The Hawk Herald

William A. Diggs Newsletter

January 2023

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I trust Winter Break was a great time for our families to slow down and enjoy time together. I am looking forward to students being back in the building and finishing the second quarter strong!

The month of December brought a lot of activity ranging from clothing drives, Relay for Life Ugly Sweater Contests, and a spirit week before break, all of which was fun and brought a considerable amount of joy to our students. As we move into the new year, I am asking parents to be sure they are talking with their child(ren) about school and setting goals for success each week.

Just before break, the PTO and I hosted a virtual meeting, for parents, with Joe Dugan, the cyber-crime task force leader from the Maryland State Police. Mr. Dugan presented on internet/electronic device safety and provided great resources that I have included below. The message from this presentation is that all parents should be aware of what their children are involved in through online platforms or gaming systems and how our children are using their phones. With many children getting new devices, it is also important to remember that CCPS has an electronic device policy for students which is listed below this letter. Mr. Dugan is schedule to present the student-friendly version of Cyber Safety to 4th and 5th grade students during the second week of January.

I encourage parents to stay in the loop as it pertains to your child's grades and attendance. If you do not currently track this information on ParentVue, take time to access your account and download the app. A general reminder about attendance is that absences are coded based on information received from the parent. If a parent writes a note to excuse their child, this is recorded as an informed absence but may not be excused. Notes from a medical provider are coded as excused. Please track the number of late arrivals as it is important to have your child to school by 9:20 (Diggs time). If you intend for your child to grab breakfast each day, please understand that this is an extra step for them (to stop by the cafeteria to get breakfast then walk to their classroom) so, they need to be to school promptly.

Thank you for the support you show our teachers and staff each day! William A. Diggs is very fortunate to have a wonderful community.


Ben Harrington, Principal

CCPS Cell Phone Policy (Elementary)

  • Students may only bring their phone or device with approval from the principal.

  • Once approved, students must keep their phone or device powered completely off (not on vibrate or silent mode) and inside their book bag, locker or cubby throughout the entirety of each school day, unless other storage arrangements are made with the teacher.

  • Once approved for school, students may use their phone or device on the bus or school-chartered vehicle, but use must not be disruptive or cause a distraction to the driver at any time. Sound must only be audible through headphones. Phone conversations are prohibited.
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Internet Safety Tips for Parents

1. Before you give your child a device, set clear guidelines in place for its use. Consider making a contract with your child.

2. No internet capable devices should be allowed in the bedroom.

3. The device should charge in the parent’s room and night.

4. Parents should have passwords to all accounts. This will allow parents to check the child’s phone for any potential dangers. For example, if there is a cyberbullying issue, it gives the child a reprieve from the bullying and the parents will be alerted to it.

5. Consider time limits. Younger children an hour, older children, two hours.

6. Use parental monitoring and website blocking apps. Make your child aware that you are using these apps. This may prevent some poor browsing decisions.

7. Research any apps your child wants to download or better yet, have them research it and report the results to you.

8. What is your reaction going to be, when your child comes to you, with something that made them uncomfortable, on line? If your knee jerk reaction, is to take the device away, they, probably, will not come to you with an online problem, in the future. You must decide what your response is going to be, before your child comes to you with a problem. Try to come up with a plan of action that you and your child can agree upon.

9. Remember, if someone sends your child an unsolicited or an unwanted communication, they are the victim.

10. Be an open resource for your child. They should feel that they can come to you with any problem, not just internet related.

11. Report any concerns to NCMEC.

Internet Safety: Handy Links for Parents


  • Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication (IROC2)

School-Wide Expectations for Earning Excellence Every Day

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Student Expectations and Behavior

At William A. Diggs, students are expected to Have Respect, Act Responsibly, Work Together, Keep Safe, and Soar to Success. These are general expectations that are more clearly defined in each classroom and each location. Upon return from Winter Break, teachers will revisit expectations, routines and procedures to ensure students are fully aware of their responsibilities. We have many opportunities for students to be recognized with daily shout outs for positive accomplishments on the announcements, students earn Hawks Bucks regularly, and we have upcoming quarterly reward events for students who are referral-free. Below is information about minor and major discipline referrals.

