Oct. 2, 2020

Dates to Remember

Sept. 28-Oct. 8 - MAP Assessment

Oct. 9 - Parent Engagement Workshop (10 a.m.)

Oct. 12 - No school (long weekend)

Oct. 13-16 - Pre-ACT (Sophomores)

Oct. 26-30 - ACT (Seniors)

From the principals banner.

Principal's Corner

I am so grateful for our FSDB students, families and teachers for such a positive start for the school year. Given all of the challenges of these unique times, the responses during this first quarter have exceeded expectations. Everyone has come together so well to ensure the best learning environment for our students. Our teachers have learned to provide instruction while having students in the classroom and at home (no easy task). We have had an increase in the number of students returning to campus for instruction. Our students have done well complying with the extra pandemic restrictions and they understand the importance of staying safe. They are resilient, and I am so proud of them!

Given that things are going well currently, FDSB is not planning to initiate any protocol changes related to our pandemic processes and procedures at this time. We look forward to ongoing success and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with each of our students. Thank you, parents and guardians, for continuing to entrust us with your child. We are grateful for your partnerships as we continue forward together.

Angela Saunders

Deaf Department Principal

Assistant Principal's Corner

Hello families,

I was reading a book by author Thiel, From 0 to 1. It basically talked about innovation, shaking the ground with new technology, which is not necessarily limited to computers. I am still half-way through the book, which provides nuggets of wisdom like there is no tomorrow. As I was reading about the innovation component, I was reminded of Steve Jobs' quote, "We are here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?" Now, here is where you probably are pausing and asking how on Earth is that related to our children's education? Innovation is what made our deaf/hard-of-hearing education possible in the era of the pandemic. Thanks to Zoom, Microsoft, Google and numerous other NASDAQ member companies, D/HH students are now able to cross the bridge of communication, whether at FSDB or elsewhere. We are blessed to make such strides in technology enabling D/HH students to have access to communication. I remember the days when I had to enlist my mother to make a call to my friends to come and hang out. Yes, my mother! I remember the days of TTY, where GA and SK were the common code words and the whir of the paper printed out the conversation. I remember holding my first Blackberry, and being thrilled about using VRS relay on it (I still miss the Qwerty board on it and the clicking vibrations as each button is pressed in rapid fashion). Now, D/HH people can call hearing people using video relay, text relay, FaceTime, text, Google Hangouts, and more. Are we there yet? No, we are not. Thus, it is our job as educators to empower our D/HH children to know what is available and to innovate, innovate, and innovate in the future, creating more amazing, or "sick" as the youngsters say, technology to support our community. Our educators at the high school teach our students to think, not to just get the answer, but to think about the different possible ways to get different answers. If one could think of a famous analogy, our educators teach our students to fish, not just giving them the fish. This... is a powerful tool that will serve them well in the days of tomorrow as they leave high school. As families, you are also a pivotal part of your child's education. We are in this together, and I thank you for working with us, trusting us with your child, and being part of our community.

Stay safe,

Dina Rae Padden, MBA/M.Ed

Deaf High School Assistant Principal

10 2 20
Administration Announcements banner

Gov. DeSantis Fills FSDB Board Seat

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced via news release that he's appointing June Ann LeFors to the FSDB Board of Trustees, bringing the board to its full complement. Pursuant to state statute, the board must consist of seven members who are selected by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. Given the stakeholders FSDB serves and the need for diverse representation, one of the board's members is required to be a person who is blind/visually impaired and one is required to be a person who is deaf/hard of hearing. LeFors is an instructor for interpreter education at the University of North Florida. She previously spent 10 years as an American Sign Language specialist and a teacher in the FSDB Early Learning Center.

