On April 10, 1823, the Kentucky Asylum for the Tuition of the Deaf and Dumb, later changed to The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) was established by the Kentucky General Assembly. KSD was the first deaf school established west of the Allegheny Mountains and the first to be supported by public funds.
The impetus for the establishment of the school came from legislation proposed by General Elias Barbee, whose daughter, Lucy, was deaf. The school was located in Danville and governance of the school was placed in the hands of the Board of Trustees of Centre College.
In looking for a faculty, the Board of Trustees turned to Centre College and found a young student, John Adamson Jacobs. Jacobs was sent to the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, the first school for the deaf established in the United States, to study for a year. In 1825 he returned to Danville and began his teaching career. He taught and served as Principal from 1825-1854, and as Superintendent from 1835-1869. He also found time to write a book on instruction of the deaf. The National Landmark building on campus, Jacobs Hall, is named for him. This building was built in 1857 and is still in operation.
The Centre College Board of Trustees governed the school until 1870 when the Kentucky General Assembly established a Board of Commissioners for oversight. This arrangement stayed in place until 1959-60 when the Kentucky Department of Education took over control of the school.
KSD has educated deaf and hard of hearing students continuously since 1823. During the Civil War Confederate forces attempted on three different occasions to take it over but Jacobs was steadfast in his defense of the school, its property and its students. After the third attempt the Confederates moved on to other parts of the town.
KSD has changed its curriculum to meet the ever-changing demands placed on its students. The curriculum evolved from academic offerings to studies that combined academics with a vocational/trades component. Presently, the emphasis is again academic to meet the goals of the Kentucky Core Curriculum and to meet Proficiency by 2017.
KSD only serves students from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has seen its enrollment decline in recent years. With the implementation of the Education for the Handicapped Act, students became the responsibility of their local education agencies/local school districts and students began to be educated at locally rather than at the state school. Nationally, 80 to 85% of deaf and hard of hearing students are now educated in local public schools. This shift has had an impact on state schools. In several states, residential schools have closed. Nebraska has closed its state school for the deaf; North Carolina has closed one of its state schools. Annually discussion has been held in Legislative chambers in this country discussing the fate of state residential schools.
Schools such as KSD are an essential part of the educational continuum serving this low-incidence population. KSD meets a need that cannot be met in the local public schools. Students who attend KSD have the opportunity to be with students like themselves and are not isolated like they might be in the public schools. And, if appropriate, they have the opportunity while living on KSD's campus to attend classes, accompanied by a certified American Sign Language interpreter, in the local public schools. On KSD's campus they also receive the intensive language training they need and participate in the vibrant social network of deaf and hard of hearing peers. Communication accessibility is vital for a deaf and hard of hearing student and our environment provides this communication-rich setting since faculty, staff and peers all communicate via sign language.
The Kentucky School for the Deaf is proud to have played a vital part in the education of deaf and hard of hearing since its founding in 1823 and will continue to provide a quality education to the students of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as we move forward into the future.
I believe that equality of opportunity is a core value of American democracy and that our public schools, more than any other of our society’s institutions, have served to guarantee this value. That being said, I recognize disparities in the educational opportunities provided for deaf children, who must already clear hurdles that are higher than those the hearing population must jump over to obtain an education that will prepare them for lives of meaningful and productive citizenship. The KSD Charitable Foundation seeks to overcome some of those disparities in its support of the Kentucky School for the Deaf and its students. Through its support of the school and the students enrolled there, the KSD Charitable Foundation makes a difference for good in the lives of deaf students. --Scott Haun, KSDCF Board Chairman
Working with the Foundation enables us to give our students opportunities for learning and traveling that they would otherwise never have. We are able to send them to leadership conferences and camps. We can buy them technology that levels the playing field of education. We can reward them for doing outstanding work and make their experiences similar to those experienced in schools for hearing students. We do not have a Family Resource Center, which was established for all schools with the onset of KERA; therefore our children would miss out on a lot of the tangible and educational support that hearing students get from the FRC, if not for the KSD Foundation. Through the Foundation, we give our students a richer education and through their experiences we help them to be better prepared for life in a hearing world.
In 1986, leaders from
the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) and the community established the
Kentucky School for the Deaf Charitable Foundation. Through yearlong
fundraising efforts, we award teacher grants for programs/projects to enrich
and enhance the educational opportunities for deaf and hard-of-hearing students
enrolled at KSD in Danville. Foundation funding provides equipment and
materials that help meet student needs that can’t be met in the school’s budget.
With state funding for our students shrinking, we write grants for library books that meet curricular needs and for new technology. We secure donations for upgrading dorm facilities and money for art consultants and student conferences We help level the playing field for our students, improving their ability to communicate effectively in the hearing world and to develop needed skills to attain satisfying jobs and careers,
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Copyright © 2014 Blue Grass Community Foundation
499 East High Street, Lexington, KY 40507