Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MSSD Will Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary This Weekend

Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) in Washington, DC on the adjacent campus of Kendall Green campus (Gallaudet University and Kendall School Demonstration for the Deaf) will celebrate its 40th Anniversary this weekend, September 25-26th.

Will the MSSD survive to see its next 50th Anniversary celebration?

Is MSSD really a successful "model" school of the deaf or fail miserably?

The originality of MSSD meant to be the "laboratory" school for the deaf which the the development of desginated educational tools of educating the deaf youngsters all over the country. It ended up happened nothing.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) signed the Model Secondary School for the Deaf Act on October 15, 1966. The First Lady Pat Nixon, a wife of President Nixon participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of MSSD in 1969.

Many deaf youngsters all over the country used to be sent to the MSSD as part of
pluralistic symbol of true American diversity including the local deaf DC adolescents.

The 2008 ethnicity population at MSSD still predominately Causcain, but the African American student population come closer 40% to 42% white. Other racial population were still behind the United States' increasingly racial diversity.

MSSD had a history of its own controversy, pride, success and failures. MSSD produced many memorable deaf alumnus of their own and paved the career opportunities for many deaf professionals and educators like Dr. Steve F. Weiner as a dorm counselor for MSSD boys to the current provost of Gallaudet University.

MSSD used to be the pure bastion of liberal attitudes within the student body and school administration until the presence of Dr. Frank Turk's non-sense authoritian style radically changed the school atmosphere in the mid-1980s. Turk's legacy still carried out with the present MSSD's administrative style.

MSSD students from the 1970s to the mid-1980s usually had the free reins of coming and leaving the MSSD campus all days and nights and weekends. Dr. Turk put all the stops to the liberal smorgasbords of "out of control" drug and alcohol uses among students and staff members. The former MSSD alumnus under Dr. Frank Turk's adminstrative leadership, still resentful of Dr. Turk.

The MSSD student enrollment numbers had been drastically fell out in past eight years due to many former MSSD students' unhappiness with the draconian administrative policies and depressing student life. The MSSD student enrollment used to be like 500 to 800 students. The present student enrollment was about 150+.

MSSD seems on the stability of educational instruction quality so far, but no longer being the model school for the deaf on the national level for many years. Fremont School for the Deaf (California) and Maryland School for the Deaf (Frederick) supprassed the Model Secondary School for the Deaf as desirable schools of the deaf in the United States.

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason (RLM)


  1. Don't count the Maryland School for the Deaf as one of the best in the nation. You must look at both sides of perceived success. Their numbers were cooked. There are very dark sides in this school. Corruption and more. Damage control is something the school's top deaf administrator manipulates. He handpicked many trustees.

    Many people living in Frederick or nearby have to grin and bear it in silenced and fear of retaliation.

    According to early documents related to the new facilities which opened in late 1970's the capacity of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf was 600. The highest enrollment recorded was about 500 including 150 each in the class of 1984 and 1985 last graduating classes of rubella epidemic.

    You do not speak for MSSD alumni. You should have said some alumni. Many love and hate the administrators including corrupt ones even those who are deaf but reeking of patronizing attitudes.

    Many of the alumni loathed Dr. Turk but embraced him in years afterwards. Still, many just resent him.

    Generally, MSSD enrollment have been declining after the class of 1985 graduated. In early 2000s, probably earlier, the government capped at 225.

    Jane K. Fernandes was the worst administrator the school had. Don't blame hearing people for about everything wrong. Some problems were created by the Deaf and some bad people sold out by moving to Maryland School for the Deaf. A pathetic cycle.

  2. One of my fond memories of MSSD is walking over from the university to bring a list of Deaf German high school students' names and addresses that I collected when I visited a school for the Deaf in Germany. They wanted to find pen pals in America. The MSSD students all seemed enthusiastic about the idea when I brought over the list of names. I never did find out afterward how it turned out. This was in the 1985-86 school year.

  3. Deaf Anonymous,

    Many thanks for posting your comment.

    You are definitely right that I am not speaking for the MSSD alumnus. Thanks again for the statistics info and factual correction. :)


  4. BR,

    Thanks for sharing your memories of MSSD.

    Many MSSD students and alumnus usually got the bad raps for being the MSSD student or alumni. That was very unfair to them in many ways.