James Monroe Newsletter

October 2021

James Monroe Back to School Night 2021

A message from the principal

Dear James Monroe Families,

We have had a very exciting start to the school year! It has been valuable time spending time getting to know your children. This looks different across the grade levels, however we continue to dedicate time each morning to get to learn about each other during our morning meetings through share circles, activities and fun greeetings. Additionally, this coming month, our staff will be scheduling time with parents and children for family meetings to develop our relationships and find out what you see as your child's greatest strengths and skills. In the classroom, we have been conducting assessments to determine our students skills and plan appropriately. Combined, this paints a detailed picture that enables our staff to meet the needs of our students and best support and teach them for this school year.

Please assist us with these important safety reminders:

1. Parking in the neighborhood has increased due to bussing issues. It is best to arrive early, park safely (never block driveways) and walk your child. Do not exit or drop off children in the middle of the street. Please try to drive down Halo St. and travel up Harmon St. If we keep the flow moving in one direction it will ease the congestion. We have raised the concerns with the traffic division of the Police Department.

2. Please walk only on sidewalks and crosswalks. Several people walk on the drainage stones going along the path in the back of the school. This is dangerous and should not be used as a throroughfare.

3. Do not walk through the bus lane in the circle during arrival and dismissal.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. We are looking forward to an outstanding October! Please read below about our Week of Respect theme days, Harvest Eve and so much more!


Mrs. Cyndi Tufaro, principal


Mrs. Pamela Hernandez, interim assistant principal


Thanks for joining us at our Friends Reunion!

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October Calendar

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

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Week of Respect - October 4th - 8th

James Monroe unites to show respect. Please join us each day and dress up for our theme days! Use the questions on the chart below to start a family discussion focused on each day's lesson.
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Picture Day

Picture day is October 20th and 21st. Students will take individual photos and class pictures. Masks will be removed briefly, but safety measures will be followed. Please inform you child's teacher if you have any concerns.

Harvest Eve

We hope to see you at our PTO Harvest Eve on October 15th from 5 pm - 8 pm. This special event is a tremendous source of revenue for our PTO which aims to finance many events at our school including upcoming field trips. Please join us with your family and enjoy the old-fashioned carnival style atmosphere on what will hopefully be a beautiful fall evening.

We are grateful for your assistance and volunteers are still needed. Email monroeowlspto@gmail.com if you want to help. If you can't be here, consider sending in something for the snack table. See the link below for more information.

Harvest Eve Survey

Please answer this survey so the PTO can plan for Harvest Eve.

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PTO Membership Form

Open here to access the PTO form.

Start Strong State Testing

On October 12th and 13th, our 4th and 5th grade students will be participating in state standardized tests. These are shortened versions of the annual NJSLA that will last for approximately 60 minutes each day. Students will be tested on ELA and Math.

Visit the New Jersey State Learning Assessment Resource Website to access tutorials and practice tests.

Classroom teachers have begun helping children become familiar with the format, types of questions and testing tools in their classes. You can help your child prepare for the test by reminding them to get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast and to stay calm.

Family Meetings - Oct 6th, 12th, 19th

Staff will be offering time during October after school to schedule meetings with families. These meetings provide time to learn about our students, your families and what the last year may have looked like for them. You will be able to schedule appointments in Parent Portal or contact your child's teacher directly. Teachers will send you a link for join a virtual meeting.

It will be part of our data gathering, as we understand our students needs, and learn who they are. It is an effort in our drive towards reaching every child. These are NOT conferences.

How to set up a Family Meeting

1. Log into Parent Portal.

2. Go to Student Data and select conferences. A link will appear that says “Schedule family meeting” for each available day. (See image below)

3. On the next screen, select “Reserve” to reserve a day and time for your child's homeroom teacher.

4. Select only one meeting per teacher. An email notification will be sent to confirm the appointment.

If you are unable to attend the family meeting, please email the teacher to cancel or change/reschedule your appointment in the Parent Portal. This is a courtesy to the teacher.

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5th grade Camp Bernie Trip

This year, our 5th grade classes will be going on a one day adventure to Camp Bernie. This day will consist of outdoor experiences, team building and confidence exercises.

Our trip is currently scheduled for October 28th. All forms must be turned in. Please contact your child's teacher or cynthia.reif@edison.k12.nj.us with any questions.

If you are a parent of a 5th grade student and would like to learn more information about Camp Bernie, check out the Parent Info Night website.

Our next newsletter will include photos from our adventure!

Author Visit!

We are thrilled ot announce that author and actress, Sheetal Sheth, will be visiting James Monroe school on October 26th to read her new book, Bravo Anjali, to all the classes and to sign autographed copies for any students who purchase a copy of the book.

Mrs. Tufaro, Mrs. Phil and Mrs. Hernandez visited all the classes this past month and read Ms. Sheth's other title, Always Anjali, a story about the importance of our names and respecting each other. We talked about what to do if you don't know someone's name and how it is important to learn how to say someone's name correctly.

Thank you to Mr. Osofsky for organizing the event!

Pumpkin Decorating Contest is Back!

Click here for the registration form and to read about the contest.
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Our Halloween Parade will take place on October 29th at 9:30 a.m weather permitting. Please send your child to school dressed in their Halloween costume.

Please remember that all costumes must be safe, non-violent and not cover the face. If your child will not be participating, please send a note to your child's teacher, and your child will not participate in the parade.

The parade route starts out the front doors and proceeds twice around the building. You can view the parade along all four sides of the building. Children will be walking on the sidewalk, please stay on the perimeter.

