Dragon Digest

Volume 2 Issue 1 / August 11, 2017


Dear DeSana Parents,

We are off and running in a most excellent way for the opening of this 2017-2018 school year!! We have had an awesome first seven days, with our young Dragons settling in quite quickly with their routines and schedules! And once again, we are quite impressed with our young Dragons --- all 833 of them . . . 288 6th graders . . . 275 7th graders . . . and 270 8th graders!! They are polite, eager, enthusiastic, fun-loving, helpful, respectful, kind, and ready to get down to the business of securing a wonderful education this year. And they have already been involved in some great learning activities and lessons in their classrooms! While we still have a bit more settling in to do as our buses get into a more normal routine and begin arriving and departing on time (thank you for your patience!), and we begin to roll out our clubs and new events and activities in the weeks ahead, we are quite pleased with the start to this new school year!

There are several upcoming, important activities and events that you will want to go ahead and mark on your calendar so you won’t miss. Curriculum Night for all three grade levels will be held on Thursday, August 24th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. Come join us for the evening and walk in your young Dragon’s shoes as you follow his/her daily schedule for the evening, as you meet and listen to his/her teachers share with you all the exciting things that will be going in their classrooms this year. Our first home football game played on our Dragon Football Field will be on Tuesday, August 22nd at 5:30 against the Patriots of Liberty. Students will be allowed to stay after school and attend the game with a signed parent permission form and $3 for admission. Of course we will have a concession stand for those who want to treat themselves to a snack. Administrators are always at the games, supervising students, and helping to cheer on our Dragons! More info to come soon! On August 30th FCS will have their first Early Release Day, and our middle school students will be released at 1:30. There are no after school activities or practices on Early Release Days as our teachers are involved in professional learning sessions or conferences with parents. Then on Friday, September 1st, students will bring home their 4 ½ week Progress Reports that will give you (and your young Dragon!) a pretty good idea how they have started off this school year in all their classes.

Parents, I cannot thank you enough for all of your support in helping this new school year get off to a fabulous start! Thank you for attending Dragon Camp for our 6th graders! Thank you for bringing your child to our Walkabout! And Thank you for joining us for our Open House! Your support of your young Dragon in attending some or all of these opportunities truly plays a key role in your child’s good beginning to the school year. Please know that we want and value your involvement and support here at DeSana! Even when your middle schooler may tell you otherwise, we want and need your support and involvement in every facet of our school life at DeSana!

So with an awesome beginning to this school year under our belt . . . here’s to a year where we work to lead the way to excellence! That is truly our hope and wish for all of our young Dragons this year - - - that we work in tandem with our students to provide them many, many opportunities for high-level learning and growth in a most excellent way this year!

With warmest wishes for an excellent school year,

Terri A. North



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Our inaugural DeSana Day of Good Deeds was a huge success last year! We are looking forward to D3 Day 2018 being even bigger! We need your help. We are looking to fill several key D3 Day Committee Chairs and several other support positions. The D3 Day committee meets once a month to discuss our progress. Some jobs are more focused in the fall and others don't start hopping until the spring. Please join us on Monday, August 28th at 9:30am in the DeSana PL Room for our first D3 Day Committee meeting and we will explain all the positions we are looking to fill. This is specifically for parents interested in being involved in the planning of D3 Day. You will have an opportunity to sign up in the spring if you would like to volunteer to help on D3 Day!

Thanks so much!

Dawn Bourg dawn@bourgs.com, Jenn Harris jharris@campharris.org D3 Day Co-Chairs

Email us with any questions or concerns before the meeting.


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Important Documents Sent Home with Students

On Monday, August 7th, students were asked to take home several (six, to be exact) important documents to review with their parents, and to have their parent and the student sign off on some of these documents and return to their Dragon Time teacher. These documents are required by Georgia law or Forsyth County Schools' policy. They include:

1. FCS 2017-2018 Code of Conduct

2. DeSana's Student/Parent Handbook

3. DeSana 2017-2018 Club Flyer

4. Responsible Use Guidelines for FCS's Community / BYOT Protocol for Use and Permission Form

5. 2017-2018 Parent Permission Form and Student & Parent Signatures Sheet

6. Parent Occupational Survey

Students MUST bring back to their Dragon Time teacher #4, #5 and #6 as soon as possible. Thank you for your help and support in getting these important documents completed and turned-in in a timely manner!

