dragon digest

Volume 1 Issue 17/March 31, 2017

Principal's Letter

Dear DeSana Parents,

The long-awaited-for Spring Break begins today at 4:16 PM!! Students are excited . . . our DeSana staff is excited . . . not to mention one DeSana principal is very excited, as well! It’s time for everyone to kick back a little (or a lot!) and enjoy a week of some rest and relaxation, and LOTS of FUN!! Time to get out of the daily routine and enjoy some down time! Our students and staff have been working hard for these past 11 weeks of the second semester, so this time away is well deserved!

Our DeSana office will be closed all next week during this break. Whether you are traveling near or far, we hope that you stay safe in your travels. We want our young Dragons to get LOTS of rest so that when they return, they will be rejuvenated, and ready and raring to go for the final push of these last seven weeks of school. We want to see all of our students ready to finish this school year strong and on a positive note!

Stay safe . . . enjoy lots of play . . . have a ton of fun . . . and we look forward to seeing all of our young Dragons back at The Lair on Monday, April 10th!!

With warmest regards,

Terri A. North


desana day of good deeds

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D3 Day is quickly approaching and we need volunteers! Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to serve the community with your children! Please sign up ASAP as we are nearing placing our t-shirt order.

YOU MUST SIGN UP USING OUR ONLINE FORM. WE HAVE TO PRE-CHECK ALL VOLUNTEERS AND WE NEED YOU IN OUR SYSTEM. We need you to sign up even if you paid for a t-shirt on your child's form. Please click here to sign up!

Questions about D3 Day, please email dawn@bourgs.com or jharris@campharris.org.

ANY ????s about D3 Day?

Please click here to visit the DeSana website and the D3 Day information page. We have added a FAQ section and all of the forms are available on the website!

D3 Day Collections


The March cereal drive ended today. We have collected over a 100 boxes of cereal. Donuts were brought to winning Dragon Time classes on Friday March 31st. Thank you for your support!

For the month of April we will be collecting pasta sauce. All three grades will be collecting pasta sauce and we will accept it in any form (glass jars, cans, etc). Donuts will be awarded to the winning classes again at the end of April.

All food will go to The Place of Forsyth County to help stock their summer pantries.


We are still in need of grocery bags, newspapers, and magazines.

ADDED COLLECTION: We are also starting to collect old towels and blankets to donate to the animal shelters. These can be torn and quite used. So, please start sending those in as well if you have old towels and blankets.

COOKIES: Just a heads-up that we will be asking for homemade cookie donations in May for our Treats for the Troops project. We need almost 4,000 homemade cookies. South Forsyth High School Culinary Department is making most of the cookies for us, but we have to make up for whatever they can't bake in one day. So, please get ready to help us bake cookies in MAY!


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The DUE DATE is Here for Registering for Advanced Studies Courses for Next Year

TODAY, March 31st by 6:00 PM, is the due date for rising 7th and 8th grade students to turn in their registration form for Advanced Studies Courses they would like to take next year. These forms must be brought in to our DeSana front office no later than 6:00 this evening. We will give you a receipt when you turn yours in. No registration forms will be accepted after 6:00 today! This is a firm due date. If a student would like to challenge him/herself by taking an Advanced Studies Course (or two or three!) next year, then he/she must register by 6:00 today.

Kunal is Ready for the State Geography Bee!

Sixth grader Kunal T. is set and ready to represent DeSana at the 2017 Georgia State Geography Bee! Kunal was the winner of the school bee here at DeSana and will be joined by fellow Forsyth County students representing Lakeside Middle, Riverwatch Middle, and South Forsyth Middle to take on the best young geographic minds from across the state!

This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 29th year. School Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the State Bees.

Each state champion will receive $100, the National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, 4th Edition and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 14-17, 2017. The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all expenses paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll.

The state bee will be held at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA on Friday, March 31st. Congratulations on the great work so far, Kunal, and good luck this weekend!!!

How would you fare as a Bee contestant? At the school Bees this year, students had to answer questions like these:

The North Platte and South Platte Rivers meet in which state—New Mexico or Nebraska?


Which landmark in Washington, D.C., was burned by the British in 1814—the Washington Monument or the White House?

White House

Sea otters sometimes wrap themselves in kelp when resting to keep from drifting​ ​​away. Sea otters can be found near eastern Russia in the Sea of Okhotsk in which​ ​ocean?

Pacific Ocean

The island of Mauritius [maw-RISH-uhs] in the Indian Ocean has multicolored sand dunes. It’s weird, but it’s true! Mauritius lies off the southeast coast of which continent that includes the Kalahari Desert?


What is the term for an underground layer of rock that holds groundwater—an arroyo​ or an aquifer?



Each spring, middle school students throughout Georgia take standardized assessments to see how well they have mastered the standards for their grade level. Our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will take their End of Grade (EOG) Assessments throughout the month of April, beginning after we return from Spring Break.

