Kentucky School for the Blind K-12 Programs
In 1839, Bryce Patten and his brother Otis began teaching blind children in their home in Louisville. Otis was visually impaired, and he had attended the new Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts a few years before.
In 1842 the Pattens arranged for Samuel Gridley Howe of the Perkins School to visit the Kentucky State Legislature. Howe and some of his students demonstrated to the legislators that blind children could learn a variety of skills. The legislature promptly appropriated $10,000, and the Kentucky School for the Blind officially opened its doors in May of that year.
Today, KSB offers quality full-time educational programs to blind students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Teachers are certified in teaching the visually impaired, as well as in their subject areas. Students learn language arts, math, science, social studies, music and p.e. - all the subjects taken by kids in public school. Sometimes they take all their classes at the school; sometimes they attend a local public school part of the day for foreign language or other subjects.
But KSB kids learn much more. Visually impaired students have large print books and materials, and they learn to use magnifiers, magnification systems and special computer software to help them read and write. Blind children learn to read and write braille, and to use braille and speech technology to access the computer and the Internet. All students receive orientation and mobility training so they can travel on- and off-campus safely and with confidence.
KSB students have the opportunity to participate in clubs, sports and other activities after school. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Big Brothers and Sisters, and planned recreational activities and trips keep kids involved. Track and field, wrestling, cheerleading, goalball and swim teams take out-of-state trips to compete against other schools for the blind for medals and trophies. An on-campus radio station turns kids into deejays; cultural exchange programs give high-school seniors a chance to travel the world.
KSB juniors and seniors may wish to participate in the independent dorm program, where they learn to prepare meals, shop on a budget, and be responsible for their on-campus apartment. High school studens also have the chance to work at real jobs, either on- or off-campus - an extremely important program because it is very difficult for visually impaired teens to find work opportunities on their own in their local communities.
Students from all over Kentucky can choose to attend KSB. If their families live within driving distance of the school, they may choose to go home every day. If their families are too far away for a daily commute, students stay in comfortable dorms with other children near their same age. Students go home each weekend unless they choose to stay for a special sports or club activity.
Some KSB graduates go on to college and professional careers such as teaching, law, or counseling. Others choose to work in manufacturing jobs, as receptionists or customer service specialists, or become self-employed businesspeople.
For more information about the full-time K-12 educational opportunities at the Kentucky School for the Blind, email Principal John Roberts or call him at (502)897-1583 ext. 240.
Visit the KSB website for information on short course, summer enrichment, and other services provided by the Kentucky School for the Blind.
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