Toms River High School East

Newsletter - December 13, 2021

Dear Families,

Well, I'm in a little better mood this Monday morning as my Vikings beat the Steelers this week! However, they never do things easy. I am hoping for a good run in their final three games to possibly push for a playoff spot. I watched a few holiday films over the weekend and did some shopping with my wife. I'm picking up my daughter this week from college for the break and the other one is coming home next week. Looking forward to having them back in the house again. We will probably spend a few days in Annapolis visiting my family over the break and will be looking forward to seeing my family. Annapolis is a beautiful little town and would highly recommend to anyone seeking a weekend get-a-way!

We had a busy week at the Home of the Raiders! Very proud of the students and staff for all their efforts to promote a positive school climate while doing their best in pursuit of academic success.

Teacher of the Year/Educational Service Professional of the Year

Congratulations to Mr. Jamie Dirk and Mrs. Ann Millard for being selected as our Teacher and Educational Service Professional of the Year, respectively!

Teacher of the Year - This educator is a highly respected member of the High School East staff. He is known as a kind, caring, and empathetic educator who is dedicated to the social and academic outcomes of his students. This teacher prides himself on cultivating positive student relationships as a teacher, coach, and school mentor. He is committed to learning and growing as an educator and dedicates his personal growth on finding meaningful strategies to engage his students in the learning environment. His lessons provide relevance to the subject matter and challenge his students to think critically and problem solve. He demonstrates a growth mindset and encourages his students to extend their comfort zones to learn. Subsequently, his students comment on his effectiveness in providing the confidence, knowledge and skills required for college and career success. I think what separates this teacher from others is his inherent kindness…his empathy…willingness to do whatever it takes to make others feel seen, appreciated, and understood. I am very proud to inform our Raider family that our 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year is….Mr. Jamie Dirk!

Educational Service Professional of the Year – This person has been a member of our Raider family for past 13 years. She has dedicated her life to providing social, emotional, and college and career readiness advice to her students as they prepare for their future endeavors. She prides herself on her professional mindset and approach to her work endeavors. She cares about children and loves her job. Students look to her for support to overcome personal obstacles as they balance the demands of their personal lives with school expectations. Students feel she is a caring person and role-model for young ladies! I appreciate her monumental efforts to create our website detailing the college application process and her varied student college workshops. This person arrives to work each day with a goal to do the best she can to support her students and families. She is widely known for the effectiveness of her efforts to provide the personal supports to our students need in this Covid world. I would like to congratulate our 2021-2022 Educational Service Professional of the Year…..Mrs. Ann Millard.

Activity Day - December 10, 2021

The goal of this month's activity is to continue to try to encourage our students to get involved in extracurricular activities. We also want to stress the importance of supporting the club and organizations that they may not be directly involved in. So the goal of the Activity Period was to create open dialogue with our students about the opportunities available to them at HSE. Teachers were provided with a variety of lesson options to choose from. Students brainstormed ideas and initiatives on how we as a school community can increase student involvement and better help support each other’s initiatives. Students also participated in open, student-led discussions on the theme(s) discussed in this episode of The Harbor. They also identified clubs from our list they may be interested in participating.

Career Speakers

Our College and Career Connection Committee presented two key speakers this week.

Thursday - Healthcare fraud is a multibillion dollar industry. It not only has a significant impact on healthcare spending in the US, it also causes patient harm and makes health insurance expensive for all of us. Most people don't know that fighting healthcare fraud is a real profession that continues to grow in importance. During this session, Jala Attia, a healthcare fraud expert will share with students what it takes to get into this interesting field, the different roles needed in investigating healthcare fraud and answer any questions you may have. Thank you Mrs. Attia for your commitment to support our students!

Friday - Tia Lazaro and Jose Antunes with Withum Smith and Brown presented in our Lecture Hall to interested students on the field of Accounting. Students learned important facts about the industry and how an interest can lead to a degree and subsequent career! Withum Smith and Brown are an advisory, tax and accounting firm designed to help businesses grow and thrive. Thank you Mrs. Lazaro and Mr. Atunes for your continued support of our students!

