RD492 - Annual Executive Summary – The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind – 2022

Executive Summary:

Parents across Virginia entrust the safety, care, and education of their children who are sensory impaired to the Commonwealth's only pre/K-12 school, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) in Staunton, Virginia. Established in 1839, VSDB is the oldest school in the nation to serve both the Deaf and the Blind. VSDB serves a complex student population that includes children who are hard of hearing/deaf, vision impaired/blind, deafblind, and deaf or blind with other disabilities. As an agency of the Commonwealth, there is never a cost to a family for any child to attend VSDB.

As established by the Code of Virginia (§ 22.1-346.2.), the VSDB Board of Visitors provides oversight of the school and residential programs. The Board is comprised of eleven members including two senators and two delegates. The Board meets quarterly to review and approve the operations of the school and the residential programs. The Superintendent maintains direct management of the agency and is accountable to the Board of Visitors.

Currently, VSDB serves approximately 60 students from across Virginia, with enrollment increasing steadily after the COVID pandemic. Unlike other public schools in Virginia, VSDB provides overnight in-residence accommodations and is responsible for the children 24 hours a day, 5 days a week during the school year. VSDB's reputation for stellar and unique programs and services is well known, creating interest from across the United States and other countries. VSDB is a leader in many areas related to the education and service of children who are sensory impaired. This year, VSDB is proud to host its first international student from Liberia, who is blind. VSDB predicts a total enrollment of 80+ students by the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

A key focus at VSDB is the development of the whole child. From preschool to age 21, VSDB prepares students for life through the provision of innovative programs and services that are prescriptive to the needs of each student. VSDB students achieve the skills necessary for independent living, academic success, successful workforce careers, and social and emotional well-being. VSDB not only educates its students, but also works with each family to educate them on the needs of their child as well as services and available resources to support a successful future after graduation.

VSDB impacts the life of every student and family that comes through its doors. It provides the necessary programs and resources to allow students the opportunity to reach their potential and to become productive citizens within the community. VSDB provides hope and a vision for families who could not begin to see the potential or imagine a future for their child. For students and their families, VSDB is a life-changing experience.