Top 10 Reasons DePaul is the Best School

By Sara Baines-Miller | Posted on: January 2, 2024

Billy at the DePaul sign

Staff, current students, and alumni all agree on these top ten reasons why DePaul is the best school!


On September 7, 1908, The Pittsburgh School for the Deaf, now known as DePaul School for Hearing and Speech, officially opened with one student. Word of mouth spread and enrollment totals reached between 23 – 25 students by the end of the school’s first year. Since that time, DePaul has been providing 115 years of superb service to our students, their families, and our community.

DePaul School for Hearing and Speech is part of an exclusive group of 41 schools across the United States dedicated to providing Listening and Spoken Language (LSL) education for children who are hard of hearing or deaf. Notably, we stand as the sole LSL institution in the West Virginia tri-state area, as well as Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. What sets us apart is our commitment to extending LSL education beyond the age of six, making us one of the select few schools nationwide to do so. Our comprehensive programs cater to children from birth up to age fifteen and address a wide spectrum of needs. This includes late-diagnosed children, those with various speech-related challenges such as apraxia, and those transitioning from sign language or Total Communication programs.

To learn more about our journey and accomplishments, read our recent blog article, Reminiscing 115 Years of History.

DePaul School Old Campus

2-Proven Track Record

Our longevity is one of the many ways we celebrate our proven track record. Thousands of students have graduated from DePaul since 1908 and have gone onto successful lives in the hearing and speaking world.

Our commitment to our students is another example of our character. Our staff and teachers are unquestionably dedicated to our mission: Following the values and traditions of our founders, the mission of DePaul School for Hearing and Speech is to teach each child who is deaf or hard of hearing to listen, speak and learn. Our children enter the educational mainstream with the foundation to succeed.

It is for our longevity, commitment, and much more that we have been and will continue to be a trusted and respected LSL school.

3-Alumni Success

Many children have successfully moved on from our programs at DePaul. We showcase several of their memories and stories on our Interactive Documentary page. Below we highlighted a few alumni, spanning from 1953 to 2013.

  • John Paczan, Class of 1953
    “…I remember Sister John Agnus’ classes where she placed a tissue on her cheek and my hand on the tissue so I could feel the vibrations. Later in Sister Mary Linus’ class, in addition to the curriculum, she taught me appreciation for architecture, music, and fine art. My ninth grade teacher, Sister Rose Xavier was also responsible for organizing a Boy Scout troop. On my first camp out it rained all weekend and everything was mud…” Read More
  • Arlene Miller, Class of 1963
    “My special education teacher found DePaul. I got on [the] DePaul big yellow school bus on the North Side. I rode the school bus to and from DePaul. Mary France (Huwe) Kuszaj was one of my first friends and a good friend at DePaul. We were in the same class for 3 years. Marlene (Kauer) Foley, Ann (Miller) Smith, Paul Laird, [and] Maritta Matthews were in my class too.  I graduated from DePaul in June, 1963…. I remember I won a medal in the National Latin test.  I was surprised and [was] awarded it at the DePaul Graduation ceremony. Now I am one of the Board members of the Hearing Loss Association of Pittsburgh.” Read More
  • Tyler Stack, Class of 2013
    We are so proud of our school alumnus Tyler Stack! Tyler, who is profoundly deaf and has two cochlear implants, started preschool at DePaul School for Hearing and Speech when he was three years old. With the help of the teachers, audiologists, and speech-language pathologists at DePaul School, he transitioned to Saint Margaret of Scotland in Greentree when he was 13 years old. After leaving DePaul School, he played alongside his hearing peers in various sports including soccer, basketball, and deck hockey. However, soccer soon became Tyler’s main passion. Read More

Tyler Stack, DePaul Alumni and soccer player competing in Deaflympics


At DePaul, we have a deep appreciation for technology! We take pride in employing top-notch equipment and cutting-edge technology to create wonderful learning opportunities for our students. Whether it’s ensuring even sound distribution in classrooms, facilitating online connections, providing closed captioning, or utilizing other advanced features, we are dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art learning strategies through high-quality technology.

Some of the technology we utilize or work with daily include:

  • Chromebooks
  • Cochlear Implants
  • Sound fields
  • Bluetooth streaming for older students (PLUS the equipment for them to stream to their Chromebook)
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Meets with captioning

Computer use at DePaul

5-Industry Experts

We have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in our 115 years of existence. Because of this, we are industry experts in LSL education. We also rely heavily on our experts like:

  • Speech pathologists
  • Audiologists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • School psychologist
  • School nurse
  • Behavior specialists
  • Special education teachers

Additionally, we have conducted national research on several topics which allows us to learn and grow. See more about this in Number 9.

6-High Quality Staff

As illustrated in Number 5, we employ highly trained and experienced individuals. Moreover, there are many opportunities for professional development throughout the year, including budgeted stipends for each teacher. The “Ray of Hope Grant” is another option for our staff. This grant is provided by a generous Board Member for the purpose of furthering education.

7-Community Involvement

Our devotion to our community runs deep. We participate in events like the Harmark Walk. The Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community is a yearly fundraising walk integral to the charitable giving and community involvement program, the Highmark Bright Blue Futures. This initiative centers on enhancing equitable access to care, improving quality of life, and fostering economic resilience in the communities we serve.

Furthermore, we partner with several organizations for information sharing. View some of our community resources here.

8-Connections to Experts

DePaul School for Hearing and Speech prides itself on being on the cutting edge of listening and speaking technology and practices. We partner with local and national industry leaders to ensure we provide the best support our community has to offer.

We also work with the following organizations and if you would like more information on any of the following, please let us know.

  • Friends of the Hearing Center
  • AG Bell Association
  • PSHA
  • ASHA
  • UPMC Childrens Audiology
  • Highmark Audiology

9-Research Results

DePaul School for Hearing & Speech has been actively engaged in national research on various subjects, like Family-Centered Practice: Strategies to Support an Early Intervention, Team-Based Approach Through Parent Coaching, and we are eager to share our discoveries with you. Should you have any inquiries or wish to learn more, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

10-Location – Pittsburgh Hotspots

Whether you’re a newcomer to Pittsburgh, contemplating a relocation to the city, or a seasoned local, there are numerous vibrant locales awaiting your exploration. Pittsburgh boasts a diverse array of neighborhoods and attractions, each with its distinctive character and allure. Whether your interests are in sports, arts and culture, family-friendly activities, dining, or outdoor pursuits, Pittsburgh caters to a broad spectrum of preferences. Recently, we compiled a list of ten popular hotspots in Pittsburgh that provide a glimpse into the richness this city has to offer. And to add to the excitement, we included a bonus section that you want to pay attention to!

Below are just a few of what we shared so make sure to click on the link above to read more.

  • Kennywood Amusement Park – Kennywood is known for its mix of classic and modern rides, attractions, and entertainment including roller coasters, family and kiddie rides, water rides, live performances, games, seasonal events, and more.
  • Kidsburgh – Kidsburgh is a valuable resource for families in the Pittsburgh area. It is an online platform dedicated to providing information, recommendations, connections, and resources for parents, caregivers, and children.
  • Duquesne Incline & Mount Washington Overlook – If you and your family enjoy sightseeing, then this destination is for you! The Mount Washington Overlook is known for its stunning panoramic views of the city skyline and its legendary Duquesne Incline.

Pittsburgh Skyline

Bonus Reason-Contact Us

Contact us, we would really like to hear from you. If you have any questions about this article and its content, or, would like more information on a program or service, please let us know! We look forward to speaking with you.

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