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 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 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 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, 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:

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

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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

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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