DMS Newsletter

Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2020

Dates to Remember

Sept. 28-Oct. 9 - MAP testing for both ILE and BAM students

Oct. 2 – SubSAC/Title I Parent Meeting at 3 p.m. Click this link to join.

Oct. 9 – Parent Engagement Workshop at 10 a.m.

Oct. 29-Wear Orange for Unity Day

From the principals banner

Ms. Newton's Notes

Hello DMS Families!

Here are some things to note:


  • MAP Testing will continue next week.

Communicating with the Office

  • Please let us know if you child will be absent or leaving for an appointment. This is for both our BAM and ILE students.


  • Midterm reports will be sent out this weekend. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the teachers.

We are so happy to see all the learning and progress happening weekly. Thanks for being involved with DMS!

Karen Newton

Assistant Principal

From the Principal: Angela Saunders

I am so grateful for our FSDB students, families and teachers for such a positive start for the school year. Given all of the challenges of these unique times, the responses during this first quarter have exceeded expectations. Everyone has come together so well to ensure the best learning environment for our students. Our teachers have learned to provide instruction while having students in the classroom and at home (no easy task). We have had an increase in the number of students returning to campus for instruction. Our students have done well complying with the extra pandemic restrictions and they understand the importance of staying safe. They are resilient, and I am so proud of them!

Given that things are going well currently, FDSB is not planning to initiate any protocol changes related to our pandemic processes and procedures at this time. We look forward to ongoing success and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with each of our students. Thank you, parents and guardians, for continuing to entrust us with your child. We are grateful for your partnerships as we continue forward together.

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These students were rewarded and recognized for their responsibility in the boarding program. Way to go!!!

Girls' Dorm

Last week the Gregg Hall girls focused on PBiS and understanding the importance of being responsible. We told them how proud we were of them for doing very well on being responsible in the dorm for the last three weeks. As a reward, we gave them the extra Dragon tickets. Some of them already had 10 tickets and had the chance to stay up 30 minutes late playing games and socializing in the living room. They also stayed busy going to sports practice and doing fun activities in the dorm. Every night last week at 6 p.m. they got together in the living room and joined this fun event on Zoom, “International Week for the Deaf." They really enjoyed it. Their favorite part of the event was the ASL Game Night. They got to meet Dack Virnig, the famous deaf actor. They were very excited when they saw him, and they asked him a lot of questions.

Boys' Dorm

The McLane Hall staff taught lessons about personal hygiene and cleaning duties last week. Some of the boys learned how to wash dishes, load the dishwasher and others learned about how to keep yourself clean and healthy. This week the staff continued to teach the students about personal hygiene and how to prevent the spread of germs. One group celebrated a staff’s birthday with ice cream and lemonade and wrote nice messages on the white board for their birthday. It has been a rainy week, but staff has been keeping the boys entertained, by playing various games in the dorm including, Wii Sports. Wednesday, we had our PBIS kickoff celebration. Both the boys and girls got to enjoy playing games outside, eating hotdogs and pizza. We also had a tie dye activity, where they dyed their mask and shirts. Also, staff reviewed the reason for PBiS with the students and the importance of respect, responsibility and cooperation during this event since it was supported by the PBiS team.

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Gov. DeSantis Fills FSDB Board Seat

Governor Ron DeSantis announced via news release that he's appointing June Ann LeFors to the FSDB Board of Trustees, bringing the board to its full complement. Pursuant to state statute, the board must consist of seven members who are selected by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Given the stakeholders FSDB serves and the need for diverse representation, one of the board's members is required to be a person who is blind/visually impaired and one is required to be a person who is deaf/hard of hearing. LeFors is an instructor for interpreter education at the University of North Florida. She previously spent 10 years as an American Sign Language specialist and a teacher in the FSDB Early Learning Center.

Campus Safety and Drill Notifications

FSDB takes a proactive approach to ensuring the safety and security of students and their families, staff members, volunteers, contractors and visitors. Our emergency preparedness efforts as well as response protocols are designed to prevent or reduce adverse impacts of potential or real critical incidents. FSDB has a comprehensive preparedness plan and protocols for a variety of crisis and non-crisis situations. Our intention is to provide a swift and decisive response to issues occurring that are not part of normal school operations which may result in one of the following:

  • Shelter in place – the action of seeking safety within the building that a person already occupies

  • Lockdown – ordered to contain an incident by controlling the movement of people on/off campus

  • Evacuation – the transfer of students and staff from the campus or a partial area of campus to a safe area off campus or a safe area within campus to mitigate or prevent injuries

  • Reunification – process by which students are released to their parents/guardians in the event that routine dismissal is not possible due to an emergency situation.

Florida schools are required to practice emergency response procedures by conducting practice drills throughout the academic year. FSDB has modified some of our drill procedures so that we may meet our requirements while maintaining social distancing and other health measures. If you arrive at FSDB campus during a drill, you may be asked to wait outside the campus until the drill concludes. If you are on the campus during a drill, you will not be able to leave the campus until the drill concludes. Parents/guardians will receive a Skylert notification typically the day of a drill (or night before depending on the time of the drill), specifying the type of drill and the time. Our next drill will be a campus-wide lockdown drill on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. Should you have any questions, please contact Lt. David Moore, school safety specialist, at 904-827-2315 or

Opt-in for Skyward Text Alerts

FSDB encourages parents/legal guardians of enrolled students to regularly log onto the Skyward Family/Student Access portal to keep their contact information up-to-date.

Skylert (School Messenger) is the system that FSDB uses to send out automated phone calls, text messages and email notifications families for general purposes ann case of emergencies.

Opting in for automated Skylert text notifications makes it possible for FSDB to quickly inform families about situations that may impact their child/family (e.g., weather, safety and bus alerts) as well as other school-related information. To opt-in, text "Y" to 67587.

Florida Moves Up in National Ranking

The Florida Department of Education recently shared that our state ranks 3rd in the nation for K-12 achievement according to a new 2020 Quality Counts report by Education Week. This is a move up from 4th in 2019 and the highest ranking ever in K-12 achievement for the Sunshine State. Florida’s K-12 achievement grade also improved to B-, which is higher than the nation’s grade of C. Florida outperformed the nation in 15 of the 18 K-12 achievement measures.
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Parent Engagement Workshop

The first Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW) for the 2020-21 school year will be held on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. via Zoom!

Learn about:

  • Special needs trusts, guardian advocacy, guardianships by Kimberly Soto, Soto Law Office

  • Florida's Disability Savings Program by John Finch, Director of ABLE United

  • Love and Logic by Rhonda McCahill, FSDB School Counselor

We hope you can participate in this event. To join the meeting, visit:

Virtual Parent Sign Language Classes

FSDB Parent University is hosting two virtual sign language classes for FSDB families starting the week of Sept. 21, 2020 and continuing weekly through the end of October. Beginner and intermediate classes are available, both from 4-5 p.m. No advance registration is required and classes will be held via Zoom. Click here for dates and more details.

Photos from DMS

Contact Us

DMS Office

PH: 904-827-2530

VP: 904-201-4600

Health Care Center

PH: 904-827-2410

VP: 904-201-3910


PH: 800-992-8747

Gregg Hall (Girls Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2628

VP: 904-201-4506

McLane Hall (Boys Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2624

VP: 904-201-4562

Parent Services

PH: 904-827-2212

VP: 904-201-4527

Campus Police

PH: 904-827-2315