Riverside Reporter

Riverside Elementary School Newsletter 3/2/18

Principal's Message

Update on Honoring Bill

The Board of Education, the administration, and the Riverside staff and faculty are pleased to continue to work together to move forward with plans to honor Bill Cirullo and his contributions to our schools and community. We envision a creative, exciting collaboration that in itself will be a tribute to Bill.

Right now, we are pushing ahead with two projects, and we would love to have the community that meant so much to Bill continue to provide us with their input. Those two projects are:

  1. Name the school driveway, "William D. Cirullo Way, and incorporate along with a street sign a nearby marker/plaque that would celebrate Bill's life and values.
  2. Enhance the courtyard to be a beautiful, reflective space designed to provide children with a quiet place to think and explore. This may include landscape improvements and art as well as a winding pathway with bricks that incorporate Bill’s favorite phrases or the names of RS students and families. Some have suggested the courtyard could be Bill's Place For Big Ideas."

Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or other ideas by Tuesday, March 6th. Our goal is to review feedback over the next two weeks and complete the work this spring.

Please send any thoughts or suggestions by March 6th to the Chair of our committee, Bill Hare at williamhare@princetonk12.org. Thank you so much. We are grateful to all who have joined us in this effort.


Members of the Celebrating Bill Committee

Letter from the Superintendent

Dear families and staff,

Preparing students to be engaged, active, and thoughtful citizens is arguably one of the most important functions of a public school. We support our students who are standing in solidarity with the students from Parkland and others across the nation as they participate in the school walkout planned for March 14. These students are advocating for their safety and the safety of their peers nationwide as they elevate the conversation about school shootings. We are proud to be working with our students as they develop plans for peaceable assembly and meaningful activities on this day. Below are our current plans for March 14.

At Princeton High School, students and staff are welcome to participate in the peaceful walkout. Following the 17-minute walkout, students at Princeton High School will have an opportunity to engage for approximately an hour in a variety of opportunities for service, advocacy, and reflection, including voter registration, mental health awareness, class discussions and other student-generated activities. We also affirm those students who choose not to participate in the walkout or service projects and will provide them with an opportunity to read, reflect or study independently.

At John Witherspoon Middle School, students and staff may show their support and solidarity for the Parkland community by joining together for a 17-minute walk, which may culminate in the formation of a heart on the fenced-in field next to JW. Plans at JW are still being shaped in consultation with student leaders, and additional activities may be included. Students who choose not to participate in the walk or other activities will be given an opportunity to read, reflect, or study independently.

We recognize that the adults at our elementary schools and some of our students at those schools have been deeply affected by the events in Parkland. We recognize as well, however, that not all of our elementary school students are developmentally ready for a discussion of school violence or gun control. We want to be sensitive to the developmental readiness of our youngest learners and also respect those parents who have deliberately protected their young children from such discussions. For those reasons, we have not planned any school-wide events at our elementary schools on March 14. Teachers may work with their principals to develop age-appropriate, classroom-based activities for that day designed to foster a greater sense of empathy, compassion, personal empowerment and social action. These activities may differ school to school and class to class.

Please note that the events and activities planned at JW and PHS are for students and staff only. We respectfully ask that parents and community members who want to show their support find a way to do so in locations other than on school grounds. This will help us ensure the safety of our students and staff. We will also be working closely with the Princeton Police Department to have increased security for our students on this day. Roads will be closed around the middle school and high school between 9:45 and 10:45 on the morning of March 14.

Finally, we wish to thank our students for their engagement in such an important issue that directly affects them and their peers. The safety of students must be prioritized and not politicized. We are proud of our students, and the students across the nation, who are taking action and setting an example for the rest of us to follow.


Steve Cochrane

Music Concert

You are cordially invited to the Kramer Woodwinds/Brass Concert on Tuesday, March 13th at 7pm in the gym. This concert features Mr. Kramer’s students in grades 3, 4 and 5. Students should arrive at 6:15 p.m. We look forward to seeing you!


Thank You Very Much!

Thank you to everyone who kindly made soups and stews to nourish Riverside’s amazing staff and teachers last Friday: Julie Cho, Beth Meyers, Joy McPartland, Rene Bagdadi, Fabi Pineda, Sinthia Grijalva, Kristina Kharazmi, Esther Rose, Darleny Cepin, Amy Fickenscher, Veronica Chmiel, Danielle Bahr, Bonnie Funiciello, Lynn Spirko, Joe Tien, Nellie Brook, Shiri Assayag, Kristen Suozzo, Danielle Boyle, Oxana Hanstveit, Tara Bansal, Matilda Luk, Claire Brown, Jessica Lee, Lori Dauphiny, Melany Ruiz-Collante, Beth Leman. And particularly to Melodie Schweitzer and Lauren King who organized the event. Thank you!

