The Pennsylvania Chartered Schools
Providing Opportunity and Quality in Education throughout Pennsylvania
For more than 100 years, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has relied on four schools -- the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, the Overbrook School for the Blind, the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, and the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children -- to provide quality programs of education and training for its children who are deaf and blind.
Historically, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has supported these schools through grants, appropriations, and tuition reimbursement. In 1993, recognizing their unique value and role, the Legislature provided funding for the four Chartered Schools for Deaf and Blind Children by establishing a separate line item for them in the Commonwealth Budget.
The four Chartered Schools for Deaf and Blind Children provide services to students who have profound sensory loss, and/or whose losses are compounded by additional disabilities. The population they service is unique because both deafness and blindness are low incidence, irreversible sensorineural disabilities, often requiring carefully developed, long term, specialized programming, but with a reasonable prognosis for eventual success.
Because deafness and blindness are low incidence disabilities, there may only be one or two deaf or blind children in each of Pennsylvania's 501 local school districts. the burden of providing highly specialized programs for these children is a heavy one for the school district. The programs provided by the four Chartered Schools assure that Pennsylvania will provide appropriate schooling in specially designed instructional programs to its children who are deaf and blind so they can live independent lifestyles, communicating and performing daily activities that meet their basic needs.
As private, state supported institutions, the four Chartered Schools rely on generous private contributions from their communities, a strong collaborative relationship with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and the commitment of the Legislature to continue support to maintain their facilities and excellent educational programs.
The Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind Children will continue to maintain this remarkable public/private partnership in its commitment to provide quality education to Pennsylvania children who are deaf and blind.