The Boulevard Beat

A Monthly Newsletter from SBS - March 2015 Edition

School Election Reminder

Dear Parents,

Please join us for our April 7th PTO meeting at 9:00am in the SBS Library. Dr. La Susa will present the school budget and the proposed referendum. We encourage you to educate yourself on the facts surrounding this very important decision for our highly-ranked school system.

VOTER INFORMATION - you must be registered to vote!!voter-registration/cp1v

3 minute video from Superintendent, Dr. LaSusa, explaining the referendum:

For more information, visit:

The Principal's Place

On March 26th, members of the parent community joined me in the SBS Media Center from 7-8 PM to exchange our thoughts, questions and ideas. We had very productive discussions covering various topics, and for me, this type of conversation is necessary to best serve our students. One parent raised a topic that has been on my mind for a while now, and I feel that it's time to extend it to the larger community. The topic is the value of homework for children ages 5-9.

Homework is an entity that can generate a range of passionate opinions. At the evening event, I recreated a scenario that many parents have shared with me this year, and that the meeting participants identified with: You've arrived home from work and/or after school activities, and you set your child up at the kitchen table to work on his/her homework. Your child is tired and is having some difficulty. You go over to help, and quickly encounter some resistance. The child tells you that you are doing it wrong, or that your teacher prefers a different approach. You make your best efforts to help, providing a strategy that you learned in school. This causes further frustration for both of you. The next thing you know, an hour has passed, there may or may not be tears, your other child has flown off of your radar, dinner is cold, the dog needs to go out, and a level of stress had entered your home over what was intended to be a 10-15 minute assignment. Everyone goes to bed a bit annoyed, and later than you'd like.

This scenario raises questions about the impact that homework is having on our children. Is it facilitating accountability and responsibility? Is it causing more angst than it's worth? Considering how rigorously we work them while they are at school, is it more beneficial for our children to explore an interest, spend some stress-free family time during their evenings, and get to bed at a consistent hour?

Research has been conducted on the benefits of homework and the correlations between homework and achievement at various age and grade levels. Recently, I have explored some of the works of Alfie Kohn, the author of at least 12 books and many more articles about education and human behavior. According to Mr. Kohn, "No research has ever found a benefit to assigning homework (of any kind or in any amount) in elementary school. In fact, there isn’t even a positive correlation between, on the one hand, having younger children do some homework (vs. none), or more (vs. less), and, on the other hand, any measure of achievement.*1"

In the coming weeks, I will be sending home a parent survey to gather your feedback on homework at SBS. I will share the survey results with the staff, and then consider any potential follow up discussions or next steps as we move forward. Please look for the survey and complete it. Thank you for your ongoing communication and support!

*1 Alfie Kohn, "Homework: An unnecessary evil? … Surprising findings from new research," The Washington Post, (November 26, 2012)

The Nurse's Nook

Please pack a change of clothes!

Mudslide Season is in Full Swing. Let’s plan ahead! Please pack a change of clothes in your child’s backpack for these days when mud is a constant feature around our play areas. Planning in advance for playground mud encounters will assist your child greatly.

Your assistance is appreciated.

Spring pollens are already in the air!

If your child is one of the many who are bothered by spring pollens, please contact their doctor now to devise a plan for keeping them comfortable throughout these spring months. Do you want to know what’s in bloom? Visit There, you can sign up for daily alerts that will better help you understand and manage your child’s symptoms (see the dropdown tab called “My”).

Remember that if your child requires antihistamines or eye drops to manage spring allergies, they should be administered at home before and after school. If your child may need an inhaler (or if they require other medication at school), please complete the “Authorization for Medication Administration”, available on Mrs. Leister’s webpage. All medication administered by the nurse requires a doctor’s order and a parent signature. Completion of the SDOC form by you and your doctor will satisfy these requirements.

It’s Never Too Early to Call the Attendance Line!

Are you planning a trip in the next few weeks? Please call the attendance line NOW to let us know. (973) 457-2509. Press “1” for attendance. This will assist us greatly in accounting for the safety of all children. Notes to your child’s teacher are very nice, but the only way to officially report a student is to call the attendance line. For more information on attendance, please refer to Mrs. Leister’s webpage:

The Library Lowdown

SBS celebrated Dr. Seuss' 111th birthday and Read Across America Day on Mon., March 3rd. We had various guest readers visit the library.-Mr. Gardella, principal Mrs. Leister, nurse, Mrs. Kepler and Mrs. Bischoff,secretaries, and Mr. Davis,security coordinator. The Cat in the Hat (Ms.S (Stojanov) and Thing 1 Mrs. Chin made appearances. We ended the day with a drop everything and read for the entire school, as well as a choral reading of Green Eggs and Ham Scrambled SBS Style with the entire school lead by Mrs. Comba, language arts/social studies supervisor. We then sang Dr. Seuss We Love Youand Happy Birthday (played and provided by Mrs. Roskam). The students had a fun-filled day to celebrate reading!

