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History

180+ Years of Caring Innovation

As the first school for the deaf and the blind and one of the oldest schools in Virginia, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) was established by an act of the Virginia General Assembly on March 31, 1838 and officially opened in 1839. It is located in historic and scenic Staunton, Virginia, a vibrant small town that is regularly cited for its beauty and quality of life.

VSDB’s gracious campus is characterized by green lawns, mature trees, and beautiful architecture. It is nestled on 73 acres of rolling hills and surrounded by mountain views. It is also within easy walking distance of downtown Staunton, a bustling district offering shopping, restaurants, theater, movies, art galleries, and a variety of services.

As the school celebrates almost 180 years of continued excellence in educating children who are deaf and/or blind, it remains at the forefront of educational technology. The school utilizes some of the latest and most advanced audiovisual equipment and disability tailored computer applications in its classrooms to provide its students with the best education. As on November 15, 1839—when the first students enrolled—the arms of the school are open wide and ready to serve Virginia’s children.

In 2009, the Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) in Staunton as a state agency with its own Board of Visitors independent of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). The legislature directed the Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate a VDOE staff member to serve as consultant to the VSDB Board of Visitors on matters pertaining to instruction, federal and state special education requirements and school accreditation.

In 2017, VSDB was again accredited by AdvancEd under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).

Museum & Records

The VSDB Museum, while not open to the public, houses important historical records.

 

Contact Information

Mary Kraus

Museum Coordinator

 

Email: makraus3@gmail.com

For VSDB archives at the Library of Virginia, contact

librarian.archive@lva.virginia.gov

Board of Visitors

John J. Bell

Broadlands, Virginia

Virginia State Senator,
13th District

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TBA

Virginia

Virginia House of Delegates

 

Sally L. Hudson

Charlottesville, VA

Virginia House of Delegates, 57th District

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Ghazala F. Hashmi

Richmond, Virginia

Virginia State Senator,
10th District

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JH Cline, Jr.

Staunton, Virginia

VSDB Alumni

Ronald Lanier

Richmond, Virginia

Parent Representative

Michael Asip, EdD

Powhatan, Virginia

Member at Large

Daphne Cox

Staunton, Virginia

Member at Large

Vera Wilson

Fincastle, Virginia

Member at Large

Carolyn Berry

Charlottesville, Virginia

Member at Large

Christine Ogden

Staunton, Virginia

Parent Representative

Contact the Board of Visitors

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VSDB Foundation

The purpose of the Foundation is to advance VSDB educational efforts by providing resources to enhance educational activities that support the needs of the students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind and the larger community of potential students and graduates.

Alumni Information

School for the Deaf Alumni

Michele VanBoxlaere

School for the Blind Alumni

JH Cline