Riverside Reporter

Riverside Elementary School Newsletter 3/16/18

Principal's Message

I’d like to offer up a big THANKS to Mr. Steve Kramer for an amazing band concert and to our PTO for the upcoming International Night. These are two amazing events, and I am so proud to be part of such an extraordinary community!

A Note on Parking: The Princeton Police Department paid us a visit recently to talk about parking around our school. Please be mindful of parking in areas where police can issue tickets:

  • On Prospect Avenue: No parking in the bus zone or from the bus zone to the corner. You may park on Prospect back by the playground past the sign that indicates parking.
  • On Robert Road and Riverside Drive: No parking 25 feet from an intersection and 50 feet from a crosswalk. There are several crosswalks on both Robert Road and Riverside Drive.

I’m also sad to report that Renatta Derkacs has made the difficult decision to leave Riverside. She had a unique opportunity in another district, and we wish her all the best. I anticipate having our office organized within the next few weeks and look forward to introducing the newest member of our office staff soon.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Just a friendly reminder that Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Wednesday, March 21st and Thursday, March 22nd. School will be dismissed at 1pm. Please plan accordingly.

Spring Break - School Closed

School will be closed for spring break from Thursday, March 29th to Friday, April 6th. School will resume on Monday, April 9th!

Guidance Counselor's Corner

Tips to Promote Social-Emotional Health Among Young Children (from the Academy of American Pediatrics)

What Parents of Young Children Can Do:

  • Catch your child being good! Praise your child often for even small accomplishments like playing nicely with brothers or sisters, helping to pick up toys, waiting her turn, or being a good sport.
  • Find ways to play with your child that you both enjoy every day. Talk with your child, tell stories, sing, and make rhymes together. It is especially important to try and reconnect for a few minutes after separations. Include some type of regular physical activity such as a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.
  • Seek ways for your child to play with other children of the same age. Make sure they are watched by a trusted adult.
  • Read with your child every day as part of a special family routine. Turn off the TV before the evening meal, have conversations with your children during the meal, get baths/showers after the meal, and read books with your children in preparation for bedtime. This will help children to settle down and sleep well at the end of the day.
  • Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours daily for children 2 and older. The AAP does not recommend any screen time for children younger than 2 years of age. Never put a TV in a child’s bedroom. Parents should watch along with older children and try to put the right spin on what their children are seeing. Young children should not be exposed to violence on TV, including on the news. TV should not become a babysitter.
  • Make time for a routine that includes regular family meals when parents and children can sit and talk about their day together. Play the “high-low” game by taking turns sharing the best and not-so-good parts of the day.
  • Provide regular bedtime routines to promote healthy sleep. This time of day can become an oasis of calm and togetherness in the day for parents and children.
  • Model behaviors that you want to see in your child. Parents are their child’s first and most important teachers, and what they do can be much more important than what they say. Be especially careful of criticizing teachers or other trusted adults in front of the child.
  • Set limits for your child around safety, regard for others, and household rules and routines that are important to you. Ask others to use these with your child.
  • Be consistent with limits for your child and encourage all caretaking adults to use the same rules. If you must enforce a rule, do this with supportive understanding. Don’t give in, but do quickly forgive. Do not hold a grudge for past mistakes. Encourage learning from mistakes so that they do not happen again.
  • Teach your child to ask for help and identify who can help her when she needs it. Find opportunities to show her how to ask for help.
  • Everyone experiences anger and stress! Help your child to find acceptable ways of working through these feelings. It is okay to be mad but never okay to hit or destroy property.
  • Listen to and respect your child. Remind your child that he or she can always come to you to discuss concerns, fears, and thoughts. Calmly discuss the issues and talk to your child’s pediatrician with any concerns you might have as a result.
  • Give choices when your child is oppositional (eg, Would you like me to carry you upstairs to bed or would you like to walk?) Help your child think of the consequences of her choices when she is demonstrating oppositional behavior.

Parent Meeting With Guidance

Please join us in the Riverside cafeteria on Friday, March 23rd for another parent chat with myself and PPS Supervisor of Guidance, Kristina Donovan. The starting topic for this event is yet to be determined but be on the lookout for that soon! We really enjoyed last month's parent chat, and we are excited to do it again!


