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Distant Pals

New Format for 2016-2017 School Year

Distant Pals (DP) is a unique program that matches students who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind from around the state with a peer who is deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind.

The revamped Distant Pals Program will have an expanded focus on literacy, aligning with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) definition of literacy. The more traditional definition of literacy, including reading and writing, has been expanded by DPI as “the confluence of content knowledge, experiences, and skills merged with the ability to read, write, listen, speak, think critically, and perform in a way that is meaningful within the context of a given field.”

New this year: Distant Pals is going high-tech with new online forms and a distance technology format.

  • Expectations: Pals will be expected to “meet” six times (approximately monthly) per school year via distance technology such as a videophone, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, etc. with the support of a Supervising Adult.

  • New matching opportunities: Pals can be mentors (age 16+) to a younger pal (mentee, age 15 or younger). Traditional matching parameters such as gender, communication mode and listening technology will still be available.

  • Connect to the student’s IEP: Supervising adults will be asked to ensure that sessions with a Distant Pal support at least one goal on the student’s IEP.  The Distant Pals Program can support goals related to communication, self-identity, and/or College and Career ready technology skills. Supervising adults will have greater flexibility in identifying projects and expectations to match their particular student’s needs and IEP goals.

  • No paper! No need to mail projects and no specific deadline requirements. Everything will be done electronically through distance technology, facilitated by the supervising adults using an agreed upon technology/app.

  • Discontinued point system for extrinsic rewards: The value of meeting a peer, via distance technology, should become intrinsically motivating for the student!

Registration Documents - Must be submitted by September 30th

***DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION of Student Information Forms and Program Permission Forms is SEPTEMBER 30TH***

Late submissions cannot be guaranteed a Distant Pal. Matches will be shared with Supervising Adults by mid-October.

Guidance Documents

Conversation Starters

  • Prepare your student to meet his/her Distant Pal - DP Meet Me! Template - for student/supervisor use, will not be sent to Pal (printable PDF).


For more information, please contact:
Distant Pals Coordinator at 608-355-2023 or