Winter Concert

Great job to our Choir for their impressive performance Thursday evening. Guests were treated to feel-good holiday songs and Mr. Strohmetz's jokes! Great job everyone for providing us with the opportunity to appreciate this time of year!

Steam Open House

We held our STEAM Open House Wednesday evening. We presented to our families on the expectations of the school, general fields of study within the program, and the application process. Special thanks to Mrs. Hines and Ms. Gregorek for their work to make the evening such a success!

East Moving Forward

Great job to Mr. Anthony Salotti and Mrs. Casey Daniel for presenting on Goalbook to interested staff Thursday in our Professional Development Room. Goalbook is a program that provides educators with research-proven strategies to meet the needs of all learners. The program combines professional learning with ready-to-use exemplars so teachers can ensure all students learn at high levels.

Staff Workshops - 1/2 Day Professional Day

We held our district Professional Day at High School East with several relevant workshops on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. I met with the staff to discuss general housekeeping issues and our safety team spoke to the staff about Lockdown procedures, particularly in light of recent events. Staff were provided specific guidance on how to respond to an active shooter scenario. Following, staff were asked to participate in three of five workshops on topics related to Link-It (analytical tool to evaluate student math and English performance on standardized tests), Raiders Helping Raiders (teacher mentor program designed to support the needs of our at-risk student population by connecting the student to a trusted staff member), Math PLC (specifically designed for Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry teachers), strategies to engage parents, and brainstorming school programs to support school goals from ARP funding. I felt the workshops to be extremely productive! Thank you to our volunteer speakers!

Leaders Breakfast

I met with Club/Organization/Athletic leaders on Monday to discuss our goal to use the relationships we cultivated in November to better engage the overall school population in school-related activities. Our goal this month is to improve the participation rate in extracurricular activities. Leaders were tasked with developed a QR Code for their respective organizations. When interested students scan the code, they will be provided with information about the organization in hopes of soliciting interest. Leaders will also be asked to share out a blurb on their club/organization/team over the announcements. Special thank you to Mrs. Koenigstein and Mrs. Fazzini for their creativity to make this work!

Here are the results of a school-wide survey provided to our students to gather information on current involvement levels:

  • Approximately 53% of our students participated in the survey.
  • 50.4% of the respondents indicated they were involved in a school club

  • 45% of the respondents indicated they were involved in a school sport with another 11% indicating they were planning to participate moving forward.
  • The specific clubs and sports varied across what is offered within the school setting.

Our goal is to increase the level of afterschool involvement in productive social activities! More to follow on this!

Building School-Home Relationships!

I sent out Part (a) of a three part survey last week and I believe the survey did not work. I have fixed it and will now provide the updated version in this newsletter. I've include all three portions and I hope you will have a few minutes to complete the survey so that we can learn more about how we can better support you in the home. PLEASE NOTE that this information will be kept strictly confidential.

Media Center Highlights!

The shortened month of November was not short on activities. The freshman class decorated their banners for Freshman Field Day at their respective Lunch Academies held on November 9th, 10th, and 11th. The students used them to cheer on their peers at Freshman Field Day on November 17th.

The World Language supervisor Ms. Bland hosted a meeting on November 17th for the upcoming State Seal of Biliteracy Test. Prospective students in grade 12 were given information on the opportunity to attain the State Seal of Biliteracy by demonstrating proficiency in English and one or more world languages.

November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is commonly referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. The Media Center brought awareness through a display that included books, reading information, and a self-quiz.

December welcomed the Freshman Lunch Academy students during the first and third weeks of the month. The 9th graders met with their Peer Leadership mentors and participated in various activities, including 2 Truths and a Lie.

The Interact Club hosted the Blood Drive for both students and staff. Thirty people registered to donate to the American Red Cross. Thank you to all who participated for their generosity!

