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VIEWS: 102 PAGES: 17

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Volume 4, Issue 2 October-November, 2008

From the Principal’s Desk…
October 15th was a busy morning at DHS. Over 100 of our seniors took the Accu-Placer test (a placement test for Montgomery College), approximately 700 of our sophomores and juniors took the PSAT test, and our 350 freshmen participated in a variety of different activities. It was a good day! Building a strong academic program for all students will continue to be our primary goal. We have 1070 students enrolled in 3027 Honors or AP classes. That represents 75% of our students. As parents, you can encourage your children to challenge themselves by getting good grades and by taking rigorous courses. This will help them to better prepare for college and the job market. A few weeks ago, four of our students approached me about raising funds for a needy orphanage in Honduras. They developed plan and presented it to staff and made a video for our students. They were trying to collect school supplies and some financial support for the worthy cause. Although we are still in the process of collecting funds, I wanted to express my appreciation for Matt Abelmann, Kevin Abelmann, Daniel Gonzalez and Brittany Strouth for the their hard work and caring for those in need. We have some really great students here at DHS!

Robert Domergue Principal

I would like to thank the community for their show of support during the tragic car accident that occurred on October 20th. Please continue to keep all those involved in the accident in your thoughts.

Accuplacer Parent Information Meeting Set for November 19th 7:00, Rm 120
Parents of seniors who took the Accuplacer in Oct. are invited to attend a short meeting with representatives from Montgomery College, who will explain in detail the implications of your child's test results. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.


Nov. 3 & 4 Nov. 5 Nov. 6 Nov. 11 Nov.14-15 Nov. 19 Nov. 21-22 Dec. 5

No School NHS Induction ceremony 4:00 Grade 10 Parent Meeting 7:00 Open House 7:25- 11:00 a.m. Fall Play- “Noises Off” AccuPlacer Parent Meeting 7:00 Fall Play- “Noises Off”- 2nd week Chorus and Orchestra Concert

INSIDE THIS ISSUE 2 Congratulations!! 3 Important Notes 12 From Teachers to Parents 14 From PTSA’s President 15 Calendar

2009 Yearbooks
2009 Yearbooks are on sale now - $70, buy before Jan 1 and they are only $55!! Pick up a form in the main office.

Newsletter 1

From the Principal’s Desk… (CONT.)
CONGRATULATIONS to the following DHS Students
Straight A’s
These students received straight A’s for the 2007-08 School Year

9th Grade
Stephanie Blanchard Steven Harris Daniel Osborne Bernadette Cannon Caitlyn Maczka Lauren Simoncic Harry Fones Andrew Mengle Brian Van Doren

10th Grade
Sara Bleistein Julie Eisenberg Mindy Markman Kevin Sanders Denzel Wood Kathryn Allen Nathaniel Lam Christie Stegeman Gwendolyn Cannon Michael Giroux Amanda Mey Nicole Urps Vivianne Dagher Hina Ijaz Frank Rumore Rachel Wilson

11th Grade
Brianna Group Ginni Larosa Katelyn Uher Julie Grysavage Claire Mize

AP Scholars
The following Students have earned AP Scholar Awards on the basis of their outstanding academic performance on AP Exams:

AP Scholars
Students who receive grades of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams Timothy Angel Kathleen Davis Emily Greene Timothy Lawrence Jacqueline Loberiza Andrew Quinn Samantha Russell Heidi Westervelt John Connor Julie Eisenberg Elaina Iosue Amelia Leach Valerie Maggio Jennifer Rawlings Matthew Sisson Brian Wiacek Matthew Curley Laura Gibney Shahina Khan Stephen Leas Robert Patton Stephen Ricketts Sarah Vandoren Zakiul Zuberi

AP Scholars with Honor
Students who receive average grade of 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams David Ahern Christina Dollar Nathaniel Lam Jacob Watkins Alexander Clayborne Margaret Fletcher Adam Lauer Mary Willard Lindsay Derby Kimberly Knipe Andrew Osborne Angela Wong

AP Scholars with Distinction Students who receive an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more exams Peter Sylvers Douglas Zellers
Newsletter 2

Important Notes
Winter weather emergencies, such as snow and ice, may cause disruptions in school operations, including the closure of school, a delayed opening, or an early dismissal. This letter provides information about the procedures used when such disruptions occur. Information also is provided about the weather contingency plan that would add student instructional days to the end of the scheduled school year if schools are closed for more than four days due to excessive weather emergencies.

