BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Since 1976, Governor Livingston High School’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program has been offering unique opportunities for high school students throughout the state of New Jersey. This award-winning program is a part of the fabric of Governor Livingston High School and offers a comprehensive curriculum, extensive electives and a variety of extracurricular activities to ensure an outstanding high school experience for all enrolled students. 

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at GLHS offers exceptional opportunities to qualifying deaf and hearing-impaired students within the Berkeley Heights School District, as well as other students who attend from neighboring districts through a tuition-based program. Governor Livingston High School maintains a complete program for deaf and hard of hearing students that includes Educational Interpreters, Speech-Language Therapy, and available self-contained classes with a Teacher of the Deaf in all major academic content areas. The fact that students in the program are able to bond with fellow hearing-impaired and deaf students, and also interact with general education students, creates an atmosphere that is unique and exciting and helps prepare them for the future. 

GLHS is the only inclusive high school in New Jersey to offer three years of ASL as a World Language to any interested student, ensuring that many hearing students know how to sign. This increases the opportunities for all students, both in and out of the program, to socialize and interact with one another. Additionally, an American Sign Language Club, as well as a Deaf Highlander Club, promote the cultural aspects of deafness that support a strong deaf peer and encourages tolerance, cooperation and a fusion between deaf and hearing students. 

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According to Berkeley Heights School District Supervisor of Special Education Mr. Kevin Morra, “Among the myriad reasons we see this program as invaluable is its ability to ensure that students benefit from the duality of having deaf peers while also interacting with general education students. Our school environment, and team of educational experts, allows us to make each student’s school experience fulfilling educationally, emotionally and from an extracurricular perspective. The comprehensive nature of the program to provide outstanding academic classes and a full school experience is what differentiate it from other programs.” 

Ongoing improvements and innovation within the program to enhance the student experience are always happening. One example is the growth of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Percussion Program. The program instructor, Mr. Josef Ellis, and the Educational Interpreters, wanted to find ways to make the class and performances a more visual experience for both the performers and audience members. At his request, the school district ordered sound activated lights that allow the musicians to see the rhythms that they are drumming. Being able to see their rhythms through the use of the multi-colored lights helps them to perform with a steadier tempo. Incorporating multiple intelligences (in this case, musical, kinesthetic, and visual) into education creates a more enriching experience for all students. This innovative music program was recently featured in TAPinto Berkeley Heights and as part of a News 12 New Jersey segment called ‘Education Matters’. 

In addition to music education, students are encouraged to participate in school athletic programs, clubs, and theatrical productions. A Sign Language Club and the Deaf Highlander Club serve to promote the cultural aspects of deafness that support a strong deaf peer group and attract many students from throughout the school. Deaf and hard of hearing students also participate in internship opportunities each year with assistance from sign language interpreters to gain real world work experience. 

Governor Livingston High School’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program is open to qualifying students throughout the state of NJ. For more information, please contact Kevin Morra Supervisor of Special Education at 908-464-1298 ext:1865 or by email at kmorra@bhpsnj.org. Additional information can also be found at www.NJDeafProgram.com