Ravine Drive School

September Newsletter

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A message from Mrs. Janover

Welcome back! I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new families! I hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer. The doors will open for the 2018-2019 school year on Thursday, September 6, 2018. We are looking forward to welcoming all of our students.


It has been a very busy summer at Ravine Drive School. The district is in the process of installing air conditioning in the school. As you may remember, the air conditioning in the pod was installed last summer. They are completing the building this summer.


In addition to this monthly newsletter, I will continue to send home Ravine Drive School's Weekly Virtual Backpack. The e-blast will be sent home each Wednesday, providing parents with week-to-week information regarding school news, upcoming events, and information regarding flyers and notices. I encourage you to periodically review your contacts in the Realtime Parent Portal to confirm that you have your current email address and phone numbers listed, as well as the names of any adults you would like to allow to pick up your child. The Parent Portal also contains information regarding your child's schedule, grades, and attendance. Information regarding your chid's teacher for the 2018-2019 school year will be available on the Parent Portal on August 25th.


Please also take a few minutes to read the message below from the Business Office regarding the new policy/procedures regarding meal balances.


I am looking forward to a fantastic new school year. As always, I encourage you to stay in touch with your child's teachers and be a part of our PTO. As a reminder, our Back to School Night has been scheduled for Monday, September 17th at 7:00.

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Important Message from the Business Office

The Business Office hopes that you are enjoying the summer.

Please note that the district is implementing a new policy/procedure regarding meal balances. Specifically, students will not be allowed to carry a negative balance on their meal account.

As you know, parents/guardians are responsible for providing meals for their children. Under this new policy in the event that a student does not have a meal or sufficient funds to complete a purchase in the cafeteria, the student will be directed to the Main Office to contact their parent/guardian.

The goal of the district is to provide students with the support systems necessary to make sure that students receive adequate nourishment. Therefore, please consider completing a meal application for the 2018/19 school year . The application may be found at https://www.marsd.org, Departments, Business Office or via physical copy from the Main Office. In the event that you need assistance with the application please feel free to contact your contact your child’s school Principal, School Nurse or the Business Office at 732-705-4016.

Have a great school year, and should you have any questions, please feel free to reach to the Business Office at ba@marsd.org.

The Business Office

The Portal Goes Live on Saturday, August 25, 2018

On Saturday, August 25th parents will be able to login to the Parent Portal to view their child's teacher and schedule. Mrs. Palumbo, the school secretary, has already mailed login information to our incoming K families, as well as our new students. If you did not receive your login information, please contact Mrs. Palumbo at spalumbo@marsd.org. While you're on the portal, please make sure to check and update all contact information (phone #s, email addresses) as well as adults approved to pick up your child from school and/or the bus.
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Kindergarten Orientation

A special orientation program will be held on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 2:00. Since this will be a very "active" orientation program, only the kindergartener and his/her parent(s) should attend. Thank you for your cooperation. In addition, our PTO will be holding a "Meet and Greet" for our new K families beginning at 1:30. We look forward to meeting you and your child on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at 2:00 in the gymnasium.

Back to School Night at Ravine Drive School

Ravine Drive School's Back to School Night will be held on Monday, September 17, 2018 at 7:00 PM. Parents should proceed directly to their child's classroom. Parents will have the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers and gain a better understanding of the curriculum. Although the Parent Teacher Conferences are not scheduled until November 27th and 28th, please stay in communication with the teacher about the progress that your son or daughter is making in the classroom. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Welcome to our new staff!

We are excited to introduce the new members of the Ravine Drive Staff. Ms. Burlew and Mrs. D'Agostino will be assisting our learners as special education teachers. Ms. Sardoni has joined our staff as the Music teacher. Ms. Ninger will be our new counselor. Mrs. Carrante and Mrs. Letowsky will also be providing support to our students as instructional assistants. Mrs. Ruscavage has joined the elementary team. She has taken on the role of PreK - 3 Assistant Principal, providing support at Ravine Drive, Cliffwood, Strathmore and Cambridge Park. Welcome to our new staff!

Morning Arrival

As a reminder, the front of the school by the flagpole and the Kiss and Drop Loop are only for dropping off students. Parents should not be using this area to park and walk their child to the door. As a reminder, please use the parking lot in the Kiss and Drop Loop if you would like to park and walk your child to the door. Thank you for all of your assistance as we work to improve the arrival of students.

Follow Ravine Drive School on Twitter!

I have started using Twitter as another way to share photos, news and more to Ravine Drive families. If you use Twitter, you can follow us @RavineDrive. Our tweets can also be found on our school website or by clicking this link.
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Security Vestibule

As a reminder, the district has implemented procedures regarding the use of the security vestibule. All adults will be asked to provide photo identification when entering the school or signing children out of the school. Additional information is also available on the district website. Thank you for your assistance as we implement these procedures.
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Wilson Fundations in Kindergarten and Grade 1 this school year!


