Davidsen Middle School

October Newsletter

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Greetings Davidsen Families,

Thank you for showing your DMS spirit and supporting your students this past month. Our students have been faced with difficult situations like the infamous Tok Tok challenge, along with many limitations created by the pandemic and its fallout. We want to say thank to all of our families who have worked with us in keeping our students productive, and for taking the time to speak with them about the dangers of internet "challenges". A big thank you also goes out to the vast majority of our great students who have made and continue to make the right choices every day.

We hope you enjoy our October newsletter; we will catch up on some of the highlights from last month, and share what to be prepared for and look forward to in October.

Hispanic Heritage Month at Davidsen

Our students are decorating the halls with artwork and projects that celebrate the many influences and contributions made by people of Latin descent. Ms. Smith and Ms. Hall's Art classes have created beautiful posters, while Ms. Velez's ESOL students have recreated flags of Latin countries. Ms. Hesson's Spanish language students are adding a focus to the cultural aspects of Latin and Ibero countries. In Culinary Arts, students learned how to make the famous Mexican treat, Churros, and are looking forward to making Empanadas next week. They are also writing about the origins of recipes and learning some fun facts. From Sept 15 - October 15, all students and teachers are discussing ideas and are encouraged to take pride in their own Hispanic heritage as well as celebrate it from all perspectives.

Start With Hello Week

In the continuous effort to support a warm and inclusive school environment, Davidsen hosted "Start with Hello Week", a National program that encourages schools to find ways to celebrate friendship and encourage peer support. Each day, students participated in an activity that helped to open up communication and promote friendships. At the end of the week, students wrote kind messages to each other (and to teachers) for a "Kind is..." wall in the cafeteria, and played table games during lunch. Thank you to Ms. Velez and her NJHS students for hosting this fun and important week. Follow the PTSA Instagram page @DavidsenDragons or join the private Facebook group Davidsen Dragons to see more pictures from Start with Hello Week.

Teacher of the Year: Melissa Degusipe

Ms. Degusipe is one of Davidsen's most accomplished and respected teachers, loved by both students and faculty. She has been a teacher for 29 years and has been at Davidsen for 11 of those years, teaching maths including Algebra and High School Geometry. She says math is her favorite subject and loves that kids can relate it to the real world. Her teaching methods are typically fun and interactive because she wants her students develop a love for the subject. We are honored to have Melissa Degusipe at Davidsen and grateful for the outstanding work she has accomplished with our students.

Dragon Team Highlights

Steel Dragons 8th Grade language arts students have begun their study of heroism and the challenges of both real and fictional heroes. Students will read stories, poems, nonfictional articles, and watch film clips during this unit of study.

Earth Dragons Ms Thomas's CS3 class learned about energy this month by conducting experiments with string and weights. Students designed and conducted their own experiments to investigate how changing the parts of a pendulum can affect its potential and kinetic energy.

Water Dragons Students are learning about the importance of having a "Growth Mindset," as opposed to a "fixed" mindset and how to recognize the difference in their own actions. As they approach challenging work they are encouraged to ask questions and not feel pressured to appear "smart" but instead to seek answers and be engaged. This approach to learning has been proven to be highly beneficial for people of all ages!

Metal Dragons 7th and 8th grade AVID students are focused on note taking and using the 5 steps of the "Focused Note Taking" process. Ms Wilton says, if you want to remember information, ask an AVID student about FNT!

Thunder Dragons Our ESE students are working on writing, reading, and math skills at their individual paces. This year students are also participating in a new course called "Peers as Partners." In this program, students who have been accepted to the course by submitting an essay, accompany students with exceptionalities to a preferred elective. This year's class is currently full, but if you would like to learn more about Peers as Partners, contact our ESE Specialist, Erin Stiers. If you would like to participate in a similar program outside of school, we recommend Best Buddies. Ask Ms. Arthur for details about Best Buddies.

