Dragon Digest

Volume 1 Issue 15/March 3, 2017

principal's letter

Never let life impede on your ability to manifest your dreams.

Dig deeper into your dreams and deeper into yourself

and believe that anything is possible, and make it happen.

--Corin Nemec

Dear DeSana Parents,


From time to time I receive a wonderful surprise as a former student sends me an email, letting me know how well she is doing . . . or how he has been able to follow his passion and is loving his life . . . or telling me she looks back with some fond memories on her middle school days and how those years, in essence, were the beginning of her formulating her dreams and goals, and put her on the right trajectory to reach those dreams and goals. One of those letters came via email to me just last week. What a delight it was to read!


Some of my other former students . . . those still in high school . . . I get to see a bit more often as every now and then they venture over to DeSana with their younger sibling, or I see them out and about in the community. It’s amazing how it becomes “OK” once again . . . as a sophomore, junior or senior in high school . . . to strike up a conversation with your middle school principal and happily recall some of the fun or more poignant times during those middle school years. And from these delightful conversations I learn about all the neat and incredible things these students are taking on and doing during their high school years, and what their plans are for the future.


And it seems as of late I find myself in more and more interviews with former students who have now graduated from college with a degree in education and are looking to begin their teaching career in Forsyth County. Just this past weekend at the FCS Job Fair, it seemed like every other teaching candidate began their conversation with me with, “Didn’t you used to be the principal at (you fill in the blank)?” Half of the time I do not recognize these former students as they have grown up (imagine that!) and have changed quite a bit from when I last saw them. And they definitely act very differently!


I feel like a proud parent as I read about my former students’ lives and talk with them, and hear and see all that they have accomplished in their young lives to get them to where they are today. As you can imagine, some I never thought would get as far as they have --- completing college and either already successfully immersed in their chosen career or happily embarking on their new career. For others, who have chosen the noble profession of teaching, I never would have guessed . . . and they probably would have never guessed either back in middle school . . . that they would wholeheartedly desire to teach.


So why do I share all of this with you, you may be asking? Well, my point is pretty simple. And it is a point that I am thankfully reminded of each time I hear from a former student. Many times during these middle school years, students do not know whether they are coming or going. Disorganization . . . lack of rational or logical thinking . . . forgetfulness, at times . . . lack of motivation . . . only believing that their peers (their best friends…for the moment!) are the only living beings who have any knowledge about life and school and the social happenings in their life --- that adults and parents do not have a clue . . . may all be hallmarks of a middle schooler at some point in time during these three years. Dreams? Goals? They mostly seem to pertain to the next social event of the year . . . and social event can take on a very broad definition for a middle schooler. Dreams about the future and future plans and professions? Goals about what one wants to do with one’s life and what one wants to accomplish during one’s life? These can seem pretty much non-existent at times with most middle schoolers during these years. But that does change.


I have seen this change as high schoolers come back and share what they are doing now and what they aspire to do after high school . . . as I read the emails of former students (as was the case in the email from the former student last week who is planning on pursuing her doctorate degree in psychology after she finishes up with her undergrad education!) . . . and certainly as I sit across from a former student in an interview, longing to get a DNA sample to prove conclusively that this is the young person I knew eight/nine/ten years ago!


For what I see are many, many young men and young women who really did have dreams . . . BIG dreams . . . and goals . . . lofty goals . . . during their middle school years. But these dreams and goals were clouded many a time by the mere fact that they were a middle schooler. Pure and simple, a pre-adolescent. Need I say more? But along the way they held onto their BIG dreams and their lofty goals. They dug deeper into themselves as they matured more. They never really stopped believing in themselves and their possibilities . . . even, perhaps, when others did. They made their BIG dreams and lofty goals happen for themselves!


So take heart . . . parents of middle schoolers and middle school educators everywhere! Don’t you just love a fabulous surprise in the end!?!!


Sincerely,

Terri A. North

Principal

DESANA DAY OF GOOD DEEDS

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FOOD DRIVE: The February canned food drive was a great success with 354 cans collected! Thank you!! Please feel free to bring in cans that you forgot to donate (we will collect until D3 Day). MARCH is CEREAL month. Any kind of cereal is acceptable, from Total to Cocoa Puffs (boxes or bags), hot or cold (oatmeal and grits are fine too). All grades, 6th, 7th and 8th will be collecting cereal.


All of the food collected will be given to The Place Of Forsyth County. Please support our food drive for D3 Day! The class and teacher with the most cereal by March 31st will get donuts for the students and the teacher will get a special treat.


D3 Day T-shirts: A form came home with your student about 2 weeks ago regarding how to order your child's and your (if you plan to volunteer that day) D3 Day t-shirts. T-shirts can become a major expense of D3 Day (one that we can't possibly cover in this inaugural year). We are asking for $5 per t-shirt. Please if you feel that you can give more to help less fortunate DeSana students, please do so. It is very important that we collect enough money to cover our t-shirt cost so that we can allocate the donated funds to actual service projects. We are still accepting forms. Also, please return the form even if you feel you can not donate. We need to know the size of the shirt to order your child. Click here for the form..

PTSA

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KROGER REWARDS: DeSana MS PTSA now has an account with Kroger. It is very easy to log in to your Kroger Account and link your shopper card. Once in your account simply go to the Community Rewards section and type in DeSana's number code: 31216. This will link your Kroger card to DeSana MS and every time you scan your Kroger card, DeSana will get money. Click here for more details on how to link your card.


