Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

October 15, 2021 - Volume 43, Issue 9

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

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Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit


  • 15 - Schools Closed for Students - Professional Work Day
  • 21 - Flu Clinic
  • 22 - School Spirit Day - Stuffed Animal Day
  • 29 - Pumpkin Run (Grades 3-5)
  • 29 - PTA Halloween Family Fun Night: Trunk-or-Treat & Fall Festival 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.


  • 1 - National American Indian Heritage Month Begins
  • 3 - First Quarter Ends
  • 4 - Schools Closed for Students - Professional Work Day
  • 5 - Fall Picture Make-up Day
  • 8 - Conference Scheduling Opens
  • 8 - PTA Fundraiser: Taharka Bros.
  • 10 - Report Cards Issued
  • 10- PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • 15 - American Education Week
  • 15 - PTA Book Fair Starts
  • 18 - Conference Scheduling Closes
  • 22 - School Closes 3 hours Early for Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 23 - School Closes 3 hours Early for Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 24 - School Closed for Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 25 - School Closed for Thanksgiving
  • 26 - School Closed for Thanksgiving Weekend

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


Time has moved by quickly and we are more than halfway through the first quarter of the 2021-2022 school year! I want to share some important information and updates with you as we start to wind down the first quarter of the school year.

Arrival and Dismissal

We are thankful for your patience and focus on the safety of all children during both arrival and dismissal. Arrival is much quicker than the first few weeks of school. Arrival now ends at 9:15 a.m. as originally scheduled. Students are considered late at 9:15 a.m. and need to be signed in at that time in the vestibule. After studying our dismissal procedures, we made adjustments to dismissal a few weeks ago by dismissing walkers at the same time as car riders. This helped clear the traffic so we can focus on the increase of cars in the car loop. This also helped because we have to dismiss buses one or two buses at a time versus all buses like in years past. Please continue to follow the directions of the school staff members and the crossing guards as their directions and decisions are based on the safe delivery or pick-up of every child who attends our school. There have been accidents at other schools during arrival and dismissal, including a child getting hit by a car. We must not let any of that happen at CCES! School staff will address infractions to the arrival and dismissal procedures on an individual basis. If the infraction continues, we will set up a conference individually to review and plan for a safe arrival and dismissal. As a school community, we can work together to protect each of our students.

Mid-Quarter, Grading, Conferences, and Report Cards

In prior school years, we have issued interim progress reports halfway through each quarter. This year, HCPSS has determined that we are no longer sharing these reports. The first-quarter report card will be issued on Wednesday, November 10. All academic areas will have grades except related arts classes. Related Arts teachers will report student progress and grades at the end of the second and fourth quarters. Parent-Teacher Conferences will take place between November 22 and 24. Specific sign-up information will be shared soon. In the meantime, your child’s teachers are uploading information on graded and non-graded assignments in Canvas on a regular basis. For more information about how to access your child’s grades in Canvas, please find a guide at this link. If you have additional questions please contact your child’s teacher. You can find the email addresses of each of our staff members at this link. Finally, please review the information in this newsletter about learning behaviors. Teachers will be reporting the learning behaviors on the report cards. Strong learning behaviors have a powerful influence and impact on student performance.

Please remember, school is closed on October 15. I hope that each of you have a wonderful three-day weekend with time for family, friends, and rest!


Learning Behaviors and Report Cards

Learning Behaviors are learned actions that enable students to access learning and interact with others productively in the community. These behaviors are developed in and outside of school.

Additionally, Learning Behaviors help with understanding and managing emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and making responsible decisions - all are essential life skills.
They complement the curriculum content taught in the elementary grades and are a natural part of learning about oneself while interacting with others.

These behaviors were drafted and revised several times based on feedback from teachers, administrators, curriculum staff, and parent advisory committees.


Indicators are provided to give greater detail about each learning behavior. These indicators give students, families, and teachers a sense of what the learning behavior means or how it might be demonstrated. The indicators help guide teachers as they consider and report on the learning behavior. The indicators are not a checklist. All indicators do not have to be present to meet expectations of the learning behavior. There are five learning behaviors reported on the elementary report card:

Demonstrates Interpersonal Skills

  • Shows respect to peers and adults
  • Interacts positively with peers and adults
  • Shares opinions respectfully
  • Contributes positively to the classroom and school community
  • Demonstrates digital citizenship

Demonstrates Responsibility

  • Follows established schoolwide and classroom procedures
  • Follows oral and written directions
  • Exhibits self-control and manages emotions
  • Participates actively in learning
  • Manages time effectively to complete work
  • Organizes and manages materials
  • Accepts responsibility for actions

Demonstrates Perseverance

  • Works through challenges
  • Attempts new strategies when needed
  • Solves problems
  • Asks questions and seeks information
  • Accepts and learns from feedback
  • Demonstrates stamina

Demonstrates Collaboration

  • Works cooperatively in a variety of settings
    (e.g. whole group, small group, online, guided, and unguided)
  • Thinks flexibly
  • Acknowledge others’ ideas
  • Demonstrates ability to reach a compromise
  • Shares responsibility
  • Contributes to conversations and group discussions

Demonstrates Initiative

  • Takes appropriate academic risks
  • Begins task without prompting
  • Demonstrates self-advocacy
  • Uses technology to demonstrate learning
  • Selects appropriate tool(s) for the task
  • Seeks to improve work

Please visit the HCPSS website here with complete information regarding learning behaviors on the report card.