Mr. Frazzitta brought his Algebra students to the Media Center on December 3rd and 6th. Small groups of students utilized our mobile partitions to solve problems using dry erase markers on the clear acrylic boards. It proved to be both educational and fun!

The Media Center hosted the Peer Leadership Holiday Celebration after school on December 7th. Club advisors Ms. Nadeau and Ms. Pagano brought in treats and played music to celebrate all of the hard work that the students have completed!

Social Studies teacher Mr. Kanarkowski utilized the Flex Lounge area of the Media Center on the 10th for his Political and Legal Education (PLE) students to participate in the beginning of the Party in Leadership process. It will culminate with the New Jersey Model Congress in March. Best of luck to our PLE students!

Spanish teacher Ms. Rodriguez decorated 2 bulletin boards featuring La navidad tradicional de Mexico or Christmas in Mexico Traditions. The informational posters depict the great variety of traditions and customs which include various family festivals as well as the typical foods that are prepared. Thank you to Ms. Rodriguez for sharing!

The Media Center hosts meetings for several clubs after school. The Alliance Club hosted a guest speaker from the Saint Francis Counseling Center in the Media Center after school on the 14th. The Chess Club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays each week and the newly formed Gamers Club meets on Wednesdays every other week. Anyone interested in joining a club can stop by the Media Center or the Main Office for information.

Enjoy your upcoming Winter break and best wishes for a happy, healthy

12 Days of Holiday Spirit!

Raiders always show their Holiday Spirit throughout December!
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Weekly Guidance Information

Freshmen Conferences will begin on December 14. It is important that all freshmen attend Freshman Conferences because students will meet their counselor and discuss how students can be successful in high school. Bring your lunch. Team Silver – Tuesday, 12/14/21 during 5th period. Team Black – Wednesday, 12/15/21 during 5th period. Team Blue – Thursday, 12/16/21 during 5th period. TRRS is providing a free virtual workshop: SAT/ACT Overview presented by Solution Prep on Wednesday, December 15 at 6pm. See attached flyer for more information. Registration is WNL SAT ACT.png. Students in Precalculus Honors who are interested in earning dual enrollment credit in Spring 2022 should see their guidance counselor for Accuplacer testing information. The ACT is on February 12, 2022. Registration deadline is 1/7/2022. Register at

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Congratulations to Shannon Stakelbeck and Caeden Miller for being recognized as 1st Team All County in Cross Country this Fall Season! Great job Shannon and Caiden as I know your accomplishments were a product of the hard work you put in over the summer months!

Employee of the Week!

Congratulations to Mrs. Casey Daniel for being recognized for all her contributions to our school community as our Employee of the Week. Mrs. Daniel is a student favorite teacher and spends considerable time supporting various school wide initiatives. She runs our TREtoday account and always finds time to support the individual needs of her students! Thank you for being such a positive reflection of our school community Mrs. Daniel!

Morning Traffic Data

In cooperation with the Toms River Police Department, we have been counting cars during the morning drop off to gather data to provide our parents! The clock begins at 6:35 am and ends at 7:20 am. Based on what we observed,

  • Approximately 12% of our students/parents arrive between 6:35 am and 6:47 am
  • Approximately 24% of our students/parents arrive between 6:47 am and 6:57 am
  • Approximately 43% of our students/parents arrive between 6:57 am and 7:07 am

  • Approximately 18% of our students/parents arrive between 7:07 am and 7:15 am
  • Approximately 3% of our students/parents arrive between 7:15 am and 7:20 am

I recommend it is best to arrive to school prior to 6:57 am to avoid delays and lates to school. Please remember that the traffic is always backed up during inclement weather days and we ask our students and parents to make the appropriate arrangements to arrive to school on time.

Respectful Raiders!

I would like to recognize Isabella Bousquet and Paula Perkins for going above and beyond for a peer. Isabella and Paula both appreciate the meaning of the term, 'empathy', and take pride in ensuring they support the needs of others. Both students provide kindness and a positive mindset towards others, which is greatly appreciated! Thank you Isabella and Paula for being proud representatives of our school community!