Community Newsletter

September 19, 2020

Peter Bailey,
Head of School
8/5/2020 Update from PSD

In Person Operations resumed with VERY limited in person operations on July 6, 2020. Our regular hours are Monday through Friday will be 8:00am to 4:00pm. Masks are required.

No visitors or volunteers permitted on campus. Activities involving outside groups/individuals are suspended until December 31, 2020

We have made the decision to start the 2020-2021 School Year with virtual learning until the end of our 1st quarter, which is on Friday, November 13, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and make changes to the reopening plans as necessary to follow the guidance of state and federal officials and to protect our students.
PSD Launches the Family Resource Center
We have launched a Family Resource Center at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf to serve as a wellspring of resources to support families with deaf and hard of hearing children. The Family Resource Center will provide online resources, presentations, training/workshops, support groups and family social events. We have many exciting projects planned and we are looking forward to sharing these with you in the near future!  

Lynette Mattiacci, M. Ed. 
Coordinator of Family Resource Center
You are Invited to Join Team PSD 2020
for the VIRTUAL


This year both walks are being held virtually and on the same day.

In honor of our 200th Anniversary,
lets collectively commit to walk 200 miles!

Registration is FREE for both walks!!

Starting now,
  1. Register for both walks online with your fundraising pledge (links on each flyer).
  2. Shoot me an email with your walk mileage pledge. I will keep a running log for everyone so we can track our distance!! I'm pledging to walk 2 miles.....198 more needed!
  3. Conduct your walk as you like (all at once or over time, your choice!)
  4. TAKE PICTURES!!! Send pics of the fun you are having along the way.

The fundraising goal for each walk is a minimum of $200
and, PSD will match our goal...Wow!

Contact me with your mile pledge, or if you have questions at

Thank you all for joining in these important advocacy events and in another way to celebrate 200 years!

OCTOBER 18, 2020
PSD is a TreeRing Green Yearbook School!

Thanks to your purchase of our yearbook, Trees for the Future, will plant 42 trees in our school's name!

Thank you for supporting our fundraisers AND helping the Earth!
Online ASL Class - A YEAR OF SIGNS
Just added!
In this exciting class Ursa Rewolinski will teach you signs that you and your family can use throughout the year. Learn signs for days/months/seasons, special events, family traditions, birthdays, holidays, and more!

Monday, September 21, 2020
Time: 8 - 10pm EST
Cost: $20

Learn about the PA ABLE Savings Program!
A PA ABLE Savings Program account gives individuals with qualified disabilities (Eligible Individuals), and their families and friends, a tax-free way to save for a wide range of disability-related expenses, while maintaining government benefits. The state and federal tax-free investment options are offered to encourage Eligible Individuals and their families to save private funds to support health, independence, and quality of life.
To help you learn about the important features and benefits of PA ABLE, the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is hosting free webinars.
Some of the topics that we will discuss include: eligibility requirements for opening a PA ABLE account, the federal and state tax benefits of PA ABLE, and how PA ABLE account interacts with current benefits.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 1:00pm

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the Pennsylvania Office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) will host a Deaf information training on September 23rd from 1:00pm to 2:30pm. The training will cover Deaf Culture and information on sign language, lip reading, and assistive technology. The training will also have live interpreting. See the registration link to sign up.
Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking— Early Intervention (C2P2 EI)
2020 - 2021

Free Training to help you Learn the Early Intervention System and actively participate in your child’s team.

Navigate the Pennsylvania Early Intervention System, identify best practice supports and connect with community resources.

Virtual and In-person sessions are planned.
Alternative options and participant supports will be available if COVID restrictions occur.

Virtual Sessions October 2020 - February 2021:
  • Supports to participate virtually will be provided to participants 
  • Childcare expenses reimbursed
  • Virtual sessions will be live sessions

In-Person Sessions March - April 2021:
  • LOCATION: The Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel
  • 4650 Lindle Road  Harrisburg, PA 17111
  • tel: 717-564-5511
  • Travel and childcare expenses reimbursed
  • Meals included
  • Overnight lodging (for those traveling 40+ miles)

APPLICATION DEADLINE: September 18, 2020
All applicants will be notified the week of September 25

contact Cathy Roccia-Meier, mail:
Tel: 215-204-1772
Connecting 35,000 K–12 student households to digital access with internet, laptops, and training!

