BHS Parent Newsletter - February 12, 2021

Dates to Remember

Feb. 15 - NO SCHOOL

Feb. 17 - Parent Braille Class

Feb. 19 - PBiS Training

From the principals banner

Mr. Cosgrove's Corner

Justin Cosgrove, Assistant Principal - BHS

Happy Friday from the Blind High School. It’s been all business this month, as we spent three days MAP testing. The students and staff worked very hard to make sure our students were able to complete the tests during the required window.

Here are a couple of reminders when it comes to ILE. If your child is on ILE, they should follow their regular schedule, be on time, and keep their microphone and camera on during the class. If you would like your child to return to the brick and mortar program, please contact me at least one week in advance of returning. This allows for teachers, dorm, and transportation to prepare.

Report cards for the second quarter have been sent out, and you should be receiving them soon. Thank you all for your continued support of the program.

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Lunch Information

Feb. 17th is Ash Wednesday; we will have a grilled cheese sandwich available, and every Friday thereafter will be a meatless entree option until Easter. There may be slight changes to the menus due to our food distributor not having items due to Covid-19.

As always, the Food menu can be found under the LINKS section at the end of each Prism issue.

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Spring Season Athletic Games Cancelled

Out of an abundance of caution, FSDB has canceled athletic games for the Spring season. Coaches may provide conditioning activities for student-athlete participation as an option during this time. We thank parents/legal guardians who quickly notify us and keep their children at home when they are ill or have suspected COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. We appreciate all who are working with us to maintain a healthy and safe environment both at school and at home – which includes wearing masks, physically distancing, and frequent hand washing.
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Pet Supplies and Food Bank Drive

Edith Stein, BMS Social Studies Teacher, NJHS Sponsor, Outdoor Club Sponsor

The BMS National Junior Honor Society members are holding a Pet Supplies drive. The Blind Dept. Outdoor Club is holding a food drive.

Donations can be dropped off in the collection box by Cary White 115, the BEMS Office, or in the Bryant Hall collection box. If your student is a day student, you can leave donations by the drop-off area and we will pick them up before 8 AM in the mornings.

The Pet Supplies will benefit Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue. They need everything!

The Food Bank donations will benefit the St. Johns Ecumenical Food Pantry. They are in need of canned fruit and veggies, pasta and sauce, peanut butter and jelly, cloth reusable grocery bags.

Pet Supplies and Food Bank Drive Flyer
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St. Augustine's Connection to Civil Rights

William Ward, Social Studies Teacher

Mr. Ward’s World History, U.S. History, and Economics classes are learning about how the city of St. Augustine was of major importance in the fight for civil rights. We are listening to a 30-minute documentary and learning amazing facts. Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King was arrested for peacefully protesting in St. Augustine? We are learning about many of the historically significant landmarks that exist in St. Augustine to this day, such as the slave market (now a pavilion near The Bridge of Lions), the stairs Dr. King stood on while arrested (preserved in the courtyard of the Hilton), the swimming pool of the Monson Motel where the manager threw acid into the pool in an attempt to force young black girls out of the water (now the pool of the Hilton), and the lunch counter from Woolworth’s where four young men were arrested for attempting to eat at a white-only lunch counter (it’s now preserved in the Wells Fargo Building….P.S. The door handles still say Woolworth’s). The Economics classes also learned about a famous African-American economist named Dr. Thomas Sowell and his teachings and beliefs.
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Keep Calm and Go Fishing!

Bryan Wolfe, Dorm Program Supervisor, and Marja DeFord, Blind Dept. Director of Student Life

MacWilliams Hall students Jesse & Jonathan take advantage of the incoming tide and a moment of their afternoon free time to cast a line and try to land some fish before supper. They are joined by Ms. Temprance, Mr. Baker and Ms. Lacy (who as I understand it) are master fishermen. So far the only thing they’ve really caught is the awesome, although a little foggy, view from our beautiful waterfront bulkhead fishing pier.
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Found Sounds

Laurie Wohl, Music Teacher

The Eurhythmics class is studying music production through unusual mediums. We are starting the quarter with bucket drumming, will progress to basketballs, and end with a version of the musical group STOMP using braillers, canes, and other accessibility items! Enjoy our version of Rondo 2 featuring bucket drumming!

Rondo 2 - HS Eurhythmics
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Accessible Recreation and Leisure Program

Teresa Lukic and Tim Puch, Orientation & Mobility Specialists

In the fall of 2020, a specialized recreation and leisure program was formed for students in Blind High School to encourage the exploration of new activities and to be given the opportunity to take part in physical activities outside of the normal recreation time with the dorm. Groups of five to six students participate in biweekly activities that teach body concepts, athletic movements, and kinesthetics. These activities have included yoga, bodyweight exercises, and bowling. The progress of these students is measured through standards developed by staff and shows an improvement of skills through active movement and participation. Recently, the students had the opportunity to participate in beep kickball which helped with motor skills, sound localization, sensory development, and teamwork. With the next activity being hockey, the students can continue to apply the skills learned in past activities.

