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December 2018 Newsletter


In this issue:


PTA President’s Message

I hope that you are having a wonderful holiday season! We have had an amazing school year so far. Most recently, I want to congratulate our Dashing Dragons and their coaches on a successful season that culminated with a 5K in Frederick in November. This photo shows our amazing team showing off their running names! We had more than 50 runners this fall.

We also hosted a fun Bingo Night and Grandparents Day was a special day for our families. The PTA was also pleased to present the Coyoba Dance company who entertained and educated our students about African dance in our first cultural arts assembly of the school year.

This year the PTA is working to communicate more digitally. Along with the paper fliers that go home in backpacks, our website provides valuable information about coming events at our school. If you are on Facebook, you can also follow Damascus Elementary PTA at https://www.facebook.com/damascusPTA/. Finally, we have a new email list which you can join by following the link on the homepage of our website. If you have not yet joined the PTA, we would love to have you. Your time and donations do so much to help make our school the awesome place it is.

Coming soon, we have Holiday Shop the first week of December. In January, be on the look-out for movie night and Book Fair. You can find information about these activities and more in this newsletter. I look forward to continuing to meet all of you as the year goes on, and I hope you will be able to join us for our activities.

~ Christine Derby, DES PTA President

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Restaurant Spirit Night

https://newyorkjandppizza.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/jp-logo-kk01-x373.pngHello DES families! Thank you so much for participating in our Restaurant Fundraiser Spirit Nights. Our combined total for the first two Spirit Nights is approximately $400. Our next one will be held on Tuesday, December 4 from 5 to 10 p.m. at J&P Pizza in Damascus. Be sure to mention DES and we will receive a portion of the profit on both eat-in and carry-out orders. Thank you for your support!

~ Ashley LeFave, Chair

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Holiday Shop

snowmanMark Your Calendar! The Holiday Shop is coming to DES on December 3, 4, and 5.

The DES PTA will once again host a holiday shop this year. This is a great opportunity for our children to shop for holiday gifts for their parents, grandparents, siblings, and other special friends. All gifts will be priced ranging from $0.25 to $10.00, with most items priced under $5.00.

On Monday, December 3, there will be an evening shopping event where students can come with their families for a night of family fun activities and shopping. As in the past, each class will also have a 30 minute time slot to go shopping during the school day on Tuesday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 5. Remind your children to start saving their pennies now to shop for their loved ones! We look forward to continuing this fun tradition.

View the Holiday Shop 2018 flier for classroom shopping days and times.

~ Suzie Thompson, Chair

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Book Fair Planning Meeting

We hope that you can join us to help plan the 2019 Damascus Elementary Scholastic Book Fair! Our book fair is one of our biggest events of the year. It is an opportunity to encourage our students to read, but also is a great fundraiser for our school. The book fair will take place in the media center from
January 14-18, 2019 and the planning starts now. This year, our theme is the Enchanted Forest, so we will be planning to set the scene to make our book fair magical. We are holding a book fair meeting on Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m. in the media center to plan our decorations and family fun night activities. This is a great opportunity for people who would like to volunteer outside of the school day or at home on their own time. If you have any questions, please contact Christine at derbyjc@bellatlantic.net. Thank you for your time in making our book fair magical!

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Happiness is…A Movie Night with Friends!

We hope that you can join us on Thursday, January 10 for a special evening movie! Although our licensing agreement does not allow us to state the name of the movie online (Good Grief!), it will be a night of fun! Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the movie starts at 7 p.m. in the All Purpose Room. Admission is free. The fifth grade celebration committee will be selling pizza, drinks, and snacks. So bring a blanket or chair and come out and join us – pajamas welcome!

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Volunteer Corner

Happy Holidays! I am now collecting November hours. We appreciate all of your time and effort. Remember that DES is required to submit volunteer hours to the Montgomery County’s central office each month. So if you volunteer in the classroom, on a committee, at an event, or in any other way that benefits our school, please let me know (Christine at derbyjc@bellatlantic.net), so it can be included in our total hours that are submitted to Montgomery County each month.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to recognize some of the people who have given time and resources during the months of October and November.

