January 2020
Monroe Township School District
News & Updates
A Message From Dr. Dori Alvich
Monroe Township School District Superintendent
Dear School Community,

Happy New Year! Our schools are in full swing and students are learning. This month, the district will begin a strategic action plan process. We invite you to be a part of planning our district’s future! We will be giving a State of the Schools Address at the first meeting on January 14, 2020.

Please join us for any or all of the following dates:

  • January 14, 2020 Meeting #1 Determination – Strengths and Challenges/ State of the Schools (snow date January 27, 2020)

  • February 24, 2020 Meeting #2 Dream – Creating a Common Vision (snow date February 27, 2020)

  • March 23, 2020 Meeting #3 Design the District’s Destiny – Goals and Objectives (snow date March 30, 2020)

TIME: 7:00 pm

LOCATION: Monroe Township High School

This process will be facilitated by New Jersey School Boards Association. Three (3) planning meetings will be held where district stakeholders will create the essential elements of a strategic plan: vision, goals, and objectives. We will be discussing the strengths of the district, the challenges that we face, creating a shared vision for the district, and developing goals in which we can tackle those challenges. We are inviting staff members, parents, students, community leaders and other interested members of the public to contribute their thoughts, ideas and hopes – so that we can effectively plan for the future of our students. We look forward to seeing you there. Please join us at one or all of the meetings.

Please RSVP at the following link: https://forms.gle/SB2YpADsACVtH2h16

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  • January 1, 2020: All Schools Closed
  • January 17, 2020: 4 Hour Session Students-Staff In-Service
  • January 20, 2020: All Schools Closed
Monroe Township School District

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 7:00pm
Regular Board of Education Meeting
Board of Education meetings held at Monroe Township High School in the Media Center

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 5:00pm
Special Board of Education Meeting
Closed Session Meeting: Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying
Monroe Township High School Media Center

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 5:00pm
Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee Meeting
Board of Education Office

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5:00pm
Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee Meeting 
Board of Education Office

For more information about the Monroe Township Board of Education click here:  https://www.monroe.k12.nj.us/domain/13  

2020 Board Members
Mr. Steven Riback, Board President
Ms. Kathy Kolupanowich, Board Vice President
Ms. Michele Arminio
Mr. Ken Chiarella
Ms. Jill DeMaio
Mr. Adi Nikitinsky
Mr. Andy Paluri
Ms. Rupa Siegel
Mr. Peter Tufano

Jamesburg Representative
Mr. Paul Rutsky

Student Board Members
Ms. Kayleigh Craver
Mr. Manan Shah
or call 732-521-1500

The Hour of Code, an introduction to computer science, is a worldwide movement that takes place during the week of December 9-15, 2019 Computer Science Education Week.   Led by Mr. Gleason, Ms. Kirner, Mrs. Dowe and Mrs. Kerstetter, Oak Tree held an Hour of Code Night on December 12. During two separate sessions, over 100 third grade students and their parents worked side by side coding through various challenges. It was an incredible turnout in which participants could learn the basics in a fun interactive way.

by Patty Dinsmore and Lauren Colflesh

Walking into a room full of people you do not know can be intimidating for even the most polished person. Now imagine asking primary aged children to do the same. Well that was exactly what occurred at Oak Tree School, but not without some preparation. During the month of November all Oak Tree classes received instruction on acceptance as part of their guidance lessons. Students were taught how to disagree respectfully and accept comments when differences arose. The underlying theme of the lesson was that everyone has feelings and wants to be happy. In order for that to occur on an everyday basis, we need to be kind, respectful and accepting toward each other.

On December 17 th Oak Tree took it one step further by participating in Mix It Up Lunch Day. As students in grades 1-3 entered the cafeteria, they were each given a sticker with a planet on it or some type of celestial body. The children then found the table with a picture that matched their sticker and that is where they would be enjoying their lunch. Using conversation starters facilitated by Guidance Counselor Ms. Colflesh, students had the chance to share some of their interests and favorites in a small group. Students discovered things that they have in common despite our perceived differences and were instructed to use accepting comments toward each other.

