Have questions? We have answers for you here.

General Information

The admissions process has various parts and phases. See the following terms:

  • Accepting applications – This means that KDES is currently accepting applications for admission and reviewing them.
  • Application complete – This means that KDES has received the full application and all supporting documents, including birth certificate, proof of residency, and all required school records, for the child. The next step in the process is an application review.
  • Accepted/acceptance – The applicant meets the admissions criteria and has been accepted to KDES. The enrollment date is yet to be determined. Acceptance does not mean the child may enroll immediately.
  • Enrollment – The child has been accepted and may start attending KDES on the designated date after an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting.
Q: What is the difference between “acceptance” and “enrollment”?


“Acceptance” means that the student’s application has been reviewed and the student meets the KDES admissions criteria. It does not mean that the student may begin attending classes. “Enrollment” means that the child has already been accepted; the enrollment date on which the student may begin attending KDES is also provided.

Q: If my child has been accepted but cannot be enrolled right away, when may they enroll?


For reasons such as classroom size and capacity, there may not be an available space for the student at the time of acceptance. Students are enrolled when there is an available space for them. We are unable to predict when a space will become available. We will inform you immediately when one becomes available.

Q: Who is eligible to attend KDES?


Students eligible to attend have a hearing status that results in a need for an educational environment sensitive to diverse educational, cognitive, and social needs that necessitates a continuum of specialized educational and support resources, including non-restrictive access to a visual environment throughout the day.

Q: Are there any residency requirements?


KDES applicants must legally reside with a parent or legal guardian in the National Capital region.

Q: Are there any educational or age requirements?


Applicants considered for admission to KDES must be between the ages of birth and 15 years. An applicant will not be considered if she or he has attained the age of 14 years 6 months by December 31 of the school year for which he or she is applying.

Q: My child has secondary disabilities. Does this affect admissions?


An applicant with secondary disabilities will be considered if the student’s primary educational needs are related to deafness.

Q: What does KDES need in order to consider students for admissions?


  1. In order to consider a student for admission, KDES needs the following documents:
    • Completed application form
    • Completed release of information form
    • Birth certificate (copy)
    • Proof of residency (copy of utility bill)

    In the application form is a release form that authorizes your child’s school to send records to KDES. Records requested include but are not limited to:

    • Audiogram/audiological evaluation
    • Current IFSP/IEP
    • Multi-disciplinary evaluation performed within the past three years (also called comprehensive, or psychoeducational evaluations at some schools)
    • Re-evaluation/Triennial Review
    • Report card

*Completed physical exam, immunization record, and other medical record forms are due prior to enrollment.

Q: May students apply for admissions at any time during the school year? Is there a deadline for applying?


KDES accepts applications for the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program and enrolls ECE students on a rolling basis if there is available space in the age-appropriate class.

KDES accepts applications for students in kindergarten through grade 8 (K-8) until April 1 and enrolls K-8 students no later than May 1 of the current school year if there is space available in the student’s grade level. K-8 applications received after April 1 will be considered for fall enrollment of the next school year. (Please note: There may be times during which the application portal is temporarily closed.)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dates and enrollments for students in K-8 are subject to change. Please see our KDES admissions page for current application and enrollment timelines.

Q: What are the costs involved in attending KDES?


There is no charge for tuition.

Q: What about transportation?


Bus transportation is provided within a 15-mile radius of the U.S. Capitol at no cost (see map). Students residing outside of the 15-mile radius may still receive transportation services at pick-up and drop-off points within the 15-mile radius. 

Q: Are immunizations required?


D.C. Law 3-20 (revised November 1996) mandates that all students must have certification of immunizations.

Q: How do I apply for admission for my child?


Our application process is entirely online! To apply, please begin by completing the application form, identified as Step 1, at

Then complete Step 2: Submit Student Records at the same link.

Q: What are the possible outcomes of my child’s application?


Review of a complete application file may result in one of the following:

  • The application is accepted. Enrollment will depend on space available.
  • The application is denied.
  • The parent/legal guardian may be directed to their LEA so the LEA may make the referral in order to be available to partner with KDES to provide the accommodations, supports, and services the student needs.
Q: How can I see KDES?


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, KDES hosted periodic school tours during which families of prospective students could tour the building. However, for the foreseeable future, no visitors will be allowed into the building. We will share information about virtual visits when those are available.

Q: May my child attend KDES through remote instruction only?


Learning at KDES happens in physical, on-campus classes. KDES students must be located on campus in order to attend classes. KDES does not provide an online-only education.

The application and registration processes, however, may be done online.

Q: Does KDES provide before-school care?


KDES does not offer before-school care. The earliest a student may arrive at KDES is 8:15 a.m.

Q: Does KDES provide after-school care or extracurricular activities (e.g., sports)?


KDES does not provide after-school care. However, for students ages 4 and above, KDES does offer a range of activities through the After School Program (ASP) as well as athletics. Please see our After School page for more information.

Language and Communication at KDES

Q: How do teachers and students communicate during classroom instructional activities?


All classes and programs are conducted in American Sign Language (ASL).

Q: The KDES website says that KDES is a bilingual school. If ASL is the language of instruction, how do students develop their English language skills?


Students receive a substantial amount of instruction in English language arts. In English language arts, students participate in an extensive range of reading and writing activities, including guided reading and writing instruction. Teachers create language-rich classrooms that make visually accessible English prominent throughout the school building. Reading and writing are emphasized across the curriculum in all subject areas. Additionally, individual students may receive IEP-based speech-language services to support and strengthen their spoken language skills.

Q: My child does not know ASL. May they still be considered for admission to KDES?


Yes! Our students come from a wide range of communication backgrounds, with new signers receiving support until they are able to communicate independently in ASL. Please see our ASL for New Signers page for more information.

Q: I would like my child to communicate in spoken English in the classroom. Is that an option at KDES?


All classes and programs are conducted in ASL. Your child may receive spoken English services through IEP-based speech-language therapy sessions with our speech-language pathologists. However, classroom discourse is primarily through ASL.

Q: My child normally communicates through Cued Speech. Is that an option at KDES?


All classes and programs are conducted in ASL. KDES does not use Cued Speech as a tool.

Admissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Q: What health and safety protocols is KDES following?


KDES students returned to on-campus learning on September 7, 2021. School began on August 30 and included virtual training sessions for all students in health and safety protocols. We anticipate that these protocols will continue to change based on evolving Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and DC Health guidelines. For the most current information, please click on the Clerc Center link on the Gallaudet University Return to Campus website.

Q: Are there vaccination requirements for teachers, staff, and students?


For the most up-to-date information regarding vaccination requirements, please click on the Clerc Center link on the Gallaudet University Return to Campus website.

Q: Are you currently enrolling new students?


KDES reopened for on-campus learning in Fall 2021 in full compliance with all COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. These guidelines restrict the capacity of our buildings and classrooms. As a result, enrollments for students in grades K-8 are subject to change. Please see our main KDES admissions page for current information.