Greetings from the FSDB President

Welcome back!  This summer is coming to a close and we at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) are all busy preparing to welcome new and returning students and their families for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

View ASL Translation of Greetings from the FSDB President.

The Deaf Department underwent a number of forward-looking policy and program enhancements during the 2016-17 school year which will continue in the 2017-2018 school year, including:

  • Instructional Focus – Recently updated policy clarifies that our priority is for deaf and hard of hearing students to be linguistically competent in both American Sign Language and English, regarded as separate and equal in importance. Classroom instruction is based on the individualized needs of students and their Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs).
  • Shortened Timelines and Expectations for Staff Fluency – Recently updated ASL policy now expects all newly hired instructional/academic staff members who work directly with deaf and hard of hearing students to achieve the required skill level standard for their position within one year of employment. We continue to monitor closely the skill standards associated with current staff members/positions. Their skill levels are evaluated using the Sign Language Proficiency Interview: ASL.
  • ASL Skill Standards – As of the 2016-17 school year, a majority of instructional/academic staff members who work with deaf and hard of hearing students (137 or 90%) have met or exceeded the ASL skill standards required for their specific positions, e.g., Intermediate Plus, Advanced, Advanced Plus to Superior Plus. They are encouraged to continue to improve their skills. Of this number, 14 (10%) are expected to reach their skill standard within one year’s time.
  • Expectation to Sign at All Times – We continue to stress the importance of open and accessible communication, to maximize access by and respect for deaf and hard of hearing students, staff, parents, and campus visitors.
  • Hire of ASL-English Specialists – Two deaf staff members with specialized experience were added to work closely with and provide support to instructional/academic personnel and students.
  • Professional Development – Instructional and academic personnel receive ongoing inservice training on effective use of ASL and English in the classroom. This training is supplemented by the provision of focused training videos developed by the ASL-English Specialists.
  • ASL Program Expansion – We have increased and will continue to increase the number of teachers and ASL classes available to staff members. Community ASL classes are also offered.

The Blind Department also underwent program enhancements during the 2016-17 school year which will continue in the 2017-2018 school year, including:

  • Blind K-8 School – The Blind Elementary and Middle Schools merged to improve program efficiency and service delivery.
  • Assistive Technology Focus – Two assistive technology instructors were added to work with students and academic staff in the Blind Elementary/Middle School.
  • STEM Focus – A new STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) class focusing on coding and robotics is now available for Blind Department students who excel in math and science. Intensive math classes are also being offered.
  • Braille Specialists – The role and responsibilities for the Blind Department’s three Braille Specialists now include targeted instruction and interventional support for specific grade level teams.
  • New Unified English Braille (UEB) Code – Blind Department instructional/academic staff members are required to take a specialized UEB course based on the newly enhanced and adopted braille code that will be used worldwide in English-speaking countries, in order to teach both the code and all associated content matter to their students who read in braille. The course can take up to one year for completion. Course completers must successfully produce materials in the new code to demonstrate competency and pass requirements for certification.
  • Music Program Enhancements – New classes have been added in band, guitar, music theory, and music engineering. A volunteer braille transcriber now works with the Music Director to assist with braille music production.
  • Braille Transcribers – Volunteers who are also certified braille transcribers are continuously added; this allows for increased Braille Production Center capacity. Heavy-duty braille and tactile graphic embossing equipment at the Center also generates various forms of tactile graphics for classroom use.

These are just a few of the many areas on which we are working with students, staff, families, alumni, donors, and the community to ensure that every student succeeds and is included at FSDB!

Again, welcome back!

Dr. Jeanne Glidden Prickett
President


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 www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.

Deaf Elementary FCAT Pep Rally Video

Over the next two weeks, students from the third to twelfth grades at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) will be taking The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). In preparation for the testing, third, fourth and fifth grade students and teachers in the Deaf Elementary School, produced, shot and edited a video to encourage students for the upcoming assessments in mathematics, reading, and science. Good luck to all the students taking the FCAT!

Watch the Deaf Elementary FCAT Pep Rally Video:

About FSDB
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 www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.

ASL, O&M and First Aid Classes for FSDB Parents

The FSDB Parent Services program is offering three different classes for parents and caregivers – an American Sign Language class (several sessions), an Orientation & Mobility Class, and a First Aid & CPR Certification class.

American Sign Language classes will be held at 3:05-4:05 pm on April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 2, 9, 16, 2014 in Moore Hall. Learn ASL and practice with other parents.

The FSDB Parent Services program is offering an Orientation & Mobility class for parents and caregivers at 4:00-5:30 pm on April 3, 2014 in Moore Hall. Learn what it is like to walk in your child’s shoes by wearing vision loss simulation goggles as you tour the school campus.

