James Monroe Principal's Update

December 2020

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Dear James Monroe Families,

I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude. ~ Brene Brown

As we face the annual tradition of Thanksgiving, it seems difficult to find what we are grateful for this year with all the challenges we have faced due to the pandemic. The holiday may not look like what we expect, and so once again, we are making choices and adjusting our ways to ensure that the people around us who we care most about are safe. In spite of this, I hope your family can still find moments of happiness, by paying attention to the little things.

This morning as I welcomed students and their families at arrival, joined Google Meets or visited classrooms and distributed free lunches after school, I paid close attention to all that we have to be thankful for at James Monroe...this wonderful community of learners, teachers and families.

Wishing you all a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Mrs. Cynthia Tufaro


Mrs. Maggie Callahan

assistant principal

Please see these links from the CDC with recommendations for how to have a safe Thanksgiving. Remember if you are traveling, to contact the school as you may be required to quarantine.

How to Have a Safe Thanksgiving and Consider these Other Thanksgiving Activities

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December Calendar

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Congratulations to our Teacher and Educational Service Professional of the Year!

We are proud to announce that Mrs. Cynthia Reif, physical education teacher and Mrs. Laura Stanko, speech pathologist, are the proud recipients of the 2020 James Monroe Teacher and Education Professional of the Year.
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December 3rd is the last day of Parent Teacher Conferences

DON'T FORGET! Our final conference will be held virtually on 12/3/20 from 5:00-6:30pm. All classes will end at 12:30 on that day.

You are able to schedule a 10-minute conference with your child's teacher using the conference feature on Parent Portal. Conferences are valuable time to help forge a strong relationship and assist the teacher in getting to know your child better as well as providing you with a progress update. Teachers will send you a link to join the virtual meeting. The meetings are taking place virtually.

School Pictures

Picture Day will be held on Tuesday, December 1st from 3:00 - 7:00 for Remote Only students.

1. Please download and print the form linked HERE and bring it with you. Include payment.

2. You must sign up for an appointment HERE.

3. At your assigned time, please pull up into the school circle.

4. Your child will enter through the main door and then exit through the cafeteria door.

We will be following strict social distancing guidelines. Only students will be allowed in the building.

Picture Day for In-Person Students will take place on December 1st or 3rd. Please return the attached form with payment linked HERE.

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Holiday Sing A-long with Mrs. Sanchez!

Please join us for our first virtual Family Sing-along on December 21st at 6:30 p.m. See the flyer below for more information. Please log on using the following updated link: http://bit.ly/2KFOivG

Send us your family photo or have your children record a holiday message to share with our community which will be included throughout the evening! Please send us your pictures or videos by December 18th.

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Parent Support Group: Parenting in a Pandemic

Join us on December 16th at 6:30 p.m. for our second Parent Support Group! Rutgers PATH counselor will facilitate a session on Parenting during the Pandemic and provide resources and support specifically for our families on the following topics:

-Ways to identify stress in our children

-Attunement- the importance of tuning in to your child's needs

-Strategies to manage stress in kids at home

-The importance of parental self care

Please register HERE if you plan to attend.

Thank you!

P.M. Social Groups with Special Teachers

In our most recent parent survey, many of our families expressed concerns and interest about ways to increase social opportunities while their children are remote.

Each afternoon, students may join their grade specific social skills group with the specials teachers if they are not scheduled to meet with their classroom teacher. These groups provide opportunites for students to have time to talk and socialize with each other while centered on a theme.

Please find their schedule in their SeeSaw or Google Classroom or see schedules below.

1st Grade Social Groups

2nd Grade Social Groups

3rd Grade Social Groups

4th/5th Grade Social Groups

Library Curbside Pickup!

Mrs. Somes has exciting news! Did you know there is a safe way to check out library books from the school? See the flyer below and visit this website to select books!
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November Science Fair Winners!

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Science Fair Winners

PTO News

PTO Meeting - December 8th 6:30 p.m.

Please join us for a virtual PTO meeting to hear about the ways the PTO is supporting the school and have an opportunity to ask questions and talk with Mrs. Tufaro and Mrs. Callahan.

Holiday Donation Drive - December 1st - 4th

Please help families in need by donating new unused toys, pajamas or detergent for a local shelter. Drop off boxes will be available the first week of December. Please see Flyer below.

Holiday Gift Wrap Fundraiser -

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  • For remote only students, please use this LINK to order individual lunch for the week of November 30th which are available at the James Monroe cafeteria daily from 11:30 - 1:30.

  • Starting December 2nd, families have the option to pick up free lunches for the entire week at one of the high schools. Please use this LINK if you plan to pick up the weekly lunches. It must be completed by Tuesday the week before.

  • Children attending in-person will continue to be sent home with a free lunch each day, including meals through the weekend.

Some Good News!

Check out the wonderful talents and accomplishments from some of our James Monroe students for the first marking period! We want to take this time to celebrate any achievements our students have experienced over the last few months both inside and outside of school. You may send a photo, video or brief message explaining their achievement. We hope this brings our community together in a positive way as we celebrate each other.

Please email margaret.callahan@edison.k12.nj.us or cynthia.tufaro@edison.k12.nj.us with an attachment or link to share Some Good News for Marking Period 2. Please remember to include your child's name, grade and teacher.

Sia Shah

Sia was practicing learning ING words and created her own book! She has many talents to share and loves to sing and create!
Let's learn ING words with Sia

Nivaan Shrivastava


It is a international level math competition held annually. Nivaan participated in its annual national level math test in June of 2020. He was placed 9th nationally and 6th at the state level. He received a total score of 86/96.


In the month of May, Nivaan also participated in the Math challenge and was the grade level winner.

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A Message from our School Nurse, Mrs. Sclafani, RN BSN CSN-NJ

This Season a Flu Vaccine is More Important than Ever!

Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself, your family and your community from flu. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients. If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet, get vaccinated now.

The more people vaccinated; the more people protected. Do your part. Get a flu vaccine this fall.

Due to the volume of contact tracing for Covid-19, the Edison Health Department is unable to run its customary flu clinics. The following is a list of websites to peruse to suit your family’s needs. Many can be booked online and also provide Covid testing (inquire with the facility):