The Importance of Attendance

We acknowledge that our attendance expectations and requirements are competing with the realities of the ongoing pandemic and quarantines. In a typical year, our overall schoolwide attendance rate ranges between 95% to 97%. This year, our overall attendance rate is between 91% and 93%. Please note, we remove students who are quarantined from the attendance report when we, as a Student Support Team, identify children who are listed as chronically absent.

Please review the information below regarding HCPSS attendance procedures.

Research is clear that showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic and social success starting from kindergarten and continuing through high school. Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school, or even facing social challenges:

  • Missing 10% (or about 18 days of a school year) can drastically affect a student’s academic success.
  • By the 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that can indicate if a student is at risk for dropping out of high school.
  • In the 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

Student attendance is a major point of focus for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Starting in school year 2018-2019, MSDE lowered the chronic absenteeism rate from 20% to 10% which means that at 10% a student should be receiving support and interventions to improve their absenteeism.

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) believes that attendance is key for student success. Per Policy 9010, HCPSS defines exemplary attendance as a final attendance rate of 96% or more of the student year.

In support of achieving exemplary attendance for all students, we are sharing with you a comprehensive approach for attendance supports and interventions.

  • If a student has missed 5% of their monthly attendance days (as few as 1-2 days a month), parents will receive a Care and Concern Phone Call and letter from their school. This step will allow staff members to coordinate with families to determine how the student can be supported for better attendance.
  • If a student has missed 10% of their monthly attendance days (this is defined as chronic absenteeism by MSDE), parents will receive a 10% Chronic Absenteeism Attendance Letter. Parents and students may be scheduled for an attendance conference. Other interventions and supports may also be used in an effort to assist the student.
  • If a student has missed 15% of their monthly attendance days, in addition to the interventions and supports at 5% and 10%, these students may require an attendance support plan. Students may also be referred to the Central Attendance Team.
  • If a student has missed 20% of their monthly attendance days, parents will receive a 20% Emergency Chronic Absenteeism Letter or Habitual Truancy Letter. Students may be referred to Project Attend and may be referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office for habitual truancy.

With the collaborative effort of HCPSS parents, staff, and students, we are confident that all students can have successful attendance. This will improve student success in school and in future life.

First Annual PTA Trunk or Treat & Fall Festival Friday, October 29th, 5:00-7:00 PM @ CCES

Friday, Oct. 29th, 5pm

10320 Quarterstaff Road

Columbia, MD

Trunk or Treat & Fall Festival Information

Come one, come all for some family fun this Fall!! Wear your costume and participate in any or all the events below. The Fall Festival is free, but Cougar Pumpkin Raffle tickets will be available for purchase ($0.25/each or 5 for $1.00). If you can help in any way, please sign up here. If you plan to attend, just show up – no sign-up required!

5:00 – 5:45: FALL FUN

  • Eat (Bring your own dinner or eat before you arrive)
  • Dance in the Monster Mash
  • Create free Kidz Art crafts under the tent
  • Pose for a smile in front of the photo wall
  • Get your ghoul game on near the blacktop
  • Enter the Cougar Pumpkin Raffle for the chance to win a special pumpkin decorated by CCES staff/grade levels! (Kids will have already voted for their favorites in school the week before the Fall Festival!)



  • Parade will begin on the Blacktop, move past the playground, wind onto the field, and will end near the entrance to the parking lot.
  • Parade is for CCES students/siblings & staff (and their kids) only. All other family members are asked to watch.
  • Kids will reunite with their families at the end of the parade for Trunk or Treating!
  • Games, Crafts, Music, etc. will still be open
  • Cougar Pumpkin Raffle winners will be announced at 6:50 PM!


  • All children can participate in Trunk or Treating, regardless of whether their family is bringing a decorated vehicle
  • Children should bring their own bags or buckets to hold treats.
  • For those bringing a decorated vehicle…
  • Arrive in the parking lot no later than 5:20 PM. Overflow trunk or treating will occur in the bus loop, but the parking lot will be filled first. Only decorated cars will be allowed to park in these areas.
  • Please supply your own candy or some other treat to hand out (non-edible items such as stickers, pencils, small toys, etc. are also fun!)
  • PTA will supplement your treats with donations from families attending the event, but not bringing a decorated vehicle.
  • Make sure an adult is stationed at your vehicle to hand out your treats
  • For those not bringing a decorated vehicle, but still trunk or treating…
  • You may not park on campus. Instead, please park at the Clemens Crossing Pool, or on Quarterstaff Road/surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Please consider donating a bag of treats to help the cars that are participating! A bin will be available near the parking lot to drop off your donation. Extra treats will be distributed amongst cars participating in Trunk or Treat. Update

Thank you to all the families that have signed-up for our Fundraiser! To date we have already earned $1,529.02!!! These funds will come directly to our school and will be used for needed materials, supplies, and support student activities. Please note that this fundraiser goes through the end of the school year. Your help is truly appreciated!

