The Cougar Connection

Washington Avenue School News - 4/18/16


Monday 4/18-Friday 4/22 - Earth Week Activities

Tuesday 4/19 - Budget Vote

Wednesday 4/20- 3rd Grade Concert 1:30pm & 7:00pm

Friday 4/22 - EARTH DAY & Pizza Parlor Day

Monday 4/25-Tuesday 5/3 - PARCC Testing

Friday 5/6 - Teacher Appreciation Day

Thursday 5/12 - LAF 3rd Grade Parent Orientation

Friday 5/13- SPELLING BEE & Pizza Parlor Day

Tuesday 5/24- Screen Free Day

Wednesday 5/25 - Kindergarten Orientation

Principal's Update - Mary Quigley

Finally, Spring is here? The children love eating outside but, with Spring allergies. if your child needs to eat inside, please send a note to your child's classroom teacher and we will accommodate them in the lunch room. Children without allergies should be eating outside with their classmates.

We are in our last trimester and expect that children will continue doing their math and reading homework. Please let the teacher know if your child is having a difficult time finishing homework which should be between 30 - 45 minutes a night. Thanks for you support as we finish the year strong.

WAS PTO President's UPDATE Michelle Lease

Hope everyone had a terrific spring break! We had a very productive PTO meeting before break. We voted on the terrific leadership team for the the 2016-2017 year. Below is a list of the new Executive Committee for your reference. We also voted on the end of the year gift to be given by the PTO to the school. It was approved that the PTO will be purchasing new modular furniture for the computer tech lab to allow for space and flexibility in the room. Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting and to hear Dr. LaSusa's budget presentation.

PTO Thank you's

Thank you to our Board of Education Observers, Jean King & Lisa Carey for their dedication in attending the Board of Education Meetings and providing us with excellent meeting recaps. Meghan Manning for providing yummy treats for our last PTO meeting.

Thank you local landscaper, Tony Rega (973-432-1132) for prepping all the beds for our Earth Day planting! and to The Farm at Green Village for providing the flowers at a discount for the PTO. Thank you to Jennifer Schuck & Jaime Troiano for their efforts planning Earth Week!

2016-2017 PTO Executive Board

At our Wednesday, April 6th PTO meeting, we voted on the following slate for the 2016-2017 Executive Committee:

Presidents: Tara Burke & Cara Haid

Co-Vice Presidents: Mary McBride & Megan Furst

Treasurer: Erica Kolodziej

ASE Treasurer: Anne Molinaro

Assistant Treasurers: Suzanne Vermillion & TBD

Secretary: Lauren Golio

We are still in a search for a second Assistant treasurer, if you are interested we would love to hear from you, please email: Thank you!


Our Spring kindness trait is sportsmanship. The students are back outside for recess so there is no better time to remind them to play fairly, to include everyone and to be both good winner and losers! On April 19th we will have a Community Meeting that will focus on all aspects of sportsmanship. We will show our students that sportsmanship means treating other people with respect, cooperating with others, celebrating everyone's value and playing by the rules. We have invited some local sports celebrities to talk to the students about the importance of sportsmanship and to give them real life examples of why it is important. Please have your child wear his/her Cougar Kindness shirts on 4/19.


Jennifer Schuck & Jaime Troiano of the WAS Green Team have put together a great list of Earth Week activities for the students! They are in need of assistance for Waste Free Lunch Wednesday. If you can help out please use the link below.

Please sign up for Waste Free Lunch Wednesday on VolunteerSpot today!

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3rd Annual SPELLING BEE!


Please mark the evening of May 13th on your calendar for Washington Avenue School’s Spelling Bee fundraiser. Our theme this year is “Our Bee is 3! One..Two…Three… Come Spell with Me!”

Forms will be distributed on Tuesday, April 19th. Our committee is in need of volunteers to swarm around and help set up before, during and after the Spelling Bee. Attached is the link to Volunteer Spot to sign up. We would love your help!

Join the WAS Community on May 13th and see what all the BUZZZZ is about!

The Spelling Bee Committee:

Beth Burton, Jen Joel, Chairs

Greta Borowicz, Melissa McNamara, Kim McWilliams, Kelly Monks and Patrice Morgan

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

The Teacher Appreciation Luncheon is set for May 6th and our Luncheon Committee is looking for volunteers to cook, bake and help out the day of the event. Please consider donating a little of your time as we show appreciation for the WAS Teachers and Staff and all they do for our children! Please click the Volunteer Spot Link to sign up. We would love your help!

Jen Joel, Melissa McNamara, Annie Desmarias, Laura Grosso

Chatham School Garden

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Board of Education Meeting Minutes per Christine Walls:

The BOE meeting opened with a presentation recognizing 3 current high school students for their achievements. Katherine Novak and Phoebe Nichols were named 2016 National Merit Finalist Scholars. Yulan Zhang was recognized for receiving a perfect score on the Advanced Placement Microeconomics ACT exam. Congratulations!

