August 18, 2021
Dear TJS Families,
Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! I sincerely hope the summer months have afforded you and your family some downtime and the opportunity to make lasting memories. The staff and I are looking forward to seeing all of our students and families on August 30, 2021, for the first day of school. At Torey J. we strive to balance rigorous academics with a culture that encourages emotional safety by providing a supportive environment in which each child can fulfill their academic and social potential.
Torey J. has been bustling with activity this summer. Many of our teachers were involved in district goal workgroups and curriculum writing projects. I am excited to highlight important instructional initiatives, which include the expanded use of the Fundations program from grades K, 1, and 2 to include grade 3 as well. Fundations is a multisensory structured language program focusing on critical foundational literacy skills and we have seen great success with it in the primary grades. At the district level, we are also implementing a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to further meet the needs of students across the learning continuum. At the elementary level, a newly designed six-day master schedule allows us to designate an intervention period in every grade level. Our school will continue to prioritize ways in which we can create a more inclusive learning community. Every Friday during the school year all parents/guardians can expect to receive a Principal Newsletter that highlights various school-wide initiatives and instructional programs.
Thank you to all the TJS parents for your continuous support, engagement, and commitment to our school community. Thank you to the PTO leadership of Trish Wilson and Molly Gilmartin for their work and participation in meetings to prepare for the new school year. Thank you to the district central office team of professionals and board of education members for their dedication and the countless hours spent preparing for our return to school.
I am grateful to our school secretary, Mrs. Eileen Minogue, for her around-the-clock planning and preparation and our amazing custodial crew, under the direction of Ms. Sonia Lawson, who have worked diligently to prepare the classrooms and building for opening day. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the many teachers who have eagerly begun preparing for the new school year by setting up their classroom spaces and planning with their colleagues.
Important Calendar Dates
August 18, 2021 - Summer Packet available on Genesis at 3:00 PM
August 18, 2021 - Class Placement available in Genesis at 3:00 PM
August 25, 2021 - Elementary Meet and Greets (Rain Date August 26th)
August 25, 2021 - PTO Sponsored New Family Welcome Outdoor Popsicle Party
August 30, 2021 - First Day of School begins at 8:30 AM
September 6, 2021 - Schools Closed for Labor Day
September 7, 2021 - Schools Closed for Rosh Hashanah
September 16, 2021 - Schools Closed for Yom Kippur
September 28, 2021 - School Picture Day!
September 29, 2021 - TJS Back to School Night at 7:00 PM
Grade and Teacher Information
For your reference, our 2021-2022 grade-level configurations will include:
Kindergarten - 2 homerooms (Suzanne Pelkey, Meredith Waryha)
First Grade - 3 homerooms (Emily DeMarco, Heather Jimenez, Rachel Lemon)
Second Grade - 2 homerooms (Megan Niper, Tonya Robertson)
Third Grade - 3 homerooms (Nicole Cancelliere, Kate Lade, Jenna Madden)
Fourth Grade - 2 homerooms (Colleen Kennedy, Jim Stricchiola)
Fifth Grade - 2 homerooms (Allison Duggan, Vickie Zourzoukis)
With these grade-level configurations, we are thrilled to have Jenna Madden transitioning from a second-grade teacher to a third-grade teacher, Lauren Gambino transitioning from a general education teacher to a special education teacher, and Marisa Caruso transitioning from a general education teacher to one of our Basic Skills Interventionist teachers who will be shared between TJS and KRS. Working alongside Marisa Caruso will be Kristin Doran who is joining us from CAS as another Basic Skills Interventionist teacher that will be shared across the three elementary schools.
This year we have several new staff members joining us: Rachel Lemon (grade 1 teacher), Nicole Cancelliere (grade 3 teacher), Patrice Sala (special education teacher), Hannah Schiller joining us from KRS as the Emotional Regulation Impairment teacher for K-2, and Kat Lennox joining us from MHS as the Emotional Regulation Impairment teacher for grades 3-5.
Six-Day Elementary Letter Day Schedule:
We are excited to share that at the elementary level we are transitioning from a Monday to Friday standard schedule to a 6 day (A to F day) cycle schedule. There are many benefits of our new schedule, such as consistent grade level schedules and teacher planning time. It is important that all families take note of the Elementary Letter Day Schedule that maps out all the letter days for the entire school year. Parents are encouraged to print the letter day schedule as a reference.
Your child’s teacher(s) will utilize Google Classroom to post instructional materials, directions, lessons, and assignments. Please refer to this excellent resource for information about Google Classroom - A Parent’s Guide to Google Classroom. For parent access to certain Google features, it would be very helpful for at least one parent of every student to establish a Google email address.
Students will have access to two Chromebooks; one for home and one for school. Students will not have to transport Chromebooks back and forth this year. If you have any issues with your child’s home district-issued Chromebook or need a district-issued Chromebook for home, please contact the main office. You may also look on the Madison School District’s Chromebook Central for additional information about Chromebooks.
Class placements are available in Genesis on August 18, 2021, at 3:00 PM. Please remember there are many factors that are considered for class placements.
For your reference, the grade-level general student supply lists are posted here on our website. Once you have received your child’s placement, teachers will communicate directly with families via email outlining which supplies students should bring in on the first day of school.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The district is dedicated to the well-being of the children and adults in our school buildings. To prepare for our new school year, PPE equipment such as masks, gloves, plexiglass in offices, and sanitizer throughout the school buildings will be available. In addition, ionizing systems for univents, distancing the students’ desks, and signage will all be completed as safety measures.
Students and adults are required to wear masks while traveling in the school building. Masks should cover the nose and mouth. Students and staff should bring their own masks and bring an extra in a labeled Zip-loc bag.
