Lafayette School

September 2020

Principal Message ~ Cheryl Russo

Greetings Lafayette Families,

When I usually sit down to write this welcome letter, it's late June. I simply pull up last year's copy, make a few edits, and tuck it away until August. It is a check on my reliable summer to-do list. As you can imagine, that summer to-do list has drastically changed this year, as we plan a new unfamiliar school year. With our tried and true Lafayette traditions on hold for a bit, we are preparing to get ready to face school in a new way.

Let's not forget that new is not always bad. If I have learned anything during my 14 years in Chatham, it is that we are extremely resilient, and we rally around each other when faced with uncertainty. This remains true this year as well, and the PTO and I are already finding new ways for the students to make connections with each other as we start the year. We are exploring various virtual trips, school wide and class virtual events, and ways to give back to our neighbors and surrounding communities while safely maintaining social distancing.

This year, we won't jump into the first math and language arts lessons right away, instead, we are going to connect our two learning communities (virtual & in-person) through games, stories, and conversations. These connections and social-emotional lessons will continue throughout the year even as we begin the learning process.

Currently, I am fine-tuning a number of our procedures to ensure that students will be able to attend school and practice social distancing during morning arrival, in the hallways, and at dismissal. One of the biggest changes to LAF's procedures will be how the students enter and exit the building.

This year, your child will be assigned to a specific door in order to enter the building while maintaining social distance. During the week of August 24th, I will invite groups of students to practice locating their point of entry. They will be able to enter the building and walk to their classroom to become familiar with the arrival procedure. A schedule and more specifics on this walkthrough will be forthcoming.

Please know that my lines of communication are always open to LAF families, I can be reached at 973-457-2507 or via email at As we tell the kids, the only silly questions are the ones that are not asked; especially this year. Reach out to me or anyone on the PTO Board and we will compile all of your questions as they come in. We'll answer the ones we can and we will update everyone in the next newsletter. Here are a couple of questions that just came to my attention:

  • Will there be time for a snack? Yes, please pack a peanut-free/tree nut-free snack.
  • Can the kids wear the tube neck gaiter masks? Answer pending.


Cheryl Russo

Start Time, Pick Up Time, Virtual Learning Time

School starts at 8:45 a.m.

  • Students will be marked tardy beginning at 8:50 a.m.
  • Due to the new arrival procedure, we ask that students not arrive to school early and play on the playground.
Pick Up is at 1:15 p.m.

2:10 p.m.: Virtual Learning

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. Due the high level of collaboration between all of the Lafayette School stakeholders during the development of class lists and the complexities of this school year, the placements are firm barring any extraordinary circumstances. Placement information will be posted in the Parent Portal on August 17th.

Hello from the LAF PTO

Please mark your calendar for our virtual PTO Meetings. All meetings will begin at 9:15 a.m. Meeting links will be shared prior to the dates noted below:

  • September 17th, November 19th, January 14th, March 18, and May 12th.
Stay up to date!
  • "Like" Lafayette School PTO on FaceBook.
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 23rd. Thank you! ​
Thank you, Volunteers!

Lafayette PTO General Fund

Dear New and Returning Lafayette School Parents:

I hope this letter finds you and your families safe and healthy during these highly unusual times. I am writing on behalf of the PTO to request your support for the Lafayette General Fund. This year will be costly for Lafayette as we implement new safety measures, enhance virtual learning and strive to provide the cultural/social events and community projects that students typically enjoy as part of their school experience.

Each year the PTO works to ensure your donations are put to the best possible use. Last year, the PTO sponsored a new bike rack, a new entrance awning and most importantly the renovation of the school courtyard. Given the pandemic, the courtyard will have a much greater impact than was anticipated at the time. Teachers can reserve the courtyard for use as an outdoor classroom and students can enjoy this new socially distant, outdoor space throughout the day.

The PTO’s top priority is supporting the safety and education of our students. Currently, we are evaluating social distancing solutions, PPE and safety/cleaning supplies for the start of school. In addition, we are working with the Lafayette administration to help enhance the educational experience of our distance learners. As the year goes on, our goal is to have the resources available to respond to Lafayette’s changing needs as new challenges arise.

We understand that the uncertainty of what schools will look like may be influencing your donation. I would like to assure you that the PTO will carefully evaluate our investments to support both in school and online learners and make meaningful contributions. I speak for Mrs. Russo, the teachers and staff when I thank you in advance for any support you can provide as it is particularly needed this year.

The suggested donation for this year is $100 per family but donations of any size are appreciated. Donations received by August 15th will be particularly helpful to purchase supplies needed for school reopening. Please donate by clicking the link or mailing a check to the address below.

· Online: Via Square:

· Mail: Mail your check with the attached form to;

Lafayette PTO General Fund

C/O Lafayette School

221 Lafayette Avenue

Chatham, NJ 07928

Thank you for your continued support of the Lafayette community.

Andrea Caserta

Lafayette PTO President 2020-21


_________ Yes! We want to support “The Fund for LAF!

Enclosed is our check written out to “LAF PTO” in the amount of: $______________________

Family Name: ________________________________________________________

Student Name(s):_____________________________________________________

Matching Gift Information

Legal Name of Organization: PTO of the Chathams, Inc.

Address: PO Box 104, Chatham, NJ 07928

Tax ID: 20-8695766

Contact Info: PTO District Cabinet Treasurer

Contact Email:

The LAF PTO is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible and can be matched by your employer.

Families New to Chatham

Welcome to Chatham! Please join us on Wednesday, September 9th at 9:15 am for a Virtual Welcome Breakfast. We will be available to chat with you, share important school and community information, and answer any questions you may have.

Navigating Drop Off & Pick Up

With just over 600 students enrolled in LAF, we have many cars and bikes to manage at the beginning and end of the day. We use the high school circle for parent pick up and drop off. This leaves the LAF circle open for the buses and keeps the area safe for our walking and biking students.
  • As noted above, students will enter the building through the use of multiple doors.
  • When using the drop-off area, your child should have all of their things and be ready to exit the car as soon as you pull all the way up to the car in front of you.
  • We will have many supervisors assisting each morning, please exit the circle as soon as your child exits the car.
  • At the end of the day, our students will also use multiple exits to leave the building. All students getting picked up will assemble in front of the high school auditorium. Supervisors will assist parents and students during pick-up from the car line. Do not get out of your car and use caution when pulling away.
  • There is a bike rack in the front and back of the building. All bikes should be locked up for the day.

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. We are unable to order more kits at this time. Please use the links below to view school supply lists if you are still in need of supplies.

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