James Monroe Newsletter

December 2021

A message from the principal

Dear James Monroe Families,

As we approach the winter holiday season, we wish you and your family a peaceful and happy holiday and new year! We hope you join us at our outdoor Winter Solstice Stroll on December 17th. Read below for more information about our exciting month ahead!


  • Welcome back to Mrs. Callahan, our assistant principal. It is like she never left!
  • Report Cards are visible on the Parent Portal December 2nd.


Mrs. Cyndi Tufaro, principal


Mrs. Maggie Callahan, assistant principal


Covid Update from Mrs. Tufaro

We must all continue to remain vigilant by wearing our masks, washing our hands and maintaining social distance when possible. At school, we are doing our best to remain safe. Most important, do not assume anything is "just a cold". When in doubt, test via PCR!

Here are some examples of what we have seen as the initial symptom of our positive cases which can illustrate how mild this appears:

  • one person simply had a headache
  • one person vomited/had nausea
  • one person had a slight fever for just a few hours and then felt completely fine
  • one person felt a tickle in the back of the throat, like post nasal drip, nothing else
  • several people felt like they had a cold

Please contact the school if your child is exhibiting any signs of illness and keep your child home.

I am very sure we all understand that with holiday gatherings and more indoor activity, we will all see a rise in positive cases. This is a given.

Unfortunately, all close contacts will still need to quarantine for a full 14 days since their last contact with the positive person. If, however, your child is fully vaccinated (2 weeks beyond their 2nd vaccine), then your child would NOT need to quarantine UNLESS your child began exhibiting symptoms and/or tests positive.

Also, if you plan to travel internationally, there is a 7 day quarantine period following all travel out of the country. A negative Covid test must be provided 3-5 days after travel. Please report any travel to the main office.

Thank you for your help in decreasing the spread of Covid and helping to keep our community healthy!

December Calendar

Please refer to this calendar for upcoming school events, days off and PTO fundraisers!

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Student Council News

The Student Council wrapped up their food drive! After learning that 1 in 5 children suffer from food insecurity, James Monroe's students set out to make a difference. James Monroe and the Student Council partnered with REPLENISH to help "Feeding Middlesex County," Middlesex County's hunger eradication program. Students donated canned and packaged goods to support the program in keeping their shelves stocked. The school donated over 1,500 individual items. We want to congratulate all classrooms on their hard work and dedication to support the local community!

Student Council Toy Drive - Toys for Tots

Our Student Council along with the Edison Police Department is hosting a Toy Drive for Toys for Tots. This year, we have been faced with the challenge of seeing how many donated toys will fit in a police cruiser. Any child who donates a new/unwrapped toy will be asked to "Stuff the Cruiser" and to donate their toy to children in need. Do you think the police car will be able to close the doors? Please bring all items to school by December 10th.
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Congratulations to our Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Stephanie Lin, first grade teacher!

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Congratulations to our Educator Support Professional of the Year, Mrs. Kelly Pedana, reading specialist!

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Holiday Boutique

Students will be able to shop for holiday gifts at our annual PTO Holiday Boutique on Dec. 8th, 9th and 10th. A flyer is going home with the schedule for each class and the options for purchases. Volunteers are needed!
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Join our PTO and Staff for a Special Winter Event

Our school will celebrate the winter holidays on Friday, December 17th from 6 - 8 p.m. with a winter wonderland including special decorations from our Garden Club, student-made ornaments representative of a variety of winter holidays, warm drinks and delicious snacks provided by our PTO, holiday songs courtesy of our 5th grade chorus and...special surprise guests and photo opportunities. We will also use this opportunity to collect items for local shelters to celebrate the act of giving. We hope to see your family at this free event!
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Authors Danny & Kim Visit

On November 18 & 19 each grade level at our school was treated to a performance by a local illustrator and author duo, Danny and Kim Adlerman. Not only did they share about their creative process when creating books, they also gave students insight into the publishing process. Their conversation inspired our budding writers. In addition, they sang songs related to their internationally published texts that were catchy enough that the students were able to sing along. The assembly concluded with a question and answer session where our children asked really thoughtful questions. Each classroom received two of Danny and Kim’s books that were generously purchased by our PTO.

Our Clubs are in Full Swing!