Campus Safety and Drill Notifications

FSDB takes a proactive approach to ensuring the safety and security of students and their families, staff members, volunteers, contractors and visitors. Our emergency preparedness efforts as well as response protocols are designed to prevent or reduce adverse impacts of potential or real critical incidents. FSDB has a comprehensive preparedness plan and protocols for a variety of crisis and non-crisis situations. Our intention is to provide a swift and decisive response to issues occurring that are not part of normal school operations which may result in one of the following:

  • Shelter in place – the action of seeking safety within the building that a person already occupies

  • Lockdown – ordered to contain an incident by controlling the movement of people on/off campus

  • Evacuation – the transfer of students and staff from the campus or a partial area of campus to a safe area off campus or a safe area within campus to mitigate or prevent injuries

  • Reunification – process by which students are released to their parents/guardians in the event that routine dismissal is not possible due to an emergency situation.

Florida schools are required to practice emergency response procedures by conducting practice drills throughout the academic year. FSDB has modified some of our drill procedures so that we may meet our requirements while maintaining social distancing and other health measures. If you arrive at FSDB campus during a drill, you may be asked to wait outside the campus until the drill concludes. If you are on the campus during a drill, you will not be able to leave the campus until the drill concludes. Parents/guardians will receive a Skylert notification typically the day of a drill (or night before depending on the time of the drill), specifying the type of drill and the time. Our next drill will be a campus-wide lockdown drill on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. Should you have any questions, please contact Lt. David Moore, school safety specialist, at 904-827-2315 or moored@fsdk12.org.

Florida Moves Up In National Ranking

The Florida Department of Education recently shared that our state ranks 3rd in the nation for K-12 achievement according to a new 2020 Quality Counts report by Education Week. This is a move up from 4th in 2019 and the highest ranking ever in K-12 achievement for the Sunshine State. Florida’s K-12 achievement grade also improved to B-, which is higher than the nation’s grade of C. Florida outperformed the nation in 15 of the 18 K-12 achievement measures.
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International Week of the Deaf

FSDB celebrates International Week of the Deaf

The International Week of the Deaf (IWD) is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) and was first launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy. It is celebrated annually by the global deaf community during the last full week of September to commemorate the same month the first World Congress of the WFD was held. IWD activities and events welcome the participation of all members of deaf communities, which include families of deaf people, professional and accredited sign language interpreters, peers, as well as the involvement of various stakeholders such as national governments, national and international human rights organizations, and Organizations of Persons with Disabilities. This year's theme is “Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights.”

Ms. Geary's ASL class

ASL class lesson(s) included an activity called “5 Words- Compare ASL and International Signs”, and included videos by students shared with the rest of the class.ASL activities such as classifiers, card games, and elephant activity were incorporated. Students learned international signs as well.
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Dye the Masks Activity

An optional activity was shared with the high school students to dye the white masks that were provided by FSDB. The activity was led by School Counselor Missy Kaler at the high school during Dragon Time. The students in the picture were Aiyanna Wright (11th grade) and Kellsie "Chance" Maguire (11th grade).
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Culinary Program - Taste of the Middle East

This week in level one culinary arts, the students learned how to make homemade hummus! They spent the early part of the week learning about the history and cultural significance of hummus, as well as the different foods that can go with it. Before actually making the hummus, the students were given the opportunity to smell and taste each of the individual ingredients in order to better understand what they bring to the recipe. Finally, they put together everything they had learned and made a delicious treat. This was followed up by a period of relaxation while they enjoyed their well-deserved snack.
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Katherine Pittman - Educational Diagnostician

Staff Spotlight
DHS Staff Spotlight - Katherine Pittman
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It's already been a month since students returned on the campus. DHS students have been busy in the dorms. The Rhyne Hall boys managed their time well for study hour, supper, free time, and recreation activities. We had a group of boys go fishing on the pier and the dock on campus. They caught many fish. They learned something cool about fishing, like discovering the names of the different kinds of a fish that they caught. How they reel in the fish properly and which bait they put on their hooks. They were truly excited; they even took off quickly to the dock right after dinner time. In James Hall, the staff have started our PBiS program by giving the girls the yellow PBiS tickets for showing, cooperation, respect and responsibility. They can use their tickets in our PBS store that is set up in the dorm. The store has a variety of chips, cookies, candies, drinks and other various snacks. Our store is open two days a week, on Sunday and Wednesday after 4 p.m. Our girls have really been showing all the traits of positive behavior. Rhyne Hall and James Hall have planned our PBiS kick-off party for Tuesday, Oct, 6. We have food, fun and games planned for our students.

