Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

Back-to-School News and Information - August 27, 2019

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

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Welcome to the 2019-20 School Year!

Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year. We are all very excited to welcome the entire Clemens Crossing Family back to school. As many of you know, our faculty and staff spent our first day together on a professional learning field trip to Washington D.C. to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Over 50 years ago, James Rouse (founder of Columbia) envisioned Columbia to be a culturally diverse planned community. Our Clemens Crossing Elementary School community is a living example of Rouse’s vision of an inclusive and diverse community within Columbia. One of the goals of our staff trip last week was to view American history through the African-American lens. Exhibits that explored history and culture were highlighted throughout the museum. The experiences from the trip will influence and enhance teaching and learning at Clemens Crossing. Additionally, we will continually focus on building bridges in our diverse community. Attending a school with a diverse student body can help prepare your child for citizenship in a multicultural democracy.
As the United States becomes a more culturally and ethnically diverse nation, public schools are more diverse, too. Our classrooms are diverse places where students of different ages, genders, cultures, socio-economic standings, and religions all come together to learn. Therefore, it is important for all educators to promote diversity in the classroom. By doing so, students can learn the values of respect, acceptance, and community.
As a school we are going to continually reflect, share, and talk about how we can provide a world-class education while focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for as a community based on our accomplishments over the past few years. I know this year is shaping up to be our best year yet. We look forward to seeing everyone in the coming weeks.

Mr. Cosentino, Principal

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Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit


  • 28 - Class Assignments open in Family File
  • 29 - Open House - Kindergarten, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
  • 29 - Open House - Grades 1-5, 2:30 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.


  • 2 - Labor Day - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 3 - First Day of School
  • 4 - Gifted & Talented Information Session, Media Center 6:00 p.m.
  • 4 - Back-to-School Night for Grades 3, 4, & 5 in Cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.
  • 5 - AHS & WLHS Back-to-School Night
  • 6 - PTA Welcome Back Family Picnic, 5:00p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • 9 - Back-to-School Night for Grades K, 1 & 2 in Cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.
  • 10 - Band/Strings Information Night, Cafeteria 6:30 p.m.
  • 11 - PTA Kick-Off Meeting, Media Center 6:30 p.m.
  • 12 - WLMS Back-to-School Night
  • 13 - RAIN DATE for the PTA Welcome Back Family Picnic, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • 15 - National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month Begins
  • 25 - In-School Banking, 9:00-9:30 a.m.
  • 27 - Student Picture Day
  • 30 - Schools and Offices Closed

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

HCPSS Calendars

There will be no printed 2019-2020 calendars. Staff, students, and families may add our online calendar to their own mobile/online calendar by

  1. Going to
  2. Scrolling down to subscribe to a Calendar
  3. Right-clicking on the calendar you wish to subscribe to
  4. Selecting Copy Link Location/Address/Shortcut
  5. Adding to your calendar of choice (See your calendar for specifics on adding a new calendar)

You also may view and/or download printable PDFs of the full calendar and/or important dates only. Updates to the PDFs will be noted on the HCPSS calendar page.

PLEASE NOTE! The calendar is subject to change. The online calendar reflects the most recent version.

CCES Family Guide - The ABCs of CCES

Click below to download the CCES Family Guide. The guide is also located on the main page of the CCES website.

Cougar Comments School Newsletter on Fridays

The Cougar Comments will be published weekly throughout the school year through email and social media. Be sure to look for this newsletter on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. in your email inbox starting on September 6.

PTA has a section in the weekly newsletter. They do not publish their own newsletter, so please be sure to scroll to the bottom of each newsletter for PTA information.

If you ever miss an edition of the newsletter or need to review a previous edition of the newsletter,
all Cougar Comments will be available on the main page of the CCES website. We hope you find the information helpful.

Additionally, be sure to follow CCES on Facebook and Twitter. We often post information and reminders there in addition to fun posts sharing what's going on in our school.

