BHS Parent Newsletter - October 2, 2020
Dates to Remember
Oct. 2 - Interims distributed
Oct. 9 - Class meetings
Oct. 9 - Parent Engagement Workshop (10 a.m.)
Oct. 12 - NO SCHOOL
Oct. 13 - Lockdown drill
Oct. 13-14 - Pre-ACT test (sophomores)
Oct. 14 - White Cane Day essays due
Oct. 16 - White Cane Day celebration
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!
Mr. Cosgrove's Corner
Justin Cosgrove, Assistant Principal - BHS
Hello FSDB families and stakeholders. We are into a new month and I am very proud of all of the students and staff for their efforts at making the school year a positive experience. We just finished our MAP testing and we managed to test from on campus and with our ILE students at the same time, which was a great accomplishment. Kudos to DJ Prater, our assistive technology specialist, for being at the ready to troubleshoot throughout the process. Her patience and knowledge are a welcome presence in moments of a technology crisis. As we move into October, we will be sending our midterms home. You can also access the midterms on the Family Access Portal of Skyward. Finally, please continue to let the office know of any absences, whether you are brick and mortar or ILE.
It has been very inspiring to see our students and staff banding together to make this year a success. Thank you for your continued support of our program.
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 typically receive a Skylert notification 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 email@example.com.
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.
Greetings from MacWilliams Hall (Blind High School Boys Dormitory)
Bryan Wolfe, Boarding Program Supervisor - MacWilliams Hall
It’s been a pretty good start of the 2020–21 school year for MacWilliams Hall. Aside from the obvious changes caused by COVID-19, MacWilliams Hall has had some changes since we left back in March for spring break.
We’ll start with the new paint colors that were added to the cafeteria to brighten things up a bit, but that also made its way into the main lobby areas of MacWilliams Hall and up the stairwells into the dorm areas too. Then, we added more modern (and more comfortable) furniture in the lobbies, common living areas and student lounge areas. To finish it off, we’ve added and updated our wall décor with some new art pieces and wall features in the dorm areas and added an area rug or two to bring it together with a more “home-like” atmosphere.
Aside from the upgrades though, is the undaunted spirit of “Team MacWilliams” that brings it all together for our students. Upon returning to start the year, it was often overheard how much they missed the students over the prolonged spring break/summer. We’re a little shy of having all of our students back and that’s ok - Team MacWilliams and I just want to let our young men know that YOU are missed and we can’t wait to see y’all again when you return.
White Cane Day Essay Contest
This year for White Cane Day, high school students have a chance of winning a $20 Dunkin Donuts gift card by entering an essay contest! The topic of the essay should be the importance of White Cane Day and how Orientation and Mobility (O&M) has helped increase your independence. All essays should be submitted to Ms. Lang (or another O&M staff member). Digital copies can be turned in through email or hard copies can be turned in to the O&M office. Essays need to be in by Wednesday, Oct.14, 2020 and four winners will be selected!
Samantha Lang, O&M Instructor
Over the past few weeks, the O&M team had the opportunity to join forces with Ms. Keith, a science teacher in BHS, to work on mapping concepts with the 9th grade Earth/Space Science class. During this project, students have been able to learn about the important features of a map (compass rose, key/legend, scale, etc.) while utilizing their creative sides. Students used a variety of materials which were either tactile or high contrast in order to accommodate for their visual needs. Soon the 9th graders will be presenting their maps to the class. They’re a little nervous but we know they will do wonderfully!
Collaborations between the O&M team and classroom teachers provide students with opportunities to practice a combination of Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) areas, along with their academic coursework. This combination helps students relate what they are learning in class to their real-world experiences.
Singer's Masks Help Keep Students Singing
Leslie Costello and Laurie Wohl, Music Teachers
After months of following scientific studies, attending medical webinars, gathering guidance, and basically becoming epidemiological hobbyists as it relates to COVID-19 in the music classroom, Music Teachers Leslie Costello and Laurie Wohl worked together to learn how to keep their music students as safe as possible. Armed with the specific knowledge garnered from their research and implementing the FSDB Reopening Plan, they moved all of their classes involving singing into the larger auditorium space where full social distancing measures could be met. In addition, measures such as wiping chairs and high-touch areas several times per day, incorporating one-way directional flow, and monitoring stable ventilation and temperature control measures are part of the "new normal" in the daily classroom. Unique measures that go above and beyond include the use of plastic bell covers to contain droplets from instruments in band and specialized "singer's masks" for students in the chorus and general music classes. Pictured here, the Singer's Masks, which are designed by Broadway singers and produced by Broadway costume designers, provide a snug, customizable fit while allowing for proper mouth shaping, vowel formation, and resonance. Your child's safety remains always at the forefront as we value a strong music education in its unique ability to develop your child's full potential.
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!
- Special needs trusts, guardian advocacy, guardianships by Kimbely 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
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 to 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.
Health Care Center
Koger Hall (Girls Dorm)
MacWilliams Hall (Boys Dorm)
Apartments – Boys (Seniors)
Apartments – Girls (Seniors)