Dragon Digest

Volume 1, Issue 13/February 3, 2017

principal's letter

Dear DeSana Parents,

This spring we will begin a new tradition at DeSana that I hope will not only continue for many, many years to come, but will also get bigger and better, and more encompassing throughout the years! On the Monday of May 22nd, we will have our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds! It will be a day when ALL students and staff at DeSana, along with many parent and community volunteers we hope, will dedicate the morning to helping others throughout our community . . . a day when our students will have the opportunity to see what it feels like firsthand to reach out and give of their time . . . their talents . . . and their hearts to help make life a little better or a little easier for others in need in our Forsyth community and beyond.

Throughout this morning, our 8th grade students will travel by school bus to charitable and nonprofit community service organizations or elementary schools to spend the morning helping with a variety of service projects. Helping out at an animal shelter, visiting a local nursing home, organizing, sorting and packing food at local food pantries, working with younger students at some of our Forsyth County elementary schools, and helping at one of our local libraries are just some of the projects on tap for our 8th graders this morning on D3 Day (our abbreviated name for DeSana Day of Good Deeds!).

Meanwhile, back at DeSana on D3 Day morning, our 6th and 7th grade students will be quite busily engaged in a variety of service projects as well. Packing boxes full of cookies and cards for Treats for the Troops, cleaning up the roadsides just around DeSana and on campus with Keep Forsyth Beautiful, creating “blankets of love” for children who come to Children’s Health Care of Atlanta – Forsyth when they are hurt or ill, preparing goodie bags for a children’s organization that helps children who have been in harm’s way, helping in the making of mats for the homeless, and stringing beaded bracelets for the organization, Just One Africa, an organization that donates water filtration systems to villages in Kenya, are just some of the many helpful projects our 6th and 7th graders will spend their time working on the morning of D3 Day.

You know as well as I do that it is quite easy to donate a dollar here or some food items there, all for some very good causes. But it takes the idea of service to others to a whole other level when we contribute our time and our hard work and our good efforts to helping others. And that is exactly what we want our young Dragons to see and experience on this DeSana Day of Good Deeds. One of the five main tenets on which we have established our new school is Altruistic Endeavors. D3 Day IS that opportunity for our students to really understand how they are a part of such a bigger picture --- a community --- and how it benefits all when we take the time to help one another. D3 Day is about people . . . helping people . . . and the acts of kindness . . . compassion . . . helpfulness . . . and the powerful impact of kids and adults coming together . . . and all working side-by-side to make a difference in our community and in this world.

To make this all happen, parents, we need your help over the next several months! We cannot do it without you! A small committee of incredibly dedicated parents has been working hard, planning and organizing this great event since October. But there are several opportunities for you to get involved. And we truly need your involvement!

Here’s how you can help:

· As one of our D3 Day projects, we will have a food drive over the next several months, with different kinds of the most needed foods collected by each grade level, which students on D3 Day will organize and bag for The Place, a food pantry in Cumming whose mission is to ensure that no one in our community goes without food. Take a look in this edition of the Dragon Digest, under the D3 Day section, and see which food item has been assigned to your young Dragon’s grade level for now. If every student in the school would bring in just one food item we would have almost 700 cans of soup! And when we announce the next food item for each grade level in 2-3 weeks, if every student once again would bring in just one food item, we would then have 1400 items, I’m sure! How awesome would that be!?! I think you get my drift here. So be on the lookout in the Dragon Digest, on our Facebook page, Twitter, on Instagram, and via eFlyers for the new food items, as they are announced, for our D3 Day food drive. Send in a can or two each time, and help us collect tons of food to help feed our community and keep our young Dragons busy sorting, organizing and bagging on D3 Day!

· Be on the lookout later this month for an announcement asking families to save and send in plastic bags (the ones like you bag your purchases in at Walmart or at the grocery store) for one of our D3 Day projects. We need LOTS of these for the project, so start saving them now! And don’t forget to send them in with your young Dragon when the call goes out!