Superintendent’s Report -

Graduation Report provide by Doug Walker Assistant Principal

Sharing some key figures, report will be posted on the District website on the curriculum page

94% of Chatham high school students attend to a 4 year college

5% got to a 2 year college

1% - other

These figures have been consistent the last 3 years.

84% of students attended “most", “highly", “very" competitive schools (the top 3 categories)

Average 8.27 applications per student

4.48 acceptances per student

55% average acceptance of total applications per student

The average acceptance appears low but this may be due to a small number of students applying to a large number of schools. Common applications for colleges cause students to apply to more.

For highly competitive schools we have about 40% of schools that Chatham students do not apply. We are beginning to highlight some of these schools so that we do not have Chatham kids applying all to the same group of schools. For example, schools outside of NJ or the Northeast

Dr. LaSusa announced that we were lucky to get power back at our schools today and that the BOE will officially approve the two unused snow days as days off prior to Memorial Day - Thursday, May 26 & Friday, May 27.

Business Administrator Report -

Peter Daquila reported on the Washington driveway - district and borough will enter an agreement to expand sidewalk and parking lot.

Personnel - Michelle Clark

Review for Washington principal

Updated benefit options for staff

Finance/Facilities - Matt Gilfillan

2.35% school budget increase recommended at this time

15% health care increase

BOE will vote on May 2nd meeting

Music and Theatre Boosters - Jill weber

Honors Music Recital April 7th, 7pm at the high school

Jazz in the middle April 21st 4:30pm; Chatham will host 9 middle school bands

CEF - L. Kenney

CEF had a successful fundraiser on Friday night

PTO District Cabinet - Kim Cronin

PTO council meeting is tomorrow at noon

Public Commentary

Resident who has lived there 30 years behind Haas field - has concern with the sand pit for volleyball; concerned about the time the field is used

Small signs (3-4) on batting cage with music times posted. Generally honored well. Would like to have a similar sign put on the volleyball sand court. Going as late a 9pm with bad vocabulary. Finding lots of beer cans near the field. Can not assume it is the same kids. He has reported to the police

Resident - Jane Devlin. Thanks to the board on insight on college choices. It is difficult to follow that with this message. Need to consider giving kids a rest to help stress and student wellness. When is said at the last meeting that I was the lone representative I did not mean to say that the school district was not doing anything. Noted forward focused message from Dr. Lasusa's talk. Can some of this meeting be shared at the high school level. Opportunity coming up is spring break another opportunity to give the kids some time off. Dr Lasusa's presentation is posted on our website.

Resident of Chatham borough

Question about PARCC testing. Told by his English teacher that he has to take the test, his principal said he is not. The state of NJ requires the test be administered we can not force the kids to take.

Bill Heep. Chatham Borough

I have been interviewing kids applying to Georgetown for 20 years. Academically I do not see any difference with Chatham versus any private school. Recommend keeping a reasonable # of applications

Kelly Luffborrow - sits on the MADD committee. In response the the comment from resident related to Haas field, I would appreciate the consideration is extend the use of the fields as it is a good safe location for students to come for athletic purposes. Consider extending an hour or so

Borough resident -Discussion on the budget

discussion on cost of special Ed students

  • Why do we need an additional counselor?
  • Addressed 2 weeks ago students in crisis, staff has recommended additional support staff
  • Can we leverage existing staff?
  • Will set up a meeting with Dr. LaSusa for more details on the budget and questions.

Also, the staff can not be leverage in any other role, for example speech therapist can not be used in another role. On the budget can attend the PTO meeting that talks about the budget.

2016-2017 School Supplies

Check it off your can pre-order next year's school supplies now! All you have to do is to visit Any questions please contact Dawn Caputo-Davison @


Collection for the Food Pantry this month or next

Milk Alternative Drive

Hello WAS! This month in our Food Drive we ask that you help us collect milk alternatives including, but not limited to soy, almond, and coconut milk.

  • This will greatly help Mikayla Meyler and Hailey Coates who are current 8th grade Chatham Girl Scouts, working on their Silver Award Project, to promote food allergy awareness

    • They have been working with The Interfaith Food Pantry, in Morristown, to help make allergy friendly food easier for their customers access

  • The Food Pantry is in need of shelf stable milk alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk

Thank You For All Of Your Help!

Interesting Facts About Lactose Intolerance:

  • People Who Are Lactose Intolerant Cannot Break Down The Sugar In Milk When They Drink It, So They Get Bad Belly Aches

  • People Who Are Lactose Intolerant drink things like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or sunflower milk to make sure their body gets the healthy benefits of milk such as calcium and protein

  • About 50 Million People in America are Lactose Intolerant

  • People who are lactose intolerant can’t eat:

    • Milk

    • Ice Cream

    • Cheese

    • Cream

    • Chocolate

    • Butter