•  April 6, 2018
    Dear TJS Families,
    Final Score-
    Mother Nature:  7; Madison:  3
    If you have travel plans next week, I hope you enjoy and wish you a safe trip, as well as a lot of fun, family time.  If not, don't worry, we will be here for most of the week:  Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  The vast majority of TJS's dedicated faculty and staff will be here and the show will go on!  
    If your child(ren) will not be attending school next week and you have not yet notified us, please send Mrs. Empson, Mrs. Crescas, or me an email and the absences will be considered "excused" and entered into our system.  Only send me your travel itinerary if there is a ticket included for me!  Postcards are always welcome, so send one our way.
    Reminder:  All school days next week (4/11, 4/12, 4/13) will be SINGLE SESSION DAYS with DISMISSAL AT 12:45 P.M.  No lunch or pizza will be served.  Students will be permitted to eat in the classrooms, so please pack a nut free/allergen friendly lunch or hearty snack, as well as water or a drink.
    School will be closed Monday, April 9th and Tuesday, April 10th.  Classes resume on Wednesday, April 11th.  Hours are as follows:
    Grades 1-5, 8:40 A.M. – 12:45 P.M. 
    Morning Kindergarten: 8:40 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. 
    Afternoon Kindergarten: 10:40 A.M. – 12:45 P.M.
    Please feel free to call the main office with any questions.
    Educator of the Year:
    It's time to nominate an outstanding TJS teacher or support staff member.  Please review the attached form and submit your nomination by April 27th.
    Instructional Corner:  Standardized Tests
    Yes, it's testing season.  I would like to give you my honest opinion of standardized tests.  Here it is....they are not perfect but they serve a purpose and add value.  Educators need to know if we are hitting the mark and you, as taxpayers, need to know how your schools are performing. Students need to know if they are progressing at reasonable rates.  Are these tests an exact measure of the overall progress of a student or school?  No.  They are one measure.  Multiple measures are needed to accurately assess progress and we should focus on growth, not comparison to other schools or districts.  And, not all tests are appropriate for every student, depending on individual needs.  The implementation of PARCC was met with much fanfare and parental resistance.  There was a wave of "opt outs," that districts continue to be penalized for by the state.  We have a new governor who is promising a 'different' kind of test.  Could it be PARCC with a different acronym?  It's possible, much like the Common Core Standards have been slightly altered and rebranded as "New Jersey State Learning Standards."  Don't panic.  It's ok.  Teaching and learning is about research-based, high quality instructional practices.  Education is about the teachers and how they inspire students and manage their classrooms.  It's about appropriate interventions, school climate/culture, enrichment opportunities, professional development, individualized learning, student choice, supportive parents...I could go on.
    One of the many reasons I'm proud to serve the students of Madison is that we do not throw them into a frenzied "PARCC preparation" season.  We teach our curriculum that is aligned to state standards.  We differentiate for students. We strive for continual improvement through structured professional development and articulation.  When we are presented with a challenge, we rise to the occasion, we persevere, and we “opt in.”   Complacency isn't an option and much like our students, we want to learn to better ourselves.  
    Torey J. has received recognition in two different state rankings this year.  Do these tell the whole story?  No, but the students here are showing growth and achieving at high levels, and it's nice to be recognized for that.  Could we be eliminated from future rankings due to selection criteria?  Yes.  Some may say Torey J. isn't big enough or diverse enough to fairly compare to other schools.  There is some truth in that - it all comes down to what numbers are being looked at and how you look at them.   Were previous rankings flawed?  Absolutely.  They all are.  I also think that every institution is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses. There is something very special about this round school that you should know:  the faculty and support staff at all levels, are focused on the students.  It's all about the kids.  They are the best part of our days.  As the principal, I humbly tell you that I know I can never make everyone happy all the time, and I'm okay with that.  There are a lot of moving parts within any school and not everything always goes as planned.  Are there areas we can improve?  Of course.  However, as a reflective group of educators, collaboration comes naturally here, and I'm consistently impressed with our continued dedication to refinement of practices.  Parental support is an essential component of our success.  THANK YOU for all you do to enrich the lives of your children and support education.  It's appreciated, more than you know.  
    Calendar Reminders:
    Spring Break:  April 9-11; school reopens Thursday, April 12th (single session days 4/12, 4/13)
    Board of Education Meeting:  Tuesday, April 17th, 7:30 P.M., MHS Media Center
    Curriculum Night/Mural Unveiling:  Thursday, April 19th, 7:00 P.M.
    Parent/Teacher Conferences:  Monday, April 23rd and Tuesday, April 24th; single session days.  Pizza will be served if pre-ordered through PTO.
    PARCC testing, Grades 3-5:  May 2nd through May 10th (please refer to attached testing letter)
    NJSLA Science testing, Grade 5 only:  May 29th and May 30th (please refer to attached testing letter) 
    PTO Update:
    The TJS PTO is pleased to announce two new After-School Enrichment programs. Mr. Gerenstein has developed two, 7 week programs: Table-Top Games for K-2 students and Sport Stacking Club for students in grades 3-5. Each enrichment has room for 14-16 students. Please see the attached forms to register. If your child is interested, please return the form and payment to your child's teacher as soon as possible to hold a spot. The deadline for registration is 4/20.
    Please check the TJS PTO website for more information regarding these programs. If you have any questions please contact krdoehner@gmail.com.
    MEF Update:
    The MEF 5k is coming up!  Please review the attachment for registration information.