Technology Updates

Each classroom was provided with a brand new interactive board this month. These devices replaced the older Promethean Boards and offer awesome viewing capabilities which enhance learning.

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.

A Message from Mrs. Sclafani, our School Nurse

Dear James Monroe Families,

This new school year, we are happy to be back in our building and seeing each other’s friendly faces again! With this however, comes the responsibility of teamwork and cooperation with helping each other to stay healthy and productive. Please think of others when your child shows symptoms of illness. Call or email me to discuss their symptoms and accept the guidance based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Dept. of Health (NJDOH) and the New Jersey Dept of Education (NJDOE) to prevent the spread of communicable diseases; not just Covid-19, but also Influenza, Strep, Viral Pharyngitis and more. Please read on for health requirements for school attendance.

  1. VACCINATIONS AND PHYSICALS PAST DUE - Students who are new to James Monroe School, have immunization and physical examination requirements to fulfill within 30 days of enrollment in Edison Township school district. If you have not submitted these to the health office and they are due, please note that “The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) will not waive any vaccine requirements nor will there be any extensions for the upcoming school year. Students will be expected to comply with all vaccine requirements prior to attending in-person or home at a New Jersey school.” All required vaccinations and physical examinations that have not been submitted must be received October 20, 2021, regardless of in-school or home instruction. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in your student being excluded from school until such time that missing requirements are handed in to the school nurse.

  2. EMERGENCY CONTACTS - Please be sure to have at least 1-2 persons noted as emergency contacts in case your child is ill or injured during school hours. These emergency contacts should be family members; neighbors or friends who have a car and can pick up your child quickly and take them to your home, to their house, or to the doctor if needed. If you receive a call to pick up your child, pick up must be in UNDER 30 MINUTES. The pandemic has understandably necessitated a speedier discharge of possibly Covid-19 positive students. This is to avoid exposures to illnesses both TO your child and FROM your child to others. Also, when your child is ill he/she is usually very uncomfortable and appreciates receiving the care and rest he/she needs right away.

3. ILLNESS PREVENTION - Please do NOT send your student to school with ANY SYMPTOMS OF

ILLNESS including, but not limited to:

  • Fever of 100.4 F or above, within the last 24 hours (must be fever free without medication)

  • Vomiting or Diarrhea within the last 24 hours

  • Continuous coughing not relieved with cough medicine

  • Strep Throat – student may return 24 hours after starting antibiotics

  • Please check with your doctor or me about other illnesses

  • Please remember to notify me and/or the front office if your child has a contagious illness!

If your child is sick but a healthcare provider tells you that your child doesn’t have COVID-19, your child may still need to stay home for some time. Before bringing your child back to school or other in-person activities, discuss your child’s illness with their healthcare provider and review school policies with the school nurse regarding when a student who has been sick can return.


If your student/s had any medical restrictions last school year for physical activity in gym and/or recess programs, please provide the updated documentation from the doctor if it is to remain the same. This includes injuries involving splints, casts, reduced activity due to injuries or chronic documented medical condition, etc.


If your student cannot take outside recess for any reason such as severe seasonal allergies, or needs to sit at the allergen free table during meals or snack time in class, please submit a parent note or email me for this at kathleen.sclafani@edison.k12.nj.us.


Remember to provide asthma treatment plans, severe allergy treatment plans, seizure action plans, diabetic treatment plans yearly and physical examinations if not done in the last 2-3 years. Please let me know if you need medication forms for your student who requires medications dispensed from the nurses office during school hours, e.g., ADHD meds, analgesics for headaches, eye drops, etc., if not included in the aforementioned treatment plans.


Please contact me to arrange the drop off of medications that will be needed in school for any reason. There are new rules for visitors which will restrict your entry to the building, so communication is necessary and you will be asked to sign a drop-off sheet. All medications require a doctor's form as mentioned above and must be in their original, up-to-date pharmacy labeled containers. Students are not permitted to transport medications, these MUST be dropped off by a parent with the paperwork. Please do not send the paperwork in separately, it must accompany the medication to be registered in the computer and to be given to your student.

8. HELPFUL TIPS FOR STAYING HEALTHYplease review these with your student/s:

  • Frequent hand washing is the BEST way to prevent and combat the spread of germs!! Wash hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer (Pro Tip – sing the Happy Birthday Song twice to wash long enough)

  • Cover coughs & sneezes with a tissue that you throw away, or use an elbow or arm if no tissue is available. Please practice and role-play this scenario with your child.

  • Do not share drinks, food or unwashed utensils.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as much as possible.

  • Get plenty of rest, regular exercise, eat healthy foods, and drink lots of water and healthy drinks (soda does not count!).

  • Avoid people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.

  • Disinfect surfaces that are prone to germs (ex. Phones, keyboards, doorknobs, toothbrushes).

  • A flu shot is your best protection against getting the flu! Make sure to get your own flu vaccination, as well as your student’s flu vaccination at the physician’s office or local pharmacy. The goal is for the whole family to be healthy so as not to spread illnesses back and forth and not be vulnerable to Covid-19.

  • Please also visit www.flu.gov for more information on the flu season and vaccines. 1-800-CDC-INFO is another vital source of information.

Here are some websites to help guide you in your decisions for proper safeguarding during the pandemic:

Thank you for your cooperation and consideration of others when your student might be contagious. We must work together to help our children get the best education they can, in the safest and healthiest environment possible.

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James Monroe Parent Handbook

Open here to access information about James Monroe School.