BHS Parent Newsletter - October 16, 2020

Dates to Remember

Oct. 19 - Girls soccer tryouts begin

Oct. 23 - Stress prevention and management presentation

Oct. 23 - School bus safety poster deadline

Oct. 26 - Girls basketball tryouts begin

Oct. 27-28 - ACT testing (Seniors)

Oct. 29 - FSDB presidential interviews

Oct. 30 - Food Exemption Day

Oct. 30 - FSDB Board of Trustees meeting

From the principals banner

Mr. Cosgrove's Corner

Justin Cosgrove, Assistant Principal - BHS

Greetings BHS families. We are rapidly moving toward the end of the first quarter. Believe it or not, our first quarter will be over just two weeks from today, on Friday, Oct. 30. We’ve already been quite busy in that short time. Our students completed their MAP testing, our sophomores completed their pre-ACT testing, and next month, a number of students will be taking their FSA retakes. It’s not all tests in BHS. A number of students submitted essays for the White Cane Day writing competition. The entries were excellent. Congratulations to the winners: Jazmin C, Bradlee K, Taylore S and Breanna R. Thank you to our mobility team: Samantha Lang, Teresa Lukic, Tim Puch and James Crozier for their efforts for White Cane Day. I also wanted to praise our work program. Lori Hall, Darlene Powell and Erin Wolfe have done an outstanding job in getting our students working in various on-campus jobs. These students are doing great and take a lot of pride in their work. Finally, I want to thank you all for your continued support of our program. We are all doing our best to provide a safe and positive environment for our students. It is a privilege to work with your children and we never lose track of that in our work here in the Blind High School.

Administrative Announcements banner

FSDB Presidential Interviews and Public Board Meetings

The FSDB Board of Trustees will interview presidential finalists on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, followed by committee, workshop and regular meetings on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Agenda topics focus on matters pertaining to FSDB. All events take place in Moore Hall Center for Learning and Development, are open to the public and live streamed on the FSDB board meetings webpage. American Sign Language interpreters will be provided.

Members of the public are invited to address the board for up to three minutes per person. All public comments are limited to 45 minutes total. Public comment registration cards must be turned in no later than the start of each event. Important: Moore Hall CLD and second floor overflow seating is limited; face masks shall be worn when social distancing is not feasible. Individuals who do not plan to make public comment are strongly encouraged to view the above events via live stream.

For more information and links to view the livestream, visit the FSDB Board of Trustees Meetings webpage.

Poster Contest for National School Bus Safety Week

National Bus Safety Week is quickly approaching - Oct. 26-30, 2020. This year's slogan is - Keep On Rolling - #safetystartswithyou. The centerpiece of National School Bus Safety Week is the poster contest. Students in grades K-12 can select artwork that depicts school bus safety-related themes and encourages and promotes school bus safety. The winning posters are used to promote safer school transportation for everyone.

Poster Contest Rules:

  • For brick and mortar students: poster designs should be made only on the 11x17 paper provided by the Transportation Department.

  • For ILE students: please e-mail your submissions to

  • Designs may be drawn vertically or horizontally using crayons, felt pens, markers, or colored pencils.

  • Poster designs may not incorporate any copyrighted characters or images (e.g., comic and television characters), photographs, and newspaper or magazine illustrations.

  • All participants must write their name (first and last), school, and grade on the back of the poster they are submitting.

  • Illustrations must be drawn with a positive approach, demonstrating proper school bus safety behaviors.

  • Entry deadline is Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 by noon.

  • All posters must be turned into the school’s office or sent electronically (ILE students) by the posted deadline. Transportation Staff will pick-up all submissions.

Boarding information banner.