Thank You Very Much!

Thank you to Haruko Wakabayashi, Grace Zhang, Naina Sinha Gregory and Darleny Cepin for working so hard to make International Night a wonderful evening for our community and to all our participants for sharing their stories and culture.

International Night - Rescheduled to 3/16/18

Join us this evening from 6-8pm in the cafeteria for a festival of world cultures!


Garden Bed Rebuild - 3/18/18

Riverside’s garden beds have been working hard for us for 10-15 years! They are in desperate need of an overhaul. On Sunday, March 18th from 12-4pm, we will be taking apart the existing beds and rebuilding new beds. We need all the manpower we can get to accomplish this task. We will have sandwiches, snacks and beverages to help sustain you during the day. Please no young children. Sign-up at SignupGenius to let us know you can make it.


On Tuesday, March 20th, Riverside students will be tasting Arugula as part of the Garden State on Your Plate program. This is the video that the students will see before the tasting. If you are interested in helping out at this event or the next Garden State on Your Plate tasting on Thursday, April 12th, please contact Kristina Kunz at kunzkristina@hotmail.com.

PTO Meeting – Rescheduled for 3/21/18

Steve Cochrane, Superintendent of Princeton Public Schools, will be our speaker at our PTO meeting on Wednesday, March 21st at 8:30 a.m. in the all-purpose room. The topic will be transforming how to impact learning for students. This will also be a great opportunity to ask Steve any questions you may have about the school building referendum.

After School Clubs Update

Please keep your eyes open for Spring 2018 schedule of After School Clubs, which will be circulated next week (week beginning March 19th)! We are looking forward to offering your children some old-time favorites and some new gems! Registration will open Monday, March 26th and close Monday, April 9th. A full timeline for the registration process is on the PTO website. Clubs will start Monday, May 7th, a little later than previously advertised, to accommodate the schedules of our talented Club Leaders. Please contact us at riverside.afterschoolclubs@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Riverside's Amazing Annual Book Swap

Wondering what Book Swap is? Here’s the deal: we collect used children’s books, as many as we can, sort them by grade level and topic, and then on a given day in the late spring, invite classes in one at a time so that each student has the opportunity to pick a book or two to take home. It is NOT a one-for-one swap; each Riverside student gets to take home books FOR FREE, regardless of how many he or she donated. We hold the book swap late in the spring so that each child gets a head start on some summer reading. The more books that are donated to our book swap, the more books each student gets to take home. We need books for all grades at Riverside and are especially grateful for books that might have appeal for our 5th graders headed into 6th grade. Please check your shelves and bring in any books your family is ready to pass along! If your child got a book last year at book swap, has happily read it, and is willing to pass it along, by all means, bring it back in! Book swap not only supports reading, it’s a great fit with Riverside’s efforts to “go green.” Questions? Just ask Betsy Armstrong, ema@princeton.edu.

Annual Spring Fling - 5/11/18

The Spring Fling is our annual fundraiser where we celebrate the arrival of spring and raise funds for our amazing Riverside garden. This year, it will be held on Friday, May 11th. In addition to a variety of fun activities (the infamous Cake-Walk, Mother’s Day plant sale, yoga in the garden, a movie screening, pizza and ice cream; we plan to have a number of items for silent auction and baskets to be raffled. We need your help to source these items! Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Baskets - these can be whatever you dream up to donate.
  • Kid Ideas - Garden in a box, Kids Cooking basket, Summer raffle basket (gently used items wrapped up in a wagon), Game Basket (gently used games). Items don't have to be wrapped in a basket but could be creative and come in an object that describes the theme.
  • Adult Ideas - Cheers to Beer, Epicurean Delight (cooking paraphernalia), Lottery Ticket Bouquet (could be fun for kids too), Tea/Coffee Lovers, or Taste of the Rainbow Vodka Basket.
  • Silent Auction - These can be geared towards an experience such as an outing, sports activity, music, food, arts, or long-weekend get-away, etc.
  • A Day in the Life of......donate your expertise for a child or adult to learn.
  • Ask a Princeton vendor to donate an experience – e.g., teach kids how to create their own signature ice cream.
  • Ask a Princeton vendor to donate a gift certificate (dinner for 2, Jazams, etc.)
  • Host a Garden Themed Dinner Parties – e.g., flower theme, Mediterranean theme, picnic theme, or specific book/movie-related theme like Secret Garden Dinner Party or The Curious Garden.

