Clemens Crossing Cougar Comments

September 13, 2019 - Volume 41, Issue 3

Clemens Crossing Elementary School

Edward Cosentino, Principal

Sonia Hurd, Assistant Principal

Important Upcoming Dates and Events

For a complete list of dates and events visit


  • 15 - National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month Begins
  • 25 - In-School Banking, 9:00-9:30 a.m.
  • 27 - Student Picture Day
  • 30 - Schools and Offices Closed


To subscribe to the CCES calendar on your smartphone, electronic device, or email system use the calendar ID

From School Administration

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. The current weather event with Hurricane Florence illustrates how natural disasters can significantly impact a region. Whether a disaster is natural or not, we all need to be prepared at any time for the challenges that an emergency might cause. How we prepare for and react to situations as adults will help reassure and keep our children safe.

We encourage you to visit and take advantage of so many planning resources for families. Additionally, please review how we prepare for a variety of emergency situations as a school community.

New Information

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Emergency Preparedness at Clemens Crossing ES

As a school, we take emergency preparedness seriously. In addition to evacuation drills, we conduct emergency drills to prepare for an emergency situation.

Our Clemens Crossing ES Emergency Preparedness Team meets regularly to review our school-based emergency plan. During our initial meeting, staff members had an opportunity to learn their roll in our plan. Furthermore, different scenarios were discussed so we can respond in a coordinated manner in the event of an emergency. Our primary goal is to keep all students and staff safe.

Protective actions below are used in times of emergency.

Shelter-In-Place – The purpose of a shelter in place emergency response is to protect the inhabitants of a building from dangerous fumes or other environmental poisons that are outside the building. This means moving students into the school building if they are outside. In some situations, the school’s HVAC system would be shut down and doors and windows would be sealed and locked.

Shelter-in-Place emergency procedures would be initiated in the event of a hazardous materials spill in the area (especially with our close proximity to MD Route 29 or 32) or in the event of some type of bioterrorism in the region.

Modified Lockdown – This command would be given if there were a potential for violent or criminal activity but not an imminent threat to our school. The day-to-day operation of the school would continue but with modifications. Students would not be permitted to go outside for recess or physical education, and classes in the portable classrooms would be relocated.

Lockdown – This emergency command would be given in the most extreme and threatening situation such as violence or criminal activity inside the school or in the surrounding area. Students, staff, parents, and any visitors to the building are expected to stay where they are and follow instructions given.

Duck, Cover, and Hold On - The “Duck, Cover, and Hold On” command would be given in the event of an explosion (bomb, mechanical malfunction), severe winds (tornado, extreme weather), earthquake, or other situations that might cause significant structural damage to the school. Students, staff, parents, and any visitors to the building should drop to the ground where they are and cover their heads until the extreme activity subsides.

Off-Site Evacuation – In the event that our building is no longer safe, we may determine that we need to evacuate the students. We have designated locations for our off-site evacuation. If necessary, transportation to those sites may be provided by HCPSS. Students will be released to parents or other individuals listed on the student's emergency form.
Please keep in mind that no student is released to any individual who is not specifically listed on the student's emergency form including an older sibling.
All adults must show photo I.D. when picking up a student.

Parents can help by:

  • Giving and updating the most accurate, up-to-date health and emergency information on your child to our school office and your child’s teacher.
  • Ensuring your own safety.
  • Do not call the school during an emergency situation; it jams the phone lines.
  • Do not rush to the school to pick up your child in the event of an emergency. It creates congestion which can delay the tasks of emergency responders and school staff in responding to the emergency.
  • Tuning in to local radio and television stations and checking the HCPSS website.

Got Books?

Do you have any books that your child does not read anymore? Please consider donating your child’s gently used books to our Little Free Library. Our Little Free Library is located near the front entrance of the school building. The Little Free Library works on the philosophy of “take a book, leave a book”.

