K-12 School News

September 2022 v2

Greetings from Westervelt Hall!

September message by Principal Susan Ogden

Dear RSD Families,

We are thrilled to have started the 2022-2023 school year, and want to extend a warm welcome to the new families, students, and staff who are joining the RSD family! I hope that all of you had a relaxing summer and were able to make wonderful memories with your loved ones. RSD remained busy over the summer as more than 70 students participated in the Extended School Year (ESY) program. There were several field trips, interactive learning, and opportunities to engage in STEM activities. The high school students in the Work Experience program performed impressive work to give parts of our campus a much-needed facelift. And now, we are all ready to settle into a year that I am confident will yield many student successes and increased partnerships with families and the community.

As part of our efforts to improve communication, we are implementing a new system for families to let us know when their child will be leaving early, and if another person will be picking them up. It can also be used when a student arrives late to school, or after an absence. Please use the yellow Student Excused Absence/Tardy/Early Dismissal Form sent home in the back-to-school mailing, also found HERE, or you can email with the same information. 

The Leadership Team at RSD is excited to be working with a consultant this year who has a strong background in the curriculum. We will communicate with families as the year goes on regarding the curriculum we will be using at each grade level. The teachers and I have already started the important work of determining best practices for ensuring our instruction is aligned with the NY Next Generation Standards, with appropriate modifications, to ensure academic progress for all of our students.

I hope to see you at our Welcome Back Family Night on Thursday, September 22! Please meet in the Auditorium at 6:00 pm for a brief welcome presentation, and then you will have the opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and see where they are learning and thriving on school days. The event will end by 8:00 pm. Children are welcome; however, childcare will not be provided. Please also check out our website ( for more fun, family-friendly events this fall! I look forward to seeing you often, improving our partnerships through active communication, and most importantly, fostering the growth of each and every one of our students!

With kind regards,


Susan Ogden, Principal

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Join RSD at the ZOO on Saturday!

Are you ready for Deaf Culture Awareness Day at Seneca Park Zoo this Saturday? Our students are getting us ready with zoo animal names in American Sign Language(ASL).  

We are thrilled to partner with the Zoo and NTID on this very special day. Interpreters will be available for all zoo programs, select animals will have signs featuring animal names in ASL by RSD students, and RSD staff will be on hand at the Conservation Stage for some ASL fun including: 

  • ASL Story Time with Jennifer Love | 10:15 am and 1 pm
  • ASL 101: Zoo Animals with Emma Balderas | 10:45 am and 1:30 pm

Stop by to say hello!

Open 10 am to 5 pm

Last entry at 4 pm

Tickets available through the zoo:

Adult (12 to 62) – $12

Youth (3 to 11) – $9

Reduced Priced Admission for SNAP Participants (Museums for All) – $1 

Children (2 and younger) – FREE

Zoo members – FREE

ASL Zoo Animals


Parent-Staff Association Meetings

The RSD Parent-Staff Association (PSA) will meet on the following Mondays from 7:30 to 8:30 pm in the Learning Resource Center (LRC): September 26, October 24, November 14, and December 12. An interpreter will be provided.

Curious About Cub Scouts?

Pack 2005 is an all-inclusive pack based here in Rochester, started by two moms of RSD students. Through activities and outings, they teach their Scouts about community, acceptance, accountability, and kindness... all while having fun and earning badges!

Recruitment Event

September 20, 2022 at 6 pm.

Montgomery Neighborhood Center, 10 Cady Street, Rochester

Cub scouts is for all children grades K-5. Join them for fun activities for our kiddos, and information for parents. This pack has three signing adults, a signing den chief, and a Deaf adult available for full access to parents and kids.

For more information about Cub scouts, please visit or email the Scout leaders: Heather Feinman or Jessica Warren.

RSD Flickr Page to Close

We will be closing down the RSD Flickr Page on October 1 and moving all content to a secure storage system to better protect student and family privacy. If there is content there that is important to you, now is the time to make sure that you have saved it.  We will continue to share videos and images on other social media platforms on a select basis.

