California School for the Blind

Last updated
California School for the Blind
CSB Main Entrance 2.jpg
Photo of the main entrance to the California School for the Blind from Walnut Avenue, facing the school. The sign at the main entrance is shown with the theater and several other buildings in the background.
500 Walnut Avenue
Fremont, CA 94536

United States
Coordinates 37°33′47″N121°57′56″W / 37.562935°N 121.965471°W / 37.562935; -121.965471
SuperintendentGina E. Ouellette
Faculty25 [1]
Gradesages 3 to 21
Number of students82 [1]
Campus size25 acres (100,000 m2)
Color(s)Burgundy and Silver

The California School for the Blind is a public educational institution for blind children, K-12, located in Fremont, California. Its campus is located next to the California School for the Deaf.



The San Francisco area's education of blind children began in 1860 with the organization of the privately supported Society for the Instruction and Maintenance of the Indigent Deaf and Dumb, and the Blind in California by Mrs. Frances Clark. She served as the first principal of the school until 1865, when Dr. Warring Wilkinson was brought to the school. Dr. Wilkinson is credited with beginning the efforts to make the school wholly state-supported and seeing the school, then known as the California State Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind through its move to what would later become Berkeley in 1867. [2]

A 1906 amendment to the Political Code changed the school's name to the California Institution for the Deaf and Blind and established the school's place as a part of the California State school system. Dr. Wilkinson retired in 1910. The Legislature voted in 1914 to substitute the term "School" for "Institution," again changing the school's name, this time to the California School for the Deaf and Blind.

The school was separated by a legislative act in 1922 into separate programs, the California School for the Blind (CSB) and the California School for the Deaf , although formal separation with the completion of a new classroom building did not occur until July 1929. California School for the Blind was given authorization by the state legislature in 1943 to admit the deaf-blind, becoming the third school in the country to establish a deaf-blind program. The first deaf-blind student to graduate from CSB was graduated in 1949. [2]

The school's enrollment peaked in 1965 at 167 students. By 1973, the California Department of Education determined that the school needed to be relocated to a site more amenable to meeting accessibility for students with limited mobility and updating facilities to meet current earthquake and fire code standards. A new campus was constructed in Fremont, California and the school moved to its current home there in 1980.

The school is a member of Council of Schools for the Blind (COSB).


Berkeley (1867-1980)

State Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind
Location map Oakland.png
Red pog.svg
USA California location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location Berkeley, California
Coordinates 37°51′46″N122°14′46″W / 37.862826°N 122.246179°W / 37.862826; -122.246179 Coordinates: 37°51′46″N122°14′46″W / 37.862826°N 122.246179°W / 37.862826; -122.246179
AreaBounded by Dwight Way, City line, Derby and Warring Streets
NRHP reference # 82000962
Added to NRHP1982-10-14

The first building on the Berkeley campus was a stone Victorian Gothic building built in 1867 and destroyed by a fire in January 1875. Classes continued in temporary buildings for a few years while new buildings were constructed, including an educational building, four dormitories, various support facilities and a private residence for the principal. In 1890, the Spanish Colonial Revival education building was completed, featuring an assembly hall and a 160-foot (49 m) tower with a Seth Thomas clock. The education building survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake with damage to some chimneys and the slate roof as well as interior cracks, but there was no fire and the main walls held firm. [2]

Additional buildings were erected over the years: a gymnasium in 1915, a girls' dormitory in 1925, a boys' dormitory and another classroom building in 1929, a wing added to the new classroom building in 1931, the Helen Keller Building for classes for the deaf-blind in 1949, and a new dining facility in 1957. Ms. Keller was present at the dedication of the building named in her honor. [3]

During the 1970s, a new site was constructed in Fremont and the school's move there was completed in 1980. In 1981 the Berkeley campus was designated a Berkeley Landmark. [4] In 1982, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. [5] The school's former site was divided between the University of California and the city of Berkeley. Both parties opened their portions of the site in 1986, the university as the Clark Kerr Campus residential complex and the city as Redwood Gardens, a home for financially needy elderly people.