Media Center Volunteers Needed

Clemens Crossing students love to read and they borrow hundreds of books each week from the Library Media Center. We rely on adult volunteers to help reshelve those books. If you could spare an hour or two on a weekly or biweekly basis, please email Thank you!

Start With Hello

We are pleased to inform you that during the week of September 23rd Clemens Crossing students will be taking part in Start With Hello week. Start With Hello teaches students the skills they need to reach out and include those who appear lonely and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their classroom and school.

Last year, over 12,000 schools from across the United States participated in Start With Hello week to highlight and spread the message of the power of Start With Hello’s three simple steps:

  1. See Someone Alone
  2. Reach Out and Help
  3. Start With Hello

Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible.

It is a growing epidemic in the United States and within our schools. According to a 2018 survey of 20,000 adults, nearly 50% of Americans reported sometimes or always feeling alone while feelings of loneliness are the worst for younger generations. Young people who are isolated

can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression. The positive news is that there are cures for disconnection and loneliness if we reach out and help one another.

We encourage you to talk to your child about the Start With Hello program and ask them to share what they have learned. Not only will that help you learn how to support your child to identify isolation and to reach out and be connected, but it also demonstrates to your child that you take this subject seriously and can support them in their actions to create a more connected and inclusive home, classroom, school, and community.

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Market Day Returns

Market Day has been the premier fundraising partner for schools and non-profit organizations for over 30 years. With new leadership and dedication, we are excited to bring Market Day online, and we look forward to continuing to be your trusted partner in fundraising.

Market Day remains committed to donating 10% of every purchase with the designated school or non-profit organization.

After a five year absence, Market Day has returned. The company was purchased and relaunched to provide families with meal options. Market Day used to require pick-up at school on a designated day. Now, Market Day ships directly to hour home or office.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at

Market Day School Fundraiser

Register by creating an account and selecting Clemens Crossing Elementary. Start Shopping! You can also share with family and friends all over the country.

Upcoming HCPSS Boundary Review Process

This past January, the Board of Education directed that HCPSS initiate a systemwide school boundary review, which could potentially impact any or all of the 74 comprehensive schools in our county beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. This review officially began on June 13 with the presentation of the 2019 Feasibility Study and is critical due to population growth that has resulted in crowding at many schools while schools in other areas are underutilized.

Families are encouraged to remain informed and engaged throughout the process and there will be multiple opportunities for you to participate. As Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano has said that a successful outcome for this process depends directly on the level of respect, empathy, and careful listening that we as adults model for our children. We must remember that they will follow our lead in responding positively to the challenges and changes that are inevitable throughout life. I ask our community to practice civility during what can be an emotional process.

Please be sure to visit the boundary review page on the HCPSS website for more information, resources, a timeline, and ways to participate and provide input.


This year's school Flu Vaccine Clinic will be on Tuesday, October 29. If you would like your child to receive the flu vaccine, you may sign and return the paper consent form that will go home with your child OR you may register online at

Please do NOT do both the paper and the online registration. Thank you!

2019 The Great Pumpkin Run Volunteer Form

We are preparing for the 23rd Annual Pumpkin Run. This year's run will take place on Wednesday, October 30th during Related Arts block of time for 3rd, 4th and 5th Grades (see below). We need approximately 30 volunteers to assist us this year. We ask that volunteers are available for the duration of the entire event (9:00 a.m. -12:20 p.m.).

If you are available to volunteer, please fill out the form below.

  • Grade 5: 9:20-10:20
  • Grade 3: 10:35-11:35
  • Grade 4: 11:35-12:35

Thank you for all the ways you support physical education at Clemens Crossing Elementary School.


Mr. Robinson and Mr. Griffis

Band and Strings Registration

It is time to register your child for band or strings at CCES! If you have questions, please contact Ms. DeSantis (

Please use the sign-up form below.