DeSana PTSA has awarded $8,000 in grants to our wonderful teachers thus far. PTSA members at DeSana should be proud of the work that you are doing for the school!

academics

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Early Release Day / Conference Day on Friday, March 10th

Parents, please mark your calendar now for an Early Release Day on Friday, March 10th, when our middle schoolers will be released at 1:30 PM. Please start making plans now for where your young Dragon will spend his/her afternoon after dismissal on next Friday. There will be no after school activities on this day as all of our teachers will be involved in parent conferences. Teachers will be communicating with parents with whom they would like to discuss their student’s progress during this second semester, and inviting them to come in for a conference on the afternoon of March 3rd. Likewise, if you have a concern about how your child is progressing, please contact your young Dragon’s teacher(s) to schedule a conference.

The End of the Third Quarter Is Upon Us!

Friday, March 10th, marks the end of the third nine weeks, or the mid-point of this second semester (Where has this school year gone??!). Students will begin their fourth (and final!) nine weeks on Monday, March 13th, as they switch to their new Connections classes, and new Literacy class for our sixth and seventh graders. On Friday, March 17th, all students will receive their Nine Week Progress Reports. This will give you and our students their average in each class, as well as an assessment on their work habits thus far: Responsibility, Participation, Assignment Completion, and Interpersonal Skills. As a reminder, a “2” is the desired (successful) rating for students to receive on each of these Work Habits. A “3” means they are exemplary and a “1” means a student does not meet the standard.


This nine-week juncture means that there are only nine more weeks left in this second semester and the school year. And that time will fly by quickly! I encourage all of our parents to sit down and talk with your young Dragon about his/her grades thus far, and see where improvement may happen and congratulate them for a job well done in areas where they are excelling. We want all of our students to finish this school year strong, and be ready to move on to the next grade by showing their teachers . . . and themselves . . . that they have mastered their grade level standards! As always, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher(s) with any questions or concerns you would like to discuss about his/her academic progress.

Science Olympiad

On March 4th, the DeSana Science Olympiad team will participate in the Regional Science Olympiad Competition at Forsyth Central High School. With a team of fifteen 6th and 7th graders, we hope to place in each of our events. Last month we attended the Dodgens Middle School Invitational Competition and competed against 24 other middle schools. With hard work, we placed 1st in 2 events and placed in the top 4 in 4 other events. The students have been working hard since September. The students are very proud of what they hope to accomplish at this event. There are a total of 24 different science and engineering events ranging from Experimental Design to Bottle Rockets. Please wish these students the best of luck!

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.

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: 3/8, 3/29, 5/17

THURSDAYS: 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

DRAGON ACADEMY - - - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ADDITIONAL LEARNING & ASSESSMENT TIME FOR STUDENTS!

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:


March 17, 31

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19

THE ARTS

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aDVANCED aRT FOR 2017-2018

Now is the time to apply for 8th grade advanced art for the 2017-18 school year. This class will be a semester long course offered first and second semester. It is designed for students who have excelled in all aspects of the general connections art course and have demonstrated their interest and ability to meet the challenge of a more intensive art curriculum. For more information on how to apply please see Mrs. Petit in the Connections Hallway Room 1240. Deadline to apply is March 30th at midnight.

activities

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PARENTS OF 7TH GRADE STUDENTS ATTENDING THE OVERNIGHT FIELD TRIP:

Our Field Trip is fast approaching! We are only 3 weeks away from our overnight field trip! We are very excited about this opportunity for our students! If you have not sent in the last payment, please do so as soon as possible. Students received a packet on Monday with very important forms to be filled out. Please make sure to return these forms to Mrs. Roveri no later than Monday, March 6th. These forms include updated information so we can contact you for emergencies during the field trip, it includes if your child has any special dietary or medical need, a request for administration of medication (if you child takes medication) and lastly t-shirt size and permission to watch a video at bedtime. Please make sure we receive these forms by Monday, March 6th. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mrs. Roveri at 770-667-2592 ext: 492124 or by email, groveri@forsyth.k12.ga.us.


Please make sure to sign up for the remind text messages, these will keep you informed as we approach the field trip. Text @g67kb to 81010

altruistic endeavors

THE IMPORTANCE OF 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 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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FROM THE SCHOOL NURSE

Parents, if your student has been confirmed for either the flu or strep throat, please inform our school nurse Rebecca McWalters with a quick email to rmcwalters@forsyth.k12.ga.us. Thank you!

AGENDAS ON SALE

Has your student lost his or her agenda? Or maybe it would just be nice to have a new crisp agenda for the rest of the year. Your student can purchase a new agenda for just $5 in the front office. Checks should be made out to DeSana Middle School.

411 - HELPFUL LINKS FOR YOU

thanks to our business partners

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*ALL AMERICAN SPECIALTIES

*BROWNS BRIDGE CHURCH

*CHICK-FIL-A @ THE COLLECTION

*DR. HOM PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY & ALPHARETTA COMPREHENSIVE DENTISTRY

*MILTON DENTAL SPECIALISTS

*NORTH GEORGIA PROMOTIONS

*OMEGA LEARNING

*RBM OF ALPHARETTA

*THE JOINT CHIROPRACTIC @ THE COLLECTION