December 18, 2020

Dates to Remember

December 18: Winter Fest

December 21-January 4: Winter break

January 13-14: DMV Test

January 18: No School

January 19-28 - MAP testing

From the principals banner.

Principal's Corner

The holidays are here, and students and staff alike are ready to recoup and refresh over the next two weeks. We have four more weeks left of the first semester. When we come back in January, our character theme will be Fairness, which aligns nicely with the MLK holiday that occurs mid-January. As you celebrate the holidays over the next two weeks, please keep yourselves and your family safe. From our FSDB home to yours- May your holidays be safe and full of joy, and may your new year get off to a great start. We are all happy to get 2020 behind us and are looking forward to a brighter 2021.


Angela Saunders

Principal - Deaf Department

Assistant Principal's Corner

Hello families,

Every morning, I read Bloomberg Green Daily to see what are the latest news. Some of the headlines were, "U.K. Power Grid Moving Offshore to Support $27 Billion Wind Boom," "Nikola Plans to Buy Cheap Power in Arizona to Make Hydrogen," and "Utilities May Be the Green Boom’s Hottest Trade in 2021." As always, our students are on my mind. How do our students play a role in the shift into green boom careers? Whether it is as engineers or solar panel installers or working in lithium ion battery plant, or as inventors inventing the next 0 to 1 products that blow our minds out.

At school, we teach our students to think, whether about simple situations or complex world problems. To think, one has to process information linguistically, whether via sign language or oral modality or Cued Speech modality. To support your child's linguistic development, schools and families work together. It is especially important for a Deaf/HoH child considering the lack of accessibility (on various levels) to auditory means of hearing the English language.

The winter break is fast approaching. It means family time with the loved ones. It means spending time together. How do you as a family continue to support your child's linguistic development by exposing him/her to the printed English medium during your time together? I am curious to hear back from you about the various creative ways you are doing it with your child.

Stay safe,

Dina Rae Padden , MBA/M.Ed

Assistant Principal - DHS

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Holiday Message from the President

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Holiday Message from the President in ASL
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Holiday Message from the President in Spoken English

Hello FSDB students, staff, families, alumni and community members.

Every morning I wake up thankful for the blessing I have to serve as the President for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. This is an amazing school with incredible students, staff, families, alumni and stakeholders.

The holiday season is a time to be with family and friends and to be thankful for the gifts we have in our lives. I am thankful to be part of an extraordinary community that promotes a caring and giving environment. It is my hope, especially this year, that you will take the time to relax and reflect on your gifts.

The first half of the 2020-2021 school year has been unprecedented. I want to thank you for the dedication and hard work that has made our many successes possible. Every member of the FSDB team should be proud of what we have accomplished. I know we will face challenges in 2021, however, I also know that with everyone working together, we will also have triumphs.

I want to wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and rejuvenating holiday season. Please take care of yourselves, your family and friends.

From my family to yours, all my best for the New Year.


Tracie C. Snow


See what's happening in DHS banner

12 days of Christmas

Despite the pandemic weighting heavily on us, our staff members were able to celebrate with hot chocolate and cookies, decorate our front office's tree, assemble secret Santa gifts, and dress based on daily themes. Below are some photos of our staff donning the various theme outfits as well as decorating their doors in festive spirit. Enjoy!
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PBiS Theme - Cooperation

This month of December's PBiS theme is cooperation. For these who are unsure what PBiS means, it is all about positive behavior intervention and supports that are embedded in our DHS as a philosophy, or rather a way of life, to interact with one another. Every month we have a theme. Last month we had the citizenship theme. Every month we provide character education during Dragon Time. This month we will do the pink shirt competition among staff and students as well to promote cooperation. Winning students will be donated monies toward their class funds. Winning staff will receive gift cards.
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This month the James hall staff, worked on teaching the girls how to demonstrate goal setting in relation to pursuing an interest. We also talked about how goals are attained. The girls, also, learned how to identify spoiled foods, along with procedures to follow when being involved in an accident, and routine cleaning and maintenance. For our community service for this month, the girls participated in baking, and designing frostings on cupcakes to present to the Elementary dorm students. They also collected canned goods to donate to a local food pantry for the needy. The girls had the opportunity to decorate Christmas stockings, some of the girls hung theirs on our dorm Christmas tree. We also enjoyed S’mores and hot chocolate and watched Christmas movies.

The Rhyne hall staff, Brittany taught the boys about car maintenance. She explained and showed all the students what the different emergency lights on the dashboard meant. Brittany also showed them the engine on her car and explained to them how to change oil and where to look to see what kind of oil is needed. She also walked the boys through what to do if they have a flat tire and how to change it. They learned a lot and enjoyed this.

The boys have been decorating the dorm for the holidays. The put up and decorated a Christmas tree. We also had a pizza party in the dorm for our holiday celebration. The boys enjoyed pizza, drinks, a desert, and students were selected at random with their PBiS tickets to receive a gift card. The funds for the holiday party were donated by a private donor. The boys in Rhyne hall made a big card and all signed it as a way to show their appreciation.

We also used the donation money that was given to us by a private donor to purchase some shoes and jackets for some of our boys. The boys were very excited to get some new things and to have a jacket to keep them warm.