Taking the Lead

Dawn Ausili, Koger Hall Boarding Program Supervisor

Taking the Lead is an initiative program that started in Koger Hall in the fall of 2017. Mrs. Patrice, a staff member in Koger, started the program with the purpose of developing the skills of self-advocating, orientation and mobility off campus, self-confidence, generosity, social etiquette, as well as educating the public about blind abilities. The way the student "takes the lead" is in planning an off-campus outing by making the plans through direct contact herself as staff stands by for assistance. Then the outing consists of staff overseeing the student, on her own, finding a service specialist in a store, and allowing their assistance directly to our student to make choices based on a budget. Staff is overseeing but not communicating for the student. The students who have participated have usually chosen to show generosity toward others in the form of baskets full of gratitude and goodies! However the outings may vary, the main point is allowing the student to safely make all the direct points of contact and the decisions, with staff always standing by with counsel and encouragement. The intrinsic reward the student feels in accomplishing this task is indescribable and priceless!

This is a very valuable skill that requires ongoing practice in order to master and get comfortable for the future of their independence. It is a skill parents can also work on with their child as well.

Smiling student standing with Mrs. Patrice
On the move with O&M banner

Top 10 DON'TS of Street Crossings

Top 10 List of DON'Ts for Motorists when they see a Pedestrian using a White Cane or Dog Guide at Street Crossings.

(Adapted from “The 10 List of What Motorists Shouldn’t Do When They See A Blind Person” by James Hazard & Kathy Zelaya 1998)

10. Don’t stop your car more than five feet from the crosswalk line.

9. Don’t yell out “it’s ok to cross."

8. Don’t get impatient when waiting for a pedestrian who is visually impaired to cross. If the pedestrian places the long cane into the street, it usually indicates he/she will begin a street crossing. If the cane traveler takes a step back & pulls back the cane from the curb, it usually indicates the person will not be crossing at that time.

7. Don’t consider a ‘rolling’ stop as a complete stop. A stop sign means STOP!

6. Don’t turn right on red without coming to a full stop and looking for pedestrians. The Right on Red Law requires drivers to come to a complete stop prior to making right turn.

5. Don’t fail to stop for pedestrians at all crosswalks whether there is a traffic signal or stop sign. Come to a full stop.

4. Don’t stop your car in the middle of the crosswalk.

3. Don’t pass another car, stopped, waiting for pedestrians to cross the street.

2. Don’t wave to pedestrians who are using a white cane or dog guide to indicate that you are waiting for them to cross. They cannot see you.

1. Don’t honk!

Florida White Cane Law states that all motorists, when they see a pedestrian who uses a dog guide or white cane at a street crossing, must come to a complete stop.

All about the arts banner

N'Vision and Outta Sight

Jim Carpenter, Outta Sight Director

Things are going to be different for Outta Sight and N’Vision this year. The two groups have merged into one and the focus has shifted from live performance to recording. Everyone from N’Vision was moved into Outta Sight so there is no N’Vision program this year. The group already has more than thirty songs ready to go from previous years.

There is only one after-school rehearsal now because of all the new rules that have been imposed. There will be no live performances until at least after the holiday break. At that time, things will be re-assessed and some of the annual engagements like the Sons of Italy and the Mooney Awards banquet in Palatka will be discussed.

The primary plan for the group this year is to acquire the needed equipment for recording and to publish a new CD by the end of this school year. Stay tuned!

Athletics and Recreation banner

Winter Sports Start Soon

As we are wrapping-up our fall sports conditioning program, we are looking forward to winter sports! Basketball and soccer will play a full schedule as normal with the exception of no tournaments.

  • Girls' soccer try-outs/practice will begin Oct. 19.

  • Girls' basketball try-outs/practice will begin Oct. 26.

  • Boys' basketball try-outs/practice will begin Nov. 2.

  • Wrestling will begin a conditioning program on Nov. 9.