· Also, and most importantly, be on the lookout soon for information announcing that we are collecting money for each student to have a DeSana Day of Good Deeds custom-made t-shirt. The design was created by our very own 6th grade student, Katie W. (Way to go Katie!!), and will grace the front of every single D3 Day t-shirt. We would like ALL of our young Dragons to have this special t-shirt and wear it on our D3 Day. The cost is only $5.00. We are asking parents to purchase a t-shirt for their son/daughter so that they will have one to wear on this special day. If a family would like to contribute more money to help purchase a t-shirt (or more!) for a young Dragon who may not be able to purchase one, we would absolutely loooove and appreciate that help! With our 8th graders going off campus on this day, having every student in a D3 Day t-shirt is a must for safety reasons. We want to be able to easily identify every 8th grade student while they are off-campus. We would also very much love to see every 6th and 7th grader in a custom-made t-shirt as well as we all participate in this special day! So be watching soon for information on how to order a D3 Day t-shirt for your young Dragon!

· And lastly . . . the call will soon go out, asking parents to come join us for our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds, and volunteer your time to help us at both our off-campus sites with 8th graders and on campus with our 6th and 7th graders. We need at least 2 parents to help with each Dragon time group, whether on campus or off campus. That means we need about 80 parent volunteers to help with the service projects for each of our 40 Dragon Time classes. Parents will need to be available to spend the morning with us, until 1:00ish. And we will need plenty more parent volunteers to help us with our “Lunch in the Lanes” (lunch in the bus lanes) for all of our students and staff after we all get finished with a morning of service, AND our afternoon fun out on the field with a DJ, good music, and plenty of games and fun for our young Dragons! So as you can see . . . we need LOTS of parents to come join us and be a part of serving others on the day! I hope you will strongly consider volunteering your time to help on this day, and help our young Dragons see just how important it is and how wonderful it is to serve and help others in our community!

There is a quote that I discovered when I was the age of our middle schoolers for a speech I needed to write for school. It captured my heart and mind then, and has stayed with me ever since. In my eyes, it sums up our responsibility as members of a community, and it is the very message I would love for our young Dragons to take away with them from our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds.

I am one.

But still, I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still, I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

-Edward Everett Hale

With warmest regards,

Terri A. North


Desana day of good deeds

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latest d3 day news

BINGO was a huge success for D3 Day! Thank you for your support! We hope that this will become a yearly event. Thank you to all the teachers, staff, and parent volunteers that made this event so fun!

FOOD DRIVE: The next step in D3 Day is the Food Drive. We will be collecting items by grade level during the month of February. The items will change in March and again in April.

February collection:

6th- chicken soup

7th-sliced peaches

8th-tomato soup

All of the food collected will be given to The Place Of Forsyth County. Please support our food drive for D3 Day!

D3 Day T-shirts: A form will be coming home soon to order your child's and your (if you plan to volunteer that day) D3 Day t-shirts. T-shirts can become a major expense of D3 Day (one that we can't possibly cover in this inaugural year). We are asking for $5 per t-shirt. Please, if you feel that you can give more to help DeSana students who may not be able to purchase one, please do so. It is very important that we collect enough money to cover our t-shirt cost so that we can allocate the donated funds to actual service projects.


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DeSana MS PTSA now has an account with Kroger. It is very easy to log in to your Kroger Account and link your shopper card. Once in your account simply go to the Community Rewards section and type in DeSana's number code: 31216. This will link your Kroger card to DeSana MS and every time you scan your Kroger card, DeSana will get money. Click here for instructions on how to link your card.

Speaking of KROGER: THANK YOU to the Grasslands Kroger for generously discounting and giving gift cards to help pay for our Academic Award donuts! Kroger at Grasslands rocks!

Clothing Drive Update: DeSana MS PTSA was able to raise $2,000 for DeSana through the Hope House Clothing Drive, thank you for your support.

Erin Wood was the teacher who was awarded the $100 Classroom grant for getting the most students to participate in the the drive. Congrats Ms. Wood!

DeSana PTSA has awarded $8,000 in grants to our wonderful teachers thus far. PTSA members at DeSana should be proud of the work that your money is doing for the school!


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Tech Fair Recognitions

Please join me in congratulating these DeSana Dragons for participating in and doing so well in DeSana’s first appearance at the Forsyth County Technology Fair.

