dragon digest

Volume 1 Issue 16/March 17, 2017

principal's letter


Each spring, middle school students throughout Georgia take standardized assessments to see how well they have mastered the standards for their grade level. Our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will take their End of Grade (EOG) Assessments throughout the month of April, beginning after we return from Spring Break.

Sixth grade students will take their three EOG Assessments - - - ELA Section 1 (the Writing part), ELA Section 2 & 3, and Math - - - each on a different day, the week we get back to school.

Seventh grade students will take their three EOG Assessments - - - ELA Section 1 (the Writing part), ELA Section 2 & 3, and Math - - - each also on a different day, beginning the week of April 17th.

Eighth grade students will take four EOG Assessments - - - ELA Section 1 (the Writing part), ELA Section 2 & 3, Math, and Social Studies - - - each on a different day, beginning the week of April 24th. Eighth Graders will also take an End of Course (EOC) Assessment for their 8th Grade Physical Science course (because it is a course for high school credit, and students take EOC Assessments for high school courses) the first two days of the week beginning on May 8th. Eighth graders who take Accelerated Math with Ms. Arends will also take an End of Course (EOC) Assessment on Monday, May 1st.

See the day-by-day testing schedule below for the month of April and the first part of May.

All of our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will take their End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) Assessments on computers this year. For the last two years, the state has asked school systems to increase the percentage of students taking their Milestones Assessments online each year, with a goal of 100% of students taking their assessments online within the next couple of years. With our smaller enrollment this year and the plentiful number of Chromebooks we have at DeSana, we are able to test all of our students online this year. Students have taken both formative and summative class assessments on the Chromebooks throughout this year, as our teachers have created them online for students to take. In addition, our students in each grade level will take a short practice assessment - - - similar to the format they will see on the EOG and EOC Assessments - - - during one of their class periods next week (see Practice Assessment Schedule below also). We feel quite confident that our students will be sufficiently prepared to take their End of Grade and End of Course Assessments online, using the Chromebooks, successfully, and that they will be ready to do their very best on these standardized tests when they return from Spring Break.

If you would like for young Dragon to have additional practice taking the assessment online, a website, called Experience Online Testing Georgia, has been established to provide an opportunity for students to become familiar with the online testing platform. The website can be found at the link http://gaexperienceonline.com/ and can be accessed at home. Experience Online Testing Georgia is available 7 days a week from 7:00am-10:00pm and does not require a log-in. It is intended to allow students to familiarize themselves with the online platform prior to testing.

Please know that at DeSana we view these Milestone Assessments as a snapshot of a student’s knowledge of the standards on a few days of testing, and that these standardized assessments do not completely define who our young Dragons are as students and as young men and women, and the concepts and skills they have mastered this year. These assessments are one piece of the totality of evidence that we look at, at the end of the year, to see how successful a student has been in their academic achievement for the year. Yes, most definitely, we want our students to try their hardest and do their best on these assessments, but you will not hear us put undue pressure on our students during this assessment time. Being at school on their assessment days, taking the assessments seriously, and doing their best is what we ask of each student here at DeSana. And that is the message we will share with them.

We are not quite certain just yet when we will receive students’ EOG and EOC Assessment results. But as soon as we have a better idea of when we will receive them, we will certainly pass that information along to you.

Here is the day-by-day testing schedule for the Georgia Milestones End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) Assessments:

· Wednesday April 12th 6th Grade ELA Section 1 (the Writing part)

· Thursday April 13th 6th Grade ELA Section 2 & 3

· Friday April 14th 6th Grade Math Section

· Monday April 17th 6th Grade Make up testing

· Tuesday April 18th 7th Grade ELA Section 1 (the Writing part)

· Wednesday April 19th 7th Grade ELA Section 2 & 3

· Thursday April 20th 7th Grade Math Section

· Friday April 21st 7th Grade Make up testing

· Monday April 24th 8th Grade ELA Section 1 (the Writing part)

· Tuesday April 25th 8th Grade ELA Section 2 & 3

· Wednesday April 26th 8th Grade Math Section

· Thursday April 27th 8th Grade Make up testing

· Friday April 28th 8th Grade Social Studies Section

· Monday May 1st 8th Grade Make up testing

· Monday May 1st 8th Grade EOC – Accelerated Math Assessment (Only a few)

· Tuesday May 2nd 8th Grade EOC – Accelerated Math Assessment Make ups

· Monday May 8th 8th Grade EOC – Physical Science Assessment (All 8th Graders)

· Tuesday May 9th 8th Grade EOC – Physical Science Assessment (All 8th Graders)

· Wednesday May 10th 8th Grade EOC – Physical Science Assessment Make ups

Here is the Practice Assessment Schedule for next week - - - Week of March 20th:

· Wednesday March 22nd During 1st Period 7th Grade Practice Assessment

· Thursday March 23rd During 3rd Period 6th Grade Practice Assessment

· Friday March 24th During 3rd Period 8th Grade Practice Assessment

During the weeks/days students are not taking assessments, they will follow a pretty normal schedule (a few minor adjustments), going to all of their classes. On the days they are testing, we want to encourage each and every one of our young Dragons to come to school, be here on time and be prepared . . . get a good night’s sleep the night before . . . eat a very good breakfast each morning . . . have a positive state of mind about the day and simply try their best on each test . . . bring with them a couple of pencils for if/when they need to work out a question first on scratch paper . . . and show what they know - - - what they have learned throughout this year - - - on each assessment they take. Parents, anything you can do to help us reiterate these good test taking tips, we would be most appreciative!