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Clemens Crossing Bank

CCES teamed up with First National Bank to provide banking opportunities for our students. In-School Banking takes place once a month on the last Wednesday of each month between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. in the cafeteria. You can find all of the dates on our school calendar.

Students can start banking at any time during the year. Here is the letter from First National Bank as well as the Banking Information Sheet needed to open an account:

CCES First National Bank Letter.pdf

CCES In-School Banking form.pdf

Information Worth Repeating

Free and Reduced Meals Program

HCPSS participates in the Free and Reduced-price Meals (FARMs) program. Qualification is based on family size and income, and enrollment is confidential.

Participation in FARMs qualifies students for a wide range of opportunities and resources beyond breakfast and lunch, including free college applications, free or reduced JumpStart tuition, discounted internet through the Comcast Internet Essentials program, and more.

Families must submit a new application every school year. During the first 30 school days, students with FARMs eligibility from the prior school year will be carried over. Any student who has not filled out an application up to the 30th school day will have their prior-year status changed to full pay status until a new application is received.

Parents/guardians are highly encouraged to fill out the applications as soon as possible. It is very important that applications are filled out correctly.

  • Apply online

  • Apply by mail: Paper applications are sent home with students on the first day of school. Paper applications can also be picked up in the Food and Nutrition Service Office (5451 Beaverkill Rd, Columbia, MD 21044). Applications can be returned to your child’s school or mailed to the Food and Nutrition Service Office: HCPSS Food & Nutrition Service Office, 10910 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City, MD 21042.

If you have questions regarding the program, please visit or call Food and Nutrition Services at 410-313-6743.

Arrival & Dismissal Updates


Now that we are establishing the morning routines and fine-tuning times, please know that students should be seated in their classroom at 9:15 a.m., not being dropped off at that time.

Students usually need 3-5 minutes to get from the front door to their classrooms, so please plan your arrival accordingly. If students are late, they must be signed in by an adult in the Front Office.


Car Riders and Walkers Are Two Different Dismissal Groups

Car Riders are students who are picked up in a vehicle in the car loop. Car riders are dismissed first. All car riders are dismissed from the side of the building and are to be picked up in the car loop. Walkers should not be part of this group, and parents should not walk children out of the car loop line.

Walkers are dismissed last, after our car and bus traffic subsides. We do this for safety reasons. Parents/guardians of walkers meet children in the front of the building when walkers are dismissed.

If you park a car along Quarterstaff Road, students are considered walkers even though they may ride a car home. Those students will be dismissed with walkers.

Visiting or Picking-up Students at CCES

All visitors to Clemens Crossing must bring a driver’s license and sign in with our LobbyGuard visitor management system.

Additionally, we require a picture ID when you or someone on your emergency contact comes to pick-up your child early from school.

Please make sure to indicate on your Family File Emergency Form who you are allowing the school to release your child to by checking the box "☑ release to".

Parent Volunteer Procedures at CCES

We value our volunteers and the contributions they make to our students and schools. Parents who wish to volunteer must complete a brief training course online and submit a certificate of completion to their school. This also includes anyone who chaperones a field trip.

Details are available on our website.

Early Release of a Student

In order to minimize disruptions to the classroom, the early release of students should be limited to emergency situations and unavoidable circumstances. Parents are asked to avoid scheduling non-related school activities that conflict or interfere with CCES’s regular dismissal times.

Students may not be released from the office after 3:20 p.m.

Once dismissal starts, your child will depart as scheduled by either taking their assigned bus home or exiting the building as a walker or car rider.

In order for your child to be released to anyone other than the parent/guardian, that person MUST be listed on the emergency card and present photo identification to the Front Office. Please make sure to indicate on your Family File Emergency Form who you are allowing the school to release your child to by checking the box "☑ release to".

Parents of student bus riders must provide WRITTEN NOTIFICATION to have their children dismissed with the walkers or car riders.
Everyone’s cooperation in this regard is important to ensure safe and smooth school operations.