Sixth grade students will take their three EOG Assessments - - - ELA Section 1 (the Writing part), ELA Section 2 & 3, and Math - - - each on a different day, the week we get back to school.

Seventh grade students will take their three EOG Assessments - - - ELA Section 1 (the Writing part), ELA Section 2 & 3, and Math - - - each also on a different day, beginning the week of April 17th.

Eighth grade students will take four EOG Assessments - - - ELA Section 1 (the Writing part), ELA Section 2 & 3, Math, and Social Studies - - - each on a different day, beginning the week of April 24th. Eighth Graders will also take an End of Course (EOC) Assessment for their 8th Grade Physical Science course (because it is a course for high school credit, and students take EOC Assessments for high school courses) the first two days of the week beginning on May 8th. Eighth graders who take Accelerated Math with Ms. Arends will also take an End of Course (EOC) Assessment on Monday, May 1st.

See the day-by-day testing schedule below for the month of April and the first part of May.

All of our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students will take their End of Grade (EOG) andEnd of Course (EOC) Assessments on computers this year. For the last two years, the state has asked school systems to increase the percentage of students taking their Milestones Assessments online each year, with a goal of 100% of students taking their assessments online within the next couple of years. With our smaller enrollment this year and the plentiful number of Chromebooks we have at DeSana, we are able to test all of our students online this year. Students have taken both formative and summative class assessments on the Chromebooks throughout this year, as our teachers have created them online for students to take. In addition, our students in each grade level will take a short practice assessment - - - similar to the format they will see on the EOG and EOC Assessments - - - during one of their class periods next week (see Practice Assessment Schedule below also). We feel quite confident that our students will be sufficiently prepared to take their End of Grade and End of Course Assessments online, using the Chromebooks, successfully, and that they will be ready to do their very best on these standardized tests when they return from Spring Break.

If you would like for young Dragon to have additional practice taking the assessment online, a website, called Experience Online Testing Georgia, has been established to provide an opportunity for students to become familiar with the online testing platform. The website can be found at the link http://gaexperienceonline.com/ and can be accessed at home. Experience Online Testing Georgia is available 7 days a week from 7:00am-10:00pm and does not require a log-in. It is intended to allow students to familiarize themselves with the online platform prior to testing.

Please know that at DeSana we view these Milestone Assessments as a snapshot of a student’s knowledge of the standards on a few days of testing, and that these standardized assessments do not completely define who our young Dragons are as students and as young men and women, and the concepts and skills they have mastered this year. These assessments are one piece of the totality of evidence that we look at, at the end of the year, to see how successful a student has been in their academic achievement for the year. Yes, most definitely, we want our students to try their hardest and do their best on these assessments, but you will not hear us put undue pressure on our students during this assessment time. Being at school on their assessment days, taking the assessments seriously, and doing their best is what we ask of each student here at DeSana. And that is the message we will share with them.

We are not quite certain just yet when we will receive students’ EOG and EOC Assessment results. But as soon as we have a better idea of when we will receive them, we will certainly pass that information along to you.

Here is the day-by-day testing schedule for the Georgia Milestones End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) Assessments:

· Wednesday April 12th 6th Grade ELA Section 1 (the Writing part)

· Thursday April 13th 6th Grade ELA Section 2 & 3

· Friday April 14th 6th Grade Math Section

· Monday April 17th 6th Grade Make up testing

· Tuesday April 18th 7th Grade ELA Section 1 (the Writing part)

· Wednesday April 19th 7th Grade ELA Section 2 & 3

· Thursday April 20th 7th Grade Math Section

· Friday April 21st 7th Grade Make up testing

· Monday April 24th 8th Grade ELA Section 1 (the Writing part)

· Tuesday April 25th 8th Grade ELA Section 2 & 3

· Wednesday April 26th 8th Grade Math Section

· Thursday April 27th 8th Grade Make up testing

· Friday April 28th 8th Grade Social Studies Section

· Monday May 1st 8th Grade Make up testing

· Monday May 1st 8th Grade EOC – Accelerated Math Assessment (Only a few)

· Tuesday May 2nd 8th Grade EOC – Accelerated Math Assessment Make ups

· Monday May 8th 8th Grade EOC – Physical Science Assessment (All 8th Graders)

· Tuesday May 9th 8th Grade EOC – Physical Science Assessment (All 8th Graders)

· Wednesday May 10th 8th Grade EOC – Physical Science Assessment Make ups

Here is the Practice Assessment Schedule for next week - - - Week of March 20th:

· Wednesday March 22nd During 1st Period 7th Grade Practice Assessment

· Thursday March 23rd During 3rd Period 6th Grade Practice Assessment

· Friday March 24th During 3rd Period 8th Grade Practice Assessment

During the weeks/days students are not taking assessments, they will follow a pretty normal schedule (a few minor adjustments), going to all of their classes. On the days they are testing, we want to encourage each and every one of our young Dragons to come to school, be here on time and be prepared . . . get a good night’s sleep the night before . . . eat a very good breakfast each morning . . . have a positive state of mind about the day and simply try their best on each test . . . bring with them a couple of pencils for if/when they need to work out a question first on scratch paper . . . and show what they know - - - what they have learned throughout this year - - - on each assessment they take. Parents, anything you can do to help us reiterate these good test taking tips, we would be most appreciative!

