Dolphin News

Francis A. Desmares School - October 2023

A Note From Mr. Masessa and Mrs. Custy

Greetings Desmares Families!

We hope you and your family are adjusted to the start of a new school year with all systems in place to help you and your children be successful in school. Routines and procedures are a lot of what our teachers focus on in the first few weeks of school, as well, so making sure your child understands the expectations we all have for our students is very important.

When it comes to communication with the school and your teacher, it’s always a nice reminder for parents at the start of a new school year to make sure you are communicating with your child’s teacher regarding any challenges your child may be experiencing. We strongly recommend that you first begin with notifying the teacher in the event your child comes home concerned about something that may have happened during the school day. While email is the preferred way to communicate with our teachers, they may not be able to check email until the end of that day, so if you have an emergency and need help right away, please call the main office.

When our students return from the summer break and join new friends with a new teacher, it requires time to reacclimate to school. Our teachers take a lot of time walking students through expectations, developing classroom rules, and sharing valuable insight on how to resolve conflict. Our school counselors visit classrooms and will soon be teaching lessons using our Second Step Program to foster conversations about forming relationships with classmates, making friends, and resolving issues they may encounter. Please know that we take bullying seriously and when parents use this word, it is a very serious matter. However, we have discovered that oftentimes, parents use the word bullying to describe all forms of conflict and mean behavior. That said, if your child is experiencing a problem with another student or an adult, please notify the classroom teacher first, then an administrator. Describe the situation your child experienced. Ask your child to tell you the full story surrounding the situation including what led up to the problem so you have a more clear picture to provide the school.

At Back to School Night, our kindergarten, first, second, and third grade teachers discussed the new Bridges in Mathematics program. We are very excited about the implementation of this program and hope you are able to participate in making the implementation more successful by following along and using these three links to Parent Resources.

We are in the planning stages of our afterschool enrichment programs. Project Enrich, Project Achieve, and possibly High Impact Tutoring will all begin in mid to late October. Please stay tuned for more information as these programs are invitation only and you will receive something from the school in the event your child qualifies.

School safety is always a priority at Desmares. We conducted our first fire drill and lockdown drills this month. Our students responded perfectly by remaining quiet throughout each exercise and listening to the adults around them for further instruction. As we shared recently in a separate letter, the Raptor Visitor Management System has been installed and is being used every day with success. The process is working smoothly and we appreciate your support by coming to the school with a valid identification ready for us to help check you into the building.

PTO News: We have several fun things happening in October!

  • Walk a Thon: October 20th This is one of our biggest fundraisers. Your support is greatly appreciated! Please see our PTO Membership Toolkit link or website for donation information.

  • FALL BOOK FAIR begins October 9th. The Family Night is Wednesday, October 11th from 5:00 - 7:30.

  • Fall Fest is Friday, October 27th from 5-8:00. This is a fun evening when parents and students can Trunk-or-Treat on our blacktop and students can visit the Haunted Gym.

  • Halloween is Tuesday, October 31st. Our parade is from 9:30 - 10:00 on the blacktop.

Standardized testing information was recently shared through our curriculum office. Here is the link with this information for your review: Parent Notification of Standardized Testing

Free and Reduced Lunch information: If you have not returned the Free/Reduced Lunch Form for our business office, the deadline to avoid payment for new balances this year is to send the form in by October 19. One very important reminder is for all families who have previously qualified for the Free/Reduced Lunch Program, to please make sure you complete the forms EVERY SCHOOL YEAR, as they do not carry over from year to year. Parents have until the end of October to get their applications in. If they qualify, the business office can credit any balances due. You can access the application by clicking here for English and here for Spanish.

We welcome your feedback and insights for communication and information sharing. Please let us know your thoughts by emailing Mr. Masessa at or Mrs. Custy at We look forward to seeing many of you at our annual Halloween Parade at 9:30 on October 31st.

~ Mr. Masessa and Mrs. Custy

School Counseling Corner

Hi Families!

It was nice to see so many families at Back to School Night! This year’s Week of Respect will be from October 2nd-6th. We will celebrate by having a spirit week dedicated to showing different ways that we can be respectful. Here is the Spirit Week schedule.

This month’s character trait is Respect/Courtesy. Respect means treating others the way you would like to be treated and acknowledging their thoughts and opinions. Courtesy means being polite to others.

Here are some books to help children understand and practice respect/courtesy.

A Little Respectful SPOT: A Story About Respecting Respecting People, Places, and Things

How Rude!

Mrs. Moncada & Mrs. Monks

School Nurse News

Please click here for important information from our School Nurse, Ms. Dausch, regarding head lice and cold weather clothing. Please keep in mind that students will go outside for recess as much as possible, even in cold weather.

Library News

Hello! My name is Samantha Gale and I’m the new librarian for Francis A. Desmares. Big things are happening at the Desmares Library! We have an author visit on October 6th for all grades levels. The author is Dion Leonard and he wrote Finding Gobi, a story about a dog named Gobi that he found while running in the Gobi Desert. The PTO has sent home information about how to order his books prior to the event.

Students started checking out books at the end of September. Each student was given book bags with their names on them to help protect their books. Please remind students to keep their books away from dogs, babies and food! Each time your student has library class, they can return the books they took previously, so they can get new books.

If you have any questions or want book recommendations, please contact me: Samantha Gale,


Regular school attendance, including prompt arrival, is critical to support student learning. If your child is going to be absent from school, please use the student absence form on the Desmares School website or leave a message on our attendance line by calling 908-284-7540 and selecting menu option #1. If you have questions about your child's health and whether or not they can attend school, please call Nurse Alexis Dausch at 908-284-7545.

Important Dates

  • October 5 - Title I Parent Night - 6:00-7:30 pm at RFIS
  • October 6 - Author Visit - Dion Leonard
  • October 17 - Early Dismissal Day
  • October 18 - School Picture Day
  • October 20 - Walkathon
  • October 23 - Academic Parent Teacher Team Night - 6:00-7:30 pm at RFIS
  • October 27 - Fall Fest - Haunted Gym and Trunk or Treat
  • October 31 - Halloween Parade - 9:30 am


School Lunch Information

Click here for information from Maschio's - lunch menus, lunch account information, and the application for free/reduced lunch.

Francis A. Desmares PTO

Click here to join the FAD PTO!

Desmares Virtual Backpack

Click here for important information about school events!

Francis A. Desmares Elementary School

Main Office: 908-284-7540

Nurse's Office - Ms. Dausch: 908-284-7585

School Counselor - Mrs. Monks: 908-284-7542

Bilingual School Counselor - Mrs. Moncada: 908-284-7553