• Thank you to Erin, Rachel, Melody, Christine, Kelly, Sheila, Tamara, Scott, and our SSL helpers Katherine, Jazmin, Jahsey, Hayden, Gracie, Kade, Lexis, Alexander, Jahdira, and David for all of their help making Bingo Night a success! Thank you also to all of the teachers and staff who volunteered to call for us: Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Blakley, Mrs. Spiridopoulos, Mr. Lee, Mrs. Moxley, and Mr. Collins. Thank you for spending your evening with us.

• Thank you to Beth W., Victoria, Kahliah, Beth C., Kerry, Kristen, Diane, Laurie, Christine, Josh, Brad, and Eric for all of your help with our Grandparents Day event. The students had a great time sharing their school day with their special visitors!

• Thank you to Kristen, Wendy, Jenny, Dawn, and Donna for their work on the Staff Appreciation committee and for hosting treats during conferences for our staff.

• Thank you to our Dashing Dragons coaches: Anna, Jen, Christine, and Melissa for a successful season. Thank you also to Jen and Jaime for creating our awesome t-shirts!

• Thank you to Leanne for her work arranging our cultural arts assembly, Coyoba Dance Theater. The students had a blast!

• Thank you to all who have been able to help with the Parents Helping Teachers workgroup: Kerry, Linda, Dawn, Donna, Theresa, Beenish, Avi, Demetria, Carla, Wendy, and Christine. We have accomplished an amazing amount preparing classroom materials for our teachers.

• Thank you to Beth, Theresa, Karen, and all of our other media center helpers.

• Thank you to Melody, all of our room parents, and room helpers for their hard work planning successful Halloween parties.

• Thank you Melody, Kelly, Sheila, and the fifth grade celebration committee for all of their work on fundraising for the fifth grade.

• Thank you to Kerry, Trish, Jill, and Victoria for their work on our Reading Incentive Program.

• Thank you to Ashley for her work organizing Spirit Nights for our school. It is a fun way to raise money for all of our important programs.

• Thank you Kristen for all of her work on Spirit Wear for our school.

• Thank you to Suzie for all of her work organizing our upcoming Holiday Shop.

• Thank you to Diane and Kristen for their work keeping our website and social media up to date.

• Finally, thank you to all who help in the classroom with individual teachers, represent our school, and contribute their time in ways that may not have been mentioned. We appreciate you and all that you contribute!

Thank you so much for all that you do to make our school a special place. It makes a huge difference!

~ Christine Derby, DES PTA President

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Volunteer Training Requirement

Please remember that if you are planning to help at school this year (this includes field trips), you will need to bring a photo ID to come into the building. However, Montgomery County has a volunteer requirement that they feel will help to keep our children safe. The online training on Child Abuse and Neglect is designed to help volunteers be aware of signs of potential abuse and neglect and how to handle situations where you might suspect abuse and neglect. This training is required for adults who would like to volunteer within the school building or attend field trips. The same training is required for any Montgomery County school including Baker MS and Damascus HS. Montgomery County has decided that the training will be good for three years. So if you took it last year, you do not need to retake it this year.

The training is available online at: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/childabuseandneglect/

It takes roughly 25 minutes to complete. At the end you will be provided with a confirmation number and the system will send you an email showing that you have completed the training. You will need to show this email to the office when you come to volunteer. If you have any questions or concerns, including the need for computer access, please contact Christine at derbyjc@bellatlantic.net.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Visit our volunteer opportunities page for an updated list of ways you can volunteer to support our school!

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Staff Appreciation

To help our teachers endure the long conference days, we set up a snack bar in the teachers’ lounge featuring homemade muffins baked by Donna and Dawn Schwab, fruit, chips and single serving desserts in a mug. For the month of December we are planning a Christmas Cookie Exchange and a Christmas Wrapping Station at school for the staff the last week before break. If you are interested in contributing cookies, please sign up below at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0A4AA4AD2EA5FF2-desstaff.

Watch for a flier and emails requesting helpers with the Gift Wrapping Station to be sent home soon!

~ Kristen Kloster-Grady, Jenny Clevenger, Wendy King, Dawn Schwab and Donna Schwab – Staff Appreciation Committee

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Dragon News – October 2018


In this issue:


    • PTA President’s Message

      Happy Fall! As we settle into the school year, I would like to welcome everyone back. First, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to return the green back to school folders which contained so much important information for the school year. We also appreciate everyone who chose to join the PTA, sent a donation, and/or have offered to help volunteer this year.

