Lakes Ledger

Volume 4 - Byram Lakes Elementary School - December 2022

Upcoming Dates

November 23rd: Early Dismissal

November 24th-25th: Happy Thanksgiving! School Closed

December 9th: Mr. Magico Show @ BLES sponsored by the PTA (More information below)

December 10th: Night Out @ Nester's Greenhouse sponsored by the PTA (More information below)

December 14th: Board of Education meeting

December 14th-16th: PTA Holiday Shop (More information below)

December 15th: 4th Grade Choir performance at ShopRite @ 6:00 pm

December 21st: Holiday Concert @ 7:00 pm at BIS (BIS students only)

December 23rd: Early Dismissal (Students dismissed at 1:43 pm)

December 26th: - January 2nd: School Closed for Winter Break

January 3rd: School Reopens

A Message from the Principal

Hello Byram Lakes students and families!

The first marking period is over! We are fully into the swing of the school year now, and boy it's been an exciting past month. On Monday October 31st, students and staff went all out for our Halloween parade and parties. Next came conferences for three days. We got a full week of learning in, and then just like that it was Thanksgiving. With Thanksgiving in mind, I've been thinking about some of the things around BLES that I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful to you, the parents of our students. Our families provide the foundation at home every single day that gets our students ready to learn. Getting children ready for school and able to decompress after school is no easy task. You gave up time from your evenings to come meet with our teachers during the second week of November to help understand your child's school experience. You support our teachers and staff and work with them to create a powerful team at work for the kids. Many of you came to the Halloween parade. I'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of our room parents for giving their time, energy, and spirit to create Halloween parties for our students. So many of our parents also stepped up to help run an incredible PTA Book Fair this past month. We wouldn't be able to create these lasting and indelible memories without you!

Thank you to those parents who helped inform our climate by filling out the climate survey that was distributed a couple weeks ago. We have formed a staff committee to analyze these results and discuss possible options to address our needs based on this information.

I'm also extremely thankful to our staff. We have an INCREDIBLE team of teachers and support staff at Byram Lakes. The teachers go above and beyond in terms of the time and effort they give to their classrooms on a daily basis. They've taken on new challenges this year in the hope of continuing to improve student learning. Many of them offered their own personal time to provide conferences for families. The staff at this school support one another during good times and during tough times, and I couldn't be more thankful to work with every one of them.

Last but not least, I'm so thankful for the students we have at Byram Lakes. Every day, I see hundreds of smiling faces getting off the school bus. The students at this school are respectful, resilient, kind, caring, and hardworking. They are the reason Byram Lakes is the special place that it is. I've found my favorite parts of each day are the times when I get to chat with a student or two, and I am so grateful to work with children that truly deserve the effort that the staff here put in to teaching them.

I know we all have much to be thankful for, and I hope you have had a chance to reflect on these things over the Thanksgiving break and during the holiday season!

Pete Morris

Included in this edition of the Lakes Ledger:

A Look Back

- Teaching & Learning

- Halloween

- PTA Book Fair

- Fit Club

- Veterans Day

A Look Ahead

- Holiday Events

- Holiday Concerts

- Teacher Wishlists

- Stuff the Stocking

- Abigail's Army Gift Drive

- Early Dismissals

General Info

- Attendance

- Cold Weather

- Pickup Patrol

- SchoolMessenger

- Lunch


PTA Corner

- Wreath & Poinsettia Sale

- Gertrude Hawk

- Upcoming Family Nights

- Holiday Shop

- Lego Club

Extra! Extra!

- BLES Building Calendar

- Classroom newsletters

- Spirit Wear

- Byram Twp. Recreation Committee info

A Look Back


Students (and teachers) went all out for Halloween at Byram Lakes! On Monday October 31st, students participated in a Halloween parade around the outside of BLES. Many of our families came out to see our parade in action. The rain held off, and all went well! This parade was followed by clsasroom parties hosted by our amazing volunteer room parents in conjunction with the classroom teachers. A great day was had by all!
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Teaching & Learning: Comparing

Ms. Gnecco's class spent some time learning to compare different numbers in math class. Students practiced some great strategies to separate two groups by how many items they have. They decided which groups had more, which had less, and which had an equal amount of items.
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PTA Book Fair

During the week of Conferences, the PTA held the Book Fair for our students and their families. The kids had a great time browsing through the books (and other assorted goodies). It's always an inspiring thing when we can come together to help grow a love of reading. Thank you to all the parents that stepped up and helped set up, run, and break down the Book Fair.
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Teaching & Learning: Sideline Soccer