Closure of School When schools are closed system-wide, all instructional programs and extracurricular activities in schools are canceled. Private day-care providers in school buildings may elect to stay open if the schools are closed but the administrative offices are open. In extreme conditions, administrative offices also may be closed. If this occurs, private day-care programs located in school buildings are closed as well. Delayed Opening A delayed opening means that schools open two hours later than scheduled. All buses operate on the same delayed schedule and, therefore, the pick-up times are two hours later than normal. When elementary schools open on a delayed schedule, the following programs are canceled—Head Start, pre-kindergarten, and other specialized programs or field trips scheduled before 10:30 a.m. However, afternoon sessions of Head Start and prekindergarten begin at the regular time. Parents should continue to check for radio, television, or Web announcements in the event a decision to delay the opening of schools is reconsidered and a decision to close schools for the day is made (by 7:00 a.m.). Early Dismissal An early dismissal means that schools will close 2.5 hours earlier than scheduled. All buses operate on that same early schedule and, therefore, drop-off times are 2.5 hours earlier than normal. When elementary schools close early, afternoon Head Start, prekindergarten, and other early childhood programs are canceled, as well as any special programs or field trips scheduled after 10:30 a.m.. Morning prekindergarten and morning half-day Head Start students will be dismissed at 10:30 a.m. Full day Head Start classes will dismiss with regular kindergarten through Grade 5 students. Public Announcements Information about school operations is announced publicly as soon as possible on area radio and television stations, Montgomery County Cable Channel 6 or Cable Channel 34—MCPS TV, on the Internet at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org, and on a taped telephone message service at 301-279-3673. Emergency e-mail announcements are available by signing up for MCPS QuickNotes on the school system’s home page. If schools are closed or delayed, the announcement is made no later than 6:00 a.m. (or the night before if possible). If schools are closing early, the announcement is made by 11:00 a.m. Emergency Weather Contingency Plan An emergency weather contingency plan will add student instructional days to the end of the scheduled school year if schools are closed more than four days because of weather emergencies. The planned school year for students ends on June 16, 2009. However, if schools are closed for more than four days due to weather emergencies, the following schedule would extend the school year in order to add the necessary make-up days:
1. If schools are closed for five days, the school year will be extended by one day to June 17, 2009. 2. If schools are closed for six days, the school year will be extended by two days to June 17 and June 18, 2009. 3. If schools are closed seven days, the school year will be extended by three days to June 17, June 18, and June 19, 2009. 4. If schools are closed for eight days, the school year will be extended by four days to June 17, June 18, June 19, and June 22, 2009. 5. If schools are closed nine days, the school year will be extended by five days to June 17, June 18, June 19, June 22, and June 23, 2009.
Newsletter 3

Important Notes (cont’d…) Weather Conditions and Decisions
The school system uses a variety of sources of information to determine whether to close schools, delay the opening of schools, or dismiss schools early. These sources include actual physical inspection of road and school conditions by transportation officials and other staff at areas throughout the county, and an analysis of independent reports from the National Weather Service, Accu-Weather, and the news media. The most severe weather conditions within the county are used as the basis for decision-making. Consistent procedures are maintained in order to respond quickly to emergency weather conditions and protect the safety and well being of students. All public schools within Montgomery County adhere to the same schedule concerning emergency weather conditions. The decision to change school operations is made by the superintendent of schools or his designee and affects all schools within the school system.

If you qualify due to household income level, your student(s) may be eligible to receive free or reduced meals. Application forms can be obtained from the Main Office.

We need to ask for assistance from Parents/Guardians with resolving an issue. The Main Office receives a lot of requests to get messages to students and deliver lunches or other forgotten items to students. The only way for us to do this, is to interrupt classroom instruction. This is not fair to the other students and the teacher, who have a limited time in the classroom to learn/teach. Please restrict these requests to emergency situations only.