Krishan K. 2nd Place 3D Modeling

Mahitha V. and Carrie U. 1st Place Audio Production

Kiruthika L. and Kanishka P. 3rd Place Audio Production

Nandhini H. 3rd Place Device Modification

Pranav D. 2nd Place Device Modification

Siddarth S. 3rd Place Digital Game Design

Armaity K. 2nd Place Digital Photography Production

Karthik H. 2nd Place Mobile Apps

Varsha S. and Shreya S. 1st Place Multimedia Applications

Ameya J. 1st Place Project Programming

Pranav K. 2nd Place Tech Literacy Challenge

Ameya J. 1st Place Tech Programming Challenge

Pranav K. 1st Place Video Production

A cool video about the Tech Fair https://animoto.com/play/gDj0LFWPHHzyrClR6C3lEA


Friday, February 3rd marks the 4 ½ week juncture of this second semester, and thus, is a great time for parents to take note of how their young Dragon is starting off the second semester of this school year in each of his/her classes. While parents (and students!) may check their child’s grades daily/weekly via Parent Portal (and we highly encourage you to do so!), in some instances we will be sending home with students on Friday, February 3rd paper copies of how a student is progressing or not progressing thus far. Please see below for how each grade level will be handling Progress Reports at this 4 ½ week juncture.

6th Grade Progress Reports

Students will be given one Progress Report sheet from each core class (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies) that tells their average thus far and how they have done with each formative and/or summative assessment. These Progress Report sheets will be teacher-generated. For Connections classes and Literacy classes, Progress Reports will be given only to those students with a present grade of 75% or below. Work Habits notAssessed.

7th & 8th Grade Progress Reports

Only those students with a present grade of 75% or below in their core academic classes (Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish for 8th graders who take it) will receive a paper copy of their grades (formative and summative assessments) to take home to show their parents. These Progress Report sheets will be teacher-generated. For Connections classes and Literacy classes, Progress Reports will only be given to those students with a present average of 75% or below. For students who do not receive a paper copy of their grades, the expectation is that parents will check their child’s grades on Parent Portal. At any time a parent may request a hard copy of their student’s grades by contacting the teacher directly. Should a family not have access to the internet to check their student’s grades on Parent Portal at Progress Report time, please notify your child’s Dragon Time teacher. Work Habits not Assessed.

We encourage parents to take a few minutes to sit down with his/her young Dragon to go over his/her academic progress during the first 4 1/2 weeks. Let us also give you a word of caution as you look at averages for your child's core classes at this 4 1/2 week juncture. As you hopefully know, this second semester grading period is made up of an 18 week period just like the first semester, so this is just the one-quarter mark of the entire 18 week period. A student's average at this point may include few or not any summative assessments, which will count 80% of his/her average for the semester. Thus, your child's average may be a bit skewed, one way or the other, depending on how your child performed on any of the assessments thus far. Parents, please do not hesitate to contact any of your child's teachers should you have any questions or concerns. We appreciate your support so very much!

Science Olympiad Invitational Results

DeSana’s Science Olympiad team competed for the first time in an Invitational event on January 21 at Dodgen Middle School in Cobb County. There were a total of 21 schools competing in 23 different science and engineering events. All of our 6th graders were in attendance to participate in this all day event. This was the first time many of our students ever participated in Science Olympiad. We have a lot to be proud of! The following students placed in the top 5 in their events:

Experimental Design – 1st Place:

Srirag T., Shreyas G., Sujith Y.

Reach for the Stars – 1st Place

Kunal T., Neha E.

Disease Detectives – 3rd Place

Saahil G, Kunal T.

Dynamic Planet – 4th Place

Saahil G, Kunal T

Food Science – 4th Place

Kora M., Tayla S.

How to Help Your Child in Math (Even When You Don’t Know it Yourself) Written by Lisa Arends, DeSana Accelerated Math Teacher

Do you dread your child's math homework? Are you frustrated because you want to help but the concepts have long since left your mind? The following tips can help you help your child even if you have forgotten everything you ever learned in math class.

Zip Your Lips

The worst thing you can do as a parent is share your negative view of math with your child. When your child hears you say, "I was never any good at math," he or she internalizes that message and sees it as a reason to not do well either. Instead of sharing your defeatist perspective on math, share a success you had with the subject. Discuss how you use math in your job or daily life. You can help to ensure that your child has a positive attitude towards the subject and that is the first step to learning math.

Teach Perseverance

The single most important skill in math is perseverance. Yes, math can be difficult but, as with anything, persistence and practice go a long way. When students give up in frustration, they cannot be successful. You can teach your child perseverance through any difficult task, from solving puzzles to learning a skill for a sport. Emphasize the process and the feeling of pride and accomplishment when they finally reach their goal.

