Dragon Digest

A Communication Tool for The Dragon Family and Community


Dear Dragon Family,

I am so excited to get the school year started! Our hope is that you've spent good quality time together with your families this summer making amazing memories. We can't wait to hear all about them.

The administrators and teachers have been up at the school preparing the classrooms and common areas, as well as, instructional materials to welcome you to campus and ensure we all have a successful year! The staff has been attending numerous hours of training, as well as, participated in a book study called The New Art and Science of Teaching. This book focuses in on best teaching practices that ensures top results for all kids based on research.

You are going to hear our teachers talk about High Reliability Schools this year. Through High Reliability Schools, we ensure that our systems are structured in a way that all staff will continue to invest in the top teaching practices, as well as, structure our systems to ensure all students reach their full potential no matter what class or grade level they are assigned.

Our goals for the 2019-2020 school year are to include our community in the decision making process, as well as, ensure that we are communicating with you all of the incredible things that happen on our campus each day. We truly are blessed to be part of the Dragon Family.

Throughout the year, we will be sending different surveys for you to fill out and send back to us. We appreciate your honest feedback as our goal is to be the BEST school possible for your child.

We want you to know that SAFETY is our number one priority and we value EVERY PERSON that walks into our building. You will see that all teachers on campus wear an ID badge, carry a set of keys, as well as, a walkie talkie. These things ensure that our classrooms are secure, and that we can be in constant communication with our staff at all times. With the help of our school board, they have approved additional officer positions around the district. Officer Mark Davis will office out of Deretchin for the 2019-2020 school year. He will be on campus frequently, and will be monitoring the building throughout the day. In addition, all visitors must sign in and out of the campus with a Driver's License. At the time they enter the building, their ID is scanned to ensure they are safe to be around our children. We appreciate your patience when lines to enter the school are long, however, we know that you'll value our thoroughness in ensuring all of our children are safe while they are in our care.

As I stated before, communication and working with our community is our goal this year. Every Tuesday, your child's teacher will be sending home graded work and other information in a "Tuesday Folder". We highly encourage you to check this each week and communicate with your child how proud you are of the efforts that they put into their work each day. Our focus is to build a growth mindset with all children. The term growth mindset was coined by Dr. Carol Dweck. Dweck found in her research that when students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

Please look for our newsletter every other Tuesday and ensure that you are paying attention to the dates that are listed. The newsletter will be sent to you via email. If at any time you need to update your email address, please contact Cory Ognisty at cognisty@conroeisd.net.

During the first weeks of school, you will receive information about the online CISD student handbook, Deretchin handbook, information from the PTO and other important information about Deretchin Elementary and Conroe ISD. All parents and students will need to sign the student handbook forms and return them no later than September 1st, 2019.

Everyone at Deretchin hopes you take advantage of the last few weeks of summer! We look forward to seeing you at our Meet the Teacher Event. We truly feel blessed to serve you, your children and your family. We look forward to a GREAT school year!

--Alicia Reeves, Principal

Meet Our New Staff

Libby Smith, Assistant Princiapl Gr 4-6

As our school grows and changes, we are excited to welcome some new staff members this school year. Our campus works through a very rigorous interview process, including a panel interview, and a classroom lesson. It is our promise that we hire the highest quality candidates that have the same commitments that we have as the Deretchin staff. These teachers have spent time this summer working with our current staff and other CISD staff members to ensure they are ready to greet your children in the next few weeks.

5th and 6th Grade Lockers

Our teachers will be taking over the checkout of lockers at the beginning of the school year. They plan to assign students lockers directly outside their homeroom class, and therefore, will wait to pass out locker assignments until the first week of school. We know that our students enjoy decorating their lockers, as well as, need the time to practice their combinations. With this in mind, the teachers have built time into the week for the students to practice and to decorate. As always, we will work with your child if there is a need. If you have any questions, please contact your homeroom teacher.
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Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Deretchin Elementary functions as a Professional Learning Community. It is not uncommon to hear that teachers are going on learning walks during their conference time. Learning walks are guided observations for groups of teachers to visit another classroom to learn from a teacher who has mastered a skill that impacts student success. All teachers are expected to go on at least two learning walks throughout the school year, but many choose to do several more. Additionally, our teachers are expected to meet every Thursday during their planning time to disaggregate data, discuss student progress, and participate in training sessions.

