The Toll Gate Tidings Tana

January 17, 2016 Edition

Important Dates to Note


1/18- Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday - No School

1/20- Spirit Day - "Gator Day"

1/20 - Faculty Meeting

1/26 - Dr. Smith's monthly visit

1/26 - Additional 90-minute meeting

1/27 - 3O'S to Washington Crossing Nature Center

1/28 - 3P to Washington Crossing Nature Center

1/29 - End of 2nd marking period

1/29 - Gator Gathering - K & 3rd grade hosts


2/1 - Gator Gratitude letters - Valentine's for Vets theme

2/1 - Early Dismissal - Staff Development

2/2-2/4 - PD for Reading/Writing Workshop with Olivia Wahl

2/8 - K-5 Grade Level Meetings

2/10 - Faculty Council

2/11 - Valic Representative during lunch periods

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Faculty Meeting

At our Faculty Meeting this Wednesday, we will be trained in how to use OnCourse for report cards. Grade level teachers will be clustered for more pertinant information: K-3 & Special Areas, and 4-5. Susan Horowitz and Sara Oliveira will also be here to share ESL strategies with us, which is very timely given our new 3rd grade student! We will rotate through so all groups have their report card training and get the chance to meet with Susan and Sara.
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New Staff Member!

Please welcome Kate Randazzo, who will be filling in for Jill Long's paraprofessional position. Kate will officially start next week, but has been subbing the last few days in this new roll. Let's give her a big TG welcome!
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Technology Updates - Please Read

Technology has been a heated topic at the last two Faculty Council meetings, and I met with Dennis Schmidt recently to get some clarity on a few things.

1. A new protocol has been designed to address staff concerns when your Mac is no longer useful and needs to be traded in for a new PC. Please do not take your frustrations out on the technician who drops them off to you, or takes your Mac. There will be someone who reaches out to assist you with the new PC, either Vikki, Jane Ellen, Jill, etc... who will work with you to address your concerns.

2. Please do not text Joe on his cell phone if you have a problem. The Tech Department is now working a 'zone defense' so-to-speak, and there are now several people who can work to address our issues here at TG. While Joe is still our building rep, several other techs can help if it is not his day to be here. Instead, please email the HelpDesk with your issue. Several technicians will receive the email, and whomever may be in the area can come to assist, if it is an emergency situation. If you feel you truly have a dire emergency, then please contact Lynn and she can try to get ahold of one of the techs. If you just email Joe alone, and he is at another location, only Joe knows of your problem and cannot necessarily address it immediately.

3. Keane Bacso, Jill's son, will now be interning in our District and shadowing Joe. He will be here one day per week.

4. Dennis and I discussed the open HelpDesk tickets and the department is working on getting things corrected quickly.

5. Unless there are no open HelpDesk tickets or an emergency elsewhere in the District, Joe's hours here at TG are as follows: Tuesday & Thursday from 6:30 - 3 p.m. Just remember though, any of the techs will be present should there be an emergency situation and Joe is not here.

Thank you for your support!

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PARCC Updates and Information

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And then...

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Tech Bytes by Vikki

We have a great new software program called ActivInspire that we’ll start using as we phase out Notebook software. Here are the steps to import your notebook files into ActivInspire files.

Tech Bytes by Vikki - Part II

Have you ever wondered how to get your photos and videos onto your computer from your other devices? Read this week's Tech Byte to find out how!

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NJ Collaborative Online Resource Exchange

If you missed Georgine's email, here is the link to the NJ CORE site, the FREE teacher resource network for professional learning, featured content and community resources to support the cycle of teaching and learning.

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PD Opportunity through Rider U

Dear Colleague:

It is my pleasure to invite you and your faculty to begin the New Year with an exciting literacy event! Please join NWP@Rider on campus in the Student Recreation Center Seminar Room from 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM on January 19th for our first Continuity Event of 2016. The event is free and all participants will receive a certificate for Professional Development hours.

We are delighted that Russ Walsh, a nationally recognized literacy expert, will share his presentation entitled Meaningful Work: Teaching Children to Read and Write for the 21st Century with us onJanuary 19th. Mr. Walsh has enjoyed a 47 year career in education as a teacher, reading specialist, curriculum director, central office administrator, and college instructor. He is currently the Coordinator of College Reading at Rider University. He is the author of the Russ on Reading blog, as well as books for children and teachers and will be releasing his latest publication from Garn Press in February, 2016, entitled A Parent's Guide to Public Education in the 21st Century.

Registration at is not required, but is helpful as we plan for this event. Please also note the following free, on-campus events that may be of interest to you and your faculty:

  • NWP@Rider Continuity Event: Investigating Technology presented by Laura Fay, an NWP Teacher Consultant, middle school Language Arts teacher, and certified Google Educator: 3/8/16from 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM, SRC Seminar Room
  • Dr. Donna Clovis: author, teacher, and journalist: 4/12/16 from 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM, Sweigert Auditorium
  • NWP@Rider Continuity Event: an evening of roundtable conversations highlighting teacher leadership: 5/10/16 from 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM, Memorial Hall 302

We look forward to seeing you!



Nancy A. Chodoroff

Professional Development Coordinator

National Writing Project @ Rider University

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The Great Kindness Challenge

We are planning on sending home a similar checklist for students to accomplish as many acts of kindness as possible during the last week of this month. Don't be surprised if you see students going out of their way. Feel free to join in too!

We will be posting all returned checklists around the school to show off our "kind" students at the end of the month!

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NJ Post Office Competition!

Dear Educator,

I hope this email finds you well, and that you are having a great start to the New Year. I wanted to make you aware of an exciting opportunity Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman has made available to 12th District students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

In an effort to engage some of her youngest constituents in their communities and in the democratic process, the Congresswoman invites interested and eligible students to participate in a competition to rename a local post office. The winning entry will be written into legislation and introduced by the Congresswoman on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The rules and guidelines for the competition are enclosed in this email and can also be found on the Congresswoman’s website ( We ask that you share this invitation with your students, and alert them to this opportunity. We have provided a flyer for you to distribute to students, and welcome your sharing this information on social media, school websites and through school announcements. The Congresswoman’s office will accept entries from now until Monday, February 29th, 2016 via email to

Please contact me if you (or your students) have any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your time and Happy New Year!


Rachel Gittleman

Constituent Service Representative/Staff Assistant

Office of Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

850 Bear Tavern Road, Suite 201

Ewing, NJ 08628

609-883-0026 (O)

609-883-2093 (F)

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Quote of the Week

“RTI is designed to remove the oh-so-human temptation to speculate and slowly mull over learning problems and instead spur teachers into action to improve learning, see if the actions worked, and make adjustments in a continuous loop.”

Amanda VanDerHeyden et al.

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Tweet of the Week

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Check out @edcite. Bear Tavern 4th & 5th grade students all used this while at the PAC center waiting for their turn to practice for their winter concert!
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