Classrooms consist of student desks, a teacher’s desk, a filing cabinet, a meeting rug, and supplies. Every classroom is also equipped with technology to include a Smartboard, projector, and FM system. The desks are arranged in rows all facing in the same direction. Sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be available in the classrooms. Bathroom procedures will be modified to decrease the number of students in a bathroom at any given time. Students will sanitize their hands prior to and after their bathroom visit. The students will also be reminded to wash their hands frequently during the school day.
Summer Packet of Parent Forms
There are several forms that need to be completed directly in the Genesis Parent Portal before children return to school. These forms will be made available on August 18, 2021. The mandated forms that are to be completed are as follows:
Media Consent / Release Form
Computer / Internet Use and Agreement Form
Certification to Complete Daily Student Screening
Computing Device and Student Responsibility Contract
Madison Mail and Email Consent to Send Out Form
Nurse - Annual Medical Information Update Form
Nurse - Permission for Medication Administration Forms
Nurse - Grade 5 Immunization Requirements
Health Insurance Form
Panorama Social Emotional Learning Survey Consent
Additional forms that also need to be completed will be available on our school website.
Arrival / Dismissal Form
TJS PTO Information / Dues Form
Health Office Information
The district utilizes a system of integrated communication platforms. Please consider the following:
Our student information system is Genesis. Please ensure that your most current contact information is in Genesis. If at any time you change your email address during the school year, please contact Mrs. Minogue in the main office directly to inform her of the change.
The district has a website and communication tool called Apptegy. Our website can be downloaded as an app and we will utilize this app to push out notifications, such as text alerts, newsletters, and important announcements. In order to stay up-to-date, it is recommended that you download the MPS app on your mobile phone. Search for “Madison Public Schools” in your device’s app store. You can select a default school that the app opens to each time you use it. You will be able to easily access staff directories, news items and alerts, calendar events, and important district/school documents.
In addition to the website, we frequently communicate through Twitter and Facebook @ToreyJSabatini. These forums will serve as a means for the staff and I to highlight events, announcements, and parent resources.
Morning Drop-Off Procedures and Designated Entrances
There will be three designated entrances for morning drop-off. Families are encouraged to maintain appropriate social distancing when outside the school. The Torey J. entrances are all extremely close to one another, therefore, we are kindly requesting that parents/guardians “kiss and drop” and not linger on school property after your child has entered the building. Staff members will be placed at designated door entrances to assist as needed.
Your child’s designated entrance is determined by grade/class and location in the building. We have assigned a specific color for each of our entrances to help students remember where they are to enter school each day. We will be clearly labeling each door by its specific color. It is essential that families adhere to the following guidelines, as this process ensures an appropriate flow of students are entering the school and allows us to create a specific directional traffic pattern throughout our hallways. Students should not arrive at school earlier than 8:30 AM. The supervision of students begins at 8:30 AM. The morning drop-off window for all students is between 8:30 AM and 8:40 AM. Pedestrians are encouraged to utilize the sidewalks and not cut across the TJS parking lot or Glenwild Circle as it is an active roadway.
DESIGNATED ENTRANCE/EXIT DOOR
Green Door (#2)
Yellow Door (#19)
Red Door (#18)
Afternoon Pick-Up Procedures
Teachers will dismiss their entire class by bringing them outside at their designated door at 3:15 PM. Adults are encouraged to maintain social distance while waiting for their children at pick-up time. We ask that when parents/guardians have picked up all of their children, that they immediately leave the school property to avoid the typical dismissal congestion that occurs.
Students must keep their masks on for the entire bus ride. Students are to file on the bus and sit in their own seats. Siblings must sit together in one seat, students without siblings should sit alone. Once the student arrives at school, they will be greeted by a staff member who will supervise them as they walk towards the building and into their designated colored door (noted on the previous page in the arrival procedures by grade/class).
Due to COVID, no outside person will be allowed to enter the building without an appointment. If you have to pick up your child for an appointment or have to change arrival/dismissal you will need to contact the main office. Any drop-off items should be placed in the container outside the front entrance of the school.
A designated “working snack time” is included within every class schedule. Snacks should be nut-free and we encourage parents to send their child in with a healthy snack. Students will be consuming snacks in staggered formation in the classroom.
Our goal is to provide a lunch period for each class. The lunches will be 25 minutes in duration and students will be distanced when in the Jaguar Jungle (our multi-purpose room). When students are not eating lunch they will be required to wear a mask. Recess will also be provided and students will be zoned outdoors by class during recess.
The TJS Family Handbook contains general information about our school and our regular operating procedures, outside of these new COVID19 procedures. It is imperative that families take time to review this document as there is important information regarding notification of absences, student code of conduct, student support services, student safety, and so much more. In lieu of the “acknowledgment of receipt” parent/guardian signature page, we are requiring all families to complete this google form to acknowledge receipt of our handbook. The TJS Family Handbook can also be accessed on our website.
First Days of School
Although this year may continue to feel different for many of our students, our goal as a staff is to maintain a love of learning and excitement around coming to school. Our TJS staff of educators recognizes the importance of creating an environment where all students feel safe, supported, cared for, proud of our school community, and empowered to learn in this new setting. We will continue to maintain high standards for academics while taking into account the development of the whole child, including their social and emotional needs as well. We are already planning special events and activities to ensure the students have a memorable start to the new school year!
Thank you in advance for your review of this important information. Please note that over the course of the year, our processes and procedures may need to change based on the guidance from the CDC and the state of New Jersey. The staff and I are truly looking forward to welcoming the children back to school and are dedicated to making this school year a successful experience for everyone.
Ileana Garcia, Principal
Torey J. Sabatini School