Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

August 27, 2021 - Volume 43, Issue 2

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

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Spanish

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Korean

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Chinese

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Urdu

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From School Administration

IT IS FINALLY HERE! Monday is the first day of school, and we could not be more excited to welcome our students back to school! Our building is ready to welcome our students and to create a year filled with joy, learning, exploration, and growth.


I appreciate your ongoing partnership to ensure that this year is safe and that all of our students feel prepared with what to expect on the first day of school. Please review the information in this newsletter so you are ready for the first day.


If you have any questions, please reach out to me by email at ecosentino@hcpss.org or by calling my cell phone at 410-294-8129. We hope that everyone gets some rest over the weekend, and we look forward to seeing you on Monday.


Mr. Cosentino, Principal

Important Upcoming Dates and Events

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


August

  • 30 - First Day of School
  • 31 - Gifted & Talented Information Session, 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • 31 - Back-to-School Night for Grades 4 & 5 at 6:30 p.m.


September

  • 1 - Band/Strings Information Session, 6:00 p.m.
  • 1 - Back-to-School Night for Grades 2 & 3 at 6:30 p.m.
  • 2 - AHS & WLHS Back-to-School Night (feeder high schools)
  • 6 - Labor Day - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 7 - Rosh Hashanah - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 8 - PTA Kick-Off Meeting, 6:30 p.m., social and 7:00 meeting
  • 9 - WLMS & HCMS Back-to-School Night (feeder middle schools)
  • 10 - PTA Welcome Back Family Picnic, 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • 14 - Back-to-School Night for Kindergarten & 1st Grade at 6:30 p.m. (Virtual Only)
  • 15 - National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month Begins
  • 16 - Yom Kippur - Schools and Offices Closed
  • 22 - Fall Individual Picture Day


To subscribe to the CCES calendar on your smartphone, electronic device, or email system use the calendar ID sqspkjkbr6v6arss44js3n21eg@group.calendar.google.com.

CCES Master Schedule 2021-22

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Related Arts and the Continuation of Color Days

One of the lessons learned from last year's virtual and hybrid arrangement was the ability to equalize the number of Related Arts sessions we have. In most years, schools are closed more frequently on Mondays. Therefore, the regularly scheduled related arts class (art, media, music, physical education, or technology) on Mondays would be the class a student would miss the most. The school system will continue with related arts color days. The color days rotate from red, orange, yellow, green, and blue days. This ensures students will have equal time in all of the related arts. We will publish the color calendar in the Cougar Comments and on our webpage. Homeroom teachers will share their specific color day schedules with their students and families. Having this information will help you, as parents, make sure children wear the appropriate clothing especially on PE days.
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NEW INFORMATION

Bus Routes and Schedules Available

Howard County Public School System provides safe, reliable, and efficient transportation to and from school for enrolled students living beyond a one-mile walking distance from elementary school.


The School/Transportation Search features an efficient, mobile-friendly and informative format.

The locator offers an enhanced map, pop-up messaging, same-day updating capability, and additional school information. Type in your address to see your child’s school, bus schedule, and location of their bus stop.


For the first week of school, parents are asked to ensure students arrive at bus stops earlier than the usual five minutes.


We encourage parents to send their children to school on the first day the same way they would each day.

BUS STOP SEARCH

This link will provide you with your child's assigned bus, bus stop, and approximate pick-up and drop-off times.

Bus 832 and Bus 614

As you may know, there is a nationwide bus driver shortage. This is how the bus driver shortage impacts us at Clemens Crossing.


Overall, we will have five total buses. Of the five buses, two buses will have two routes each.
Bus 832 and 614 will drop off students at 8:55 a.m. and then pick up their second routes. Those students are scheduled to be dropped off at CCES no later than 9:10 a.m.


In the afternoon, it is basically the reverse. Five buses will leave CCES in what we are calling the first wave of buses. Two of those buses will come back to CCES after they drop off students from the initial dismissal. The two buses will pick up students for the second wave of bus students.


This means the bus loop is completely closed to any vehicles, other than buses, during arrival and dismissal. Please do not expect to circle through the bus loop to drop off or pick up students during those times.


Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

From the Health Room

Children exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may not attend school. These students need to be evaluated for COVID-19 or an alternate medical diagnosis by a doctor. They may not return to school until the School Nurse gives clearance. Parents/guardians should keep their children home if they are experiencing:

Any ONE of the following:

  • fever of 100.4 degrees or higher
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • new onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or
  • new loss of taste or smell


Unvaccinated students who have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 must remain in quarantine for the designated period of time. If vaccinated and showing symptoms, students must be medically evaluated prior to entering the building.

First Grade Chromebook Return

As you may have read, students in first grade need to return their Chromebook to CCES. We are asking you to return your child’s Chromebook and charging cord during the 1st grade Open House on Friday at 11:00 a.m. There will be a drop-off location in the Library/Media Center, adjacent to the first grade pod. Please be sure the Chromebook is clean since we will be redistributing their Chromebook to other students. If you are unable to drop off the Chromebook during Open House, please send the Chromebook and cord into school on the first day of school.

Cafeteria Protocols Additional Information and Updates

Students will be required to wear masks at all times when they are not eating or drinking, including when entering and exiting the cafeteria, standing in the lunch line, throwing trash away, and after finishing their meal.


At Clemens Crossing Elementary School, we will have students eating in their homeroom classroom, the cafeteria, or outside under the tent on the blacktop.


Until we get the accordion partitions shipment for the cafeteria tables, we will have to utilize classrooms for lunch. Accordion partitions may be delivered to school by Monday. Students will have assigned seating in all three locations for lunch. We will not have students facing each other while eating until we receive the accordion partitions. After we receive the partitions for the cafeteria, there will be six to eight students per table for a total of 54 to 63 students in the cafeteria. Students will then face each other but with plexiglass separating them. Due to the larger size of grades 1 and 5, we may need up to two classrooms for students to eat during lunch after we receive the shipment of partitions. Students will be separated from each other when they eat lunch in the classrooms.


This past Wednesday, we had a tent installed on the blacktop adjacent to the cafeteria. There will be nine tables with four students per table for a total of 36 students under the tent for lunch. Students will not be required to wear a mask outside, but they are encouraged to when they are not eating.


Outdoor seating is contingent on the weather. We will also have a seat reserved inside if there is a need to eat inside. If you prefer for your student to eat outside please email Mrs. Hurd at sonia_hurd@hcpss.org. Please be sure to include your student's name, grade, and teacher. If you already did this last week, there is no need to send another email.

Free and Reduced Meals Information

Please complete the Free and Reduced Meal Application (FARM) as soon as possible! Although all students are eligible for free meals during the 2021-2022 school year, it is important that this form be completed so that we can continue to provide additional Title I programming for our students. There are additional benefits for families who qualify for FARM. Please see this link ( https://www.hcpss.org/food-services/farms/) for information and the online application. Each family needs to fill out one application and that application needs to be completed each year.

INFORMATION WORTH REPEATING

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Open House - 8/27/21

During Open Houses this year, we ask that you help with a few modifications so we can have a successful and safe Open House.


Please:

  • Only one adult per student
  • No Non-CCES siblings
  • No visits to other classrooms


This is an opportunity for students to drop off supplies, see their classroom, and meet their teacher prior to the first day of school.

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Back-To-School Nights - UPDATE, again

Please save the dates for our annual back-to-school nights.


Back to School Nights will be in-person. We apologize for the back and forth plans regarding these evenings. We look forward to seeing everyone in person.


Back-to-School Nights are only for parents. Please do not bring children. Thank you.

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Join the CCES PTA (Parent Teacher Association) – Family Membership

PTA membership will allow you to be active with the PTA and enjoy discounts with Maryland PTA partners. Most of all, your membership dues support the many programs we offer to the CCES community. While we encourage all of our families to be involved with PTA, membership does not obligate you to volunteer your time.


After trying many fundraisers over the years, the CCES PTA’s major fundraiser is a direct donation program (and later in the fall, a Read-a-thon). Rather than sell wrapping paper or other merchandise, we ask each family to contribute $50 in addition to their membership dues to support the programs we sponsor throughout the year.