Thanks for the Memories
I would like to dispel the rumors that are going around about me and my retirement. After 40& ½ years of working for approximately 17,959 children in 7 school buildings under 13 principals in the state of Maryland in three school systems (Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Montgomery County) with 2 years at Blair and the last 12 & ½ years at Damascus High School, I WILL be retiring on January 1, 2009. Happy New Year! I would like to thank my colleagues at MCPS for putting up with me all of these years at Blair & DHS. I would like to publicly thank my wife of 41 years last August 26th for allowing me -no, directing me- to retire and come home to our family while I can still remember their names and faces. I would especially like to thank our front line of avid, professionally dedicated, and phenomenally talented and caring professional and support staff, who have faced insurmountable odds in the past years, never gave up on our students, closed the gap, raised the bar (sometimes drank at the bar with me) and left none of our DHS children behind. I salute you for permitting me to be a part of our Damascus High School Family of "Fun, Food, Football, Farms, Food, and Family." Words cannot express my admiration of you. Our time together has given me "Damascus Pride." I would like to thank our Damascus High School Community for sending us your best and allowing me to be a member of your personal family, taking your student to graduation and beyond. I will never forget our frequent collaboration and will store all of our good times in my memory bank scrap book to enjoy for years to come. As a Baby Boomer, I don't believe in good-bye, farewell, or till we meet again. So, I would like to leave hopefully with your good impression- by repeating the words of one of my past American Idols, Bob Hope. "THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!" Mike DeBoy, Assistant Principal Advocate for the Arts Damascus High School

Newsletter 4

Teens and Drugs
Parents should know that student drug use is one of our country’s most challenging issues. If we have 1 student using drugs, we have a problem. Please read the information below and talk to your children.

Get the Facts
• • • •

The earlier a teen experiments with alcohol and tobacco; they are more likely to be at risk for using other drugs down the road, such as cocaine, and marijuana. Approximately the average age of first time marijuana use is 14 years old. The most popular illicit drugs used by teens are pot, cocaine, heroine and inhalants. Drugs put teens at risk for poor judgment, car crashes, falls, drownings, unsafe sex, suicide and violence.

What Parents Can Do…..
1. Raising your teen’s awareness about the health risks and consequences of drug use and abuse is very important. 2. Getting to know your teen’s friends is a very good idea. Know who they are with and where they are going. 3. Communicate with your teens about peer pressure and how to say “no” to their friends or acquaintances. 4. Getting involved in your teen’s education is important to set rules about doing homework and to stay on top of their classes so they can have good grades. 5. Lastly, encourage your teen to respect his or her body image by avoiding drugs and alcohol, as well as eating healthy and exercising. Being an adolescent is hard enough with the physical, intellectual, emotional and social roller coasters, but when drugs are introduced to their lives, it is a whole other ride to be on. Drug use interferes with the teen's ability to make decisions, solve problems, build friendships, and handle responsibilities. Drug use can cause serious immediate or long- term damage to the brain, kidney, heart, liver, and lungs. Talk to your teens about drugs and alcohol early on before it’s too late and the result is death.

Teen Facts
Smoking Each day, nearly 6,000 children under 18 years of age start smoking. It is estimated that at least 4.5 million U.S. adolescents are cigarette smokers. Smoking produces significant health problems including an increase in the number and severity of respiratory illnesses, decreased physical fitness, and potential retardation of lung growth. Tanning Parents of teenagers are strongly encouraged by the FDA, health experts, and medical professionals to discuss the dangers of indoor tanning and to discourage its use. The concentration of UVA light from a tanning bed is greater than from the sun. Depression It affects as many as one in eight people in their teen years. Often teens react to the pain of depression by getting into trouble with alcohol, drugs, sex, school, family or friends. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among teenagers 15 to 19 after accidents and homicides.

Alcohol It is the Number 1 drug of choice among children/adolescents and is the leading cause of death for persons under age 21. More than 5 million high school students admit to binge drinking at least once a month.

