Catena Colts Connected

October 16, 2020

Dear Catena Families,

As the Autumn leaves begin to change, we hope you have the opportunity to find beauty in the little things this weekend. Colors remind us of all there is to celebrate during this season~the sights, smells and sounds of Autumn surround us with joy & gratitude.

Thank you to our Catena families for providing input on the FTS District Parent Survey last week. This information will aid the district as they determine next steps for our SuperKids and the approach for learning for all. In the days/weeks ahead, the district will continue to share out plans for moving forward and we will request decisions from families regarding students' participation in the modified learning environments/approaches. To clarify, last week's survey will not be used as your family's final choice going forward. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your children specifically please reach out to one of us directly and we will do our best to support you.

Be well,

Ms. Shaw & Mrs. Cecilione

Upcoming dates to remember...

Wednesday, October 21st: Meeting via Zoom

October 5th-October 23rd: MAP Growth & iReady Testing Window

October 19th-23rd: Safe Schools Week

October 28th & 30th: Halloween Costume Days; 10/30 Classroom Halloween activities

Tuesday, November 3rd: Election Day, All Virtual for All Students

November 20th, 23rd & 24th: Parent-Teacher Conferences; No PM Learning Block

Safe Schools Week at JJCS

We are ready to celebrate America's Safe Schools Week at Catena! School violence affects everyone in a community: students, educators, families, businesses and others. Stopping the violence begins with the awareness that one person~any one of us~can and does make a difference. Individual choices and actions, when multiplied by those of others throughout the school community, can reverse the violence.

This week we recognize and build school violence awareness; everyday, together, we can keep our school peaceful and free from violence by being respectful, responsible & safe. We are Catena Strong!

Be sure to help us build awareness by having SuperKids participate in our Daily Spirit Wear Themes!

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SuperKids Learning All Day!

Our school day consists of Connected Learning from 9am-1pm daily. During this time it is important that students are engaged in the classroom schedule. This will be a balance of synchronous and asynchronous learning. There are times when learners at home will be given a break or assignment to work on while the teacher addresses routines and procedures in the physical classroom. Just the same, there will be times when students in the classroom may be working independently and the teacher will work directly with those learners at home. Please be sure that SuperKids are prepared with supplies and in their "learning space" during this time so they can engage appropriately.

Our SuperKids' days continue in the afternoon. These PM Learning Blocks are from 2:25-3:35 each day following time for all students to have lunch and recess at home. Live lessons/learning time may not be scheduled every day; however, when small groups or individual lessons are scheduled it is in the effort to personalize learning for students. This PM Learning Block affords teachers time to provide intervention and enrichment for students in content areas. Please prioritize these scheduled lessons for your students. Teacher/student learning conferences, asynchronous lessons and assignments and related arts classes are also scheduled daily. Teachers will share schedules in their Google Classrooms and students will have personalized learning opportunities across the week!

Celebrating Halloween at Catena!

Please see the communication below regarding our Halloween celebration for 2020!

Arrival & Dismissal

Catena School Hours 8:50am-1:00pm

  • Doors Open 8:40am
  • Dismissal 1:00pm
  • PM Virtual Learning Blocks 2:25-3:35pm

At Catena, all entrances and exits will be marked for arrival and dismissal. Look out for our new SuperKid lawn signs for directions! Staff will be stationed outside each day to welcome SuperKids and direct them to the appropriate and assigned entrances. Hand sanitizer will be provided to each student. We encourage families to review these assigned doors/entrances with their children.

Students will come in assigned doors to limit the need for two-way traffic

  • Main Entrance: 1st & 2nd bus students & walkers from Chatham Ridge/Longview

  • Flag Pole Entrance: K, 3rd, 5th grade bus students & walkers from Chatham Ridge

  • Fourth Grade Entrance: 4th grade bus students, walkers, car riders; 1st, 3rd car riders

  • K/5th Grade Wing doors: K, 2nd, 5th grade car riders

Signage around the school building will remind our SuperKids and families of the importance of and requirement to socially distance from others. We ask that families discuss with children theses expectations prior to our first Connected Learning Days beginning Monday, September 21st.

When on school property, parents must wear masks at all times and practice social/physical distancing from all others.

Arrival & Dismissal procedures and maps can be accessed below.

