St. Francis was started by Sr. Anne Behre on September 13, 1960 in a convent in Flushing, New York with four children. In 1963, the school moved to the Park Slope section of Brooklyn in order to accommodate more students. In 1965, St. Francis became a private state supported 4201 School, one of eleven schools serving deaf and blind students in New York State. In 1973, St. Francis moved to its present location on Eastern Parkway where it continues today to educate profoundly deaf children from infancy to eighth grade.

School Symbol

The five circles represent the five senses. The middle circle represents the sense of hearing. The flame in that circle represents the flame of learning which we seek to ignite in all our students.


St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf is to encourage the maximum potential for learning in each child regardless of race, creed or color. This education embraces all facets of the child – psychological, physical, social, and emotional with the goal of producing a well-adjusted deaf individual who makes maximum use of acquired skills.

Underlying our interaction with each child is our firm belief that this is a unique individual who is first and foremost a child. This child is to be treated with warmth, acceptance, and respect, regardless of the nature and degree of the disability. Patience, devotion, and insight, applied lovingly but firmly, develops the inner controls necessary for developing a self-supporting attitude toward life.

St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf believes that the maximum potential for learning can only be accomplished when the school and the family work together. The staff is ready to meet the challenges that each day brings as they continue to develop their knowledge in the education of deaf children. The goal of each staff member is to make our students literate active learners.

We believe that parental involvement is vital; therefore, we urge close cooperation with parents as an essential part of our educating the students. As a school, we need parents to help us help their child to grow cognitively, emotionally, and socially. We provide parent education classes, support groups and sign language classes in all languages. We permit and encourage our parents to visit and observe at any time.

The staff of St. Francis de Sales realizes that deafness is more than the absence of sound and readily recognizes that it deprives the person one of the basic needs – the need for communication.

St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf welcomes all visitors, observers and student teachers, clinics, universities and community organizations. Our goal is to develop an independent and productive individual who functions and contributes to our society to make it a better place for all.