Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

August 20, 2021 - Volume 43, Issue 1

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

From School Administration

We, at Clemens Crossing Elementary School, are excited to begin the 2021-22 school year. We have been busy planning and preparing to greet all students as they embark on a new journey this year.


Thank you goes out to the 85% of our community who completed their Family File prior to the first day of school. This is so important for us. As of this week, we have 545 students registered in our school.


We know very well that the past 18 months during the COVID pandemic have been a period of uncertainty and change. We are ready to engage, reassure, provide consistency and care for each of our CCES students. At CCES we believe that student achievement is connected to their feeling of safety, belonging, community, and love for learning.


Here are some of our plans for achieving this;


Safety

Your child’s safety is our primary responsibility! On July 30th, Howard County Public School System Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano outlined health and safety updates for the 2021-2022 school year. Masks will be required in school buildings for all students, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks also will be required while on school buses. Masks will not be required for any students or staff while eating/drinking indoors. Masks will not be required outdoors, however, they are recommended for unvaccinated individuals. Information related to the 2021-2022 school year can be found online. Answers to many frequently asked questions also are available online. Both sites are being continually updated as new information becomes available.


Sense of Belonging

We recognize that the students coming through our doors on August 30th have had very different school experiences. Some students are new to CCES, some are just new to the CCES school building, some students have been at CCES but not in the building for over a year and a half. Children are processing varied emotions as a result of the changes brought on by the pandemic. Student support staff are prepared to comfort and support students’ feelings and provide parents with resources on how to help their children work through them. The first few weeks of school will be centered around building community and routines. SEL (Social Emotional Learning) instruction will continue to occur as it has done over the past two years. Now more than ever, SEL lessons and community building are so vital to our children's well-being and sense of belonging. Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) are in place to aid in setting learning goals, expectations, and routines. In fact, a committee met prior to the end of the school year last year to reevaluate PBIS and made some necessary updates and changes. More information about PBIS will be in future Cougar Comments. Overall, our teachers will do whatever it takes to build a community of learners; however, their number one strategy is having FUN! We want our students to be happy and eager to learn.


We are working with our wonderful PTA to plan events that allow students the opportunity to get to know their peers before the school year begins. This year our Open House will be in person! To ensure everyone has adequate space to move around, our Open Houses have been scheduled and listed in the Important Dates section below.


Love of Learning

Our Superintendent often says that “In order to teach a child you must know a child.” Teachers will use various tools to assess student levels in order to meet them where they are and push them to where they need to be. Technology is essential for our 21st-century learners; nonetheless, teachers are eager to engage in person with their students. Having a 1:1 student to technology ratio is amazing so students will continue to bring their devices to school. Instruction will not occur on the computer; devices will be used as a tool to enhance learning. Our talented faculty brings a diverse set of approaches to instruction in order to address a variety of student learning styles. At our Open Houses, you will have the opportunity to meet staff, visit your child’s classroom and begin to form a relationship with the classroom teacher. During the virtual Back-To-School events, you will be able to learn about the grade-level curriculum, related arts, and school activities. We welcome and value your positive energy and dedication to excellence in education, and look forward to working with you and your children.


Community

Like the quote said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” At CCES, we know a strong partnership with you will make a great difference in your child’s education. As partners, we share the responsibility for our children’s success and want you to know that we will do our very best to carry out our responsibilities. Your active participation is key to the success of our young scholars during his/her elementary school years. Please know that we highly value home/school communication here at Clemens Crossing Elementary School. We encourage you to contact us if/when the need arises, and to stay in the know about your child’s studies, assignments, assessments, and school activities. We extend a special, year-long invitation to our families to join us at school activities and events whenever possible. We want and

value your involvement and support in your child’s education!


On behalf of our entire faculty and staff at Clemens Crossing, I welcome you all back and look forward to the journey ahead this year!


Mr. Cosentino, Principal

Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit cces.hcpss.org/calendar.


