Volume 1, Issue 12/January 20, 2017


Dear DeSana Parents,

As many of you know, I am a die-hard Duke basketball fan! For sure, my veins run “Duke Blue” when it comes to Duke basketball season!! And with the college basketball season upon us now, there will be many a late night for me when Duke draws those 9:30 start times. I don’t like to miss my Duke Basketball games!

So why am I - - - a good southern girl raised on Friday Night High School Football as the King of Sports - - - such a devout Duke basketball fan? Where did my parents go wrong? One reason is because I am a Duke alumnus who had the amazing pleasure of watching firsthand, court side the glorious 1977-1978 Duke basketball season, which was before the Mike Krzyzewski era began (Bill Foster was the Duke coach). It was my sophomore year and Duke was literally “the Cinderella team” that made it to the final game of the Final Four against a well-stocked Kentucky team. Never for a minute did anyone on campus think this Duke team would play in the championship game, for they had been the ACC doormat for the previous four seasons! It was the Duke team of Gminski, Spanarkel, Bender, Banks, Dennard, Suddath, Gray, Harrell, and Goetsch. Even though Duke lost to Kentucky in that championship game, what a thrill it was to watch the season unfold in court side seats! The atmosphere on campus was electric! Little did I know then that this type of excitement and craziness and championship play would soon become the hallmark for the Duke basketball program and a dynasty would be built. That year I became sold on not only Duke basketball, but on ACC basketball as well. I became a full-blown convert!

Another reason I am such an avid Duke basketball fan is because of their long-time coach - - - Coach K. He is a person on my “Top Three List” of most admired leaders. What an incredible person he is! His leadership skills and talents are unsurpassed in my book when you look at the basketball empire he has built and sustained at Duke over the past 36 years. He has won 1057 college games in his coaching career, and is the coach with the most wins in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history. He also has won five NCAA Championships while at Duke, and has led the United States men’s national basketball team to three gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. Coach K was also inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Add to that the hundreds of young men he has mentored (and still mentors today) and what many of them have achieved both on the court and off. Also note his 90%+ college graduation rate for his players - - - some of the top student-athletes in this country at a school known for its academic rigor.

But what I admire the most and intrigues me the most about Mile Krzyzewski is his ability to build such a top-notch organization and sustain it year after year on such simple and true core principles. Any book I can find written by him, or others who have written about him and his leadership skills, I devour. For Coach K is a wonderful teacher and a phenomenal leader. One of his greatest strengths is his ability to break things down to the most basic, but integral, parts or steps or tenets. So when I read his books or catch segments on TV about him and the Duke Basketball Program, the same core principles are always written or talked about. Ones like: commitment, belief, motivation, character, courage, family, confidence, continual learning, honesty, hard work, integrity and excellence. These core principles are cornerstones to building any type of great program - - - whether it be a college basketball program, a rock-solid, Fortune 500 business, or an excellent middle school.

So it is to that end - - - establishing an excellent middle school here at DeSana - - - that we will work to instill within our young Dragons these core principles. For I truly believe they are core principles that will endure the test of time in making young men and young ladies caring human beings and leading them to achieve to their fullest potential. As a staff, we will work on modeling these core principles and teaching about them daily. Coach K has many quotes that I love (I know you’re shocked!). But one of my most favorites is this:

Hunger not for success, but for excellence. And don’t let anyone define excellence for you.

We are a very young organization here at DeSana - - - one that is still defining excellence in its own terms. And while we have a good start, we need all members of our DeSana family --- students, parents, staff, and community business partners --- to help us set our own high expectation levels and standards that are going to define excellence for us here at DeSana. Once set and defined, then we must work with our young Dragons daily to show them and teach them what excellence is . . . show them how they can achieve excellence . . . and what it feels like to achieve excellence. Then we must model the way daily! And we must ask for nothing less than our students’ best. This must be our quest.

For Aristotle’s words still hold very true this day and age: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an art but a habit.”

With warmest regards and a rousing “GO DUKE!”,

Terri A. North


DeSana Day of Good Deeds

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Please plan to attend Bingo on Friday, January 27 after school. Have a great time with your friends and family. Enjoy concessions and maybe even be the one to yell . . .BINGO! Click here for the flyer with full details. All proceeds from this fun event benefit our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds in May!

