Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

August 11, 2020 - Volume 42, Issue 1

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year!

Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year! School starts in less than a month! The start of this school year will be like no other. An incredible amount of planning and preparation has taken place both at our Central Office and in our school to help make this new format successful and meaningful for our students. We, at CCES, are very excited to see you and kick off the school year, even if it is online.


Last week, our Board of Education approved the HCPSS Fall Reopening Plan. If you have not had the time to review it yet, I encourage you to do so. The HCPSS Reopening Plan and website will be continually updated as new information becomes available. This is a total redesign of the educational system. It will be different from our traditional in-person program and this spring’s online model. It is extremely important to get this plan right, and I will work extremely hard to help facilitate an outstanding new model of school and learning for our students and community. Having school in this new redesigned manner impacts everything. It impacts every facet of our operations; registration, orientations, school supply lists, school schedules, daycare, and food services to name a few. My goal, at this point of the summer, is to share important information to help prepare families for the start of school. Please know that Clemens Crossing Elementary is working closely with the Central Office, and while many decisions and communications remain school-based, there is an increased need for centralized communication to ensure consistency during this time of change.


Communication is always key, both in a traditional setting and in this new redesigned online setting. At Clemens Crossing, we do our best to consolidate communication in our weekly newsletter, the Cougar Comments. The Cougar Comments will be published weekly throughout the school year through email and social media. Since you will receive email from your child's teachers and potentially other schools and teachers, if you have older children, we want to be sure we do not inundate your email inbox day in and day out. Be sure to look for the Cougar Comments newsletter on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. in your email inbox starting in September. It will be packed full of a lot of important information in one location. If you ever miss an issue of the Cougar Comments, we archive each issue on the main page of the CCES website. There will be times when we send email communication from the office between the Cougar Comments issues, so please be sure to check email regularly. 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.


I am also excited to share that our Smore.com newsletter (Cougar Comments) can now be translated by Google to many languages. To translate the newsletter, go to the top righthand corner and click translate newsletter under the word accessibility. There is also a high contrast mode where the text can be viewed in black-and-white and larger lettering. I hope this will help provide even better communication for our diverse community.


I hope you are able to enjoy the next few weeks of summer, and I look forward to seeing you online to start the school year. Now more than ever, I encourage you to contact me personally with any questions, concerns, or needs that you may have as you prepare to support your children during this school year. As your principal, I am committed to help make a difference even from a distance! Finally, I want to close by sharing a quote on the school sign as you drive on Quarterstaff Road towards Martin Road:


"Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen!"


This year may be different than any other, but we can make it meaningful and wonderful for our children.


Mr. Cosentino, Principal

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Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit cces.hcpss.org/calendar.


September

  • 3 - Kindergarten Welcome Back Orientation, 11:00 a.m.
  • 3 - 1st Grade Welcome Back Orientation, 1:00 p.m.
  • 3 - 2nd Grade Welcome Back Orientation, 2:00 p.m.
  • 4 - 3rd Grade Welcome Back Orientation, 10:00 a.m.
  • 4 - 4th Grade Welcome Back Orientation, 11:00 a.m.
  • 4 - 5th Grade Welcome Back Orientation, 12:00 p.m.
  • 7 - No School - Labor Day
  • 8 - First Day of School
  • 15 - Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month Begins
  • 21 - Kindergarten Back to School Night, 6:00 p.m.
  • 21 - 1st Grade Back to School Night, 6:30 p.m.
  • 21 - 2nd Grade Back to School Night, 7:00 p.m.
  • 22 - 3rd Grade Back to School Night, 6:00 p.m.
  • 22 - 4th Grade Back to School Night, 6:30 p.m.
  • 22 - 5th Grade Back to School Night, 7:00 p.m.
  • 28 - No School - Yom Kippur


Date(s) and times forthcoming for:

  • Distribution of bundled consumable materials and Chromebooks
  • Distribution of leftover yearbooks, Paw Print Press books, and class pictures from 2019-20
  • Collection of media books and any other school items

HCPSS Calendars

There will be no printed 2020-21 Calendars. Staff, students, and families may add our online calendar to their own mobile/online calendar by

  1. Going to https://www.hcpss.org/calendar/
  2. Scrolling down to Subscribing 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.

Staffing Updates

This summer has been very busy. In addition to redesigning our school, we had quite a few changes with staff and staffing this year. We had to hire almost one-seventh of our school staff. The changes are a result of increased enrollment, retirements, and some former staff relocating. If you missed the grade level and team information announcements on Twitter and Facebook this summer, you can visit the staff page of our website for a complete listing of our staff.