Students in Mr. Kulesa's PE class have been working on their soccer unit over the past several weeks. After learning and practicing all the necessary skills for soccer, the unit wrapped up with some intense games of sideline soccer! In sideline soccer, students compete either individually or in small groups to score goals on the opposing team. Goals can be scored either in the physical goal or by kicking the ball past the opponents lining the sideline.
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Fit Club

Staying in shape is so important! Mrs. Bogdan and Mrs. Vasquez were joined by a dedicated group of exercise enthusiasts twice a week throughout the fall for BLES Fit Club. These hard workers did a lot of running (I was too winded to take pictures...), worked on their cardio, strength, and flexibility. All this could only be done because these students and teachers helped each other build the foundation of placing a high value on staying fit!
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Teaching & Learning: Detailing Emotion in Writing

Students in Mrs. Andrews' and Mr. Patel's ELA class have been getting a lot of work in this year on their writing skills. One area that students spend a lot of time on is how to add detail to their writing - it's hard! Mrs. Andrews and Mr. Patel led a creative activity in which students worked with one another to practice creating mood and tone with detail to build emotions in their work.
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Teaching & Learning: Learning our letters and sounds

Kindergarten students have had a blast learning their letters this month! Students in Mrs. Pickett's and Mrs. Rafferty's class spent time practicing the names and sounds of different letters. Students have done a great job of analyzing the sounds that letters can make from all different types of perspectives. Learning methods include visuals, games, music, discussion, and hand motions!
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Veterans Day

Students in 4th Grade were fortunate enough to be taught about Veteran's Day today by Major General Edward Chrystal. Following this presentation, John Broda of the Armed Forces Financial Network presented our 4th grade with a sponsorship for the newly created Kindness Club. This is the FIRST Kindness Club sponsored by AFFN in the country! What a great way for our students to learn of the sacrifices made by our veterans and show their gratitude for the service of these brave men and women.

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A Look Ahead

Holiday Events

The holiday season is upon us!

During the last week before winter break, we will have some special events going on for our students. The week before break will be a spirit week! Themes for each day will be...

Monday 12/19: Walking in a Winter Wonderland - celebrate all winter has to bring and wear white

Tuesday 12/20: Grinch Day! Wear green but don't be mean!

Wednesday 12/21: Happy Hanukkah: Celebrate the Festival of Lights and wear blue

Thursday 12/22: Ugly Sweater Day

Friday 12/23: PJ Day - Wear your favorite cozy pajamas

On Thursday, we will also have our class holiday parties. Room parents, you will be receiving information shortly about these parties from your child's morning meeting teacher. If you have any questions about these parties, please contact your child's teacher.

On Friday, we will be holding a December Celebrations assembly! During this assembly, we recognize our amazing students for some of the incredible things they have accomplished this year.

Then it's off to holiday break! I hope you and your family have a joyful holiday season. Please remember, school opens again on Tuesday January 3rd.

Holiday Concerts

On December 15th, many of our 4th graders will be performing at ShopRite starting at 6pm. Be sure to stop by for some extra holiday spirit!

On December 21st, students from the Intermediate School band and choir will be performing at BIS at 7pm!

Ornament Sale

The STEP and LLD classes are excited to announce their Ornament Sale! The Ornament Sale will take place during student lunches on December 19th and December 20th. All ornaments are hand made by students from LLD, STEP and other classes that wish to participate. Ornaments cost $1.00 and all money raised goes towards Byram families in need.

Teacher Wishlists

Would you be willing to help your child's teacher obtain materials for their classrooms? Several of our teachers have created 'wishlists' on Amazon. Simply open the doc linked here. If you would like to help out any of the teachers who have created wishlists, open their list. Any items purchased will be sent directly to the school. Thank you!

Amazon Teacher Wishlists

Stuff the Stocking

Byram Lakes is proud to be participating once again in Stuff the Stocking!

We are asking for donations of new, unwrapped gifts and gift cards for children of all ages. These will be distributed to local families in need through the Season of Hope Toy Shop.

The school that collects the most items will take possession of the Stuff the Stocking trophy!

For the flyer going over Stuff the Stocking, please click the image next to this post. For more information on the drive sponsor, Project Self Sufficiency, or to register as a family in need of donations, please check out the link below. Donations will be accepted through December 12th. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Project Self Sufficiency - Sussex & Warren Counties

Abigail's Army First Annual Gift Drive

Please join Abigail's Army in our first Annual Gift Drive!

This drive was organized to honor Abigail Sara Nicosia, a student at Byram Schools through 8th grade.