To join the Clemens Crossing PTA, please fill out the form below and pay the membership dues (plus any donation you choose to give) through the PayPal link that follows. If you prefer to pay by check, please contact our membership chair, c/o president@clemenscrossingpta.org. To report a problem with this form, contact web@clemenscrossingpta.org.

Bus Responsibilities for Parents and Students

Parents

HCPSS works with parents to further the safety of all children by making certain that students know the bus rules that are there to provide a safe and enjoyable bus ride for everyone. Parents ensure that students know their bus number, which is located on each side of the bus. For younger children (elementary students), HCPSS recommends that parents/guardians or another trusted adult wait at the bus stop with the students to supervise their behavior and to help with any problems that may arise, such as a delayed bus or injury while waiting. Both adults and students should stand at a safe distance from the roadway.


Bus stops are chosen to provide both safety and convenience for students as well as to economize on fuel and minimize the time that students spend on the bus. Parents, please do not request bus drivers to make additional stops. This puts our drivers in a difficult position, as our regulations prohibit bus drivers from making extra stops between the designated bus stops in place. Many bus routes are designed so that students do not need to cross a major roadway to use the bus. Parents should never allow their students to bypass this safety measure by walking across the street to use a different bus stop.


Helpful tips

  • Remind children that playing near or running toward a moving bus is dangerous.
  • Remind children to never retrieve items that fall under the bus or next to the bus wheels.
  • Make sure children are at the bus stop at least five minutes prior to the established pick-up time.
  • Emphasize the need to follow the bus driver’s directions and to follow all bus rules.
  • Help children remember landmarks that identify their bus stop.
  • Make sure children do not have any hanging objects or materials that potentially could become caught or lodged in handrails or other tight spaces.
  • Provide morning and afternoon supervision at bus stops, particularly for primary-aged children.


Before the First Day Checklist:

  • I have discussed basic safety practices with my child.
  • I have reinforced the importance of using extra caution during bad weather.
  • I am aware of proper procedures for use of parent pick-up and drop-off area.
  • I have made a visit to the bus stop with my child.
  • I have checked and selected the safest and most direct route to and from the bus stop.
  • My child is aware of the danger zone.
  • My child is aware of where he/she needs to go when leaving the bus.
  • I have discussed with my child what to do if she/he misses the bus.
  • My child knows the location of his or her bus stop.


Students

Students are responsible for their behavior while on the bus and at bus stops.

School buses are an extension of school. As such, students are expected to adhere to the same standards of behavior on a school bus as they do the classroom. And just like students obey teachers and instructors while at school, so also are they expected to obey the bus driver who are their instructors while on the way to and back from school. Remember, riding the school bus is a privilege for most students, but it is not a right. That privilege can and will be revoked if the student fails to observe the basic standards of conduct and safety required of them.


Helpful Tips

  • Leave home early enough to arrive at your bus stop at least five minutes prior to the expected pick up time.
  • Wait for your bus in a safe place, well off the roadway.
  • Enter the bus in an orderly manner and take your seat.
  • Follow the instructions of the school bus driver.
  • Remain in your seat while the bus is in motion.
  • Keep the center aisle clear at all times.
  • Remain quiet and orderly.
  • Be courteous to your school bus driver and fellow passengers.
  • Be alert to traffic when leaving the bus.


Avoid the Danger Zone

  • Take 10 giant steps away from the bus when getting off.
  • Always cross in front of the bus.
  • Look at the bus driver and wait for the driver’s signal before crossing the road.
  • If you drop something outside the bus, leave it. Get permission from the driver before picking it up. Never go under the bus, the driver will help you.
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School Bus Safety Reminder

Free Student Meals for 2021-2022 School Year

Beginning Monday, August 30, breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost to all students through the entire 2021-2022 school year, on days schools are open.

FREE AND REDUCED MEALS (FARMS) PROGRAM

Many families are eligible to participate in the FARMs program, which helps families save money and opens access to many resources and discounts, including testing fees, tuition, internet, and much more. FARMs enrollment and participation is confidential. Families must reapply each year. Find more information and apply online.

