It's Elementary - DES Newsletter

February 2021

Dates to Remember

February 15 - No School

March 3 - Mid-terms

March 11 - Students leave for Spring Break

March 22 - Classes Resume

Dr. Heidi's Happenings


We had three big celebrations recently! First, we participated in Celebrate Literacy Week, which included completing a different literacy activity each day. These included writing notes to others, reading outside, completing a writing prompt about Kindness, dressing up like a favorite book character, and everyone's favorite, "Wear Words Wednesday," where we asked everyone to wear clothing items that included words. Because it was also The Great Kindness Challenge during that week, we encouraged our Wednesday Words to be Kind Words! It was so much fun to see all the positive messages on T-shirts, jackets, and even socks!

The Great Kindness Challenge was our second big celebration! Every year, we participate in this event and challenge ourselves and each other to show kindness in a variety of ways. While we aim to show kindness, empathy, and compassion every day, this event helps bring Kindness to the forefront, and allows us to create a more unified, positive, and caring school culture. We're proud to say that after our participation this year, we were once again recognized as a "Kindness Certified School."

Finally, we celebrated our Honor Roll students this month. Those students who earned A/B Honor Roll received a certificate and an Honor Roll ribbon, and were allowed to select a prize. Students who earned straight A Honor Roll received the same, with the addition of a silicone wristband. At the end of our Honor Roll celebration, which was held outside while students were socially distanced, we conducted our school-wide quarterly PBiS drawing virtually. Students really enjoy the virtual ticket drawings, because they like to see the online picker wheel spin. The visual is also impressive, as everyone can easily see how many tickets are submitted. We have a LOT of respectful, responsible, cooperative students here in Deaf Elementary School!

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A Note From Deaf Department Principal Angela Saunders

We have begun our second half of the school year and are halfway between Winter break and Spring break. As we move into the semester, our Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports teams are analyzing student data to make sure that our students are progressing as they should. As they look at the data, if there are any concerns about student participation, grades, or progress, they will be reaching out to you to partner in developing interventions and supports. With the dual programs happening, Brick and Mortar and ILE, we need to make sure that our students are able to progress toward their IEP goals. Their updates on their goals have gone home with report cards. Know that if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s progress or need help accessing information on your child’s grades in Skyward, please contact the school office and we will be happy to assist. Always looking for ways to help our students do more, be more, and achieve more together with you!

Updates from Vaill Hall

Hi Families, hope everyone is doing well! The kids came back from vacation revived; they came off the buses excited; we were sure glad to see them.

Can you believe the first semester is over?? We have had a few mishaps, but nothing we can’t handle. The majority of our students in the dorm have adjusted well. We are proud of them considering everything that everyone has been through. Many of them are helping others, cooperating with the dorm staff, and practicing PBiS in the dorm.

The weather has been nice, still little chilly, so still send warm clothes; our kids love the outdoors, the weather doesn’t stop them from wanting to go outside. The kids like to run and walk the track by the football field, they enjoy bike riding, swinging… and just being kids. We like to get the kids outside as soon as they arrive from school; put the books down, grab a snack, change masks, then right outside to play!! What a Life!!!!

Each pod had a Superbowl party! We had pizzas, cupcakes, and brownies with Ice cream. Vaill hall was pretty noisey! Finally, we’d like to welcome Liz Taylor, to our team, she is a great asset.

Spotted in Each Grade Level

Every month we ask grade level teams to tell us something special they spotted in Gore Hall. Here are their responses!

Kindergarten: Students sitting and using the Big Three (respect, responsibility, and cooperation) while waiting their turn to use the restroom.

First Grade: Students learned about motion during science. They made paper airplanes and learned how their force and direction of their push affected the flight of the airplanes.

Second Grade: We've focused on some famous Black Americans this week. We are truly thankful for Alford Cralle, who invented the ice cream scoop. We got to read the book Spoon, and snacked on a scoop of Neapolitan ice cream.

Third Grade: Third grade watched the Inauguration on January 20. Seeing our governmental process in action fits right in with our Social Studies standards, and we were so fortunate to have been able to watch it in real time. We were also thrilled that it was presented in ASL by fabulous interpreters!

Fourth Grade: Students in 4th grade are learning how to recognize and make acute, right, and obtuse angles. They are expanding their knowledge and measuring those angles using a protractor!

Fifth Grade: One Spotted - One of our fifth graders met her MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress) goals in EVERY subject area. Way to go Charlotte!!!!

Learning Lab: An ILE student returned to B&M, playing and laughing with classmates during recess - so happy to be with friends.

Favorite Moments From Each Grade Level

Every month we ask grade level teams to share a favorite moment. Here are their responses!

Kindergarten: One student recently made it all the way across the monkey bars for the first time. She was so excited!!!

First Grade: We had so many first graders make their growth goals on the MAP assessment! They were excited to paint their flowers on the growth wall.

Second Grade: Kids in math are using their drawing strategies to help them with addition and subtraction. One key to remember, however, is to keep your drawings neat so you don't have any careless errors.

Third Grade: A younger student showed a teacher her new shoes and asked for help to tie one of them. After the teacher was finished, her friend who was standing nearby said to her, "What do you tell her?" reminding her to say, "Thank you"! Too cute!

Fourth Grade: Students loved writing messages on heart sticky notes for their friends during Celebrate Literacy Week. Yeniel and Bryce are becoming quite the pair and shared notes with each other.

Fifth Grade: On the playground one of our 5th graders is leading a group of boys with karate like moves and training by running around the playground. You are too cool Ismael!

Learning Lab: A student solved a problem all by himself by using a 2nd Step Technique.

Click Below for ASL Resources for Black History Month!

Help Needed! Lost & Found is Overflowing!

The weather in St. Augustine is tricky! It can be chilly in the morning, but by afternoon, the sun is shining and recess gets hot! Students often take off their jackets and sweaters, and more often than not, leave them on the playground. You can help us by making sure your child's name, or even initials, are written somewhere inside the garment. We usually check the tag to see if we can identify the owner of a lost article of clothing, so it would be a great kindness if you could put a name there for us! THANK YOU!
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Deaf Elementary Named a PBiS Model School!

The FSDB Deaf Elementary School celebrates being named a Model School from the Florida Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBiS) project.

This model school award is given for implementation of positive school outcomes and exemplifies the achievements of teachers,

staff and students.

Check out the video of our celebration here!

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Did you know that we have a new DES 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: Our goal is to post pictures and/or updates daily.

Title I Information

You should have received your Title One Handbook. Please take some time to review the Handbook and then sign and return the last page. We are so thankful for our Title I funding.

You should have also received an ASL dictionary and ASL flashcards provided by Title I funding. Please enjoy these materials during your family time, and help bridge ASL and English.

Title I, Part A is a component of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that provides supplemental funds to approved schools to meet educational goals, support professional development of staff and support parent engagement programs.

Things to Say to Your Child

Here are a few things you can say to your child to encourage discussion. Source:

  1. I know you did your best.
  2. I forgive you.
  3. I am so glad you’re here.
  4. That was really brave what you did.
  5. I admire you.
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Opt-in for Skyward 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 ann 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.

Cutie Patootie Picture of the Month!

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Want to contribute a Cutie Patootie Picture of the Month submission? Join, like, and share our FSDB Deaf Elementary School Facebook Group and let us know! But also know the competition is pretty tough because DES is FULL of Cutie Patooties!

Dr. Heidi's Virtual Office



Fifth Graders Made a Model of the Solar System. It's BIG!

FSDB Welcome Back 2020

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