BHS Parent Newsletter - September 16, 2022

Dates to Remember

9/17 - FSDB Job Fair

9/19 - Bus Safety Posters Due

9/20 - Color Guard Meeting

9/21 - Golf Trip

9/24 - Virtual ECC - DIY Tools

9/26 - Music Lessons begin

9/26 - Celebrate Freedom Week

10/3-10/7 - Spirit Week

10/12 - End of 1st Quarter

10/17 - NO SCHOOL

12/15 - Holiday Concert

from the principals banner

Justin Cosgrove, Assistant Principal

It's hard to believe we are past the midpoint of the first quarter. We continue to stay busy in Blind High School. We will be mailing midterms, but you can always keep up to date with your child's grades via the Parent Portal in Skyward.

I'd like to let you know about our Fang Fridays. Each Friday, we allot the last 45 minutes of the day to various activities. These activities include Character Counts Lessons, PBIS trainings, Class meetings, and club days. Some of the clubs that have met this year are the Student Leadership Council, the Yearbook, and the Show Choir. We encourage our students to be active in the various opportunities provided by the school.

We continue to thank you for your support for our program.

Character Trait of the Month-Responsibility

"By choosing to take responsibility for your life, you will immediately gain

an increased power to achieve your greatest potential."

-Skip Downing

Student News banner

Spirit Week Dress-Up Days

The second Spirit Week takes place the week of October 3-7. Each month, a department on campus is assigned the selection of the theme. The Safety & Facilities Deparatment has set the themes for the week. The entire campus is encouraged to participate.

Monday: Hawaiian Shirt/Hawaiian theme

Tuesday: Favorite football team

Wednesday: Cowboy/cowgirl

Thursday: Disney

Friday: Dress in Camo

FSDB School Bus Safety Week Poster Contest

FSDB Transportation Department

Students in grades K-12 can create artwork that depicts school bus safety-related themes that encourages and promotes school bus safety and education. The winning posters are used to promote safer school transportation for everyone.

Please Note: The Poster Contest and National School Bus Safety Week are being held on two different dates this school year. National School Bus Safety Week is an annual event that is being held during the third week in October.

2022 National School Bus Safety Week

Poster Contest Rules:

· FSDB Students, poster designs should be made only on the 11x17 paper provided by the Transportation Department.

· Designs made can be drawn vertically or horizontally using crayon, 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 front of the poster they are submitting.

· Illustrations must be drawn in a positive approach, demonstrating proper school bus safety behaviors.

· Entry Deadline is Monday, September 19, 2022, by noon.

· All posters must be turned in to the school’s office by the posted deadline.

Club News banner

Congratulations to FSDB Show Choir Students!

Laurie Wohl, Head Sponsor

Congratulations to the following students who will be the founding members of the FSDB Show Choir:

Savannah Lindberg

Sofie Ripstein

Addison Burgess

Maxx Ray

Taylore Sherman

Sophia Ouellette

Gia Garcia

Marquez Derrick

Zan Cromartie

Congratulations extend to all who auditioned! Everyone showed leadership, responsibility, and bravery! Excellent job everyone!

Rehearsals will be Mondays 3:40-4:40 in the Music Building auditorium.

Congratulations to Blind Cadence Drumline Students!

Leslie Costello, Head Sponsor

Congratulations to the following students who make up this year's Blind Cadence Drumline!

Marquez Derrick (Team Captain, Section Leader)

Ray Calatallu

Dwayne Lewis (Section Leader)

Damian Palacios

Derrick Chisholm

Mason Long (Section Leader)

Jasen McDaniel

Henry Pigott

Gamari Lewis

Z'antonio Cromartie

Tyler Loyd (Section Leader)

Logan Strickland

Juan Garcia (Section Leader)

Rehearsals are Wednesdays 3:45-5:00.

Illusion Color Guard

Traci Anderson, Sponsor

Students in grades 6th -12th who are interested in joining Illusion Color Guard should plan to attend a meeting on Tuesday, Sept 20. We will be learning to twirl large flags this year. Practices will be held Tuesday and Thursday from 3:45-4:45 pm.