As always here at DeSana, we appreciate your support in all of our endeavors! Should you have any questions about the Georgia Milestones End of Grade and End of Course Assessments please feel free to contact me, Terri North, Principal, at tnorth@forsyth.k12.ga.us or at 770-667-2591, extension 491515.

Desana Day of Good Deeds

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Volunteers Needed

It is time to start volunteering for D3 Day! Please consider volunteering to help make our D3 Day a huge success. We will need 75 volunteers that day! Everyone must use this form to sign up even if you paid for your t-shirt on the t-shirt form, please still sign up on this form.

ANY ????s about D3 Day?

Please click here to visit the DeSana website and the D3 Day information page. We have added a FAQ section and all of the forms are available on the website!

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.


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.


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Dear DeSana Middle School PTSA Members,

The Executive Board of the DeSana Middle School PTSA has made the decision to convert from a PTSA to a PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). The reason we have made this decision is because of some lack of accountability and lack of transparency by the state PTSA Board. DeSana Middle School is not the only middle school in Forsyth County that has made this decision. Riverwatch, South Forsyth Middle, Otwell, Lakeside, and Little Mill Middle School are just a few of the middle schools converting to a PTO, and there are also many elementary schools in Forsyth County (including Brandywine and Brookwood) that are also converting to a PTO. By leaving the PTA organization and converting to a PTO, our DeSana PTO will not have to pay part of our membership dues to the state organization, therefore saving money and keeping more money in our local PTO organization. We will still have by-laws and will be held accountable as a booster organization to the Forsyth County Board of Education. Our yearly audits will be sent to the Forsyth County BOE. The advantage of this conversion is that all of the funds collected and raised will remain with the DeSana Middle School PTO, and we will no longer have to send funds to a state level organization. We will work closely with Principal North and will have the best interest of OUR school as our number one priority. We will be voting to dissolve the DeSana PTSA and converting to a PTO at a May 16th General Meeting at 7:00 pm at DeSana Middle School. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have before the dissolution meeting on May 16th.


Dawn Bourg

PTSA President


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Parents, if you or your present 6th or 7th grader are interested in finding out more information about our Advanced Studies Courses for the 2017-2018 school year, then plan on attending one of our five remaining Information Meetings, held in the media center at our school, starting at 6:30 PM. Here are the dates of the meetings still to come:

· Tuesday, March 21st

· Thursday, March 23rd

· Monday, March 27th

· Tuesday, March 28th

· Thursday, March 30th

We encourage parents to bring their middle schooler with them to a meeting because, after all, it IS all about your student and his/her education! DeSana Advanced Studies Courses are for students who are in the Gifted Program and also for students who are not in the Gifted Program. In other words, any student may register to take an Advanced Studies Course! They just must be motivated to work up to a more rigorous level in their studies!

While you do not have to attend an information meeting in order to register for Advanced Studies Courses for next year, we do encourage you to attend. But any student who wants to take an Advanced Studies Course next year MUST register for what they wish to take on the appropriate registration form. Registration forms are available on our DeSana webpage and in our front office.

All Advanced Studies Registration Forms must be turned in to our DeSana front office by FRIDAY, MARCH 31st. No Late Forms Will Be Accepted!

We hope to see many of our young Dragons and their parents at our upcoming Advanced Studies Meetings!


With the nine week juncture officially last Friday, that means Nine Week Progress Reports will be coming home with students on this Friday (TODAY!), March 17th. This Progress Report will give you and your young Dragon some excellent information about how he/she is doing in all of his/her classes at this half-way mark of the second semester. It also means that there are only nine more weeks left in this 2016-2017 school year! This report will tell how your child is progressing in his/her Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Literacy and 8th grade Spanish I classes thus far. It is not a final grade! The final grade for this second semester comes at 18 weeks --- the end of the second semester. This Nine Week Progress Report will also give you/your young adolescent his/her final grade for their third nine week Connection classes.

