BHS Parent Newsletter - December 18, 2020

Dates to Remember

Dec. 19-Jan. 3 - Winter Break

Jan. 4 - Braille Challenge registration due

Jan. 15 - Bullying Prevention Training for students (TEAMS)

Jan. 15 - Parent Engagement Workshop

Jan. 18 - NO SCHOOL

Jan. 20 - Parent Braille Class

Jan. 22 - Teen Dating Workshop for students (TEAMS)

Jan. 28 - End of 1st semester

Jan. 29 - NO SCHOOL

Administration Announcement banner

Holiday Message from FSDB President Tracie C. Snow

Holiday Message from the President in Spoken English


Hello FSDB students, staff, families, alumni and community members.

Every morning I wake up thankful for the blessing I have to serve as the President for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. This is an amazing school with incredible students, staff, families, alumni and stakeholders.

The holiday season is a time to be with family and friends and to be thankful for the gifts we have in our lives. I am thankful to be part of an extraordinary community that promotes a caring and giving environment. It is my hope, especially this year, that you will take the time to relax and reflect on your gifts.

The first half of the 2020-2021 school year has been unprecedented. I want to thank you for the dedication and hard work that has made our many successes possible. Every member of the FSDB team should be proud of what we have accomplished. I know we will face challenges in 2021, however, I also know that with everyone working together, we will also have triumphs.

I want to wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and rejuvenating holiday season. Please take care of yourselves, your family and friends.

From my family to yours, all my best for the New Year.


Tracie C. Snow


Winter Athletic Games Canceled

Out of an abundance of caution, FSDB has canceled athletic games for the remainder of the winter season. Coaches offering student-athlete participation in conditioning activities will be in contact after the holiday break. We thank parents/legal guardians who quickly notify us and keep their children at home when they are ill or have suspected COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. We appreciate all who are working with us to maintain a healthy and safe environment both at school and at home – which includes wearing masks, physically distancing and frequent hand washing.
From the principals banner

Mr. Cosgrove's Corner

Justin Cosgrove, Assistant Principal - BHS

Happy holidays to our BHS friends and family. We all know how 2020 has been a challenge for everyone, however, the students and staff of Blind High School have continued to meet those challenges head-on. I truly believe that we in the Blind High School have never shied away from challenges, and we have banded together to make the most out of the 2020 we were handed. Our ILE kids have done great work from home, our teachers have managed brick and mortar and ILE students at the same time with professionalism and never let up on the expectations we have for our students. Our Brick and Mortar students have been excellent at following the "new normal" regarding the expectations they need to follow to ensure they are following the reopening rules. There are always bumps in the road, but we held on tight and kept moving forward. This upcoming break is well earned by all. I wish you all a safe and restful holiday break. See you in the new (and improved) year.

Ms. Bogue

Dear FSDB Families,

This has been such an incredibly challenging year for each of us, our students, our families, our staff members, and our communities. Throughout these experiences, the FSDB family has come together in such remarkable ways to ensure the safety of our students and staff members and to provide high quality educational experiences for all our students during these difficult times.

It truly does take a village. A committed village with unified goals and a diversity of ideas, skills, and creativity to make these goals a reality. During this holiday season it has been wonderful to witness students and staff members expressing their appreciation and gratitude for one another. I am so incredibly proud of our students and the appreciation and thoughtfulness they have expressed.

I want to especially thank our FSDB families for their ongoing support and commitment. This year many families were forced to make even greater sacrifices and experienced hardships. We want to support our families, especially during these difficult times, in whatever ways we can. Together we are stronger.

I hope you all have a peaceful, safe, and happy holiday break!

With Warmest Regards

Parent Services banner

Parent Engagement Workshop

The third Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW) for the 2020-21 school year will be held on Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. via Zoom.

  • "President Pop In" with Tracie C. Snow, FSDB President
  • "Standards and Assessments" by Scott Trejbal, Administrator of Instructional Services
  • "Love and Logic: Choices" by Rhonda McCahill, FSDB School Counselor

    To join the meeting, visit:

    Future workshops will be held on Feb. 12 and April 23. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!

    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

    • Jan 20 – Alphabet Letters
    • 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

    Ways to Keep Things Festive and Fun at Home

    The holiday season is a time when families gather to celebrate. Many families may feel a disruption to traditions due to continued safety precautions and social distancing. More than ever it is important to have family chats. Talking with your children will help them better understand their emotions and will give you an opportunity to model a positive response.

    Here are some ways to keep things festive and fun at home!

