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Hawaii Center
for the
Deaf and Blind
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HCDB School History


THE HAWAII CENTER FOR THE DEAF AND THE BLIND historically has been a tuition-free, state supported school, under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Department of Education.  Its predecessor was established in 1914, and called the School for Defectives with five students (one blind, three deaf, and one with cognitive disability).  Miss Gertrude Mason of Berkeley, California was the first teacher and organized the school.  It was purchased then for $8,500.

In 1918, the teaching staff increased to six with fifty-two pupils; twelve deaf students, eight blind students, and thirty-two with cognitive disabilities.  With the establishment of Waimano Home in 1918, most of the children with cognitive disabilities attended there.  In the same year, the 5 acre Cecil Brown estate in Waikiki was purchased to establish a school for the students who were deaf and blind, and was called Ho'olana.

In 1921, the school became the Territorial School for the Deaf and the Blind.  With the addition of dormitory facilities, children from the other islands were admitted.  In 1959, the name changed to Diamond Head School.

The new building program was started in 1960.  Eventually all of the wooden frame buildings were replaced by concrete structures, except two cottages.  When completed, the campus consisted of a 16 room classroom building, an administration building, two dormitories, a practical arts building with four classrooms, a cafeteria, a library, and an outdoor recreational area.

In 1967, the preschool department with nine students was established. On September 2, 1969, the name of the school was changed to "Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind".

In the late 1970's in response to concerns from parents, educators, deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals and a number of community organizations and state agencies, the Department of Education sponsored two studies by Dr. Robert Frisina, the Vice President of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.  The more recent study was completed in 1988.  

Dr. Frisina recommended a statewide system of evaluating, monitoring, and tracking the educational progress of all deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Hawaii's public schools.  It was in response to Dr. Frisina's study that the Board of Education, in July, 1989, approved the establishment of the Statewide Center for Students with Hearing and Visual Impairments at the site, and which included the Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind.  In 1995, in response to the constituent community of individuals who are deaf and/or blind, the name changed to the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind.








Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind  -  3440 Leahi Ave.  Honolulu, HI  96815  -  Ph. (808) 733-4999
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