PHLConnectED will provide FREE internet service for eligible households during the 2020–2021 academic school year. The City and other local funders will cover expenses such as equipment or installation costs. The City will also offer technical support.

PHLConnectED is a City program that’s providing students with the internet they need for digital learning this school year.

PHLConnectED offers two options for eligible households to get free internet:

  • An in-home high-speed internet connection, or
  • A high-speed mobile hotspot for families who are experiencing homelessness, in-between homes, housing insecure or where in-home connection is not possible

If students do not have any in-home internet access or only have internet access through a mobile phone, families can call the PHLConnectED hotline at 2-1-1 and press option 1 to learn more about: 

  • eligibility for the program,
  • the internet service that your family or household will qualify for, and 
  • how you can get connected.
SIGN VOTE 2020 is designed to help inform and increase voter engagement among the deaf community throughout the 2020 elections, SignVote is a nonpartisan platform that spotlights and features accessible voter content and resources made available in American Sign Language (ASL).

SignVote provides a critical solution, offering the deaf community an extensive and centralized resource of accessible content, including:
  • Dedicated SignVote website
  • Social media integration with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube
  • A central video library continually updated throughout the election cycle
  • Voter registration materials and information – how and where to register
  • Voter Toolkit on general voting and electoral issues (What’s on the ballot? Who are my candidates? It’s election day, now what?)
  • ASL Voter Hotline from the National Association for the Deaf
or call 301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683)

The City of Philadelphia’s FREE, quality pre-k program
is now enrolling for the 2020-2021 school year, at over 130 locations throughout the city!

All children who live in Philadelphia and will be 3 or 4 years old on September 1 are eligible. There are no income requirements for participation in this pre-K program.

Enrolling is as easy as 1-2-3:
  1. Visit or call 844-PHL-PREK to find a program near you
  2. Contact the program of your preference
  3. Provide proof of age and residency, and complete the PHLpreK application
  • Please note: All childcare and pre-K providers are following new safety and cleaning protocols, in compliance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. These include: Mask requirements, Social distancing and limited class sizes, ew cleaning protocols

The safety of PHLpreK students, families, and staff is our top priority. Learn more about our COVID-19 safety plan at
The National Deaf Center has a wide range of materials that are great for working with the deaf population. Please visit the website:

September is 
A Free Library card unlocks a world of possibilities, giving instant access to items from our catalog, our extensive digital resources, and much more. Already have your card? Help a friend or family member get one today. You can even secure your card virtually, and anyone who lives, works, pays taxes, or goes to school in Philadelphia is eligible!

The Free Library continues to follow federal, state, health, and local guidelines to help manage the spread of COVID-19. This means that we still cannot welcome patrons into our buildings for regular visits. However, we are happy to share a few important updates with you:  
  • Some Free Library locations are now offering limited services, including returns, material pickups, and phone reference. Visit our new Limited Services page to see what’s available at your neighborhood library. (This page is updated daily, so please check it regularly.)
  • You can now place new holds with the Free Library! Sign in to with your library card number and PIN to place a hold online, or call your neighborhood library to place a hold over the phone. Once your materials are ready, we’ll contact you to schedule a pickup appointment. 
  • Check out our newest remote resource: a Free Library call center. Patrons can call five days a week to speak with our expert staff, who will provide information, technology help, Library updates, and more. Calling is free! Give us a dial at 1-833-TALK FLP (1-833-825-5357). We’re here Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10:00 a.m.–3 p.m., and Wednesday, 2:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Many Free Library programs continue to proceed virtually, and we continue to offer ebooks, audiobooks, movies, TV, music, over 100 databases, and the New York Times online.
Census takers can be easily identified by a valid government ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date on the badge. To confirm a census taker’s identity, the public may contact their regional census center to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
Hamilton Relay is available at no cost, 24 hours a day, every day – making it possible for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking to communicate over the telephone.

PA Relay/PA Captioned Telephone Relay
Statewide Webinar (September 2020)

PA Relay Friendly Business Training (October 2020) 

Sudan N. Bradley | Hamilton Relay
Apply for a no-cost captioning phone

What does CaptionCall do?
Our phone displays big, easy-to-read text that automatically captions your
conversations. It dials, rings, and works just like a regular phone.
• Easy to use
• Captions turn on or off as needed
• Captioned voice messages included
• No cost if you have hearing loss and need captions to use the phone efficiently

Do you have trouble hearing on the phone? Do you keep
asking people to repeat themselves? If so, you may be eligible
for no-cost telephone captioning from CaptionCall.
Better phone calls now

ASL Interpreted Facebook videos | 877-557-2227
PA Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
We have created a helpful Communications card in the event that you or someone you love needs health care assistance related to COVID-19. You can access the PDF here. 

