DMS Newsletter

December 14-18 2020

Dates to Remember

Dec. 21st- January 3rd--Winter Break

From the principals banner

Ms. Newton's Notes

Hello DMS Families!

We are so thankful for you all! Thank you for partnering with us during this crazy time in the world. Our priority is always to provide quality education and care for our students and staff.

We hope you enjoy your break! Happy Holidays!


  • Please remember if your child is feeling sick, please keep them home.
  • You can contact us any time for help, support, or questions. We are here for you!

Karen Newton

Assistant Principal

From the Principal, Angela Saunders

The holidays are here, and students and staff alike are ready to recoup and refresh over the next two weeks. We have four more weeks left of the first semester. When we come back in January, our character theme will be Fairness, which aligns nicely with the MLK holiday that occurs mid-January. As you celebrate the holidays over the next two weeks, please keep yourselves and your family safe. From our FSDB home to yours- May your holidays be safe and full of joy, and may your new year get off to a great start. We are all happy to get 2020 behind us and are looking forward to a brighter 2021.
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Holiday Message from FSDB President Tracie C. Snow

View in ASL
Holiday Message from the President in ASL
View in Spoken English
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.

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It’s been busy last few weeks for our students in Gregg Hall. We were provided a nice Thanksgiving dinner at FSDB in the cafeteria. The students enjoyed getting dressed up for the dinner and eating a meal with their staff. After supper, we celebrated Thanksgiving in the dorm. We got all students to stand in a circle outside and share what they were thankful for. It was nice to hear what each of them had to say. They also did an art project. Each student was given a blank canvas to create their own artwork. They put paint on their canvas, and it was spun with a drill. It was fabulous, beautiful art! They were so proud of their work. We also had a physician reach out to several schools asking for artwork of an organ. We had several girls participate in this. We are very proud of Ashley and Jahnea for participating in this. The doctor is planning on selecting 5 pieces of artwork from different schools that submitted a piece to hang in his office area. He has notified us that he will be posting their work in his office when the renovations are completed. Good job girls.

We celebrated December birthdays for the students. Students got cupcakes and ice cream as a treat. We had Christmas dinner in the cafeteria again and then we celebrated Christmas in the dorm. We ate pizza, ice creams, hot chocolate, and watched a Christmas movie. We surprised our students with a stocking filled with Chapstick and a bath bombs as their Christmas gift before their bedtime on Thursday before they left for Winter break.

The McLane Hall boys have been enjoying decorating the dorm for the seasons. The students decorated the main living areas together by putting up lights and decorating a Christmas tree. When finished the boys were treated with cookies and hot chocolate for their hard work. Students also had a small Christmas tree to set up and decorate in their rooms. The students were creative with their decorating and one boy added some cotton balls for snow. The boys had holiday sugar cookies and ice cream to celebrate for the upcoming winter break.

We also had a holiday party in the dorm for the boys before they left for Winter Break. They had pizza, soda, hot chocolate, and cookies for the celebration. Students helped set up for the party and were responsible by helping us clean up at the end. The students were appreciative for the party and wrote thank you cards. Look at our boys' photos of their tree. Sooooo cute!!!

All the dorms participated with the luminary bag activity that was made for a campus wide collaboration. The night before Winter Break the boys set up luminary bags outside the McLane Hall and then took a stroll around campus to look at the lights. The boys and girls enjoyed seeing the lights at the different dorms and it was a good opportunity to relax and get some fresh air.

Parents and students, please have a wonderful break, stay safe and healthy.

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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!

ASL Classes in January

FSDB Parent University is hosting two virtual sign language classes for FSDB families starting in January and continuing weekly through March. Beginner (ASL I) and intermediate (ASL II) classes are available via Zoom. Please contact the teacher if you are interested in attending.

Beginner Class (ASL I)

Day: Thursday, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Dates: Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28 | Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25 | Mar. 4, 11


For more information, contact Janelle Berry via email at

Intermediate Class (ASL II)

Day: Monday, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Dates: Jan. 4, 11, 25 | Feb. 1, 8, 22 | Mar. 1, 8


For more information, contact Sonia Garcia-DeKnight via email at

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.

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December 18, 2020

Social Skills Training: Teaching Replacement Behaviors

In order to develop appropriate social skills in our children, they must be taught. Addressing the principle behind teaching replacement behaviors will be explored and this session that will give parents the tools they need to create positive interactions with her children. Steps for guiding children to make good choices will also be examined.

Save the Date for upcoming webinars:

January 15, 2021

Components of a Quality IEP

February 19, 2021

Transition for Secondary

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