• It was great to be back for a full week of school despite the chilly weather!  December is upon us and there are several dates you'll want to mark on your calendars.  Please note that the winter concert on December 12th at 2:00 P.M. is for fourth and fifth grade band, chorus, and orchestra students.  Parents of those students are invited to attend.  The annual holiday sing-along will be held on Friday, December 21st at 9:00 A.M.  This is a casual event that students in all grade levels participate in and all parents are invited to join us in the Jaguar Jungle for some holiday cheer.  
    The classroom visitation that was snowed out during National Education Week has been rescheduled for Thursday, December 6th from 9:00 - 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 - 2:00 P.M.  The purpose of this is to provide you with a glimpse of what a typical day at school looks like.  Regular schedules will be followed and if you child's class is scheduled to attend a special during one of these times, you'll be able to travel with the class and observe.  Feel free to drop in during the aforementioned times.  Attendance is completely optional and teachers will not be conducting interactive lessons with the parents.  Chairs will be set up in the classrooms for your convenience.  We ask you kindly refrain from any cell phone use, including taking photos, videos, or posting on social media.  Please leave younger siblings at home to limit distractions.  You may enter through the front doors and we will have a table set up for check-in.
    Instructional Corner:
    Thank you for attending parent/teacher conferences last week.  These conferences are meant to focus on the whole child and give you a comprehensive overview of your child's progress to date.  The conference is purposely separated from the date report cards are issued, as the conversation is more productive when focused on development than a document.  That said, our first trimester is coming to a close next week and report cards will be issued the following week.  Information regarding the K-5 report cards can be found here.  As you know, our report cards are standards based, which comes with pros and cons.  One pro is being able to understand the expectations for each grade level and how your child is progressing specifically to the specific standard.  A con is having no overall grade for the subject area, as the rating scale really does not equate to a traditional A-F scale.  There are logical and passionate arguments to either support or negate standards based report cards.  The appropriate age or grade level to implement numeric grades can also be heavily debated.  We recognize that elementary students develop at different rates and some students may need more time to gain proficiency with certain skills than others.  I encourage you to review information regarding our report cards prior to issuance and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's teacher or me.  
    Guidance Update:
    This week was a busy one for counseling initiatives at Torey J!  We piloted a few gaming tables with our third graders in the lunchroom.  Students reviewed and signed a contract regarding game rules and procedures and were then able to play board games with friends.  I met briefly with winter safety patrol members to review procedures and change posts for the week. I also finished the first in a series of conflict resolution lessons in grades K, 1, 2 and 4.
    On Tuesday we observed Child Grief Awareness Day.  Students had the opportunity to add leaves with the names of loved ones or things that they’ve lost to a memory tree hung in the Jaguar Jungle.  While grief can be a sensitive and uncomfortable topic, it is one that can profoundly affect a child. “Any child who is old enough to love, is old enough to grieve.”  Students heard announcements each morning related to different types of loss, such as divorce, death and change. For more information and resources related to childhood grief please visit, https://www.imaginenj.org/.  Imagine provides free counseling services to individuals, families and children who are grieving.  As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions! -Judy Bletcher  (bletcherj@madisonnjps.org)
    Calendar Reminders:
    Parent Visitation:  Thursday, December 6th, 9:00 - 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 - 2:00 P.M. (open house format, come and go during scheduled times)
    PTO Holiday Workshop:  Saturday, December 8th, 9:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M., see attachment
    4th/5th Band, Orchestra, Choral Winter Concert:  Wednesday, December 12th, 2:00 P.M., parents of participating students invited to attend, siblings will attend the dress rehearsal in the morning
    Trimester Ends:  Friday, December 7th
    Board of Education Meeting:  Tuesday, December 18th, 7:30 P.M., MHS Media Center
    Report Cards Issued:  Friday, December 14th, 3:00 P.M., please access through Genesis
    K-5 Holiday Sing-a-long:  Friday, December 22nd, 9:00 A.M., all parents invited to attend
    PTO Jaguar Update:
    We have an exciting week coming up!
    • Join us at the TJS PTO Holiday Shopping Boutique at Rose City Beauty on Thursday, 12/6 from 6-9pm. A portion of every purchase you make will be donated back to the PTO. Enjoy holiday shopping AND giving back at the same time!
    • Show your holiday spirit by building and decorating your very own gingerbread house with family and friends. We’ll decorate, giggle, make a sweet mess and have lots of fun! Fill out the attached registration form and send it to school with your child. If you have any questions contact Patricia Alvarez palvarez9@gmail.com or Deana Pearly deanamp07@gmail.com
    • So many Box Tops - keep on cutting!  Please submit your Box Tops by Tuesday, December 4 in order to be counted for the first trimester round. Remember to put your child's name and class on the envelope/bag/sheet so the class can get credit. The 1st trimester winning class will be announced on December 7. Go TJS!

    Message for International Families:
    International Families are invited to a Family Gathering at Blossom Asian Bistro 
    on December 15th beginning at 6pm. All Family Members are welcome! 
    Please RSVP to patriciakupper@googlemail.com by December 7th so that we can have an accurate count of people.
    Blossom Asian Bistro address is:
    641 Shunpike Rd, Chatham Township, NJ 07928
    Looking forward to seeing you there!