PACE Kids Stuff Coupon Book Fundraiser

What do SuperKids need each day?

Each day SuperKids need to have:

  • K & 1 students who requested a district Chromebook should bring the charged device and charger to and from school each day.
  • 2-5 students should bring their charged district Chromebook and charger to and from school each day.
  • All students should have a snack. Students may also bring a water bottle.
  • All students MUST wear a mask and have an extra mask in their bookbag.
  • Personal size hand-sanitizer.
  • A small lunch-size paper bag (or a mask lanyard) to place their mask in during snack.
  • Students should keep any supplies needed in the classroom & at home in their bookbag.
  • Students should always have their Cohort A/B tag on their bookbag so they are easily identifiable when entering the building.

From Our School Nurse~Mrs. Toth

Daily Health Screening

Thank you! Our families have been doing a great job completing the district required Daily Health Screening. We ask that families prioritize time each morning before sending students off to school (on a bus, in a car, or by foot!) to complete the Daily Health Screening by 8:30am.

Log on to Genesis Parent Portal each morning and fill out the survey by 8:30 AM for each of your children(

Honesty is a must! If your child is showing symptoms, keep him/her home and allow him/her to participate virtually. Completing the Daily Health Screening must become part of each Catena family's morning routine. It is already part of ours~all staff monitor themselves for illness and completes a Daily Health Screening.

What happens if a student arrives to school without a Daily Health Screening completed?

If the Daily Health Screening is not completed, students will not be able to start the school day with their classmates. Screening by the school nurse will be conducted and families will be contacted. A parent must then complete the Daily Health Screening along with the nurse or a health assistant and confirm that the child is in good health and has not been in close contact with someone with Covid-19.

Completing the Daily Health Screening is crucial as we strive to maintain a safe and healthy environment for SuperKids, families and Catena staff!

Try this morning checklist:

  • Completed Covid/Daily Health Screening on Genesis Parent Portal;
  • My SuperKid has their mask on. We have labeled the mask;
  • My SuperKid has a back-up mask in their bookbag;
  • Snack and a water bottle are packed in my SuperKid's bookbag!
Daily COVID screening form - Google Slides

Reporting a SuperKid's Absence

Please follow these steps when communicating your SuperKid will not be attending school for illness related reasons:

  • Call your school's main phone line 732-431-4430 to access the attendance line (press 1) prior to the start of the school day (9:00 AM)
  • Leave a message or provide staff with the following detailed information: NAME, GRADE, TEACHER, REASON FOR ABSENCE, GIVE SPECIFIC SYMPTOMS
  • School staff will inform you of when student can return to school
  • A PHONE CONFERENCE with your School Nurse is REQUIRED if student is excluded for COVID-related symptoms (see above)

Be Responsible~Mask Up!

SuperKids are doing an awesome job! As per the New Jersey Department of Education guidance provided to all school districts, masks are required to be worn by all staff and students throughout the school day. Students riding buses are required to wear masks from the time they board the bus in the morning until they get off the bus at the end of the day. Students who walk to school or are driven to school must wear face masks once they enter school property. Upon leaving school property in the afternoon students can remove face masks. Parents accompanying students in the morning or picking up students in the afternoon must wear masks.

Masks may be removed for water breaks and during scheduled snack, when students are socially distanced with 6ft of space. By making sure we "mask up" we can keep ourselves and others safe at school.

Families should make time to review the district's mandate and school expectations for wearing a face mask. We will continue to review the expectations and appreciate your support in doing so at home.

Technology Support

We are continuing our process of simplifying the use and repair of district chromebooks. If your child is having difficulty using their chromebook, please send an email to There will be a dedicated staff member monitoring all emails to this address who will be able to troubleshoot with you and offer help. They can also escalate the issue if it requires further intervention, and arrange for drop-off of devices and issuing of loaners. Thank you for your patience as we streamline our procedures.

Virtual Learning Expectations

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Counselor's Corner

JJCS Parent Support Site

Joseph J Catena Elementary School

For 60 years we've focused on building strong minds, strong bodies & strong character! Our students are encouraged to share their unique talents and gifts and follow their curiosities as they grow and learn. In 2021 Catena turns 60 and we are excited to celebrate the strength of our school community. Together~parents, staff & students~we are Catena Strong. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn with our SuperKids, incredible staff and amazing families each day at JJCS!