Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf

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Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf
Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf.jpg
350 Dundas Street West

Coordinates44°09′02″N 77°24′13″W / 44.1506°N 77.4035°W / 44.1506; -77.4035Coordinates: 44°09′02″N 77°24′13″W / 44.1506°N 77.4035°W / 44.1506; -77.4035
School typeProvincial School for the Deaf
FoundedOctober 1870
PrincipalJanice Drake
LanguageAmerican Sign Language (ASL), English
Colour(s)Blue and Yellow
Team nameSJW Wolves

The Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf is a provincial school in Belleville, Ontario with residential and day programs serving elementary and secondary deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Along with three other provincial schools for the deaf in Ontario, it is operated by the Ministry of Education under Education Act of Ontario section 13(1).[1]

The deaf student population is approximately 50 students in the senior school and 60 in the elementary school.

Deaf students from Canada often go on to attend Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. for post-secondary programs.


This school is named after the former premier of Ontario, James Whitney. It has been renamed three times: The Ontario Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb (1870–1912),[2] The Ontario School for the Deaf (1913–1973) and The Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf (since 1974).

During the Second World War, the Ontario School for the Deaf building was used by the Royal Canadian Air Force for No. 5 Initial Training School (5 ITS), as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. A commemorative plaque is dedicated to the 6,664 graduates of 5 ITS; especially those who gave their lives in the air force service to their country in the Second World War.[3]

The Ontario Heritage Trust erected a plaque for the 'Ontario School for the Deaf' on the grounds of the school, now The Sir James Whitney School, 350 Dundas Street West, Belleville. "The first provincial school for deaf children, this residential institution combined elementary school subjects with vocational training when it opened in 1870. Over the years, ever-increasing enrolment has promoted the steady expansion of the school's facilities and curricula." [4]

Approach and languages of instruction[edit]

The Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf uses a bilingual/bicultural approach to educating its students. American Sign Language (ASL) and English are the languages of instruction.[5]



  1. ^ Education Act of Ontario
  2. ^ ["New Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Belleville, Ontario." Vol. 2, No. 22 (Nov. 26, 1870), p. 344.]
  3. ^[permanent dead link] Canadian Air Force No. 5. memorial
  4. ^ Ontario Heritage Trust plaque
  5. ^ Ontario Provincial Schools Information Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine