Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

December 6, 2019 - Volume 41, Issue 14

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit


  • 2 - Inclusive School Week 2019
  • 5 - 3rd Grade Field Trip to Baltimore Aquarium
  • 9 - Hour of Code Week
  • 10 - PTA Holiday Shop (4:15 to 7:00 p.m.)
  • 11 - PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • 12 - PTA Holiday Shop (4:15 to 7:00 p.m.)
  • 13 - PTA Holiday Shop (4:15 to 7:00 p.m.)
  • 13 - Interim Reports Issued
  • 13 - Spelling Bee, 2:35 p.m.
  • 16 - SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY #1: Winter Sweater Day
  • 17 - SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY #2: Blizzard Day
  • 18 - SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY #3: Sock Day
  • 18 - In-School Banking, 9:00 a.m.
  • 18 - Winter Chorus Concert, 7:00 p.m.
  • 19 - SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY #4: Pajama Day
  • 19 - Cosmic Adventure Traveling Planetarium (1st Grade)
  • 20 - SCHOOL SPIRIT DAY #5: Hat Day/Holiday Hat Day
  • 20 - 2nd Grade Field Trip to Toby's Dinner Theater
  • 21 - Winter Break Begins

January 2020

  • 2 - School Reopens
  • 13 - SAVE THE DATE: WLMS 6th grade orientation (Time: TBD)

To subscribe to the CCES calendar on your smartphone, electronic device, or email system use the calendar ID

From School Administration

The time between Thanksgiving and Winter Break is shorter this year compared to the last few years. December is already flying by with just two more weeks of school. We encourage you to follow normal routines, be consistent with your expectations, and remind your child to stay focused on school. It is easy to lose focus during the holiday hustle and bustle.

The annual Maryland State Department of Education Report Cards were issued this week. Please be sure to read that article below. We maintained our four-star status and our 81st percentile rank among Maryland elementary schools.

We are excited to announce that five staff members won $500 BGE Bright Ideas Grants. Please see the article below about how our students will benefit from these grants.

Next week, students will have an opportunity to shop at our annual PTA Holiday Shop. Students can come to school on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday between 4:15 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to shop for family and friends.

We have five fun Spirit Days during the week of December 16, and teams have activities scheduled that week as well. Our last day of school for 2019 is Friday, December 20. It is a full day of school.

New Information

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BGE Bright Ideas Grant Winners

Congratulations to Mrs. McKim, Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Gelinas, Mrs. Viojan, and Miss Addy. Each teacher won a $500 BGE Bright Ideas Grant to use in their classrooms and for our annual Makers Fair. Thank you Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) for supporting our school. All 510 of our students will benefit from these grants.
Our five teachers were among 52 other educators from the Baltimore region to receive the grants.

MSDE Report Card Released This Week

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) released the annual school accountability measure this past week. The second annual MSDE School Report Card was created in alignment with ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) – a federal accountability standard initiated in 2015. The MSDE School Report Card considers multiple data points before ultimately assigning a star ranking (1-5) for every school in the state.

The Report Card provides broad insights into 4 categories of school measures…

  • Academic Achievement
  • Academic Progress
  • English Language Proficiency
  • School Quality and Student Success

Overall school performance is determined by a formulaic combination of these 4 categories.
The combination of points, assigned by the state in each category, results in a percentage that is then associated with a school’s star ranking.

  • 75-100% = 5 Stars
  • 60-74% = 4 Stars
  • 45-59% = 3 Stars
  • 30-44% = 2 Stars
  • >30% = 1 Star

Clemens Crossing Elementary School earned a 74% and was thus designated as a 4-star school by MSDE on the 2018-19 School Report Card. The 74% percent rate placed CCES in the 81st percentile among all elementary schools in Maryland.

The information ascertained from the Maryland Accountability Program is a snapshot of the dedicated efforts put forth every day by our staff to enhance an environment conducive to teaching and learning at Clemens Crossing. As with other data points, we will be intentional with how we use this information to build upon successes and address areas needing improvement. We are on the cusp of the 5-Star rating (less than a half percentage point away)! This presents us with a great opportunity to improve and grow as a school in the coming years.

More information about Every Student Succeeds Act is located on the HCPSS website.
Additional details about Clemens Crossing's Report Card, and report cards from other schools/districts throughout the state if interested, please visit

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Keep Family File Up-To-Date

Recently, we have had several incidents where we have been trying to reach parents and find that either their voice mailbox was full or not set-up to receive messages. We also have several situations where the emergency number(s) we have on file is/are no longer in service.

We would appreciate it if you could take a moment and make sure of the following:

  1. Please have a voice mailbox in place that can receive messages. If need be, please clear the messages currently in your mailbox so that your mailbox can receive new messages.
  2. Please take a moment and update any emergency numbers that may need to be updated.

This is very important especially if we have an unscheduled emergency closing.

In-School Banking - December 18

CCES teamed up with First National Bank to provide banking opportunities for our students. In-School Banking takes place once a month on the last Wednesday of each month between

9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in the Cafeteria. You can find all of the dates on our school calendar.