Enjoy or photos of the girls making their stockings. Parents enjoy the break, stay safe and healthy

If you have any questions or you need to reach out to the boarding supervisors, here are their contact numbers: James Hall Supervisor Mechelle Johnson, 904-827-2635 or 904-201-4485 (VP) and Rhyne Hall Supervisor Jashua Martinez, 904-201-4565 (VP).

Mel Botterbusch-Goodall

Director of Student Life for the Deaf Department


Office: 904-201-4560

Text: 904-827-2208

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Parent Engagement Workshop

The third Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW) for the 2020-21 school year will be held on Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. via Zoom.

  • "President Pop In" with Tracie C. Snow, FSDB President
  • "Standards and Assessments" by Scott Trejbal, Administrator of Instructional Services
  • "Love and Logic: Choices" by Rhonda McCahill, FSDB School Counselor

    To join the meeting, visit: https://bit.ly/3ic2mb1

    Future workshops will be held on Feb. 12 and April 23. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!

    ASL Classes in January

    FSDB Parent University is hosting two virtual sign language classes for FSDB families starting in January and continuing weekly through March. Beginner (ASL I) and intermediate (ASL II) classes are available via Zoom. Please contact the teacher if you are interested in attending.

    Beginner Class (ASL I)

    Day: Thursday, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

    Dates: Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28 | Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25 | Mar. 4, 11

    Link: https://bit.ly/3igMrJr

    For more information, contact Janelle Berry via email at berryj@fsdbk12.org

    Intermediate Class (ASL II)

    Day: Monday, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

    Dates: Jan. 4, 11, 25 | Feb. 1, 8, 22 | Mar. 1, 8

    Link: https://bit.ly/3ltsno7

    For more information, contact Sonia Garcia-DeKnight via email at garcias@fsdbk12.org

    Ways to Keep Things Festive and Fun at Home

    The holiday season is a time when families gather to celebrate. Many families may feel a disruption to traditions due to continued safety precautions and social distancing. More than ever it is important to have family chats. Talking with your children will help them better understand their emotions and will give you an opportunity to model a positive response.

    Here are some ways to keep things festive and fun at home!

    • Have a cookie decorating contest and gather votes through social media.
    • Take turns with family or friends hosting mini virtual celebrations: caroling, storytelling, and holiday movie watch parties.
    • Go crazy with decorations both inside and out.
    • Act out favorite movie scenes.

    Check out these recommendations on staying healthy this holiday.

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    PBiS Incorporates Character Education

    FSDB PBiS students are developing great character! Each month, FSDB focuses on a different positive character trait. This month we are emphasizing responsibility. Some of the phrases associated with responsibility that we are introducing to the students include: Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions and attitudes • Set a good example for others. Teachers and boarding staff are asked to include lessons that may fit into the curriculum naturally. We are excited with this character education emphasis at FSDB. We are hoping that our students continue to be their very best now and in the future.

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    Helpful information

    Tech Corner - Google Classroom

    How does a student accept a Google Classroom invite?

    A class code—Your teacher sends or tells you the class code. An email invite—Your teacher sends you the invite.

    Accept the invite in Classroom

    1. Go to classroom.google.com and click Sign In.

    2. Make sure to sign in with the correct account.

    3. On the class card, click Join.

    Can parents/guardians have access to Google classroom?

    Parents/guardians may access their child’s teachers’ Google Classroom in one of the following ways:

    1. From the school issued Chromebook, ask your child to login and launch the Google Classroom App. Please note that any activity in Google Classroom is documented under the student’s login and it would be inappropriate for a parent to communicate with the teacher or other students in Google Classroom. Parents should use their personal email to digitally communicate with the teacher.
    2. From any computer with internet access, click here and have your child login with his/her FSD1 Google Apps for education username and password. Please note that any activity in Google Classroom is documented under the student’s login and it would be inappropriate for a parent to communicate with the teacher or other students in Google Classroom. Parents should use their personal email to digitally communicate with the teacher.
    3. As a parent/guardian, you can receive email summaries showing your child's progress in the classroom.

    Opt-in for Skyward Text Alerts

    Want to Stay Informed? FSDB uses Skyward to send text messages about important school information and emergency alerts. It's very easy to begin receiving text messages: Text the word "Yes" to 67587 to opt in.
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    DHS Amended Locker Policy Agreement


    Please read this amended locker policy agreement and sign it so that your child may be assigned a locker to store their belongings. You may send a printed copy with your signature with your child(ren) or you may sign it electronically and email it to Jillian Rivera, DHS administrative assistant, at Riveraj@fsdbk12.org.



    FSDB Welcome Back 2020

    Contact Us

    DHS Office

    PH/VP: 904-201-4571

    Health Care Center

    PH: 904-827-2410

    VP: 904-201-3910


    PH: 800-992-8747

    James Hall (Girls Dorm)

    PH: 904-827-2635

    VP: 904-201-4485

    Rhyne Hall (Boys Dorm)

    PH: 904-827-2771

    VP: 904-201-4485

    Apartments – Boys (Seniors)

    PH: 904-827-8247

    VP: 904-201-4532

    Apartments – Girls (Seniors)

    PH: 904-827-2510

    VP: 904-827-4550

    Parent Services

    PH: 904-827-2212

    VP: 904-201-4527

    Campus Police

    PH: 904-827-2315