If you have questions, ideas, and/or you would like to donate, please contact Beth Leman at 973-610-1428 or bethhabsleman@gmail.com.

Science Day - 5/22/18

Mark your calendars for Riverside's 40th Annual Science Day celebration! This event, organized entirely by parents, is a beloved tradition in which volunteers give presentations about their favorite science or technology. If you're a scientist, engineer, healthcare professional, or science lover, please consider volunteering. For more information, contact Science Day Co-chairs Chris Tully at cgtully@princeton.edu and Celeste Nelson at celesten@princeton.edu, or 40th Anniversary Science Day guru Mel Grzymala at mgrzymala@verizon.net.

Riverside Spirit Wear!

Thank you for supporting the Riverside PTO by purchasing items from our new line of Spirit Wear! It is wonderful to see our school logo worn proudly in the halls at school and out in the community!

Spirit Wear sales are ongoing and items can be ordered anytime during the school year. Just pick up a copy of the order form from the front office or download one from the PTO website. Submit the form along with your payment to the locked PTO box in the front office. We will submit group orders twice per month for delivery to your child's backpack in approximately 2-3 weeks.


Please reminder to bring in your Boxtops and help raise funds for Riverside School!

McCaffrey’s Supermarket Receipts

Don’t forget to save your McCaffrey’s Supermarket receipts after you shop! Simply place them in the box marked “McCaffrey’s Receipts” on the bookshelf outside the nurse’s office. The PTO collects 1% on each receipt. Thank you!


PHS Asian Festival

Princeton High School is hosting the 11th Asian Festival on Friday, March 16th, from 7:00 to 9:30 PM in the school’s gymnasium on Walnut Lane. Event organizers are students from PHS’s Asian American Club, Chinese Club, Japanese Club, and Korean Club and from the school’s Chinese and Japanese language classes. Students from several heritages and backgrounds will share many aspects of the Asian culture with the community.

Geared toward participants of all ages, activities Chinese yoyo, Chinese calligraphy, Japanese tea tasting, DDR, contests, sports and games. Attendees will be able to angle for real goldfish that can be taken home. Other festive displays, demonstrations and activities will be presented throughout the evening.

Students will offer performances of Chinese lion dance and dragon dance, Japanese dance and song, and Korean dance. A colorful fashion show will feature clothes from many Asian countries.

At the food court, tasting will be plentiful from the cuisines of Japan, Korea and China. The event is open to the public. Admission is free, and tickets will be available for purchase to participate in certain activities and to buy food and beverages. For inquiries, contact Mandarin teacher Shwu-Fen Lin at Princeton High School at (609) 806-4280 x3757.

Princeton Education Foundation

Did you know that the Princeton Education Foundation (PEF) provides funding to our schools beyond the normal operating budget and solely for student-centered programs and improvements?

PEF channels funds back into our schools through its grant program. The PEF Grant program serves as a catalyst to support and enhance school and curriculum improvements, and professional development that heighten learning opportunities for students in the Princeton Public Schools.

With your support, the Princeton Education Foundation has been able to give students access to innovative programs, new technology, and facilities upgrades that are not funded within the school district’s limited budget. Specifically in the elementary schools, PEF has supported enhancements to the science curriculum and STEM instruction, improvements to school libraries, sponsored various author and expert visits to the schools, funded professional development, and has upgraded and added essential technology.

PEF greatly depends on the support of our Annual Appeal donors. The need for grant funding remains strong and is growing as the District continues to grow and budgets grow tighter every year.

Give today. Invest in tomorrow. Visit our website at www.pefnj.org.


Building Princeton

Sunday, April 8, 2018

2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Building Princeton (using 70,000 LEGO building blocks) increases awareness of the town's rich architectural heritage. Fifty teams will each receive a photograph and story of a historic building which they will build within the 2-hour program. When the models are finished, they will be placed on a giant map of Princeton providing an amazing aerial view of the town.

Please see the flyer for registration information!