Principal Garcia's Newsletter

Friday, May 5, 2023

Torey J. Sabatini School

Important Dates

  • May 6 - Madison Green and Clean Day
  • May 7 - MEF 5K
  • May 8-15 - NJSLA ELA and Math Testing in Grades 3-5
  • May 15-19 - Look for the Good Campaign...more info to come!
  • May 18-19 - NJSLA Science Testing Grade 5
  • May 16-24 - NJSLA General Make-ups
  • May 16 - TJS Spring Concert at MJS at 6 PM
  • May 22 - Incoming Kindergarten Parent/Child Orientation at 1:30 PM
  • May 23 - MPS BOE Meeting
  • May 25-31 - No School Memorial Day
  • May 31 - Incoming Kindergarten Warm-Up Screening (by appointment only)
  • June 1 - Field Day
  • June 2 - TJS Spirit Wear Day
  • June 5 - Field Day Rain Date
  • June 6 - First Grade Parent Tea
  • June 6 - Grade 5 Staff vs. Student Kickball Game at 3:20 PM
  • June 8 - Grade 5 Staff vs. Student Kickball Game Rain Date at 3:20 PM
  • June 9 - PTO Jamboree
  • June 12 - Grade 5 Recognition Ceremony at 9:30 AM
  • June 14 - Last Day of School / Single Session Early Dismissal Day / Grade 5 Clap Out
  • June 14 - Report Cards Available for Parents in the Genesis Portal

Thank You TJS Teachers and Staff!

Extending tremendous gratitude to our TJS teachers and staff for all that they do for our students, this week and every week. Teachers enjoyed a PTO-sponsored breakfast, lunch, candy bar, raffle items, and a fully stocked faculty room pantry of treats! Thank you to the parents for showering our teachers this week!
Big picture

Announcing the TJS Teacher of the Year and Educational Services Professional of the Year

Each year a committee of staff and a parent representative go through the difficult process to read the many nominations and vote on the teacher of the year and educational support professional of the year. There is a rigorous rubric we utilize to look through the many nominations. We are pleased to announce this year’s honorees…who will be formally recognized at the May 23, 2023, Board of Education Meeting.

Congratulations TJS Teacher of the Year...Ms. Michelle D'Amico! Congratulations TJS Educational Services Professional of the Year...Mrs. Theresa Fernandes!

Big picture

Weekly Reading Tips from Mrs. LoBrace

All About Determining Theme

Theme is the central message that the author wants the reader to understand. Themes often come from the author’s own beliefs or feelings.

Theme is not the same as the main idea.


-a lesson the author wants us to learn

-a moral the author is trying to show us

-can represent the author’s own beliefs.

-can be applied to our own lives.


Main Idea

-a summary of what the story was mostly about

-only applies to the story

-refers to specific characters

***By studying the plot and events of a story we can identify the theme.

***One way to visualize the plot is by creating a Story Mountain.

Click on the link below for graphic organizers for determining the plot & theme!

Story Mountain & Determining Theme Organizers

Big picture

Important News from the TJS Health Office

May is Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Month

With May being Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Month in New Jersey, I wanted to share some helpful information from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) to assist with the recognition of ticks and the prevention of bites. Since the children will be outside more often in the warmer months ahead, they will be more susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. It is recommended that tick checks be regularly performed on your children after playing outside, particularly if they have been playing in areas of tall grass or in the woods (it is recommended that these areas be avoided if possible). Please see the attached letter from the NJDOH for detailed information on ticks in New Jersey, tips for recognition and prevention, and additional educational resources. Please note that while the NJDOH recommends that an EPA-registered insect repellent be applied, this cannot be done by the nurse or student while at school. Should you wish to apply insect repellent, this must be done at home prior to coming to school. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Important 5th-Grade Reminders:

Mandatory 5th-Grade Immunizations:

As a reminder, when your child turns 11 years old they are required to have 2 additional vaccinations, Meningococcal and TDAP, in order to enter grade 6 in the fall. As you schedule your child’s well visit around their birthday, please remember to follow up with the necessary immunizations and documentation that is required for entry into school. Please open the attached letter with the required vaccinations indicated, bring it to your child's pediatrician, and return it to the TJS health office upon completion. If your child's appointment is over the summer, please return the required form to the Madison Junior School nurse, Pauline Bliss. at

5th Grade Child Life Lesson: Please read the attached memo and return the form if you would like to OPT OUT of the lesson for your child. Discussions will take place the week of May 15th with the boys and girls separately.