August

  • 25 - Class Assignments open in Family File (changed from 8/26)
  • 27 - Open House - Kindergarten and First Grade, 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
  • 27 - Open House - Grades 2 through 5, 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
  • 30 - First Day of School
  • 31 - Gifted & Talented Information Session, 6:00-6:30 p.m. (Virtual Only)
  • 31 - Back-to-School Night for Grades 4 & 5 at 6:30 p.m. (Virtual Only)


September

  • 1 - Band/Strings Information Session, 6:00 p.m. (Virtual Only)
  • 1 - Back-to-School Night for Grades 2 & 3 at 6:30 p.m. (Virtual Only)
  • 5 - AHS & WLHS Back-to-School Night (feeder high schools)
  • 6 - Labor Day - Schools and Offices closed
  • 7 - Rosh Hashanah - Schools and Offices closed
  • 8 - PTA Kick-Off Meeting, 6:30 p.m., social and 7:00 meeting
  • 9 - WLMS & HCMS Back-to-School Night (feeder middle schools)
  • 10 - PTA Welcome Back Family Picnic, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
  • 14 - Back-to-School Night for Kindergarten & 1st grade at 6:30 p.m. (Virtual Only)
  • 15 - National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month begins
  • 16 - Yom Kippur - Schools and Offices closed
  • 22 - Fall Individual Picture Day


To subscribe to the CCES calendar on your smartphone, electronic device, or email system use the calendar ID sqspkjkbr6v6arss44js3n21eg@group.calendar.google.com.

NEW INFORMATION

Staffing Updates

Since our last newsletter, we have had to make quite a few adjustments to our staff due to lower than projected enrollment. We lost a kindergarten position and a fourth grade position. In kindergarten, we will have four classes rather than the five classes that were initially allocated. In fourth grade, we will have three classes instead of the initially allocated four classes.


This last-minute reduction in staff created a ripple effect of changes in a number of grade levels. Here is a list of teacher assignments by grade level:


  • Kindergarten - Mrs. McCue (team leader), Ms. Ancona, Mrs. Hodgins, and Ms. Thomerson
  • First Grade - Mrs. Beem (team leader), Ms. Addy, Ms Dehan, Mrs. Haube, and Mrs. Hutt
  • Second Grade - Mrs. Weinig (team leader), Mrs. Shockey, Mrs. Warner, and Mrs. Yung
  • Third Grade - Mrs. McBrien (team leader), Mrs. Halvorson, Mrs. Hodge, and Mr. Jones
  • Fourth Grade - Mrs. Billingsley (team leader), Ms. Alban, Mr. Allen
  • Fifth Grade - Mrs. Antunez (team leader), Mrs. Greenlee, Mrs. McKim, Mrs. Rausch, and Mr. Toland


We also just hired a new Art teacher, Ms. Julie Lazer, who will be at Clemens Crossing ES two days a week and at Thunder Hill ES two days.


We have amazing teams of teachers who are very excited to welcome children back to school!

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Open House

During open houses this year, we ask that you help with a few modifications so we can have a successful and safe open house.


Please:


  • Only one adult per student
  • No non-CCES siblings
  • No visits to other classrooms



This is an opportunity for students to drop off supplies, see their classroom, and meet their teacher prior to the first day of school.

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Back-To-School Nights - UPDATE

Please save the dates for our annual back-to-school nights.


We were going to have our back-to-school nights in person, but we are changing that to all virtual Back-to-School Nights


Teachers will send out information and directions directly to you.

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Facilities Update

We are working to ensure that our building reflects the excellent teaching that occurs within its walls. This summer we worked with our custodial staff to strip and wax floors, thoroughly clean all classrooms, declutter teaching areas, and liven up the entrance area to make it more welcoming and inviting for our students and community. In addition, we worked hard to paint the cafeteria, gymnasium, hallways, and drywall in all classrooms. Our PTA also helped to maintain our flower garden in the front of the school and our vegetable garden in the back of our school.

Join the CCES PTA (Parent Teacher Association) – Family Membership

PTA membership will allow you to be active with the PTA and enjoy discounts with Maryland PTA partners. Most of all, your membership dues support the many programs we offer to the CCES community. While we encourage all of our families to be involved with PTA, membership does not obligate you to volunteer your time.


After trying many fundraisers over the years, the CCES PTA’s major fundraiser is a direct donation program (and later in the fall, a Read-a-thon). Rather than sell wrapping paper or other merchandise, we ask each family to contribute $50 in addition to their membership dues to support the programs we sponsor throughout the year.

To join the Clemens Crossing PTA, please fill out the form below and pay the membership dues (plus any donation you choose to give) through the PayPal link that follows. If you prefer to pay by check, please contact our membership chair, c/o president@clemenscrossingpta.org. To report a problem with this form, contact web@clemenscrossingpta.org.

