Dragon Digest

Volume 2, Issue 4 / September 22, 2017

principal's letter

Dear DeSana Parents,

There is a hint of Fall in the air, as the days grow shorter and the temperature drops at night to a more comfortable setting (the days are still hotter than I would like!). And with this advent of Fall, comes our annual Fall Break, starting next week - - - September 25th – 29th. A time for all . . . students, staff and parents . . . to take some time to slow down a bit from the hecticness of everyday life and rejuvenate our mind, body and soul. We have been in school now right at seven weeks, and our young Dragons have been working hard in their classes. Our teachers have challenged them in their thinking and in their expectations of each student to work up to their potential. So this break comes at a good time for everyone to catch their breath . . . take stock of how it’s going thus far . . . and set or reset some goals on what we will accomplish throughout the rest of this first semester.

With nine-week Progress Reports coming out a couple of weeks after we return from Fall Break, I encourage our parents to take some time over the break to talk . . . really talk to and really listen . . . about how it’s going for your middle schooler thus far this year. Where do they think they are excelling? Are they struggling in any subject? If so, what are some ideas they have (you have) to help them catch up with the learning? How’s it going socially for them? Who are their friends? Do they think they are being a good friend to others? Do they enjoy going to school? Do they think they are growing in the area of being a better manager of their time so that they get everything done on time? Where do they need some help (saying to them it is OK to ask for help even though they want to be so independent)? Do they feel like they are treated with respect at school? Do they respect their classmates and are they kind to them? Are they being challenged enough? What’s the best thing about their day? What part of the day would they like to trade in for something else (and what would that be)? If they had one do-over for the year thus far, what would that be? I would share my wishful do-overs (plural!) with you but that would be more than you want to read about on this day that Fall Break begins!

And if you are a parent of a sixth grade student, I really encourage you to find the time over the break to have an elongated check-in with your young Dragon to see how they are truly acclimating to middle school. It is so easy in the day-to-day quick pace of life to ask a cursory question or two to see how things are going with your child at school. So this luxury of time over Fall Break might just be the time to have that more meaningful conversation with your young adolescent about their life in middle school thus far . . . even when they give you short answers, roll their eyes, sigh heavily, and ask if they can go now! Persevere and change your tactic to more frequent, shorter conversations when you have them held captive in the car taking them where they have begged you to take them!

And parents, I hope you find some time for yourself over this next week! Yours is a daunting and exhausting job . . . one that never ends . . . fulfilling your role as an involved and supportive parent. Please know that we so appreciate everything you do to support all that we do here at DeSana to provide your young Dragon with the best education possible.

Here’s hoping this next week is just how you want it to be! And that you find the time to have some fun as a family and with friends! Please stay safe in your travels, whether they be near or far! We will look forward to seeing all of our young Dragons back at DeSana on Monday, October 2nd . . . well-rested, and ready to take on the challenges in their learning for the rest of this semester! Take care!

With warmest wishes,

Terri A. North


DeSana Day of Good Deeds

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If you own a business and want to be an integral part of D3 Day, please consider making a donation to support D3 Day. You will be joining companies like United Way and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (who supported us last year and have signed up again this year). Please see the attachment for ways to support and how you will be advertised at DeSana.

Families can also make a donation to D3 Day and support the planting of seeds of altruism in our students. A Family Donation of $50 will get your family name on the D3 Day t-shirts (and will include the t-shirts for the student and any family member volunteering on D3 Day!). Click here the Family donation is also on the Sponsor Form.

Please contact dawn@bourgs.com or jharris@campharris.org if you would like to talk about making a donation. Thank you!

PTO News

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Fundraiser Extended

This year we have partnered with Read-A-Thon for our PTO fundraiser which kicked off Friday, September 8th AND HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH FRIDAY, September 29th! We are asking our kids commit to seven, 30-minute reading sessions, a few of which will take place during school hours but most will be completed at home. Check out this great video some of the kids created to announce the Fundraiser!