Big picture
Big picture

Staff Spotlight

Mr. Jason Griggs, Teacher's Assistant

Hello, everyone! My name is Jason Griggs and this is my ninth year working for the Madison School District. I began as a substitute teacher, working almost every day trying to show the district my passion for teaching children and my hard work paid off when I was offered a teacher’s assistant position at TJS seven years ago. Not only do I love working with children of all ages and seeing them grow from the start of the school year to the end, but I value my relationships with every teacher I have worked with trying to do my best for them while trying to meet the needs of the children. I received my B.A. in English Literature at Long Beach State University in California and received my Masters in Early Childhood Education at Bank Street College in NYC. I started my teaching career at Bank Street School for Children and The Town School, both located in Manhattan, working in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. These private schools embraced a progressive education model. Later I transitioned to public schools which followed more traditional models of teaching and these past experiences have helped me become a well-rounded educator. I also have a culinary certificate from the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. And my sister says I make the best pancakes in the world!!

My passions are cooking, golfing and taking road trips. Whether it’s baking chocolate chip cookies for the staff to enjoy or testing out a tasty stir-fry concoction, the kitchen is where you will often find me. I’ve been playing golf since I was a young boy and have played all across the country. My favorite golf courses I have played are Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan. Every summer I enjoy getting in my car and taking long road trips. Having spent over 18 years living in California my travels often take me there to visit friends. Along the way there I enjoy visiting many of our magnificent national parks!! My favorite park so far is Glacier Nat’l Park in Montana! I am also very proud to have driven through every state in the country except for one… Alaska!! While traveling I enjoy taking photographs of all the parks, restaurants and golf courses I visit and share them to Google Maps!! I’m a high-ranking ‘Local Guide’ for Google Maps where my pictures have just over 100 million views!!

I love animals and have lived with them all my life. I have a golden retriever named Milo and two cats, Maddie and Mookie. I enjoy taking Milo to the park and going on walks.

Madison is a very special place to work and I feel privileged to have spent the last nine years here. TJS is a very close-knit community and I’m proud and fortunate to call many of my colleagues friends.

Big picture

News from the PTO

It’s hard to believe May is already here! We are so excited for all of our end of year activities coming up! Save the dates!

Green and Clean at TJS is TOMORROW! Saturday, May 6th 9-3pm

Please come out to help us weed/mulch/clean/etc.

And please bring any wheelbarrows/pitchforks/rakes/gloves you can.

Questions? Email Steve Alcorn at

Color Run - Tuesday, May 23rd

Registration is now closed. Thank you to those that registered - it will be AMAZING! Thanks to i9 Sports for organizing this event with us.

Jamboree - Friday, June 9th

The TJS PTO is excited for one of the most fun events of the year! Please join us for a family-friendly good time with carnival games, inflatables, DJ, photo booth, face paint, raffle prizes, food trucks, and more! You don't want to miss this end-of-school-year celebration! Siblings of all ages are welcome!

Attention 5th Grade Parents

There’s so much planned for the 5th grade students! Pool Party details coming soon!!

News from the MEF

Registration is open for the 3rd Annual MEF Pickleball Tournament on Saturday, June 3rd! Paddle up for a great cause... our schools! Join us on May 7th for a 1-mile run/walk, 5K run/walk, and Kids Fun Run. All funds raised help MEF award teacher grants in Madison Public Schools. Visit the MEF website to learn more.
Big picture
Big picture

Madison Summer STEAM Academy

The Madison STEAM Academy returns this summer for its sixth year and is bigger than ever before!

The STEAM Academy offers a hands-on, engaging camp experience for students entering grades 1 through 12 in the 2023-24 school year. With a diverse range of interesting courses, there's an exciting opportunity for every interest! Programming is offered across six week-long sessions in either AM, PM, or full-day options, and enrollment is not limited to Madison residents. Extended day options and tuition assistance are also available to ensure that any interested student can access this amazing program! For enrollment, course offerings, and more information, please visit

Madison Summer Arts Program

There's still time to sign up for the Madison Summer Arts Program at MHS from June 19-July 14! Students entering grades 4 through 8 can choose from band, orchestra, musical theatre, dance, and art classes. Students entering grade 6 can also sign up for guitar lessons, jazz band, and flute ensemble. Hope to see you there! Please click on the QR code below for more information.
Big picture
Big picture