Please consider volunteering for Bingo night! We need your help to make this night a success.



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Celebrating Academic Excellence At DeSana

On Wednesday, February 1st, Thursday, February 2nd, and Friday, February 3rd, the DeSana faculty and administration will host our first annual Academic Achievement Celebrations. These celebrations will honor those students who excelled academically this first semester.

We will recognize our Honor Roll students - - - those students who earned a grade of 90 or above for their semester grade in each and every class. This includes all 4 core classes --- Math Language Arts, Science and Social Studies --- and Literacy classes and Spanish class (8th grade only), and all Connections classes taken during the first semester.

We will also recognize our Merit Roll students - - - those students who earned a grade of 85 of above for their semester grade in each and every class. This, too, includes all 4 core classes --- Math Language Arts, Science and Social Studies --- and Literacy classes and Spanish class (8th grade only), and all Connections classes taken during the first semester.

Invitations for honored students and their parents to attend these wonderful ceremonies will be sent home with students on Tuesday, January 24th. The Academic Achievement Celebrations will take place by grade level, with each on separate days:

· 8th Grade – Wednesday, February 1st @ 8:00 AM in the DeSana cafeteria

· 7th Grade – Thursday, February 2nd @ 8:00 AM in the DeSana cafeteria

· 6th Grade – Friday, February 3rd @ 8:00 AM in the DeSana cafeteria

Parents, we will begin each Celebration promptly at 8:00 so you will want to make your morning plans accordingly as we will be honoring quite a few students at each. Parking will be available in the parking lots in front of the school and by the gym.

This will be a special event as we take this opportunity to congratulate and honor our young Dragons who continually make school, their learning, and the mastering of academic standards a priority in their lives. We congratulate our Academic Achievement honorees! And we look forward to seeing our students and parents at these special award events!

4 ½ Week Progress Reports Coming Your Way!

Friday, February 3rd marks the 4 ½ week juncture of this second semester, and thus, is a great time for parents to take note of how their young Dragon is starting off the second semester of this school year in each of his/her classes. While parents (and students!) may check their child’s grades daily/weekly via Parent Portal (and we highly encourage you to do so!), in some instances we will be sending home with students on Friday, February 3rd paper copies of how a student is progressing or not progressing thus far. Please see below for how each grade level will be handling Progress Reports at this 4 ½ week juncture.

6th Grade Progress Reports

Students will be given one Progress Report sheet from each core class (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies) that tells their average thus far and how they have done with each formative and/or summative assessment. These Progress Report sheets will be teacher-generated. For Connections classes and Literacy classes, Progress Reports will be given only to those students with a present grade of 75% or below. Work Habits not Assessed.

7th & 8th Grade Progress Reports

Only those students with a present grade of 75% or below in their core academic classes (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish for 8th graders who take it) will receive a paper copy of their grades (formative and summative assessments) to take home to show their parents. These Progress Report sheets will be teacher-generated. For Connections classes and Literacy classes, Progress Reports will only be given to those students with a present average of 75% or below. For students who do not receive a paper copy of their grades, the expectation is that parents will check their child’s grades on Parent Portal. At any time a parent may request a hard copy of their student’s grades by contacting the teacher directly. Should a family not have access to the internet to check their student’s grades on Parent Portal at Progress Report time, please notify your child’s Dragon Time teacher. Work Habits not Assessed.

We encourage parents to take a few minutes to sit down with his/her young Dragon to go over his/her academic progress during the first 4 1/2 weeks. Let us also give you a word of caution as you look at averages for your child's core classes at this 4 1/2 week juncture. As you hopefully know, this second semester grading period is made up of an 18 week period just like the first semester, so this is just the one-quarter mark of the entire 18 week period. A student's average at this point may include few or not any summative assessments, which will count 80% of his/her average for the semester. Thus, your child's average may be a bit skewed, one way or the other, depending on how your child performed on any of the assessments thus far. Parents, please do not hesitate to contact any of your child's teachers should you have any questions or concerns. We appreciate your support so very much!