No Dogs Permitted on School Property

As much as we enjoy seeing family dogs at arrival and dismissal, all HCPSS schools are expected to adhere to the following policy:

Animals in schools or offices, leashed or not, present safety, environmental, and liability issues. Students and staff may be exposed to potential physical hazards, such as bites, and/or allergy related health problems. As a result, animals are prohibited within HCPSS buildings. Animals are also prohibited on school system property during arrival, dismissal, recess or other HCPSS sponsored outdoor activities. Service animals or service animals in training per MD Annotated Code Section 7-705 (Service Animals) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as animals approved for instructional purposes are exempt from this prohibition.

Parents who bring dogs on their walks to school must wait for students off school property. We want to ensure the safety of our students as they arrive and leave school.

Thank you for adhering to this policy.

Visiting During Lunch Times

We strive to be a welcoming place for parents and visitors. At the same time, we have to maintain a safe environment conducive to learning.

While we do allow siblings to accompany parents during Lunch, we do not recommend that.
Younger children should be closely monitored by the parent at all times and they should not interfere with the operations of the Lunch shift.

Siblings are not permitted at Recess or in the Classrooms.

CCES Lunch Times

  • 11:05 a.m. - Kindergarten
  • 11:35 a.m. - 2nd Grade
  • 12:05 p.m. - 1st Grade
  • 12:35 p.m. - 3rd Grade
  • 1:05 p.m. - 4th Grade
  • 1:35 p.m. - 5th Grade

From the Health Room: Parent Responsibilities for Medication Administration at School

  • Obtains written, signed medication orders from an authorized prescriber.
  • Assures that all portions of the Health Services Medication Form are complete.
  • Delivers the written order with parent signature and the medication labeled as required to the school health room.
  • Acknowledges receipt of medication at school and signs the Medication Receiving/Disposing Record.
  • Provides sufficient medication for a full course of administration of fewer than 60 days, when possible and reasonable.
  • Provides medication in the proper form and in the ordered dosage, such as half tablets.
  • Replenishes medication supply as needed.
  • Submits to the school a new order from the physician/prescriber for any change in medication, dosage, or frequency of administration.
  • Gives the first dose of any medication at home and observes for adverse reactions.
  • Retrieves all medication from the school premises one week after the expiration date, upon appropriate notification of medication being discontinued, or at the end of the school year (by the end of staff hours on the last day of school).

Cultural Awareness Committee

Again this year, we will be using our display case in the front lobby to celebrate the different cultures in our community. Our first display will be for National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. If you would like to participate, please contribute anything that represents this culture (such as crafts, photos, and objects from family traditions, pictures of foods and recipes, etc.). Please send them in with your child next week, and be sure to label with your child’s name and homeroom so we may return it. Thanks in advance!

  • Mid-Sept/Oct: Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month
  • Nov: American Indian Heritage Month
  • Dec: Holidays Around the World
  • Feb: Black History Month
  • March: Women's History Month
  • March: Youth Art Month
  • April: Arab American Heritage Month
  • May: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Mrs. Hodgins

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PTA School of Excellence Survey

The Clemens Crossing Elementary School PTA knows that a strong partnership among our families, school leaders, and community members is important to the success of our students and school. That’s why we are participating in the National PTA School of Excellence program, which grows partnerships between PTAs and schools to enrich the educational experience and overall well-being of all students.

At a National PTA School of Excellence, families feel welcomed and empowered to support student success, and PTA is a key partner for continuous school improvement. We feel Clemens Crossing Elementary School and Clemens Crossing PTA can continue to achieve that together—and the result will be national, state and community-wide visibility for the positive impact we are making together at Clemens Crossing Elementary School.

We need your help! As part of the process, National PTA requests feedback from families at two points in the school year—the beginning and the end. Your feedback will help National PTA generate a customized Roadmap to Excellence for us, which will provide specific recommendations for improving our family-school partnership and achieving excellence.