Please find a summary of all the changes below:


Welcome New Staff to CCES

Please join us in welcoming the following individuals to the Clemens Crossing Elementary family. These new staff members bring a variety of experiences that will only enhance what we offer our students:

  • Mr. Nathan Kollosch, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Ms. Emily Ancona, Kindergarten Teacher
  • Mrs. Stephanie Yung, 2nd Grade Teacher
  • Mrs. Ashley Warner, 2nd Grade Teacher
  • Mrs. Katie Hodge, 3rd Grade Teacher
  • Mr. Dale Allen, 4th Grade Teacher
  • Ms. Brielle Roda, Special Education Teacher
  • Ms. Ellissa Lawrence, Music Teacher (2 days a week)
  • Ms. Jamila Denkeli, Art Teacher (2 days a week)
  • Ms. Katherine Easthope, Speech Language Pathologist
  • Ms. Melissa Birdsong, Occupational Therapist


Farewell and Thank You!

We thank the following staff members for their service to our Clemens Crossing learning community and wish them well as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

  • Mrs. Peggy Shaw (former 3rd grade teacher) - Mrs. Shaw retired after 26 years of service at CCES!
  • Mrs. Diane Small (former 2nd Grade Teacher) - Mrs. Small retired from CCES after 34 years of service.
  • Mrs. Suzanne Ludicke (former Kindergarten Teacher) - Mrs. Ludicke relocated to Florida with her family.
  • Mrs. Allison Venuti (former Special Education Teacher) - Mrs. Venuti is working in a neighboring county after relocating.
  • Mrs. Malka Floras (former Speech Language Pathologist) - Mrs. Floras worked as a contracted employee last year. Her agency gave her a new assignment.
  • Mrs. Nikol Vazquez (former Occupational Therapist) - Mrs. Vazquez continues to work for HCPSS in multiple schools.

Learning at Home Tips

Below are some tips that you may find helpful or useful as you prepare your child for this year of learning. We recognize that all families are at a different place at this time in terms of school readiness, but for those of you who are curious as to ways you can support your child, we have compiled a beginning list for you.

  • Provide a designated learning space for your child. This will help your child with understanding that school is important. If your child has their own area that is strictly for their schooling, they are less likely to be distracted and it will help your child get in the zone for learning. This can be a small table, a small tv tray, a corner table in a kitchen, etc. Please do whatever works best for you, however, we recommend that this area has a “permanent” spot in the house.
  • Within the designated space, have organized items that your child will be able to find, put away and use. This will allow students to work in their area without needing to leave it to find needed materials.
  • Schoolbox or bin for crayons, pencils, scissors, glue and markers.
  • Headphones are helpful to avoid distractions to others AND they will block out distractions from the house.
  • Small whiteboard or thick paper in sheet protectors and black expo markers. Often teacher will ask your child to hold up their work and paper can be hard to see in an online format.
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Are you leaving Clemens Crossing?

If your child will not be attending CCES 2020-21school year, please contact Stacey Wells at stacey_wells@hcpss.org for assistance with withdrawal questions. This will allow us to properly plan for the fall and provide you with the information that you need in order to enroll your child in your new school.

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Family File Emergency Form is Open in HCPSS Connect

It is time to update your child's Emergency Contact information in HCPSS Connect even though we are starting the school year online. This is the most important step as we prepare for the start of the 2020-2021 School Year. Your Family file needs to be updated every school year.


Families that update and complete their Family File will be able to view teacher assignments prior to the start of school. In addition, having this information is critical to us as soon as the first day of school: HCPSS Connect


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

  • Parent/guardian contact information.
  • Emergency contacts.
  • Medical information
  • Arrival and Dismissal procedures.
  • Media coverage.
  • Data confidentiality.
  • PTA Directory.

You can access HCPSS Connect here http://www.hcpss.org/connect/


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.

Change of Address

Changes of Address may not be made through Family File. If you have recently moved, please contact your child’s new school as soon as possible. As we are preparing for the upcoming 2020-2021 School Year, it is imperative that we have accurate addresses on file for all of our students. If you have moved, and have not provided us with your updated information, we ask that you email the following documents to Ms. Wells at stacey_wells@hcpss.org.

  • A completed a change of address form
  • A copy of your new lease or deed
  • A copy of a current utility bill with your new address

Teacher Assignments

Teacher assignments will be shared electronically in the days prior to students’ return to school. The exact date will be determined by Central Office.