October News

DMS Band & Dance @Alonso Raven Band & Dance Team

The Symphonic Band, along with Davidsen Dance, will get a sneak peek of High School with the Alonso Raven Marching Band and Dance Team during their Friday night football game vs Steinbrenner. All families are invited to enjoy this special night of football, music, and dance on Friday, Oct 1! you can purchase game tickets here online

You can follow the DMS music department on Instagram @DavidsenMusicRocks, Dance @DavidsenDance, and art classes @DavidsenVisualArts

National Jr. Honor Society

The Davidsen Chapter of NJHS will hold its 2021-22 Induction Ceremony on October 4th after school. Ms. Velez is thrilled to be welcoming over 30 new members this year, all of whom have earned their place by submitting outstanding essays. There will be another application period in the spring. Questions about NJHS at Davidsen may be directed to Camila.velez@hcps.net

8th Grade PSAT

On October 13th all 8th Grade students will take the PSAT. The PSAT is similar to the SAT which is required for most college applications. The Pre-SAT can help you gauge how well your student understands certain language and math concepts, and will introduce your student to the style of testing and subjects covered on the SAT. You can support your student by taking some time to go over the STUDENT GUIDE for this year's 8th/9th Grade PSAT, and take the PRACTICE PSAT (answers here). For general SAT practice, students can log in here

Media Center: MakerSpace and Fiction Workshop with Kelly Coons

Ms. Suits has received a sponsorship from Smith & Hopen Patent Attorneys and is getting ready to re-open Makerspace, a place where students can work on legos, puzzles, and other STEM activities in the Media Center. With this new sponsorship, Ms. Suits will be able to upgrade the area and provide some new inspiration for curious minds. See Ms. Suits for more information about Makerspace and follow her on Instagram @DavidsenMedia

Students will have the opportunity to attend a fiction-writing workshop with author Kelly Coons on October 15th via zoom. Students who would like to attend may stop by the Media Center to sign up. Contact Ms. Suits for more information.

The Media Center has wrapped up the on site Scholastic Book Fair, but you can still support DMS by shopping the Online Book Fair until Oct 5.


Music students are teaming up to raise money with World's Finest Chocolate starting Oct 5. The popular chocolate bars will be sold on campus for $1 through Oct 19th.

Our new chorus teacher Ms. Pilkington is having fun with her new classes and has welcomed USF intern, Andrew Dennis.

Jazz Band is learning about the Blues style of music and has impressed Ms Jones by learning their first full chart already. 6th graders are having a great time learning about all of the different band instruments on "the Wheel".

Orchestra students are impressing Mr Donataccio with their focus and skill every day, and his Chamber Orchestra is getting ready for the "Sweets & Strings" Concert on Oct 26th.

Sweets & Strings with Orchestra and Culinary

Mr Donataccio's Orchestra is teaming up with Chef Toner's Culinary classes to host a fun evening of elegant Fall treats made by culinary students on October 26. The Chamber Orchestra has been rehearsing for this special concert and is looking forward to performing Halloween inspired selections. On the menu: Opera Torte, Creme Brûlée, Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Mini Apple Pie. Stay tuned for more info!

PTSA Fundraisers: *NEW* Stock the Teachers' Lounge

Our PTSA has a mission this year to bring our teachers some much needed extra support. We all know the tremendous toll the past year and a half has brought on all of us, but it has been especially difficult for teachers.

That's why we are launching a year-round opportunity for DMS families to show appreciation for our teachers by sprinkling the staff lounge with some healthy snacks, beverages, and treats throughout the year. We are calling this effort "Stock the Teachers' Lounge" and you can participate by clicking here! Your name (and/or student's name) will be listed as a sponsor on a new sign displayed in the lounge each month. If you have (or know of) a business who would like to participate, please contact our PTSA President, Scott.

Let's help keep our teachers energized for our students!

Stock the Lounge Fundraiser


The Reflections Arts competition is underway! We encourage all students to participate in this fun contest celebrating creativity. Pick up an entry form in the media center or ask your arts or language arts teacher. The PTSA awards prizes for winners who go on to district or state level competition, as well as prizes of recognition for all who participate. Entries are due October 26.


Basketball season is a wrap, and we are getting geared up for Volleyball season! Our Davidsen Boys Volleyball team is top ranked in our cluster, having placed first for the last several seasons! Be on the look out for team tryout dates and times.

