February 2018 Principal's Message

February 2018 Principal's Message

February 2018

Dear Middle School Parents and Guardians,

 I am hoping this letter finds you well and in good spirits.  The winter came with a vengeance and I am not sure I remember cold weather in this area to that extended extreme.  With weather like that, it is hard to get outdoors and do the things that keep us moving and motivated.  Let’s hope the groundhog sees no shadow and we get an early spring.  I am definitely ready for it at this point.   

One of the more recent and pertinent mandates from New Jersey’s Department of Education involves the new standardized science assessments that will be given to students in Grades 5, 8 and 11.  This is a change from many years of practice in giving the science assessment in grades 4 and 8 only.  Mrs. Carruba, our district’s Director of Guidance sent the following information home: The New Jersey Student Learning Assessment – Science (NJSLA-S) is a computer-based test that will be administered to students through Pearson’s TestNav platform. It will have the full menu of accommodations that are provided on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).  Similar to the statewide PARCC ELA and Mathematics assessments that New Jersey already administers, the NJSLA-S will administer up to two units per day for each student, and students can complete testing in science in two days.  All students in grade 5, 8 and 11 will test on May 23 and May 24.  With that said, please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns regarding the state’s new regulations regarding the NJSLA-S.  I will also answer any questions on this topic during our future PTA meetings.     

 January was another great month at LFCMS.  We completed our Coat Drive and tallied over 200 articles of clothing, which included coats, sweaters, boots, gloves and winter hats.  This provided many families in the Fort Lee community and beyond with warm clothing for the remainder of the winter.  I thank all of you who contributed to this worthy cause and for helping our students to understand the importance of charity.  Our student ambassadors also continued to promote kindness and respect through our “Bridgemen Bucks” program.  This program rewards our students who are observed performing random acts of kindness.  We are proud of our student ambassadors and the positive messages they promote daily throughout our school building.    

Our 8th graders also started planning for high school by selecting their electives to be taken in Grade 9.  This is an exciting time for our 8th graders as they enter the final two marking periods of middle school.  Electives sheets were due on January 16 regardless of whether or not your child is attending Fort Lee High School.  This ensures him/her scheduled electives in the event that decisions change.  I hope that all of you had the opportunity to attend Fort Lee High School’s orientation in January to see all of the exciting things happening at FLHS.  I know there are personal family and faith reasons for attending private or parochial schools; however, I know that Fort Lee High School can exceed all expectations and deliver the high-quality education all of our children deserve. 

February 2nd will bring the beginning of the third marking period, which officially brings the end of the first half of our school year.  There are some exciting things happening, so be sure to review the February Events Calendar to stay on top of everything.  Throughout the month of February, we will be celebrating Black History Month in our classrooms.  Each day, a different message of hope and perseverance will be delivered to our students over the public address system.  This message will carry itself throughout the day and lend itself to our values and worth as a school community.  We will focus on many of the African-American leaders who have made a difference towards respect and acceptance of ethnic and religious differences.  Diversity and unity make us great, and we are stronger when this is realized and becomes part of our underlying nature.       

This month also presents our annual book drive for Project Cicero.  This is the sixth school year that we are participating in this event, which seeks to equip underprivileged schools in New York City with classroom libraries.  Please have your child bring to homeroom any new or lightly used books appropriate for school-aged children.  Our students will work with our media specialist, Mrs. Spahn, to box and ship the books to the appropriate schools.  This once again promotes our message of charity and stresses the importance of literacy with young children.    

The next PTA meeting is on Thursday, February 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the middle school’s media center.  All parents and guardians can enter the building through our main entrance on Stillwell Avenue.  This is a great way to become involved in our parent/guardian organization and volunteer your time for all of the upcoming events.  The PTA and Student Council will be hosting a Valentine’s Day Dance on Friday, February 9 from 6:30-9 p.m. in our school’s gymnasium.  Permission slips will be sent home with your child on Monday, February 5 and are required for students to attend.  There will be a fee of $5.00 for this event, which includes the D.J., food and soft drinks.  We thank the PTA for their continued support of our students and the school functions that are vital to our culture and climate.

Our Board of Education will honor our Teacher of the Year and Educational Services Professional of the Year on Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.  Mrs. Callahan (Science Teacher) and Ms. Brigida (8th Grade Guidance Counselor) are the respective recipients of these awards for the middle school’s 2017-2018 school year.  We congratulate both of them and appreciate all of their efforts to support our students and school.  Also remember that there is no school on Friday, February 16 and Monday, February 19 for President’s Day Weekend.

Please be sure to access the February events calendar, February Middle Years publication and other important information through the links in the February e-mail or on our school’s website at www.flms.flboe.com.  

Thank you for all that you do to support our schools and community.  I look forward to a great second half of the school year and know your children will continue to grow and prosper academically, socially and emotionally.  Be well and have a great month!

Robert Daniello
Lewis F. Cole Middle School