Oklahoma School for the Deaf

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OSD campus
Oklahoma School for the Deaf
Sulphur, Oklahomai
Coordinates 34°30′42″N 96°57′10″W / 34.51167°N 96.95278°W / 34.51167; -96.95278Coordinates: 34°30′42″N 96°57′10″W / 34.51167°N 96.95278°W / 34.51167; -96.95278
Type Public
Motto "Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in the state of Oklahoma have the same opportunities as all children to be successful in a barrier-free environment"
Established 1906
School district Oklahoma
Superintendent Larry Hawkings
Dean Thomas Thompson
Grades Pre-K to 12 grade
Color(s) Green and White, black
Mascot Indian
Affiliation Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation
OSD Executive Team

Larry Hawkins Superintendent

Thomas Thompson Dean of Students

Traci Prince Director of Student Assessment Center

Carolyne Paradiso Assistant to the Superintendent & Director of Special Projects

Betty Stephens

Business Manager
OSD Tech's Jason Hargis

Oklahoma School for the Deaf (OSD) is a residential school for the deaf and hard of hearing students ages 2 through 18. The school teaches K-12 students in Sulphur, Oklahoma.


Learning to make shoes, 1917. Photo by Lewis Hine.

The first school in Oklahoma to give instruction to deaf children was at Fort Gibson. This school, started by a Mrs. Lowery, provided for the education of blind Indian children of the Five Civilized Tribes. Later, deaf children were admitted. In 1898, Mr. and Mrs. Ellsworth Long started a school for deaf children in Guthrie, Oklahoma.[1] After statehood, in 1907, the School for the Deaf was established in Sulphur, Oklahoma. In 19??, classes were held in rented buildings and hotels in the Sulphur business district.

Construction of new school buildings began in 1910. In 1911, the buildings under construction (about a quarter of a mile east and 100 yards south of the present location) fell in. With allegations of fraud, the buildings were condemned. (The original cornerstone was found, purchased, and donated to the school by Thomas Thompson, Betty Stephens, and Larry Hawkins.) New buildings were begun at the present location in 1912 and the first classes were held in the fall of 1913.

Edna Patch was the first graduate of a deaf school in Oklahoma, class of 1907. She became the first deaf employee of the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.

OSD has grown from the original three buildings (Ralph H. White Education Center, Stewart Hall, and Read Hall) to a campus that includes the gym, auditorium, student union complex, superintendent’s residence, Long Hall, Blattner Hall, Vocational Building, Griffing Hall, and the Physical Plant facilities.

In 1961, a major renovation was begun on all OSD buildings. Renovations were completed in 1980. In 1999-2000, a new renovation project was begun. By 2002, Long Hall, White Hall, Stewart Hall, and Blattner Hall were completed. Major repairs have been made to the gymnasium during this period.

Outreach program[edit]

The outreach program provides evaluations to children from age two to 21, in-service training programs, and consultation for adaptations and modifications to the children’s education environments. OSD provided 2,506 direct services to deaf or hearing-impaired students and 14,847 contacts of families, schools, and hearing impaired organizations.


95% of OSD’s budget is funded by state appropriations. The school receives IDEA-B funds through the State Department of Education for the students who are residential, and the IDEA funds for day students are kept by the school district where the child lives. The school receives small amounts of funding through Child Nutrition, Career Technology and the Department of Libraries, as well as Medicaid reimbursement for eligible children. The school does not regularly receive any other federal education funding. All of the federal funding received is discretionary and cannot be considered ongoing revenues.


The School for the Deaf partnered with the State Department of Education on two major projects. The first program, ECCO (Enriching Children’s Communication Opportunities), is an early intervention program designed to work with parents of deaf children ages 3 to 6. The second project is a teaching and mentoring program to increase the sign proficiency levels of education interpreters in public schools.

OSD will continue its emphasis on literacy and math, demonstrating at least a one year’s growth annually. Since February 2007, OSD’s Captioned Film Library became the National Accessible Learning Center (NALC) which is the sole distributor of "Described and Captioned Media Program" media in the United States.

OSD plans to increase outreach services to students and adults through the programs at OSD. Examples include the ECCO program designed to help parents of young deaf children; the telecommunication distribution program for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired individuals; the senior citizen's and the children’s hearing aid programs.

In 2011, the school undertook a fundraising campaign to upgrade and provide lights and bleachers for its rudimentary football stadium.[2]

Parent Agency[edit]

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services is the parent agency for the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.


  1. ^ Gannon, Jack. 1981. Deaf Heritage–A Narrative History of Deaf America, Silver Spring, MD: National Association of the Deaf, pp. 52-53 (PDF)(PDF)
  2. ^ Jenni Carlson, "Oklahoma School for the Deaf football: Where Friday night lights never shine", The Oklahoman, October 6, 2011.

External links[edit]