Lakes Ledger

Volume 1 - Byram Lakes Elementary School - September 2022

Upcoming Dates

September 1st: Kindergarten Orientation - 4:30pm & 5:30pm

September 6th: First day of school!!

September 15th: Back to School Night @ BLES - 7pm

September 21st: Picture Day

A Message from the Principal

Hello Byram Lakes students and families!

My name is Pete Morris, and it is my absolute honor to take on the role of principal here at Byram Lakes Elementary School! I am SO excited! As you know, Mr. Abato will be leaving the district. I know all of us here at BLES have learned a lot from Mr. Abato; we will miss him, but we wish him the best of luck moving forward on his journey!

A little bit about me - I was hired in Byram right out of college as a maternity leave substitute and a paraprofessional. I taught 5th grade science and social studies over at the Intermediate School for 9 years, and I LOVED it. Last year I served as a shared vice principal between the Lakes school and the Intermediate School. I was so happy when a role opened up for me in which I could impact so many more of our amazing Byram students. I love this district, I believe in this district, and I'm so excited to continue to help it grow.

Personally, my wife Pam and I live at home with our dog, Harley. As you can see, Harley is adorable, and yes she knows it. I'm a big Mets fan, and in my free time I love to hike with Pam and Harley, play golf, disc golf (like golf with a frisbee!) read, and ski in the wintertime. Below are some pictures of all of us from this summer.

I can't believe that we are only DAYS away from the start of the school year! You should have received some information through email, and other important info will be located in this newsletter. Our SMORE will be coming out on a monthly basis, and in it I will include upcoming dates, pertinent information, and any news that will be of use. In addition to that, there will be pictures of your children doing what they're coming to BLES to do - learning!

The teachers are excited, the bus drivers are excited, the lunch staff and custodians are excited, the main office staff is excited, I am excited, and I hope YOU are all excited! 2022-2023 is going to be the best year ever, and we can't wait to see you all on September 6th!

Pete Morris

Welcome to Byram Lakes - Say hi to our new teachers!

Jessie Auchter

Ms. Auchter will be filling in as a yearlong maternity leave fill for Mrs. Tatarka in 3rd grade. Ms. Auchter went to school in Byram and is so excited to be joining the team as a teacher! She is passionate about bringing her enthusiasm and positive outlook into the classroom to help her students succeed. Outside of school, Ms. Auchter loves staying active and spending time with her own kids. Welcome!

Samantha DiRenzo

Ms. DiRenzo is thrilled to be bringing her passion for art to Byram Lakes and Byram Intermediate! Ms. DiRenzo also attended Byram Schools, and considers it to be very special to be back as a teacher. Ms. DiRenzo just welcomed her own baby boy, Luca! Her goals for this upcoming year are to create a safe and fun classroom environment. She looks forward to exploring new art materials, artists, and ideas with all of the young artists in her classes. Welcome to BLES!

Arrival and Dismissal Routines

Arrival and Dismissal Routines are very similar to what they were last year, operating on the following start and end times for school:

Start Time: 8:45

End Time: 3:43

If your child takes the bus, please be sure that you arrive to your bus stop at least ten minutes prior to the scheduled time and be prepared to wait in case the bus is delayed for any reason. During the first week of school, buses are usually behind schedule due to all of the first day pictures being taken as students enter the bus for the first time this school year. Please be patient.

If you drive your child to school and/or pick them up from school, you will enter through the Byram Intermediate School parking lot. At that entrance point, all parents of Byram Lakes students will be prompted to get into the right lane (the left lane will only be for Byram Intermediate School students). For pickup, please do not arrive to get in line any earlier than 2:30pm. You will move up through the lane as students are picked up or dropped off. Students will be dropped off at the sidewalk that leads to the Byram Lakes school. School staff will be guiding cars and positioned along the sidewalk to ensure that all students are able to get to and from the building safely. If you have your laminated signs with your last name from last year, please continue to use it. If you were not here last year or you no longer have the one given to you, you will be provided with one to use this year.

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.

You should have already received an email from pickup patrol to set up your plans for the 2022-2023 school year. If you have used this system in the past, you will see your child's dismissal plan from last year. You may keep it the same or update it as needed. If you are new to the school or just to the system, you will be required to set up your child's "Default Plan" for the upcoming school year. Please click here for an informational flyer that will explain more.

Parent Portal

Byram Township School District utilizes the Parent Portal feature of the Genesis Student Information System to provide information on your child's demographics, grades, and bussing information. This allows you to stay informed of your child's progress.

You should have received an email from parent portal allowing you to get it set up. If you are having any issues seeing your child's schedule or bus information, please let us know. For any questions on how to utilize parent portal, please refer to this Parent Portal User Manual. (hint: use ctrl+f to search for specific terms in the document).


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.


Lunch for students in grades Kindergarten, 1, and 2 will be from 12:13-12:53.

Lunch for students in grades 3 and 4 will be from 12:53-1:33.

The 40 minute lunch period consists of a 20 minute block to eat, and a 20 minute block for recess. That 20 minutes goes quickly! It may be a good idea to have your child practice eating their lunch within that 20 minute window before school starts.

As it was last year, lunch will be 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.

Maschio's Welcome Back Letter

Byram Food Services

Maschio's Menus

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.

Work will be provided by the teachers in grades K-2. Please communicate with your child's teacher as to when to pick up hard copies of assignments. Instruction will be provided synchronously through a Google Meet in grades 3 and 4, as it was last year.

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.

Back to School Night

We can't wait to have the parents of our students into the building for Back to School Night! Back to School Night will be Thursday, September 15th at 7:00pm. When you arrive at the school, please report straight to your child's classroom. As we found our videos to be a successful way of delivering our message to all attendees, administration will provide a short welcome message and video that will be played in the classroom during the first sessions.

As in previous years, the night will be broken up into two sessions. The first session will be from 7:00 - 8:00 to allow for time to show the administrators' video. The second session is scheduled from 8:15 - 9:00.

Please note that due to space restrictions in the classrooms, only one parent or guardian per family will be permitted to attend each classroom session. You are encouraged to attend a second session if you are elsewhere in the school during the first.

Related arts and therapists will be in their classrooms and available to all parents during Back to School Night. I can't wait to greet you at the door, and then make myself available throughout the building during the course of the evening.


We are so excited to work with the PTA again this year to create amazing opportunities for our students! Please see the below message from PTA President Marla Rodriguez:

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer! The Byram PTA has been hard at work getting ready for the upcoming school year.

I would like to introduce our new board members for this upcoming school year. We already have several events planned to kick off the year. We hope you will join us. We are always looking for volunteers. You can reach us with any questions 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

Best Regards,

Marla Rodriguez

Odds & Ends

Student Handbook

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

Byram Apparel

Get your Byram spirit wear here! All kinds of great products are available this year.

Byram Sprit Wear Store Link

Music Room Notes

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

Byram Lakes Building Calendar

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

What else?

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