Normandy Park School

Week of January 18th

In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there will be no school on 1/18/2021. Classes will resume on 1/19/2021.

I hope that everyone had a great long weekend!

Last week, in preparation for MLK Day, classes learned about Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and accomplishments. Mrs. Gilson has been visiting classes to read books, such as "Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King", " The Story of Ruby Bridges", "Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down" and "A Place to Land: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation". Our students have also learned about him using Pebblego. Please feel free to continue this discussion at home as well!

This week, we will begin the iReady Diagnostic assessment for students in K through 5th grade. The i-Ready Diagnostic is one measure to help teachers effectively assess their students; the assessent also provides individualized instruction based on each student’s unique needs (additional information on iReady listed below).

MSD will continue to share important information on the Coronavirus Update Center and on our MSD Forward pages. Please know that I am here to help and support in any way that I can. Feel free to reach out to me directly at

Big picture

Let’s Talk About Race, Equity and Inclusion

This part of the newsletter will have a question or a topic for you to discuss with your child(ren). This can be done on the way to school, on the way to sports practice, before dinner, at bedtime, etc.

Each week there will be a “something to think about” question and a “something to talk about” question. The “something to think about question” is for you as a parent to reflect on for yourself. The “something to talk about” question is for you to discuss with your child. These exercises are meant to stimulate a conversation on race, equity and inclusion in America.

Week Eighteen

Parent Reflection: Think about some of your favorite movies growing up. Did you notice diversity in these films? Or how media and entertainment influence our societal norms? For many years, diversity has not only been lacking in many films, but has also painted a very distinct picture of what our society should look like. Entertainment and media influence society and what is seen as “accepted” on a daily basis. This week we challenge you all to reflect on how you might have been influenced by the media from a racial point of view. Who are some of you favorite actors and actresses? Are they people of color? As we navigate an anti-racist community It is important that our students and children not only see people of color more often in media, but are also viewed as influential leaders too.

Child Question: Movie Night! As we reflect on entertainment and media, it is important to introduce shows that include anti-racism education at a young age. Below are some family friendly movies and shows that discuss the importance of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism.

Movies: The Land Before Time, 42 (A Film About Jackie Robinson)

Netflix Shows: The Hollow, Bookmarks - Celebrating Black Voices

Disney+: The Color of Friendship, Remember the Titans, Up Up & Away

Big picture

Zentangle Arts Residency Program

During the weeks of January 25th and February 1st, NPS will be hosting artist, Mimi Topping, to conduct a virtual cultural arts residency program for all classes.

Mimi Topping is a certified art teacher for the past 23 years. She has been certified to teach Zentangle since 2012. Zentangle is a form of art by drawing structured patterns called tangles. The tangles are created with a combination of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and obs. The simple shapes are called “Elemental Strokes” and are drawn on small pieces of paper called tiles which can then be assembled into mosaics.

Each class will participate in one virtual session. The residency will culminate with one Zentangle (on a tile) of all the students projects pieced together for everyone to view. All virtual students can pick up supplies from January 21st to January 26th at NPS from 9am to 3:00pm.

To learn more about Mimi Topping and Zentangle, please click here.

2021 MLK Day of Service "A Day On, Not A Day Off"

Message from NPS Family:

For this year's Martin Luther King National Day of Service, we are working with Bridges Outreach to collect and assemble hygiene and cold bags to aid those most in need in our communities. Please sign up at for either complete bags or to contribute what you can and we are happy to assemble!

Bridges ends homelessness through volunteer-driven outreach and individual case management focusing on health, housing and independence. Volunteering unites Americans of all ages and backgrounds to build stronger communities. This MLK Day of Service, join others in giving back through service.

Please be sure to include your email address in the sign-up and we will reply within 24 hours with the address for drop-off. Drop-off deadline is Friday, 22 January 2021. Email: with any questions.

And thank you

Picture Day

Picture day will be February 18th, 2021.

Cleaning and social distancing protocols will be in place. Students will take individual pictures only. Individual pictures will be made into a composite class picture. All-virtual students will have assigned time slots in the afternoon to come in if they choose to.

Additional information on class pictures and ordering forms will be sent home in February.

iReady Testing (Begins 1/19/2021)

This week, our school will begin administering the i-Ready® Diagnostic assessment. i-Ready Diagnostic helps teachers to effectively assess their students and then provide individualized instruction based on each student’s unique needs. i-Ready Diagnostic assesses the following skill areas:


• Phonological Awareness

• Phonics

• High-Frequency Words

• Vocabulary

• Comprehension


• Number and Operations

• Algebra and Algebraic Thinking

• Measurement and Data

• Geometry

i-Ready Diagnostic begins by giving students an adaptive assessment in reading and math. An adaptive assessment is a test that automatically adjusts the difficulty of the questions according to each student’s performance in order to determine his or her abilities in reading or math. i-Ready is a very different kind of test that presents students with questions that can be both too easy and too hard. It is designed to do this until the assessment finds exactly the level at which the student is performing. Therefore, your child will certainly see some items above his or her level. Your child will be encouraged to independently complete the test to the best of his or her ability, and know that it is okay to get questions wrong.