Sources: APA, American Lung Association, NIAAA, American Academy of Family Physicians, CNN, USA Today, Annie B. Casey Foundation, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Washington Post, American Cancer Society, Psychology Information Online, Kids Health, MSNBC, CBS News, and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician.

Newsletter 5

Get in the Habit! Of 7-Habits
Get in the habit of sharing with your teenage sons and daughters a helpful hint from Sean Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Effective Teens. In this edition of the PTSA Newsletter, we are thinking about Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind So what are you doing 5, 10, 20 years from now? What do you think your children will be doing, or where will they be living 5, 10, 20 years from now? What do they think they will be doing, or where do they believe they will be residing? Encourage them to plan to succeed, to imagine their educational, career, personal and family goals for today, for tomorrow. Below is a suggestion adapted from 7-Habits of how to have them think, and write, about what they can do to create a fulfilling future for themselves.

“Parenteen” Activity
My Questions What am I doing 5 years from now when I am X years old? Where am I living? Am I in college? Am I working? How is my family? My friends? What hobbies do I have? What am I doing 10 years from now when I am X years old? Where am I living? Am I in graduate school? What job do I have? How is my family? My friends? What hobbies do I have? What am I doing 20 years from now when I am X years old? Where am I living? Am I taking more classes? What career have I found to be my favorite? How is my family? My friends? What hobbies do I have? My Answers

The next time you notice that your teens are thinking or behaving in the present without much thought toward the future, review with them the goals that they wrote down; perhaps they need to update them, and you, on their future plans.

Parents: Please do not call or text your child during the school hours. Students tend to immediately answer a parent’s call or text, which in turn takes their attention away from their learning. If the message is something that can’t wait until the end of the school day, please call the main office (301) 253-7030, and leave a message that will be delivered to your child. In case of a serious event, it would probably be emotionally better for your child to hear the news from an administrator or teacher, rather than read it on their phone in a text message during class. Calling and sending text messages to your child during the school day sends a message that academic lessons are not very important. The Montgomery County Public School policy dictates that all personal electronic devices belonging to students are turned off during the working school day, which for DHS is 7:20 a.m. until 2:10 p.m. Many of the electronics that students bring to school are quite expensive. There is no true safeguard that guarantees that the item will be safe, since students tend to lend, share and often show off their newest gizzmo. If students are using the items during the instructional day, they may be taken by any staff member. That means that the teacher has to deal with the item being safe, or turning it into the office. This really is not how teachers want to spend their valuable time. This is also a huge distraction to the learning atmosphere. It is heavily requested that students simply leave electronic items at home where they will be safe and used at an appropriately time.
Newsletter 6

Become a Patron for The Buzz!
In September 2007, the DHS newspaper The Observer became The Buzz. It is a forum for students, teachers and the community to express ideas to inform, support and promote DHS and the community of Damascus. • The Buzz is looking for patrons to support the paper. Contributions go toward printing and production costs. • Patrons’ names will be printed in every issue in the 2008-2009 school year and they will receive a subscription to The Buzz in the mail. Patron donations begin at $20. Please submit this form and make checks payable to Damascus High School. Please mail this completed form and payment to: Damascus High School Attn: The Buzz 25921 Ridge Road Damascus, MD 20872 Name of Patron: _______________________________________________________________________ Address: _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________

CANNED FOOD DRIVE November 17-21
Damascus High School's Interact Club, Leo's Club, SGA, and LFI Program will once again be sponsoring our annual canned food drive from Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21. This year canned food items and other nonperishables will be collected from PERIOD 4 classes and all items will be donated to Damascus HELP and Lions Club for distribution. This year is a special challenge - the pantries are depleted and the projected need is great - but we are lucky the DHS community has shown generosity and outreach every year. Please support this drive by sending in those food items with your student or dropping them off Nov. 17 - 21.

