Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

November 8, 2019 - Volume 41, Issue 11

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit


  • 8 - Student Picture Make-up Day
  • 11 - Q1 Report Cards Issued
  • 11 - Conference Scheduling Window Opens
  • 11 - PTA Restaurant Night - Common Kitchen
  • 13 - PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m.
  • 15 - PTA Book Fair Starts
  • 15 - PTA Bingo Night (moved from 11/8), 6:30 p.m.
  • 18 - American Education Week Begins
  • 20 - In-School Banking
  • 20 - Kindergarten Library Field Trip
  • 22 - Conference Scheduling Window Closes
  • 25 - Schools Close 3 Hours Early for Students - Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • 26 - Schools Close 3 Hours Early for Students - Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • 27 - Schools Closed for Students - Parent-Teacher Conferences

To subscribe to the CCES calendar on your smartphone, electronic device, or email system use the calendar ID

From School Administration

First Quarter Report Cards and Fall MAP Progress Report will be issued on Monday.

Students in Grades 1-5 recently participated in the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in mathematics and reading. MAP is an untimed computer-adaptive assessment that measures student growth and achievement independent of grade level or age. On the back of your child’s MAP Progress Report is a quick reference that provides more details about the information on the report.

Over the next few weeks, teachers will be meeting with each student to review a variety of performance indicators, including their MAP Progress Report, in order to establish academic goals. By establishing goals, students have the opportunity to take greater ownership of their education. When they meet their goals, they raise their grades and build greater self-esteem. We hope this will help students feel successful in school.

With all of this information, it is a great time to sit down with your child, discuss his/her report card, and set goals for the second quarter and beyond. Focus on the positives and set goals for areas in need. Keep the conversation going.

If you have any questions about your child's overall academic performance, please contact your child's teacher.

Fundraiser Update

After the first quarter of the school year, we are well on our way to meeting our annual goal of $5,000 from Over 180 students are participating and helped Clemens Crossing earn $1,063.25. As many of you know, Giant Food no longer donates A+ rewards to schools, so we are hoping to replace that annual income with

As we are approaching the holiday season, please encourage family members, friends, and colleagues to use for gift purchases.

Please be sure to select Clemens Crossing ES

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New Information

School Attendance for Academic Success

Research is clear that showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic and social success starting from kindergarten and continuing through high school. Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school or even facing social challenges.

  • Missing 10% (or about 18 days of a school year) can drastically affect a student’s academic success.
  • By the 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that can indicate if a student is at risk for dropping out of high school.
  • In the 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.

Student attendance is a major point of focus for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). Starting in school year 2018-2019, MSDE lowered the chronic absenteeism rate from 20% to 10% which means that at 10% a student should be receiving support and interventions to improve their absenteeism.

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) believes that attendance is key for student success. Per Policy 9010, HCPSS defines exemplary attendance as a final attendance rate of 96% or more of the student year.

In support of achieving Exemplary Attendance for all students, we are sharing with you a comprehensive approach for attendance supports and interventions.

  • If a student has missed 5% of their monthly attendance days (as few as 1-2 days a month), parents will receive a Care and Concern Phone Call and letter from their school. This step will allow staff members to coordinate with families to determine how the student can be supported for better attendance.
  • If a student has missed 10% of their monthly attendance days (this is defined as chronic absenteeism by MSDE), parents will receive a 10% Chronic Absenteeism Attendance Letter. Parents and students may be scheduled for an attendance conference. Other interventions and supports may also be used in an effort to assist the student.
  • If a student has missed 15% of their monthly attendance days, in addition to the interventions and supports at 5% and 10%, these students may require an attendance support plan. Students may also be referred to the Central Attendance Team.
  • If a student has missed 20% of their monthly attendance days, parents will receive a 20% Emergency Chronic Absenteeism Letter or Habitual Truancy Letter. Students may be referred to Project Attend and may be referred to the State’s Attorney’s Office for habitual truancy.

With the collaborative effort of HCPSS parents, staff and students, we are confident that all students can have successful attendance. This will improve student success in school and in future life.

Weather Guidelines for Outdoor Recess

Exercise outdoors is healthy and is strongly encouraged. It provides a break from the regular school routine, a chance to get some outside air, and an opportunity to run off excess energy.

If conditions preclude the full recess time, even a five-minute break can revitalize children and prepare them for more sitting and academic learning. Children are expected to wear warm clothing to protect them during cold weather when participating in recess or outside activities.

The decision to go out or stay in for recess is the decision of the Administrator at individual schools. However, the following are to be considered in determining whether recess is to be held outside:

  • Temperature and Windchill
  • Age of students
  • Length of time outdoors
  • Adequacy of the children’s clothing
  • Condition of the playground
  • Falling precipitation (more than a sprinkle or mist)

Generally, it is assumed that students will be outside for recess when the temperature combined with the wind chill is not less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Children with certain health conditions may need special accommodations during extremely cold weather. Parents of those children should provide medical documentation and may be consulted to determine if other arrangements are necessary.