    • Have a cookie decorating contest and gather votes through social media.
    • Take turns with family or friends hosting mini virtual celebrations: caroling, storytelling, and holiday movie watch parties.
    • Go crazy with decorations both inside and out.
    • Act out favorite movie scenes.

    Check out these recommendations on staying healthy this holiday.

    School-Specific Facebook Group

    Did you know that we have a new BHS Facebook group? In order to enhance digital security for our students and their families, we are transitioning our school Facebook page to a private group, which affords us better screening and monitoring measures. If you would like to join the group, please click this link:
    Library News banner

    Showing Appreciation

    Joy Carriger, Media Specialist

    Library volunteer Savannah L. was so impressed by the new tactile graphic books and the accuracy of their labels for the graphics created by the Braille Temple Sisterhood that she wrote them an email in appreciation. This is the response from their Graphics Coordinator:

    Thank you for your kind note and for sending us Savannah's note. It is so nice hearing from the people who receive our work. We try to learn from those who either don't like or cannot understand the graphic. It's wonderful when people like our graphics. We really like hearing from the students who use our graphics so we especially liked hearing from Savannah.

    Boarding Information banner

    Holiday Decorating for the Living Space

    Bryan Wolfe, MacWilliams Hall Supervisor

    The boys in MacWilliams Hall and their staff created holiday cheer by decorating the dorm with a variety of holiday cheery items. In addition to trees and lights, the boys have their own friendly snowman who manages to enjoy the mild weather we've had this year. We hope all of our students enjoy their holiday and remain safe and healthy.
    Student News banner

    Christmas Caroling by Members of the Chorus Class

    Laurie Wohl, Chorus Director

    Watch the video below of our BHS Chorus members singing Christmas carols.
    Christmas Caroling by the Blind High School Chorus

    Students Earn OSHA Agriculture Certification

    Jenny Palmer, Agriscience Instructor

    The following students have worked VERY hard to complete their Career Safe online OSHA Agriculture Certification: Delayna Goodrich, Juan Garcia, Travis Tribble, Eli Mehrkens. They had to work through 13 different modules and pass a comprehensive final exam. Please congratulate them!!

    Celebrating Literacy

    Ms. Elisha Zuaro and Ms. Margaret Galligan-Prater hosted a BES Celebrate Literacy event which included hot chocolate and decorating holiday cookies with the elementary students. Ms. Margaret’s “Helper Elves” included Mr. Johnny and high school students Thomas Rice, Christian Leath, and Madison Woodward. The students had a wonderful time practicing their ECC skills and celebrating literacy with holiday stories and riddles.

    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:

    Jessenia C. for stepping up during the lockdown and acting as a leader in the class, immediately and calmly assisting other students with their actions. (Mr. Maltese)

    Giunna S. for bringing a large print edition of "To Kill a Mockingbird" from Ms. Joy's book giveaway to donate to the English classroom. (Mr. Maltese)

    James W. for always being helpful and encouraging in Eurhythmics class. (Ms. Wohl)

    Alexis F. for being an awesome leader for warm-ups in Chorus (Ms. Wohl)

    Delayna G. for always keeping our 1st period piano class entertained with her quick wit, beautiful voice, and "trumpet" playing. (Ms. Wohl)

    Jazmin C. for consistently doing homework and taking notes in class, for being my "TA" by always getting supplies for students, helping prepare braille materials, and cleaning up, and for persevering and maintaining self-control when met with a challenge. (Ms. Jensen)

    Tre B. for improving his participation, effort, and focus in math class without constant direction (Ms. Jensen)

    Hector G. for carrying the backpack of an injured student to Gibbs. (Ms. Fonda)

    Lilie M. for always having a positive attitude, rolling with the changes, and being willing to help everyone, including her teacher. (Ms. Hall)

    Luke B. for showing cooperation and initiative when seeing students and their teacher struggling to carry a large box of books across campus. He offered to take the box and carry it upstairs to the student's locker. (Ms. Joy)

    Jackson G. and Elijah G. for helping other students in Marketing Class. (Mr. Carpenter)

    Juan G. for always showing up for ILE regularly, letting his teacher know ahead of time if he won't be in the class due to appointments, being the first to complete his OSHA training, and always putting forth 100% effort on his assignments. (Ms. Palmer)

    Niklas H. for personally following up with the presenter when unable to access an expected presentation on TEAMS - he showed responsibility and crafted a very respectful email. (Ms. Wendy Williams)

    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