The Cougar Connection

Principal News & Notes October 2022 Issue

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Cougar Houses are Up & Running

This year, Cold Spring is excited to continue the work of building a strong, inclusive school culture. We are thrilled to begin a school wide incentive program we are calling Cougar Houses! This idea stems from Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) which is an evidence based framework for educators to utilize to create a strong school community. Research has shown utilizing a house system in school connects students independent of grade level, allowing older students to develop into leadership roles, brings everyone a sense of belonging, and helps the formation of a strong school culture.

The Logistics

All students and staff will be split into houses by color: blue, purple, green, or red. Our fifth grade students will have an opportunity to run for House President. A primary election will be held and each house elect three possible House President candidates. Then, the campaign will begin. House President campaigns will run from October 10th through 20th. House President candidates soon after will make a 2 minute speech to their houses on Election Day, October 21st, and votes will be totaled announcing the House President for the year on October 26th. We are very excited for this process.

How it Works

All year, students will have an opportunity to earn tickets for demonstrating our PAWS Expectations. When a ticket is earned, the student writes their name and circles their house color. They then turn it into one of the bins located around the school. Each week, House Presidents will tally their ticket totals and announce which house is earning the most. At the end of the year, the house with the most PAWS tickets will participate in a House Cup Party where games and fun will be had. We will also hold various house activities and competitions to encourage students to come together to support and cheer one another on while having fun.

A huge shout out to Ms. Leidy, who will serve as our House Administrator this year! She has worked tirelessly to plan all details and ensure seamless communication and support for our students.

Monthly Calendar

Cold Spring Elementary School Website

Cold Spring Elementary Phone Number: 240-740-4390

  • October 3rd through October 7th: Scholastic Book Fair
  • October 5th: No School
  • October 6th: Cold Spring's Walk to School/Green Transportation Event, PTA BINGO & Raffle Night
  • October 10th through 14th: Mental Health Awareness Week
  • October 10th: Indigenous Peoples Day Open House, 9:00-11:00am
  • October 11th: PTA Meeting (Virtual)
  • October 15th: Wootton Arts Festival
  • October 18th: PTA Restaurant Night
  • October 24th: No School
  • October 28th: Principal Coffee and Conversation Topic: Social Emotional Health, Halloween Parties, and PTA Movie Night

A Note From Mr. Legarreta


I want to thank all parents and guardians for your support during a very smooth start to the 22-23 school year! We are working very hard to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all our students.

One of the upgrades we made for this new school year was the creation of a Family Handbook. This Google document (linked below) includes information regarding our policies and procedures, as well as details on various aspects of the school day. It includes a table of contents with bookmarks to make it easy to navigate, and it will be updated with any new changes or additions. Please use this as a resource if you have any questions about Cold Spring.

Another item I wanted to mention is outdoor clothing. As the weather begins to get colder, please make sure your child brings a coat to school (as well as a hat and gloves when necessary). We always make it a priority to get our students outside for recess, and we will do so unless we have a rainy or extremely cold day.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I wish you all a wonderful October!

Cold Spring Family Handbook:

Late Arrival, Early Dismissal, & Absent Notes

Parents, we need your help. Please make sure to come into the main office when you arrive late to school or are picking your child up early from school. We need you to sign them in or out in with us. Ms. Okoroha will help you with this process. We also need you to notify us if your child is sick or absent. Any student absent for 5 days or more needs a note from the doctor or a parent. Thank you for supporting this important process.
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Lunch Menu Choices

Check this document which can also be found on our Cold Spring Website, for daily accurate lunch menu choices. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Mr. Legarreta.

Snack Policy

With lunches scheduled for the middle of the day, kindergarten, first, and second grade classes will not feature a snack time. Teachers of grades 3-5 may allow their students to eat a “working snack” while they are focused on an assignment or activity. The snack should be able to be opened by the student independently, should not need utensils, and should not be prone to spills. If some students in your child’s class have severe food allergies, your teacher will provide specific snack guidelines. Students who may need a snack due to medical reasons will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and their teacher will need to be contacted. If providing a snack is a financial burden, please notify your teacher as well.

Here are some suggestions for quick, healthy, nut-free snacks: Apples, bananas, carrots, cheese sticks, Triscuits, popcorn, or dried fruit.

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An Update from Ms. Felsher

I have just about wrapped up my first round of social-emotional lessons for the year! In the primary classrooms, we are talking about how it is normal to have BIG feelings. What matters is how we handle those feelings. We brainstormed various ways to self-calm, including journaling/drawing, spending time in nature, exercising, and using helpful thinking. We practiced using helpful thinking statements such as "I can do hard things" and "I am smart." We also practiced deep breathing and talked about the science that backs doing this daily!

