November 15, 2018 was the date of a groundbreaking event, the first-ever FSDB Expo held on the school campus. This event, which took place in the Wilson Music Building auditorium complete with musical performances, offered visitors a smorgasbord of the programs and services that the School provides to enrolled students and their families. Visitors came from all over the state, and the building was packed with informative exhibits and attentive staff members ready to share their expertise and resources.
As visitors entered, they received name tags and the opportunity to have their photos taken in front of a large FSDB display, using fun accessories to enhance their images. Visitors also signed up in advance for campus tours based on their areas of interest, which included opportunities to see students at work (e.g., D&B Designs, D&B Garden Center, and lunch at Cobra Corner or Dragon’s Lair).
Within the auditorium, one exhibit featured stunning tactile and visual arts clay pieces created by the “Blind Ambition” student group. Other campus exhibits shared student successes via Career and Technical Education, Assistive Technologies, Parent University and Parent Infant Program services, Positive Behavior Support (PBS) activities, Boarding Program services, and Pineapple Professional Development resources. Exhibits also included American Sign Language services, braille production technologies, and speech/audiology services.
Visitors were entertained upon entry to the Expo exhibit area by “Outta Sight,” the Blind High School student band, which performed renditions of popular oldies-but-goodies. Various video clips were shown throughout the day: About the School, Career and Technical Education Programs, and Deaf High School Homecoming.
The FSDB Expo event was organized by Elizabeth Wilcox, Director of Outreach, who thanked participants for attending and kept the schedule flowing through the day. FSDB President Dr. Jeanne Glidden Prickett, briefly described her background and explained that FSDB is the best school due to the “amazing team” of teachers and specialists who share their expertise in working with students. She expressed hopes that visitors would get a sense of what goes on at FSDB, where staff members work to foster well-rounded development in students.
Tracie Snow, Administrator of Instructional Services, discussed the differences between American Sign Language and other sign languages used around the world and standard English, and ASL-English education at FSDB. She also summarized her work with the school over the years, and why she chose FSDB for the education of her Deaf sons. Another longtime employee, James Crozier, spoke about Orientation and Mobility services and how he enjoys seeing FSDB students blossom over time. He introduced Dr. Diane Cates, FSDB Low Vision Specialist, who described her work and how she conducts visual evaluations in such a way that students are comfortable.
Visitors were a diverse blend of different places and perspectives. A large group of ASL-English interpreting program students and professors from Valdosta State University were inspired, “Just seeing everything here, all the services. The school really goes above and beyond doing everything it can to support students.” Many visitors were exceptional student education personnel including itinerant teachers from school districts across Florida. Clay County visitors enthused, “It’s so nice to see what all is offered here!” and “the FSDB Expanded Core Curriculum summer camps are an awesome way to get the kids who would most benefit, here to campus.” Volusia County attendees were enthralled by the school’s extensive resources, “The range of services is impressive! And being around others who the kids can relate to must be nice for them.” A teacher expressed delight at seeing “the integration of the various FSDB programs and services in one place.”
The warm and festive FSDB Expo mood was a tribute to the energy and zest that Elizabeth Wilcox brings to her new position, and the school. Congratulations to Liz for pulling together such a huge endeavor in her very first year!
By Christi Boortz, Instructional Services
About FSDB The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is a tuition-free state public school and outreach center available to eligible Pre-K and K-12 students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind. At FSDB, students learn how to do more, be more, and achieve more, fulfilling our vision of preparing them for a lifetime of success. FSDB gratefully accepts private donations to support vital programs that directly benefit students and are not paid by state general revenue funds. To learn about eligibility for enrollment or arrange for a campus tour, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit www.fsdbk12.org