Lafayette School

August 16

Principal Message ~ Cheryl Russo

Greetings Lafayette Families,

The Lafayette staff has once again balanced their summer with rest and reading as they prepare to kick off another year in just two weeks. I am always amazed at the new resources and research the teachers uncover over the summer, and I look forward to your children being a part of what is new and exciting in our classrooms this school year. Beyond the District and State curricula your children will be diving into this year, they will also continue to work on developing socially and emotionally through various lenses, such as developing a growth mindset, understanding the power of being kind and calm, and respecting the rights of others. We will delve into each area during character periods, Calm Cougars and all school assemblies. As the year progresses, I will keep you updated on the lessons and messages we are sharing with the students.

Please mark your calendar for our Back to School Night on September 12th and our first PTO Meeting on September 20th to hear more about the 2018-2019 school year.

Please use the included links if you are in need of a Free/Reduced Lunch Application as well as information about Student Accident Coverage. There are paper forms available in the LAF Office. Please contact Geri Gesell at the Board Office if you should have any questions at

My lines of communication are always open to LAF families, I can be reached at 973-457-2507 or via email at Enjoy the rest of your summer; the hustle and bustle of the fall will soon be here.


Cheryl Russo

Class Placements

The class placement process is a lengthy and collaborative process. We work with the prior grade level teachers, the Special Education Department, the Basic Skills Department, Principals, and School Counselors to make the best possible decisions for your children each year. Your feedback also supports our final decisions. Due the high level of collaboration between all of the Lafayette School stakeholders during the development of class lists, the placements are firm barring any extraordinary circumstances.

The class placement information will be available tomorrow, August 17th through the Genesis Parent Portal around 10:00 a.m. The teacher name listed is your child's homeroom teacher, please click here to view the teaching teams for the year. All special education and basic skills teacher information will be forthcoming. If you are having difficulty managing the parent portal tomorrow, please contact Sally Moreno at 973-457-2560 or

Attendance via Parent Portal

Please use the Parent Portal to record your child's absences. Any students' absence that is not recorded by you in the Parent Portal will be marked unverified. If your child is unverified, an automated call will be placed to confirm your child's whereabouts.


  • Log into the Parent Portal
  • Select the Attendance Tab
  • Select Notify the Attendance Office Tab
  • Use the drop-down selection to mark your child absent
  • Enter date
  • Choose student name
  • State reason for the absence
  • Click green submit button to post attendance

A Message from Sally Allen – PTO President

Welcome Lafayette Families,

The PTO is proud to support Lafayette’s school motto, “It is not about being the best; it is about being your best.” As a PTO, we are responsible for many of the activities and programs that enhance your students' overall success and experience at Lafayette, including Mini-Marathon, Field Day, Read-a-thon, Book Fair, Pizza Day, After School Enrichment and more. The funds we raise cover important program and event costs associated with LAF field trips, Author’s Day, School Gifts, Movie Night, Assemblies and more.

The PTO has sponsored several major recent improvements to the playground, including painting the blacktop for games, and a Game Cart for quieter activities in a shaded space. Additionally, we have provided innovative classroom furnitures such as laptop desks and backjack chairs in our English Language Arts Classrooms, Weather and Wind Kits for our Science Classrooms and additional books for the LAF Media Center. We are also so proud of our students’ charitable efforts in the school Read-a-thon, enabling the PTO to donate $8330.00 to help rebuild the Jose Santo Quinones School in Canovanes, Puerto Rico. Plans for this fall include the enhancement of our playground with a NINJA Warrior course!

A majority of these programs and enhancements are funded by our General Fund. The goal of our General Fund is to ask our parents for a one-time donation at the start of the year instead of asking for donations throughout the year. The only additional fundraising efforts that we organize throughout the year are ones that directly include and benefit our students' academic success such as the Book Fair and the Read-a-thon. The General Fund Committee is chaired by Shannon Matter, Pam Polemeni and Jamie Callahan. Please read their message in this newsletter with information on how to donate. You can pay your PTO dues online and donate to the General Fund at

Our success is dependent on help from our parents. There are so many different ways to help— from home, in school, once a year, once a month— whatever works for you. Please visit our online SignUp to page to volunteer.