In our upper grades, we have been talking about the concept of having each other's backs, what that looks like, feels like, and why it is so important. We discussed that you do not need to be friends with a person to have their back. We pondered the potential global implications if everyone committed to supporting one another. Each child traced their hand and wrote the names of family and friends who support them on each finger. This exercise helps me pinpoint any students who feel less connected than they would like to be. I am reaching out to those students individually for follow up discussions and will contact parents as needed. Their hands will be up on display in our cafeteria soon!

I am inviting new students to CES for lunch to help them get to know their peers in a smaller, fun atmosphere. If your child is new to CES and would like a lunch bunch, please encourage them to ask me! Self-advocacy is an essential life skill. It is never too early to start that practice.

How can you support this work? Reinforce these strategies by asking questions, role playing, discussing, and practicing them with your child(ren). Take a break and announce that you are doing so to model a self-calming strategy in real time. Plop down on the carpet and take deep breaths when you are feeling frustrated or take your child for a jog around the block when you are stressed. Catch negative thinking in yourself and replace it by modeling positive self-talk out loud.

Please reach out anytime!


Mrs. Felsher

Your School Counselor

Volunteer Opportunity

Are You Interested in Supporting Lunch & Recess?

Lunch and recess is a time where our students can enjoy social conversation and play. This is the one part of their day where there is a bit less structure and they can relax. We would love to have your support if you are available during this time.

If you would like to volunteer at lunch, recess, or both times, please head to the main office and sign in. You will need your driver's license or photo ID to get a visitor sticker. You will need to wear the sticker while you are volunteering.

The below link is our lunch and recess schedule for the year. Again, we welcome your support!

2022-2023 Lunch & Recess Schedule

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Each month we will spotlight members of our stellar Cold Spring Staff. Enjoy reading about each of them and get to know them a little bit better!

Ms. Cindy Spring, 1st Grade Teacher

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Where were you born?

I was born in Greenwich, Connecticut.

What is your favorite color?

I love the color blue!

What is your favorite food?

I have a major sweet tooth. Those fun size Halloween candies are too hard to resist!

What do you love most about Cold Spring?

I’ve been at Cold Spring for 20 years. I love when students come back to visit and I get to see the amazing young adults they’ve become.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I’m a Cub Scout den leader and I’m good at archery!

Ms. Thaina Joyce, 3rd Grade Teacher

Where were you born?

I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

What is your favorite color?

I love many colors, but I always gravitate towards dark green.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is kabobs and tacos.

What do you love most about Cold Spring?

I love being part of a supportive community and working with such amazing people.

What is one interesting fact about you?

Once, I translated an article for NASA into Portuguese.

I am a published poet.

My favorite fruit is mango.

Ms. Shari Bergal, Art Teacher

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Where were you born?

I was born at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, where my father served in the army dental corp. I always enjoy listening to his army stories!

What is your favorite color?

Tough question for an art teacher...I do love so many colors! If I had to choose one, however, it would be yellow. Yellow is warm and friendly, and provides that little pop of color to brighten any day.

What is your favorite food?

Ice Cream! My family and I have a tradition of beginning our vacations in Vermont by stopping at our favorite ice cream shop. We enjoy going to Carmen’s in Rockville and eating our ice cream while catching up with friends.

What do you love most about Cold Spring?

There is so much that I love about Cold Spring, but what I love most are the people - students, staff and families. Our students amaze me with their creativity, artistic problem-solving and thoughtful reflections. We are going to have a great year together in art!

What is one interesting fact about you?

I lived in Melbourne, Australia for several years. Some of the things that made living in Australia so special were the animals I’d see each day. While I waited for the tram to go to work, I’d see rainbow lorikeet parrots squawking in the palm trees above my head. I’d see cute possums guarding their trees as I walked through the park. And, during our excursions outside of the city, we’d see wallabies and kangaroos hopping and hear kookaburras with laugh-like calls. Every once in a while though, we'd see critters that were kind of creepy, like spiders as big as my hand and poisonous snakes basking on the warm pavement. Luckily for us, we never got too close to those!

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Whose Class Will Win?

THERE IS STILL TIME TO...Join the PTA! The class with the highest percentage of PTA Memberships by October 16th, will win a pizza party!

Early Release & Delayed Opening Schedules

Click the button to view our lunch/recess schedule, half day schedule, and delayed opening schedule!