As a professional learning community, it is not uncommon to hear a student state that they were in a different teacher's classroom today than they were yesterday. This is a practice called flexible grouping. Through the data disaggregation, our teachers determine teacher strengths and student needs. Students are then broken into smaller groups during our intervention block (D3) to learn from the teacher that had the highest success rate on the skill the child is struggling with. These groups are fluid and change frequently. With this in mind, we want you to know that our students consider all of the teachers in the grade level to be their teacher during the school year. If you have specific questions on this process, please contact your child's homeroom teacher.

PTO and Parent Involvement

We are SO grateful for the amount of parent support we have each year on campus. We absolutely could not do the work that we do without your help. There are many ways that you can get involved at the school. One way is to join our PTO. We have an incredible PTO president, Shari Janke. Shari has served on the executive board and is now moving into the President position. Shari is excited to help connect you with the school, the teachers, and the community. Attending our PTO meetings will give you great insight on what our campus is focusing on, how you can help us, and strategies for helping your child with their school work. The PTO has also been a HUGE asset to our campus by helping raise money for supplies that are used in the classroom and around the school. This past year, the PTO donated just over $30,000 to our school. Through these funds, our campus was able to purchase the items that are pictured below. Each of these items help enhance the learning environment for our students. Our PTO surveyed the school community a couple years ago and found that our parents did not enjoy selling items for fundraisers. At that time, we moved to a check writing campaign, which has taken the pressure off of families asking their friends and neighbors to buy items they don't use. We will be sending you more information regarding the check writing campaign in the near future, and we want to thank you in advance for supporting not only your child's education, but all of the Dragon Family through this process.

The teachers and staff at Deretchin are very fortunate to have such a wonderful and active PTO. They help our school by:

  • Volunteering at our many different school activities
  • Organizing fund raisers that support the purchase of many instructional materials
  • Organizing family events such as the Deretchin Rodeo
  • Supporting teachers at events
  • Creating our annual yearbook
  • Supporting teachers and students in the classroom
  • Assisting with textbook distribution and collection
  • Keeping our grounds beautiful
  • Updating our school marquee weekly
  • Assisting with the organization of our book fairs
  • Selling t-shirts and maintaining logo inventory
  • Distributing school supplies

If you would like to learn more about the PTO, please feel free to contact Shari Janke at president@deretchinpto.org. Look for more information to come home in your child’s Tuesday folder.

We are also very excited to continue the official Deretchin Elementary PTO website. The website will keep you informed of important PTO information throughout the school year. Please visit the site at www.deretchinpto.org to learn more about our wonderful PTO.

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Research shows that attendance is the highest predictor of student success in school. If your child is not at school, it is not reasonable to expect them to master the concepts that were taught the day they missed class. The way that students are taught in class looks completely different than it did in previous years. Students are frequently interacting with other children, and learning through inquiry and exploration. It is extremely hard to reproduce the discussions that happen in class in an authentic format, and therefore, your child misses the opportunity to reach the higher level thinking discussions that can't be reproduced. We do on the other hand know and respect your decision as a parent to identify when it is not appropriate to send your child to school due to an illness. We will do our best to ensure time is given to your child to cover what is missed. If your child is going to be absent from school, please ensure that you contact the front office to report the absence. Parents must send a doctor's note or a note from home indicating the reason for the absence when the child returns to school. State law requires that students must be in attendance for a minimum of 90% of the instructional days per year in order to be promoted, and therefore, we ask that you do not schedule trips during the school year. Regular school attendance is crucial to your child's success, so limiting these absences when possible and avoiding early or late check in or out is extremely important. Thank you for your help getting your child to school!

Parent Access Center

CISD provides a system for parents to have online access to all of their child’s class assignments, grades, test grades, as well as, attendance, discipline, schedules, progress reports, and report cards. Please sign up on the CISD webpage under students and parents tab.

This system will allow the parent to set a criteria to monitor your child’s grade. If your child scores below that grade, you will receive an email with the assignment listed. This is a great way to help your child stay on top of their academic progress.