Curriculum Night at DeSana !! August 24, 2017 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Curriculum Night at DeSana is a special event you won't want to miss! Our goal for this evening is to provide you an opportunity to meet and greet your son's/daughter's teachers as you follow your child's schedule for the evening, and to hear a brief overview of what your child has to look forward to in each class this year, all the while working to get everyone back home at a reasonable time. We hope you will join us for this evening! Your presence at this event sends a very powerful and lasting message to your middle schooler that his/her education is very important and will be a priority in your family. Thank you for making it a priority!

The first part of the evening will take place in our gym. During this session, you will hear a welcome from Ms. North, the principal, to be followed by a brief PTO meeting, introduction of our wonderful DeSana staff, and brief introductions of our DeSana Business Partners thus far. After this opening session, you will locate and travel to your child's 1st period teacher (Don't worry if you don't remember who that is as we will have an ALPHA list of students at the entrance to the school and at the head of each grade level hallway on which you can locate your child and his/her 1st period teacher and room number). When you get to your child's first period class, you will receive a copy of your child's class schedule for you to follow the rest of the evening.

Please remember that Curriculum Night is not a conference night, but our teachers will be glad to answer any questions regarding your student as soon as possible by phone or e-mail. Just let them know you want to talk at a later date.

Our parents of ESOL students will attend a special session with ESOL teachers Roxana Perez ,Stacey Pelletier, and Phyllis Lindsey from 6:00 - 6:30 in the media center, as they go over information pertinent to our ESOL program. They will describe the ESOL program and will inform parents of the resources that are available to ESOL students, both during the school day and outside of school. From 6:30 to 8:00, our ESOL parents will follow their child's schedule, attending each class, each period. During 3rd Period Literacy Time, Ms. Perez and Ms. Pelletier, Ms. Lindsay and Mr. Kent will be available to help ESOL parents with information about itslearning and Parent Portal.

Curriculum Night Schedule

6:00 - 6:30 p.m.

We will begin the evening in the gym, with a welcome from Terri North, Principal, a brief PTO meeting to follow, an introduction or our fabulous DeSana staff, and then a brief introduction of our DeSana Business Partners thus far.

6:30 - 8:00 p.m.

Follow your child's schedule to get a "snapshot" of "a day in the life of your middle schooler". You will follow your student's 7-period day in the order of his/her daily classes. Please see the schedule below. You will meet in each teacher's room for approximately 8 minutes. Each teacher will give a general overview of the Georgia Standards of Excellence for their class, instructional strategies planned, and types of assessments students can expect in each class. In addition, each teacher may discuss their classroom daily routine, show examples of student work, or have you participate in a learning activity. There will be approximately 3 minutes between classes for you to travel to your next class. We will announce the beginning and the end of each class over the intercom.

Time Schedule

6:30 - 6:45 Transition from the Gym to 1st Period Class, Get Schedule & Hear about 1st Period Class

6:45 - 6:48 Change

6:48 - 6:56 2nd Period

6:56 - 6:59 Change

6:59 - 7:07 3rd Period

7:07 - 7:10 Change

7:10- 7:18 4th Period

7:18 - 7:21 Change

7:21 - 7:29 5th Period

7:29 - 7:32 Change

7:32 - 7:40 6th Period

7:40 - 7:43 Change

7:43 - 7:51 7th Period

7:51 - 8:00 Thank You for Coming and Good Night!

Mark your calendar now.....in LIME GREEN......and make plans to join us for this informative evening!


