student and tutor celebrating success with High five
  • student listing to tutor across table.
  • Tutor with student concentrating on lesson.
Tutoring Program Expansion in 16/17

Despite the best efforts of teachers and parents, every year there are students who fall behind in class, need help with homework, or extra preparation for the state tests. For many years FSDB has pooled grant and private funding into a campus tutoring program to assist students in these ways. Tutoring is mainly done by our qualified and expert teachers, who have many years of experience making accommodations and using the specialized access technology that students need for optimal learning.

As usual this school year, the core academics were a top request – reading, writing, math, and science. Also as usual, students received tutoring in ASL and braille codes as needed. But this year there were some changes that significantly expanded the program beyond previous parameters. The new Administrator of Instructional Services, Tracie Snow, separated English Language Arts (ELA) into Reading and Writing sessions to lend greater focus and skills-building in these topics. Computer Science was added to the roster. A few tutors geared sessions to FSA test preparation. One tutor worked with Blind students in UEB specifically preparing them for the Braille Challenge on February 2nd in Jacksonville. Also new: students could be referred multiple times for different subjects. A few hard-working students went to tutoring almost every night after school in different subjects!

What is the program data? The stats for the program reflect this significant expansion:

  • 156 students in both departments received regular weekly academic tutoring in one or more topics.
  • An additional 40 – 50 middle and high school students used the various homework help options available.
  • Which means: a combined 200+ students received some type of academic help, roughly ¼ of the school enrollment.
  • 35 tutors were employed through part time OPS positions.
  • $60,000 was spent on tutoring from two federal grants and one private funding source.

How does it work? For the regular, weekly Academic Tutoring, there is a process. After classes have begun, teachers notice which students are experiencing difficulty and fill out online referral forms. The campus tutoring coordinator matches students with tutors based on their interest and expertise. The tutor then contacts parents, dorm staff if applicable, and the student to set up a weekly schedule.

The Homework Help program has several different “branches” or options for campus students:

  • One branch involves a tutor working with a set group of kids on their homework regularly in their classroom. This type uses a weekly schedule as with the academic tutoring.
  • The Deaf High School has a special program offering intensive homework help after school twice a week for students severely in need.
  • There is a twice-weekly Night Library program in both departments that allows kids to browse and check out books. Tutors are available to assist kids with homework as well during the Night Library, on a purely drop-in basis.

Students are fortunate to receive top-notch tutoring from qualified professionals at our school. If you feel your student needs extra help through tutoring in any of the above options, please contact your student’s teacher or Assistant Principal. They will work with you and the tutors to best meet your student’s needs. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact the Tutoring Coordinator Christi Boortz, at (904) 827-2284 or email her at Best wishes for a relaxing summer!

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