The format for this Nine Week Progress Report looks different from the Progress Report you received at 4 ½ weeks. It will show your student’s formative average, summative average, and his/her present class average thus far for each academic class. It will also show your young Dragon’s absences for each class. Another feature on this Nine Week Progress Report is an assessment of the student’s work habits in the areas of Assignment Completion, Participation, Responsibility and Interpersonal Skills. These are all behaviors that have the potential to impact academic achievement in significant ways. A “2” is the standard for each of these areas, in each class. That means he/she is meeting the standard in these work habit areas in his/her classes.

With only nine more weeks left in this school year . . . we encourage you, our parents, to continue to engage in conversations with your child on a regular basis about how he/she is doing in each class. And we hope that this Nine Week Progress Report will give you some valuable information to better inform you and your child as to exactly where he/she stands in mastering the standards for this school year.

As always, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your young Dragon’s teacher(s). Thank you for your continued support of our students and their academic achievement!


On Monday morning, March 20th, the DeSana faculty, staff and administration will initiate a brand new student recognition program for our school by hosting our very first PRIDE Award Celebration at 9:30 in our DeSana cafeteria. Thirty-one sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, who were selected by their teachers, will be honored at this formal occasion for exemplifying the following wonderful attributes and characteristics:

Practices Random Acts of Kindness

Ready and Willing to Work Hard

Integrity Coupled with Responsible Behavior

Demonstrates Outstanding and Honest Efforts

Exceeds Expectations

Parents and family members of the honored students are invited to attend this celebration, and join with DeSana teachers and administrators in honoring our young Dragons as they each receive a PRIDE Award certificate, generously donated by our awesome Business Partner, Omega Learning on Peachtree Parkway, a Dragon PRIDE pin, and a personalized plaque, made expressly for our DeSana PRIDE Award recipients by our fabulous and very generous Business Partner, All-American Specialties. A huge shout out and thank you to Keith Williams of All-American Specialties for designing and donating the individualized plaques for each PRIDE Award honoree and to Rosemary Albright of Omega Learning for her very generous donation of each PRIDE Award certificate!!

Also joining us for this event will be the CEO and President of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, Mr. James McCoy, who will share a few pearls of wisdom with our students and their parents. At each PRIDE Award Celebration we will invite a Forsyth County Schools or community business leader to come and share with our PRIDE Award recipients.

We will continue to have PRIDE Award Celebrations throughout each school year - - - one per quarter, four per year, so we will have one more this school year at the end of school in May for the fourth quarter - - - as we look forward to some very proud moments and honor some extraordinary students, as we toast the pride of DeSana!

New Connections Class for 8th Graders Next Year

Do you like photography and making videos? Would you like to be a part of one of Georgia’s largest sections of the economy, the film and television industry? Then you would enjoy the new connections class for 8th graders that will be offered next year, Broadcast Video Production. This will be a semester long course, and you have to apply to be accepted. Stop by the media center and see Mrs. MacMillan or Mr. Crowder to pick up an application, or to ask questions about this new connections course.


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.


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 ofAOL 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: 3/29, 5/17

THURSDAYS: 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 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


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The golf team here at DeSana is in full swing! We have 7 golfers on the team and practices are going well. Coach Case is thrilled about how much improvement the golfers have shown as we learn more about how to play this great game. The team is anxiously awaiting our first match, which is on March 21st at Old Atlanta Club. Our schedule is located on the DeSana website, and we would love for you to come out to a match and cheer us on.

the arts

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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.

altruistic endeavors

Kids Helping Kids

6th grade art students recently learned about different types of printmaking through the art of card making. Students voted as a class on the recipient of their cards and chose kids in the hospital. Over 300 cards were created and mailed to hospitals across the US to brighten the day of many children!


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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Spring Picture Day!

Cady Studios will be at DeSana on Wednesday, March 29th to take your child’s spring outdoor portraits. There is no pre-pay for spring portraits. Each student will have their individual picture taken and their image proofs will be sent home approximately 1-2 weeks after picture day for online ordering. If you have any questions, please contact Cady Kids’ Customer Experience Team at 800-547-6237.

We are adding some DeSana Dragon fun to Spring Pictures! Students will be allowed to take an additional shot with a friend(s). The maximum number in a group shot will be 5 students. Students are only allowed to participate in one group picture of their choice.


Hold on for just a little bit longer because Spring Break is just right around the corner!! Visions of fun in the sun . . . sleeping in . . . long, lazy naps in the middle of the day . . . going on a road trip . . . enjoying a staycation . . . seeing new sights . . . relaxing . . . and/or having more unstructured time to spend with family and friends . . . may soon become reality with Spring Break just two short weeks away! Students and staff will be off the week of April 3rd thru April 7th, with all returning to school on Monday, April 10th. Our DeSana office will be closed this entire week. We hope all of our young Dragons and their families get some time to rest, relax, and have LOTS of fun over Spring Break! Stay safe in your travels, whether they be near or far! We will see everyone back at DeSana on April 10th . . . rested . . . relaxed . . . rejuvenated . . . and ready to finish out this school year in a very strong and positive way! Take care!


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!


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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