Dragon Digest

Volume 1 Issue 11

PRINCIPAL'S LETTER

Dear DeSana Parents,


With winter in full swing, and with the short-term AND long-term weather forecast from the weather people, it looks like we have more than a good chance of feeling the full force of Mother Nature once again this year. That means more than a likelihood of winter snow and/or ice --- starting this weekend --- and thus possible school closings. As you hopefully know, Forsyth County Schools this year will once again recover instructional time lost to school closures by utilizing online learning via our school system’s online learning management system known as itslearning.


Our students should already be quite savvy in using itslearning as all of our DeSana teachers utilize it on a daily basis --- posting class lessons and activities for the day, daily classwork assignments, homework assignments, study guides for assessments, project instructions, and many other helpful resources for students to use in their studies. If, as a parent, you do not feel as familiar with itslearning as you would like, there are several ways you can gain understanding about this online learning resource. First, log onto the DeSana Webpage at http://www.forsyth.k12.ga.us/desana, and under the Quick Links Button on the right side of the screen you will see an icon with the words itslearning Resources. If, after viewing these resources, you are still not comfortable with itslearning, please contact the DeSana Middle School Instructional Technology Specialist, Nick Crowder, at 770-667-2591 extension 491590 or by email at ncrowder@forsyth.k12.ga.us. Mr. Crowder will be happy to help you!


There are some things that you will want to note about what you can expect from our teachers in regards to their lessons posted on itslearning if/when we have a school closure this winter:



  • Teachers will post all assignments by 9:00 AM on itslearning.
  • Assignment length for each class should range from 20-30 minutes.
  • All teachers will post assignments, so that means our young Dragons can expect to have work to complete in the following classes each day we are out of school: Math, English/Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Spanish for 8th grade students who take it, and both of their Connections classes. Teachers will not post work for literacy classes.
  • All middle school teachers across the system will have digital office hours on the days that school is closed. Those times are 10:00 - 11:00 AM and 1:00 – 2:00 PM. These are the times you can expect our teachers and administrators to be online to answer any questions students may have about an assignment or to help in any other way.
  • Each DeSana teacher will communicate to their students where they may find assignments in itslearning on school closure days and the mode of communication to use to contact their teacher if they have any questions about an assignment.
  • Please know that should a teacher lose power at his/her home and not be able to post an assignment, we have a back-up plan in place so that a DeSana colleague can post his/her assignment(s). Also, if a teacher is not able to keep his/her office hours because of an extenuating circumstance, know that we also have a plan in place to post that information on the teacher’s itslearning page so that students/parents will know that teacher will not be available that day.
  • If school is closed for more than two (2) days, teachers will provide feedback to students for work submitted electronically.
  • Student attendance is not connected to the completion of work.


Please know that teachers and administrators also have several expectations for our young Dragons on these days when they are out for inclement weather as it is important that instruction carries on so that minimum time is lost in teaching the subject area standards.



  • Students should begin working on their assignments/lessons on the day they missed when possible.
  • Students should not hesitate to contact their teacher to ask questions about an assignment or ask for extra help with the work assigned. They should contact their teacher by the mode of communication their teacher asked them to use during their digital office hours.
  • Student work is due within three school days upon returning to school.
  • Students should complete their assignments in every class.


Of course, students should plan out their time carefully on a school closure day so that they take care of their school work with their best efforts and then leave some time for sledding or building a snowman or a good old-fashioned, friendly, family snowball fight!


Please also bear in mind that should you have any questions at all on a day that school is closed for inclement weather that I will be keeping the same digital office hours as our teachers, as well as monitoring my e-mail throughout the day. Please do not hesitate to contact me.


So here’s hoping for just a few wintery days at home to enjoy all the fun that comes with a good blanket of snow because we’ve got the teaching and learning time covered! Stay warm!


Best Regards,

Terri A. North

Principal

DESANA DAY OF GOOD DEEDS

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BINGO TO BENEFIT DESANA DAY OF GOOD DEEDS

Please plan to attend Bingo on Friday, January 27 after school. Have a great time with your friends and family. enjoy concessions and maybe even be the one to yell . . .BINGO! Click here for the flyer with full details. All proceeds from this fun event benefit our first DeSana Day of Good Deeds in May!