Dragon Academy is an opportunity we will begin offering students on August 25th from 4:15 – 6:15 for completing, taking or re-taking formative and/or summative assessments (i.e. unit tests, projects, essays, quizzes. etc.). Dragon Academy will happen at least two times a month --- on Fridays ---beginning August 25th, 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 about 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! Any necessary school supplies will be provided 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:

· August 25

· September 8 &15

· October 6, 18 (Early Release Day so it will be 1:30 – 4:00) & 27

· November 10 &17

· December 1 & 15

· January 26

· February 9 & 23

· March 9 (Early Release Day so it will be 1:30 – 4:00), 16 & 30

· April 27

· May 4 & 18

Additional Opportunity to Learn (AOL) Time

Has your child learned everything in their life the first time it was presented to them? Does your child really 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 will be great for your child. AOL is a 50 minute block of time that will happen first thing in the morning on Thursdays, and on some Wednesdays (9:00 – 9:50) beginning Thursday, August 24th. During this block of time, students have the opportunity to receive re-teaching from their teachers should they need it. If your child is struggling in a class or if they have received a low summative score, please encourage them to take advantage of AOL time! Ask your young Dragon each Wednesday evening/Thursday morning where he/she are going for AOL time on Thursday. Then ask him/her Thursday evening what teacher they went to that day for extra help. Thanking you in advance for your help in making sure our young Dragons take advantage of this learning opportunity during AOL time!

Early Release Days for Forsyth County Schools

This year’s FCS calendar has one (1) Early Release/Professional Learning Day . . . Wednesday, August 30th . . . in addition to three (3) Early Release/Conference Days, with two conference days in October . . . October 18th & 19th . . . and one in March . . . March 9th. Middle school students will be released at 1:30 PM on all of these Early Release Days, and we hope that our DeSana parents will take advantage of these days by scheduling your child’s doctor and dentist appointments on these afternoons in order to minimize time spent missing classroom instruction. During the afternoon of August 30th, all teachers and administrators will be involved in meaningful, professional learning and collaborative planning as they enhance their instructional knowledge, strategies and skills, and collaborate on our school improvement plan; therefore, no after school activities, club meetings or team practices will occur on this afternoon.

What is itslearning?

Itslearning is an online learning management system that allows teachers to have an online component alongside their traditional instruction. Not only can teachers post classroom content, but they may also have students participate in online discussions, submit assignments, complete assessments, and create content. In addition to being a vital component for everyday teaching and learning, itslearning will also be utilized during any days missed due to unscheduled school closures (ex. inclement weather). Itslearning is also a communication tool for administrators, teachers, students, and parents.

What can I do as a parent? In all courses, parents can monitor content assigned to their children through itslearning. Parents can log-in with the same credentials they use to get in Parent Portal or by using their child’s log-in information. Here at DeSana we recommend using your child’s log-in information. This will give you a little more access to things when you are trying to assist your child. Be sure to ask your child for their username and password. In both instances, parents can check the Lesson Planner section for the class lesson presented that day, see posted homework or posted ‘no homework’, see class resources used, class activities, and any information about upcoming tests, projects, and quizzes. Using the student log-in will allow parents to find bulletins or reminders in individual courses. Parents can also find links to valuable resources that students may need throughout the year. This can include on-line text books and more. How do I get there? There are 2 easy ways to get there: 1. Go to https://forsyth.itslearning.com. Use your child’s username and password to log-in. 2. Visit our DeSana Middle School web site and use the quick link at the top right to access Classlink (itslearning.) Again, use your child’s username and password. If your child does not know their information, they can ask one of their teachers or go see Mr. Crowder, the DeSana Instructional Technology Specialist, in his office located in the Media Center. This information cannot be emailed or given out over the phone. Having this information and checking it regularly are vital for helping your child succeed to the fullest at DeSana.

I still need help! Visiting the DeSana Webpage will be your first step. On the right side under Quick Links is a link to valuable resources. These resources include print and video resources about using and navigating itslearning for both parents and students. If you prefer, you can come to a parent’s meeting that will be on August 31, 2017 from 5:30 to 7:30—drop in whenever you can make it and Mr. Crowder will be happy to answer all your questions about itslearning. Mr. Crowder has made this video you can watch by clicking here on itslearning basics. If August 31 is not a good day for you, call or email Mr. Crowder. 770-667-2591 Ext 491590 ncrowder@forsyth.k12.ga.us. He will try to answer your questions or set an individual meeting with you.


Are You Ready For Some Football?!!!