2008 Yearbooks are Still Available
Damascus High School still has a few 2008 Yearbooks left- Get yours now for the low, low cost of only $40 You Can Get Them While They Last
Newsletter 7

Music Notes
It's not too late to join the DHS Music Boosters. Find the latest information on the Boosters website: http://www.dhshornetsmusic.org Congratulations to Stephen Leas for making Montgomery County Honors Jazz Band. Upcoming performances you don't want to miss: A Music Showcase (Jazz Band, Orchestra, and Chorus) October 29th rd Winter Concert with selections from Handel's "Messiah" December 3 (Orchestra and Chorus) December 11th Winter Concert (Band and Jazz Band)

Foreign Language Department News
There are no new teachers in the Foreign Language Department this year. However, since the departure of Madame Bastings to Sherwood High, Madame Briggs is teaching the French courses this year and is enjoying the challenge. We will be taking our first field trip to the National Gallery of Art and to the French restaurant, La Madeleine, on November 6. C’est chouette! The first quarter has almost ended and we are very delighted with the results of many of the students in the French, Spanish and Russian classes. We will continue to work together with those students who are achieving less than their potential and encourage them to seek help with their teacher or utilize the tutors from the Foreign Language Honor Society. Please refer to Edline regularly for student grades and homework assignments. The teachers in this department extend their expertise and support of the whole school beyond the classroom. The two after-school activities that we sponsor; the Foreign Language Honor Society (Mme. Briggs, Srta. Bartel) and the Latino Dance group (Sr. Russell) have started activities. The FLHS began the year with the Mariachi Extravaganza as a fundraiser to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Students were surprised when they were serenaded in the classrooms with birthday songs and friendship songs. The Latino Dance group will compete at Einstein High School on 10/17/08 with other MCPS dance groups. ¡Buena suerte to them! Some French students will be competing in the MCPS Francophone Festival November 1, at Richard Montgomery High School. Bonne chance to them! If there are any concerns or questions about the Foreign Language Department, please contact Ellen Briggs at (301) 253-8708 or email her at Ellen_ R_ Briggs@mcpsmd.org. Gracias et Merci!

Attention parents of seniors - yearbook is selling 1/2 page and 1/4 page Senior
Ads - Get your senior ad in before Dec 12 to avoid the $35 late fee. Ads will be accepted up to Jan 9. Forms are available in the main office.
Newsletter 8

Help Keep the Children in the Damascus Community Safe on Prom Night! Support our Fundraising Efforts And make this an affordable night for all to attend!
Make your tax deductible donations payable to DHS Post Prom and mail to: Louisa Stack at 25431 Oak Dr. Damascus, MD 20872 You can also donate online at DHSPostProm.com Each DHS family is encouraged to donate $40, but donations of any amount are appreciated! If you would like to volunteer to assist with Post Prom events, please mail this form to the address above: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I would like to volunteer – my name is: _______________________________________ Student’s Name and Grade: _______________________________________________ Phone Number: _____________________ Email address: ______________________

with Vera Bradley prizes!
All proceeds to support Damascus High School Post Prom Party Sunday, Nov 16, 2008 Damascus Volunteer Fire Dept Activity Center 10211 Lewis Drive, Damascus, MD (behind CVS) Doors open @ 1:00 p.m. Play begins @ 2:00 p.m. $20 advance/$25 @ door Ticket redeemable for 3 cards/18 games. All prizes will be Vera Bradley purses, totes, and accessories!
For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact: Pam Giganti 240-388-3117 Or buy online at www.DHSpostprom.com
Newsletter 9

DHS Athletic Booster Club News
Booster Club Membership & Meetings
Annual Booster Club Memberships are $30 per family. A membership form is attached to this Newsletter. Membership forms are also available on-line at www.leaguelineup.com/dhsboosters. The Booster Club meets the first Monday of each month (except for November - the meeting is Nov. 10th) at 7 p.m. in the Hornet’s Nest.