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The PBIS Ice Cream Social: Celebrating Positive Behavior in a Positive Way

Savannah Lindberg and Dwayne Lewis, Juniors

On Thursday, September 1st, FSDB held the Ice Cream Social, an event that takes place annually. The Ice Cream Social is a way to support PBIS (Positive Behavior Improvement Support), and as the name suggests, the purpose of it is to socialize with friends and/or meet someone new. It’s basically a place to hang out, play outdoor games, and eat ice cream!

But how does all this tie into PBIS? To find this out, we talked to PBIS Coordinator Ms. Karen Kolkedy. She says, “The PBIS Character Traits Ice Cream Social started 13 years ago. It usually takes place at the end of the year, as a way to celebrate the fine performance of students and staff in PBIS throughout the year. However, this year, we decided to have it at the beginning as a way to kick off and encourage PBIS.” At FSDB, our primary goal for PBIS is to support positive social and emotional growth in students. One of the main ways that we do this is through rewarding good behavior and clearly defining social expectations at our school.

The PBIS Ice Cream Social is one way in which FSDB strives to introduce these topics in a fun and engaging way. By participating in the Ice Cream Social, students begin the year with a positive PBIS experience, and they also have the ability to socialize with peers and develop important relationships. By socializing with friends, students may be able to find positive peer role models, which is crucial in order to develop good social skills and attain PBIS schoolwide goals. According to Ms. Kolkedy, "Friends can be models as well as teachers. Friends model appropriate behavior, and students [may] want to emulate those behaviors.”

These positive behaviors and social skills can also lead to even more opportunities in the future as students move on from FSDB into jobs, college, or other postsecondary opportunities. After all, social skills are important regardless of what you do in life. As Ms. Kolkedy says, “While being respectful, responsible, and cooperative are very important in a job, you also want to demonstrate your other good characteristics and traits of being a good person.”

In short, the PBIS Ice Cream Social is a fun, engaging way for students to start off PBIS in the school year. The Social also gives students an opportunity to develop relationships and practice social skills, both of which are important facets of PBIS that will help students in the long-term as they move beyond FSDB.

We at FSDB are looking forward to all of the positive outcomes of PBIS. When asked about her hopes for the future in PBIS, Ms. Kolkedy said, “Hopefully there will be more participation in the decisions of PBIS ... from everyone in general.” Thank you to all of the people who helped to organize the PBIS Ice Cream Social, and we look forward to an awesome PBIS experience this year.

Savannah and Dwayne's article is presented as part of a new series this year providing for a voice from our student leaders in the Blind High School. Savannah is a junior planning a career as a Teacher; Dwayne is a junior planning a career in engineering and/or music.

FSDB Job Fair

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) will host a job fair to recruit talent for all departments and positions on Saturday, September 17th, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. The event will be on the FSDB campus in historic St. Augustine and is open to the public. Join us to learn about employment opportunities in:

  • Academics – Teachers, Instructional Assistants, Para Professionals

  • Boarding Services – Residential Instructors

  • Facilities – Housekeepers, Carpenters, Groundskeepers

  • Transportation – Bus Drivers, Chaperones, Mechanics

FSDB is a state of Florida agency and a major employer in St. Johns County that offers many challenging and rewarding career opportunities.

For more information about current openings and benefits, visit

FSDB Job Fair header
Boarding Information banner

Our Home Away From Home

Marja Wheeler, Director of Student Life, Blind/VI Residential Services

We would like to thank the parents who came out to our first Open House event in conjunction with the Parent Engagement Workshop. We hope you enjoyed seeing the dorms. We will be holding future events through the year. We hope to see many of you again.

Next week the Boarding Staff will be kicking off PBiS with a campus wide event. Food, games and activities are being planned to celebrate a new year of Responsibility, Respect and Cooperation.

MacWilliams staff are getting ready to start this year’s mentorship program next month. This program brings together our high school boys and pairs them with middle school boys to provide guidance, mentorship and friendship.