Each time a student gets an item incorrect, he or she will be presented with a simpler question until the diagnostic finds the grade level at which the student is performing. The assessment efficiently assesses students across multiple grade levels, allowing for identification of root causes of students’ struggles or for identification of areas where a student is ready for further challenge. This information will then provide the teacher with a “road map” to instructional remediation.

Once your child completes the test, he or she will be assigned online instruction to support his or her progress in mastering each skill. i-Ready Diagnostic supports the teachers and administrators at your child’s school. The program provides a series of comprehensive reports designed to make classroom instruction more effective. These reports include data about student performance as well as detailed teaching suggestions. They help educators make informed decisions about the instruction that is right for your child.

Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or your child’s teacher. For more information on i-Ready Diagnostic, please visit the Morris School District website:

What can I do to help?

To help prepare your child for the i-Ready Diagnostic, encourage them to:

  • Get a good night’s sleep and eat a full breakfast the day of the assessment.

  • Try their best on each question and try not to rush.

  • Try not to worry about questions they do not know—remind them that it is expected they will only get about half of the questions correct.

  • Be respectful of other students who take longer to finish

This is the second iReady diagnostic assessment of the year for Gr. 1st through 5th. This is the first iReady diagnostic assessment of the year for our Kindergarten students.

K-5 Connections: iReady Diagnostic Support for All-Virtual Students

Next week, students in the K-5 Connection classrooms (Grades 1st thru 5th) will be taking the i-Ready assessment. Below I have provided some guidelines and resources to help support your children taking the iReady diagnostic assessment at home.

You’ll be tempted to help on the test. We get it—the i-Ready test is hard. But this test is not for a grade. It helps teachers give your child the best instruction possible.

Think of it this way—would you help your child with a vision test? No, because hints won’t help the eye doctor help them. With i-Ready, hints on the test now could negatively impact your child’s instruction later.

Learn how the i-Ready test is different and how you can do your part to help teachers help your student.


For additional information and resources, please click the following link:

Big picture

Message from Ms. Cohen:

I will continue to host the optional daily lunch groups for all virtual students from 12-12:30. It’s a way to check in, play some games and have some social time with friends from other classes. The third grade lunch has been combined with 4th grade on Mondays so 3rd graders can see some of their peers from last year!

Lunch groups are as follows:

Mondays: 3rd and 4th

Tuesdays: Kindergarten

Wednesdays: 1st grade

Thursdays: 2nd grade

I will continue to host the virtual 5th grade social group on Thursdays from 2:30-3.

This month's class lessons will follow the questions posed in the principal’s newsletter from week 4 on prejudice and bias:

Do you know what it means to be prejudiced? (Prejudice is an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason. Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable, is prejudice. Prejudice also consists of unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding an ethnic, racial, social, or religious group). Have you ever seen anyone be prejudiced towards a friend or classmate? Has anyone ever been prejudiced against you? Encourage your child to share their experiences and their feelings.

As always if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Cheryl Cohen

973-889-7960 x6115

Access to Virtual Instruction for Student Enrolled for In-Person Instruction

*When NPS is open for in-person instruction:

My child has to quarantine. Can they stream into class?

For students attending in person classes, access to virtual instruction is for absences over an extended period of time due to quarantining or an extenuating circumstance. In this case, access to virtual instruction will consist of a combination of streaming, completion of Google Classroom activities, and teacher check-in(s).

My child is sick. Can they stream into the class?

No, if your child is home sick for a few days they will be considered to have an excused absence due to illness. Students are encouraged to rest.

*Please note, access to virtual instruction for in-person students needs to be approved by the principal and/or nurse. Please reach out to me with any additional questions at

Travel and Quarantine Updates

Please note revised requirements following travel outside our immediate region (that is, to anywhere other than NY, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Delaware):

  • For students: Contact the school nurse and quarantine for 14 days; no test is required.

Thank you for your cooperation and diligence in reporting symptoms, exposure, and travel to our school nurses. Your transparency and honesty help our entire community stay safe. If you are contacted by local health department officials, please respond to their inquiry so that they can properly conduct contact tracing.

Grab & Go Meals (Update)

Grab & Go meals will be available for all students, who wish to receive them. The Federal Department of Agriculture has extended waivers that will allow MSD to serve ALL students meals for FREE through June 2021.

REMINDER: Students who are not attending school in person can pick up free breakfast and lunch at Morristown High School (at the rear circle by the flagpole off of Atno Avenue) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. There will be two service times, from 8:00 am to 9:00 am and again from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.

More information about School Breakfast & Lunch is available on the MSD Forward homepage under "Back to School Resources for Families."

Please see the menu below for meals offered each day:

Big picture
Big picture

Kindergarten Information Session

We had a great turn out for our first Kindergarten Information Session.

I will be hosting another information session at the end of January for prospective K 2021-2022 parents, who were not able to attend last session.

Please click here for additional information.

Communication between Home and School

*For when we return to in-person schooling:

  • If there are changes in your child's dismissal plans (e.g. you are going to pick them up that day, instead of taking the bus), please use the attached form or call the main office.
  • For written communication between you and your child's teacher, please utilize Class Dojo and/or e-mail, rather than hand-written letters (when possible).

Upcoming Events

  • February 12th: Report Cards Sent Home
  • February 16th: ACCESS Testing begins for students in our ELL and bilingual program
  • February 18th: Picture Day