BEMS Parent Newsletter - February 12, 2021

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Dates to Remember

Feb. 13 - Parent Love and STEM Workshop

Feb. 15 - NO SCHOOL

Feb. 17 - Parent Braille Class

Feb. 26 - School Advisory Committee/Title 1 Meeting (10:00)

(email Ms. Fertsch for meeting link if you would like to join fertsche@fsdbk12.org)

From the principals banner

Ms. Fertsch's Files

Ellen Fertsch, Assistant Principal, BEMS

Greetings BEMS Families,

February has been quite a busy month already. Our students completed winter MAP testing, reached 100 Days of School, are celebrating Black History Month, Presidents’ Day, and are anticipating Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner. Students have been active in and out of the classroom as they continue to progress in their academic studies, related services programs, extracurricular activities, and social-emotional skills. As always, we appreciate your patience and support as we continue to navigate this unusual school year. We value you and know that you face challenges at home, whether your student is here on campus or learning from home. Let us continue to work together and reach out to one another to support the best outcomes for our students.

We are proud of our FSDB family and we celebrate the partnership we have with you in preparing our students to meet life’s challenges with courage, confidence, and pride. Wishing you good health and many happy moments as we continue together on this journey.

Food Services banner

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 Kaleidoscope issue.

Service Opportunities banner
2 students placing a ziplocked bag into a donation bin; one student points to a donation flyer on the wall

Ms. Carla's students Mackenzie and Takiah placing pet blankets into the Pet Supplies collection bin.

Pet Supplies and Food Bank Drives

Edith Stein, 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 collection boxes by Cary White 115, the BEMS office, or Bryant Hall. 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, and cloth reusable grocery bags.

Black History Month banner
silhouette of Amanda Gorman; words For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it; if only we are brave enough to be it.

Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman

The Bulletin Board in the Middle School hallway spotlights Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.

Black History Month Studies

In BMS Science, students learned about important Black Scientists and Inventors (Resources: nationalgeographic.com https://youtu.be/9VINtKSpbXw)

In BMS General Music Class, the students are reading about then listening to musical excerpts that follow the book timeline each day for the following famous musicians:

Week 1 – Coretta Scott King

Week 2 – Aretha Franklin

Week 3 – Louis Armstrong

Week 4 – Duke Ellington

(Books used: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/series/DWY/who-was )

Students in the Dorm learned about Cary A. White, for whom an FSDB dorm is named: Cary A. White, Sr. Complex, Florida School for Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, FL| VISIT FLORIDA

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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


On the Move with O & M banner

O & M Intern at FSDB

Shannon Spicer is the new O&M intern. She is from New Jersey and is completing her Master’s at Salus University. She got into the field when her grandfather went blind and saw how O&M changed his life. She is really looking forward to working with the students and having a great semester at FSDB. We are extremely excited to share our amazing students with her.

Nature Walk

Jennifer Enache, Orientation and Mobility Specialist
During Shawn’s O&M lesson, he wanted to explore the new walkway along the intercoastal waterway. During the lesson, Shawn was able to observe the tide going out. He observed several Great Egrets and Cannonball Jellyfish. Shawn learned about the movement of tides, what brackish water is, and how quickly the water level changes as the tide moves.

Neighborhood O & M Lesson

Jennifer Enache, Orientation and Mobility Specialist

Arabella has been working in the Genopoly neighborhood for several years. She has learned the name of the streets and the cardinal directions associated with the streets. On her lesson this week, Arabella followed cardinal directions to complete a route to and from a determined location. Arabella was able to execute an 8 block route to and from Ray Charles Apartments to Douglas Avenue & Nelmar Avenue. She was able to complete her secret mission by determining which corner of the neighborhood the cardinal directions led her to. Arabella was so proud of her accomplishment!
Boarding information banner

Tactile Heart Decorative Poster created by staff in dorm

Tactile heart with twine and smooth stones outlining; twine and tissue paper flowers on both sids of poster; Helen Keller Quote: The best and most beautiful things can't be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

Middle School Girls dorm makes "Breakfast for Dinner"