Our first game will be on October 19 at Farnell. Come out and support the Dragons! Game tickets can be purchased online at https://www.hillsboroughschools.org/Domain/2455

The Dragon Reward Store wins new items from the TB Buccaneers

Last month, Davidsen was a winning school for "Raise the Flag" Day! Because of our awesome team spirit, the Tampa Bay Bucs selected Davidsen to receive fun Buccaneer branded school supplies that will be available in the Dragon Reward Store. The store is currently open on Thursdays, and students may spend their Dragon Dollars as they earn them for modeling the Dragon motto, Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe. If you would like to donate to our Dragon Store inventory, please contact our Student Success Coach Mr. Galime: matthew.galime@hcps.net or write to our PTSA at dmsvols@gmail.com

2021-22 Yearbook

Ms. Mikhail's Journalism class has made presentations and voted on their favorite theme. The theme will be kept secret until the big reveal at the end of the year! Remember to pre-order your copy of the 2021-22 Davidsen Yearbook at www.yearbookordercenter.com using school code 21848. If you would like to submit pictures to the yearbook, you may upload them at www.HJeShare.com using the same school code.

DTV Morning Show

Students have been enjoying the DTV Morning show each Tuesday and Thursday as presented by AVID and Journalism. If your student would like to be involved in the DMS Morning show, they should see Ms. Wilton or Ms. Mikhail.

Red Ribbon Week Oct 25-29

October 25-29 is Red Ribbon Week, a week dedicated to the importance of staying healthy and drug free. Be on the look out for more details, and follow @DavidsenDragons on Instagram or Facebook to stay in the loop with spirit weeks.


Canvas Grades

Parents please make sure to log in to Canvas regularly to supervise your student's progress. Some students may need help in uploading assignments from home or navigating the platform in other ways. Please make time to understand how to see your student's grades and assignments. This is great tool that can alert you to any areas in which your student might be struggling.


For more information on setting up Canvas, click here

OAR (extra help) Schedule

Teachers offer OAR for our students who would like to receive extra help in a subject. Students who have questions or need extra help outside of regular class time should plan to attend their teacher’s OAR during lunch.

OAR Schedule by subject:

Reading/Language Arts: Tuesday

Math: Wednesday

Science: Thursday

History: Friday

College Readiness and AVID

We want our Dragons not only prepared for college, but excited for it too! Every first Friday, Ms. Wilton's AVID program sponsors College T-shirt Day as a way to help kids get excited for college.

Ms. Wilton also keeps a collection of gently worn college tees to give out as prizes, and for students who would like to wear, but do not have the means to purchase one. If you have college apparel that you would like to donate to our AVID sponsored college readiness initiative, please contact Ms Wilton or drop off a bag labeled "Wilton, room 407"

Dragon Gear Uniform updates

All Dragon Gear orders have been delivered to the school as of Friday Oct 1. Thanks everyone for your patience as we worked through backorder issues across the industry. Due to this shortage of inventory we are unable, unfortunately, to make size exchanges. We thank you for your understanding. If there's a different problem with your order, please contact the vendor, Mascot Universe at (813)933-2333.

The Dragon Gear Spirit Shop will reopen in November. You can also still buy PDQ cards and the new DMS car magnet at the PTSA Shop. Other questions about Dragon Gear may be directed to Carrie Garmendia spiritline@davidsenptsa.org


Oct 1- Middle School Band and Dance Team night at Alonso

Oct 4- NJHS Induction Ceremony

Oct 6-Girls Volleyball Tryouts

Oct 7-Boys Volleyball Tryouts

Oct 7- School Picture Retakes (code EVTG2XNDK)

Oct 8 & 18- 8th Grade Tee Days

Oct 15-Fiction Workshop with Kelly Coons (via zoom)

Oct 15-Wear Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Oct 8- End of Grading Period

Oct 13- 8th Grade PSAT

Oct 25-29 - Red Ribbon Week

Oct 26-Sweets & Strings: Culinary & Orchestra event

Oct 26-Reflections Entires due

Oct 29-"Outsiders Day" 7th Grade

Oct 29- Krispy Kreme Donut sales before school

TBD- Principals Honor Roll Breakfast

click here for Volleyball Schedule

Cell Phone Policy

Cell phones should be put away in backpacks and used only when teachers allow them for instructional or other educational purposes. This rule also applies during lunch. Phones may be temporarily confiscated if students do not follow our cell phone policy.

School Hours and lunch times

Every Monday students are released one hour early.

Bell Schedule and Lunch times

Davidsen PTSA

The Davidsen PTSA brings parents together with teachers and staff to support all students at Davidsen. By joining the PTSA you can help support important activities, classroom enhancements.

Join the PTSA

You can also sign up to volunteer with the PTSA by emailing dmsvols@gmail.com

Volunteers must also complete the district volunteer form.