The Toll Gate Tidings Tana

January 10, 2016 Edition

Important Dates to Note


1/11 - K-5 Grade Level Meetings

1/12 - 4th grade 'Stroke School'

1/13 - Faculty Council

1/14 - Winter Birthday Celebrations

1/18- Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday - No School!

1/20- Spirit Day - "Gator Day"

1/20 - Faculty Meeting

1/26 - Dr. Smith's monthly visit

1/26 - Additional 90-minute meeting

1/27 - 3O'S to Washington Crossing Nature Center

1/28 - 3P to Washington Crossing Nature Center

1/29 - End of 2nd marking period

1/29 - Gator Gathering - K & 3rd grade hosts

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Staff Changes

As many of you may know, Wendy will be taking a short leave of absence, and we have Jill Long taking her place!

We are hoping to fill Jill's position asap, and I will let you know when we do!

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PARCC Enrichment Classes

We will once again be offering after-school enrichment classes for students who did not perform optimally on the State tests last year. If you would be interested in running a session, please email Tana by the end of this week. Thanks!
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PD and Field Trips

Just a reminder from our BoE - please make sure you are getting your paperwork in at least 45 days prior to the field trip or professional development day for Board approval. This is especially true for field trips you may have gotten approval for, but never put a finalized date. We are struggling to get busses for all trips, and the closer to the trip, the more expensive they are. Thank you!
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Building Use

For safety and insurance reasons, it is important that staff not be in the building without a custodian present. At the elementary level, this is especially true for weekends. Since the swype cards still seem to work on the weekends, the Board Office is aware that staff (at all of the buildings) are going in on these days, and it is a safety issue. I know for some this may be an inconvenience, so thank you for your cooperation moving forward with this.
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GCN Tutorials!

Don't forget! See Tony Suozzo's email earlier this week for more details!

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January 26th Meeting Topics

We will once again have break-out sessions for our 1/26 additional 90-minute meeting. Based on our last session, staff still had both Google and OnCourse questions. We are also adding a third session, quick and easy ways to move/save your documents when switching over laptop.

For OnCourse, these were the topics still to be discussed:

  • Address
  • Unit Plans
  • Standards
  • Cache Clearing
  • Construct Reports
  • Install Updates

If there are other topics of interest, please email Tana asap and we will look into adding these to our break-out sessions in the future. Also, if there is anything else with OnCourse and Google you want to know, please let Georgine (OnCourse) or Vikki (Google) know so they can discuss that in their session. Thanks!


*In anticipation of report card training at our regular faculty meeting, PLEASE make sure your rosters are accurate, and if you are a 4th or 5th grade teacher, you have already started inputting your grades into Gradebook. If you find your rosters are incorrect, please tell Lynn ASAP. Thank you!


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Cool Google Options - check it out!

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Keeping Yourself Healthy in the New Year

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In case you missed it...

Check out Vicky Pilitsis' Science/Math monthly newsletter!

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"Together for Toll Gate" Art Auction

In case you missed it earlier this week, please read through the letter from Mrs. Ryan and Mrs. Gicquel below -

Dear Toll Gate Staff,
On the evening of March 18, 2016, the Toll Gate PTO will be hosting its biennial student art (live) auction and silent auction. This much-anticipated evening out, Together for Toll Gate, will be held at the Chauncey Center in Princeton and it is our school's major fundraiser for the year.

The silent auction component of the evening is always highly-anticipated, however, we are hoping to increase enthusiasm even more with the help of our Toll Gate staff.

We hope to offer a number of special "auction experiences" that will allow students to spend time with their favorite Toll Gate staff members and participate in activities that Toll Gate staff members choose.

Want to host a group of students on an after-school nature hike? Coordinate a pick-up basketball game in the gym after school with a group of lucky kids? Host a "snacks and board games" afternoon in your classroom? Have an after-school ice cream sundae social? Teach a group of kids a fun hobby you love? The possibilities are endless! We'd love to hear what you'd like to do!

Activities, event dates, and event details will be worked out before the March 18th auction and the parameters and number of "student spots" being auctioned off for your hosted event will be within your control. As you can imagine, many of the events can cost nothing for the host or close to nothing at all...your time is the most valuable thing you can donate to Toll Gate. All the auctioned-off event proceeds, of course, will benefit the PTO's ability to support our school. If your event does involve nominal costs to you (an ice cream party, for instance), the PTO is happy to reimburse expenses, as we anticipate a good amount of interest in the "auction experiences."

Finally, Toll Gate staff hosting an auction event will be rewarded with one ticket to the Together for Toll Gate auction (a $55 value), which will prove to be a night to remember.

Please contact Ashley Ryan (parent to Lily 4-S and Liam 4-W) at if you would like more information or are interested in hosting an event. Also, if you are considering hosting, but would like some assistance with ideas, feel free to reach out.

Thanks for considering volunteering and contributing to the success of Together for Toll Gate.

Ashley Ryan and Betsy Gicguel

Together for Toll Gate Co-chairs

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Data supports it...

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What are your resolutions for 2016?

As I continue my quest for a bucketfilling life that is happier and more fulfilling, I resolve that each day of the coming new year, I will make a serious and sincere effort to do the following:

  1. I will be a bucket filler and do something kind each day for someone, as well as for myself.
  2. I will avoid dipping into anyone's bucket, or my own bucket, with negative thoughts, words or actions.
  3. I will strive to be aware of the words I choose, knowing that once they are spoken they can be difficult to forgive or forget.
  4. I will monitor my thoughts and actions in order to avoid magnifying negative situations over which I have no control.
  5. I will use my lid and remember to pause and take a deep breath when I hear, read or see anything that upsets me.
  6. I will make every effort to understand those who seem to be angry, critical, or condescending, and use my lid to avoid responding negatively (or at all).
  7. I will look for the best in others, and myself, and find something to say or do that will add even more happiness to our buckets.
  8. I will listen non-judgmentally, as a friend, and do what I can to help those who want help.
  9. I will regularly check my bucket in order to become more aware of my state of mind, and my emotions, by asking, "How is my bucket right now? Is it full, down a bit, or seriously low?"
  10. I will take responsibility for the happiness levels in my bucket knowing that, more often than not, my own perspective and choices, rather than outside circumstances, affect my happiness.

Happy Bucketfilling New Year!
Carol McCloud

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One Teacher's Approach to Grading Math Tests

This video from The Teaching Channel shows California middle-school teacher Leah Alcala demonstrating her new method of grading tests. She highlights each student’s errors, doesn’t give a grade, and has students look over their tests and talk through each mistake with classmates and with her. Only later can students check their grade online. They can re-take the test, using a different version. Alcala says this approach gets students focused on the mathematics rather than grades. One goal, she says, is to “normalize the process of making mistakes.”

“Math Test Grading Tips” by Leah Alcala on The Teaching Channel, January 2016,

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Tweet of the Week

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