The Apartment Program students are working hard to learn about their daily chores. They’ve been working on skills to maintain their rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. They’re also getting experience in learning to make decisions, including starting to plan their own activities. Daily living skills lessons that are planned for next month include learning about budgeting, how to open a checking account and how to find the best rates for loans. We want to help our young people build confidence for life after FSDB.

The juniors in Koger Hall are off and running with their food shopping and cooking. We have 12 juniors this year so they are split into 2 groups that will rotate their shopping and cooking every quarter.

Health Care Center banner

Health Care Center Important Updates

Dr. Stan Gustetic, Administrator of Health Care

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Our school year is well underway: academics, sports, dorm life, and, unfortunately, germs. We are already experiencing an increase in our numbers of both Covid as well as Flu A.

Please remain vigilant for calls, emails, or texts from the HCC should your student need to be given medication, tested for Covid/Flu/Strep, have an urgent or emergent need, or require picking up. Our goal is to return students to class as soon as possible. Being able to contact you for input helps us achieve this. Students with positive test results, fevers, or worsening symptoms cannot remain on campus.

Symptoms we have been seeing in both our Flu A and Covid students include:

Sore throat





Low grade fever

Feeling “off”

Keep your student at home if they exhibit any signs of illness.


A Clearance form is required to return to campus after any Emergency Room visit, surgery, or hospitalization has occurred. It may be dropped off at the HCC, faxed to 904-827-2421, or emailed to but must be received prior to your student’s use of transportation or return to school. If a student is on campus without Clearance, they must remain in the Health Care Center until it is received. Parents may have to pick up their student from school if Clearance cannot be obtained.


Prescription medications must be sent in the original labeled bottles to our pharmacist to ensure they are dispensed to your student without delay. To reduce the amount of over storing and dispensing of multiple supplements and over-the-counter medications sent in from home, we will begin requesting a physician order for anything you wish your student to receive on a regular or daily basis. Signed orders may be faxed directly to our pharmacist at 904-827-2428. A daily multivitamin, probiotic, melatonin, or fiber supplements are the only current exceptions to this request. NO medications are permitted in the dorms or in bookbags.

COVID Updates

As we continue to monitor trends and CDC guidelines regarding Covid, FSDB’s current policy requires students who have tested POSITIVE to remain at home for 5 days until they are without fever and symptoms have improved. A student may return sooner than 5 days as long as they are without fever, have improved symptoms, and can also provide a NEGATIVE test result. A student that has been exposed to Covid may remain on campus as long as they are without symptoms. Initial Covid testing is available for day and residential students in the HCC. Follow up testing must be done outside of school.


Please contact your student’s assigned Care Coordinator prior to any scheduled procedure or with any change to your student’s medical condition or medications. We are here to help keep your student safe and healthy while on our campus.

Nurse Care Coordinators:

Erin Cunningham,

Emily McMillan,

Tracey Lopez,

Daniel Jones,

Molly Russell,

Kathy Halkin,

Belinda Hinson,

Katelyn Tanner,

Carmela Verrichio,

Nancy Senador,

Darcy Autrey,

Melanie Delaney,

Dawna Burns,

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

For more information contact

Health Care Get-Ready-for-Fall List

  • Sign and return medical consent forms

  • Allergy medicines sent in with doctor’s orders if needed for daily use

  • Flu shots from PCP (optional)

Contact Information

Administrator: Stan Gustetic, AuD

Medical Director: Michael Soberano, MD

Phone: 904-827-2410

Fax: 904-827-2421

Parent Services banner

Parent University Presents...

Misty Porter, Parent Liaison

CPR & First Aid Basics

Join us on October 21, 2022 for CPR and First Aid Basics. This class will be held in Moore Hall from 9 am. – 1:30 p.m.

This learning event is open to FSDB families. Parents must check in at the front gate before parking and entering campus.

Sign up now! Space is limited and RSVP is mandatory.

Parent travel reimbursement is available.