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Family File Emergency Form is Open in HCPSS Connect

Your Family file needs to be updated every school year. It is time to update your child's emergency contact information in HCPSS Connect! This is the most important step as we prepare for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
HCPSS Connect is open to update your Family File. Please take time to do this now. It is very important to have your Family File information complete prior to the first day of school.

Families that update and complete their Family File will be able to view teacher assignments for the upcoming school year beginning August 28, 2019.

You will be asked to update or provide the following information:

  • Parent/guardian contact information. Please provide the most current contact information.
  • Emergency contacts. Who do you want to pick up your child in case you cannot?
  • Medical information
  • Arrival and dismissal procedures. How will your child arrive to school and be dismissed on a daily basis? Additionally, provide what procedure your child should follow in case of an unscheduled early closing of schools.
  • Media coverage. This includes students being photographed for ACE awards.
  • Data confidentiality.
  • PTA directory. What information do you want to be included in our CCES PTA Directory?

You can access HCPSS Connect here

Changes of Address may not be made through Family File. If you have recently moved, please contact our CCES Office at 410-313-6866 as soon as possible.

Parents who have forgotten their login credentials for Family File may click the “Forgot Password” link on the sign-in page. If you need additional assistance, please fill out this Connect Help Form.

Who is My Child's Teacher?

Teacher notifications will be available on Wednesday, August 28 at 9:00 a.m. in Family File.
Once you update your Family File, you will be able to view your teacher assignment.

We highly recommend taking care of Family Files prior to Open House, however, computers will be available for families to complete Family File during our Open House events on August 29 (see Important Dates at the top of this newsletter).

First Day of School

"Kiss and Wave" : We ask parents to say goodbye at home and at the front door of the school. We do not permit parents in the building during the drop off times.

Please do not drop your child off without supervision prior to 9:00 a.m.
There is no supervision of students before 9:00 a.m.

Kindergarten Students: All Kindergarten students will be met at the front main doors and hallways. K students only will be gathered in the Cafeteria and will be escorted to their classroom together with their teacher for the first three days of school.

Bus Riders: It is very important to put your child on the bus on the first day. Students who ride buses will have their bus number tagged onto their backpack with a wristband strip.
Please leave the bus tag on their backpack. This helps us help students get on their buses in the afternoon throughout the school year. Additionally, students in Kindergarten will have a luggage tag attached to their backpack. The luggage tag helps bus drivers know which students are Kindergarten students so they can help them situate on the bus in the morning and get off the bus in the afternoon at the correct bus stop.

Food Services at CCES

Our Food and Nutrition Services web page has information parents/guardians may find helpful, including meal prices, how to pay for meals, where to view menus, nutritional and allergen information, and more.

Free and Reduces Meals Application

Parents of students who qualify for Free and Reduced Meals must submit a new application every school year. Details on the HCPSS FARMs program is online, including how to apply.

Paying For Meals

  • Breakfast - $2.00 ($0.30 reduced)
  • Lunch - $2.75 ($.045 reduced)

My School Bucks

Cash Daily

  • Students can pay daily for lunch, milk, or snacks with cash.

Reload Account

  • You can also save the cost associated with My School Bucks by adding larger amounts of money your child's Food Service account. Student can bring money to the cafeteria manager and she will add the money to your child's account.


At Clemens Crossing, we serve breakfast each morning from 9:00 am to 9:20 am. Students who wish to purchase breakfast simply need to go to the cafeteria when they arrive in the morning.


To view the menus for breakfast and lunch at Clemens Crossing, please visit the Nutrislice website on the Food Servies page on the HCPSS website. There is also a Nutrisclice app you can download from iOS and Android platforms. If you have any questions about Food Services at Clemens Crossing, please feel free to contact our Cafeteria Manager, Ms. Meiling Chin.

Visiting or Picking-up Students at CCES

All visitors to Clemens Crossing must bring a driver’s license and sign in with our LobbyGuard visitor management system.

Additionally, we require a picture ID when you or someone on your emergency contact comes to pick-up your child early from school. Please make sure to indicate on your Family File emergency form who you are allowing the school to release your child to by checking the box "☑ release to".