Behavior in each classroom is first handled by the teacher. If a teacher or staff member needs to redirect a student multiple times for a behavior that may be disruptive, disrespectful, or unsafe, then that staff member is instructed to enter a minor discipline referral. Minor discipline referrals are documented through the grade level assistant principal but all communication to the parent is by the classroom teacher or staff member that submitted the minor behavioral referral. Parents may request a copy of the minor discipline referral if they wish. Typical reasons for a minor discipline referral to be written may include (but are not limited to):

  • A student repeatedly disrupts class by calling out, talking over the teacher, or playing with items that disrupts the class.
  • Minor name calling.
  • Yelling in class for various reasons.
  • Minor pushing that can be redirected by the teacher and does not cause injury.
  • Disrespect to others.
  • Taking items from others.
  • *Other issues as determined by the teacher that may fall in the category of disruption, disrespect, or another area in the CCPS Code of Student Conduct.

Behaviors that require an administrator to intervene are typically considered to be major discipline referrals. Major discipline referrals are incidents that cannot be handled by a teacher or staff member and require administrative support. This type of referral can be when a student receives a minor discipline referral, but the same disruptive or disrespectful behavior continues or a single incident that is so disruptive, disrespectful, or unsafe that the student needs to be removed from class for an administrator to investigate the issue. All major discipline referrals include parent contact being made by an administrator as soon as the investigation is complete and there is a plan for next steps. Major discipline referrals may include (but are not limited to):

  • Fighting
  • Pushing/Shoving
  • Classroom disruptions
  • Disrespect that continues even with redirection from staff
  • Threats to others
  • Misuse of technology
  • Cell phone violations
  • *Other instances as determined by school staff

The purpose if the information above is so that parents are aware of some of the steps taken when behaviors start to escalate and to help us by talking with your child regularly about making positive choices. We have referrals, of all levels, daily and process them under the understanding that every difficult situation is a learning opportunity for those involved even though there is a consequence attached to the behavior. We provide students with a fresh start each day and help them through many difficult situations. When parents have questions about the process or an incident that involves their child, administrators share the information we can while ensuring confidentiality is considered for all parties.

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The PTO wishes to thank all the parents for their support. Recently, the Wreath Auction was a hit and the Adopt a Staff Member initiative really made staff feel supported and cared for by our awesome families. Stay tuned for information to come out soon about the PTO School Store!

The PTO this year is eager to initiate family events and to support the school. This year it is $10 per family to join the PTO (Cash or Check: Made out to William A. Diggs Elementary). Each $10 sign up will also get a mask (while supplies last) as a token of our appreciation for joining the PTO. Please complete this form and bring payment to Meet and Greet or Back to School Night.

Parents may e-mail their child's teacher if they wish to have a PTO envelope sent home in order to submit payment. All envelopes should be returned to Ms. Traci Davis at the school.

  • Fall PTO Meeting Schedule:
    • January 24th 6:30 PM

Thank you to our 2022-2023 PTO Board Members for committing to serving this year:

Taisha Richardson - President

Laura Gallardo- Vice President

Niani Dixon- Secretary

Traci Davis- Treasurer

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1/3-Schools/Offices re-open

1/5-Parent Involvement Team meeting 10:00 (in-person)

1/9-Cyber Safety for 4th and 5th grade classes

1/10-Cyber Safety for 4th and 5th grade classes

1/12-Science Fair Family Night 5:00-7:00

1/16-Martin Luther King Jr. Day, school closed

1/19-End of 2nd marking period

1/20-Semester break, schools closed for students

1/23-Begin 3rd marking period