Last, but certainly not least, we encourage you to stay connected with the LAF PTO:

  • PTO Website: to access PTO information, volunteer opportunities, meeting dates, PTO dues and General Fund.
  • Facebook: “Like” us on Facebook.
  • PTO Meetings: Please save the date for our first PTO meeting, 9/20 at 9:15 am in the LAF cafeteria. Each PTO meeting includes a featured speaker or discussion about key areas of curriculum and the school that are sure to interest parents. Please visit the PTO website for dates.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at Thank you in advance for your help. We appreciate it. Our teachers appreciate it. And, most of all, our children appreciate it. Enjoy the remainder of your summer and we look forward to kicking off the new school year.

Warm Regards,

Sally Allen

PTO President 2018-2019

Lafayette General Fund

Dear Lafayette School Parents,

We hope you are enjoying your summer and are slowly starting to think about getting back to school. With a 73% participation rate and $42,000 in donations last year, most of our 5th grade parents already know about the wonderful programs and equipment sponsored by our General Fund.

The General Fund is an opportunity for us to provide our children with classroom and playground equipment, building enhancements, school trips and assemblies that the school budget doesn't cover. It eliminates the need for most other PTO fundraisers, making it easier for parents to support our school. These funds cover most of the wonderful things our PTO President Sally Allen mentioned


Please help us fund more of the items and experiences that help make Lafayette School special for your children by generously donating to the General Fund. We also encourage you to email your ideas for how to use the funds directly to the LAF PTO at

You can donate right now by mailing the form below to LAF school, or by donating online at: will also be available to collect your donation at Back to School Night. Thank you in advance for your generous support!

Please make donation check payable to “LAF PTO” and mail to: The Lafayette School, 221 Lafayette Ave. Chatham, N.J. 07928.

Student Name: _______________________________________________

Teacher: ____________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Name: ________________________________________

Address: ____________________________________________________

Email: ______________________________________________________

Donation Amount (check as appropriate):

____$50 ____$100 ____$200 ____$300 ____$500 ____$750 ______Other

_______Matching gift amount

The PTO of the Chathams is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible and can be matched by your employer. Tax ID #20-8695766.

~~ School Information ~~

Parking, Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures

Please take a look at the bird's eye view of our pickup and drop off procedures. We use the high school circle for parent pick up and drop off. This leaves the LAF circle open for our busers and keeps this area safe for our walking and biking students. Thank you.

Click here to preview our Bird's Eye View. We appreciate your patience as everyone becomes familiar with the procedures.

Applied Music Program

The Lafayette Applied Music Program includes instruction in BAND, CHORUS, and ORCHESTRA. The Applied Music period is a special time of the day, two or three times a week between 2:37 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. Your child may choose to join chorus and/or one instrumental group. Lafayette also provides an INSTRUMENTAL LESSON PROGRAM. Students playing an instrument will attend a small group lesson once a week. All of the Lafayette students will be provided an overview of the Applied Music Program during the first week of school.

Many students have already signed up for the band and orchestra program and have instruments or have sent in rental forms for their instruments. The rental instruments will be delivered by the music store before school begins. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the music staff whenever you have concerns or questions during the year. We want to work together with you to give your child many wonderful musical experiences at Lafayette School.

Lafayette Music Staff

Brian Conti (, Band Lesson Teacher

Laurie DeBiasse (, 4th & 5th Grade Band Director and Band Lesson Teacher

Krystle Graser (, 4th & 5th Grade Orchestra Director and Lesson Teacher

Dean Kravitz ( General Music Teacher and 4th & 5th Grade Choral Director

Concert Performances - 7:00 PM

  • 4th Grade: December 12 and June 12
  • 5th Grade: December 13 and June 13

School Lunch

The Lafayette School requires that all lunch/cafeteria purchases are charged against a student account. All students in the School District of the Chathams have individual lunch accounts in place for them. A standard elementary school lunch is $3.50 per day and a la carte purchased items are extra. In order to set up an account, you can send in a check payable to the “School District of the Chathams” or you can put money on the account electronically by going to

  • The recommended operating account balance is $50.00.
  • When the account falls below $20.00 you will be notified with a low balance letter by email.
  • You can also sign up for auto-replenishment on PayForIt.