If you have any questions or you need to reach out to the boarding supervisors, here are their contact numbers: James Hall Supervisor, Mechelle Johnson, 904-827-2635 or 904-201-4485 (VP) and Rhyne Hall Supervisor, Jashua Martinez, 904-201-4565 (VP).

Mel Botterbusch-Goodall

Director of Student Life for the Deaf Department


Office: 904-201-4560

Text: 904-827-2208


The Apartment Program students are getting to jump into learning independent living skills full force this week. Cooking lessons are incorporated with safety and hygiene lessons. Shopping trips have been altered to ensure students are in small groups and are able to social distance at the grocery store. None of this prevents the students from creating some amazing meals, including ham steak with baked beans and mashed potatoes, fish and chips, baked chicken with mac and cheese, and three-layer taco casserole.

Marja Deford

Director of Student Life - Apartment program



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Athletics and recreation banner.

Fall sports conditioning available

Our fall sports coaches are holding conditioning and small group skill-development drills for student-athletes (grades 6-12) after school (brick and mortar/BAM). ILE students may condition at home doing exercises while having the opportunity to communicate with coaches.

Both BAM and ILE students must have sports physicals (EL2) and consent forms (EL3) completed, signed and on file with FSDB before student-athletes may participate in these development drills. Forms may be found below.

Questions may be directed to Athletic Director Donna Johnson at johnsond@fsdbk12.org.

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Parent Engagement Workshop

The first Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW) for the 2020-21 school year will be held on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. via Zoom!

Learn about:

  • Special needs trusts, guardian advocacy, guardianships by Kimbely Soto, Soto Law Office

  • Florida's Disability Savings Program by John Finch, Director of ABLE United

  • Love and Logic by Rhonda McCahill, FSDB School Counselor

We hope you can participate in this event. Click here to join the meeting.

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.

Virtual Parent Sign Language Classes

FSDB Parent University is hosting two virtual sign language classes for FSDB families starting the week of Sept. 21, 2020 and continuing weekly through the end of October. Beginner and intermediate classes are available, both from 4-5 p.m. No advance registration is required and classes will be held via Zoom. Click here for dates and more details.

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PBiS Incorporates Character Education

FSDB PBiS students are developing great character! Each month, FSDB focuses on a different positive character trait. This month we are emphasizing responsibility. Some of the phrases associated with responsibility that we are introducing to the students include: Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions and attitudes • Set a good example for others. Teachers and boarding staff are asked to include lessons that may fit into the curriculum naturally. We are excited with this Character Education emphasis at FSDB. We are hoping that our students continue to be their very best now and in the future.

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Helpful information

Helpful Information

Disasters Don't Wait. Make Your Plan Today!

National Preparedness Month is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to be prepared for an emergency. The Department of Homeland Security has great checklists and other resources. Make your plan today!

DHS Amended Locker Policy Agreement


Please read this amended locker policy agreement and sign it so that your child may be assigned a locker to store their belongings. You may send a printed copy with your signature with your child(ren) or you may sign it electronically and email it to Jillian Rivera, DHS administrative assistant, at Riveraj@fsdbk12.org.



FSDB Welcome Back 2020

Contact Us

DHS Office

PH/VP: 904-201-4571

Health Care Center

PH: 904-827-2410

VP: 904-201-3910


PH: 800-992-8747

James Hall (Girls Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2635

VP: 904-201-4485

Rhyne Hall (Boys Dorm)

PH: 904-827-2771

VP: 904-201-4485

Apartments – Boys (Seniors)

PH: 904-827-8247

VP: 904-201-4532

Apartments – Girls (Seniors)

PH: 904-827-2510

VP: 904-827-4550

Parent Services

PH: 904-827-2212

VP: 904-201-4527

Campus Police

PH: 904-827-2315