The school follows a nationally accepted expanded core curriculum for students who are blind or visually impaired. It includes skills training in braille reading and writing, orientation and mobility, assistive technology, career education, adapted physical education, music, art, recreation and leisure, independent living, and functional academics.

Extracurricular activities

Popular activities among California School for the Blind students include swimming, karate, goalball, tandem bicycling, music groups, dance groups, international pen pals on tape, art, cooking and roller skating. Many of the school's athletes are also members of the Alameda County Special Olympics team and the United States Association of Blind Athletes.

Notable alumni

Related Research Articles

Berkeley, California City in California, United States

Berkeley is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the 18th-century Irish bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and the unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. The 2010 census recorded a population of 112,580.

Fremont, California City in California, United States

Fremont is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It was incorporated on January 23, 1956, from the annexation of Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San José, and Warm Springs. The city is named after John C. Frémont, an American explorer and former US Senator and Military Governor of California.

Bowles Hall United States historic place

Bowles Hall is a coed residential college at the University of California, Berkeley, known for its unique traditions, parties, and camaraderie. Designed by George W. Kelham, the building was the first residence hall on campus, dedicated in 1929, and was California's first state-owned residence hall. It was built in 1928 on a $350,000 grant by Mary McNear Bowles in memory of her husband, Cal alumnus and UC Regent Phillip E. Bowles. Mr. Bowles was said to have three loves: horses, horticulture and the University of California. The Bowles family is said to have lost its fortune during the Great Depression.

The Louisiana School for the Deaf is a state school for deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Louisiana, located in Baton Rouge, the state capital. It was established in 1852 as a joint school for blind students. In 1860, its first purpose-built facility was completed and admired as an elegant monument to philanthropy. The schools were divided in 1898, and in 1908, Louisiana School for the Deaf was renamed.

De La Salle–College of Saint Benilde private Catholic college in the Malate district of Manila, Philippines

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, also known as Benilde and abbreviated DLS-CSB or simply CSB, is a private, Catholic research college run by De La Salle Brothers located in Malate district of Manila, Philippines. It operates three campuses. One is along Taft Avenue, another along Pablo Ocampo Street and the third campus along Arellano Avenue. The college is a member institution of De La Salle Philippines (DLSP), a network of 16 Lasallian institutions.

Laney College Community College of Peralta District

Laney College is a public community college in Oakland, California. Laney is the largest of the four colleges of the Peralta Community College District, which serves northern Alameda County. Laney College is named after Joseph Clarence Laney. The college offers both certificates and credits for Associate of Arts degree, as well as prerequisites to transfer to four year universities. It is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Ángel Ramos (educator) Puerto Rican educator

Doctor Ángel Ramos is current Principal of Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind. He was the founder of the National Hispanic Council of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, He was also Former Superintendent of the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind, Sequoia School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AZ) and Marie Katzenbach School for the Deaf (NJ). He is the second Deaf Hispanic/Latino to receive a doctorate degree and the first to receive a doctorate from Gallaudet University.

Florida School for the Deaf and Blind Public school in St. Augustine, Florida, USA

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a state-supported boarding school for deaf and blind children established in 1885, in St. Augustine, Florida, United States.

California School for the Deaf, Fremont Public school in Fremont, California, United States

The California School for the Deaf is a school for deaf children in Fremont, California. The school educates deaf children from all over Northern California. Its campus in Fremont is adjacent to the campus of the California School for the Blind.

West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind Public school

The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind were established by an Act of the Legislature on March 3, 1870. The School for the Deaf and the School for the Blind offer comprehensive educational programs for hearing impaired and visually impaired students respectively. There is also a unit for deafblind and multihandicapped children. Students are eligible to enroll at the age of three, must be residents of the state of West Virginia and exhibit a hearing or visual loss sufficient to prevent normal progress in the usual public school setting. The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind are located on a campus in Romney in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Locally, the schools are referred to simply as The state school.