Desana Middle School’s First Oratorical Contest!

Our students have been working hard editing, timing, and practicing their presentations for this year’s oratorical topic, “What The World Gains From Optimism”. They have shared famous quotes, personal anecdotes, and exemplified people that have succeeded throughout history because of their optimism. We can’t wait to narrow the competition at our semi-finals on January 26th and 27th!

On January 26th, students will present during AOL time. On January 27th, presentations will begin at 8:15. Best of luck to our Orating Dragons!!

Spelling Bee Winners Announced

Wednesday, January 11th was the first-ever DeSana Middle School Spelling Bee. Please congratulate 7th grader, Rithvik A., as he moves on to the County Spelling Bee later this month. The runner-up was 7th grader, Victoria B. Thanks to all the participants for making this a successful Spelling Bee! A special thank you to our Partner in Education, Arctec, for providing the trophies, certificates and prizes for the winners.

DeSana Dragons at the Tech Fair

DeSana Middle School is very, very proud to have 23 young Dragons participating in the Forsyth County Technology Fair. This annual event will be held at Whitlow Elementary School Saturday January 21, 2017. A special THANK YOU to Ms. North for paying the entry fee for all of these students.

Best of luck to these students:

Srimanth A.

Chidananda C.

Shrey D.

Pranav D.

Shanmathi G.

Karthik H.

Nandhini H.

Pranav K.

Armaity K.

Krishan K.

Chris K.

Kiruthika L.

Vanessa M.

Sakthipriya R.

Obshree S.

Siddharth S.

Varsha S.

Azwa S.

Ishita T.

Anish V.

Mahitha V.

Carrie U.

DeSana’s first ever National Geographic Geography Bee is here!

The Bee will be held in the media center on Tuesday, January 24th at 2:30. We have 27 geography minded students who will be competing in the finals for a chance to go to the State Bee on March 31st. Our students have shown their vast geographic knowledge thus far, but who will take home the championship?!?!

Thank you to business partner Arctec for sponsoring the bee and providing the trophies and prizes!

The Bee is an annual contest sponsored by National Geographic to help students learn and explore the world around them. This is the 27th year of the Bee and it is held in over 11,000 schools nationwide. The national championships are held in May in Washington, D.C. The winner receives an impressive prize consisting of a $50,000 scholarship and a trip designed and funded by National Geographic.

Additional Opportunity to Learn (AOL) Time

Has your young Dragon learned everything in their life the first time it was presented to them? Does your student like to come in for early morning help sessions? Does your child really like to stay after school for help sessions? If the answer to any of these questions is “no” then Additional Opportunity to Learn (AOL) time might be just the thing for your middle schooler! AOL Time is a 50 minute block of time (9:00 – 9:50) that happens first thing in the morning on Thursdays, with a second AOL Time happening on some Wednesdays throughout the year.

During AOL Time, students may select any teacher they have (for the four core subjects + Spanish in 8th grade) that they need to go to for extra help OR to prepare even more so for an upcoming assessment. Students have the opportunity for “the gift of time” to receive re-teaching from their teachers during this block of time.

So if your young Dragon is struggling in a particular class or if he/she has received a low score on a summative assessment, please encourage your student to take advantage of AOL Time. Ask your child the night before which teacher he/she will be going to for some extra help during AOL Time, and then make it the first topic of conversation that you discuss with your child in the afternoon/evening of the day on which AOL occurs.

Here are the dates for AOL Time for the rest of this school year:

WEDNESDAYS: 1/25, 2/15, 3/8, 3/29, 5/17

THURSDAYS: 1/19, 1/26, 2/2, 2/9, 2/16, 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18

**April 3 – 7 is Spring Break

***April 12 – 28 is GA Milestones EOG Testing --- No AOL Time during these weeks

MUST READ for 8th Grade Parents and Students!

We want our 8th Grade students and parents to have the smoothest transition to high school as possible. The following link has valuable information for you and your child for upcoming 8th to 9th grade transition events, hosted by their future high school: West Forsyth High School OR South Forsyth High School. Unsure of which high school your student will be attending? Click here to use the interactive map and find out.