Please take 5-10 minutes to reflect on your experience at this school and complete the survey below using Google Forms. This survey is completely anonymous. Please complete the online survey to by Monday, October 7, 2019.

Does this sound like a PTA program you’d really like to help with? Join us! Contact either one of us to help out.


Dani Gardner, Clemens Crossing PTA President

Edward Cosentino, Clemens Crossing Elementary School Principal

Thank you for your continued support and collaboration as we work toward becoming a National PTA School of Excellence!

Don't Delay, Join Your PTA

After trying a lot of different 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 candles or other merchandise, we ask each family to contribute $50 (or whatever you can afford) in addition to their membership dues to support the programs we sponsor throughout the year.

Our PTA membership rates are $15 for a family and $10 for an individual.

Consider all the programs your PTA brings to the school -- Cultural Arts assemblies, after-school classes, field trip support, the Science Fair, International Night, Visiting Author, Talent Show, Spring Carnival, etc., etc., etc. Support your PTA!

You can sign up online at

Or, you can print the membership form attached below, and write a check payable to CCES PTA. Send the form and check back to school with your child.

Thank you so much!!

PTA Parent Partner Program

Would you like to be a volunteer for CCES? We are seeking volunteers for our Parent Partner program. We ask our volunteers to meet one on one with a student for 20mins once per week to assist with reading, math or handwriting. We may find additional ways to help our teachers with classroom preparations as well. This year we hope to find ways to use volunteers who cannot accommodate a rigid schedule. There may be opportunities to assist inside or outside of the school at varying times. If you would like to be more involved in the school and have some spare time to give, we would love to hear from you! Please contact Christy Pine at for more information. And if you have little ones at home, we are looking into a group of parents to participate in a childcare swap allowing more families to participate. Thank you for your consideration!

After School Activities

Mondays - Abrakadoodle Art, K-5, starts 9/23

Join Abrakadoodle as we begin our journey across America by exploring the United

States! Our art will be inspired by California Redwoods, Washington, DC monuments and more! Register today for this 10- week program at:

Mondays - Silver Knights Chess Club, K-5, Starts 10/7

Learn chess from a Silver Knights Chess coach! We teach more than 4,000 children each week.

State and national champions have come from our programs, but most of our students are just looking to have fun! Class time is split between lesson and play. Lessons range from learning the rules to advanced tournament strategies, depending on the children. Playtime is structured to pair each student against an opponent of similar skill. All grades and skill levels are welcome. Silver Knights will supply all the equipment during chess club, but there's an option to purchase a chess to take home. Students will have the opportunity to play in tournaments. To request financial aid, please contact us with the student's name, grade, and school.

Tuesdays - Kid Empowerment (PET smashing ANTS), 2-4, Starts 10/1

Kid Empowerment: P.E.T. Power! Want your children to Reach their Full Potential,

Realize their Self-Worth and Gain the Leading Edge!? If so, enroll them in Kid Empowerment P.E.T. Power today! Children will unleash their P.E.T. Power at this fun and hands-on program! They will learn P.E.T.s, (Positive Empowering Tools) that chase away A.N.T.s

(Automatic Non-supportive Thoughts)! Through charming animations and experiential activities, children learn valuable life strategies that build resilience, confidence and a success mentality. Kids get their own stuffed pet and earn special P.E.T. tags for each of the important skills they learn. P.E.T. Power is for all children who would benefit from learning adult life strategies sooner than later, (i.e. ALL children).

Tuesdays - Silver Knights Robotics, 1-5, Starts 10/1

Build, code and have fun with LEGO

WeDo 2.0. Enhance kids’ curiosity and science skills with Silver Knights Robotics. Students will explore robotics with LEGO bricks, easy-to-use coding software, and engaging STEM challenges. Kids work in pairs with a tablet and a LEGO

WeDo 2.0 kit that includes over 250 pieces, a SmartHub, motor, and motion and tilt sensors. ZooBots is a unit filled with animal bots that roll, waddle, walk and talk. Create the penguin on your first day of the club and progress to crocodiles, mudskippers, and gorillas. Each week students make something new and learn how gears, simple machines, and LEGO code work together to make something FUN!