Thank you to Shana Elga, Joy McPartland and Danielle Bahr for putting together an inspiring Author's Night earlier this week. More than 70 families participated, and a fantastic evening was enjoyed by all. And thank you to Tracy Smith for graciously showing Riverside families what a Pulitzer Prize looks like and inspiring all our young authors with stories of her early years as a frustrated kindergarten student! It was a magical evening.

Updated PPS School Calendar

Please note that the 2017-2018 Princeton Public School Calendar was amended due to the utilization of snow days. The changes are as follows:

  • School will be in session on Friday, May 25th (originally a day off).
  • The last day of school is now Wednesday, June 20th. Princeton High School graduation, which is held on the last day of school, is currently scheduled for Wednesday, June 20th.

If additional snow days are utilized, the last day of school and PHS graduation will be pushed back. Click here for the updated district calendar.

PTO Meeting – 3/7/18

Steve Cochrane, Superintendent of Princeton Public Schools, will be our speaker at our PTO meeting on Wednesday, March 7th at 8:30 a.m. in the all-purpose room. The topic will be transforming how to impact learning for students. We look forward to seeing you!

International Night: A festival of world cultures! - 3/9/18

A festival of world cultures is just around the corner! The deadline for registration has now passed and the evening is filled to capacity. We are sorry, but we cannot accept late additions to the program. The following countries will be represented: GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, BELGIUM, ENGLAND, FRANCE, SPAIN, IRELAND, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, CUBA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, POLAND, RUSSIA, SWITZERLAND, BRAZIL, ECUADOR, ISRAEL, CHINA, JAPAN, KOREA, INDIA, PAKISTAN, CANADA, USA, BALI, INDONESIA, RWANDA. Bring your family to eat, talk, dance, tell stories, create and more!

Garden Bed Rebuild - 3/18/18

Riverside’s garden beds have been working hard for us for 10-15 years! They are in desperate need of an overhaul. On Sunday, March 18th from 12-4pm, we will be taking apart the existing beds and rebuilding new beds. We need all the manpower we can get to accomplish this task. Please come and lend a hand, battery operated power drill or shovel. We will have sandwiches, snacks and beverages to help sustain you during the day. Please no young children. We need to ensure that we have enough people to get the job done so sign-up at SignupGenius to let us know you can make it.

After School Clubs - 3/6/18

Another request to our amazing and talented Riverside community. We are putting together the After School Clubs Program for spring 2018, and we need to hear from you! We are looking for volunteers who would like to lead a club. Please consider sharing your passions, talents, and skills with our children by leading a club during the spring session (5 weeks starting the week of 4/23 and ending the week of 5/21). Perhaps you could teach our children to play chess, learn a specific craft, write as a journalist, practice yoga, or something else! We welcome all ideas. Please share them with us by Tuesday, March 6th. Ideas can be submitted to riverside.afterschoolclubs@gmail. Thank you in advance - the success of the Riverside After School Clubs Program depends on you!

Wake Up Your Garden Happy Hour - 3/14/19

Join us for an informal evening of gardening and cocktails, graciously hosted by Bonnie Funiciello at her home, on Wednesday, March 14th from 7-9pm. Master Gardener, Louise Senior, will be sharing vital information and ideas on how to ensure that your garden thrives this summer. Our discussion will include details on what is needed to properly wake up your garden, including soil prep and amendments, mulching, what plants to plant and when, companion spring/fall plants. Bring your questions, and we will quench your thirst for knowledge...and wine. Please RSVP.

Riverside's Amazing Annual Book Swap

We hold the book swap late in the spring so that each child gets a head start on some summer reading. The more books that are donated to our book swap, the more books each student gets to take home. We need books for all grades at Riverside and are especially grateful for books that might have appeal for our 5th graders headed into 6th grade. Please check your shelves and bring in any books your family is ready to pass along! If your child got a book last year at book swap, has happily read it, and is willing to pass it along, by all means, bring it back in! Book swap not only supports reading, it’s a great fit with Riverside’s efforts to “go green.” Questions? Just ask Betsy Armstrong at ema@princeton.edu.