Birthday Books:

Quentin and Owen Coletta: The Book with No Pictures

Hayden Foertsch: Peanut Butter & Cupcake!

Daryn Foerstsch Substitute Creature

The Design Den

Welcome Families, to the Design Den!

What has been happening in Design and Technology this month?

3rd Grade Students are researching countries currently in a water crisis. Ask your child how the water crisis affects people in these countries.

2nd Grade Students are researching one of the three different types of pollution; air, water and land. Ask your child what type of pollution they are researching and some of the causes of that pollution.

1st Grade Students are learning how food products are packaged and they are building their own food packages. Ask your child what their food product is and what their plan is for their design.

Kindergarten Students are learning about honey bee habitats. Ask your child where they would find a beehive and why this would be a good place for a bee to live.

Thank you again for your support of Design and Technology!

Ms. Stojanov (Ms. S

Dinnertime Conversations...

Tired of the same old responses when you ask your children how their day went? Check in here for some conversation starters!

Ask your kindergartner:

1. What makes you a good citizen?

2. What are the parts that make up the number 5?

3. Can you name the beginning, middle, and end of your favorite story?

Ask Your first grader:

1. What does it mean to regroup?

2. How do you know when you need to regroup?

3. Can you show me an example of a problem where you need to regroup?

Ask your second grader:

1. Talk about the three states of matter. Can you give an example of each state of matter?

2. How is a solid figure different than a plane shape. Can you name and give the attributes of 3 solid figures?

3. How is writing a "How To" story different from writing a narrative story.

Ask you third grader:

1. What is the difference between perimeter and area?

2. What science unit is your student currently studying?

3. What Comprehension Clubs has your student done? What is Comprehension Club?

PTO Posts

Spring is here! Officially at least, and we are all looking forward to a break in the weather and NO MORE SNOW! Quite a lot is happening at SBS:

SBS PTO now has a Facebook presence, so Follow Us on Facebook. We will post important school information and updates on the information that most impacts you. If you are on Facebook, LIKE us and you will be updated on the latest SBS PTO info.

Our next PTO meeting is Tuesday, April 7th. Volunteering is a great way to contribute to your child's experience at SBS and sign-ups are ready for the coming school year. We have a wide range of opportunities from one-day event support to year-long bi-weekly aide positions. Please visit the SBS PTO website and click on the VolunteerSpot link under "Get Involved" to see the full list and to choose an opportunity that's just right for you!

Please join us on Friday, April 24th, 6:30-8:00pm for the SBS Family Fun Night for

Kindergarten and 1st Grade Families. Entertainment will be provided by Party Maniacs, in addition to games, prizes and more! Siblings of kindergartners and 1st graders are welcome. Enter through the K doors.

April 9th is Spring Picture Day. Countryside Studios takes outdoor photos of all the children, creating beautiful Spring Portraits. Be sure you have that picture perfect spring outfit ready for the 9th!

Get your S.W.A.G. on! SBS Spirit Wear and Gear is here! Order your Spring Spirit Wear online via the Kicks n/ Stix website,, click on Chatham Southern Boulevard School, add items to your cart (check out as a Guest) and place your order.

Box Tops!!! WOW! Thanks so much to all the parents who sent in box tops this year. During the Fall and Spring contests, we collected over $1,600 for SBS this year. Each box top generates 10 cents for the school. Thanks to Allison Guvenel for all her hard work trimming those dotted lines!

401 Books! That’s how many SBS Students donated to the Library at Clinton Elementary School in Plainfield, NJ. Books were delivered to the school last week and they were beyond thrilled to receive them. Thank You!!! Your generosity is very much appreciated by this local underserved community.

This year’s SBS Golf Outing – Tee Off with SBS -- will be held on Monday, April 27, 2015 at the Fairmount Country Club. Whether you plan to golf or just come to dinner, this event should not be missed! If you would like to become a sponsor, please contact Laura Ferchak ( or Kay Aprea ( for more information. Come bid on great auction items, tricky tray, catch up with friends, and the food is great too! We hope to see you there.

Hope to see you all at the next PTO meeting. Have a wonderful and much deserved Spring Break!

Warm regards,

Vivian Cooney

PTO President 2014-15