Donations should be new, unwrapped, gifts that are still in their original packaging. All gifts and proceeds will be used to benefit RWJ Children's specialized hospital. Please see the attached images for all details on the drive. Donations will be accepted through December 12th. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Early Dismissals

December 23rd will be an early dismissal. Please remember: on early dismissal days, students will be dismissed at 1:43. Please plan accordingly for end of day pickup. Our normal dismissal time is 3:43, so on early dismissal days everything just gets backed up by 2 hours.

General Info


Attendance is crucial to our childrens' success in school! Please take a look at our district's Attendance Policy here. In accordance with our district attendance policy, we will be notifying home as students accumulate unexcused absences. Notification processes are as follows:

4 absences/tardies: letter home about the importance of attendance generated (Truancy Officer)

8 absences/tardies:second letter home with importance of attendance, and warning of what will happen if absences/tardies increase (Truancy Officer)

12 unexcused absences/tardies: mandatory meeting to develop an Attendance Improvement Plan (RTI Coordinator)

18 absences/tardies: possible referral to truancy court (Administrator)

In order to avoid an unexcused absence, please send in a doctor's note or other documentation providing an excused reason for the absence. The regulation on absence classification can be found here. If you have doctor's notes or documentation for any school days already missed, please send those in to our main office as soon as possible.

Cold Weather Wear

It's cold out there! Please make sure you send your children in with jackets as appropriate. As long as the weather is nice and it is not at a freezing temperature outside, we'll be going out for recess.

Pickup Patrol

The Byram Township School District utilizes Pick Up Patrol to ensure that all students arrive to school and return home safely. This system allows parents to input the mode by which their child(ren) will return home at the end of the school day. Options for dismissal include pick up or school bus. Parents can set a default plan to notify their child's teacher of how they will be going home each day. Should that default need to be changed on a given day, it is the parent's responsibility to log in and update the day with a "Plan Change." This will notify the teacher that the student will not be following the normal dismissal plan and can then inform the student of the plan change for that day. If you need to change your child's plan for the day, you will need to do so no later than 3:05 pm.

Please click here for an informational flyer that will explain more.


SchoolMessenger Communicate is the platform that we use at BTSD to get messages out to our parents through phone and email. With this platform we are required to receive your permission to send you text messages before you can be added to our text alerts list. To do this, you will need to opt-in to use this service. Opting-in is only required to receive text message alerts, your choice to opt-in or not will not affect receiving email and phone alerts.

In order to opt-in:

  • If you already have a mobile phone number in our system attached to your contact card and you wish to opt-in, you may send a text message to 67587 with Y or Yes in the text message at any time. Doing so will opt you in to receive text alerts after we complete the migration.

Click here for an informational flier with more information as well as a QR Code that you can scan to assist you with opting in as well.

If you do not opt-in using one of the methods provided above, you will not receive any text alerts from the school after we migrate to the new system. You can also opt-out at any time by sending STOP to 67587, or by replying to a school alert with STOP in the message.

If you opted-in, but are finding that you are not receiving school alerts via text, this likely means we do not have your number in our system, or it is not correctly marked as a mobile number. Please contact the main office of your child’s school to have the contact number corrected, and marked as a mobile number.


Students have been loving our school lunches provided by Maschio's Food Services! Maschio's is committed to serving healthy and delicious food options to our students on a regular basis. Unlike last year, lunch will not be offered at no cost to students. Lunch options include a main course option, a bagel bag, and a muffin bag. All lunches include components of a well-rounded nutritional meal, such as a vegetable, a milk, and a cheese stick or yogurt for the bagged options. A student lunch costs $3.50.

Using their online portal, you can check out the upcoming menus for each month. You can also preload your child's account so that they have the funds to buy lunch. See the below links for more information. If your child buys lunch, it is very helpful if they know their PIN to ensure a quick buying process and more time to eat. Your child's lunch pin is the last four digits of their Student ID number.

Maschio's Welcome Back Letter

Byram Food Services

Maschio's Menus

If your child charges lunch and you have not yet added funds, you will be receiving notices from me to fund your account.

A message from the Board Office:

The school lunches are not free anymore unless you qualify through the free and reduced application process.The income guidelines have changed so if you didn't qualify in the past you may qualify now. Please complete an application and send it in an envelope to the Byram Board of Education office.Those families that qualify for reduced lunch will get it free this year under a state subsidy.The applications can be found on the Byram School website under the students tab and food service tab.