Mr. Bruner is a valued member of the Deretchin staff who is here to help take care of our students during the school day. Mr. Bruner is a registered nurse and is happy to help you with any questions you have regarding medications at school.

It is important that each child have a blue health form completed and on file in the clinic. This form is what we refer to in case of an emergency on campus. The form is part of the first day forms that were emailed out to you to complete. (If you are new to the campus, you filled this out at registration.) For the safety of all students, children are never allowed to bring medication to school on their own. An adult will need to drop this off to the nurse in the original bottle. We appreciate your help in keeping all of our students safe.

Dress Code

Knowing what is appropriate dress for the upcoming school year is important for you to review prior to “back-to-school” shopping. The following guidelines are consistent with the CISD K-12 philosophy. We hope they are helpful.

*Shorts are appropriate for any time of the school year provided they are finger-tip length when the arm is positioned at the child’s side. Shorts that are not allowed are: bicycle shorts, boxer shorts and shorts that fit too tightly.

*No student may wear articles of clothing which display obscenities, advertise alcoholic beverages, narcotics or other prohibited substances. Clothing that depicts violence, weapons, and/or death, are prohibited. The same applies to badges, patches, decals or emblems of any kind or in any place that may be offensive to others or advocates the use of prohibited substances or actions.

*Items that detract from the educational environment or may be unsafe for physical activity are disallowed. This includes: hats, oversize pants and tops, pants with oversized pockets, see-through material, backless blouses, tank tops, or blouses with shoulder straps less than 1.5 inches, muscle shirts or shirts of that type, pants that drag the floor, and any see-through article.

*Stretch pants and leggings may be worn if accompanied by a dress or shorts of appropriate length (fingertip length).

*Blouses or shirts designed by manufacturers to be worn outside are permissible if they extend below the belt line. Shirts and/or blouses that reveal the midriff when the arms are raised above the head are disallowed.

*Shirts and blouses must be buttoned all the way, except for the neck button. Zippered articles of this type clothing should be zipped up in a comparable manner.

*Athletic-type tennis shoes are required for physical education classes. Please remove wheels from shoes.

*"Flip-flop" type rubber sandals and other bath-type rubber sandals should not be worn to school; this includes “Crocs”.

*Jeans, shorts, or long pants with holes should not have any holes that are above fingertip length.

*Make-up of any sort is not allowed. Students will be asked to wash off any makeup worn to school.

*No mohawks or sport letters should be shaved into the child’s haircut. Hair should be a natural color.

In short, our Deretchin dress code emphasizes comfort and modesty, acknowledging respect for the educational environment.

Mr. Ed Shierry - Deretchin Elementary Retired Crossing Guard

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It is with a very sad heart that I inform you that our former crossing Guard (Merrit Oaks and Planchard Circle), Mr. Ed peacefully passed away at home on July 21, 2019. He was an incredible man who had such a great impact on our students. He not only spent time ensuring our children were safe on their way to and from school, but he also spent time in the classrooms helping kids, reading to children, dressing up as Santa, and sharing his positive energy with those around him. We are truly blessed that Mr. Ed shared his time with us and thankful for the love he gave the Deretchin Family.

Mr. Ed's service will be held on August 3, 2019 at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in The Robb Chapel at 11:00 am. We would love to see you there to celebrate Mr. Ed.

Annonymous Alerts

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Our campus will be utilizing the Anonymous Alerts app designed to allow students, or anyone, inform our campus administration of any safety concern during the 2019-2020 school year. This app will allow any completely anonymous upstander and an administrator to engage in completely anonymous two-way confidential ongoing communication regarding an issue. The app can be downloaded either at the Google Play store for Android or Apple store for iOS.

Note the important following information to use when utilizing the app:

· Login/Password– conroeisd

For a complete overview of Anonymous Alerts and how it works, please view the following video on YouTube-


Please be aware 1-888-KIDCHAT will still be available. Anonymous Alerts is preferable as the app allows two-way anonymous exchange of tip information.

Lastly, we will reiterate to students constantly the importance and availability to come directly to an administrator with any concerns. Your assistance in reiterating this is much appreciated.