Your child brought home a parent letter and instructions to set up their online donation site specifically created for them by Read-A-Thon on Wednesday, September 6th AND also brought home a reminder sheet on Wednesday, September 13th. If you have not yet seen that please ask them to show it to you OR if they need another sheet, please email the PTO at desanadragonspto@gmail.com. Please know that the confidentiality of your child’s personal information is also of great importance to us, therefore, all students’ websites show only their first name and last initial and you control who you send the link to (friends and family members). Read-A-Thon will purge their system of the sites once the fundraiser comes to an end.

The PTO will raise funds by asking for a flat donation for time spent reading. We know everyone is inundated in the fall with magazines, chocolates, and popcorn sales requests so we hope this approach provides a bit of a break for you and the kids, and it encourages and promotes a love of reading! The PTO also gets to keep 75% of the funds raised, which is very exciting as it will allow us to do so much more for the school and our students! Our goal is to raise enough funds to cover our teacher grants for the year. If not we may have to have an additional fundraiser in the winter. We hope you will join your child(ren) for some family reading time and encourage them in this endeavor! A Samsung Tablet will be awarded to the student in each grade level who raises the most funds, and the class who raises the most funds will receive a Chick-fil-A and Kona Ice party! In addition, they get to choose their own prizes provided by Read-A-Thon from the website based on how much they have raised. Please follow this link to our letter on the website for a full copy of the parent letter and again, feel free to email us at desanadragonspto@gmail.com with any questions!

Thank you for your assistance with making this a successful fundraiser for DeSana!

The DeSana Dragons PTO


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Deadline for Coming Out of An Advanced Studies Course is Thursday, October 5th

Students in an Advanced Studies Class here at DeSana have this first quarter to try out such a class to see if it meets their academic needs, with the opportunity to change their mind during the first nine weeks if it does not. Now is a great time for students and their parents to have conversations about their choice(s) to be in advanced studies courses. Students recently received a 4 ½ week Progress Report and/or Parent Portal is another viable way to check and see how students are doing, grade wise. This can be one indicator of potential success. We encourage parents and students to look beyond the grade and to see if there are missing assignments, and reflect upon the grades earned thus far. Grades are not the only piece of information that should be taken into consideration. Time commitment based on class workload and extracurricular activities are other factors that should be considered. We have asked teachers who teach Advanced Studies Courses to talk to students who are not working up to the standard that we expect in such courses, and to contact parents to share how their student is doing. We also encourage you to communicate with the classroom teacher for their perspective on course placement if you are uncertain. The final decision to stay in or come out rests with the parent and/or student. The deadline for withdrawing from an accelerated or advanced studies course is Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 4:30 PM. Please keep in mind that if your child remains in an advanced or accelerated class after the deadline, he/she will be in this class for the entire school year; there is no other time during the 2017-2018 school year when a student will be allowed to change to an on-level class. To withdraw your student from an accelerated or advanced studies course, a parent must make this request in writing to Ms. Epperson, Assistant Principal, at sepperson@forsyth.k12.ga.us by the October 5th deadline. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Epperson.

Honor Roll & Merit Roll Recognition at DeSana

At the end of each semester, Desana teachers and administrators host an Academic Achievement Celebration to honor and recognize those students who make the Honor Roll and Merit Roll for the semester. For this 2017-2018 school year, sixth grade students who earn a grade of 90 (A average) or above for their semester grade in each and every class for the semester will be recognized as an Honor Roll Student. This includes all four core classes --- Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies --- and Literacy classes, and all four Connections classes taken during the semester. Sixth grade students who earn a grade of 80 (B average) or above for their semester grade in each and every class for the semester will be recognized as a Merit Roll Student. This includes all four core classes --- Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies --- and Literacy classes, and all four Connections classes taken during the semester.

Seventh and eighth grade students during this 2017-2018 school year who earn a grade of 90 (A average) or above for their semester grade in each and every class for the semester will be recognized as an Honor Roll Student. This includes all four core classes --- Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies --- and Literacy classes or Spanish class (8th grade only), and all four Connections classes taken during the semester. Seventh and eighth grade students who earn a grade of 85 or above for their semester grade in each and every class for the semester will be recognized as a Merit Roll Student. This includes all four core classes --- Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies --- and Literacy classes or Spanish class (8th grade only), and all four Connections classes taken during the semester.