The response was overwhelmingly positive! Laughter resounded through the cafeteria and children walked out to recess with a new group of friends to play with. Children have begged their teacher to let them do it every week. Walking into a crowded room of people you do not know? Not a problem for the students of Oak Tree School!

Oak Tree students participated in Wellness Wednesday on December 11. The children were able to wear their pajamas and bring in their favorite stuffed animal while practicing Buddy Breathing. It was a very comfortable way to meditate and focus on the moment plus lots of fun!

“All Aboard” was heard throughout Monroe Township and the residents came, tickets in hand to climb aboard the Polar Express and enjoy an evening filled with math games, math activities and family time. Over 85 Brookside families came to school the evening of Thursday, December 5, 2019 to ride the math train of fun and they were not disappointed. The lobby, halls and cafeteria were decorated in snowflakes and Polar Express themed decorations. Families, sporting their favorite pajamas, took selfies, played activities in the cafeteria before they traveled down the hallway lined with snowflakes to the Library where a warm fire and holiday music was displayed on a screen. Teacher Melissa DeMauro commented, “There were so many smiles on the students’ faces as they were playing the games; it was wonderful.” Students were given a BINGO board and ventured to stations like Beat the Teacher, manned by staff member, Eric Silverman. Here Mr. Silverman challenged them to 50 math facts in a minute. They also did activities related to fractions, time, money and geometry. Once their BINGO board was filled, they received a holiday bell to remember the night. Selected students won fun class-room rewards like special chair for the day or a free homework pass as well. This wonderful evening was sponsored by the MTEA F.A.S.T. grant and the amazing staff at Brookside School who volunteered their time!

During the month of November, students of Ms. Lombardi, Mrs. Metroke, and Mr. Szeto’s classes collaborated with a couple of 3 rd  grade, 4 th  grade and 5 th  grade classrooms to create candy bags for children in need. Students from both settings donated candy from their collection from Halloween. It was a wonderful gathering where the students were able to collaborate and give back to others in need!

Also, our students took the time by grade level to collect items for those less fortunate. This gives our students an understanding of empathy in showing compassion for those less fortunate. Our fifth grade classes collected a total of 322 items of different toiletries -- shampoo, conditioners, toothbrushes, soaps, toothpaste, deodorant and shaving cream; our fourth grade classes collected 244 items of hats, gloves, scarves and socks. Our third grade classes collected 166 items which made 119 goodie bags with small toys, in addition to coloring books/notebooks and large toys and stuffed animals. These items were donated to “Feeding Frienz” in Asbury Park, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, and Ginny’s Pantry in Hamilton. We appreciate all your support and contributions to make this drive a huge success.

Woodland School News

The holiday season at Woodland School has been very festive this year. During the school’s Holiday Shop, Mr. Thomas’s choir caroled while the fifth grade Character Crew committee wrapped gifts.  

Mrs. Duskiewicz, Media Center Specialist, scheduled Code Week with Mr. Mir Ali, Learning Ally web developer. He circulated through our classrooms and not only practiced coding with our students but did STEM activities too!

The 5 th grade teachers have begun planning Woodland School Hour of Expert. Children come together in a positive and accepting way to participate in activities, such as art, STEM, sports & yoga just to name a few.   
"Give What You Can...Take What You Need" at Brookside School

Wanting everyone at Brookside to feel cared for, Student Council decided to post a pair of bulletin boards with the help of Mrs. Horoszewski. One side, “Give What You Can,” asks students to spread comfort and encouragement by writing helpful messages on post-it notes and posting them on the companion bulletin board. The other side, “Take What You Need,” is an open invitation to members of the Brookside community to take whichever message seems to be speaking to them on any given day. Student Council members have been actively promoting the bulletin boards and encouraging others to participate in this small act of kindness. 
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