      This year the PTA is working to communicate more digitally. Along with the paper flyers that go home in backpacks, our website (https://www.damascuspta.com/) provides valuable information about upcoming events at our school. If you are on Facebook, you can also follow Damascus Elementary PTA (https://www.facebook.com/damascusPTA/). We are currently in process of updating our email communication as well.

      We are off to a fun start to the school year with Fall Fest and Pastries with Parents. Check out this edition of Dragon News for more information about the Reading Incentive Program, Dashing Dragons, Spirit Nights, and much more. I look forward to continuing to meet all of you as the year goes on, and I hope you will be able to join us for our activities.

      ~ Christine Derby, DES PTA President

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      Email Communication

      The PTA has had a few road blocks in our email communications, between aging lists that didn’t include new members and a complicated double opt-in that left a number of people out of the loop. We’ve decided to move our list to MailChimp, which will give us much more flexibility and makes signing up MUCH easier for our DES community.

      If you have already signed up for the DES PTA list, we have added you to the new system. If you have not, there is still time to join. Sign up for the new MailChimp system at: http://eepurl.com/dFyRHH

      ~ Kristen Kloster-Grady, Chair

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      Staff Appreciation

      We started the 2018-19 school year out right with a light pastry and coffee breakfast for the DES staff on the first day of school. The second week, to keep the energy going and give our amazing staff a bit of pep, the DES PTA gave the teachers and staff little goodie bags filled with treats and Starbucks gift cards. We then rounded the month off with a pasta dinner on Back to School Night, so our DES teachers and staff could relax a bit on one of their longest days of the year!

      Plans are in the works for more staff appreciation events and we’re looking for a few extra helpers. We will be reaching out for help baking and cooking in the coming months, so DES bakers keep an eye out for requests!

      ~ Kristen Kloster-Grady, Wendy King, and Jenny Clevenger – Staff Appreciation Committee

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      DES Spirit Wear

      We are super excited for the shop to be up and running! If you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, go to https://www.zazzle.com/des_pta_spiritwear and take a look. Every purchase helps the PTA support a DES event, field trip or in-school event. Also, don’t forget once you click on a design style, on that specific product page you can pick other shirt/sweatshirt styles and colors!

      ~ Kristen Kloster-Grady, Chair

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      Restaurant Spirit Night

      We will continue to hold fundraising nights at local restaurants during the school year. During these events, mention you are supporting DES and a portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to the school. Our first Spirit Night will be hosted by Maggi’s on Tuesday, October 2 from 4-8 p.m. (download the flier) and our second will be hosted by The Hornet’s Nest Grille on Tuesday, November 13. More information about future restaurant fundraisers will be out soon. These Spirit Nights are a great way to raise money for the school and to not have to worry about what is for dinner! Thank you for your support.

      ~ Ashley LeFave, Chair

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      Volunteer Corner

      Happy Fall! I am now collecting September hours. We appreciate all of your time and effort. Remember that DES is required to submit volunteer hours to the Montgomery County’s central office each month. So if you volunteer in the classroom, on a committee, at an event, or in any other way that benefits our school, please let me know (Christine at derbyjc@bellatlantic.net), so it can be included in our total hours that are submitted to the county each month. I also wanted to take this opportunity to recognize some of the people who have given time and resources during the months of August and September.

      • Thank you to Kristen and Christine for your work on welcoming families during the Meet and Greet and Kristen, Beth, and Christine during Kindergarten Back-to-School night.
      • Thank you to Theresa, Kerry, and Christine for your help in kindergarten the first week of school. It was such a tremendous help as our new kindergarteners learned about going to school.
      • Thank you Kristen for all of her work on spirit wear for our school.
      • Thank to Melissa for all of her work setting up Fall Fest.
      • Thank you to Kristen, Wendy, and Jenny for their work on the Staff Appreciation committee to welcome back our teachers and host our Back to School night dinner.
      • Thank you to all who have been able to help with the Parents Helping Teachers work group. Thank you to Doni, Linda, Dawn, Donna, Theresa, Beenish, and Christine. We have accomplished an amazing amount preparing classroom materials for our teachers.
      • Thank you to Ashley for her work organizing Spirit Nights for our school. It is a fun way to raise money for all of our important programs.
      • Finally, thank you to all who help in the classroom with individual teachers, represent our school, and contribute their time in ways that may not have been mentioned. We appreciate you and all that you contribute!

