health curricula as a means of fostering social development and encouraging respectful interaction and communication among all classroom participants. 

As determined by their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team, elementary students receive additional support services, including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and ASL tutoring.


Intensive Needs Programs

For students who find learning more challenging, we adapt our programming accordingly. Whether a child's limitations are physical, cognitive or social/emotional, each student may access the curriculum to the best of his or her ability with the support of a multidisciplinary team which includes a board-certified behavior analyst. Reduced student to staff ratios are of significant help when implementing individualized programs.

Our Intensive Program (for all ages in all programs) provides an exceptional learning environment for Deaf students with diverse cognitive, language or behavioral disabilities. The philosophy of the program is based on the importance of the growth and development of the "whole" child whose needs require an exceptionally individualized education. The Learning Center's Intensive Program allows each student to learn at his or her own pace, while fostering the development of all students to their fullest potential.

Some children continue to work best with specialized attention in a small self-contained classroom. When appropriate, however, the Intensive Program provides the child with opportunities to join other classroom settings within The Learning Center, giving him or her the chance to experience more and varied social interactions, adopt Deaf role models, and exercise communication skills.

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