As always here at DeSana, we appreciate your support in all of our endeavors! Should you have any questions about the Georgia Milestones End of Grade and End of Course Assessments please feel free to contact me, Terri North, Principal, at tnorth@forsyth.k12.ga.us or at 770-667-2591, extension 491515.


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 of AOL 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:


THURSDAYS: 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:

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19


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Track Update

The inaugural DeSana Middle School Track and Field season is quickly coming to a close. The county championship will be hosted by DeSana Middle and Vickery Creek Middle respectively. The county championship will be held at West Forsyth High School on April 13th, 2017 starting at 3:00 P.M. We are expecting a strong showing from many of our Dragons. Expect to see Asia G. and Rachael T. place in several sprint races and long jump. Reagan W. will be highly competitive and looking to win the 1600 for the championship meet. For the DeSana boys, expect to see Jalen B., Mason H., Anthony C. and Isaac O. all competing to place or win a number of sprint races and field events. We have been extremely proud of the progress and effort thus far. We have seen a vast improvement in individual and team performances including numerous first place finishes. As a team, the boys have finished as high as second place in meet competition while the girls have finished as high as third place. Please come out to West Forsyth High School on Thursday April 13th at 3:00 P.M. and support our Dragons.

golf news

The golf team here at DeSana has been working hard and playing tough. Our players are getting better and better each time we go out on the course. After having four matches in two weeks, all of us are ready for Spring Break! After the break, we have two matches remaining. We will travel up to Countryland Golf Club to take on Little Mill Middle School on April 20th, and then we will head to Laurel Springs Golf Club on April 24th for the Forsyth County Middle School Championship. Coach Case is very proud of his players and extremely thankful for the support of the parents. It has been a great season so far!

The Arts

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The chorus program is proud to share that in our inaugural year, the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choruses have earned overall excellence scores, respectively, for their Large Group Performance Evaluations! *pause for silent cheer*

Kick starting a vocal music program from scratch is no easy feat, but these students have risen to the occasion and have firmly set the bar high. We could not be prouder!

As we finish up the year, please be on the lookout for two forms that will be sent home after spring break: Instructions for returning the performance uniform, and the Chorus Interest Form for next year.

Have a terrific spring break! Stay safe and get ready to hit the ground running for our Spring Concert, "DeSana's Got Talent!

altruistic endeavors

THE IMPORTANCE OF altruistic endeavors

Altruistic Endeavors is one of the five key facets of our overall program. It is one of our core values, so to speak. We want our young Dragons to not only know what it is like to give back to their wonderful community and others, but to also experience it firsthand. Through many different DeSana service clubs, school wide charitable endeavors, and our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds (or D3 Day for short!) in the spring, we will work to provide our students with a variety of community service opportunities throughout the school year, in our local community, and in different parts of our country and the world.

So why encourage our young Dragons to get involved in community service? Well, first and foremost, it is the right thing to do; to learn to give freely and happily of one's time and talents and heart to help others, expecting nothing in return! But here are a few other reasons to consider encouraging your child to get involved in community service:

· To help someone in need.

· Those who give of themselves and their resources and help others, say they receive a great feeling in return.

· Helping others can expand your world and help you better understand what is happening in your community.

· Meet new people and make new friends.

· To improve our world by caring for the environment.

· Giving back to one's community and others is an "added value" on your college resume.

Please check out opportunities for serving and helping others right here in the Dragon Digest and for students, on morning announcements!

other important information

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New books!

The media center would like to thank the local nonprofit organization Change 4 Georgia (working in conjunction with Better World Books) for donating approximately 2000 books to help grow our media center collection. Change 4 Georgia is a student-led organization which offers leadership and service opportunities to young people right here in Forsyth County.

Picture Day was great!

On Wednesday, March 29th, our students had spring portraits taken here at DeSana by Cady Studios. All portraits were taken outside. The weather was beautiful and the areas around campus were perfect - we believe you will be excited to see how your child’s photo session turned out!

Besides your child’s individual session, students were allowed to participate in a buddy or group photo with up to five friends. Our students were very creative in their poses. Approximately one week after our return from Spring Break, please anticipate more information from Cady Studios on how you will be able to access your child’s photo shoot and how to order the images of your choice.

spirit wear for sale

Calling all Dragons! Take a look at our new page on the website here which contains all of our spirit wear. If you are interested in purchasing any items, please contact Coach Coffield at pcoffield@forsyth.k12.ga.us and he will get you all the info that you need. We accept checks made payable to DeSana and cash.


Has your student lost his or her agenda? Or maybe it would just be nice to have a new crisp agenda for the rest of the year. Your student can purchase a new agenda for just $5 in the front office. Checks should be made out to DeSana Middle School.

thanks to our business partners

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