Students can start banking at any time during the year. Here is the letter from First National Bank as well as the Banking Information Sheet needed to open an account:

First National Bank Letter

In School Banking Form

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Why Read for 20 Minutes A Day

At Clemens Crossing ES, we highly recommend less screen time and more time reading. Why read? Please review the article below.

Starting in Kindergarten, if a student reads 20 minutes a day at home, they will hear 1.8 million words per year. They will have read for 851 hours by 6th grade and on standardized tests, they will likely score better than 90% of their peers.

This is compelling data on the benefits of encouraging your child to read.

Helps in language development

From the time your child is born, reading out loud is a positive influence. As your child grows, daily reading will help the brain make connections between the written and spoken word, widening vocabulary in the process.

Adding to that benefit, vocabulary knowledge equates to masterful spelling. In fact, reading, spelling, and vocabulary are critically important to a child's lifelong achievement.

Promotes brain development

Educators have long said reading makes people smarter, and there’s research backing them up. A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found reading to children of any age wakens a number of regions in the left part of the brain. The areas in the brain that become active involve understanding the meaning of words and concepts tied to memory.

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Information Worth Repeating

REDISTRICTING NEWS: Parents of students who are eligible for an exemption must make their decision by December 13 by following the instructions below.

On November 21, 2019, the Board of Education finalized a decision to move more than 5,000 students to new schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, the Board voted to exempt several student groups from the redistricting decision, allowing them the option of attending the new school or remaining at their current school.

The exemptions apply to the following groups of students:

  • Current 4th grade students
  • Current 7th grade students
  • Current 10th grade students
  • Current 11th grade students
  • 30/60 credit JumpStart students
  • Students with an IEP, as of 11/21/2019
  • Students with a 504, as of 11/21/2019
  • Students with at least one custodial parent on active military duty

The Board also identified several of these student groups as eligible for bus transportation if choosing to remain at their current school. Parents of students who are eligible for an exemption must make their decision by December 13 by following the instructions below.

View your child(ren)’s school assignment for next year and, if applicable, begin the exemption process, via HCPSS Connect. Be sure to do this for each child as options may be different based on the exemption status:

  • Log in to HCPSS Connect
  • Select the Redistricting 2020 tab in the left menu
  • Select Redistricting 2020

If your child is eligible for an exemption, you will see the option to choose the school they will attend next school year and a transportation option if applicable. Remaining at their current school is optional, so it is important that you decide which school you would like your child to attend for the 2020-2021 school year. Eligible students of parents/guardians who do not complete the exemption process will be moved to the redistricted school next year. This decision must be made by December 13, 2019.

If you believe your child qualifies for an exemption and do not see that option in HCPSS Connect, please contact your child’s current school immediately.

Please contact your child’s school with any additional questions or visit the HCPSS website for more information.

New Website and System for Emergency Closings

Effective December 1, HCPSS is launching a color-coding notification system for emergency and other non-scheduled school closings, including for inclement weather. The new system standardizes the school system’s operational status to five possibilities to enhance consistency while promoting the safety of HCPSS students and staff, and adhering to negotiated agreements on staff availability.

The HCPSS operating status will be identified on a new website: The HCPSS operational color code options are:

  • Code Green – Normal Operations (in accordance with the HCPSS calendar)
  • Code Red – Schools and Offices Closed
  • Code Orange – Schools Closed; Offices Open with Liberal Leave in Effect
  • Code Blue – Schools Open Two Hours Late
  • Code Yellow – Schools Dismiss Early

All notifications regarding emergency closings will include both the code and operating status.

The emergency notification sources are:

  • HCPSS status website
  • HCPSS homepage
  • Email/text alerts
  • HCPSS Information Hotline (410-313-6666)
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Please note: HCPSS cable TV is no longer a source for inclement weather closings.

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Blessings in a Backpack

This year the PTA has partnered with Blessings in a Backpack at Running Brook Elementary School. This program provides food for children in need each weekend. Please help us raise money by sending in your spare change from December 2-20. Teachers will collect the change and the grade who sends in the most money will win a prize.

Winter Concerts

If you cannot attend the Winter Concerts in person, we have the next best thing. You can listen to and see the concerts live on Periscope through our Twitter feed. Simply visit on December 18 at 7:00 p.m. Feel free to share the information with family and friends.

December Spirit Days

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Holiday Help

With the holidays approaching, we would like to reach out to families in need. If you could use some financial support this holiday season, please contact Mrs. Rogers, our School Counselor, via email ( or phone (410-313-6866). We will do our best to provide you with some gift cards to help with holiday meals and gifts.

Fundraiser Update from

After the first quarter of the school year, we are well on our way to meeting our annual goal of $5,000 from Over 180 students are participating and helped Clemens Crossing earn $1,063.25. As many of you know, Giant Food no longer donates A+ rewards to schools, so we are hoping to replace that annual income with

As we are approaching the holiday season, please encourage family members, friends, and colleagues to use for gift purchases.

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Please be sure to select Clemens Crossing ES

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