BEMS Parent Newsletter - May 28, 2021

Big picture

Dates to Remember

May 31 - NO SCHOOL

June 4 - Last day to order school yearbook

June 9 - 8th Grade Graduation link sent out and posted on FSDB social media pages


June 14 - Report cards mailed home

June 14-18 - Virtual STEM Summer Camp

August 15 - Family Open House

August 16 - First Day of School

Administration Announcements banner

Graduation Week

Celebrate our seniors and student-athletes next week as we honor them with our Athletic Awards, Senior Awards, and 107th Commencement. This year, we will hold two commencement ceremonies for the graduating classes of 2021. The Blind High School graduation will be held on Thursday, June 3 at 11:00 a.m. The Deaf High School graduation will be held the following day on Friday, June 4 at 11:00 a.m. The ceremonies will be livestreamed so that additional family members and friends can have the opportunity to join in the celebration. Visit the webpages below for more information about each event.

From the principals banner

My Dear BEMS Families,

The school year has almost come to a close. We did it together! We are grateful for your collaboration and working with us through all the twists and turns of the past school year. We often did not know what may happen next, but our students remain our top priority. We are very proud of our students, your children. They persevered and weathered the storm. They are resilient and strong.

Enjoy the long weekend and the upcoming summer break. Wishing you some special family times together. All the best!

Carol Bogue


Ms. Fertsch's Files

Ellen Fertsch, Assistant Principal, BEMS

Greetings Families,

We are in our final quarter of school and working hard to finish strong. We continue to offer students opportunities for academic and social/emotional growth and celebrate along with you when they make strides in these areas. We have completed FSA and MAP testing for the year and will continue with classroom instruction until our last day of school. On June 9th, we will post the 8th grade graduation presentation link, which you will be able to access as often as you wish. You will find this link via a Skylert message and on our Facebook page. Our elementary and middle school students are enjoying their last few weeks with their peers. We hope you enjoy reading about the wonderful things happening at our school, made possible by our shared desire to see all of our kids succeed.

Wishing you all a wonderful and safe new month of June.

Student News Banner

Olympic Egg Drop Contest

Submitted by DD Stein, Middle School History Teacher

Students have been working with eggs and conveyances, training night and day in hopes of winning the coveted gold medal of Egg Droppers!

Mr. Keller’s 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math classes are holding a competition to see whose egg can survive a lethal drop from a height of 16 feet. Paper parachutes, protective boxes, and other designs have been devised by students. The theory being tested relates to shape and size vs strength. Does a shape or its individual size affect its structural integrity? Grade specific surface area and volume standards are being practiced by all contestants.

The criteria for success is to operate within the given budget and material parameters and to have the most efficient drop (get the egg to the ground safely in the shortest amount of time, for the least amount of money).

Winners of the competition so far are Gabriela Cuevas for 6th grade and Ryleigh Blades for 8th grade. 7th grade is still competing. Will there be a run-off between grades? Stay tuned for more Olympic Egg Drop news!

500 Word Challenge: Mission Accomplished!

Mary Hanson, Speech Language Pathologist, and Karen Kolkedy, Mental Health Counselor

PBS rewarded two classes in Blind Middle School for completing 7 weeks of the 500 Word Challenge. Each class signed a thank you card for the reward. Both classes are holding up their posters for the 500 Word Challenge.

ECC, CSI, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Michelle Garay, Third Grade Teacher

After working on a CSI investigation around a pancake theme, the third and fourth grade teams joined forces with the ECC lab to make their very own chocolate chip pancakes!

All About the Arts banner

Songwriting With Professional Musician James Durbin

The Music Department is thrilled to have partnered with Arts4All Florida to present a series of virtual workshops for some of our music students this month. The workshops featured past American Idol finalist James Durbin.

James Durbin, who spoke about his disabilities briefly, led a 3-part series of workshops with our upper elementary students. These workshops focused on the songwriting process and has involved the students in the entire process, starting with ideas, note-taking, revising, word choices, genres, music writing, refining, and producing. At the end of the series, the students will have 3 finished products to share and listen to that they themselves created! Durbin was genuinely engaged with the students and gave each student their moment to shine and provide input. He played his guitar, did funny voices, and talked about shared interests. He researched our school in order to relate more to the students, has followed up with specific answers to questions and statements students made, and has put in extra time outside of our workshop time to produce the songs that the students worked on in their 1-hour workshops. See below for 2 of the completed songs!

FSDB is grateful for Arts4All Florida's financial support, coordination, and partnership in presenting these wonderful workshops at the end of a difficult year for the performing arts.




What Makes Me Feel Good by LC
2 students sit at a table; they each have white paper with colorful drawings partially done. Plastic cups of slightly colored water, trays of watercolor paints, and paper towels sit on the table

Third graders paint with glue and salt at a virtual Cummer Museum field trip.