Our Dragon Football Team and Coaches have been working hard all spring and summer to ready themselves for this year’s season, and it is quite obvious that all their hard work is paying off with the improvement in their skills and play! On Saturday, August 5th, our Dragons participated with 9 other Forsyth County and Dawson County Middle School teams in the 1st Annual Middle School Football Jamboree held at West Forsyth HS. Our Dragons went 3 and 1, with three wins and 1 loss, in their 20 minute scrimmage per opponent against Piney Grove, Dawson County, Liberty and NFMS (our 1 loss). Our Dragons made us proud in their play and in their good sportsmanship!

On this past Wednesday, our Dragons opened their regular season play against the Eagles of SFMS on South’s field, and while we did not garner a W, and proved that we still have some areas in which to work hard and improve, our student-athletes made us proud by not giving up and playing with a great deal of heart to the end.

Our next game is scheduled for next Tuesday Night Under the Lights at SFHS Stadium as we take on our rival, Piney Grove at a 7:00 game. We hope many of our young Dragons and their families will come out and support our team and help cheer our Dragons on to their first VICTORY!!

Our first game at home, on our DeSana field, will be on Tuesday, August 22nd at 5:30 as the Liberty Patriots come to the Dragon’s Lair! Mark your calendars now to come out and support our Dragons!! GOOOOOO DRAGONS!!!!!

Here is the Dragon Football Schedule for this 2017 Season:

· Tuesday August 15 vs. Piney Grove SFHS 7:00

· Tuesday August 22 vs. Liberty DeSana 5:30

· Tuesday August 29 vs. Otwell FCHS 6:30

· Tuesday Sept. 5 vs. North NFHS 5:30

· Thursday Sept. 12 vs. Riverwatch Lambert 6:30

· Tuesday Sept. 19 vs. Vickery DeSana 5:30

Here is the Dragon JV Football Schedule for this 2017 Season:

· Saturday August 19 vs. North DeSana 9:00

· Saturday Sept. 9 vs. South SFMS 9:00

· Saturday Sept. 16 vs. Piney Grove DeSana 9:00

· Thursday Sept. 21 vs. Lakeside DeSana 5:30


Our Football Spirit Week is in full swing as we summon our Dragon Pride and get behind our Dragon Football Team for their Tuesday game against the Grizzlies of Piney! Thursday, the first day of Football Spirit Week, was Wear-Your-School-Colors Day. Today is Tacky Day and Monday is Neon Day. Next Tuesday will be Show-Your-DeSana-Pride Day, as we encourage all of our 6th graders to wear lime green shirts; all 7th graders to wear white shirts; and all 8th graders to wear navy shirts. We will hold our annual Football Pep Session Tuesday afternoon, starting at 2:30, in hopes of giving our Dragon Football Team a tremendous send-off for their evening game. Will our 8th graders remain the Spirit Champs and keep the Spirit Trophy that the 8th graders won last year? I hear the 8th grade teachers are talking it up with their students in a BIG way!! Or will the 6th graders show us their stuff --- that they are thunderous and mighty --- and take the Spirit Trophy away? But rumor has it that our 7th graders are out to show everyone that they are the most spirited crew when it comes to Dragon Pride here at DeSana!! Stay tuned for the results!!!!!


We Added An E To Our D!

Thursday of this week, the weather decided to show us some mercy and kept dry just long enough for our entire school to travel up to our football field to form an E with our entire student body and staff, and take a photo using a drone. Be on the lookout for our school wide shot on Facebook, Twitter and our website in several days, along with last year’s D. As you can see, our plan is to spell our DeSana, with a different letter each year. And then Dragons will be next! So we have some long-range plans for years to come! A big shout out to 8th grade student, Tomas B., for coming up with this clever idea and sharing it with the administration!

DeSana Spirit Night At MONDO Italian Kitchen

We happily welcome our newest business partner to our DeSana family, Mondo Italian Kitchen, located at 14155 GA Highway 9, just down the road from DeSana, in the same shopping strip as RISPA. Mondo is a casual, family restaurant serving their spin on Italian classics along with artisan New York-style pizza. Join us at Mondo on Thursday, August 17th anytime from 5:00 – 8:30 for our first DeSana Spirit Night of the year. Ten percent of the sales from this evening will come back to DeSana. We hope to see many of our Dragon Families at Mondo on the 17th!