Deretchin Elementary School Shirts

We will be selling school shirts at Meet the Teacher and Kindergarten Orientation. There are several different designs to choose from. We encourage all students to purchase either the Blue Mountain shirt for the girls or the Grey Mountain shirt for the boys. These are the official Friday shirts for the 2019-2020 school year! The other shirt options can be worn on other days during the week. We LOVE showing off our school spirit! Don't miss out!

TWHS Feeder Zone Shirts

This year, TWHS is selling a feeder zone shirt. Please visit the link if you would like to purchase one for your child. These are great shirts to wear to The Woodlands High School Football games.



Payment for school lunches is now available online at myschoolbucks.com. Payments can also be made directly to the cafeteria with a check written out to “Child Nutrition Department”. Mrs. Maria, our cafeteria manager, will also be at meet the teacher to accept money for your child’s account. Students who bring their lunches may also purchase milk, juice, ice cream, and cookies in the cafeteria.

Lunch Times for this school year are:

6th - 10:40 -11:10

5th 11:00-11:30

1st - 11:10-11:40

3rd - 11:45 - 12:15

2nd and 4th - 12:20-12:50

Kinder - 12:50-1:20

Parents are welcome to join their child for lunch after the first two weeks of school. By allowing this extra time, your child will become familiar with the daily routines and procedures. If grandparents or other visitors are coming for lunch, please ensure they are on the emergency card. We ask that all parents checkin at the front desk with your ID, and take your lunch slip to the teacher on duty. The teacher will then dismiss your child to the Deretchin Diner for lunch. When the lunch period is over, your child will return to the cafeteria to meet their classmates and proceed with the remainder of the day.

If you plan to bring your child lunch and not stay with your child, please ensure that you deliver it to the campus at least 15 minutes prior to the lunch period and label your child's name and grade level on the lunch. Our front office staff will take the lunches to the lunch pickup area in the cafeteria. Please be sure to remind your child to go to the table to retrieve their lunch if you are dropping it off.

We are asking that ALL parents attend our Parent Information Night this school year! As our curriculum is changing and our systems reflect ways that we can communicate with you throughout the school year, we want you to know that this night will be DIFFERENT than it has been in the past. Teachers will be sharing important information on how you can best support your child throughout Deretchin Elementary. Please MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW!! You won't want to miss your child's night!

Parent Information Night Dates

Kindergarten to Third Grade - September 17, 2019 5:30-7:00

Fourth Grade to Sixth - September 19, 2019 5:30-7:00

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Deretchin Parent Book Study

“The 7 Healthy Habits of Highly Effective Families” Parent Book Study

This year, our parent book study is from the NY Times bestseller, Stephen R. Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families”. This book is for all of us who are commited to creating a strong family culture in the world we face today. The book presents the same 7 principles he introduced in his previous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and applies them to families today. These principles are applicable for families in any stage of life! We hope you will join us!

We will meet on the following dates:

Session 1: October 1 - 9:30am

Session 2: November 6- 9:30am

Session 3: January 16 - 9:30am

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Pickup and Dropoff at School and Registration for Bus Services

Registration for Bus Services

Conroe ISD provides bus service for students who live more than one mile from the school. If you would like more information on the bus system, please visit http://www.conroeisd.net/transportation/#register for bus registration and routes. Remember, that it is difficult to predict pick-up and drop-off times especially at the beginning of the school year. Until each driver has an opportunity to gauge how many students on their route will ride the bus, times may vary. We appreciate your support and patience.

Arrival Procedures: (See Map)

Children may enter the front of the building at 7:30 a.m. Supervision is not available before this time. If you need to be at work prior to this time, we highly encourage you to check with one of our local Day Care Facilities or partner with a neighborhood friend so that your child is not left unattended.

For our Bike Rack A riders, the bike racks are located in the front of the school. Students may enter the building through the main front doors. Our Bike Rack B riders (students that live to the south of the school), will use the racks located beside the bus ramp, which allows bike riders to enter through the biker B doors. Although our official school day begins at 8:00 a.m. We ask that children be in their classrooms NO LATER THAN 7:55 a.m. to hear the announcements and have a great start to their school day. Children arriving after 8:00 a.m. will be considered tardy and a parent must park their car and walk their child into the school.