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Thomas Rice Awarded Kiwanis Club Student of the Month

Thomas Rice was recently awarded the Kiwanis Club of Historic St. Augustine's Student of the Month award. Here is the introductory speech that was given to introduce Thomas prior to his acceptance of the award. Congratulations, Thomas!

Thomas Rice is a Florida School for The Deaf and the Blind High School Senior. He joined FSDB in the 6th Grade. He is a high achiever and has remained competitive academically throughout his years at FSDB. He is an avid reader, helpful, and also is just about to complete his 10th college course at St. Johns River State College. He is self-motivated and determined to achieve his learning goals. He is humble, honest, and has overcome many types of adversity.

There are folks who have not worked directly with Thomas, but who have taken great notice of what a truly and genuinely kind person he is. He is respectful and polite to all, regardless of their group or academic station or athletic ability or any of that sort. His charitable character is to be admired.

Thomas has always been a genuinely helpful person in the high school dormitory. He will be helpful, even if there is no one watching. Thomas has also been witnessed dropping everything he is doing so that he could help guide other students when they were having difficulty. Whether it be carrying something for someone, or sight guiding another student, or delivering something because it was "on his way" he has this helpful spirit. Staff have also often noticed that he puts other people’s needs and considerations before his own. For example, he and another student wanted second helpings at dinner, but with only one serving left, Thomas revoked his request so the other student could have it. It is just who and how he is--- thoughtful, kind, generous, caring, and giving.

Thomas is now living in the FSDB Apartment Program. Thomas has done a phenomenal job this year setting an example for his peers in all areas of dorm life. He continues with that helpful spirit. Each morning he has shown utmost responsibility with his time management by completing all his morning tasks to the highest standard. He has always taken any suggestion or advice maturely and used it to better himself.

Thomas is a student worker in the After School Work Program working as an Audio Visual Technician Assistant. Thomas does his best to balance a very busy schedule with his Dual Enrollment, JrROTC Drill Team Raiders, Goalball, homework, and his job. Thomas has volunteered as an Audio Visual Technician Assistant longer than any other student working even before there was a position for him. He is the first one to step in to do something without having to be asked, will come in early, stay late, and asks for nothing in return. He is just an all-around good guy.

Thomas is an athlete and takes pride in his role as a team player. Thomas is a two time National Champion in FSDB Goalball. Thomas has his ServeSafe Certification, Safe Staff Food Handler’s Certification as well as HTML Certification. Thomas has worked in the Food Service industry for four years. He has been working as the shift leader at Flame Broiler. He is an excellent motivational leader.

Thomas’s goal for the future has been to become a teacher. This is something that he will do with great success. He will become an exemplary role model in the field and will make an incredible educational administrator with his strong leadership abilities.

In summary, Thomas is an excellent candidate for this Award. He is responsible, respectful, independent, and motivated to succeed in all areas pursued. Thomas seeks out opportunities for self-improvement, he is an excellent self-advocate and presents with high character. Thomas represents Kiwanis Club of Historic St. Augustine’s objectives and is most deserving of this honor.

Congratulations to Thomas Rice of Jacksonville for being selected as Student of the Month for the Kiwanis Club of Historic St. Augustine.

Tactile Solar System Poster-making

Mary Hanson, Speech-Language Pathologist

Ms. Bonnie Kelbert's science classes are studying the Solar System this quarter. They created tactile posters of the Solar System. The students enjoyed creating the posters.

PBS Winners

Congratulations to the following students for being recognized over the past two weeks for their efforts in demonstrating PBS (Positive Behavior Support) expectations. The teacher/staff member who recognized the student is also listed beside the nominated student:

From Ms. McManus:

Allan B. for helping another student in class. (McManus)

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Braille Classes

FSDB Parent University will be offering Braille classes for FSDB families starting in January. All classes will be held via Zoom on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m. All skill levels are welcome! Please contact your teacher if you are interested in attending.

Class Schedule

  • Feb 17 – Alphabetic Word Signs
  • Mar 24 – Strong Contractions
  • Apr 21 – Strong Group Signs
  • May 26 – Strong Word Signs

For more information, contact:

April Wallace, Braille Specialist

Phone: 904-827-2355

Contact Us

BHS Office

PH: 904-827-2715

Health Care Center

PH: 904-827-2410

VP: 904-201-3910


PH: 800-992-8747

Koger Hall (Girls Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2733

MacWilliams Hall (Boys Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2725

Apartments – Boys (Seniors)

PH: 904-827-8247

Apartments – Girls (Seniors)

PH: 904-827-2510

Parent Services

PH: 904-827-2212

VP: 904-201-4527

Campus Police

PH: 904-827-2315