Apparel/Spiritwear: Hornets Apparel and Spiritwear (t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc) is on sale at all home football games. Stop by the Boosters’ table next to Concessions.
Current Fundraisers Laptop Raffle - The Booster Club is raffling off a laptop w/a printer and a $100 Best Buy gift card. Tickets are $5 each and 3 for $10 and will be on sale at the next home football game on Nov. 7th. If you would like to purchase a raffle ticket, please contact Mary Jean Osborne at mjosborne@comcast.net. Scratch Card Fundraiser - All DHS teams are participating in a Scratch Card Fundraiser. When donors scratch off two dots on the card and donate a maximum of $6, they will receive a sheet of valuable coupons to local businesses including Weis and Modell’s. This is a major Booster Club fundraiser and is in lieu of the Mulch Sale. The Poms are raffling off a Nintendo Wii Deluxe Package which includes a Wii Fit (w/games), a guitar hero III and Mario Wheel! Tickets are $5 each and 3 for $10. Raffle tickets will be sold at all home football games. If you would like to purchase a ticket, please contact Cathy Carey (DHS main office 301-253-7030) or Marlen Gonzalez (marleng04@msn.com). The winner will be announced at the Nov. 7th home football game. You do not have to be present to win. Cheerleading is selling Hornets Flip-Flops and Car Magnets. The magnets are for sale at all home football games at the Boosters Apparel/Spiritwear table. If you would like to purchase flip-flops and/or magnets, please see any cheerleader or contact Mary Ellen Cotton (Mary_Cotton@mcpsmd.org). Philbin’s will donate 20% to the DHS Booster Club from every training program established at DHS or at Philbin’s to help your students become Bigger, Faster and Stronger. Also, 20% from every family member from DHS who joins Philbin’s as a member will be donated back to the Booster Club. Join today - it's a WIN-WIN for all!! Upcoming Booster EventsThe next Booster Club meeting is Monday, November 10th at 7 p.m. in the Hornet’s Nest.

DHS Career Center News
Monthly Newsletter & Weekly Updates!
Did you know that in the monthly Husky Hornet, Mr. Martin has listed over 30 colleges visiting DHS, 3 college fairs and over 10 scholarships? In addition to the monthly newsletter there are weekly updates too. Check them out at
http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/schools/damascushs/careercenter/careercenter.aspx?sid=11008#husky hornet

Newsletter 10

DHS Athletic Booster Club News
Damascus High School Athletic Booster Club Membership Form
The Damascus High School Athletic Boosters is a non-profit organization comprised of dedicated parents, guardians, alumni, coaches, school administrators, and community members. Our goals and objectives are to: Help maintain and improve the athletic facilities at DHS Support and recognize the efforts of our teams and athletes Provide additional opportunities to our teams and athletes Assist in building team and school spirit and pride The Athletic Boosters supports all teams and athletes at Damascus High School by providing: Team Budget Augmentation Scholarships to outstanding student athletes Participation and Scholar Athlete Certificates

The Athletic Boosters are only able to provide this support through memberships, fundraisers, and corporate sponsorships. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! By joining you will become part of a dedicated group of individuals who are making a difference by investing in our school, our community and our futures. Any questions, please contact: Cathy Magas, Membership – cathy@magascpa.com _________________________________________________________________________

Membership Information 2008-2009
Name: _______________________________________Home Phone: Address: ______________________________________Work/Cell Phone: City: __________________________ Zip: _____________ Communication is done only by e-mail. Please provide your e-mail address to receive Booster Club information. E-mail address: ____________________________________________ ATHLETE’S NAME GRADE SPORT(S)

Please make checks payable to DHS ATHLETIC BOOSTERS 2008-2009 MEMBERSHIP FEE: $30.00 Mailing Address: DHS Athletic Booster Club, PO Box 5, Damascus, MD 20872 WILLING TO HELP?? Please check areas of interest below. THANK YOU!! Sports Program Ad Sales Apparel/Spiritwear Concessions Corporate Sponsorships Fundraising Sponsor Banners

Other: _____________________________________________ Visit us at www.leaguelineup.com/dhsboosters.
Newsletter 11