COVID Procedures

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please inform the school as soon as possible. As per state guidance, your child will need to remain out of school for 5 days. At that point you and your child will have the option of what to do for the next five days: either returning to school in person with a mask OR staying out.

There will be no letters sent home for positive cases this year. If your child isn't feeling well, play it safe and keep them home.

Masks are optional for all staff and students.

PTA Corner

A huge THANK YOU to the Byram PTA, as they continue to work so hard to provide some excellent opportunities for our students and families. Remember, if you would like to volunteer in the classroom, please Please check out this section to see what they've got going on. See below for flyers on some exciting upcoming events! Click on the flyer images for a larger version.

Check out the PTA MemberHub here to sign up, and the Facebook page here.

The PTA is always looking for volunteers, please contact them at

Here’s your 2022-2023 Byram PTA Board Members:

President Marla Rodriguez

Vice President Ana Lavrador

Secretary Oriana Strohmeyer

Treasurer Lindsey McBain

By-Laws Chair Patricia Trentanelli

A message from the PTA

Thank you everyone that came out to Turkey Bingo and a special thank you to Kristy D’Amelio for hosting this great event, Ms. Krista Gimigliano and Ms. Gnecco for helping. A gobble gobble thank you to Dr. Morris and Mr. Kulesa for for calling the numbers and being silly turkeys. Our families really enjoyed it. Thank you for all the food donations for the Waterloo pantry. We helped a lot of families have a nice thanksgiving this year.

Our fall Book Fair was a success and we couldn’t do it without our Book Fair Chairs Ann Marie Kraemer and Stacy Michaels and the Book Fair committee Sonja O’Connell and Kara Pilek. Thank you ladies for all your hard work.

See below for some pictures of Turkey Bingo along with upcoming events!

Holiday Wreath and Poinsettia Sale

Wreath and Poinsettia pick up will be December 2nd between 6:30-7:30 in front of BLES.

Gertrude Hawk Delivery

Gertrude Hawk will be delivered the week of December 5th. As soon as we get the orders we will set up a pick up date and time

Glow in the Dark Painting Night (BIS Students Only) - December 2nd

GLOW IN THE DARK PAINTING EVENT FOR BIS 5-8th graders. Sign up and save your spot. Create a glow in the dark canvas with the help of Mrs. Bethon a very talented art teacher. We will have all things glow in the dark as well as snacks. Sign up below!

Mr. Magico - December 9th

Mr. Mágico is coming to show us how amazing magic can be. Event is for all ages and the best part you can come in your comfy pajamas and enjoy hot cocoa while enjoying the show.

Reserve your spot

Night Out at Nester's Greenhouse - December 10th

let’s have a night out at Nester’s Greenhouse. Jennifer will guide us as we make our own wreath, kissing ball or grave blanket. Invite your friends to join us. It will be from 7-9pm $40 per person which includes all supplies and snacks.
Purchase your tickets below you don’t want to miss this event.

Holiday Shop

We are gearing up for the Holiday Shop. December 14th to the 16th. The hours for BLES will be be from 9-3pm. The 14th and 15th the shop will be open in the evening between 6pm-8pm.
BIS will have the holiday shop December 14th and 15th. The students will be able to shop during lunch.

Lego Club

We are excited to start the Lego Club for the 1st and 2nd grade students. It will be held on Tuesdays starting in January. If anyone has any legos they would like to donate please contact us. It will be held after school until 4:45pm. A sign up form will be coming out soon.

Starting December 7th Lego Club for the3rd and 4th grade students will be on Wednesdays. It will be right after school until 4:40pm.

Lego Club for BIS will be held on Mondays starting December 5th after school until 4:20pm. Please remember to change your pick up patrol to school activity.

Extra! Extra!

Byram Lakes Building Calendar

See what events are happening at BLES on our building calendar.

BLES RamPage

Students in Mrs. Ryan's SEEK class spent time this month putting together a newsletter of their very own. Take a look here!

Music Room Notes

Check out what's happening in Mrs. Scaturo's music room! Includes information on 4th grade band and choir

Byram Township Rec Committee Holiday Events

Sponsored by the Byram Township Recreation Committee

Christmas Tree Lighting

Sponsored by the Byram Township Recreation Committee

Riverside Park Reopening

Sponsored by the Byram Township Recreation Committee

Student Handbook

We've gone digital with our student/parent handbook! Check it out here.

Byram Apparel

Holiday Sale
Our 2023 holiday sale will run from November 7th through early December. We are creating new holiday-themed marketing materials that we will share with you in advance of the sale.

Store Link:

What else?

Is there anything else you'd like to see/see more of in the Smore this year? Let me know!