Rocky Mountain Deaf School

A nonprofit organization

Rocky Mountain Deaf School is a free public charter school in Jefferson County that offers a bilingual education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students Preschool-12th grade. We provide a language rich environment in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English.


Rocky Mountain Deaf School is founded on the belief that deaf children can and should succeed. The driving force behind the school is a theme of excellence in research-based academic programs. In this intellectually stimulating environment, communication is totally accessible throughout the day from every person in the child's environment. Each student's potential is maximized as teachers continue to instill in each child the joy of living and learning.

As a high performing, innovative educational program for students who are deaf, we are deeply committed to providing a rigorous, standards-based curriculum. We prepare each deaf student to be literate, academically successful, and technologically competent. We provide a linguistically rich learning environment through the acquisition of American Sign Language and English both inside and outside the classroom.

Through strong collaboration with parents, the deaf community, the educational research community, the school community, and the business community, we are a model of best practices and an exemplary resource in the field of Deaf Education both nationally and internationally.


The mission of the Rocky Mountain Deaf School is to provide Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children, preschool through 12th grade, a publicly-funded bilingual education which promotes academic excellence, full proficiency in ASL and English literacy, and which supports the home-school connection by offering a language rich environment that includes the RMDS personnel, the RMDS Board, parents, and the Deaf community.

Background Statement

From 1990 to the present Colorado's Deaf community has spearheaded efforts to expand use of American Sign Language in Deaf education and to establish a day school, primarily for Deaf students in the Denver Metropolitan area. By 1993 this effort had become identified with Colorado's emerging charter school movement. The Colorado Association of the Deaf appointed a "steering committee" to guide the charter school effort. During charter application and appeals in 1994 and 1995, the steering committee developed a smaller "core" group handling day to day efforts to establish the Magnet School for the Deaf.

Jefferson County School District and the Colorado State Board of Education turned down the MSD charter school application and appeal for the second straight year in 1995. While MSD supporters had completed many tasks in connection with 1995 application, both Clifford Moers, the leader of steering and core committees and William Bethke, an attorney recruited to pursue appeals to the State Board concluded by the summer of 1995 that a language policy was an element of the proposal that was under developed. Moers and Bethke solicited policies from bilingual Deaf schools around nation. Third charter school application was submitted and approved by the Jefferson County Public School in 1996.

In 1997, Magnet School for the Deaf began on September 2nd with enrollment of 11 students ages 3 to 9 years old. Lisa Hann and Ellen Kowalcyzk were hired as teachers. The name changed to Rocky Mountain Deaf School in the year of 2000.

Organization Data


Organization name

Rocky Mountain Deaf School

other names

Rocky Mountain Deaf School, RMDS, Magnet School of the Deaf

Year Established


Tax id (EIN)




Organization Size

Small Organization


10300 W. Nassau Ave. n/a
Denver, CO 80235

Service areas

Jefferson County, CO, US







Social Media