Catena Colts Connected

November 28, 2020

Dear Catena Families,

We hope that all of our families enjoyed quality time together either in-person or virtually this Thanksgiving. The holiday certainly looked different for many of us in 2020; though we were reminded of the importance of family, friends and connections-no matter how those connections were nurtured this year. There is much around us to be grateful for. We have linked Edition 2 of Wellness Wednesday in case your family would like to take another opportunity to make gratitude practice a habit. Take time to thankful this season, we will!

We thank families for completing and remind families of the importance of completing the Daily Health Screening form each morning. While Catena remains virtual, we ask that families continue to complete the form on the days students are scheduled to attend school in-person (Cohort day). The screening form is a tool utilized to monitor symptoms, illness and COVID-19 cases in the community. Families can also call the school or email Ms. Shaw, Mrs. Cecilione or Mrs. Toth to discuss a child's symptoms, illness or possible COVID-19 positivity. Collaboration amongst all in our school community allows us to take appropriate and necessary actions to ensure a safe environment here at school.

Together, we are Catena Strong!

We miss having everyone in the building, though we know it is necessary to help our community at this time. As Mr. Dickstein shared in his communication, we are fortunate to be able to maintain a continuity of learning virtually with our SuperKids. We encourage families to do their part and help us increase our chances of reopening the school building in December. Keep in touch with your teachers and with us so we can be of support in any way possible.

This holiday season, continue to be a light! Share your smiles, positivity and kindness, practice gratitude and celebrate your connections. Cherish all the little moments of joy and celebrate with your loved ones. Most of all, be safe and stay healthy.

With warmth & gratitude,

Ms. Shaw & Mrs. Cecilione

Grateful to Boy Scout Pack 158

This team of boys picked up, organized and delivered our Project Eat Thanksgiving food collection to Open Door. Way to help the community, SuperKids! (not all boys pictured here)
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Upcoming dates to remember...

Monday, December 14th: Return to Cohort Schedule; Cohort A attends in-person

Wednesday, December 16th: PTO Meeting; Join via Zoom link on PTO webpage

PB & J Collection to benefit Open Door

This holiday season we can help Girl Scout Troop 527 support Open Door by donating peanut butter & jelly. November 30th-December 11th at JJCS.


An attendance alert is automatically generated in your Genesis message center once your child is marked absent. If a child is not physically in the building by 9:00 or virtually logged on to their zoom by 9:00, they will be marked absent. As they enter, their attendance is changed.

If you received an alert and you checked your message center and it is regarding attendance, please go to the attendance tab to view the calendar. If there is still a discrepancy, please notify the homeroom teacher.

SuperKids Learning All Day~virtually until December 14th!

Until December 14th, all SuperKids will learn from home 9am-1pm daily. During this time it is important that students are engaged in the classroom schedule. This will be a balance of teacher-led and independent learning. Please be sure that SuperKids are prepared with supplies and in their "learning space" during this time so they can engage appropriately.

Our SuperKids' days continue in the afternoon. These PM Learning Blocks are from 2:25-3:35 each day following time for all students to have lunch and recess at home. Live lessons/learning time may not be scheduled every day; however, when small groups or individual lessons are scheduled it is in the effort to personalize learning for students. This PM Learning Block affords teachers time to provide intervention and enrichment for students in content areas. Please prioritize these scheduled lessons for your students. Teacher/student learning conferences, asynchronous lessons and assignments and related arts classes are also scheduled daily. Teachers will share schedules in their Google Classrooms and students will have personalized learning opportunities across the week!

From Our School Nurse~Mrs. Toth

Reminder: You must complete the COVID form every day that we are expecting your child in the building. For example, if your child is in Cohort A, you should complete the form on every Cohort A day regardless if your child will be present in the building or virtual.

Daily Health Screening

Thank you! Our families have been doing a great job completing the district required Daily Health Screening. We ask that families prioritize time each morning before sending students off to school (on a bus, in a car, or by foot!) to complete the Daily Health Screening by 8:30am.

Log on to Genesis Parent Portal each morning and fill out the survey by 8:30 AM for each of your children(

Honesty is a must! If your child is showing symptoms, keep him/her home and allow him/her to participate virtually. Completing the Daily Health Screening must become part of each Catena family's morning routine. It is already part of ours~all staff monitor themselves for illness and completes a Daily Health Screening.

