Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

name =Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

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established =1885
type =Public
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location =St. Augustine, Florida
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website = [http://www.fsdb.k12.fl.us/ Florida School for the Deaf and Blind]
The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind is a state-supported residential school for deaf and blind children established in 1885, in St. Augustine, Florida, USA.


In 1882, Thomas Hines Coleman, a young deaf man, was preparing to graduate from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the only college for the deaf in the world at that time. He had previously graduated from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind and knew he wanted to make education for children his life's work.

Florida was one of the few states that had not yet made provision for the education of children who were deaf/hard-of-hearing, or who had visual impairments. Coleman wrote Governor William D. Bloxham of Florida and found he was favorable toward the establishment of such a school. As their correspondence continued, the sum of $20,000 was reached as a minimum appropriation to start the School.

In 1883, Florida´s legislature established an institution for the blind and deaf children for two years at $20,000. They requested bids from various towns in the state for the location to build the School. The City of St. Augustine offered the best bid with $1,000 cash and five acres of land, the land donated by Captain Edward E. Vaill, a pioneer of the City. Contractor William A. MacDuff erected the original first three wooden buildings at $12,749 and they were completed in December 1884.

The first graduating class was 62 students in 1892 and the first graduation ceremony was held in 1898. The school was first named The School for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb and it was under the direction of a five-member board of trustees until 1905. The Florida legislature established the present seven-member Board of Trustees in 1963.

Construction began on new dormitories in late 1958 and they opened in 1959. Taylor Hardwick was the architect of record.


The school is now the largest school of its type in the United States with 47 buildings on 72 acres of land. The school now has an annual budget of over 30 million dollars up from its original annual of $20,000.

The school is Florida's primary public school for hearing-impaired and visually-impaired students pre-school through 12th grade. The School offers an educational program for pre-school through 12th grade, as well as a post-secondary program, and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Conference of Educational Administrators Serving the Deaf, and the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped.

It has 3 separate departments for Deaf and for Blind and Special Needs students and provides a variety of Outreach Programs promoting deaf and blind awareness, parent support, and cultural diversity amongst Florida children.

Notable alumni

*Ray Charles attended St. Augustine School where he learned to read Braille. The school was known as The Institute for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb while Ray Charles Robinson was in attendance.


* [http://www.fsdb.k12.fl.us/about/history.php School History] - Florida School For The Deaf and Blind
* [http://www.southfloridachildren.com/index.htm Florida Children] - Florida Children and Schools

External references

* [http://www.fsdb.k12.fl.us/ Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, St. Augustine, Florida]
* [http://www.deaftoday.com/news/archives/004037.html The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind performs in Englewood] "Charlotte Sun-Herald" February 18, 2004

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