First semester Academic Achievement Celebrations for each grade level will be held at the first of February, and second semester Celebrations will be held the following Fall for 6th and 7th grade students, with certificates mailed home in the spring to our 8th grade honorees.


Dragon Academy is an opportunity we offer students on a couple of Fridays per month, 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 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:

· 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


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. Mr. Crowder has made this video you can watch by clicking here on itslearning basics. You may also 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.


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Football wraps up

The Dragon football team finished their season with many firsts! Our first win came in a big way with a 36-12 win against Otwell. The boys continued their winning ways against North with a come from behind win. The Dragons fought hard all season and the coaches could not be any more proud of them. Thank you to all of the cheerleaders, fans and other supporters who helped us along the way this year. Without your support, we would not have been able to fight as hard as we did. GO DRAGONS!!!!

lady dragons basketball

Girls Basketball season is almost underway and there are some important dates to remember in regards to Open Gyms and Tryouts for both the 7th Grade and 8th Grade teams:

· Open Gym dates: Wednesday, October 4th and Wednesday, October 11th from 4:30-6:30

· Tryouts: Monday, October 16th and Tuesday, October 17th from 4:30-6:30

Girls interested in attending these sessions need to have a current physical on file with the school. Click here for a physical form. Please be sure to print and complete all the pages. If girls have any questions, please see Coach Berger (7th Grade Coach) in Room 1129 or Coach Fogg (8th Grade Coach) in Room 1117.

Boys basketball

Boys’ basketball tryouts will be held on the 18th and 19th of October starting at 6:30AM. Final roster will be posted on the boys basketball website following tryouts. Open gym dates are October 3rd, 5th, 10th , and 12th from 7:30am-8:30AM. All players must have a current physical on file to be able participate in open gym or tryouts. Following the final roster, the first practice will be held on October 23rd from 4:30pm-6:30PM.

The Arts

Congratulations to one of our very artistic dragons!

Please join me in congratulating Shauna D., who contributed artwork to the Yonkofa’s Project art auction that took place on Saturday, September 16th. Shauna contributed 2 canvas paintings. Both paintings sold and one of the paintings ("Tree of Friends") sold for $455! The bid for this painting started at $25, with $5 incremental bidding! Shauna was one of two students who participated in the auction – all others were professional artists. Way to go, Shauna!

High Museum Pop-Up Art Show

Attention all middle school artists! Now is your chance to showcase your work at the High Museum AND gain free entry. The High Museum is hosting a youth pop up show for the month of October! Bring one 2D artwork to the high museum on September 30 from 10 am to 1 pm and pick up October 29 from 12 noon to 3 pm. Museum admission is free for you and your family on September 30 and October 29! The show is open to students in grades Pre-K through 12.

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!


7th grade field trip

Registration has begun for the 7th grade overnight field trip! We are very excited about the 7th grade field trip to Zoo Atlanta and overnight at the Georgia Aquarium this year. This is a great opportunity for students to make real life connections to their Life Science standards this year, as well as have a great time with their friends. The trip will be March 9-10, 2018. If you would like your student registered for the trip, please fill out the required application and behavior contract, along with a deposit of $45 or full payment to Jessica Strader by October 6. Click here for the application. There is limited availability this year and space is filling up fast. Please contact Mrs. Strader with any questions at: jstrader@forsyth.k12.ga.us

Health Screenings for 7TH & 8TH Grade Students on Monday, October 2nd

On the Monday back from Fall Break - - - October 2nd - - - seventh and eighth grade students will participate in scoliosis screening. Students were given a letter about this screening to bring home during the week of September 11th that explains the screening process and has a section that a parent can fill out and sign if they choose for their child to opt out of the scoliosis screening. Maybe this letter never made it home (imagine that!)? Parents can also go to our DeSana website and click on “Student Services” and then click on “School Nurse”. There you will find the scoliosis information on the left side. All 7th and 8th graders will participate in the scoliosis screening unless we receive the refusal form from the parent.

