Dragon Digest

Volume 1 Issue 18 / April 14, 2017

Principal's Letter

Dear DeSana Parents,

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Spring Break! The time away from school was a well-deserved break for all, with so many of our students and staff looking well-rested and rejuvenated as they joined us back at The Lair this past week!


With Spring Break behind us, we are officially entering the middle school testing season throughout the next two weeks --- with a week of 6th grade testing already completed --- to be followed by four more jam-packed weeks of school. That means we have six more weeks until this school year ends . . . six more weeks for our young Dragons to make sure they have clearly mastered all of the standards for their grade level so that they are well-prepared for the next grade level, next year . . . six more weeks to mature and grow and hone their organization skills and “how we do school” skills for the next school year . . . and six more weeks to finish out this school year in very fine fashion . . . by finishing STRONG!


These next six weeks will be a whirlwind, filled with a bevy of activity for all. For there are important activities and events on our DeSana calendar (and more to be added in the next week!) --- ones all of our parents and students will want to be in the know about. Parents, please make it a weekly task to check our online calendar on the DeSana website, along with our NEWS section there, as well. And don’t forget to check out our DeSana Facebook page also. For there is no shortage of activities and events here at The Lair these last several weeks of the school year! With the FC Golf Tournament, the 8th grade Savannah Trip, the 6th grade day field trip to the TELLUS Museum in Cartersville, the Band Spring Concert and the Chorus Super Spring Showcase, Spring Football practice, Spring Football Cheer Squad clinic and tryouts, a plethora of transition activities for our rising 6th grade young Dragons, the 8th grade picnic and semi-formal dance, end-of-year activities for all three grade levels during the last week of school, and our very first DeSana Day of Good Deeds (D3 Day) on May 22nd, these last six weeks of school will be filled with some EXCITING times here at DeSana!


But of course we do want our young Dragons to remember what their #1 Priority is each and every day at DeSana for these next six weeks . . . to put their time . . . and energy . . . and their VERY BEST efforts . . . into their learning and studies! We want all of our students to finish STRONG this school year in both their academics and their behavior! So parents, we ask you to encourage your young Dragon to find just the right balance between school work and studies and their extra-curricular activities and events these last six weeks of school. Just because the Milestones End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) tests will end around April 28th and May 9th, respectively, that does not mean that the school year is over and students may slack off. There is still much important learning to be done throughout the final weeks of this school year. And we need each and every one of our students present . . . focused . . . and working up to their highest potential until the last day of school on May 26th.


Here’s to a focused . . . fun . . . fantastic . . . and highly successful last six weeks of this 2016-2017 school year for all of our young Dragons! And here’s to finishing STRONG!! I look forward to seeing many of our parents here at DeSana at the myriad of activities and events to come!


With Warmest Regards,


Terri A. North

Principal

academics

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Science News

On March 11, three Desana Middle School students competed at the Georgia Aquarium for a chance to win the You Be the Chemist Challenge. Developed by the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF), the Challenge is an exciting question-and-answer competition that motivates fifth to eighth grade students to sharpen their knowledge of chemistry concepts and chemistry’s real-world applications. Students compete for prizes at the local and state levels.


Congratulations to all three of our competitors; Pranav D., Haley M. and Zahin H.. Haley and Zahin will be moving onto the state championship on April 29. We wish these students good luck, and Go Dragons!

GEORGIA MILESTONES END OF GRADE (EOG) & END OF COURSE (EOC) ASSESSMENTS

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)andEnd 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 theirMilestones 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 Assessmentresults. 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 theyare 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.

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN (AOL) TIME

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:


WEDNESDAY: 5/17

THURSDAYS: 5/4, 5/11, 5/18

DRAGON ACADEMY - - - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ADDITIONAL LEARNING & ASSESSMENT TIME FOR STUDENTS!

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:

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19

the arts

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Art Students' work On Display

Congratulations to the following students who will have artwork exhibited at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Youth Art Gallery, Terminal E.

Roguel C. – 6th grade

Kelis K. – 6th grade

Ava L. – 7th grade

Sri G. – 7th grade

Melanie B. – 7th grade

Luis C. – 7th grade

Gehrig F. – 8th grade

Simran O. – 8th grade

Johan L. – 8th grade

Be sure to check out our students’ amazing artwork while traveling this summer! The show runs June through September.

activities

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8th Grade Savannah Trip Update Trip Dates: May 10-12, 2017

We are less than a month away from our exciting 3 day trip. Now is the time to be connected with Mrs. Wood to make sure you are in the know about the trip. Please sign up for text reminds from Mrs. Wood by sending the code @dmssav to the number 81010. All students should join this text remind thread and parents are welcome to join as well. I will be using this texting app before and throughout the entire trip.



We are in need of donations of several items to take on the trip with us, if you can provide any of the following items, please email Mrs. Wood at erinwood@forsyth.k12.ga.us


Bottles of Water – small or large size

Brown masking tape


Savannah Trip Information Night : all students and at least one parent must attend one of the following Savannah Trip Information Nights. If you cannot attend your assigned night, please attend the other night. The information is the same. We will share information about packing, trip itinerary, medications, departure and arrival times and procedures, and behavior expectations and consequences. Please make plans to attend now.


Last Names A-L: Monday May 1, 2017 7:30pm in the DMS Café

Last Names M-Z: Tuesday May 2, 2017 7:30pm in the DMS Café


If you have any questions about the trip, please contact Mrs. Wood at erinwood@forsyth.k12.ga.us or 770-667-2591 extension 492216.

altruistic endeavors

THE IMPORTANCE OF ALTRUISTIC ENDEAVORS

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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DRAGON CAFÉ NEWS

The Dragon Café has enjoyed serving all of our students and staff members this year. As we prepare for the end of another school year, Forsyth County Food Services will no longer allow Negative charges to student accounts effective after meal service on Monday, May 1, 2017.


To ensure your child can continue to enjoy school meals or to clear your student’s account of any negative balances, please send a payment, (cash or check) to the school, or visit www.MyPaymentsPlus.com, to make a payment online. This website is a convenient way to make payments and monitor your child's account balance.


If your child does not have breakfast or lunch money, we offer a Courtesy Meal. For breakfast we offer a bowl of cereal and a milk. For lunch we offer a Cheese Sandwich and a milk. If you have any questions, please contact the Cafeteria Manager at 770-667-2591, Extension 491560, or by email: ckbrooks@forsyth.k12.ga.us.

411- helpful links for you

Thanks to our business partners

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*ALL AMERICAN SPECIALTIES

*BROWNS BRIDGE CHURCH

*CHICK-FIL-A @ THE COLLECTION

*DR. HOM PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY & ALPHARETTA COMPREHENSIVE DENTISTRY

*MILTON DENTAL SPECIALISTS

*NORTH GEORGIA PROMOTIONS

*OMEGA LEARNING

*RBM OF ALPHARETTA

*THE JOINT CHIROPRACTIC @ THE COLLECTION