The History of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind

Meet one graduate from the 1930-40’s who shares her memories of the Utah School for the Deaf.  She then graduated from college and enjoyed a successful career with the Bureau of Land Management.  She is now retired, and enjoys following today’s Utah School for the Deaf on social media. To this day, she has fond memories of her teachers who provided her with personalized instruction and a wonderful education.

USDB's first location at Ogden's old Territorial Reform School

USDB’s first location at Ogden’s old Territorial Reform School

The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (USDB) has been serving students with sensory impairments throughout Utah for over 100 years! The schools began in 1884 by the Territorial Legislature after a message from Governor Eli Murray which emphasized the need for a school for the deaf. Twelve years later in 1896, as Utah attained statehood, the members of the Constitutional Convention created the school for the blind. Recognizing the appropriateness of services for both visually and hearing impaired individuals, Utah’s first lawmakers established the “Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.” USDB was given their first home at Ogden’s old Territorial Reform School.

The courageous spirit that provided a national model for deaf and blind education in 1884 is still forging the way in teaching the deaf and the blind to be self-reliant and contributing citizens of their communities. Outreach and mainstreaming efforts offer students an educational programs whereby each individual can progress toward his or her highest potential.

Aerial view of old USDB building

Black and white historical photo

Over the years, services provided by the USDB have continued to meet the changing needs of students and families through modern technology and teaching strategies. The commitment of the schools to high quality services for deaf and blind children is as great as it ever was.

Enjoy this day in the life video (below) about students at the Jean Massieu School, back in the year 2000, produced by a student from BYU. You may even recognize some of the teachers, who still work here!

The Jean Massieu School from BYU Theatre and Media Arts on Vimeo.

Feel free to browse the website, visit a campus location near you, or contact us with questions, comments, or to request more information. We are here to offer support, guidance, and expert advice. We are your advocates as you navigate through the programs and services that make up your child’s education. We look forward to hearing from you!