Annual Spring Fling - 5/11/18

The Spring Fling is our annual fundraiser where we celebrate the arrival of spring and raise funds for our amazing Riverside garden. This year, it will be held on Friday, May 11th. In addition to a variety of fun activities (the infamous Cake-Walk, Mother’s Day plant sale, yoga in the garden, a movie screening, pizza and ice cream; we plan to have a number of items for silent auction and baskets to be raffled. We need your help to source these items! Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Baskets - these can be whatever you dream up to donate.
  • Kid Ideas - Garden in a box, Kids Cooking basket, Summer raffle basket (gently used items wrapped up in a wagon), Game Basket (gently used games). Items don't have to be wrapped in a basket but could be creative and come in an object that describes the theme.
  • Adult Ideas - Cheers to Beer, Epicurean Delight (cooking paraphernalia), Lottery Ticket Bouquet (could be fun for kids too), Tea/Coffee Lovers, or Taste of the Rainbow Vodka Basket.
  • Silent Auction - These can be geared towards an experience such as an outing, sports activity, music, food, arts, or long-weekend get-away, etc.
  • A Day in the Life of......donate your expertise for a child or adult to learn.
  • Ask a Princeton vendor to donate an experience – e.g., teach kids how to create their own signature ice cream.
  • Ask a Princeton vendor to donate a gift certificate (dinner for 2, Jazams, etc.)
  • Host a Garden Themed Dinner Parties – e.g., flower theme, Mediterranean theme, picnic theme, or specific book/movie-related theme like Secret Garden Dinner Party or The Curious Garden.

If you have questions, ideas, and/or you would like to donate, please contact Beth Leman at 973-610-1428 or bethhabsleman@gmail.com.

Science Day - 5/22/18

Mark your calendars for Riverside's 40th Annual Science Day celebration! This event, organized entirely by parents, is a beloved tradition in which volunteers give presentations about their favorite science or technology. If you're a scientist, engineer, healthcare professional, or science lover, please consider volunteering. For more information, contact Science Day Co-chairs Chris Tully at cgtully@princeton.edu and Celeste Nelson at celesten@princeton.edu, or 40th Anniversary Science Day guru Mel Grzymala at mgrzymala@verizon.net.

Riverside Spirit Wear!

Thank you for supporting the Riverside PTO by purchasing items from our new line of Spirit Wear! It is wonderful to see our school logo worn proudly in the halls at school and out in the community!

Spirit Wear sales are ongoing and items can be ordered anytime during the school year. Just pick up a copy of the order form from the front office or download one from the PTO website. Submit the form along with your payment to the locked PTO box in the front office. We will submit group orders twice per month for delivery to your child's backpack in approximately 2-3 weeks.

Girls on the Run Volunteers Needed

As we prepare for our Spring 2018 season, Girls on the Run is excited to serve the Riverside Elementary School community. In order to offer the program at Riverside School, we are in need of 2-3 coaches that can commit to mentoring our girls this spring. We are hoping either you or someone you know will be interested in helping our girls gain a stronger sense of identity, greater self-acceptance, a healthier body and an understanding of what it means to be part of a team. You do not need any coaching or running experience to be a Girls on the Run coach. Coaching 2 days a week is a commitment of 2½ hours for 10 weeks starting in early April and ending in mid-June. We train all of our coaches to deliver our comprehensive curriculum.

For more information, please send an email to anne@girlsontherunnj.org. Please forward this email to any friends you think would be interested in volunteering with us!


Please reminder to bring in your Boxtops and help raise funds for Riverside School!

McCaffrey’s Supermarket Receipts

Don’t forget to save your McCaffrey’s Supermarket receipts after you shop! Simply place them in the box marked “McCaffrey’s Receipts” on the bookshelf outside the nurse’s office. The PTO collects 1% on each receipt. Thank you!


John Witherspoon Middle School Presents Seussical, Jr.

John Witherspoon Middle School proudly presents "Seussical JR." on March 8, 9, and 10 at 7:30 PM and on March 11 at 1:00 PM in the JW auditorium. The Cat in the Hat will transport the audience from the Jungle of Nool to Whoville, and even to the Circus McGurkus, while narrating a new story that combines characters from over fifteen of Dr. Seuss's books. Many of the characters have never met before, but they will meet on the Seussical stage! Over the course of the show, some will fall in love, some will have desperate adventures, and some will save the world. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant. Tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students and seniors. For tickets and more information, please contact Mia Musachio at 609-806-4200, ext. 5541.

Princeton Education Foundation

Did you know that the Princeton Education Foundation (PEF) provides funding to our schools beyond the normal operating budget and solely for student-centered programs and improvements?

PEF channels funds back into our schools through its grant program. The PEF Grant program serves as a catalyst to support and enhance school and curriculum improvements, and professional development that heighten learning opportunities for students in the Princeton Public Schools.

With your support, the Princeton Education Foundation has been able to give students access to innovative programs, new technology, and facilities upgrades that are not funded within the school district’s limited budget. Specifically in the elementary schools, PEF has supported enhancements to the science curriculum and STEM instruction, improvements to school libraries, sponsored various author and expert visits to the schools, funded professional development, and has upgraded and added essential technology.

PEF greatly depends on the support of our Annual Appeal donors. The need for grant funding remains strong and is growing as the District continues to grow and budgets grow tighter every year.

Give today. Invest in tomorrow. Visit our website at www.pefnj.org.

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