Parent Volunteer Procedures at CCES

We value our volunteers and the contributions they make to our students and schools. Parents who wish to volunteer must complete a brief training course online and submit a certificate of completion to their school. This also includes anyone who chaperones a field trip. Details are available on our website.

Supply List for 2019-20

The supply list for the 2019-20 school year can be found on the main page of our school's website.

We encourage you to drop off your school supplies during Open House on August 29. Please be sure to clearly label your child's supplies with his/her name.

Bus Services

Howard County Public School System provides safe, reliable, and efficient transportation to and from school for enrolled students living beyond a one-mile walking distance from elementary school.

The school & bus locator features an efficient, mobile-friendly and informative format. The locator offers an enhanced map, pop-up messaging, same day updating capability, and additional school information. Type in your address to see your child’s school, bus schedule, and location of their bus stop.

For the first week of school, parents are asked to ensure students arrive at bus stops earlier than the usual five minutes.

We encourage parents to send their children to school on the first day the same way they would each day.

Bus Responsibilities for Parents and Students


HCPSS works with parents to further the safety of all children by making certain that students know the bus rules that are there to provide a safe and enjoyable bus ride for everyone. Parents ensure that students know their bus number, which is located on each side of the bus. For younger children (elementary students), HCPSS recommends that parents/guardians or another trusted adult wait at the bus stop with the students to supervise their behavior and to help with any problems that may arise, such as a delayed bus or injury while waiting. Both adults and students should stand at a safe distance from the roadway.

Bus stops are chosen to provide both safety and convenience for students as well as to economize on fuel and minimize the time that students spend on the bus. Parents, please do not request bus drivers to make additional stops. This puts our drivers in a difficult position, as our regulations prohibit bus drivers from making extra stops between the designated bus stops in place. Many bus routes are designed so that students do not need to cross a major roadway to use the bus. Parents should never allow their students to bypass this safety measure by walking across the street to use a different bus stop.

Helpful tips

  • Remind children that playing near or running toward a moving bus is dangerous.
  • Remind children to never retrieve items that fall under the bus or next to the bus wheels.
  • Make sure children are at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the established pick-up time.
  • Emphasize the need to follow the bus driver’s directions and to follow all bus rules.
  • Help children remember landmarks that identify their bus stop.
  • Make sure children do not have any hanging objects or materials that potentially could become caught or lodged in handrails or other tight spaces.
  • Provide morning and afternoon supervision at bus stops, particularly for primary-aged children.

Before the First Day Checklist:

  • I have discussed basic safety practices with my child.
  • I have reinforced the importance of using extra caution during bad weather.
  • I am aware of proper procedures for use of parent pick-up and drop-off area.
  • I have made a visit to the bus stop with my child.
  • I have checked and selected the safest and most direct route to and from the bus stop.
  • My child is aware of the danger zone.
  • My child is aware of where he/she needs to go when leaving the bus.
  • I have discussed with my child what to do if she/he misses the bus.
  • My child knows the location of his or her bus stop.


Students are responsible for their behavior while on the bus and at bus stops.

School buses are an extension of school. As such, students are expected to adhere to the same standards of behavior on a school bus as they do the classroom. And just like students obey teachers and instructors while at school, so also are they expected to obey the bus driver who are their instructors while on the way to and back from school. Remember, riding the school bus is a privilege for most students, but it is not a right. That privilege can and will be revoked if the student fails to observe the basic standards of conduct and safety required of them.

Helpful Tips

  • Leave home early enough to arrive at your bus stop at least five minutes prior to the expected pick up time.
  • Wait for your bus in a safe place, well off the roadway.
  • Enter the bus in an orderly manner and take your seat.
  • Follow the instructions of the school bus driver.
  • Remain in your seat while the bus is in motion.
  • Keep the center aisle clear at all times.
  • Remain quiet and orderly.
  • Be courteous to your school bus driver and fellow passengers.
  • Be alert to traffic when leaving the bus.

