BEMS Parent Newsletter - Oct. 16, 2020

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Dates to Remember

Oct. 19 - Girls soccer tryouts begin

Oct. 23 - School bus safety poster deadline (noon)

Oct. 26 - Girls basketball tryouts begin

Oct. 29 - FSDB presidential interviews

Oct. 30 - Food Exemption Day

Oct. 30 - FSDB Board of Trustees meeting

From the principals banner

Ms. Fertsch's Files

Ellen Fertsch, Assistant Principal, BEMS

Greetings BEMS Families,

Here we are in the middle of October! Fall is such a lovely time of year—I am waiting for our weather to catch up. As I walk the halls of our Blind Elementary/Middle School, I am reminded of the care and creativity with which our staff ensures a pleasant environment for our students. I have included just a few of the many wonderful bulletin boards created by staff and students.

Recently, with the help of an anonymous donor, we recognized staff for their commitment to our kids and FSDB. “I am thankful for Friday, coffee & you” was a great success. We surprised the staff with Starbucks frappuccinos and coffee cakes.

Teacher holding thank you note and donuts pack next to cart full of Starbucks and donuts
Administration Announcements banner.

FSDB Presidential Interviews and Public Board Meeting

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.

Tutoring Program Beginning

The BEMS tutoring program will begin next week. The program serves students in grades one through eight, and covers multiple subject areas and provides homework help support. The program is staffed by educators and specialists who meet with brick and mortar students (BAM) as well as innovative learning (ILE) students in need of assistance. Students are referred by teachers, and with parent approval are added to the program. Students may also be added to the program as the need arises. This year's program is under the direction of Tutoring Coordinator and Third Grade Teacher Michelle Garay. While there is currently a waitlist for a few grade levels, there are some spots available in certain subject areas. If interested in referring your child, please email garaym@fsdbk12.org. Thank you for your continued support.

Poster Contest for National School Bus Safety Week

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 dunnek@fsdbk12.org

  • Designs made 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 in 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

Tie-Dye Masks

Teresa Sweeney, Cary White Boarding Program Supervisor

The boys in Cary White pod 233 enjoyed a craft project in the dorm, to personalize their face masks with tie-dye. The boys got to pick their own colors and decorate them according to their preferences. Each one now has their own mask to reflect their personality while being safe.

Group of boys wearing their tie-dyed masks
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 johnsond@fsdbk12.org

Athletics Tryout Dates flyer
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!

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: https://bit.ly/3ic2mb1. Future workshops will be held on Dec. 4, Jan. 15, Feb. 12 and April 23. Be sure to add these dates to your calendar!

PEW Dates flyer

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!

On the move with O&M banner

Just Keep Sweeping That Cane!

Our White Cane Day celebration at FSDB looked a little different this year due to social distancing, but it will still be an amazing event and a huge celebration of our students’ independence! This year's theme is “Staying Afloat 2020, Just Keep Sweeping” with a picture of Nemo holding a cane and Dory swimming in the background. The back of our T-shirt states, “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep sweeping - that cane!” with Dory and Nemo holding a cane surrounding our FSDB logo. We are so grateful to D&B Designs for taking our ideas and designing this beautiful T-shirt. We would also like to give a huge shout out to Amanda Jackson, the student who was the lead in designing the T-shirt. D&B Designs always does an excellent job designing our shirts and making sure they are ready for our big event! We would also like to thank Paula Libassi, who created some amazing sayings for our face masks that D&B Designs are creating. The face masks say, #WhiteCaneDay@FSDB, #WhiteCanesRock, #ProudToWalkWithACane, #MyCaneMyFreedom, #SweepStrongFSDB.

The elementary and middle school students participated in White Cane Day Family Feud. We had three teams for each grade level. The event started with kindergarten through 2nd grade singing songs about independence and the white cane. Next, the Orientation and Mobility specialists presented 10 awards to deserving students. After that our famous game show host, Mr. Cosgrove, will begin the game show competition. The event will be live-streamed with interpreters for students and parents to access and be a part of the event.

The Orientation and Mobility Department designed White Cane Day posters. We distributed them throughout the FSDB campus and in the St. Augustine community. Our goal is to spread awareness regarding the White Cane Law. Oct. 15 was White Cane Safety Day. The white cane is a symbol of independence and blindness. The white cane allows a person who is legally blind to travel independently. In 1931, the Lions Club began promoting the use of white canes for people who are blind as a national identification program. President Lyndon B. Johnson first declared Oct. 15 to be White Cane Safety Day in 1964.

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.

View the videos of the event below. The first video is of the elementary group and the second is the middle school students.

White Cane Day Celebration 2020 - Elementary School
White Cane Day Celebration 2020 - Middle School

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