Halloween at CCES

At Clemens Crossing we will celebrate Halloween with our PTA at our 1st Annual Trunk-or-Treat!
This year the event is being held on Friday, October 29. See more in the PTA section about how you can get involved! Please note that we do not hold Halloween parties or a parade during the school day. Students should not bring or wear costumes to school.

Label Your Child’s Items

This is a reminder to make sure items such as lunch boxes, jackets, and water bottles are labeled with your child’s first and last name. This will help us get items back to your child if they misplace them at school.

We do have a Lost and Found bin for your student to check which is located at the end of the Music Room Hallway. But items without names will be donated to a local charity after a month or two in the lost and found.

5th Grade School Leaders Food Drive

The 5th Grade School Leaders group researched various organizations and decided to support the Community Action Council of Howard County.

During the week of October 25th, we are asking for donations to support this organization. Please see the flyer below for a list of items. Each grade level will have a box in their pod that will be the drop-off location for the donations.

On behalf of the 5th Grade School Leaders group, we thank you for your donations!

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MAP Testing, Grades 1 through 5

The Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments are computer adaptive achievement assessments in Reading and Math. As a student responds to questions, the test responds to the student by adjusting the difficulty of the questions presented, up or down, to the student. MAP assessment items align to objectives in the Maryland College and Career Ready Standards. This assessment is designed to measure student growth in Math and Reading, both during the school year and across multiple school years. The assessment allows teachers to see instructional strengths and needs for each student.

At the conclusion of the assessment, each student receives a score that aligns to an instructional level. MAP, in conjunction with other measures throughout the school year, helps teachers differentiate instruction within their classrooms.

Starting October 18th, students in grades 1-5 will take the Measured Academic Progress (MAP) assessment. The data from the MAP assessment will help schools and teachers measure where your child is starting the year academically. The HCPSS intends to also give the assessment in spring to measure how your child’s learning is progressing throughout the year. The MAP test does not affect grades and the difficulty adjusts depending on how your child responds. It is normal for students to only answer about half of the questions correctly. To learn more about the MAP assessment, please visit:

Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursdays

The PTA would like your help saying “Thank You” to our teachers and staff by signing up to provide snacks on Thursdays for the months of October and November. Use the Sign-up Genius below to be 1 of 5 volunteers per week to send in a snack big enough for about 15 people. It could be salty or sweet, but store-bought/pre-packaged items only at this time, please. You or your child can drop it off in the main office on Thursday or earlier in the week. Don’t have time but still want to participate? Donate money to our PTA PayPal account and we will pick something up for you! (Indicate using Sign-up Genius what week the donation is for and write “PayPal” in the comments.) Questions? Email Rachael Kelly at

PTA Trunk or Treat & Fall Festival

We no longer celebrate Halloween during the school day. Starting this year, the PTA will sponsor the first annual PTA Trunk-or-Treat & Fall Festival. Please see the graphic below and save the date!
More information will be out in the next week or two. Fundraising

Our school will be participating in the School Store fundraising program this year. This online program helps our school earn cash without students selling door-to-door, collecting money or delivering products. Over 400 merchants, including Sears, Target and, have joined together to offer up to 50% of sales to our school for shopping through

To shop and support our school, simply go to and select our school (151709).

Participation is key in helping get the word out about our School Store. Soon your child will come home with a parent letter requesting you to help them enter email addresses to friends and family. When you enter just 3 email addresses you'll receive a prize code your child can return the next day for a prize.

Thank you for your support!

Clemens Crossing Spirit Wear Store Is Open

This year’s online store will remain open throughout the entire school year and items will be shipped directly to your home!

In addition to promotional discounts that will occur periodically throughout the year, you can also save 10% by joining the 1st Place Spiritwear VIP Club.

You can browse the large selection and place your orders by visiting

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Reporting Absences

Absence Notes

All students are required to have a note explaining why they were absent. Please send an email to your child's teacher as well as

CCES Breakfast and Lunch Menus

This will take you to the nutrislice website.

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Community News and Programs

The Howard County Public School System's policy has a process for non-HCPSS community organizations to distribute information and announcements. These organizations are typically located in the Howard County Community and are focused on serving students, parents, and families in our county community.

Please click the Community News and Program button link below to access a wide range of programs based in our area.

Programs on the HCPSS website are grouped in the following way:

  • Academic Enrichment
  • Afterschool and Camps
  • Arts & Music
  • Child Care
  • Culture/Diversity
  • Environment/Nature
  • Health
  • Sports/Recreation
  • Tutoring/Mentoring
  • Volunteering
  • Other

The website lists the activity or event, the organization's sponsor, and the ages that the activity or event is geared to serve.

This link will remain in our Cougar Comments newsletter throughout the school year. Programs and events expire and are added regularly. Feel free to check it regularly to learn about area programs and events.