Tracie Snow presents during the Parent Engagement workshop
  • FSDB parents meet with school administrators at Parent Advisory Team meeting
Double Bill for Parents

On the morning of September 9, 2016, the Title I Parent Advisory Team (TIPAT) for the 2016-17 school year met at the Moore Hall training room. TIPAT has three parent representatives from each Title I school – Blind Elementary, Blind Middle, Deaf Elementary, and Deaf Middle Schools. (However, all parents of students in these schools are encouraged to attend TIPAT meetings). Administrator of Instructional Services Tracie Snow conducted the meeting as Title I Assistant Grant Coordinator. By way of introduction, Snow explained her different roles at the school and provided an explanation of Title I “Parent Right to Know” notifications. Title I Grant Coordinator & McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison Christi Boortz briefly described her duties in both positions. Boortz also summarized the federal McKinney-Vento Act, which provides funding to ensure obstacles to learning are removed or minimized for homeless campus students.

At their tables, parents engaged in a fun “whip” icebreaker activity. Parents quickly introduced themselves and gave brief responses to the question: “What did your family do together this summer?” Afterward, Boortz explained the two different parent involvement documents for parents to work on in their school level groups. The school Parent Involvement Plan outlines what each Title I school will do to support family involvement in their activities during the 2016-17 school year. The Family-School Compact is a learning contract between students, parents, teachers, and Assistant Principals. A signature page with the four signatures finalizes the “contract.” After the explanation, TIPAT representatives met in small groups with their respective school administrators to go over the tentative plans and compacts. They made suggestions on the feedback forms, which will be reviewed by Assistant Principals for possible incorporation into the plans and compacts. During the wrap-up portion of the meeting, Snow thanked parents for coming and reminded them of the next TIPAT meeting on January 13, 2017.

There was a short break while parents helped themselves to beverages and snacks, and the Parent Services Department set up for the Parent Engagement Workshop (PEW), which piggybacked the TIPAT meeting. FSDB Parent Services staff handed out tickets to the Quilt Giveaway—a beautiful peacock quilt donated by parent Laura Bezares was on display at the podium awaiting the lucky recipient.

After the break, Parent Liaison Misty Porter introduced herself and shared information about Parent Services department staff members and their responsibilities. She also congratulated parents on attending Registration Day, which was the largest on record—close to 400 people came to the event. Porter presented the newly designed Parent Reunification Plan prepared by the campus Incident Command Team. The plan explains the parent-student reunification process in the event of an emergency evacuation. It is critical that everyone adhere to the plan to ensure that students are accounted for and safely reunited with their families. The importance of checking the FSDB website and social media was also emphasized. Parents can contact Porter at 904.827.2988 or via email if they have questions.

Next up on the agenda, Michael Johnson and Allen Moran of the FSDB Communications Department discussed the future website timeline (hopefully will be ready sometime next year), and answered as many parent questions as they could under the limited time constraints. Parents were pleased to hear, according to Moran, that the new website will be focused more on parent access, with fewer clicks necessary to obtain information on student events and school level happenings. Johnson emphasized that the website design is a delicate balancing act between the needs of all interested stakeholders. He mentioned that parents can now keep track of activities and events in each school via Facebook. Finally, Johnson solicited parent testimonials for the website. What do you like about FSDB, what led you to enroll your child here? Parents can contact Johnson at 904.827.2682 or via email if they have questions.

After learning about the web and social media, TIPAT participants took in a barbeque luncheon. During that time, Porter asked parents to consider and discuss what classes or workshops they would enjoy for this 2016/17 school year. If you have any ideas to share, please contact Porter via phone or email.

Thanks to the many parents who attended the TIPAT meeting, including those who joined in later for the Parent Engagement Workshop, as well as all presenters!

By Christi Boortz, Curriculum Department

About FSDB
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is a fully accredited state public school and outreach center available tuition-free to eligible pre-K and K-12 deaf/hard of hearing and blind/visually impaired students. Comprehensive educational services at FSDB are individualized, specific to the unique communication and accessibility needs of each student for independence and lifelong success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To visit the school or to learn more about eligibility for enrollment, contact 1-800-344-3732. For more information, visit