Dragon Academy is an opportunity we will start up once again for students who need to complete, take or re-take formative and/or summative assessments (i.e. unit tests, projects, essays, quizzes. etc.). Dragon Academy will happen most Fridays --- at least two times a month --- from 4:15 – 6:30, beginning Friday, January 20th, with teachers and an administrator supervising each session. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to drastically improve both their learning and their grades. Students will be invited by their teachers . . . or they may invite themselves . . . to attend Dragon Academy if they are missing work or need to re-take an assessment to show better mastery of the standards or complete a project. Although students will have a little over two hours to complete their work, once they complete all that they came to accomplish, students will be able to call their parent to come pick them up. Snacks and drinks will be sold for a very reasonable cost so students may focus on their work, not on their gurgling stomachs! School supplies will be available for students to use to complete their work, as needed.

Please mark your calendars now for these Dragon Academy dates for the rest of the school year:

January 20, 27

February 10, 24

March 3, 17, 31

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19


DeSana 8th Graders will have a wonderful opportunity on Thursday, February 2 to attend Forsyth County Schools' College and Career Fair in the afternoon during the school at the Forsyth Conference Center. Eighth graders will have the chance to EXPLORE business/industry opportunities in Forsyth County and High School career pathway choices across the district; IMAGINE themselves in a particular occupation and actively involved in a High School career pathway that aligns with that occupation; and, CHOOSE a career pathway option that fits with their unique needs, interests and talents! More information about this great opportunity and a permission form to attend will come home with 8th graders in the coming weeks. Click here for more information.

Grade Level eNewsletters

We know that many middle schoolers are not the best conduit of information about what is happening at school in all their different classes. Itslearning is a big help in reminding students about assignments and what they are studying in class, and also to parents, but we want to make sure that our parents are in the know about their child’s academic endeavors, so that is why we will publish our Grade Level eNewsletters each month, starting for this new year the week of January 9th. These eNewsletters are nothing fancy --- just the facts ---and are designed to give you a brief synopsis of what is happening in the four main content areas (five for 8th graders, which includes Spanish) . . . Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and Science . . . on a monthly basis. Each Grade Level eNewsletter (eNews, for short) may contain information about standards/topics/concepts being studied, formative and/or summative assessments coming up, project assignments, and/or reminders about other upcoming activities or events. So stay tuned as our first eNews will be coming your way electronically the first week of each month!

the arts

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High School Musical Coming SOON!

DeSana is thrilled to have its first musical on February 3th and 4th at 7PM! You do not want to miss HIgh School Musical at the South Forsyth High School Performing Arts Center both nights. Tickets are just $10 for this great production which the students have been working on for months! Please come out to support DeSana Arts! Rising 6th graders get in free on Saturday night!


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7th Grade field trip update:

We are so excited about our unique opportunity to visit Zoo Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame with our 7th graders on March 24 & 25th! We are planning on having a question and answer parent meeting in February, more details coming soon!

If your child has turned in a field trip permission form, please sign up to receive notifications and payment information via remind:

To: 81010 text: @g67kb

The 2nd payment of $30.00 will be due on Tuesday, January 31st. Checks should be made out to DeSana Middle School.

8th Grade Savannah Trip Update

As we start the second semester, much needs to be done to get ready for our trip in May. Up first, the final payment is due by Friday, February 3, 2017. If you are on the payment plan, the final payment is $100.00 and is due by February 3. You may send cash, check or money order made out to DeSana Middle School. In February, we will begin the process of selecting roommates, making meal choices and gathering insurance and medical information. Students will NOT be allowed to participate in the roommate selection process until the full balance has been paid. If you have questions about your student’s account, please contact Mrs. Wood at erinwood@forsyth.k12.ga.us or 770-667-2591 ext 492216. Please be on the lookout for forms in February regarding the roommates, meals and insurance.

DeSana Students Participate in First VEX Robotics Competition

On Saturday January 14, DeSana’s VEX Robotics Club participated in a qualifying competition at North Forsyth High School. DeSana sent three teams to match up against 53 other teams from Forsyth and other surrounding districts / schools. This being DeSana’s first Robotics competition, the goal was simply to expose the students to the format of the event, have them interact with the other teams and referees, and experience the different procedures involved in a meet.