Registration for the 2020-21 School Year

Please share the following information with family, friends, and neighbors who may need to register a child for the 2020-21 school year. Registration questions and documents should be emailed to Ms. Stacey Wells at stacey_wells@hcpss.org

If you would like to register your child for the 2020- 21 school year, please complete the online registration by visiting https://www.hcpss.org/enroll/. While completing the online registration form, you can also upload the required documents. We will contact you to schedule a virtual meeting (e.g., online Google Meet) to complete the registration process. During this virtual meeting, you will be asked to verify parent/guardian relationship and submit any additional required documentation.

School Supplies

We are currently working with Central Office as they develop a revised school supply list that is appropriate for online learning. While there will be some items from the traditional supply list, there will likely be some new additions. Information will be sent out and posted on our website when the list is complete. For families who ordered our PTA school supply kits in the spring, we will have them available at a materials distribution event in the coming weeks. Further details about materials collection and distribution will follow soon.

Additionally, CCES will be distributing bundled consumable curriculum materials for all students. Items include materials for art, PE, science, and other curricular areas. We are working on pick-up procedures and schedules, and we will communicate that information soon.

HCPSS Chromebook Update:

Chromebooks

Every student entering grades kindergarten through 5th grade at CCES will be provided with a Chromebook; parents/guardians do not need to do anything to request this device. All device distribution will occur in late August. Details will be communicated as soon as they are available. Any student who borrowed a Chromebook for spring or summer learning may continue to use that device during the 2020-2021 school year. Please note that we will share information about the distribution and the next steps as soon as those details are available!


Broken Devices

Should an HCPSS Chromebook become broken, students/parents should bring the broken device to the HCPSS Logistics Center located at 9645 Gerwig Lane, Columbia, MD 21046.

Returning Devices

Families moving out of Howard County are responsible for returning the device to the HCPSS Logistics Center (9645 Gerwig Lane, Columbia, MD 21046). The building will be open weekdays from 9 a.m.- 11 a.m.


**Students who have enrolled in a school outside of HCPSS will need to return their borrowed Chromebook before their records can be sent to the new school.**

Information and Application for Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs)

HCPSS participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs which provide families with significant benefits to help save money. Qualification is based on family size and income, and enrollment is confidential. All children in households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can get free meals regardless of income, and students from households that meet federal income guidelines are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. Those eligible for reduced-price meals pay $0.10 for breakfast and $0.20 for lunch. More information is on the HCPSS Website.

The application is also on the last page of the Family File when you update your emergency contact information.

Summer Meals Extended to Aug. 28

The free Grab-N-Go summer meals program has been extended through Friday, August 28. There were several location changes effective Monday, August 3.

What Should You Do with the Recovery of Learning Packets?

Students who received an INCOMPLETE on their 2019-20 fourth quarter report card had the opportunity to receive a PASS by completing a Recovery of Learning Packet. Families can submit completed packets on or before September 15th by:

  • Mail - Completed packets may be mailed to the central office, care of “ROL return”
  • Drop off - place the packet in the “ROL return” box at the Board of Education
  • Scan and email completed packets to rolreturn@hcpss.org.


In addition, please confirm packet submission by completing this Google form https://bit.ly/HCPSSROL return or by calling 410-313-1526 to confirm submission. Families and students needing language support to submit the Google form may call the HCPSS Call Center.

Submit completed packet(s) by mail, drop off, or scan and email on or before September 15.


Families will be notified via email when their child’s packet is received and reviewed. If all necessary components are completed, your child’s Quarter 4 report card will be updated to reflect a “P” for passing the subject areas completed, as appropriate. When the update is complete, it will be viewable in Synergy.

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Connect with CCES and Stay Informed

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


Twitter

  • Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hcpss_cces
  • 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.


Facebook

  • Like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ClemensCrossingElementary
  • 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.


Instagram

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


Website

  • Our website, cces.hcpss.org, 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 subscribeable google calendar is located on the "Calendar" tab.


Email

  • 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. http://www.hcpss.org/hcpss-news/
  • Weekly announcements, important information, 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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PTA Facebook Page and Private Class Groups

PTA Facebook Page

Please follow the CCES PTA - https://www.facebook.com/clemenscrossingpta/

This is an open page for families of students at CCES.


Private Class Groups

The PTA organizes Facebook groups for families of students in each grade. The groups closed/private and only for parents of students in that particular class group. Membership in each group is contingent upon enrollment in the school. All content in the groups must be school related with the purpose of connecting parents and students.


Here is a list of the Facebook group by class.


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: sqspkjkbr6v6arss44js3n21eg@group.calendar.google.com.
There are many "how to" tutorials online that you can view to learn how to properly sync your calendar depending on your email provider, computer platform, and brand of smartphone.