WINNING D3 DAY T-SHIRT DESIGN ANNOUNCED

Please join the D3 Day Committee in congratulating 6th Graders Katie W. for her DeSana Day of Good Deeds T-shirt design chosen for our official D3 Day T-shirt! Katie's design will grace more than 800 T-shirts on our DeSana Day of Good Deeds, Monday, May 22! You can see the winning design by clicking here.

ACADEMICS

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MUST READ for 8th Grade Parents and Students!

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.

FIRST SEMESTER REPORT CARDS ARE COMING!

All students will receive a printed Report Card for the first semester on Friday, January 13th to take home. This Report Card will show students’ final semester averages for their yearlong courses, that include the core subjects of Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Spanish (8th graders only). Grades for each quarter’s Connections classes and students’ Literacy classes will also be on this semester Report Card.


Parents, be on the look-out for your child’s Report Card coming home on January 13th! I hope you and your young Dragon will sit down together and take a look at his/her grades and discuss whether or not he/she is working up to his/her full potential thus far, this year.

DRAGON ACADEMY - - - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ADDITIONAL LEARNING & ASSESSMENT TIME FOR STUDENTS!

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:

January 20, 27

February 10, 24

March 3, 17, 31

April 21, 28

May 5, 12, 19

Additional Opportunity to Learn (AOL) Time

Has your child learned everything in their life the first time it was presented to them? Does your child really 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 will be great for your child. AOL is a 50-minute block of time that happens first thing in the morning on Thursdays, and on some Wednesdays (9:00 – 9:50) beginning this second semester on Thursday, January 19th. During this block of time, students have the opportunity to receive re-teaching from their teachers should they need it. If your child is struggling in a class or if they have received a low summative score, please encourage them to take advantage of AOL time!

Grade Level eNewsletters

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 next week!

TECHNOLOGY FAIR

The Forsyth County Technology Fair registration is now open! The Tech Fair will be at Whitlow Elementary School on Saturday January 21st and registration is NOW OPEN!


Registration Information:

Registration opens November 14st and closes January 10th.


All students in grades 3-12 who are schooled within Forsyth County may participate in the Tech Fair. This includes all public, private and home schooled students. Grade level divisions are as follows:

  • Grades 3-4
  • Grades 5-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • Grades 9-10
  • Grades 11-12
  • Note: Multimedia category divisions are 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

You may have up to 2 people on a team but teams and individuals will compete against each other within each grade grouping.


More information about registration: http://techfair.forsyth.k12.ga.us/reg.html

Great news!! DeSana has paid $200 which will cover the registration fee for as many students as want to participate so our first year can be a great one at the Forsyth Tech Fair!


Categories:

3D modeling

Animated Graphic Design

Case Modifications

Digital Photography

Digital Video Production

Game Design

Hardware

Programming

Mobile Apps

Multimedia Applications

Non-Animated Graphic Design

Non-Multimedia Applications

Project Programming

Robotics

Technology Literacy Challenge

Web 2.0 Application


More information about the categories and the rubrics for each category can be found by clicking the links above. You may also , visit http://gatechfair.org/categories


All Tech Fair information can be found at our web site: http://techfair.forsyth.k12.ga.us

ATHLETICS

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Closing Out Our DeSana Basketball Season

Next week wraps up our regular season basketball schedule as our Dragon teams finish out against two arch rivals: SFMS on Tuesday and Thursday, and Piney Grove on Friday. Here is the schedule of games for next week:


· Tuesday, January 10 7th Grade Girls & Boys vs. SFMS @ HOME

· Thursday, January 12 8th Grade Girls & Boys vs. SFMS @ HOME

· Friday, January 13 ALL 4 Teams vs. PGMS @ PGMS


Our County Seventh Grade Tournament will take place the week of January 16th and our County Eighth Grade Tournament will take place the week of January 23rd. More information about these two tournaments will be forthcoming next week.


We hope you will join us next week to help cheer on our student-athletes as they finish up their regular seasons! GOOOOOOO DRAGONS!!!!!!!

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ACTIVITIES

7th Grade Field Trip

As educators, DeSana’s teachers and administrators actively seek a variety of resources from which to create learning environments that stretch beyond the standard classroom instruction and technology. In an effort to provide a unique opportunity for learning, the DeSana 7th grade teachers are sponsoring an overnight field trip to the Zoo Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame on March 24 and March 25, 2017. During this field trip, our goal is to provide authentic learning experiences for our students across all academic curriculum areas and demonstrate how we gain knowledge through a variety of learning activities, some that may even spark an interest in an area or profession they had not ever considered before.


