History of Name
Taft was named after William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States.
William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930), was the 27th President of the United States, the 10th Chief Justice of the United States, a leader of the progressive conservative wing of the Republican Party in the early twentieth century, a professor at Yale Law School, a pioneer in international arbitration, and a staunch advocate of world peace that verged on pacifism.
Taft served as Solicitor General, a federal judge, Governor-General of the Philippines and Secretary of War before being nominated for President in the 1908 Republican National Convention with the backing of his predecessor and close friend Theodore Roosevelt. It was Taft's promises to carry forward all of Roosevelt's policies more than anything else that enabled Taft to win the Republican nomination.
Two amendments to the U.S. Constitution were passed during Taft's presidency. The 16th Amendment gave the federal government the right to levy an income tax, which became increasingly important as a source of revenue. The 17th Amendment changed the appointment of U.S. Senators by state legislatures to direct election of senators by the people.
Taft is the only president to have served both as head of the executive and judicial branches of the United States government. However, he was much more comfortable in the courtroom than the White House. Becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court had been his lifelong personal ambition.
Date Built and/or Occupied
Taft was occupied in May of 1971.
The students and staff walked over to the new site from Washington School. The building was there, but the grounds were not landscaped yet, it was all dirt.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program
Taft is well know for its famous Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program.
The program started at Franklin School in 1948 as an "oral only" program. In 1958 it was moved to Madison School.
In 1968, "Total Communication" was used for the very first time at the Madison program under the leadership of Roy Holcomb, a Deaf man. By 1969, visitors were coming from California and all over the United States to observe and copy the new way of teaching Deaf children.
In 1973, the program was moved to a new building adjacent to Taft Elementary School and became know as Taft Hearing Impaired School.
By 1976, more Deaf children were learning via "Total Communication" than any other method. It was the fastest growing movement in the history of Deaf Education.
At the Forty-Eighth Meeting of the Conference of Executives of American Schools for the Deaf in Rochester, New York, on May 5, 1976, the following definition of Total Communication was officially adopted: “Total Communication is a philosophy requiring the incorporation of appropriate aural, manual, and oral modes of communication in order to ensure effective communication with and among hearing impaired persons.”
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) definition of Total Communication is as follows: “Total Communication means the right of a deaf child to learn to use all forms of communication available to develop language competence. This includes the full spectrum, child devised gesture, speech, formal signs, fingerspelling, speech reading, reading and writing and the opportunity to learn to use any remnant of residual hearing he may have.”
Taft Hearing Impaired School and Taft Elementary School merged into one school in 1993. The program then became known as the Taft Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, or Taft DHHP.
The Taft Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program continues to provide an exemplary education to Deaf and Hard of Hearing students through both the "Total Communication" method and the oral method, depending on the individual needs of the students. People all over the world still know about our special program and come to visit us.