October 2017 Principal's Message

October 2017

October Greetings to Our Middle School Parents and Guardians,

It is hard to believe that September is behind us and the fall season is in full swing.  This season is special for me and my family, and definitely our favorite of the four.  It provides many opportunities for family fun such as apple picking, pumpkin picking, fall decorating and, of course, preparations for Halloween.  It is also nice to finally turn off the air-conditioning and open the windows for some fresh air.  We are excited as a middle school family to share all of these joys with your children and help them as they get settled and progress academically, socially and emotionally throughout the 2017-2018 school year. 

September is now behind us and our official roster total is 607 students for the two grade levels.  This is the largest class that I have had the pleasure of leading in my eight years as a middle school principal.  Some of the issues we resolved in September included making sure all students were issued Chromebooks, ensuring class sizes did not get too large and adjusting seating assignments to keep the lunch room from being overcrowded.  I always preach that we work better as a team rather than individuals, and that concept came to light during the first few days of school.  We were quickly settled and all of our students became set in their daily routines.  Our 7th grade students were tremendous adapters of change and transitioned rather smoothly from the elementary to secondary levels of education.  I am proud to lead our faculty, staff and students throughout this school year and know we will come together more strongly as a collective unit as the school year progresses. 

October is always one of the most action-packed months due to the number of assemblies and events that we have planned outside of the instructional classroom.  October features our Week of Respect, Anti- Violence and Vandalism Week and Red Ribbon Week, which promotes anti-drugs and alcohol.  During the month of October, we bring in numerous guest speakers and promote various assemblies to support all of these message.  At the middle school level, we believe that it is so important to also focus on our students’ maturation and to have them think critically about some of the peer choices they will be facing as they move through middle school and get closer to high school.  All of the events taking place are listed on our events calendar, which is being sent as an attachment to the October e-mail.  The Middle Years publication, also attached to the October e-mail provides great talking points and advice for parents and guardians of middle school children.  Please take the time to discuss some of these themes with your child so that our messages and lessons get reinforced at home.  The partnerships we share in raising your children are vital to their success and growth.  I look forward to sharing ideas and strategies that ensure the success of your children in our middle school environment.

Our school is currently accepting donations in order to help support those affected by the recent hurricanes.  The Fort Lee School District is in the process of adopting a middle school in Beaumont, Texas that will receive all of the collected school supplies.  We will also be collecting first aid and basic necessities for those in need in Mexico and Puerto Rico.  Pet supplies are also being accepted in order to support local animal shelters who are receiving pets left homeless.  A recommended list of all items is posted on the main page of our middle school’s website.  We will be intermittently bringing all donated supplies to drop centers so that they do not sit idle in our school and get to those in need as quickly as possible.  Please help to support this cause by having your child bring one or more of the recommended items to his/her homeroom.  We thank you for you support with this effort. 

The middle school’s PTA is a tremendous organization that works to support your children with many of the events planned throughout the school year.  The first of these events will be the Halloween Dance planned for Friday, October 27 at 6:30 p.m. in our school’s gymnasium.  This is a free event for our students, which includes food, beverages and a D.J.  At the middle school level, we do not allow students to wear costumes to school on Halloween due to the distractions they cause in the hallways and classrooms.  However, students are permitted to wear costumes to the dance as long as they are appropriate and safe.  Our first PTA meeting of the school year will take place on Wednesday, November 1st at 7 p.m. in our school’s media center.  This meeting will give you the opportunity to become involved in future events and fundraising activities.  I hope to see all of you there for this meeting. 

Over the last three school years, Fort Lee High School has hosted an open house to present our parents and guardians with the numerous educational opportunities and advantages offered.  This year, the open house will take place on Tuesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.  After the initial greeting, you will be afforded the opportunity to tour Fort Lee High School, speak to high school staff and administrators and visit advisors for the numerous clubs, activities and athletics offered.  There will also be a separate presentation for the three academies offered at Fort Lee High School, which include the International Baccalaureate Academy, Academy of Finance and Theatre and Performing Arts Academy.  This is a tremendous opportunity for our high school to showcase all of its tremendous offerings.  I invite all of our middle school’s 7th and 8th grade parents and guardians to attend this event and see for yourselves the advantages of having your child attend Fort Lee High School.

I apologize for the delay in getting information out in regards to our Title 1 tutoring program.  This program offers free after-school tutoring for qualified students who may struggle with math, reading or writing skills.  An invite will be sent to those qualifying students before October 4th.  The program will begin on Monday, October 16th.  If you do not receive an invite for this program, please reach out to me any time via e-mail in order to request information.  A permission form will be included with the information sent and must be returned for your child to participate.  We will also be hosting a parent/guardian Title 1 information night on Thursday, October 12 at 7 p.m. in the middle school’s media center for anyone interested. 

Within the monthly events calendar, you will see events titled “Pizza with a Professional.”  This is the second year of existence for this program, which is organized by 8th grade guidance counselor Ms. Brigida.  This program allows 8th graders to meet, chat and have lunch with working professionals in our area.  The goal of the program is to get your children to start thinking about career choices before high school begins.  Please have your child see Ms. Brigida to sign up to meet any of the professionals working in a field of interest. 

Sign-ups have also started for all extra-curricular clubs and activities.  Please visit our school’s website and click on the curriculum tab to see a list of all that we offer outside of the classroom.  One of the best ways for your child to meet new friends with similar interests is to join a club, organization or team.  We encourage all of our students to become fully active and engaged with all that we have to offer.  I hope that your child takes advantage of our school’s offerings and finds value in these social opportunities.   

Along with this letter, you will receive the October events calendar, October Middle Pages publication and PTA information.  I ask that you print the October calendar and make yourselves aware of all the great things happening throughout the month.  I am also attaching the standardized testing schedule for the 2017-2018 school year as mandated by the New Jersey Department of Education.  All information in this message is also posted to our school’s website.  Thank you for your continued support of our schools and community and I look forward to a great October! 

Sincerely,

Robert Daniello
Principal
Lewis F. Cole Middle School