In addition to the scoliosis screening, eighth grade students will also have a hearing and vision screening completed on October 2nd. Please contact Nurse McWalters at 770-667-2591 ext. 491529 or at rmcwalters@forsyth.k12.ga.us or Assistant Principal, Mr. Feuerbach, at 770-667-2591 ext. 491507 or dfeuerbach@forsyth.k12.ga.us if you have any questions.

8th Grade Computer and Financial Literacy Field Trip to Finance Park

Students took a trip to the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Gwinnett County and applied what they’d learned about budgeting, saving, and spending in this real-life “grown-up” city. Students enjoyed the trip and we are grateful for the opportunity!

DeSana FBLA Charter Chapter

With roughly thirty members and growing, DeSana has rolled out its first ever FBLA Chapter. Members will soon be electing officials, participating in a t-shirt design contest, and learning about business fundamentals.

Those interested in joining are welcome to stop by Mrs. Solano’s room (1225) to get more information and pay dues.

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sucker day coming!

Don't forget to bring your dollar or dollars for the next Sucker Day, Friday, October 6th. There are lots of yummy flavors to choose from, so come see us in the Commons that morning. All proceeds benefit FBLA.

Engineering and Technology Club News

Congratulations to one of our very own 7th Graders, Sakthipriya R.! She has placed in the Top 10 in the State, with her Architectural Design Project for the Engineering and Technology Club. She designed a Thai Restaurant with integrated flood prevention systems. Her project included a Menu, Promotional Materials, a Floor Plan, and Outside Design. Sakthipriya will present her project to a panel of Judges on October 9, at the Georgia National Fair.


DeSana Dragons are giving back to the community in a big way! We have had a blast raising money for Coins4CURE, a childhood cancer research organization. This past week, students have participated in fun dress-up days, including hat day, twin day, sports fan day, yellow and gold day, and even a candy and chip purchase day, in order to help raise money for this great cause. This generous group of students, staff, and parents raised a total of $1,195.22! We are so excited to give this donation to CURE Childhood Cancer, and we look forward to working with them again in years to come. Many thanks to all of our young Dragons and family who gave to this very worthy cause!

Want to own a 2017-2018 DeSana Yearbook?

Don’t miss out on the best memory book created by the BEST yearbook staff.

Go to: balfour.com and click: shop your school. Students may also bring cash or check to Mrs. West on the 7th grade hall.

The price is $35 and will go up after March 31, 2018. On-line sales will END March 31st.

411 - helpful links for you

other important information

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DeSana’s Local School Council has organized and held its first meeting on Wednesday, September 6th. The LSC will meet monthly (except for the month of December) at 7:30 AM on the following dates:

· October 6, 2017

· November 3, 2017

· January 12, 2018

· February 9, 2018

· March 2, 2018

· April 13, 2018

· May 4, 2018

Members of the DeSana LSC, serving at least a two-year term are:

· Barry Herrin Parent Rep & Chairperson

· Vic Williams Parent Rep & Vice Chairperson

· Chris Naffky Parent Rep

· Michael Smith Parent Rep

· Bridget Bryson Teacher Rep

· Laureen Krawiec Teacher Rep & Secretary

· Terri North Principal

The LSC will tackle writing the bylaws for this council, along with giving feedback to the superintendent and Board of Education members on a variety of topics, when solicited. Members of the DeSana LSC will also learn more about DeSana and the educational opportunities offered to our students and parents and provide feedback and recommendations to the DeSana administration for continued school improvement.


Your student’s safety is the number one priority of DeSana’s Administration. As a school, we practice fire drills, severe weather drills, and code yellow lockdown drills in order for your student to know what to do in case an emergency should arise at DeSana Middle School. There are a few aspects of a code red lockdown that we do not practice during a code yellow lockdown drill. We do not practice gathering students in classrooms with the lights off, what to do if you are in the bathroom, what to do if you are in the cafeteria, what to do if you are in the hallway, what do you do if you are outside, etc. Our teachers do a wonderful job with discussing these with the students, but the students are not able see it in action. The Forsyth County School Safety Department has provided a fantastic video for students to watch in order to better prepare them for situations that we do not practice at school. We encourage you to view the video with your student. Click here to watch it.

thank you to our business partners

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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.