Wilson Fundations is a multisensory K-3 structured language program.

The systematic program emphasizes:

  • Phonemic awareness

  • Phonics/word study

  • High frequency word study

  • Reading fluency

  • Vocabulary

  • Comprehension strategies

  • Handwriting

  • Spelling

The instructional principles that are the basis for all of Wilson’s programs help learners to gain literacy skills and provide a common framework for those who need further intervention to make progress.

For students in grades K-3

The Fundations curriculum provides multisensory lessons that benefit every student in the classroom, starting early to prevent reading and spelling failure.

How Can Parents Assist Their Child?

Parental involvement in developing literacy skills is encouraged—and is even built into Fundations. Fundations Home Support Packs make it easy for teachers to send updates to parents about the concepts students are currently learning and activities that should be done with children to reinforce instruction. Home Support Packs are available for each Level of Fundations, with English and Spanish options to facilitate communication with diverse home environments.

For every child, home activities that foster development of vocabulary and comprehension skills are important. When parents read aloud to their children and have discussions about the meaning of the text, children are exposed to more advanced concepts, even though they may not yet be able to read the material themselves. Listening to audiobooks is another great way to build comprehension and support classroom learning.

Encouraging children to speak up, express themselves, and think critically develops oral and mental skills that can later be translated into writing and composition abilities. Creativity and achievements in other areas should also be celebrated. Students who are struggling with reading or have been diagnosed with dyslexia may develop self-image issues and stop exerting effort into trying to read, so parental support and advocacy are especially important.


Taken from: http://www.wilsonlanguage.com/parents/

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New Literacy Program in 2nd and 3rd Grade!

As you may aware, the district has adopted Literacy by Design, a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt literacy framework, to support reading and writing instruction in grades two and three for the 2018-19 school year. This adoption follows a year-long pilot that took place in select second and third grade classrooms during the 2017-18 school year.


Literacy by Design (LBD) is a research-based reading and writing framework which utilizes whole class, small group and independent reading to meet the needs of all students. Literacy skills in LBD are linked to science and social studies content which are aligned to the NJ Student Learning Standards. This integrated approach helps students make connections and foster deeper levels of understanding.


Literacy by Design Reading instruction includes the five elements of reading - phonemic awareness, phonics (word study) vocabulary, fluency and comprehension which are delivered through an integrated approach to support student learning. Teachers will continue to provide small group guided reading instruction, and students will continue to engage in daily literacy centers as they always have.


The writing aspect of Literacy by Design includes the core elements of writing instruction, including writing forms, organizational patterns, writing traits and the writing process. Direct writing instruction, mentor texts and sustained daily writing are all implemented to spark an appreciation for writing. Writing instruction will continue to follow a workshop model.

Literacy by Design provides differentiated resources to support English Language Learners and Special Education students, allowing teachers to target and address the needs of all learners.

Teach Your Child How to Make Friends

A child who is struggling to make friends may dream of being part of the popular crowd. She may think that she will instantly become popular, too. Things rarely work that way.


A better way to make friends is to look for other children who are seeking friendships, too. Encourage your child to:


  • Seek out a “friendly face.” Some children don’t say much, but show by their body language that they would like to make friends. Teach your child to look for a child who smiles, who makes room for other children in line, who moves over in the cafeteria so someone else can sit down. All these gestures indicate a child who wants to make friends.


  • Ask questions. Most people are flattered when others ask them about their interests. For example, your child could ask, “Amanda, I always see you carrying that case around. What instrument do you play?” Showing interest in others and then listening to what they have to say is a great way to make friends.


  • Take it slow. Like flowers, new friendships need room to grow. Another child may feel smothered if your child suddenly begins sticking to her like glue. A good guideline is for your child to reach out with a phone call or invitation, and then wait for her friend to return the favor.

- The Parent Institute

School Pictures

School pictures will be taken on September 25th. Additional information will be sent home with students. Make-up pictures will be held on November 6th for any students who were absent or need to have their pictures retaken.

Testing Dates - 2018-2019

LinkIt Reading and Math - Gr. 1 - 3

Fall - September 17 - 24, 2018

Winter - January 7 - 11, 2019

Spring - May 23 - 17, 2019


LinkIt Reading and Math- Kindergarten

May 23 - 24, 2019, May 28 - 29, 2019


CogAT - March 19 - 21, 2019 - Gr. 2


PARCC - ELA.- April 8 - 10, 2019 - Gr. 3

PARCC - Math - April 11 - 16, 2019 - Gr. 3

Upcoming Events

September 5- New Kindergarten Families Meet and Greet with the PTO 1:30 - 2:00

September 5 - Kindergarten Orientation - 2:00 - 2:45

September 6 - First Day of School

September 7 - School Spirit Day

September 10, 11 & 19 - School Closed

September 17 - 21 - Link-It Testing Grades 1 - 3

September 17 - Back to School Night

September 25 - School Pictures