Avoid the Danger Zone

  • Take 10 giant steps away from the bus when getting off.
  • Always cross in front of the bus.
  • Look at the bus driver and wait for the driver’s signal before crossing the road.
  • If you drop something outside the bus, leave it. Get permission from the driver before picking it up. Never go under the bus, the driver will help you.
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Arrival and Dismissal Procedures and Information

If you are in a non-transportation zone (walker or car rider) it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with our routines for arrival and dismissal.

As adults, we must follow predictable patterns and routines, because children can be unpredictable. Parking in a wrong or illegal place creates unpredictable situations, and those types of situations can put students at risk during arrival and dismissal.

Arrival and dismissal safety is everyone's responsibility. With 500 students at Clemens Crossing Elementary, it is important to be patient during arrival and dismissal. The carefully planned logistics of arrival and dismissal help us keep our students, staff, parents, and visitors safe.

Please review the map below and listen to our staff members who are outside to assist your children when they enter and leave school daily.

Please note: Do not park along Quarterstaff Road where signs state "No Parking or Standing". Howard County Police will ticket drivers who park or drop-off/pick-up students where no parking signs are posted.

Car Riders - All car riders are dismissed on the parking lot side of the building. Car riders are expected to be dropped-off and picked up in the car loop (school parking lot). We do not allow students to cross the bus parking lot and load into their car along Quarterstaff Road. Please do not tell your children to meet you along Quarterstaff Road.

  • During arrival and dismissal, we expect car traffic to enter the car loop from the Martin Roadside of Quarterstaff Road (right turn into the parking lot). Exiting the car loop is right-turn-only as well. Please plan your trip accordingly. Left-hand turn traffic creates back-ups in addition to making it difficult to see blind spots.
  • If you do park legally along Quarterstaff Road, your child is considered a walker and will be dismissed with walkers.


* Students are only considered car-riders if they are picked up in the car loop.

** If you park along Quarterstaff Road to pick-up your child, your child is considered a walker and will be dismissed as a walker.

Walkers - We dismiss walkers last. We do this so our walkers can walk home safely with a reduced number of cars and buses on property and along Quarterstaff Road. Walkers who cross Quarterstaff Road must cross the street with the crossing guard.

It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe during arrivals and dismissals.

Below, you will find a helpful graphic for arrival and dismissal.

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From the Health Room

Any medications required during school hours including prescription, “over-the-counter” (OTC) and homeopathic/herbal medications require a medication order signed by an approved health care provider and are subject to the HCPSS medication policy and procedure.

For more information about Health Services in the Howard County Public School System, please visit the Health Services website here.

You are welcome to drop off any necessary medication(s) for your student to the Health Room, along with the Medication order form signed by a provider, at the following times this week:

Tuesday 8/27 8:30am-11:30am

Wednesday 8/28 1:00pm-4:00pm

Thursday 8/29 8:30am-4:00pm

Friday 8/30 8:30am-4:00pm

Have opinions about bicycling in Hickory Ridge?

The Howard County Office of Transportation has launched a Hickory Ridge Bike Corridor Study. Learn more at and share your opinions. Complete the survey by September 15 at

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Connect with CCES and Stay Informed

Listed below are the many ways to stay informed at Clemens Crossing Elementary School.


  • Follow us on Twitter at
  • We use Twitter to inform, celebrate, and engage our community.
  • Twitter is used to share what is going on in our school, our community, and throughout the Howard County Public School System.
  • Turn on notifications to get information the second it is tweeted.
  • We live-stream our concerts on Periscope through Twitter.


  • Like us on Facebook at
  • We have found that Facebook is the social media most used by our parents so we are now on Facebook, too!
  • Our Facebook page is updated automatically from our Twitter feed.
  • Please use Facebook to share the good news from CCES with your friends and families.


  • We use Instagram periodically. We do post pictures and information there.