Cafeteria Protocols

Students will be required to wear masks at all times when they are not eating or drinking, including when entering and exiting the cafeteria, in the lunch line, throwing trash away, and after finishing their meal.


At Clemens Crossing Elementary School, we will have students eating in either their homeroom classroom or the cafeteria. Students will have assigned cafeteria seating facing one direction. We will not have students facing each other while eating. The assigned seat will facilitate close contact identification for students if contact tracing becomes necessary.


We will also have the option for students to eat outside on the blacktop adjacent to the cafeteria doors if you, the parent, prefer that option. There will be tables sectioned off outside (weather permitting) for students to use. We will also have a seat in the cafeteria reserved at all times in case students need to eat inside. If you prefer for your student to eat outside please email Mrs. Hurd at sonia_hurd@hcpss.org.

Bus Routes

Howard County Public School System provides safe, reliable, and efficient transportation to and from school for enrolled students living beyond a one-mile walking distance from elementary school.


The school & bus locator features an efficient, mobile-friendly and informative format. The locator offers an enhanced map, pop-up messaging, same-day updating capability, and additional school information. Type in your address to see your child’s school, bus schedule, and location of their bus stop.


For the first week of school, parents are asked to ensure students arrive at bus stops earlier than the usual five minutes.


We encourage parents to send their children to school on the first day the same way they would each day.

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Bus Responsibilities for Parents and Students

Parents

HCPSS works with parents to further the safety of all children by making certain that students know the bus rules that are there to provide a safe and enjoyable bus ride for everyone. Parents ensure that students know their bus number, which is located on each side of the bus. For younger children (elementary students), HCPSS recommends that parents/guardians or another trusted adult wait at the bus stop with the students to supervise their behavior and to help with any problems that may arise, such as a delayed bus or injury while waiting. Both adults and students should stand at a safe distance from the roadway.


Bus stops are chosen to provide both safety and convenience for students as well as to economize on fuel and minimize the time that students spend on the bus. Parents, please do not request bus drivers to make additional stops. This puts our drivers in a difficult position, as our regulations prohibit bus drivers from making extra stops between the designated bus stops in place. Many bus routes are designed so that students do not need to cross a major roadway to use the bus. Parents should never allow their students to bypass this safety measure by walking across the street to use a different bus stop.


Helpful tips

  • Remind children that playing near or running toward a moving bus is dangerous.
  • Remind children to never retrieve items that fall under the bus or next to the bus wheels.
  • Make sure children are at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the established pick-up time.
  • Emphasize the need to follow the bus driver’s directions and to follow all bus rules.
  • Help children remember landmarks that identify their bus stop.
  • Make sure children do not have any hanging objects or materials that potentially could become caught or lodged in handrails or other tight spaces.
  • Provide morning and afternoon supervision at bus stops, particularly for primary-aged children.


Before the First Day Checklist:

  • I have discussed basic safety practices with my child.
  • I have reinforced the importance of using extra caution during bad weather.
  • I am aware of proper procedures for use of parent pick-up and drop-off area.
  • I have made a visit to the bus stop with my child.
  • I have checked and selected the safest and most direct route to and from the bus stop.
  • My child is aware of the danger zone.
  • My child is aware of where he/she needs to go when leaving the bus.
  • I have discussed with my child what to do if she/he misses the bus.
  • My child knows the location of his or her bus stop.


Students

Students are responsible for their behavior while on the bus and at bus stops.

School buses are an extension of school. As such, students are expected to adhere to the same standards of behavior on a school bus as they do the classroom. And just like students obey teachers and instructors while at school, so also are they expected to obey the bus driver who are their instructors while on the way to and back from school. Remember, riding the school bus is a privilege for most students, but it is not a right. That privilege can and will be revoked if the student fails to observe the basic standards of conduct and safety required of them.


Helpful Tips

  • Leave home early enough to arrive at your bus stop at least five minutes prior to the expected pick up time.
  • Wait for your bus in a safe place, well off the roadway.
  • Enter the bus in an orderly manner and take your seat.
  • Follow the instructions of the school bus driver.
  • Remain in your seat while the bus is in motion.
  • Keep the center aisle clear at all times.
  • Remain quiet and orderly.
  • Be courteous to your school bus driver and fellow passengers.
  • Be alert to traffic when leaving the bus.


