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Education - Schools for the Deaf - Hawaii

Educating Deaf Island Children

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Updated May 04, 2009

If you take a vacation (or honeymoon) in Hawaii, you might want to make Hawaii's school for the deaf and blind, in the Kapahulu District of Honolulu, one of your tourist stops.

This small school, with fewer than 100 students, has been around since 1914 in a variety of guises before settling on its present name, the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and the Blind (www.hcdb.k12.hi.us).

Offering students a bilingual-bicultural education, this school's website has a virtual tour of the school grounds. It loads slowly, but your patience will be rewarded with lovely views, including one of the mountains. Not as lovely but nevertheless of interest, is a photo essay on a teachers' strike at the school in recent years. Students can enroll at the preschool, elementary, middle, and high school levels. Some students may opt to be mainstreamed in public schools with support from the HCDB. Owing to the school's distance from the mainland U.S., a Kuli Rainbow Club helps graduating students to visit college programs for the deaf on the mainland.

In the spirit of Hawaii, the school's website sprinkles the Hawaiian language throughout. There is even a mention of a deaf santa claus sponsored by the school, known in Hawaii as "mele kalikimaka." Despite the school's small size, there is a student newspaper, "The Deaf Children of Hawaii."

Last but not least, the school's website has a hidden gem: hyperstudio lessons online, in language, fairytales, reading, and government. Other educators of the deaf may be able to benefit from these, if they install the required software as instructed on the website.

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