(multiple ASL videos)

Call Center Guide when handling calls from individuals with hearing loss.

Do you have hearing loss-related questions or are you looking for info on assistive technology, sign language interpreters or equal access?
Are you in need of advocacy assistance for services you deserve or need help with the referral process for deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing services? We are HERE FOR YOU. ...See More
Melissa A. Hawkins MS, MHR | Director
PA Department of Labor & Industry | Office for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
1521 North 6th Street | Harrisburg, PA 17102
Phone & TTY: 800-233-3008 (PA only) | Phone & TTY: 717.783.4912
Fax: 717.783.4913,
PA Department of Human Services
Emergency Assistance Program
Has your family lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Apply for emergency assistance at

PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence

(Youtube video – no sound)

Kids Stories Collection on Deaf Professional Arts Network - The Sign Language Channel (website and app offering signed and closed captioned news and entertainment videos)

National Association of the Deaf
Melissa Draganac-Hawk, President, NAD


ASDC: Talking to Your Child About Racial Justice:
ASL & English Resources
As protesters take to the streets after the death of George Floyd, conversations about racial justice are happening in homes across the country. To help you talk to your child about recent events and issues related to race, ethnicity, and racial justice, we’ve put together this list of resources for you. CLICK HERE for resources in English and videos in ASL.


ASL Stories Directory!
Click here to link to the ASL Stories Directory
ASDC FREE MyASLTech Membership for kids!


COVID 19 Resources for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Families


The Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management (PhilaOEM) has a text alert system all about COVID-19. Text COVIDPHL to 888-777 to receive updates to your phone. Message and data rates may apply.


Fall ASL Class Registration Now Open!
 Class Registration for all fall ASL classes is now open! Click HERE to register!
Returning student? We have amazing news! Save $25 off your next class! Email Us for details! To Register as a new student:
 To Contact us about the special returning student discount:
Email Tanya Sturgis:


How Technology is Helping Deaf Professionals Communicate Remotely
As a member of the Deaf community, Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre (DHCC) Executive Director Neil McDevitt leads his Swarthmore-based organization in finding ways for Deaf individuals to better participate in their communities through work, fellowship and community activism. It also offers American Sign Language classes and ASL interpreting services. Read more

DHCC - Providing Equal Access at Philadelphia-area
Black Lives Matter Protests
Many people today are fighting for basic human and civil rights. We know there are Deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind people who want to add their voice to peaceful protests but don’t have equal access. This changes today. We are committing to coordinating equal access for Deaf individuals who want to participate in peaceful protests by connecting them with volunteer Deaf and/or Hearing ASL interpreters. Vlog message here   Read more....

Cap4Kids Updated Link to the website for services and resources including food, housing, utility, self care, etc.

On the website, under the COVID-19 section, you will find resources to help with several of these extremely stressful issues including where to get free food; rental assistance; unemployment; where to get tested; FREE baby supplies and the recently developed Access Centers for families with K-6th grade students whose parents work outside the home. Registration is required but this may help many families in need. See description below or click here.  

Fill out the Access Center registration interest form online, or call (215) 709-5366 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Locations click here

As always, to sign up for Cap4Kids emails, click here:
Catholic Deaf Philly
Our Daily Hope – Vlog Reflection

Sr. Kathleen Schipani, IHM
Director, Office for Persons with Disabilities & Deaf Apostolate
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
222 N. 17th Street, Philadelphia PA 19103
215.587.3913 phone /267.507.1215 video phone

Consider a gift today to help PSD continue the important work we do for our Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students.

United Way #737
Combined Federal Campaign #87714
or click below.

We thank you for your support!

Please forward comments and announcements for posting considerations to:
Karen Leslie-Henry, Community Relations Coordinator:
Content Disclaimer
The information contained in the e-newsletter is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the newsletter or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the e-newsletter for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this e-newsletter. Through this e-newsletter you are able to link to other websites that are not under the control of PSD. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.