Special Education

NYS School for the Blind, bobcat logo and photo montage of student at the school
About Us

Programs | FAQ's | History

NYSSB is located external link midway between Buffalo and Rochester in the city of Batavia, which lies in the heart of Genesee County, New York. It is within easy access to the New York State Thruway (I-90, exit 48).

[Directions from NYS I-90] Word document (26 KB)

The campus is a beautiful setting, situated on a modern sixteen acre campus, where children can go to school, develop friendships, and experience educational and recreational life. The school offers a safe and caring environment from a community of skilled and caring professionals. Programs, services, and transportation are provided at no cost to families.

NYSSB Programs

The New York State School for the Blind provides a learning environment where children can achieve their full potential. Specialized instruction and a full range of related, clinical and support services are tailored to meet the needs of each student. Teachers with professional preparation in the areas of visual impairment, elementary or secondary education, and/or special education work as a team to promote independence and prepare children for successful transitions to adulthood.

Parents and staff work together to help each child reach the goals in his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP). Classes are small in size and educational activities reach into a variety of specially designed areas including our prevocational workshop, gymnasium, pool and Sensory Park playground. Technology is used to augment instruction and promote achievement. Computers, electronic communication boards, low vision reading devices and therapeutic equipment are adapted to enhance each child's unique abilities.

The local community provides a wide array of opportunities for students to achieve academic, social and other important goals. Recent renovations to the Education building in Severne Hall has provided larger classrooms that include large spacious bathrooms that are accessible to all children. These can be viewed in more detail by clicking on Classrooms.

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FAQ's: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible to go to the New York State School for the Blind (NYSSB)?

    In order to attend NYSSB, a child must:

    • Legally Blind;
    • School-age (5 – 21 years of age);
    • New York State Resident;
    • Students may have additional disabilities which could include:
      • Mental retardation or significant developmental delay (at an early age)
      • Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Impairment, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury,
        Medical Fragility, Speech Impairment, Hearing Impairment, or Other Health Impairment


  2. How do you apply to NYSSB?

    A parent or guardian may apply directly to NYSSB. The student's school district Committee on Special Education (CSE) may also initiate an application. The Admissions Coordinator will assist families throughout the process. The decision to send a child to NYSSB is made by a joint meeting of the parents, the NYSSB Multidisciplinary Team and the home school district CSE. To read more about our application process and print the application form, go to our Admissions page to learn more about the Intake Process.

  3. Do you have a Residential Program for students?

    NYSSB offers a 5-Day Residential program. Students arrive at school Sunday evening or Monday morning, stay in the school dorms during the week, and go home every weekend and all the regular school vacations (e.g. Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, etc.).

  4. Does my child have to stay in the Dorms?

    If you live within 50 miles of NYSSB your child can attend our program as a Day Student. He or she will live at home with you and your school district will transport your child back and forth to NYSSB every day.

  5. What will my child do in the summer?

    NYSSB runs a full six week summer program that operates exactly like our program during the regular school year. All of our students are eligible to attend.

  6. Can I come visit my child in the classroom or the dorms?

    Absolutely! We welcome your visits. Please call ahead to arrange visits to the classroom. You do not have to call ahead to visit the dorms, but keep in mind that our students are very busy and you might want to check ahead of time to make sure they will be in the dorm at the time you plan on coming. Phone calls in the evening are encouraged.

  7. My other children want to see the school, too. Are they allowed to visit?

    We would be very happy to show NYSSB to the brothers and sisters of our students. Grandparents are welcome, too. Just call us and arrange for a time to visit.

  8. What if my child is enrolled at NYSSB and we change our mind about placement there?

    Placement at NYSSB is completely voluntary. You may withdraw your child at any time by simply notifying us. We will assist you and your home school district in making the transition back home.

  9. Who pays for a child to go to NYSSB?

    The initial evaluation part of our application process is paid for by New York State. Tuition, residential services, and transportation are paid for by the school district and county where the family lives, and the New York State Education Department. There is never any charge to families of students.

  10. Does NYSSB do evaluations of students who are not interested in applying there?

    Sorry, but we are not able to offer this service to children who are not applying to, or attending, our school.

  11. What number do I call to talk to someone about NYSSB?

    Use our toll-free number at 1-877-NYSSFTB (1-877-697-7382), and extension 214. Bethany Burgess, our schools Medical Social Worker, will be happy to provide additional information about our programs, schedule a tour, or direct your call to the right person to answer your questions.

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Last Updated: March 26, 2011