James Monroe Report

James Monroe School Newsletter

March 2020

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A Message from Mrs. Tufaro, principal

Edison Public Schools is holding an important vote for the Referendum on March 10th which is aimed at addressing the needs of our schools.


This referendum is very important to James Monroe School because should it pass, it would mean the addition of a FULL DAY Kindergarten program, a benefit for incoming students providing increased instructional time at Edison Township schools during their foundational years.


You may ask, I don’t have any little ones entering Kindergarten in the near future, why should I vote? The Referendum directly impacts your children currently enrolled at James Monroe School because it will increase the size of John P. Stevens High School and Edison High School with significant additions, therefore improving the current condition of overcrowding by the time they are high school students.


If you would like to hear more about the plan to improve our schools, please attend our PTO meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd at 6:30 p.m. Our new superintendent, Dr. Bernie Bragen, will be speaking.


As a registered voter, please make sure to vote on March 10th and let your voice be heard. Polling will be open from 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at James Monroe School, Herbert Hoover, Clara Barton Library or Clara Barton First Aid Squad.


Thank you for your consideration,

Mrs. Cyndi Tufaro

Student Vote - What should our next Silly Day be?

Students will be able to decide what the next PTO Silly Day will be by voting when they accompany their parents to their local polling place at the upcoming referendum. All students who cast a vote will get an "I voted" sticker. Participating in the voting process is an important way for students to learn how their voice can impact change. The homeroom with the most voter participation will receive an extra visit to the playground!

Welcome to our new Assistant Principal, Mrs. Maggie Callahan

Maggie is a New Jersey native, who spent the last decade working in the NYC Department of Education. She started her career as middle school special education teacher before becoming an instructional leader. During her tenure in New York, she has designed professional learning opportunities for teachers across the system on topics like Integrated Co-teaching and Universal Design for learning, coached and developed new teachers and most recently led the advancement of a multi-million, multi-year Bill and Melinda Gates Grant to improve teacher preparation across New York City. She is excited to be back in her home state and be closer to the thing she loves the most, working with students!

School Play Update - March 25th and March 26th

Please see these links for important information about the upcoming production of Frozen Jr.! We can't wait to see our students shine on the stage! Information about ticket sales will be sent home soon.

Rehearsal Schedule (Cast and crew schedule for tech week)

Cast Photo order form

Frozen Jr. DVD order form

Ad Book order form

It is not too late to order your special Frozen Wands!

Frozen Wands order form

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Multicultural Night 2020 - Parent Volunteers Needed to Speak on April 15th

The Human Relations Committee is planning a fun-filled night of multicultural learning on

April 15, 2020. Learning about the cultures within our school community is essential to our students' social emotional growth. Our keynote speaker is Chef Jet Tila from The Food Network. Chef Jet has appeared on television shows such as Chopped and Iron Chef America.


In addition to Chef Jet, we will have dancers who will teach our students different types of cultural dancing. We are still looking for parent volunteers to speak about their cultures. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out this form. We hope to see you there!

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The Student Council raises money to help other children!

With the help of the James Monroe Student Council, our school raised $4,500 for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Our Mathathon was a huge success and we are grateful to all the families and friends who made contributions to this very worthy cause.
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Calling all Scientists! First Annual PTO Science Fair Commemorates Earth Day!

Flyers have gone home to all students in Grades 3-5 and excitement is building for our first ever science fair! Please send in your entry forms by March 11th to secure your spot. Each entry is only $10 and includes the tri-fold poster and a chance to win free time in our Makerspace Lightbulb Lab for the student and their entire class! Don’t miss this great event on April 22nd, Earth Day!


Battle of the Books - Grades 4 & 5


Let the battles begin! Here at James Monroe, we are thrilled to announce the launch of our Battle of the Books reading program. Students from grades 4 and 5 visited our “Monroe Cafe'' to have a tasting of the 12 books listed in the program. They sampled the texts, which include popular titles such as: Moo, Mrs. Rumphius, The Chalk Box Kid, and Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. Students will work in teams to read the selected books. They will then compete with other teams in “battles” to show their knowledge of the books they have read. The final battle includes the winning team from Monroe competing against the winning team from Lindeneau Elementary School. We are excited to say that many of our students have voluntarily signed up and are ready for the competition!

Please join us for Math Night on March 10th at 6 p.m.

Our journey around the world will introduce families and students to math games from other countries. Please send in your RSVP so your family can take participate in this fun-filled math experience.
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Read about some of the ways students studied Black History Month

Each grade level studied Black History Month in different ways to recognize the accomplishments of African Americans and to deepen students' understanding of our nation's history by learning about their struggles for freedom and equality.


  • Kindergarteners read all about African Americans in books and in their Weekly Reader magazine.
  • First graders learned about a different famous African American each day.
  • Second graders watched videos and read books about famous African Americans including baseball players, activists and leaders.
  • Third graders listened to the Martin Luther King, Jr. speech and learned about the female mathematicians at NASA who helped design the first space flight.
  • Fourth graders conducted research about a famous African American and created paper dolls representing their hero. Their research was shared with the whole school on slides on our hallway television.
  • In fifth grade, students studied Olaudah Equiano, a writer and abolitionist who was once enslaved, and read his memoir. They also read the story 28 Days, Moments in Black History that Changed the World.


If you are interested in learning more about African American History, please see this link.