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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!


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SAFETY IS . . . And Always WILL BE . . . Our #1 PRIORITY At DeSana!

Please know that providing a safe and secure environment at DeSana for our students and staff is our #1 Priority Each and every day! We know that if our students do not feel safe, then learning cannot take place for our students. Forsyth County Schools and DeSana Middle School have many practices and procedures in place to help safeguard your child every minute of every day to, from and on campus. Detailed safety plans for all kinds of emergencies have been carefully planned, written, shared with staff, and put in place, and will be practiced frequently with our staff and students as we begin this school year. We will continue to practice these drills in an organized way, and as if they were the real thing, throughout the school year.

DeSana has a School Resource Officer (SRO), Deputy Stephen Lavin. He is on our campus on a daily basis, checking on things, talking to our students, and getting to know them. All middle schools in the district now have a front entrance with a "buzz-in" and intercom feature for entrance after students have entered for the morning. All visitors must come to this single door and be buzzed in by a front office secretary who has a wide view of the entire person and the surrounding area. Strict and technologically-sophisticated sign-in procedures for visitors, once they are buzzed in, are in place, and a driver's license is required to check out a student.

Some of DeSana's standard operating procedures are to have our head custodian check the entire facility and campus early each morning to look for any unusual objects. Phones are in every classroom, and administrators are in constant communication with each other, our SRO, and the front office through radios, as well as with the school district's safety office via the use of cell phones. Our school phones come equipped with sophisticated technology that allows for tracing phone calls in the event of a bomb threat or other threatening phone calls.

Our FCS Code of Conduct prohibits students from wearing over-length, over-sized, and baggy clothing, including coats inside the building, so that weapons and other contraband are less likely to be hidden on students. The FCS Dress Code is enforced at DeSana.

All Forsyth County school buses are equipped with two-way radios so that they can be in constant communication with the transportation department and the school. They are also equipped with GPS so that bus locations may be tracked at all times.

Diligent supervision of our students by our entire staff, from the moment they step foot on campus until they leave, is a daily practice. Talking to our students about safety being a top priority, and letting them know that it is their responsibility also to let an adult know immediately if they see or hear something that could jeopardize this safety, is a practice we began the first week of school, and we will continue to preach throughout the school year. Rest assured any information of this nature that is shared with an administrator, counselor or teacher is held in strictest confidence.

These are just some of the practices and procedures we have in place. We hope you will spend some time with your middle schooler over the next few days and throughout the year discussing the importance of all these safety procedures, and let him/her know that it is also your expectation that he/she take personal responsibility in reporting anything he/she sees or hears that could jeopardize the safety of any or all of our students and staff. We encourage you, parents, that any time you have concerns about the safety or well-being of your child, you will not hesitate to call a DeSana administrator to discuss these concerns. We want Desana to be a place where all students, staff and parents feel safe and comfortable. But we need everyone's help to keep it that way throughout this school year. Thanking you in advance for your help and support when it comes to the safety of our young Dragons.

Important Reminder About Free & Reduced Meal Applications

Parents, we encourage you to complete a Free and Reduced-Priced meal application on-line, if you have the need, at http://schoolmealapp.forsyth.k12.ga.us. The application is easy to complete and can be processed quickly, with results usually in one day. On-line applications also help cut down on meal charges because paper applications can take as long as 10 days to process. A NEW Free & Reduced meal application must be completed each year prior to September 15th. If you have any questions, please call Joe Sanders at 770-888-3473 extension 202427 or email at jsanders@forsyth.k12.ga.us.

DeSana To Form a Local School Council (LSC) This Year

Nominations for four LSC parent representative positions are now being taken for this year’s inaugural LSC at DeSana. The due date to turn in your nomination --- you may nominate yourself --- is next Wednesday, August 16th by 5:00 PM. Click here for more information about the role of Local School Councils and the DeSana LSC Nomination Form.


Tutoring assistance available. Click here for more information.

Middle Years Newsletter for August 2017.


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Forsyth County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or gender in employment decisions or educational programs and activities.