From Teachers To Parents
Proactive Parents
No one in their right mind will tell you that being a high school student is easy, much less be a parent to a high school student, but there are some steps you can take that will make the natural bumps in the road much easier with which to deal when they do arise. The teachers at DHS would like you to share with you some ideas to help make high school easier and more comfortable for your child and to help you become a proactive parent. Review the school rules found in the parent/student handbook. Please note that the consequences for certain violations vary greatly depending on the circumstances. This is a great time to discuss with your child that how they behave during difficult times speaks volumes about their basic character. Lots of kids need some discipline from time to time, but the student who faces their teacher or administrator in a respectful, honest fashion gains respect themselves. Read the syllabus and grading policies for each class. Remind your child that all their classes count towards their GPA, so each class is important. If there is a question or something is unclear in the class expectations, ask for clarification before a problem arises. Learning is a collaborative process and students should take an active role in their education by asking questions. It’s much more useful to ask a question before a test than after. Stay involved in your child’s life. Most parents are very active during the elementary school years, but involvement often wanes during the middle and high school years. More dangers and decisions are available to your child during high school, so this is not the time to be less involved. Although they protest loudly that they don’t want you around, the truth is that they still need your guidance and involvement. Get to know the school by volunteering. Know who your child’s friends are and get to know their parents as well; exchange phone numbers and don’t be too shy to call and confirm social plans. Even if your child thinks you are annoying, they will know they are loved. Friends are a huge influence on teenage behavior and sometimes children don’t make the best decisions. Notify teachers and/or administrators if your child has a problem outside of school. If the staff knows that a child is dealing with an illness, death or other serious life event, we can respond appropriately and help them through a difficult time. Your child is in school for so many hours each week that we need to be a full partner in your child’s overall well-being. Submitted by: Susan O'Brien

Parent and Teacher Communications
Keeping the lines of communication open between teachers and parents is very important. Edline is a great resource, but talking to a teacher can clear up any questions or misconceptions. Do not hesitate to email a teacher with an initial question, but if the question is not fully answered try contacting the teacher, or sending an email with your phone number and the best time to reach you along with a request for the teacher to contact you. In the school setting calling a teacher and hoping to talk to them is much like playing the lottery. You take your chances. Some departments have 20 or more staff members and one office phone. Most teacher checks email on a regular basis. Teachers want to know if a student is having a particularly difficult time, either with the class material, or with something personal. Don’t be afraid to let the staff know that outside pressures or events maybe affecting your child’s ability to concentrate or do their best. Many teachers are parents themselves and understand that life for your child does exist outside their classroom. If there is an area of concern with a class, please contact the teacher first. Calling an administrator first may only escalate a problem that the teacher isn’t even aware exists. Creating a positive team with the teacher to tackle the problem is always a good idea. Remember that there are always two sides to every story, and the more information you have about a situation, the more empowered you are to deal with it. Teachers want to know if a child needs a little encouragement or has had a difficult experience that makes them sensitive. We often become comfortable with our students and forget that they are still maturing emotionally. Please don’t hesitate to let us in on your child’s needs. Most of us went into teaching because we love children. We want to help.
Newsletter 12

Parent and Teacher Communications (cont’d…)
Please also keep in mind that teachers are professionals with your child’s best interest in mind. We care about your child, but sometimes we simply need more information to help us be most effective as an educator for your child. We appreciate being kept in the information loop. What you say, or don’t say and how you interact with teachers reflect your attitude about the importance of education to your child. Education will not be important to your child, if they do not think it is important to you. Submitted by: Susan O'Brien English Teacher/Literacy Coach

Come meet Mrs. O'Brien at our next PTSA meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 18th and let her know of any topics she might share in future newsletters.