Kindergarten News

The past month has been packed with fun as we celebrated Groundhog Day, Lunar New Year, Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, the 100th Day of School and learned about Dental Health. We worked in teams planning and stacking 100 cups, we paraded around the school for Lunar New Year and graphed and counted candy hearts. What a busy month we had!


Our kindergarteners have been excited to practice their reading and writing since the new year. Kindergarteners may be little, but don’t underestimate their power to describe the setting, the characters and to make predictions while listening to a read aloud. Our classes love practicing their letters and sounds through the use of multisensory materials such as mini white boards, shaving cream and sand.


We have become amazing mathematicians as we have learned how to discuss our math ideas in a constructive way. Students are working hard to identify and to describe both 2D and 3D shapes, and to measure objects using non-standard units. Did you know you can measure your shoes with connecting cubes and your body with popsicle sticks? We also had a lot of fun collaborating with our 5th graders while completing math problems for the St. Jude’s Math-A-Thon! Thank you to all of our families who donated money to this worthy cause.


Our classes have been so lucky to be able to enjoy the beautiful winter weather we have had during outdoor recess. Students love writing with chalk, following the obstacle course and bouncing balls back and forth with friends. These gross motor skills are vital to our student’s development and health.


As we look forward to the arrival of Spring, we will be busy with various fun activities during Read Across America Week. Students will enjoy stories by guest readers, sort and graph goldfish and further explore rhyming with Dr. Seuss!

1st Grade Celebrates 100!

The first grade students had a blast celebrating the 100th Day! They rotated from classroom to classroom completing hundred day challenges such as building a tower with one hundred cups, doing 100 sets of various exercises, building structures with 100 Legos and finding 100 Hersey kisses to complete a hundreds chart. Both students and teachers made something with 100 things on it; whether it was a t-shirt, necklace or a poster everyone looked great and had a fun 100th Day!


First Grade is truly 100 Days Smarter!!!


Second Graders Visit Jenkinson's Aquarium

On February 7th the second graders had an awesome time visiting Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. Students were introduced to the wonders of the aquatic world. We learned about different types of fish, sharks, sea otters, and much more! Additionally, students participated in a focus program in which they were introduced to a real-life penguin! An aquarium education specialist used a hands-on, interactive approach to teach the second graders about one of the penguins who lives at Jenkinson’s Aquarium. We learned so much about penguins and wanted to bring one back to James Monroe. This was an exciting experience for the second graders that they will remember forever. Thank you to the PTO and parents of James Monroe for making this trip possible!


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Read Across America Week Activities!

The first week in March is full of fun reading themed activities that promote a love of reading in honor of the beloved Dr. Seuss! We will be dressing up for different themed days, inviting special guest readers into our rooms and you never know when we might Drop Everything and Read.

The hallways are full of decorated doors and bulletin boards related to reading. Make sure you try to "Guess the Reader" when you visit during conferences. Can you figure out who is reading what book?

5th Grade - “Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins"

These words from the beloved novel, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, inspired our February Community Circle character trait: Empathy.

What does it mean to walk in someone else's shoes? How can we be empathetic to our Peers? Teachers? Parents? Why is it important to have Empathy?

Working on The Nora Project this year, the fifth graders have had first hand experiences with being empathetic. They have been participating in activities that have helped them pay attention to the needs of others in order to be a good friend. For our Community Circle, Jared Z. suggested we partner up with someone and find our 3 things about them. Then we shared out why we would want to walk in their shoes! It was a wonderful way to learn about each other.

“Teaching Empathy and Sparking Friendships”

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Responsibility Theme

During the month of February, the focus at James Monroe is RESPONSIBILITY. Teachers and staff are embracing this theme by reading quotes about RESPONSIBILITY every morning to start our day. Students in grades K-5 are paticipating in community circles and having meaningful conversations on how we can be RESPONSIBLE. Here are some conversation starters to help your child practice RESPONSIBLE behavior!

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Message from our School Nurse - Mrs. Sclafani


March is National Nutrition Month®, a campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign’s focus is on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits.


“Eat Right, Bite by Bite” is the theme for 2020, and the overall message is that quality nutrition isn’t restrictive, but that small changes to diet can have an increasingly successful effect on health over time. Every healthy nutritional choice is a choice in the right direction!


Whether it's starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose for your students and the whole family can make a real difference in energy level, learning and fun activities. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help to reduce food loss and waste.


This year's theme for National Nutrition Month® encourages all James Monroe families to achieve the many benefits that healthy eating habits offer.


Key Messages:

  1. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups (see chart below) on a regular basis.

  2. Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.

  3. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.

  4. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.

  5. Continue to use good food safety practices.

  6. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week.


  • Is your child a picky eater?

  • Does your child skip meals only to eat many unhealthy snacks?

  • Is your child underweight or overweight?


Go to: https://www.eatright.org/-/media/eatright-files/nationalnutritionmonth/handoutsandtipsheets/nutritiontipsheets/2020/smart-snackingtips4kids_nnm2020_final.pdf for exciting, fun and healthy snack ideas to choose from.


https://www.eatright.org/-/media/eatright-files/nationalnutritionmonth/handoutsandtipsheets/nutritiontipsheets/2020/20healthtipsfor2020_nnm20_final.pdf For 20 New Health Tips for 2020

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Our Parent Handbook has All the Answers!

Please see the James Monroe 2019 - 2020 Parent Handbook for more information about our school!