What happens if a student arrives to school without a Daily Health Screening completed?

If the Daily Health Screening is not completed, students will not be able to start the school day with their classmates. Screening by the school nurse will be conducted and families will be contacted. A parent must then complete the Daily Health Screening along with the nurse or a health assistant and confirm that the child is in good health and has not been in close contact with someone with Covid-19.

Completing the Daily Health Screening is crucial as we strive to maintain a safe and healthy environment for SuperKids, families and Catena staff!

Try this morning checklist:

  • Completed Covid/Daily Health Screening on Genesis Parent Portal;
  • My SuperKid has their mask on. We have labeled the mask;
  • My SuperKid has a back-up mask in their bookbag;
  • Snack and a water bottle are packed in my SuperKid's bookbag!
Daily COVID screening form - Google Slides

Main Office Reminders

Reporting A SuperKid's Absence

Please follow these steps when communicating your SuperKid will not be attending school for illness related reasons:

  • Call your school's main phone line 732-431-4430 to access the attendance line (press 1) prior to the start of the school day (9:00 AM), OR
  • Send email to teacher and main office staff reporting a child's absence. Including the office is essential as they begin working immediately to verify attendance & teachers don't always forward along emails right away as they begin teaching for the day.
  • Leave a message or provide staff with the following detailed information: NAME, GRADE, TEACHER, REASON FOR ABSENCE, GIVE SPECIFIC SYMPTOMS
  • School staff will inform you of when student can return to school
  • A PHONE CONFERENCE with your School Nurse is REQUIRED if student is excluded for COVID-related symptoms (see above)

If your child is not attending school for reasons other than illness, be sure to communicate that in your call or email. Thank you!


Please be sure to communicate any travel plans to the Main Office. The district will require a 14 day quarantine for any student or staff visiting states on the NJ Quarantine List or a country on the Level 2/3 travel notice. If we do not have a reason for a student's absence we will be calling to verify. Additionally, communication will be sent with a date when students may return to the school building.

Pick Up Items-Week of 11-30

Teachers will continue to communicate with families regarding supply and material pick-ups at the school during virtual learning for all. Additionally, school pictures will be outside again this week (under the Safe sign).

Be on the look out for dates to pick up Bridges Math Manipulative At-Home Kits for all students & Catena Mask Lanyards for those who ordered them. There are still some available to purchase, 4$ each. Please email the Main Office if you are interested in purchasing~first come basis. This is a Character Development Team fundraiser.

Be Responsible~Mask Up!

SuperKids are doing an awesome job! As per the New Jersey Department of Education guidance provided to all school districts, masks are required to be worn by all staff and students throughout the school day. Students riding buses are required to wear masks from the time they board the bus in the morning until they get off the bus at the end of the day. Students who walk to school or are driven to school must wear face masks once they enter school property. Upon leaving school property in the afternoon students can remove face masks. Parents accompanying students in the morning or picking up students in the afternoon must wear masks.

Masks may be removed for water breaks and during scheduled snack, when students are socially distanced with 6ft of space. By making sure we "mask up" we can keep ourselves and others safe at school.

Families should make time to review the district's mandate and school expectations for wearing a face mask. We will continue to review the expectations and appreciate your support in doing so at home.

Technology Support

If your child is having difficulty using their FTS district issued chromebook, please send an email or call the Catena Main Office who will submit a ticket accordingly to our Technology Department. Thank you for your patience. We are working to address repairs and tickets on a daily basis to keep SuperKids connected to their classrooms & learning!

Virtual Learning Expectations

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JJCS Parent Support Site


Saturday, 11-28 Today is the last day to order from the PTO Holiday Shop!

Support the PTO and shop for the holidays online with your SuperKids!

Joseph J Catena Elementary School

For 60 years we've focused on building strong minds, strong bodies & strong character! Our students are encouraged to share their unique talents and gifts and follow their curiosities as they grow and learn. In 2021 Catena turns 60 and we are excited to celebrate the strength of our school community. Together~parents, staff & students~we are Catena Strong. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn with our SuperKids, incredible staff and amazing families each day at JJCS!