BEMS Parent Newsletter - October 2, 2020

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Dates to Remember

Oct. 9 - Stress Prevention/Management Assembly (BMS)

Oct. 9 - Parent Engagement Workshop (10 a.m., virtual)

Oct. 12 - NO SCHOOL

Oct. 13 - Lockdown Drill

Oct. 16 - White Cane Day Celebration

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Ms. Fertsch's Files

Ellen Fertsch, Assistant Principal, BEMS

Greetings school family and happy October! I continue to be in awe of the dedication and resilience of our school community as we continue to grow and learn together. This past week our students completed the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), which is one of our district assessments. The assessment helps us to determine needs in the areas of reading, language, math and science so that we may target instruction to provide positive outcomes for students. Additionally, mid-marking period is upon us. Progress reports will be mailed home today, and are also accessible on the Family Access Portal in Skyward. We are looking forward to continuing to work with your student here on campus and through our innovative learning environment (ILE). Thank you for all you do to support your child and FSDB.

Message From the Principal

Carol Bogue, Blind Department Principal

Greetings FSDB parents and guardians! 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 start of the year has 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), and over the weeks the number of students attending school on campus has continued to increase. Our students have done well complying with the extra pandemic restrictions and they understand the importance of staying safe. They are resilient students, 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 share your child with us. Together we make a wonderful village!

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Gov. DeSantis Fills FSDB Board Seat

Gov. 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

David Moore, School Safety Specialist

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 the 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 the campus to mitigate or prevent injuries

  • Reunification – the 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 the 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 moored@fsdk12.org.

Opt-in for Skylert 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 and in 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.

Cell Phone with Text Y to 67587 to opt-in written in the message area

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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Staff Spotlight - Noah Eagle

Noah is a highly motivated and enthusiastic team player. He moved from MacWilliams to Kramer Hall bringing his upbeat attitude to help our students feel more at home. He has worked at FSDB for more than five years and we are happy to have him. He moved from Titusville to St. Augustine to take up his love for adventure and music. His favorite things to do are hang out with his friends and go to music shows. He wants all ILE students to stay positive and know that this too shall pass.

Hello from the Kramer Dorm Staff

Vickie Plummer, Kramer Hall Supervisor

We hope you all have had a safe and healthy month. These past few weeks have been a learning experience for everyone, but we haven't let that stop us from having a great time here in the Kramer dorm. The kids have been transitioning to this new routine gracefully and we are proud of each and every one of our students. We want to thank all parents/guardians for making sure your children have come to school each week prepared for whatever obstacles may arise.

We would like to assure all parents/guardians that we take health and safety very seriously in the dorm and are making sure everything continues to stay sanitized and safe for each child that we have the privilege to care for. We wish you all an exciting and safe month, and be sure to look forward to all of the adventures we have in store for the upcoming weeks!

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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: https://bit.ly/3ic2mb1

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BEMS Kicks Off PB(i)S

By Karen Kolkedy and Laura Pamer, Counselors

This year we have already carried out the PB(i)S Kick-Off, which occurred in individual classrooms so as to maintain safety and social distancing. In BES, each class was presented with and discussed information related to what the COVID-19 virus is and how we are being cooperative, responsible and respectful with social distancing. Students learned that a single-person jump rope is 6 feet long. We also practiced being responsible by putting on our masks, being sure to cover mouths and noses with the mask. And we practiced being responsible by washing our hands with soap and water while singing “Happy Birthday.” Then we went on to more general information about our school expectations of being cooperative, responsible and respectful at school, home and the community. We ended with a healthy treat of granola bars and juice.

In BMS, each of the classroom teachers, IAs and specialists worked together during their assembly period to present a refresher of PB(i)S. Students learned of a new incentive program for this year that encourages supporting each class member to do their very best in their class with behavior and beyond. Finally, each class participated in a PB(i)S Jeopardy Game answering questions related to PB(i)S in a variety of settings such as in the classroom, in the hallway, in the cafeteria, and on the bus. Each student in BEMS was also rewarded with a brightly colored orange T-shirt printed with "You Create A Better World With Your Attitude, Your Behavior, Your Actions… it's all up to you.” We are looking forward to a great and awesome PB(i)S school year.

Character Education Trait of the Month: Respect

FSDB PB(i)S students are developing great character! Each month, FSDB focuses on a different positive character trait. This month we are emphasizing respect. Some of the phrases associated with respect that we are introducing to the students include: *Treating yourself and others with courtesy and consideration. * Treat others with respect; follow the

Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, use appropriate language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements
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White Cane Day Celebration

Jennifer Enache, O&M Instructor

White Cane Day Celebration will be held on Friday, Oct. 16 in Kirk Auditorium. The BEMS students will participate in the O&M awards ceremony which recognizes their achievements in independent travel. Once again, Mr. Cosgrove will host our Family Feud-style game show where teams of four will compete for the title of BES O&M champions or BMS O&M champions. The elementary celebration will be held from 9-10 a.m. and the middle school celebration will be held from 10:10-11:20 a.m. The theme for this year’s White Cane Day is, “Staying Afloat 2020, Just Keep Sweeping.” “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? “Just keep sweeping” – that cane!

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K-2 Music Class Learning Mi Cuerpo During Hispanic Heritage Month

Watch the video of the K-2 students singing Mi Cuerpo during their music class!
Mi Cuerpo FSDB Music Class

Community Children's Choir

Brooks Rehabilitation will be hosting a virtual children's choir for students in grades K-8. There is no cost for the program which rehearses on Thursdays starting Oct. 8 through Dec. 16. Call 904.345.7501 or email PediatricRecreation@BrooksRehab.org
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Donor Provides Ukuleles and Supplies

A donor recently donated ukuleles and associated supplies to the Music Department. Students in grades 3-4 will be learning how to play them during the 2nd quarter. They are very excited to get started!

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