FSDB parents and primary caregivers are also invited to attend a First Aid & CPR Certification class at 9:00-11:30 am on April 4, 2014 in Moore Hall. Learn life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED) and first aid skills.

RSVPs are strongly encouraged, as space is limited. Travel reimbursement is available for registered parents from outside St. Johns county. For more information, contact Misty Porter, 904.827.2988 or 904.201.4527 VP.

Contributed by Misty Porter, Parent Services Program

About FSDB
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 www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.

2014 FSDB Summer Programs Announced

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) will offer three camp programs for eligible students for the summer of 2014. Camps include Summer Quest (June 15-20), Summer Explorers Camp (June 22-27), and Summer Day Camp (June 16-27). The programs are free of cost to Florida residents, who are deaf/hard of hearing or blind/visually impaired.

For more information about the different camps and eligibility requirements, visit the Summer Programs webpage.

Application deadline is Monday, June 9, 2014

FSDB Summer Camper zip-lining at the Alligator Farm.   FSDB Campers in front of kayak wearing life jackets and holding oars   FSDB Campers riding on conference bike

About FSDB
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 www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.

FSDB Wins Conference Championship Titles

While most students head towards warm weather during spring break, the FSDB Goalball teams headed in the opposite direction, traveling to Boston to participate in the Eastern Athletic Association for the Blind (EAAB) Conference Goalball Tournament. The girls sought to keep their 10 consecutive conference title streak alive while the boys hoped to grab the title for the first time since 2009.

The FSDB Girls Goalball team opened the tournament against the Perkins School for the Blind, the hosting school. After a long trip and having not been on the court for 10 days due to spring break, the girls got off to a sluggish start. Perkins, with home crowd advantage, led the first half, which resulted in FSDB being down 2-3.  During half time, the girls were determined to get back on track. They did so during the second half by scoring 5 goals to 0 by the opposing team. The final score was 7-3.  This momentum continued through their next 3 games as they defeated West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (12-0), New York State School for the Blind 8-0, and Maryland School for the Blind (10-0).  As teams progressed through pool play, quarterfinals, and semifinals action, FSDB took on New York again for the gold medal game. This was a tightly contested competition, with FSDB leading 2-0 at halftime.  After scoring another goal midway through the second half to go up 3-0, New York brought the score to 3-1 with their goal. FSDB scored 2 more goals to win a close fought game 5-1, capturing their 11th consecutive conference championship title. “The girls played outstanding,” said Head Coach James Crozier. “And as usual, they represented FSDB well. It was a great cap to an excellent season.”

The FSDB Boys Goalball team sought their first conference win since 2009. “Sometimes moments come along that define and shape a team and the people involved. This trip was one of those times,” said Head Coach Carl Jacobson. In preparation for the trip, the decision was made to take only three athletes — Chase Blackburn, Malakai Godley, and Emmitt Johnson – all three being young and having the experience needed to play every minute of every game. In their first game, they were matched up against Perkins School for the Blind. They got off to an early lead and never looked back, winning 12-0. Their closest match of the tournament came next as they took on Maryland School for the Blind, where they escaped with an 8-6 victory. They went on to defeat Overbrook School for the Blind (11-3) in the quarterfinals and Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind (11-1) in the semifinals. “We were excited for a chance to compete in the championship game, although a small part of us had a fear that we would come home again with a second best finish,” said Head Coach Carl Jacobson. “This has been their little ghost, their spook, what the teams calls “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” ever illusive, and whispering, “You just are not good enough to win the whole enchilada.” Still, the boys overcame their fears and won the championship title with a score of 7-3, defeating New York State School for the Blind.

Girls Individual Statistics and Recognitions
Cortlinn Pay – 8 goals scored, 1 goal allowed, named to EAAB All-Star Team
Ashley Centimole – 15 goals scored, 0 goals allowed, named to EAAB All-Star Team
Aaliyah Gisondi – 13 goals scored, 1 goal allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Heather Hunt – 6 goals scored, 2 goals allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team

Boys Individual Statistics and Recognitions
Chase Blackburn – 19 goals scored, 3 goals allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Malakai Godley – 16 goals scored, 2 goals allowed, named Honorable Mention for All-Star Team
Emmitt Johnson – 14 goals scored, 8 goals allowed, named to EAAB All-Star Team 

Contributed by James Crozier and Carl Jacobson

Related Story
Goalball Offers Chance To Compete For Students At Perkins School For The Blind

About FSDB
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 www.fsdb.k12.fl.us.