Acknowledge Effort

Praise your child for his/her effort, which is changeable, instead of his/her intellect, which is seen as fixed. When you highlight their efforts, they are more likely to be willing to take academic risks, whereas when you praise their intelligence, they become afraid to try and potentially fail.

Practice Basics

I am always amazed at how many algebra students still struggle with basic math facts, fluency and number sense. With younger children, make sure they know their multiplication facts. You can drill them or use apps that help them practice. Older students should be fluent with operations with positive and negative numbers. With all ages, practice number sense. For example, have them mentally estimate the tax on an item, the total in the shopping cart or the volume of a container.


We want our 8th Grade students and parents to have the smoothest transition to high school as possible. The following link has valuable information for you and your child for upcoming 8th to 9th grade transition events, hosted by their future high school: West Forsyth High School OR South Forsyth High School. Unsure of which high school your student will be attending? Click here to use the interactive map and find out.


Has your young Dragon learned everything in their life the first time it was presented to them? Does your student 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 might be just the thing for your middle schooler! AOL Time is a 50 minute block of time (9:00 – 9:50) that happens first thing in the morning on Thursdays, with a second AOL Time happening on some Wednesdays throughout the year.

During AOL Time, students may select any teacher they have (for the four core subjects + Spanish in 8th grade) that they need to go to for extra help OR to prepare even more so for an upcoming assessment. Students have the opportunity for “the gift of time” to receive re-teaching from their teachers during this block of time.

So if your young Dragon is struggling in a particular class or if he/she has received a low score on a summative assessment, please encourage your student to take advantage ofAOL Time. Ask your child the night before which teacher he/she will be going to for some extra help during AOL Time, and then make it the first topic of conversation that you discuss with your child in the afternoon/evening of the day on which AOL occurs.

Here are the dates for AOL Time for the rest of this school year:

WEDNESDAYS: 2/15, 3/8, 3/29, 5/17

THURSDAYS: 2/9, 2/16, 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/23, 3/30, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18

**April 3 – 7 is Spring Break

***April 12 – 28 is GA Milestones EOG Testing --- No AOL Time during these weeks


Dragon Academy is an opportunity we will start up once again for students who need to complete, take or re-take formative and/or summative assessments (i.e. unit tests, projects, essays, quizzes. etc.). Dragon Academy will happen most Fridays --- at least two times a month --- from 4:15 – 6:30, beginning Friday, January 20th, 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 a little over 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! School supplies will be available 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:

February 10, 24

March 3, 17, 31

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19


We know that many middle schoolers are not the best conduit of information about what is happening at school in all their different classes. Itslearning is a big help in reminding students about assignments and what they are studying in class, and also to parents, but we want to make sure that our parents are in the know about their child’s academic endeavors, so that is why we will publish our Grade Level eNewsletters each month, starting for this new year the week of January 9th. These eNewsletters are nothing fancy --- just the facts ---and are designed to give you a brief synopsis of what is happening in the four main content areas (five for 8th graders, which includes Spanish) . . . Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and Science . . . on a monthly basis. Each Grade Level eNewsletter (eNews, for short) may contain information about standards/topics/concepts being studied, formative and/or summative assessments coming up, project assignments, and/or reminders about other upcoming activities or events. So stay tuned as our first eNews will be coming your way electronically the first week of each month!

the arts

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District Honor Band

We are very excited to have two of our top musicians in this year’s 2017 District Honor Band. Both these students had to audition and will be performing with about 150 best of the best musicians from all middle schools in Dawson and Forsyth counties. Both 8th Grade students Haley M.-Flute and Grace W.-Trumpet will be travelling to Dawson County High School on Friday.February 3rd and Saturday, February 4th for an exciting 11-hour rehearsal with a well-known conductor. This is truly an honor for our students and we are very proud of them for being selected.

band news - 1st LGPE Performance

LGPE (Large Group Performance Evaluation)-Our 7th and 8th grade mixed band will be performing at the LGPE on March 14th at 10am at Lambert High School. All of our students have been working very hard on preparing challenging music for 3 judges that will critique our performance and give us helpful suggestions to improve our future performances. Ratings will be issued according to how well our group performs. Superior is the top rating, which is what we will strive for! We hope that parents and relatives can take time from work and will be in attendance during this performance. We look forward to seeing you there on the 14th of March.

Please join me in congratulating these DeSana Band Dragons for participating in and doing so well in DeSana’s first appearance at the Forsyth County Technology Fair. Not only are they great musicians, they are very impressive academically as well!