Newsletter 13

From the PTSA’s President…
In this month of November, let us remember our blessings and also our trials because out of every sadness we can find joy. In October there were so many wonderful things happening around our school from the play at the beginning of the month to the Orchestra, Jazz, Chorus concert at the end of the month and all the sporting events in between. And just like life, when the school wants to celebrate the joys of Homecoming there came a need to balance grief and celebration. My heart goes out to all 5 families who were involved in the car accident. Each has their own sadness to bear. I want to commend Mr. Domergue for his sensitivity, care and concern for ALL the students at Damascus in trying to balance how we moved forward daily during this special week. Having had students at Damascus High after September 11, 2001 and then the sniper in 2002 I have seen homecoming weeks change to fit the needs of the immediate times. This one, because it hit so close to home, was also changed and I hope it will be remembered for all the love and concern a community can bring into trying circumstances. Even our neighboring Clarksburg community came out to support us in our difficult times. I know each person will take something from this week of events and grow from it into a better person. For me, remember the game called telephone? One person whispered a long sentence to the next person who passed it down the line. By the time it reached the end of the group the sentence had radically changed. Especially, in today’s society, with our instant communication techniques, emails and blogs we too need to be careful what we send down the line. Many of us, including myself, fell victim to this game in our concern over what happened and our desire to share information quickly. For that I am very sorry and apologize. Unfortunately, many pieces of false information were spread around town and hard to stop. PLEASE remember to make sure any information received during a tragedy, or any time, is accurate. Prayers and support for those in need can be shared with others by just saying – I heard there was an accident involving our youth – please pray for them. More details can come out later when we know they are facts. So let’s move on and celebrate all the good things that happen here at Damascus and be glad. I for one am proud to live in a caring community and have my children attend Damascus High. Bettianne Quinn PTSA President  


Please consider joining the PTSA. Dues for the PTSA are $25.00 annually with $21.75 staying here at DHS. Our goal is to share our money fairly equally among the PTSA – Parents, Teachers & Programs, Students and to a lesser degree our county, state and national organizations. We are counting on 400 members to make this budget work. Currently after back to school night we had only 273 members. Attached is a membership form. It can be mailed back to the school or dropped off in the main office, with a check to DHS PTSA and as soon as we get it we will give you our student directory. If you have any questions please contact Anja Abbott, our membership chair. Please help us help the school. I know money is tight – but remember this money will come back to you throughout the year as you receive our monthly newsletter, help students in need, and pamper our teachers with goodies to let them know we appreciate them working with our youth. You will also be eligible to vote if the need arises. Thank you for letting us help the school.

Damascus High School -- Parent Teacher Student Association 2008 -- 2009 Membership $25.00
Student( s) name and grade_____________________________________________________ Parent( s)___________________________________________________________________ Phone Number__________________________ Email address ________________________ I would like to support Post Prom with an additional donation of $______________ I would like to help with ______ Short Term Projects For PTSA Use Only: ______Card Issued _____Teacher Appreciation _____ Directory _____Post prom _____ Payment Method

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Important Phone Numbers Damascus High School.............. 301-253-7030 DHS FAX Line ........................... 301-253-7046 Athletic Director.......................... 301-253-7050 Attendance ................................. 301-253-7042 Business Office .......................... 301-253-7048 Career Center ............................ 301-253-7045 Guidance Office ......................... 301-253-7037 Health Room .............................. 301-253-7051 Media Center.............................. 301-253-7058

2008 - 2009 PTSA Information
PTSA meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month in the Media Center at 7:00 pm An open meeting to all! President Bettianne Quinn 301-253-0228 Kathi Vanhoesen 301-253-2898 1st Vice President 301-482-1429 2nd Vice President Mary Jean Osborne Treasurer Lisa Dinsmore 301-253-9169 Secretary Jennifer McGolrick 301-253-1383 MCCPTA Delegate OPEN Co-Cluster Coordinator Kristin Tribble 301-414-2329 Leslie Cuneo 301-414-7573 Curriculum Development Barbara Zellers 301-253-3465 Membership Anja Abbott 301-482-2593 NAACP Rep. Carolyn Gray 301-972-3866 Newsletter Beatrice Kallungal 301-414-2334 PTSA Mailings Laura Mainhart 301-253-0608 Darlene Melkonian 301-253-2091 Post-Prom Liaisons Louisa Stack 301-253-8834 Paula Carren 240-997-1356 Scholarship Ruth Jenkins 301-414-0353 Special Needs OPEN Staff Appreciation JoAnn Hayes 301-528-2180 Reina Sprankle 301-253-0936 Student Directory Cathy Hocker 301-25-0590

Website: www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/damascushs Emergency Website MCPS: http://.mcps.k12.md.us/info/emergency

Send NEWSLETTER information/articles via email by the 3rd Friday of each month to: bkallungal@yahoo.com

Damascus High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association 25921 Ridge Road Damascus, MD 20872-1891


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