St. Rita School for the Deaf

A nonprofit organization

$2,925 raised by 16 donors

15% complete

$20,000 Goal

St. Rita was built on 237 acres of fertile land and the dream of a young priest. The dream began when Father Henry J. Waldhaus was challenged by Archbishop Henry Moeller to provide for the deaf in the Diocese of Cincinnati. With the help of the Knights of del'Epee and the Saints Mary and Joseph Society, Father Waldhaus was able to raise the funds necessary to purchase land which would become St. Rita School in 1915.

Beginning with only eleven students and a staff of three Sisters of Charity, Father Waldhaus embarked on a mission which would produce the first accredited high school for the deaf in Ohio.

The environment St. Rita School offers its students encourages them to explore the world of knowledge, to experience the arts and sports, to learn the meaning of responsibility, to develop lasting friendships, to lead productive lives.

As bright faces of St. Rita graduates enter the mainstream of adult life, they will continue to serve as shining examples of the educational and spiritual values learned within St. Rita's walls. Making their dreams a reality is what St. Rita School is all about; that was Father Waldhaus' dream, too.

The heritage of over 108 years of growth, built by the strength of its leaders, nurtured by the friendship of many supporters, and bonded by the love shared by its staff and students, has offered St. Rita School a solid foundation for a healthy future in deaf education as well as educating students with Apraxia, Down Syndrome and on the Autism Spectrum.  

 Since its inception, St. Rita School for the Deaf has provided services to over 2,600 children with profound hearing loss and through the years we have expanded our services to include hearing children who have communication needs and disorders that benefit from sign language.

The core of our mission at St. Rita School for the Deaf is to provide our students with an education that caters to their individual needs and empowers them to achieve their fullest potential.  Throughout the year, our dedicated team of educators and staff worked tirelessly to implement the best practices, leveraging materials and resources and catered to diverse learning styles and modes of communication. 

Motivated faculty and staff bring out the best in our students. The experience and expertise that they share with each other helps students be successful and confident. They are the “heart” of the school and our most valuable assets who carry out the mission each day so each child has the opportunity to grow academically, socially, and spiritually. Through recognition, professional and personal development, and recruitment the school strives to retain qualified, motivated, and effective faculty and staff. 

Faculty and staff completed 794 hours of professional development.  35 staff attended additional training outside of the required professional development. 72% of the learning took place online.

All K-12 classrooms implemented phonological awareness instruction to narrow the gap in language and communication which can lead to knowledge of phonological awareness skills and increase their overall reading skills. 

For students with hearing loss, teachers provided instruction with sign language phonology. Instruction includes the five parameters of signs (handshape, location, palm orientation, non-manual makers and movement).  Students were taught to recognize commonalities in parameters across multiple signs (two signs using the same handshape), blend parameters, and manipulative parameters.

For students who are hearing but have communication needs, teachers provided instruction in traditional phonological awareness skills. Using a systematic, multi-sensory approach to meet the diverse needs, students were instructed in skills that helped them attend to, discriminate, remember and manipulate sounds. Instruction also included the use of St. Rita Phoneme Signs that were developed by faculty at the school.

68% of the student populations improved in the area of phonological awareness based on classroom observations and data.

 70% of the student population maintained or increased their reading level compared to the previous year's assessment.

72% of the student population maintained or increased their math level compared to the previous year's assessment.

None of the achievements would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our donors and stakeholders.  Your contribution, big and small, along with your prayers have made a tangible difference in the lives of our students.  Your belief in our mission and dedication to the students have laid the foundation for a brighter future for the St. Rita community.  From the bottom of our hearts, we express our deepest gratitude to each one of you.

Organization Data


Organization name

St. Rita School for the Deaf

Tax id (EIN)