Car riders will enter the front of the building upon arrival to school in the morning. Bus riders will enter through the commons area. For the safety of our students, car traffic is not allowed in the bus area. If your child is a car rider, please enter the school from Terramont. Due to the high volume of students being dropped off in the morning, we close down our front parking lot until all of the cars have cleared the car line. As the cars are cleared, we will open the front parking lot again for parents who have parked to exit the school premises. We appreciate your understanding in knowing that this system is the best way to keep all of our children safe while parents are dropping their children off to school.


Dismissal will begin at 3:00 p.m. on the first day of school. After the first week students will begin dismissal at 3:10 p.m. For the safety of the children, all transportation changes need to be sent to your child’s teacher in writing. Teachers will not allow your child to go home a different route without a signed note from their parent. Please do not email your child’s teacher during the day to change your child’s transportation. Teachers will not check email during instruction and may not get the message.

Transportation changes must be made before 2:40 p.m.

Bikers and walkers will be dismissed prior to car riders and bus riders to make sure they are on the bike paths prior to the traffic flow. Older children will be dismissed ahead of the younger children. Our older children tend to walk a little faster than the younger children. This gives them time to exit the building safely, and also allows the older siblings the opportunity to stand and wait for their younger brother or sister. We strongly recommend students wear helmets while riding a bicycle, scooter, rip stick, etc. Biker/Walker A students will exit through the 2nd grade hallway

(next to the bike racks). Biker/Walker B students will exit the back of the building by the bus ramp and a teacher will escort students to Merit Oaks. Parents meeting their children who are walkers can greet their child at the end of the sidewalk at Merit Oaks after bikers have been dismissed.

Kindergarten students will not be allowed to walk home without an adult signing them out with the teacher on duty.

Car Riders will meet in the Kindergarten and 1st grade hallways alphabetically based on their last name and exit the building through the side door after the bikers and walkers have cleared the hallways. We will have plenty of adults in the hallways helping your child find their way the first few weeks of school. For the safety of all of our children, please make sure you are not parked in the “No Parking” zones on Merit Oaks Drive. Please do not park in the neighborhoods during arrival and dismissal as we want to respect those neighbors who live so close to the school. Signs provided by the school must be displayed in the car’s front window. Please use a thick black marker to write your child’s first and last name on the sign so it can be read easily from a distance. The sign also ensures that we are placing each child in the car of the person authorized to pick him/her up from school, and will help to speed up the car rider line.

Please refrain from using your cell phone while in the car rider line. Laws regarding cell phone use in school zones took effect on September 1, 2009.

Day care riders will be dismissed from their classroom and picked up in the bus loop. If your child is absent or not riding day care transportation, please notify the day care of the change. Day care drivers must account for all children before leaving the school.

By following these procedures arrival and dismissal will flow quickly. Please remember to be patient the first 2 weeks of school with the length of time dismissal takes. It will get better as students and parents learn the routines.


The weather can change very rapidly throughout the day. There are times when it becomes necessary to call for a “Severe Weather Day.” This would include heavy rain, thunder, and/or lightening in the area. If there is light rain falling, all bikers/walkers will be dismissed as usual. It would be a good idea for students who walk or ride their bike to have a rain coat to wear on such days.

When a Severe Weather Dismissal is called, all bikers and walkers must be dismissed in an alternate way. Most students become car riders and some elect to ride the school bus. This would be a good time to take advantage of neighborhood carpools in order to decrease the number of cars lined up on Terramont. Your patience on these days is appreciated.

We ask that parents do not walk up to pick up their child as teachers and staff will be working together to get children ready to board the school bus or organized for the car rider line. We appreciate your support and patience while we get all children home safely. We do our very best to call for a “Severe Weather Dismissal” as soon as possible. When we have severe weather dismissal, we will send out a Blackboard alert to all parents. Please remember to sign up for this through Parent Access Center.

*Please ensure that your child’s teacher knows how you would like them to go home on Severe Weather Dismissal days.

Student Placement

Student placement will be sent out via email again this year on Friday, August 9, 2019 after 4:00 p.m. (Due to teacher in-service times). We appreciate your patience as we place our new students.

Attached is the Deretchin Parent Calendar. (Dates are subject to change and will be updated in the weekly newsletters if necessary.)