If your child has a zero balance in the account he/she may still use the account to purchase a basic lunch (no snack items) and you will receive an email for the balance due. If you choose not to let your child use the account you can notify me and I can block the account so the student cannot use it for lunches or snacks. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 973-457-2555 or email me: Applications for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program can be found by clicking on the following link:

Thank you for your time and cooperation.


Bob McBreen; Food Service Supervisor

Please click here to read a welcome back letter from Chef Aaron.

Open House

Come for a self guided tour around Lafayette before school begins.

September 5 - 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

School Hours

Our day begins at 8:45 am

We end our day at 3:15 pm

Supervision on the playground begins at 8:25 am. On rainy days, the students will line up in the gym and cafeteria.

First Day of School

On the first day of school, all 4th and 5th grade students will report to the back of the building and line up next to their teacher’s line-up sign. The teachers will join their class before the bell rings. LAF does not hold a "Clap In" on the first day of school.

In the event of rain, students should report to their classrooms on the first day of school.

School Supplies

If you ordered a school supply kit this past spring it will be available to your child on the first day of school. Please use the links below to view school supply lists if you are still in need of supplies.

Back to School Night

September 12

7:00 p.m.

More information to follow

Theater Arts Lottery

Lafayette offers Theater Arts as a class during the regularly scheduled school day. The Theater class will be working in a collaborative setting, performing activities and exercises which are fun, challenging, and rewarding. Students will explore creative drama, mime, movement, and storytelling.

We will be holding a lottery to develop the classes for Theater Arts. If you are interested in having your child placed in the lottery, please click on the link below and fill in the form by August 31st. Once the entries have been received, we will pick 75 students from each grade level. These 75 students will be divided into three classes. You will be notified the second week of school if your child will be participating in a 2018 - 2019 Theater Arts class.

Please click here to register for the Theater Arts Lottery. You will need your child's homeroom teacher's name to register.

~~ PTO Information ~~

Volunteer for the PTO

Calling all parents — Book Fair, Mini-Marathon, Field Day, Assemblies and so many more activities are organized by the PTO. We can’t do all that we do without you! Please sign up to help us out during the 2017-2018 school year.


Are you interested in being a Room Parent? Sign Up now and you will be included in a list of parents that we will use when choosing room parents. Nothing is guaranteed as class lists have not been distributed yet. Please sign up by August 25th. Thank you!

Lafayette Art Enrichment Lottery

Mrs. Kraemer is offering four different art enrichment opportunities after school this Fall which will culminate with an Art Show on January 16 from 6:00 – 7:30 at Lafayette School. If you are interested in having your child participate, please click on the link below and fill in the lottery form by midnight September 14th. The outcome of the lottery will be emailed to everyone by September 18th. If a child receives a spot in a class, the parent needs to respond to the e-mail from Mrs. Kraemer with “ACCEPT” or “DECLINE”. To complete the registration families will need to log into Community Pass (after they have been notified that they have been placed in an enrichment group) to register their child and pay a $40.00 materials fee.

Your child must be able to come to all of the listed sessions. The groups meet on the days listed below in the Art Room from 3:15-4:30 pm.