Student News Banner

Love, Literacy & PBiS in the Library

Joy Carriger, Media Services Specialist

K-5 Blind Elementary Students celebrated how books and reading teach us about being respectful, responsible, and cooperative. Students met in the library where they each received a PBiS 'Readers Are Leaders' T-Shirt and discussed examples from books that teach us about positive behavior. Then students listened to the story Have You Filled a Bucket Today which teaches that we are all responsible for being kind and focuses on the PBiS trait of the month, compassion. Students got to decorate their own magnetic bookmarks that work with twin vision braille books and each student received their own copy of the book!
Three staff and 3 students pose for group photo with students holding the bookmarks they made and the books they were given

Figurative Language in Song

Justyn Keller, English Language Arts Teacher

The BEMS ELA Class recently completed a study on Figurative language. To assess students understanding of various forms of figurative language (alliteration, allusion, hyperbole, idiom, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification, simile, symbolism, etc.), students were tasked with identifying these literary devices in song lyrics. Choosing any number of songs from any artist, students put their headphones on and jammed out to some tunes, all in the name of learning and education. Below, two submission examples are provided:

Example 1:

· Figurative Device: Allusion

· Song/Artist: Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio

· Excerpt: "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…"

· Explanation: In this line, Coolio compares the "streets" to the "valley of the shadow of

death," which is a biblical reference regarding life's obstacles from the book of Psalms. Seemingly, Coolio considers his lifestyle as filled with dangers and snares, one that is not easily escaped.

Example 2:

· Figurative Device: Personification

· Song/Artist: Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day

· Excerpt: " I walk this empty street, on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, where the city


  • Explanation: In this line, the band personifies the city by offering it the human characteristic of exhaustion and the action of sleep. Cities, being non-living things, cannot sleep, and so the author is seemingly referring to the city's stillness and reduced noise at night.

D & B Designs Designs Cane Pouches

D&B Designs generously donated 60 cane pouches to the Orientation and Mobility Department. The students in the class designed and printed the cane pouches. Many of the students in the blind department use the cane pouches to store their cane and other small items. The cane pouches are a way for our students to always have their canes with them; so they are ready to use them whenever they may need them. The pouches are also a great way to store the cane while being fashionable. On February 10th during 7th and 8th period, the O&M staff took students to D&B Designs to pick out a new cane pouch with the assistance of the students who work there. D&B Designs is a wonderful department at our school who always assist the O&M department with our yearly White Cane Day Celebration. Thank you so much for thinking about our students and taking the time to design and produce cool cane pouches!

Collage of 3 photos; in each students wear several can pouches around their necks

One Was Johnny

Mary Hanson, Speech-Language Pathologist

The ULA class studied the poem, One Was Johnny - A Counting Book by Maurice Sendak. Each student created a room with Johnny and as the poem progressed added a new character. Then Johnny counted backwards until the room was empty again.

This poem kit is in the Cary White Library in large print and braille with materials to use as the poem is read. Teachers in preK, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades may want to check out and use for literacy activities involving poetry.

100 Book Challenge Met in 95 Days!

Ms. B. is proud to announce that 2 of our students reached the 100 book challenge mark today by reading the Pledge of Allegiance. They achieved their goal on the 95th day of school. Way to go boys!!!

2 male students smiling. Standing in front of a 100 book challenge chart, holding a book titled The Pledge of Allegiance

PBS Winners

PBS Student of the Week for BES

*Week ending 2/5: Leland Rhinesmith

*Week ending 2/12: Billy Clements

Scenes from BEMS banner

Superbowl Party

Ice Cream Science

100 Days of School


Ms. Carla Ferber’s class created a Valentines themed bulletin board

and wrote about what they love.

Photos of girls inside individual heart shaped wreath; fancy Valentine-style heart cutouts with girls writing inside

Takiah: I love my family because they keep me safe.

Mackenzie: I love my cat. He is fluffy. His name is Mr. Asher.

Middle School Dorm students made valentines for the Elementary School dorm students

Student is brailling using red paper; in front of him sit 10 heart boxes filled with chocolates
2 students sitting a table; on the table are heart cellophane bags and lots of candy
4 Kindergarten girls wearing Valentine's Day outfits in red and pink

Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do, but how much love we put into that action.

Mother Teresa

Contact Us

BEMS Office

PH: 904-827-2739

Health Care Center

PH: 904-827-2410

VP: 904-201-3910


PH: 800-992-8747

Kramer Hall (Elementary Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2736

Cary White Complex (Middle School Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2851

Parent Services

PH: 904-827-2212

VP: 904-201-4527

Campus Police

PH: 904-827-2315