Families approved for FARMS benefits by August 27, 2021 will receive Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits for July and August in September. These benefits are intended to help families in Maryland purchase food while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

First Day of School

"Kiss and Wave" : We ask parents to say goodbye at home and at the front door of the school. We do not permit parents in the building during the drop-off times.


Please do not drop your child off without supervision prior to 9:00 a.m.
There is no supervision of students before 9:00 a.m.


Kindergarten Students: All Kindergarten students will be met at the front main doors and hallways. Kindergarten students will be escorted to their classroom together with their teacher for the first three days of school.


Bus Riders: It is very important to put your child on the bus on the first day. Students who ride buses will have their bus number tagged onto their backpack with a wristband strip.
Please leave the bus tag on their backpack. This helps us help students get on their buses in the afternoon throughout the first week. Additionally, all students will have a luggage tag attached to their backpacks by the end of the first week of school. The luggage tag helps bus drivers know which students, especially kindergarten students, so they can help them situate on the bus in the morning and get off the bus in the afternoon at the correct bus stop.

HCPSS Calendars

There will be no printed 2021-2022 calendars. Staff, students, and families may add our online calendar to their own mobile/online calendar by

  1. Going to https://www.hcpss.org/calendar/
  2. Scrolling down to Subscribing to a Calendar
  3. Right-clicking on the calendar you wish to subscribe to
  4. Selecting Copy Link Location/Address/Shortcut
  5. Adding to your calendar of choice (See your calendar for specifics on adding a new calendar)

You also may view and/or download printable PDFs of the full calendar and/or important dates only. Updates to the PDFs will be noted on the HCPSS calendar page.

PLEASE NOTE! The calendar is subject to change. The online calendar reflects the most recent version.


Calendars in Spanish, Chinese, and Korean

Calendario en español


西班牙语日历


스페인어로 된 달력

CCES Family Guide - The ABCs of CCES

Click below to download the CCES Family Guide. The guide is also located on the main page of the CCES website.

Who is my child's teacher?

Teacher assignments are available in Family File.

Supply List for 2021-22

The supply list for the 2021-22 school year can be found on the main page of our school's website.


We encourage you to drop off your school supplies during Open House on August 27. Please be sure to clearly label your child's supplies with his/her name.

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Arrival and Dismissal Information

With 550 students at Clemens Crossing Elementary, it is important to be patient during arrival and dismissal. The carefully planned logistics of arrival and dismissal help us keep our students, staff, parents, and visitors safe. If you are in a non-transportation zone (walker or car rider) it is extremely important to familiarize yourself with our routines for arrival and dismissal.


As adults, we must follow predictable patterns and routines, because children can be unpredictable. Parking in a wrong or illegal place creates unpredictable situations, and those types of situations can put students at risk during arrival and dismissal.


Arrival and dismissal safety is everyone's responsibility. Please review the map below and listen to our staff members who are outside to assist your children when they enter and leave school daily.


NOTE: Please follow the posted signs along Quarterstaff Road. Traffic engineers studied the road and placed signs to help maximize sight lines for drivers. This helps to reduce risks and provide a safe crossing of Quarterstaff Road for walkers who live on the other side of the road.

Do not park along Quarterstaff Road where signs state "No Parking or Standing". Howard County Police will ticket drivers who park or drop-off/pick-up students where no parking signs are posted.


Car Riders - All car riders are dismissed on the parking lot side of the building. Car riders are expected to be dropped off and picked up in the car loop (school parking lot). We do not allow students to cross the bus parking lot and load into their car along Quarterstaff Road. Please do not tell your children to meet you along Quarterstaff Road.

  • During arrival and dismissal, we expect car traffic to enter the car loop from the Martin Road side of Quarterstaff Road (right turn into the parking lot). Exiting the car loop is right-turn-only as well. Please plan your trip accordingly. Left-hand turns traffic creates back-ups in addition to making it difficult to see blind spots.
  • If you do park legally along Quarterstaff Road, your child is considered a walker and will be dismissed with walkers.


Walkers - We dismiss walkers last. We do this so our walkers can walk home safely with a reduced number of cars and buses on the property and along Quarterstaff Road. Walkers who cross Quarterstaff Road must cross the street with the crossing guard.