Campus of the University of California, Berkeley human settlement in Berkeley, California, United States of America

The campus of the University of California, Berkeley and its surrounding community are home to a number of notable buildings by early 20th-century campus architect John Galen Howard, his peer Bernard Maybeck, and their colleague Julia Morgan. Later buildings were designed by architects such as Charles Willard Moore and Joseph Esherick.

Kentucky School for the Deaf United States historic place

The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD), located in Danville, Kentucky, United States, is a school that provides education to deaf and hard-of-hearing children from elementary through high school levels.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) is a Texas special public school, in the continuum of statewide placements for students who have a visual impairment. It is considered a statewide resource to parents of these children and professionals who serve them. Students, ages 6 through 21, who are blind, deafblind, or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, are eligible for consideration for services at TSBVI.

Oregon School for the Deaf State (public) school in Salem, , Oregon, United States

Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD) is a state school in Salem, Oregon, United States. It serves deaf and hard of hearing students from kindergarten through high school, and up to 18 years of age.

Texas School for the Deaf School for the deaf school in Austin, Texas, United States

Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) is a state-operated primary and secondary school for deaf children in Austin, Texas. The oldest public school in Texas that has been continually in operation, it was first opened in 1857 "in an old frame house, three log cabins, and a smokehouse." The school struggled under inadequate funding during the American Civil War and its aftermath with the students eating food that they grew themselves on the school farm. In 1951 the State Board of Education assumed oversight of the school.

Pennsylvania School for the Deaf United States historic place

The Pennsylvania School for the Deaf is the third-oldest school of its kind in the United States. Its founder, David G. Seixas (1788–1864), was a Philadelphia crockery maker-dealer who became concerned with the plight of impoverished deaf children that he observed on the city's streets. The current school building is listed by the National Register of Historic Places, and two former campuses are similarly recognized.

North Carolina School for the Deaf Public school in Morganton, North Carolina, United States

The North Carolina School for the Deaf is a state-supported residential school for deaf children established in 1894, in Morganton, North Carolina, US.

Ohlone College

Ohlone College is a public community college with its main campus in Fremont, California and a second campus in Newark, California. Ohlone is one of the 112 colleges in the California Community College System. The Ohlone Community College District serves the cities of Fremont and Newark, as well as parts of Union City. Ohlone offers 61 associate degrees leading to university transfer or careers and over 100 vocational certificate programs that provide job skill training.

Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind Public school in Talladega, Alabama, United States

The Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) is a school for people with blindness and/or deafness operated by the U. S. State of Alabama in the city of Talladega. The current institution includes the Alabama School for the Deaf, the Alabama School for the Blind, and the Helen Keller School, named for Alabamian Helen Keller, which serves children who are both deaf and blind. The E. H. Gentry Technical Facility provides vocational training for older students, and the institution offers employment to graduates through its Alabama Industries for the Blind workshops in Talladega and Birmingham. The AIDB has regional centers in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Mobile, Dothan, Auburn, and Tuscumbia. The AIDB currently serves nearly 24,500 residents from all 67 counties of the state.

Texas Blind, Deaf, and Orphan School was a school for blind and deaf black people in Austin, Texas. Throughout its history, the school served only black students and had black teachers; whites attended the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) and the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI).


  1. 1 2 "California School for the Blind 2005-06 School Accountability Report". California Department of Education. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  2. 1 2 3 "History of the California School for the Blind". 1986. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  3. "Helen Keller to Be Honor Guest at Dedication of Namesake Building at School for Blind Tomorrow". Oakland Tribune. 1950-10-13. p. 18.
  4. "Berkeley Landmarks". Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission. 2003. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
  5. "National Register of Historic Places - CALIFORNIA - Alameda County - Historic Districts" . Retrieved 2007-09-13.