      Thank you so much for all that you do to make our school a special place. It makes a huge difference!

      ~ Christine Derby, PTA President

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      Volunteer Training Requirement

      Please remember that if you are planning to help at school this year (this includes field trips), you will need to bring a photo ID to come into the building. However, Montgomery County has a volunteer requirement that they feel will help to keep our children safe. The online training on Child Abuse and Neglect is designed to help volunteers be aware of signs of potential abuse and neglect and how to handle situations where you might suspect abuse and neglect. This training is required for adults who would like to volunteer within the school building or attend field trips. The same training is required for any Montgomery County school including Baker MS and Damascus HS. Montgomery County has decided that the training will be good for three years. So if you took it last year, you do not need to retake it this year.

      The training is available online at: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/childabuseandneglect/

      It takes roughly 25 minutes to complete. At the end you will be provided with a confirmation number and the system will send you an email showing that you have completed the training. You will need to show this email to the office when you come to volunteer. If you have any questions or concerns, including the need for computer access, please contact Christine at derbyjc@bellatlantic.net.

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      Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

      Parents Helping Teachers: Fridays, October 12, October 26, and November 3 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. This is a drop in opportunity where we help make copies and educational materials to help teachers. Please meet us in the main office if you can. No experience necessary.

      Media Center helpers: We are seeking parents who are able to help in the media center during the school day. If you are interested, please contact Ms. Sennewald at Kelly_A_Sennewald@mcpsmd.org.

      Mobile Science Lab: We need school day helpers for the Mobile Science Lab that is visiting DES October 1-5 . For more information and to sign up go to https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0a44aeab2ba4f49-mobile.

      Green Team: We need adult helpers, gardening supplies, and assistance with grant writing. For more information, please contact Ms. Head at Kristen_M_Head@mcpsmd.org.

      Halloween Parties: Planning for class Halloween parties is starting soon. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up, let your classroom teacher know that you are interested in helping.

      Bingo Night: Wednesday, November 7 from 7-8 p.m. This will be a SSL opportunity worth one SSL hour. SSL students will help check bingo cards, assist the caller, and monitor prizes. Look for an e-mail coming soon!

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      October Events

      10/2: PTA Meeting, 7:00 p.m. in the Media Center
      10/2: Restaurant Spirit Night at Maggi’s Pizza and Deli, 4-8 p.m.
      10/4: Fall Fun Fest – Char-Lene Farm
      10/5: Early Release
      10/8: Parent Observation Day
      10/8: Pastries With Parents, 8:45 – 9:30 a.m.
      10/12: Parents Helping Teachers Group, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
      10/26: Parents Helping Teachers Group, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
      10/31: Halloween Classroom Parties

      View a complete list of upcoming events

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      Dashing Dragons

      The PTA will again sponsor this five week 5K training program held before school on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. beginning October 3 through November 7. Please drop your child off at the blacktop behind the school by 8:00 a.m. Dashing Dragons will not meet on Monday, October 8 because of Pastries with Parents.

      The fee is ONLY $25 per student ($20 for each additional sibling) and includes race training, a post season party, and a Dashing Dragons T‐Shirt for your student! Instructors are Jennifer Marcano, Anna Egan, Christine Derby and Melissa North.

      Learn to run, get exercise, boost self‐esteem, make healthy choices, and have fun – no experience needed! All grades are invited but space is limited.

      This exciting program will have you ready to run or walk a 5K by November 10. We will be running the Educate Girls Superhero 5K in Frederick. Learn more about the race at http://racinemultisports.com/educate-girls-superhero-5k/.

      Your child will need a buddy runner for the race and a race fee of $30 per participant will be paid directly to the Educate Girls Superhero 5K.
      For more information, please contact Christine Derby at derbyjc@bellatlantic.net or Jennifer Marcano at marcano.jen@gmail.com.

      Unfortunately, we do not have use of the gym. If it is raining, we let you know via e‐mail by 7:00 a.m. if practice is cancelled. We will not make up missed practices.

      Download the registration form

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      Science Fair

      The Science Fair will be held in the spring, but it’s never too early to start thinking of an experiment. Ready to try one? Download this example experiment.

      ~ Christi Hayes, Chair

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