Cliffwood School Parent Newsletter

March 2020

Principal's News

Dear Cliffwood School families,

Please find below a few friendly reminders:

  • Parent/teacher conferences will be held on Wednesday, March 11, and Thursday, March 12. Wednesday’s conferences will be held in the afternoon, from 2:05 to 3:35. Thursday’s conferences will be in the evening from 5:00 to 8:00. For both days, school will be a 4-hour session and K-3 students will be dismissed at 1:20 (Preschool dismisses at 12:50) so please be at school or your child's bus stop early. Click to read the conferences letter and portal instructions.
  • School is closed for all students on next Friday, March 13.
  • Please make sure that your child brings a coat, heavy sweatshirt, etc. to school each day. We go outside for recess/DPA even when the temperature is cold, so please dress your child appropriately for the weather.
  • At morning arrival, if you are dropping off your child from the car, please pull forward as far as possible before stopping. If you have room to pull forward, please do not stop directly in front of door #1 (main entrance). Pulling forward (to near the Kindergarten entrance) helps more vehicles to fit into our lot.

Thanks everyone and let's have a great Spring!

Mark Van Horn, Principal

Big picture

Kindergarten registration re-opened

Kindergarten registration for the 20-21 school year is extended. See the updated K registration flyer for more details. A child of parent(s) or legal guardian(s) legally domiciled within the district is eligible for entrance into Kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year if he/she attains the age of 5 on/before October 1, 2020.

We are a certified Kindness School!

February was all about kindness here at Cliffwood. Because of our school's participation in The Great Kindness Challenge, we are honored to announce that we have been named as a Kindness Certified School. Throughout the month, students and staff received Kindness-grams, earned Kindness tickets, wrote kind messages to each other, and much more. Thanks to our school counselor, Mrs. Levine, for her efforts at this project. There's no doubt about it, KINDNESS MATTERS!

Parent/teacher conferences

Please try your best to attend conferences next week. These meetings are key for strengthening the home-school connection. Teachers will be prepared to discuss your child's academic progress and show examples of work and assessments. Parents can ask about strategies for home that will support their student's learning at school. Here are some ideas to make the conference more meaningful:

  • Before the conference, review your child's grades online.
  • Before the meeting, talk with your child about his/her progress in school.
  • Make a list of questions beforehand to ask during the conference (e.g., Is my child performing at grade level? What do you see as his/her strengths? How could he/she improve?).
  • Ask the teacher what you can do at home to help your child learn.
  • Think about ways you would like to become involved in your child's learning and discuss with the teacher.
  • Make a plan. Write down what you and the teacher will do (and how often) to support your child.
  • Schedule the next time to talk with the teacher. Discuss the best way to communicate and set up a schedule to stay informed about your child's progress.

Pennies for Patients

Cliffwood students will be raising funds to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ms. Pappas and our school's Safety Patrol students will be leading this fundraiser from March 16 to 27. More info will be coming soon so stay tuned to learn about this important cause!

Preschool parent workshops

Parents of preschoolers in MARSD are invited to attend our free parent workshop series. This series was designed around topics requested by parents. Please click here to view a detailed flyer (with topics and dates) and make sure to register for free for the workshops.

Parent University worskhop

Our district is offering a free workshop for all parents. This session will focus on parents' social/emotional well-being and strategies for building resiliency in adults. The workshop is April 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the high school media center. Click to view the flyer and RSVP for this free learning opportunity.

Strategic planning

The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District is actively seeking members of the school community to participate in the Strategic Planning Renewal Committee. This committee will be a group of 40+ community and school leaders. We will work together to identify both the strengths of the school district (those special attributes that we can build on as we move into the future) and the critical issues that we will face (the challenges that the district must be prepared for in the future). This group will meet for two Strategic Planning Goal Setting Renewal Days on Friday, March 20 from 6:00-9:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 21 from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Matawan Regional High School. We will work in both small and large groups, and discussion will lead us to a consensus document that will develop goal areas focusing on the future of our schools. Please click the following link to RSVP for the Strategic Planning weekend.

MARSD Strategic Planning RSVP click here

Star Student date for March

The next Star Student awards will be on Wednesday, March 18, at 7:00 p.m. in the cafeteria. February Star Students will be honored at that time. Continuing with our monthly themes, December honorees will be recognized for their KINDNESS. See you then!

Food menus for the month

Please click the link below to view our Food Services website. Parents/guardians can find monthly breakfast & lunch menus for K-3 and Preschool. https://www.marsd.org/page/336

Census info

The Census Bureau has asked schools to share the following info with families. Please take a minute and read this message and view the 2020 census take-home flyer too.


Every decade, the U.S. Constitution requires a nationwide census of everyone who resides in our country. Census data is used to guide decisions for the next 10 years, from Congressional representation and legislative districts for each state, to allocating over $675 billion dollars in federal funding annually to states and communities. Federal assistance to schools includes Title I funds, special education, school lunches, teacher training, classroom technology, afterschool programs, and much more. Federally funded programs for children include WIC (food stamps), Head Start, CHIP Children’s Health Insurance Program, childcare subsidies, Child Development Block Grants, etc. Starting in mid-March, households will receive a mailing inviting them to fill out their census form online. It is imperative that all New Jersey residents are counted so that we can receive our fair share of political representation and federal funding. People considered hard-to-count are often low income, non-English speaking, minority, immigrants, or families with very young children. Each person who is not counted is missed for the next decade, and an uncounted baby is missed for most of their childhood. This is our chance to shape New Jersey’s future so that every child gets the resources they need.

Dates to Remember

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming school events:


  • Afternoon parent/teacher conferences - March 11.
  • Evening parent/teacher conferences - March 12.
  • School closed for students - March 13.
  • Pennies for Patients fundraiser - March 16 to March 27.
  • CogAT testing for grade 2 students - March 17 to 19.
  • PTO meeting and Star Student - March 18.
  • Author Visit - March 19.
  • Spring picture day - March 20.
  • Strategic planning meetings - March 20 and 21.
  • Garden Club meeting - March 25.
  • PTO school store during lunches - March 25 and 26.
  • Grade 3 field trips to Rutgers Geology Museum - March 25 and 26.
  • Friendship Friday during lunches - March 27.
  • PTO pizza bingo - March 27 @ 6:00 p.m.