  • Our website,, is updated regularly.
  • Important news and information is located on the main page of the site including an archive of our weekly newsletter, Cougar Comments.
  • Staff information and email is located under the "Our Staff" tab.
  • A subscribable google calendar is located on the "Calendar" tab.


  • Email is our main form of communication.
  • You will receive news and information automatically to the email address you provide in your Family File. We will not inundate your inbox with email. Look for the weekly Cougar Comments on Friday mornings.
  • If you would like email sent to different email addresses, update your email in Family File with the email address you prefer.
  • You can subscribe additional email addresses by visiting the HCPSS News site here.
  • Weekly announcements, important information and updates, and more will primarily be sent through email.
  • You also have the opportunity to opt-in for text messaging

Back-To-School Nights

Please save the dates for our annual back-to-school nights.
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Message from the PTA President

Hello Clemens Crossing Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at Open House this week. As always, the PTA will need your help this year to have another successful year. Look for membership forms in first day folders and please watch for volunteer requests on Facebook and in Cougar Comments. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me ( with questions or suggestions throughout the year.
I would love to hear from you!

Dani Gardner, CCES PTA President

Extra Supplies and Items for Related Arts

Each year, we ask for families to donate extra school supplies for related arts teachers (art, music, media, technology, PE). We especially need tissue boxes. We are also looking for pencils, pens, Post-Its, etc. The PTA will have a collection box in the lobby for classroom supplies for related arts teachers.
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Back to School Picnic

Friday, September 6 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the CCES school grounds. We will have playground games for the kids. Bring a picnic dinner, blanket, chairs, frisbees, and balls and enjoy our community. This fun event is for both families and staff. There will be a snowball truck, so bring cash if you choose to get a snowball.

NOTE: Rain Date is September 13

PTA Kickoff Meeting and Dinner

Wednesday, Sep. 11th, 6:30pm

10320 Quarterstaff Road

Columbia, MD

Clemens Crossing Elementary School Media Center.

Please come and share your knowledge and ideas!

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Shop Amazon and Help CCES

Amazon will donate a percentage of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to CCES! Last school year, Amazon donated $200 to CCES!

Simply go to and select Clemens Crossing Elementary School as your charity or click on the link The same products and prices are available through this portal but every purchase you make will deliver .5% of the purchase price to the CCES PTA to help fund our programs. Only purchases at (not ) support charity.

Remember to use this link each time you make an Amazon purchase and tell your family and friends!

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Box Tops for Education

Thank you for sending your Box Tops for Education into school. Last year, CCES earned over $700. This money is divided so individual grade levels have extra funds to purchase items that they need.

The Box Tops for Education program is changing this year. There are two ways we can earn cash for our school!

Clip: If your package has a traditional Box Top clip, cut it out and send it to school (each grade level has a collection bin). We earn cash for all clipped Box Tops until they expire.

Scan: If your package has the new Box Tops label, use the Box Tops app to scan your store receipt within 14 days of purchase. The app will instantly add Box Tops to our school's earnings online.

Questions? Contact Julia Griffiths,

Grade Level Closed Facebook Groups

Did you know that each grade at Clemens Crossing has a class Facebook page? PTA helps facilitate these pages. The pages are "closed" groups (requiring approval to join the group) and intended only for parents of children in that particular grade. It's a great way to converse and interact with other parents and hear about activities and events in your child's grade.

These pages are supplemental to the schools Twitter feed and Facebook page, so please be sure to use those social media tools as well.

Class of 2025 Kindergarten

Class of 2024 1st grade

Class of 2023 2nd grade

Class of 2022 3rd grade

Class of 2021 4th grade

Class of 2020 5th grade

Adding CCES's Google Calendar to Your Personal Online/Email Calendar

Did you know you can subscribe to CCES's Calendar and see events on your computer and/or smartphone? Why subscribe to the calendar? You will have all of CCES's events embedded in your calendar. If events change, the calendar will be updated immediately.

The calendar ID is: There are many "how to" tutorials online you can view to learn how to properly sync your calendar. It depends on your email provider, computer platform, and brand of smartphone.