Avoid the Danger Zone

  • Take 10 giant steps away from the bus when getting off.
  • Always cross in front of the bus.
  • Look at the bus driver and wait for the driver’s signal before crossing the road.
  • If you drop something outside the bus, leave it. Get permission from the driver before picking it up. Never go under the bus, the driver will help you.
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School Bus Safety Reminder

Free Student Meals for 2021-2022 School Year

Beginning Monday, August 30, breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost to all students through the entire 2021-2022 school year, on days schools are open.

FREE AND REDUCED MEALS (FARMS) PROGRAM

Many families are eligible to participate in the FARMs program, which helps families save money and opens access to many resources and discounts, including testing fees, tuition, internet, and much more. FARMs enrollment and participation is confidential. Families must reapply each year. Find more information and apply online.

Families approved for FARMS benefits by August 27, 2021 will receive Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits for July and August in September. These benefits are intended to help families in Maryland purchase food while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

First Day of School

"Kiss and Wave" : We ask parents to say goodbye at home and at the front door of the school. We do not permit parents in the building during the drop-off times.

Please do not drop your child off without supervision prior to 9:00 a.m.
There is no supervision of students before 9:00 a.m.


Kindergarten Students: All Kindergarten students will be met at the front main doors and hallways. Kindergarten students only will be gathered in the cafeteria and will be escorted to their classroom together with their teacher for the first three days of school.


Bus Riders: It is very important to put your child on the bus on the first day. Students who ride buses will have their bus number tagged onto their backpack with a wristband strip.
Please leave the bus tag on their backpack. This helps us help students get on their buses in the afternoon throughout the school year. Additionally, students in Kindergarten will have a luggage tag attached to their backpack. The luggage tag helps bus drivers know which students are Kindergarten students so they can help them situate on the bus in the morning and get off the bus in the afternoon at the correct bus stop.

INFORMATION WORTH REPEATING

HCPSS Calendars

There will be no printed 2021-2022 calendars. Staff, students, and families may add our online calendar to their own mobile/online calendar by

  1. Going to https://www.hcpss.org/calendar/
  2. Scrolling down to Subscribing to a Calendar
  3. Right-clicking on the calendar you wish to subscribe to
  4. Selecting Copy Link Location/Address/Shortcut
  5. Adding to your calendar of choice (See your calendar for specifics on adding a new calendar)

You also may view and/or download printable PDFs of the full calendar and/or important dates only. Updates to the PDFs will be noted on the HCPSS calendar page.

PLEASE NOTE! The calendar is subject to change. The online calendar reflects the most recent version.


Calendars in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean

Calendario en español


西班牙语日历


스페인어로 된 달력

CCES Family Guide - The ABCs of CCES

Click below to download the CCES Family Guide. The guide is also located on the main page of the CCES website.

Who is my child's teacher?

We are not sending classroom placement postcards this year. Teacher notifications will be through Family File this year. You will be able to see your child's teacher on August 25. In order to access your child's teacher, you need to complete Family File. You will need to do this prior to Open House on August 27.

Supply List for 2021-22

The supply list for the 2021-22 school year can be found on the main page of our school's website.


We encourage you to drop off your school supplies during Open House on August 27. Please be sure to clearly label your child's supplies with his/her name.

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Arrival and Dismissal Information

With 550 students at Clemens Crossing Elementary, it is important to be patient during arrival and dismissal. The carefully planned logistics of arrival and dismissal help us keep our students, staff, parents, and visitors safe. If you are in a non-transportation zone (walker or car rider) it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with our routines for arrival and dismissal.


As adults, we must follow predictable patterns and routines, because children can be unpredictable. Parking in a wrong or illegal place creates unpredictable situations, and those types of situations can put students at risk during arrival and dismissal.


Arrival and dismissal safety is everyone's responsibility. Please review the map below and listen to our staff members who are outside to assist your children when they enter and leave school daily.


NOTE: Please follow the posted signs along Quarterstaff Road. Traffic engineers studied the road and placed signs to help maximize sight lines for drivers. This helps to reduce risks and provide a safe crossing of Quarterstaff Road for walkers who live on the other side of the road.

Do not park along Quarterstaff Road where signs state "No Parking or Standing". Howard County Police will ticket drivers who park or drop-off/pick-up students where no parking signs are posted.


Car Riders - All car riders are dismissed on the parking lot side of the building. Car riders are expected to be dropped off and picked up in the car loop (school parking lot). We do not allow students to cross the bus parking lot and load into their car along Quarterstaff Road. Please do not tell your children to meet you along Quarterstaff Road.

