The FSDB Expo is a lively one-day event held during the fall and spring months the school campus in St. Augustine, under the leadership of Elizabeth Wilcox, FSDB Director of Outreach. Wilcox was hired specifically to increase outreach awareness of the many programs and services the School offers both on campus and throughout the state of Florida.
Wilcox enthused, “I enjoy my new position! I love communicating how FSDB values partnerships with parents and families, communities, local and state organizations, and school districts. It is exciting to collaborate on issues of mutual interest and share best practices through training, seminars, and conferences.”
The first Expo was held last fall and the second Expo took place on February 28, 2019. As during the first well-orchestrated fall event, staff members received guests at the entrance to the Wilson Music Building, offering registration packets and bottled water. The full schedule included opening and closing remarks from Wilcox, short presentations on topics of interest to educators, welcoming remarks by FSDB President Dr. Jeanne Glidden Prickett, resource exhibits highlighting FSDB programs and services, specially arranged visits to see students at work (Career & Technical Education programs), and a tour of the school campus.
Asked about the overarching purpose of the twice-yearly FSDB Expo, Ms. Wilcox explained, “We invite guests to visit the campus and learn more about the ways that the school serves as a trusted resource throughout the state of Florida and beyond, providing comprehensive programs and services for students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or deafblind.
A variety of creative arts served as a strong presence at the FSDB Expo. Students from the Blind Department music bands Outta Sight and N'Vision performed classic Americana tunes as well as some modern favorites such as Twist and Shout, Thinking Out Loud, Drag Me Down, Umbrella, Long Time Gone, and Happy. Student performers included Diamond Caldwell, Brianna Cruz, Katlyn Deverson, Meli Hatcher, Camryn Johnson, Z’Leah Liburd, and Madison Wardell. The smiling audience of visitors beamed at the students, visibly enjoying the performance. Additionally, a table with tactile and visual art greeted visitors as they entered the Music Building—all pieces were created by third through eighth-grade students in the Blind Ambition Art Club.
After a campus tour and lunch, resource exhibits staffed by personnel were available throughout the Music Building. Expo attendees from across the state had the opportunity to interact with FSDB educators and specialists and have their questions answered about the school's programs and services.
Below is a short list of the resource exhibits and the staff members who provided FSDB information and distributed relevant materials:
Admissions – Michael Nease & Scott Trejbal
American Sign Language (ASL) & Deaf Culture – June Ann LeFors & Lenore Boerner
Assistive Technology – Patrick Turnage
Blind Library – Joy Carriger
Boarding Program – LJ Boyd & Marja DeFord
Braille Program – Kathy Michaelson
Career & Technical Education (CTE) – Farrah Selleck
Distance Learning – Tiffany Kawohl & Karen Newton
Parent Infant Program – Jennifer Cato
Pineapple Professional Development – Randi Mitchell & Tracie Snow
Positive Behavior Support (PBS) – Karen Kolkedy & Wendy Williams
Speech & Language/Audiology Services – Brittany Carr
Resource Materials and Technology Center-Deaf/Hard of Hearing (RMTC-DHH) – Mark Keith
Connect with FSDB Outreach Director Elizabeth Wilcox at 904-827-2455, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.fsdbk12.org/outreach, or FSDBOutreach via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
By Christi Boortz, Instructional Services
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. For a campus tour or to inquire about eligibility for enrollment, contact FSDB Parent Services at 904-827-2212 voice or 904-201-4527 videophone. For more information, visit www.fsdbk12.org