Wednesdays - Kaizen Karate, K-5, Starts 9/18

This Karate program offers safe, structured training that teaches students the proper form, style, and technique. Classes are tailored to student’s individual needs and help them to grow to their fullest potential. Karate not only focuses on instruction but also provides valuable lessons related to respect, discipline, motivation, self-control, confidence and continual improvement.

Thursdays - KidzArt, K-5, Starts 9/26

KidzArt is a FUN, art-enrichment program designed to enhance drawing skills and build each child’s confidence. By using our simple drawing method and specialized format, students will learn to focus, relax and think creatively. Our Certified Instructors help students create original works of art, take risks and think outside of the box. Within each session, students will explore a variety of artist-grade materials, such as oil and chalk pastels, watercolor, charcoal, clay, copper, textured papers and much more. Younger children practice following directions and using fine motor skills. Older children love having creative freedom and guidance to further their skills. KidzArtists will bring home a new masterpiece each week with a kid-tested and educationally rich curriculum that NEVER REPEAT!

Thursdays - Spanish After School, K-4, Starts 10/17

CCES PTA in partnership with The Language & Cultural Club is offering next fall,

this exciting After-school Spanish Program for novice learners. Students will learn the Spanish language and culture through immersion, music, and play-based activities. Classes are taught 90% in Spanish. 8-week Fall Session 2019 Two groups: Grades K to 1,

and Grades 2nd to 4th

Fridays - Silver Knights Coding, 2-5, Starts 10/4

In Silver Knights Coding Club, children learn to create stories, games, and animations using a visual programming language called Scratch. It’s as easy to use as snapping together building blocks! With Scratch, children learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong

Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. Our curriculum teaches new coders the basics while challenging more experienced coders to create a wide variety of more complex programs. Silver Knights provide a laptop for every child. At the end of the session,

each child takes home a USB with all their programs on it!

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Shop Amazon and Help CCES

Amazon will donate a percentage of the price of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to CCES! Last school year, Amazon donated $200 to CCES!

Simply go to and select Clemens Crossing Elementary School as your charity or click on the link The same products and prices are available through this portal but every purchase you make will deliver .5% of the purchase price to the CCES PTA to help fund our programs. Only purchases at (not ) support charity.

Remember to use this link each time you make an Amazon purchase and tell your family and friends!

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Box Tops for Education

Thank you for sending your Box Tops for Education into school. Last year, CCES earned over $700. This money is divided so individual grade levels have extra funds to purchase items that they need.

The Box Tops for Education program is changing this year. There are two ways we can earn cash for our school!

Clip: If your package has a traditional Box Top clip, cut it out and send it to school (each grade level has a collection bin). We earn cash for all clipped Box Tops until they expire.

Scan: If your package has the new Box Tops label, use the Box Tops app to scan your store receipt within 14 days of purchase. The app will instantly add Box Tops to our school's earnings online.

Questions? Contact Julia Griffiths,

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 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 schools Twitter feed and Facebook page, so please be sure to use those social media tools as well.

Class of 2025 Kindergarten

Class of 2024 1st grade

Class of 2023 2nd grade

Class of 2022 3rd grade

Class of 2021 4th grade

Class of 2020 5th grade

CCES Cub Scout Pack 618

Interested in Cub Scouts? CCES Cub Scout Pack 618 now includes Girls and Boys in grades K-5.

All CCES families are invited to join us for our Join Scouting Night, Tuesday, Sept 10th at 6:30pm in the CCES Media Center. You can learn about Cub Scouts and all about our wonderful Pack. We have great things planned for this year, camping, model rocket building and launching, campfires and more. For more information, please visit, or email