Unscheduled Weather-Related Late Openings and Early Closings

It’s hard to believe that winter is upon us already. With the threat of inclement weather, there may be occasions when unscheduled closings or delays take place. If you have subscribed to HCPSS School Messenger, you will receive official school system notifications of school closings, delayed openings, or early closings. Please review the phone numbers attached to your School Messenger account to ensure that they are up to date. Be sure to OPT IN to text messaging by providing your mobile phone number. To check your account settings on School Messenger, click here.

Our students’ safety is tremendously important. Although early dismissals rarely occur, it is important that plans for this type of dismissal be updated as they change. Please check your child's Family File found in HCPSS Connect to make sure that the information that you have entered is correct. To access Family File on HCPSS Connect, click here. In addition to checking for updated unscheduled early dismissal plans (located under the Arrival/Departure section), please be sure that phone numbers and emergency contacts are current. This extra step on your part will provide assurance to us that we may follow your directives knowing that you will have discussed this with all parties involved. Please share these procedures with your child(ren) so that they are aware of the plans for unscheduled early dismissals.

For more information on HCPSS emergency/weather closings, click here.

ATTENTION: 4th and 5th Grade Geography Enthusiasts

Do you like to look at maps and globes? Are you interested in TV shows and games involving the world? If so, you will want to take the Geography Bee Pre-Test at CCES to see if you qualify for the CCES Geography Bee! Here is what you need to do if you are interested:

  1. Tell a teacher or a parent to email Mrs. Register to let her know you are interested by November 18, 2019 (
  2. Mrs. Register will then give you the Geography Bee Pre-Test in school.
  3. You will be notified of the results by Thanksgiving Break. Participants will receive a permission letter that will need to be signed by a parent and returned to Mrs. Register. Study materials for the CCES Geography Bee will be given at that time as well.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Register at

Lost and Found

Are you missing a jacket or sweatshirt? There is a very good chance your child's missing clothing is in our Lost & Found. The Lost & Found is located in the front hallway across from the Music Room. Please be sure to check the Lost & Found soon. We will donate all items to a local charity on November 27.

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November is Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the general public about tribes, to raise general awareness about the unique challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.


American Indian images, names, and stories infuse American history and contemporary life. Pervasive, powerful, at times demeaning, the images, names, and stories reveal the deep connection between Americans and American Indians as well as how Indians have been embedded in unexpected ways in the history, pop culture and identity of the United States.
Explore the online exhibition »


Native American Heritage Month

NAHM For Teachers

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

National Museum of the American Indian

Information Worth Repeating

Changes to the HCPSS Report Card

Beginning this quarter, you will notice a minor modification to your child’s report card.

The PreK-5 Learning Behaviors section of the report card has been modified to align with changes recently made to HCPSS Policy 8010: Grading and Reporting. The new behaviors complement the curriculum content taught in the elementary grades and are a natural part of learning about oneself while interacting with others.

Learning behaviors now included on the 2019-2020 report card help support parents and teachers in identifying areas of focus. The learning behaviors are:

  • Demonstrates interpersonal skills

  • Demonstrates responsibility

  • Demonstrates perseverance

  • Demonstrates collaboration

  • Demonstrates initiative

On the HCPSS website, you will find a list of the specific behaviors, actions, and expectations that align with each learning behavior. Teachers will report student performance on each learning behavior based on developmental and age-appropriate expectations. You will also find example report cards, frequently asked questions and information in multiple languages.

Final Phase of Boundary Review Process

In January, the Board of Education directed the superintendent of schools to initiate a thorough boundary review process. This initiated an 11-month process timeline along with many different possible scenarios that could impact our school.

Feasibility Study

The school system issued its annual Feasibility Study in June. The Feasibility Study recommended changes to the Clemens Crossing ES boundary by sending approximately 80 students to Swansfield ES. Bryant Woods ES would send 42 students to Clemens Crossing ES resulting in a loss of 38 students overall. The second option in the Feasibility Study is the same as the first option except we would not receive 38 students from Bryant Woods. This would result in a loss of 80 students from CCES.

Superintendent's Plan

During the summer, the school system asked for the public to provide input and feedback on the Feasibility Study. The results were posted on the HCPSS website. The superintendent also assembled the Attendance Area Committee to review Feasibility Study and provide recommendations for his plan after community input sessions. In late August, the superintendent shared his recommendations to the Board of Education. The superintendent's plan would send 111 students from Clemens Crossing ES to Swansfield ES. Clemens Crossing ES would receive 20 students from Bryant Woods ES resulting in a net loss of 91 students from our school.

The Final Phase - The Board of Education

The Board of Education ultimately makes the final decision to adjust school boundaries. Their plan could align with published plans outlined during the process or it could involve sections of communities that have not been part of initial proposed plans.