  • During arrival and dismissal, we expect car traffic to enter the car loop from the Martin Road side of Quarterstaff Road (right turn into the parking lot). Exiting the car loop is right-turn-only as well. Please plan your trip accordingly. Left-hand turn traffic creates back-ups in addition to making it difficult to see blind spots.
  • If you do park legally along Quarterstaff Road, your child is considered a walker and will be dismissed with walkers.


Walkers - We dismiss walkers last. We do this so our walkers can walk home safely with a reduced number of cars and buses on the property and along Quarterstaff Road. Walkers who cross Quarterstaff Road must cross the street with the crossing guard.


It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe during arrivals and dismissals.


Below, you will find a helpful graphic for arrival and dismissal.

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Car Loop Visors

The car loop procedures above help facilitate a smooth arrival and dismissal each day. Starting this year, we will use a new way of identifying cars this year with Car Loop Visor Name Tags as shown here. They will be distributed at Open House and on the first day of school.


If your child is a regular car rider, please make sure you have a visor sign. Use a permanent marker to write your child’s last name in the orange section and the grade in the white section. When not in use the sign can be moved to the inside of the closed visor as seen in step. For families with more than one student, please write all grade levels on the sign.

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“What Your Child Will Learn” Guides

What Your Child Will Learn guides provide an overview of the instructional program for your child’s grade, as well as student goals and expectations. The guides include information to help parents monitor and support their child’s progress during the school year.


Individual guides are provided for each grade level. Each grade level guide provides information categorized by curriculum area, e.g., Language Arts, Science, etc.


The guides are available online only; print versions are no longer distributed. Specific guide webpages may be printed from the website.


Specific student programs may differ depending on instructional needs.


*These may not be available. The HCPSS Curricular Offices are updating the guide.

Communication and Connecting with CCES to Stay Informed

The Cougar Comments will be published weekly throughout the school year through email and social media. Be sure to look for this newsletter on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. in your email inbox starting in September. Please be sure not to mark email from CCES or HCPSS as junk or spam. We find out that a number of people get blocked from all CCES and HCPSS communication when you mark the email as spam or junk. In addition to our school information, our PTA has a section in the weekly newsletter. They do not publish their own newsletter, so please be sure to look for PTA information in each newsletter. If you ever miss an issue of the newsletter or need to review a previous issue of the newsletter, all Cougar Comments will be available on the main page of the CCES website. We hope you find the information helpful. Additionally, be sure to follow CCES on Facebook and Twitter. We often post information and reminders there in addition to fun posts sharing what's going on in our school.

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Grade Level Closed Facebook Groups

Did you know that each grade at Clemens Crossing has a class Facebook page? PTA helps facilitate these pages. The pages are "closed" groups (requiring approval to join the group) and are intended only for parents of children in that particular grade. It's a great way to converse and interact with other parents and hear about activities and events in your child's grade.

These pages are supplemental to the school's Twitter feed and Facebook page, so please be sure to use those social media tools as well.


Class of 2027 Kindergarten

https://www.facebook.com/groups/269286714638991/

Class of 2026 1st grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/250674462624929

Class of 2025 2nd grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ccesclassof2025/

Class of 2024 3rd grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/158625774842747/

Class of 2023 4th grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/273259629757201/

Class of 2022 5th grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1192490200797854/

Message from the PTA President

Hello Clemens Crossing Families,

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. The PTA has been working hard this summer to plan activities for you once school begins. We hope to see you at all of our school events this year!

The PTA has several open positions for the upcoming year. New Families, younger families, even older and wiser families – don’t be shy – please volunteer! If you are interested in helping out in any way, on any level, please email me at president@clemenscrossingpta.org. We understand that people are able to be involved at different levels and appreciate any support you can provide – big or small. You do not even have to be at school in order to volunteer. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions or suggestions throughout the year. I would love to hear from you!

Dani Gardner, CCES PTA President

Back to School Picnic

Friday, September 10 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on the school grounds. We will have playground games for the kids. You can pack a picnic dinner or buy food from our food vendors. This fun event is for both families and staff.

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PTA Kickoff Meeting and Dinner

Wednesday, Sep. 8th, 6:30pm

10320 Quarterstaff Road

Columbia, MD

Clemens Crossing Elementary School Media Center.


Please come and share your knowledge and ideas!