Cost: The cost for each student will be $130.00. The cost will include entrance fees and fees for the educational programs that aligns with the Georgia curriculum standards at Zoo Atlanta, lunch at Zoo Atlanta, entrance fees for the educational program that align with the Georgia curriculum standards at The College Football Hall of Fame, dinner and continental breakfast. Bus transportation will be included for each student both to and from the zoo and The College Football Hall of Fame, (cost does not include additional snack or souvenir shop spending money).


The trip cost may be divided into 4 payments:

1st payment of $30.00 will be due on Tuesday, January 17th.

2nd payment of $30.00 will be due on Tuesday, January 31st.

3rd payment of $30.00 will be due on Thursday, February 16th

4th payment of $40.00 will be due on Thursday, March 2nd.


Other Important information:

What: Inaugural Overnight Trip to the Zoo Atlanta and the College Football Hall of Fame

Where: Downtown Atlanta

When: Friday, March 24, 2017 and the morning of Saturday, March 25, 2017

How: Forsyth County School Bus Transportation DeSana School Pick-Up: At approximately 9:30 am Friday morning March 24, at the bus lanes of DeSana.

DeSana School Drop-Off: At approximately 9:00 am Saturday morning March 25, at bus lanes of DeSana.

Who: Open to all 7th grade students; teachers and administrators will be a part of the fun.


Forms are due back with the first payment of: $30 on January 17th to Mrs. Roveri, Room: 2124.

8th Grade Savannah Trip Update

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 roommates, meals and insurance.

AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL OF OUR 8TH GRADERS

DeSana 8th Graders will have a wonderful opportunity on Thursday, February 2 to attend Forsyth County Schools' College and Career Fair in the afternoon during the school at the Forsyth Conference Center. Eighth graders will have the chance to EXPLORE business/industry opportunities in Forsyth County and High School career pathway choices across the district; IMAGINE themselves in a particular occupation and actively involved in a High School career pathway that aligns with that occupation; and, CHOOSE a career pathway option that fits with their unique needs, interests and talents! More information about this great opportunity and a permission form to attend will come home with 8th graders in the coming weeks. Click here for more information.

YEARBOOKS ON SALE

2016-2017 DeSana Middle School Yearbooks are now on sale! Please visit: balfour.com. Click “shop your school” and search for DeSana. Yearbooks are $32 and the sale ends January 31, 2017. Don’t miss out on the first DeSana Yearbook!!

HAT DAY

The Fantasy Football Club wants to invite you to wear your favorite team’s hat on Friday, January 13. For $1.00 students can show how ready they are for the Super Bowl or just not spend time fixing their hair.

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 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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AGENDAS ON SALE

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 payable to DeSana Middle School.

LOST AND FOUND

Attention Students and Parents!

With the winter weather upon us, we would like to be sure our students have their coats and other “Lost” items, but our collection has grown quite a bit.


We will be packing away unclaimed items from the Lost and Found on January 13th.

Please be sure to take the time to check for any items that may have been misplaced—Odds are, we have it!


Among those “Found Items” are: coats, lunch boxes, water bottles, umbrellas, sweaters, school supplies, gym uniforms and even some homework!!

The Lost and Found is currently located in the Hex; so please stop by to take a look!

***If any parents would like to come by to look for a certain item, please feel free to stop in at the front office (during school hours) to receive a badge and a staff member will take you to the Lost and Found location.

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 Wedensdays 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!!

411 - HELPFUL LINKS FOR YOU

THANKS TO OUR BUSINESS PARTNERS

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*ALL AMERICAN SPECIALTIES


*BROWNS BRIDGE CHURCH


*CHICK-FIL-A @ THE COLLECTION


*DR. HOM PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY & ALPHARETTA COMPREHENSIVE DENTISTRY


*MILTON DENTAL SPECIALISTS


*NORTH GEORGIA PROMOTIONS


*OMEGA LEARNING


*RBM OF ALPHARETTA


*THE JOINT CHIROPRACTIC @ THE COLLECTION