BMS Exploring Music

Laurie Wohl, K-12 Music Teacher

This quarter, our 7th period W/Th/F group has been experimenting with electronic and digital music. They completed a project using the GarageBand app where they conceptualized a new, innovative product. They then had to decide the target audience, price point, write a slogan, create a jingle, create the commercial script, and record the script over a track using at least 2 different instruments (strings and drums, brass and drums, vocals and strings, etc). Next they had to present this commercial to their peers in the classroom. We had some creative products including the iReader+ that can turn any document into a braille or screenreader-accessible document which included a full 10 minute informercial, and the “No-No, Never Round” Square Donuts with a “special surprise of deliciousness in every corner.”

After completing this project the group of 8th grade boys had time to “unplug” (at least from their headphones) and have a jam session on the digital keyboards (and GarageBand Drums in the background).

Enjoy some examples!

7th period jam session

Middle School Band Upcoming Virtual Concert

Leslie Costello, K-12 Music Teacher

While this year's middle school band was not able to perform at a concert due to the pandemic, they did record a live performance of 2 of the songs they worked on this year. Watch for a release of the recording on FSDB's Facebook page sometime in June. Students Damian, Jasen, Mason, Janna, Alden, Parker and Logan S. perform Erie Canal Capers and Trumpet Voluntary.

Boarding information banner

Helping A Family in Need

LaRonda Jenkins and Bobbie Raver, Residential Instructors

The students & staff in Cary White Pod 231 wanted to show how we can help others during this Global Pandemic that has affected thousands of people. So many people have lost their jobs and because they’ve lost their jobs, they’re unable to provide for their families. We wanted to shift our focus to helping others, and not focus on the economic turmoil this pandemic has caused for so many people. So, we decided to help a family in need by donating a box of goodies to show that we care and we’re thinking of you. People helping people drives many givers, and no matter how you choose to give, any type of donation will likely be treasured.

Special thanks to students: Brody, Jayden, & Mason

Brody, Mason, and Jayden stand behind a picnic basket that holds several indistinguishable items
Several girls stand in a group shot while wearing their tie-dye garment creations; they are holding their hands up in the ASL sign for I Love you.
Lillyanna sits on sidewalk with a bold chalk drawing in front of her; a piece of chalk is in her hand

Boys enjoying activities at their Spring Fling!

Janna pushing a large, blue bin with several closed garbage bags inside

It can't be all fun and games.

Parent Services banner
Flyer with instructions for ordering FSDB 2021 Yearbook

Order Your 2020-21 Yearbook Online

Melissa Fonda, Yearbook Adviser

Yearbooks are available to preorder online at the Memory Book site. Books are $25. If your family would like to purchase an ad, that can also be done at the same time. Ads are created by the purchaser using the Memory Book website. Please note that I am unable to proof or change any mistakes since what I receive is a PDF to add to the yearbook. Lastly, if you require a Braille book, send me an email requesting one. Braille books are complimentary with the purchase of a print book. Because graduation is included in the yearbook, the delivery will not arrive until the fall.

Order Your Yearbook by following these steps:

Step 1: Visit www.memorybook.com/online-pay/parent-pay/

Step 2: Enter your school code 137162 then click "go to your school account login"

Step 3: Click on the link below your school name

Step 4: Login if returning or register as a "new user"

Step 5: Buy a yearbook for $25

Place an ad in the yearbook:

Half Page Ad: $60

Full Page Ad: $100

Order online through June 4, 2021.

If you have any questions about ordering your yearbook contact Ms. Melissa Fonda, yearbook adviser, at FondaM@fsdbk12.org

FSDB Photos

Don't forget to check your student's account for any photos from the school year!

Link to photos: https://fsdb.zenfolio.com/

APH Offering Coding Camp for Students

APH and the California School for the Blind are offering a summer Coding Course where students will learn the basics and principles of coding in HTML and CSS. A Windows computer (with JAWS if you use a screen reader) will be used to access the curriculum to create a website using Google Drive, Notepad, and a lot of creativity.

This coding course runs for seven weekdays, June 22 through June 30, 2021. Full group and small group lessons will be held every day from 1–3 pm Eastern, with opportunities for 1:1 meetings for extra support on your project, a chance to ask questions, to troubleshoot, or to dig deeper into the world of coding.

The target audience is middle school, high school, and transition age students with vision loss and an interest in foundational coding concepts to get started in coding. Students are expected to be proficient in using JAWS (if applicable); navigating, accessing, uploading and creating documents in a Google Drive; switching between three open programs on a computer; and saving documents. Students do NOT need a background in coding!

This opportunity is at no cost to the student or district but there is limited space. Apply soon!

Spotlight on Arts

What is Spotlight on Art?

Spotlight on Art is a YouTube series that includes 15-20 minute recorded art lessons by teaching artists across the State of Florida. These lessons can be completed at home with materials found around your house. They are provided through cooperation with Arts4All Florida.

Scenes from BEMS banner

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