Parent CPR and First Aid poster. October 21 9-1:30 pm at Moore Hall. Lunch provided. RSVP required. Parent travel reimbursement is available
Parent Engagement Workshop 2022-23 Dates: September 9, December 2, February 10, April 21. Travel reimbursement is available for parents living more than 50 miles from campus. Contact Misty Porter, FSDB Parent Liaison for more information at 904-827-2988 or
Athletics & Recreation banner

Congratulations on Making the Swim Team!

Congratulations to these BHS students who are on the swim team!

Elizabeth McDaniels

Brady Simmer


Fall sports are well underway. Check out the team schedule posters below. You can also visit the team pages to see photos, roster, and results.

Cross Country –

 FSDB Cross Country Schedule for the 2022 season featuring Bobby Torres running in a meet. Nine away meets are greyed out and two home meets are in color.
FSDB Football Schedule for the 2022 season featuring Will Devis wearing full football uniform, running towards the camera. Seven away games are greyed out and four home games are in color.
FSDB Swimming Schedule for the 2022 season featuring Brady Simmer wearing a swimming cap and googles on his head and flexing for the camera. Four away meets are greyed out and five home meets are in color.
Resources banner

Florida Department of Education and Volunteer Florida Encourage Students to Participate in 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month Contests

~Student essay contest winners will receive a 2-Year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.~

The Florida Department of Education and Volunteer Florida encourage students to participate in Hispanic Heritage Month student contests with the theme “Celebrating the Achievements of Hispanic Floridians.” Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized and celebrated in the United States from September 15 to October 15.

"As a Cuban-American, I am proud of the many achievements of the Hispanic community throughout the state of Florida," said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. "I look forward to seeing the art and essays of our talented and creative students."

All Florida students are invited to participate in academic and creative contests based on this year's theme. Students in grades 4-12 are invited to participate in an essay contest. Additionally, students, parents, teachers, and principals are invited to nominate full-time educators of all student grades for the Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award.

About the Student Art Contest

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Art Contest is open to all Kindergarten through third-grade students in Florida. Each student will submit original, two-dimensional artwork based on this year's theme. Four statewide winners will be selected, and each winner will receive a $100 art supplies gift card and a 1-year pass to Florida state parks.

About the Student Essay Contest

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest is open to all fourth through twelfth-grade students in Florida. Each student will submit one essay no longer than 500 words based on this year’s theme. Six winners will be selected: two elementary school students (grades 4–5), two middle school students (grades 6–8), and two high school students (grades 9–12). Each winner will receive a 2–Year Florida College Plan scholarship provided by the Florida Prepaid College Foundation and a $100 gift card for school supplies.

About the Excellence in Education Award

Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hispanic Heritage Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to all full-time educators in an elementary, middle, or high school in Florida. Four winners will be selected, and nominations may be submitted by a principal, teacher, parent/guardian, or student. Excellence in Education award winners will receive $2,500 from Volunteer Florida and a set of classroom books.

Contest Entries and Nominating Forms and Guidelines

Student contest forms and educator nomination forms must be mailed to Volunteer Florida or submitted online at

Volunteer Florida

Hispanic Heritage Month Committee
1545 Raymond Diehl Road, Suite 250
Tallahassee, Florida 32308

All entries must be received by 5 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday, September 21, 2022.

For more information about the contests, please visit

All About the Arts banner
sketch of a giraffe in the savannah

sketch by junior Randi Hinson


How to access student school photos:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Find Your Photos”
  3. Enter your child’s Gallery ID number in the box. (Note: Child’s ID number is his/her 5-digit lunch pin number.

If your child does not know the number, please contact administrative assistant Ms. Linda Comeaux.

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

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, political opinion, affiliation, marital status, genetic information, disability, veteran status or any other basis as mandated by federal and state law in its educational programs, services or activities, or in its hiring or employment practices. FSDB also provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups as required by law.

Contacts for questions, complaints, or requests for additional information are as follows:

Student Discrimination/Harassment

FSDB Boarding Program Administrator

PH: 904-827-2603

Requests in writing can be sent to:

Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind

207 San Marco Avenue

St. Augustine, FL 32084