If your child is interested in participating in any of our winter sports, he/she will need a sports physical and parent consent form completed and turned in BEFORE the above dates. Students may pick up these forms in Pope Hall, Room 214 or you may find them on the FSDB website. Please contact Assistant Principal of Physical Education and Athletics Donna Johnson at 904-827-2570, 904-201-4513 (VP) or

Athletics Tryout Dates flyer
Parent Services banner

Parent Engagement Workshop

The second Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW) for the 2020-21 school year will be held on Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. via Zoom! We hope you can participate in this event! To join the meeting, visit: Future workshops will be held on Dec. 4, Jan. 15, Feb. 12 and April 23. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!

Graphic of upcoming PEW Workshop dates

Chance 2 Dance

With professional dance instruction through Chance 2 Dance, students with disabilities can participate in free weekly classes that have been generously underwritten and funded by a local family foundation. This virtual series of classes using Zoom meeting and classroom technology present dance & movement with appropriate accommodations so that anyone can enjoy the experience right from the comfort of their own physical space! Miss Angel has been on the Chance 2 Dance (C2D) team since March 2019. She received her 'Inclusion & Special Needs' certification and CPR/AED certification upon training as a lead instructor for C2D. Miss Angel is fluent in American Sign Language and is currently majoring in Special Education at Seminole State College. She is excited to be dancing with our students and is looking forward to meeting new dance friends!

Dates: Sept. 14-Dec. 14, 2020 (no classes Oct. 26 and Nov.30)

Time: Ages 5-11, 3-3:45 p.m.

Ages 12-18, 4-4:45 p.m.

Fee: Free, underwritten and funded by a local family foundation.

Register for either class!

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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:

Zackary J for always being polite and having a positive attitude. (Ms. Margot)

Kaitlyn N for volunteering to trade seats for another student. (Ms. Carden)

Johnathon W for maintaining a consistently cheerful and friendly attitude. (Dr. Lombardo)

Sierra H for always being an active participant in class discussions. (Erin Wolfe)

Jared S for assisting me in removing pop up blockers for the MAP testing and showing me an easier way to do that. (Mr. Ward)

Eli M for helping another student who was having trouble finding their way and making them feel comfortable. (Mr. Maltese)

Thomas R for his amazing assistance during the rainy Monday. (Dr. Lombardo)

Elijah G for always being willing to help other students with tech issues in class. (Mr. Carpenter)

Natalie C for being a model student. (Mr. Alexander)

Jazmin C for assisting other students in class with their technology and having a very helpful attitude. (Ms. Carden)

Travis T for adapting, being willing to do the recycling until the after school program is up and running, being a very friendly guy and learning when to chat less, and work more. (Ms. Wolfe)

Jonathan C for helping me with the Smartboard when it wasn't connecting and putting his tech skills to use. (Ms. Ashli)

Studying the Earth's Systems Spheres

Sidney Keith, Science Instructor

Students in Earth Space Science classes recently completed a unit on the various interactions of Earth’s systems spheres and how we study these systems. The systems include the hydrosphere, biosphere, geosphere, anthroposphere, atmosphere and cryosphere. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we do not have access to the cryosphere in Florida per se. Maps, specifically topographic maps, are one way of studying these systems. Topographic maps can be a bit challenging for sighted folks, let alone those who have limited vision. Students investigated topographic maps by using playdough to make a volcano. The volcanos were measured for elevation. Students then calculated their contour interval by taking the height and dividing it by four. Students also created valleys, rifts, a notch for compass direction north. After that, they measured, marked and sliced their volcano using fishing line. Once the slices were removed, students traced them beginning with the largest to the smallest to make a contour map. Each slice was lined up based on our north notch. Contour lines were then enhanced with wiki stix for tactile reference. The final unit project for this unit was "Map My School/Neighborhood/House." Students with assistance from their O&M instructor created maps of FSDB or their neighborhood if ILE. Some maps were paper, others were tactile; all were very creative with different textures and shapes. Students then presented their maps in their respective classes. Their presentations included identifying which Earth’s system spheres were present on their map and how each interacted with others along with a key and compass rose for reference.

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