The Board of Education listened to the public through a series of public hearings throughout September and October. A record of the public hearings is posted on the HCPSS website.

The Board of Education is in the final stages of this process. They are currently in the third of seven Board Public Work Sessions where they work out the details of a final plan in an open forum. The public may attend the work sessions, but they may not participate in the sessions.

In recent days, a few board members have shared their own individual plans where Clemens Crossing ES would not be impacted at all or could be significantly impacted. In one plan, Clemens Crossing ES could send a total of up to 250 students from CCES to Swansfield ES and Bryant Woods ES while Running Brook ES and Bryant Woods ES would send Clemens Crossing ES 200-250 students.

Ultimately, the Board of Education will make the final decision regarding redistricting. It is encouraged that the public pays close attention to the work sessions because of the likelihood of its impact on Clemens Crossing ES. The preliminary decision will be made during the final Board of Education work session on Monday, November 18. The Board of Education will take that final decision to a vote on Thursday, November 21 at the scheduled Board of Education Meeting.

If you have any questions about the process, please feel free to contact Mr. Cosentino.

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American Education Week

Reach, Educate, Inspire

During American Education Week, November 18—22, 2019, Americans nationwide will join the National Education Association (NEA) in raising awareness about the need to provide every child with a quality public education. The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools. It also reflects NEA's vision of calling upon America to provide public school students with quality schools so that they can grow and achieve in the 21st century. As part of the celebration, we provide parents and guardians the opportunity to visit their child’s classroom during the week. Feel free to visit your child's classroom any day during the week. Please refer to the CCES Master Schedule below to help you guide your visitation.

When you visit, please be prepared to sign-in through the Lobby Guard kiosk in the office. You will need your driver's license to sign-in with Lobby Guard. As a reminder, we do not allow younger children in the classrooms when parents visit. Additionally, we ask for visitors to refrain from using their phones in the classroom. Please put your phone on silence or vibrate. If you need to use your phone or devise for any reason, please go to the front lobby or outside the building.

We look forward to our continued partnership in your child's education, and we are excited to see you in school during American Education Week.

Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent/Teacher Conferences are scheduled for November 25, 26, and 27.

Conferences will be with homeroom teachers and will focus on Language Arts.
To schedule conferences, you will need to login to HCPSS Connect.

Please take the time to schedule your conference while the conference scheduling window is open via HCPSS Connect from Monday, November 11 through Friday, November 22. It is very difficult to accommodate last-minute appointments once the scheduling window closes.

The directions for parent conference registration linked here from the HCPSS website. You can also download the directions from the icon below.

If you have any questions, please call the front office at 410-313-6866.

Please note: This is the first of two conference periods for the school year. There will be conferences following the end of the second quarter in February. The focus of those conferences will math where you will be able to meet with your child's math teacher.

Arrival and Dismissal Reminders

Right-Hand Turns PLEASE!

Please make right-hand turns in and out of our car loop, especially when there is a long line entering the car loop. The view becomes obstructed leaving oncoming traffic hard to see. We have done our best to ask people to follow the "rule." We witness near misses a lot, and it won't be a problem until someone gets hurt. Please be part of the solution and not part of the potential problem.


Quarterstaff Road and the crosswalk are not drop off locations. If you park on Quarterstaff Road, it is expected that you walk your child to the front of the building in the morning and meet your child at the front doors for afternoon pick-up. As adults, we have to create safe and predictable routines for our children. The way we have designed our arrival and dismissal helps to create safe routines. Thank you for your help.

Picture Make-Up Day 11/8

Picture day make-up will be Friday, November 8th. If you want a make-up picture taken of your child, return the original pictures to the front office. Ms. Wells will collect and we will give them back to students on make-up day.

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Fall Book Fair - Volunteers Needed

The Book Fair is coming! It will be open in the Media Center during Bingo Night on November 15, November 18-22 from 4 pm -7 pm, and November 25 and 26 from 1pm -7 pm during conferences. This is a big fundraiser for the PTA and a lot of fun so, please come shop and support CCES! We could use help with set-up and shifts throughout the week. Please sign up here:

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Bingo Night Volunteers Needed

Friday, November 15th is BINGO NIGHT at Clemens Crossing! Join us from 6:30-8 pm in the cafeteria for a Fabulous evening of Free Family Fun! Numbers will be called by some of your favorite CCES staff, and there will be plenty of prizes and FREE SNACKS for all. Drinks will be available for purchase, as well as Girl Scout cookies and our *brand new* CCES reusable water bottles. PLUS the Book Fair will be open from 6-7:30 pm in the Media Center. So much fun all in one evening - you won't want to miss it!

Bingo Night is brought to you by the Clemens Crossing PTA, and we need volunteers to make the event a success. If you can help out for part of the evening, please visit to sign up. Students are welcome to volunteer as well, and service hours are available. Questions about this event? Please contact Alex Kent at