2nd Wave of Buses - Due to the bus driver shortage, buses 832 and 614 will have two routes. One route will leave with three other buses. The two buses will drop off students from the initial dismissal. They will then return to pick up students for a second route. This means the bus loop is completely close to any vehicles other than buses during arrival and dismissal.


It is everyone’s responsibility to be safe during arrivals and dismissals.


Below, you will find a helpful graphic for arrival and dismissal.

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Car Loop Visors

The car loop procedures above help facilitate a smooth arrival and dismissal each day. Starting this year, we will use a new way of identifying cars this year with Car Loop Visor Name Tags as shown here. They will be distributed at Open House and on the first day of school.


If your child is a regular car rider, please make sure you have a visor sign. Use a permanent marker to write your child’s last name in the orange section and the grade in the white section. When not in use the sign can be moved to the inside of the closed visor as seen in step. For families with more than one student, please write all grade levels on the sign.

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“What Your Child Will Learn” Guides

What Your Child Will Learn guides provide an overview of the instructional program for your child’s grade, as well as student goals and expectations. The guides include information to help parents monitor and support their child’s progress during the school year.


Individual guides are provided for each grade level. Each grade level guide provides information categorized by curriculum area, e.g., Language Arts, Science, etc.


The guides are available online only; print versions are no longer distributed. Specific guide webpages may be printed from the website.


Specific student programs may differ depending on instructional needs.


*These may not be available. The HCPSS Curricular Offices are updating the guide.

Communication and Connecting with CCES to Stay Informed

The Cougar Comments will be published weekly throughout the school year through email and social media. Be sure to look for this newsletter on Friday mornings at 7:00 a.m. in your email inbox starting in September. Please be sure not to mark email from CCES or HCPSS as junk or spam. We find out that a number of people get blocked from all CCES and HCPSS communication when you mark the email as spam or junk. In addition to our school information, our PTA has a section in the weekly newsletter. They do not publish their own newsletter, so please be sure to look for PTA information in each newsletter. If you ever miss an issue of the newsletter or need to review a previous issue of the newsletter, all Cougar Comments will be available on the main page of the CCES website. We hope you find the information helpful. Additionally, be sure to follow CCES on Facebook and Twitter. We often post information and reminders there in addition to fun posts sharing what's going on in our school.

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Grade Level Closed Facebook Groups

Did you know that each grade at Clemens Crossing has a class Facebook page? PTA helps facilitate these pages. The pages are "closed" groups (requiring approval to join the group) and are intended only for parents of children in that particular grade. It's a great way to converse and interact with other parents and hear about activities and events in your child's grade.

These pages are supplemental to the school's Twitter feed and Facebook page, so please be sure to use those social media tools as well.


Class of 2027 Kindergarten

https://www.facebook.com/groups/269286714638991/

Class of 2026 1st grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/250674462624929

Class of 2025 2nd grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ccesclassof2025/

Class of 2024 3rd grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/158625774842747/

Class of 2023 4th grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/273259629757201/

Class of 2022 5th grade

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1192490200797854/

Message from the PTA President

Hello Clemens Crossing Families,

I hope you all are having a wonderful summer. The PTA has been working hard this summer to plan activities for you once school begins. We hope to see you at all of our school events this year!

The PTA has several open positions for the upcoming year. New Families, younger families, even older and wiser families – don’t be shy – please volunteer! If you are interested in helping out in any way, on any level, please email me at president@clemenscrossingpta.org. We understand that people are able to be involved at different levels and appreciate any support you can provide – big or small. You do not even have to be at school in order to volunteer. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions or suggestions throughout the year. I would love to hear from you!

Dani Gardner, CCES PTA President

Back to School Picnic

Friday, September 10 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on the school grounds. We will have playground games for the kids. You can pack a picnic dinner or buy food from our food vendors. This fun event is for both families and staff.

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PTA Kickoff Meeting and Dinner

Wednesday, Sep. 8th, 6:30pm

10320 Quarterstaff Road

Columbia, MD

Clemens Crossing Elementary School Media Center.


Please come and share your knowledge and ideas!