  • TUESDAYS: Build a Gargoyle We’ll use paper-mache and /or pariscraft and finish it off with metallic paints creating a bas-relief gargoyle sculpture for participants to take home. Meeting Dates: October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20, 27; December 11, 18
  • WEDNESDAY: WEAVING Learn about warps, wefts, heddles, etc. We will be using some simple lap looms, some 2 and 4 harness table looms and free-form looms. Meeting Dates: September 26; October 3, 10, 17, 24; November 14, 28; December 12, 19; January 2, 9
  • THURSDAY: CERAMICS We will work with a number of ceramic hand-building methods including pinch, coil, slab and may even have time for the potter’s wheel ...we will “fire” and glaze our work in the kiln. Meeting Dates: September 27; October 4, 11, 18, 25; November 1, 15, 29; December 13, 20, January 3.
  • FRIDAY: MURAL PAINTING (5th grade only) We will design and paint on some of our Lafayette walls to continue the mural that was begun four years ago. Meeting Dates: September 21, 28; October 5, 12, 19, 26; November 2, 16, 30; December 14; and January 4.

Please click here to register for the After School Art Enrichment Lottery. You will need your child's homeroom teacher's name to register.


On Monday, October 22nd the LAF PTO will be holding our annual Mini Marathon! The Mini Marathon is 1.6 mile run/walk, and all 4th and 5th grade students are encouraged to participate. Practices for the event will be held on Mondays, immediately after school until 4:00 pm, beginning on September 17th. The LAF Physical Education teacher, Mr. Shellenhamer and LAF PTO volunteers run all of the practices. The rain date for the event will be Tuesday, October 23rd.

You can register for the mini-marathon at to volunteer for the Mini Marathon and for the after-school practice support click here.

Picture Day - 9/12

It's time to say cheese and capture those beginning of the school year smiles! LAF Picture Day will be held on September 12th. Photos will be scheduled throughout the day so please send your child to school ready for their photo. Information for ordering your photos will be sent home and can be completed online. Should your child be absent on the 12th or you decide you are not happy with the photos, we will be offering a retake day on November 14th.

We are looking for 3 parent volunteers to assist with Picture Day. We need one volunteer for each of the following time slots: 8:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m., and 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, click on this link to sign-up .If you have any questions, please contact Shannon Matter (, Jamie Callahan ( or Ashley Dunn (

Families New to Chatham

Welcome to Chatham! Please join us on Tuesday, September 11th at 9:15 am for a Welcome Breakfast at Lafayette School. We will be available to chat with you, distribute important school and community information packets and answer any questions you may have. If you have any pressing questions before the breakfast, please feel free to contact:

Krista Caracciolo -

Tracy Meyler -

Rebecca Barber -

Library Volunteers

Calling all book lovers!! The LAF Library team has another great year planned for our children. To make that happen they really need our help. Here’s what you can do:

  • Volunteer for a regular library shift (2 hour shifts between 9:00am-3:00pm on either odd or even numbered days). Working in the library involves shelving books, checking books in/out and just helping Mrs. Cifrodella and the library staff as needed. It’s a great way to find out what the kids are learning at school, see what they are reading and occasionally get a glimpse of your child too!
If you would like to volunteer please send an email to with the following information:
  • Shift: 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., 1:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • Day(s) of the week
  • An odd or even numbered day (ex. every odd # Wednesday)
  • Your child’s name
Please consider volunteering your time to make the library a very special place for our children this school year. If you have any questions, please email coordinators Rebecca Henwood and Dawn Glynn at Thank you!

Box Tops for Education™

Welcome back!! Once again, Lafayette will be participating in the Box Tops for Education™ program to earn additional money for our school. Last year, LAF was able to raise almost $700 and we know we can do better. If every student contributed just 20 Box Tops, we could make a huge impact. Just look for pink Box Tops (or bonus certificates) on products, clip them, and send them to school. Our first collection will run until Friday, October 26, 2018. To make the submission process more efficient, we would appreciate your help as follows:

• Check the expiration date on your Boxtops--we cannot submit anything that has an expiration date before 11/1/18.

• Send in any Boxtops you have collected in a sealable (Ziploc-type) bag or envelope OR

• Tape or glue Box Tops on a collection sheet (one box top per space provided on the sheet), available under Forms at the LAF PTO website or at

Box Tops can be submitted to your child's teacher or to the basket in the LAF school office. For more information on the BoxTops for Education program, including a list of participating products, visit If you have any questions, feel free to contact Suzanne David ( Thanks for your help!