The three teams that participated were represented by the following students:


Srimanth A.

Seth A.

Siddharth S.


Krish W.

Kyle G.

Srirag T.


Laasya A.

Travis S.

Each team competed in six matchups. Out of 56 total teams:

□ Team B placed 25th, with 85 points

□ Team C placed 34th, with 75 points

□ Team A placed 49th, with 58 points

The robotics club students worked really hard to prepare their robots and in the end did great considering this was their first event. The eight students that participated arrived at 7:30 in the morning and trouped through until 4:15 in the afternoon! Congratulations on your first meet!

Hat Day

The Foreign Language Department will sponsor their first Hat Day on Friday, February 3rd. The fundraiser initiative will serve two purposes: collect funds to buy books, audio and video materials for our department, and to raise money to explore the possibility of inviting a “Mariachi” Band as part of the cultural experience to share with our students at DeSana Middle during the month of May. Join the Fun and wear your favorite Hat on February 3rd !!!

Valentine's Day Candy Grams

Valentine's Day is a great time to tell someone special how much they mean to you. It can be a special friend or teacher. Students can purchase a personalized candy gram for their friends, teachers or someone really special this year at school. Each candy Gram will include a bag of goodies and a special message, which students can choose from when they purchase. We will deliver the grams to students on February 14th. Each gram is $1.00 and all money goes to support the 8th grade.

Students can purchase candy grams February 2-8 in the commons. Grams will be delivered to students on February 14.

altruistic endeavors


Altruistic Endeavors is one of the five key facets of our overall program. It is one of our core values, so to speak. We want our young Dragons to not only know what it is like to give back to their wonderful community and others, but to also experience it firsthand. Through many different DeSana service clubs, school wide charitable endeavors, and our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds (or D3 Day for short!) in the spring, we will work to provide our students with a variety of community service opportunities throughout the school year, in our local community, and in different parts of our country and the world.

So why encourage our young Dragons to get involved in community service? Well, first and foremost, it is the right thing to do; to learn to give freely and happily of one's time and talents and heart to help others, expecting nothing in return! But here are a few other reasons to consider encouraging your child to get involved in community service:

· To help someone in need.

· Those who give of themselves and their resources and help others, say they feel they receive a great feeling in return.

· Helping others can expand your world and help you better understand what is happening in your community.

· Meet new people and make new friends.

· To improve our world by caring for the environment.

· Giving back to one's community and others is an "added value" on your college resume.

Please check out opportunities for serving and helping others right here in the Dragon Digest and for students, on morning announcements!

other important information

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Parents: The last day to buy a 2016-2017 DeSana Yearbook is fast approaching!!

January 31st is the deadline

Visit: balfour.com

Click “shop your school” and search for DeSana Middle School.

Click on “yearbook”.

From the Media Center:

We are so happy that students are enjoying the media center and finding books that they connect with! Parents, please ask your child if he/she has a book checked out from the media center that may be overdue, or if an overdue fine may be owed. Next week, e-mails will be sent to parents of students who need to return books or pay fines. We appreciate your help, parents!


One of the top New Year’s resolutions is to be more organized. Has your student lost his or her agenda? Or maybe it would just be nice to begin with a nice new agenda for 2017? Your student can purchase a new agenda for just $5 in the front office. Checks should be made out to DeSana Middle School.


In case you do not know, Ms. North is an avid dog lover! She loves all kinds of dogs . . . all breeds and all shapes and sizes . . . but is especially partial to her beagle named Brady, and is VERY fond of our Desana service dog, Frosty! So on every Wednesday, even throughout the winter months, DeSana celebrate ALL of our Dragon Dogs by hosting Woof Woof Wednesdays in the morning carpool line. From 8:30 – 9:00 AM, on these Woof Woof Wednesdays, Ms. North, or another Desana staff member, will be giving away doggie treats to every friendly Dragon Dog that comes through the line as parents drop off their young Dragon for school. So tell your four-legged furry friend(s) that he/she gets to go for a ride every Wednesday morning and get a treat! What better way to start out the morning for your best furry friend!!

411-helpful links for you

thanks to our business partners

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