Books and Crafts Club - Mrs. Pedana and Mrs. Recine

Many second graders have signed up for the books and crafts club during recess time. Each week the children listen to a story read by either Mrs. Pedana or Mrs. Recine. Then the children are asked comprehension questions to practice developmentally appropriate skills. At the end of each session students work on a craft related to the story that was read. Thus far students have created Spookley the Square Pumpkin, a hedgehog from “Hug”hog and a Thanksgiving turkey. We look forward to what they will create next.

Media and Makerspace - Mr. Osofsky & Ms. Bozarth

James Monroe students have been hard at work during our Media and Makerspace Club! Our student engineers completed their first design challenge by creating a paper bridge and seeing how much weight the bridge could hold. The students also had the opportunity to practice using the 3D modeling program Tinkercad, which allowed them to create designs for our 3D printers.

The Garden Club - Mrs. Rommel & Ms. Speckin

Over the past few weeks, our Garden Club members have been busy tending to our garden area and getting it ready for our winter months. We have weeded, swept up the mulch and stone areas, cleaned up trash, and even picked some apples from our apple trees. For the month of December, our members are excitedly helping us plan and prepare for our upcoming Winter Solstice Stroll by decorating our windows to recognize all the holidays celebrated by the families in our school community.

Science Club - Ms. Marisela & Mrs. Somes

Some of our third graders have been enjoying spending their lunch period in the Makerspace for Science Club. We are very grateful to one of our James Monroe parents for volunteering her time to provide this opportunity for the students. So far, they have been learning all about circuits. They recently created their very own light up greeting card!

Monroe Mentors - Ms. Squeri & Mrs. Westcott

During our first mentoring visit of the year, the 4th graders led the 2nd graders in an owl craft to reflect on our core Monroe Mentor character values. The Monroe Mentors asked the 2nd graders to reflect on how they can demonstrate character traits such as kindness, acceptance and teamwork throughout our school community. Together they created a visual representation to display throughout the school. The Monroe Mentors cannot wait for their next visit with the 2nd grade students!

Letters. Words. Connections. High Scores - Mrs. Romeo & Mrs. Schwarz

The James Monroe Scrabble Club is in full swing this year. We meet every Wednesday morning for some friendly word play and competition. The logophiles have been enjoying the new deluxe Scrabble boards recently purchased for our club. However, just starting out, they first began learning how words work and connect by playing Bannanagrams! Not only do all the students work to create words with as many letters as they can, but they truly collaborate together in a supportive setting. We are looking forward to a wonderful word-filled year!

Chorus - Mrs. Sanchez

Chorus is back and we are more excited than ever to get musical! Mrs. Sanchez is directing the 4th and 5th Grade Chorus for the 2021-2022 school year. With enthusiastic voices, Chorus students have begun learning our music for our upcoming Concert in January. Stay tuned for dates and more information regarding our spectacular singers in James Monroe's Chorus!

Rummikub Club - Mrs. Bell

The Rummikub Club is in full swing! Students have learned the rules and the basics of the game. They have been using their skills to strategize and be the first to get rid of their tiles and thus have the least amount of points. Gamers are loving the game and the challenges to find ways to separate their tiles. Wednesday mornings can’t come fast enough!

Board Game Club - Mrs. Milton & Mrs. Lin

Board game club is a fun and engaging way for students to play classic games, as well as, learn some new games. During our time together the children learn to have meaningful conversations and develop teamwork. The students have been enhancing their confidence and developing a sense of accountability all while laughing and playing with their friends.

Robotics Club - Ms. Speckin & Ms. Horvath

Students in the Robotics Club have been using block coding to help a robot named Dash through different situations. After writing their code, students have been using problem solving skills to fix errors in their codes. Soon, students will learn to use lines and color to code with Ozobot robots!

The Safety Patrols Keep our School Safe

The 2021-2022 James Monroe Safety Patrols have been busy patrolling the school and keeping our kids safe. The students are eager to greet our younger students every morning with a smile and a helpful hand. New this year are our morning breakfast patrols to make sure all students have their breakfasts in all classrooms before school starts.

A Message from Nurse Sclafani

Click HERE to read this very important newsletter from the school nurse with updates about the following topics:

  • Vaccines
  • Vaccinations & Physicals
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Physicals
  • Illness Prevention
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Asthma & Food Allergies
  • Medication Drop Off
  • Helpful Tips for Staying Healthy
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Free Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast and lunch are FREE for all students. Click on the link to view this month's menus. Lunch is ordered the same day in the cafeteria and breakfast must be ordered in advance. Please complete the breakfast menu order form located in your child's folder each month.
James Monroe Parent Handbook

Open here to access information about James Monroe School.