News & Notes

RSD Students' Artwork Adorns Rochester Public Market

We are so proud of the RSD students who participated in creating a beautiful celebration of Deaf history and culture in the Writers & Books camp "Deaf Lens: These Walls Are Signing." They created murals for one of the central buildings at the market and engaged in meaningful conversation about our city’s roots, examined how history and culture inform art, and explored how stereotypes affect representations in text and art design.

Work Experience Program 

After a two-year hiatus, the work experience program returned to RSD this summer. We had 17 high school students participating in the program, which dates back to the early 1970s. They were paid for their efforts and got valuable work experience, learning hard and soft skills in a supervised and supportive setting. Their impact on campus is visible everywhere you turn! They transformed the landscaping at the ECC, painted lawn furniture, reroofed the gazebo, and painted offices and classrooms!

STEM Experience at NTID

Thanks to RIT/NTID for engaging our middle school students this summer in a powerful STEM learning experience. With funding from the NTID Regional STEM Center, DJ Monahan, NTID Lecturer and  Support Coordinator for the NTID Department of Engineering Studies, worked with RSD students to introduce them to several STEM concepts including basic circuits and makerspaces. Students were tasked to apply these lessons and other STEM concepts to create a novel product that would help people. This was loosely based on NTID’s Next Big Idea, which RSD high school students have participated in. It was an open-ended lesson where creativity was encouraged, and students needed to step onstage to present their ideas to each other (quite nerve-wracking for some!).

First Day of School... Warm & Welcoming!

Save the Date for Adventures in Education

Thursday, October 27

Outdoor Adventurers Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger

We are pleased to announce that our Adventures in Education program is returning.  We will be welcoming Deaf mountaineers and explorers Scott Lehmann and Shayna Unger to spend a day with our students and an evening with our community. They are fresh off their successful climb of Matterhorn Mountain in Switzerland and will share their triumphs and challenges with the RSD community.

5 - 6:30 pm Reception

7 - 8:30 pm Presentation

More information coming soon on tickets and underwriting opportunities!!!

In the meanwhile, read up on Shayna and Scott in Outside Magazine!




Deaf Culture Day with the Red Wings

Friday. 5pm Dinner (reservations required); 6:05pm Game.



Deaf Culture Day at the Seneca Park Zoo

Saturday. 10am - 5pm (gates close at 4pm).  Visit the Seneca Park Zoo's website for ticket information.




Thursday. 6 pm. Please refer to the flyers sent home for more information.




Sunday. DEAF Circle will host a Donuts and Apple Cider Social at Wickham Farms in Penfield.  For more information click here.



PSA Meeting

Monday. 7:30-8:30 PM in the LRC at Westervelt Hall.




Saturday. 9 am - 5 pm, RIT - Gordon Field House. Free Admission. Open to the Public. Get your ticket here. 









NTID PLAY Lab: Brainy Day

Saturday.11 am - 1 pm, RSD. Fun activities for kids of all ages to learn about the brain and meet Deaf scientists. RSVP here.  For more information click here.

How Can We Help You?

sogden pic.jpeg

Susan Ogden


585-336-5878 | VP 585-286-2841


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Sarah Gordon

Dean of Students

VP 585-270-7536


Cfisher pic.jpeg

Carrie Fisher

Director, Student Life

VP 585-286-2804


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Lisa Glasser

Director, Services for Children

585-336-5854 | VP 585-286-2806



Karen Windhorn

Director, Early Childhood & Kindergarten Programs

585-336-5877 | VP 585-286-2807



Let us know what's on your mind!

Faculty/Staff Directory

See the new Directory at complete faculty/staff listing by department with photos!

Westervelt Main Office

Secretary/Attendance - Karen Segala - 585-286-2808

Perkins Hall

Receptionist, Perkins Hall - Lauren Ashworth - 585-544-1240

Admin. Ass't., Superintendent/CEO - Samantha Merithew

Superintendent/CEO - Antony McLetchie

Academic Calendar


Lunch Menu

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