Nandhini H. 3rd Place Device Modification

Pranav D. 2nd Place Device Modification

Siddarth S. 3rd Place Digital Game Design

Karthik H. 2nd Place Mobile Apps

Varsha S. and Shreya S. 1st Place Multimedia Applications

Ameya J. 1st Place Project Programming

Ameya J. 1st Place Tech Programming Challenge

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high school musical is this weekend!

DeSana is thrilled to have its first musical on February 3rd and 4th at 7PM! You do not want to miss HIgh School Musical at the South Forsyth High School Performing Arts Center both nights. Tickets are just $10 for this great production, which the students have been working on for months! Please come out to support DeSana Arts! Rising 6th graders get in free on Saturday night!


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candy grams on sale

This Valentine’s Day remember to send a special friend or favorite teacher a Candy Gram. Each Valentine Gram is a bag of candy with a special message. They are $1.00 each. Get order forms from your Dragon Time teacher and return it to the Commons February 2 through February 8 with your money. Candy Grams will be delivered on the afternoon of February 14, 2017.

6th Grade Social

The 6th grade is sponsoring a social for 6th grade DeSana students on Monday, February 13, 2017. The social will begin at 4:15 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. and will be held in the cafeteria. Admission is $5.00 per person along with a signed permission form. Students may purchase refreshments at the concession stand. Teachers, parents, and administrators will chaperone this event. We are looking forward to a very special, fun-filled afternoon!


We are so excited about our unique opportunity to visit Zoo Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame with our 7th graders on March 24 & 25th! We are planning on having a question and answer parent meeting in February, more details coming soon!

If your child has turned in a field trip permission form, please sign up to receive notifications and payment information via remind:

To: 81010 text: @g67kb

The 2nd payment of $30.00 was due on Tuesday, January 31st. Checks should be made out to DeSana Middle School.


As we start the second semester, much needs to be done to get ready for our trip in May. Up first, the final payment is due by Friday, February 3, 2017. If you are on the payment plan, the final payment is $100.00 and is due by February 3. You may send cash, check or money order made out to DeSana Middle School. In February, we will begin the process of selecting roommates, making meal choices and gathering insurance and medical information. Students will NOT be allowed to participate in the roommate selection process until the full balance has been paid. If you have questions about your student’s account, please contact Mrs. Wood at erinwood@forsyth.k12.ga.us or 770-667-2591 ext 492216. Please be on the lookout for forms in February regarding the roommates, meals and insurance.

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 feel 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!

other important information

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February Break Right Around The Corner!

Students and staff will enjoy several days off in February as they enjoy an extra-long weekend and time spent away from DeSana on Friday, February 17th and Monday, February 20th. Our DeSana office will be closed on these two days. On Tuesday, February 21st, our staff will be back in pocket for a Professional Learning Day, but students will enjoy one more day off from school. Our office will resume normal business hours on this Tuesday, from 8:15 – 5:00. School will resume for our students on Wednesday, February 21st. We hope our young Dragons and their families have a most enjoyable and safe February Break!

Deadline to order a yearbook extended until today

Due to technical issues with the balfour site, we are extending the 2016-2017 DeSana Yearbook sales to Friday, February 3rd!

Please visit balfour.com to order your yearbook. For only $32 you will receive the first DeSana Middle School Yearbook!

woof woof wednesdays

In case you do not know, Ms. North is an avid dog lover! She loves all kinds of dogs . . . all breeds and all shapes and sizes . . . but is especially partial to her beagle named Brady, and is VERY fond of our Desana service dog, Frosty! So on every Wednesday, even throughout the winter months, DeSana celebrate ALL of our Dragon Dogs by hosting Woof Woof Wednesdays in the morning carpool line. From 8:30 – 9:00 AM, on these Woof Woof Wednesdays, Ms. North, or another Desana staff member, will be giving away doggie treats to every friendly Dragon Dog that comes through the line as parents drop off their young Dragon for school. So tell your four-legged furry friend(s) that he/she gets to go for a ride every Wednesday morning and get a treat! What better way to start out the morning for your best furry friend!!


One of the top New Year’s resolutions is to be more organized. Has your student lost his or her agenda? Or maybe it would just be nice to begin with a nice new agenda for 2017? Your student can purchase a new agenda for just $5 in the front office. Checks should be made out to DeSana Middle School.

411 - helpful links for you

thanks to our business partners

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