West Essex News January 6, 2012

West Essex Regional Schools newsletter

West Essex News                  January 6, 2012


Hello everyone! Happy New Year! I hope that everyone enjoyed the holiday break.


Thank you for all of your newsletter submissions.  Please keep sending them to afreeman@westex.org. Any questions, feel free to call me at extension 101.


Did you know that West Essex Regional Schools is on Facebook? Make sure you become a fan and receive updates on everything happening at West Essex.


Are you making regular visits to the School District website? Keep up-to-date with everything going on at West Essex. Check out the photo galleries featuring pictures of West Essex students. New this week is a gallery of photos from the Middle School Winter Concert.


Please read this Important Letter from Superintendent of Schools Barbara Longo.


Parents and Guardians:


As you know, our school calendar for the 2011-12 school year had three emergency days allocated.  In October we used two emergency days for the snow storm leaving us with only one day.  With this being the beginning of the winter season, I think it is prudent to examine our calendar to provide time so we can accommodate our students and staff in case of a winter storm.


Our decision was a very difficult one, but I think it is as fair as possible, in light of the circumstances.  To meet the 180 day instructional requirement for students and maintain graduation at the June 17, 2012 date, it has been determined that the following changes will be made to our calendar for the 2011-2012 school year:


January 16, 2012 – Martin Luther King, Jr.  Day will be a single session day for students with a 12:17 p.m. dismissal. Staff will have a professional development workshop in the afternoon.


February 21, 2012 – will be a single session day for students with a 12:17 p.m. dismissal.  Staff will have a professional development workshop in the afternoon.


While I realize that the resolution to the situation caused by the October storm is not one that can make everyone happy, I feel that by convening school on February 21, it may avert the opening of school during the April break.


Thank you for your support and cooperation.





                                                   Barbara Longo

                                                   Superintendent of Schools



West Essex Regional Board of Education


The West Essex Regional Board of Education will hold a Regular meeting on Monday, January 16th at 7:30 p.m. at the middle school.


Important Dates:

  • January 9-13: Middle School Spirit Week
  • Janury 10: WEFE meeting
  • January 12: Middle School Winter Dance
  • January 16: Single Session Day with 12:17 p.m. Dismissal
  •                     Half Day Staff Development
  • January 19: Middle School Orientation for Sixth Graders
  •                      West Essex PTO Project Graduation meeting
  • January 20:  “One Knight Only,” West Essex Dance Team Show
  • January 25-27: High School Midterm Exams, Early Dismissal for ALL students.


District News:


West Essex High School Principal Gary Suda began his new position right after the holiday break. Suda, who left his position as Assistant Principal at Livingston High School, said he is excited to “cultivate positive relationships with students, staff and the community.” Suda replaces Barbara Longo who served as principal since 2003 and is now West Essex Superintendent of Schools. Acting Principal Juliann Hoebee will return to her position as Assistant Principal of the High School. Suda will host a Meet-and-Greet for parents and students January 16th at 6:30 p.m. in the Middle School Library. Light Refreshments will be served. The event will precede the Board of Education meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the middle school.


West Essex High School students are seeking help with their writing at the new free After School Writing Center, which started this week. The Center offers students personalized help with their writing after school three days per week.  This dynamic new program was created to help students improve their writing including college essays, school assignments and even writing for the SAT. This Center is not only for English students, but for any student who needs assistance in writing. Students should sign up in the library by 1 p.m. that day and will meet their English Department tutor in room 502 after school. The Center will be staffed by Mr. Fardin, Mr. Slotoroff and Ms. Bailey and will be open every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the rest of the school year from 2:40 to 3:40 p.m.


The West Essex Middle School and Guidance Department has scheduled a special Orientation for current 6th graders from our four sending Districts on January 19th, 2012 from 7-9 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium. Middle School tours will begin at 6:15 p.m. Beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the Middle School will initiate a new approach to student placement, heterogeneous grouping as opposed to tracking. Here is a letter to parents from Middle School Principal David Montgomery on the heterogeneous grouping. Click here to view. (The snow date for this event is January 26, 2012.) For the evening’s agenda, click here.


The West Essex Dance Team will take the stage for “One Knight Only,” January 20th at 7 p.m. at the High School Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Please note that the performance snow date is January 21st. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.


The WEHS Masquers will stage Disney’s “High School Musical,” for its Spring Musical March 22-24. Auditions will begin January 9 at 2:45 p.m. and take place all week in the High School Auditorium. Students should be prepared to present a one-minute monologue and learn and perform a dance. Actors should wear comfortable clothing and shoes and make sure their student activity fees are paid prior to the auditions. Music will be provided. For information, contact Mrs. Sorrentino.


West Essex Middle School will celebrate Spirit Week January 9th-13th. Festivities include Pajama Day on Monday, Twin/Triplets Dress Alike Day Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday!, Support Your Team Thursday and the Middle School Dance Thursday and Pride Day Friday. The dance on Thursday runs from 7-9 p.m. Admission is $7 at the door and water will be sold. The evening will include dancing, video game competitions, an open gym and prize raffle. On Pride Day, seventh graders will wear white, eighth graders will wear red and faculty members will wear black. The pep rally has been moved from January 13th to February 10th due to academic concerns.

The deadline to purchase a High School Yearbook is quickly approaching. The deadline for personalized yearbooks is January 24, 2012 at midnight and the deadline for books without personalization is January 31, 2012 at midnight. The Ad Deadline for students and parents has been extended until Wednesday, January 11th. Please fill out an ad form and send it in with your check. For an ad form, click here.The yearbooks may be purchased online at www.Jostensyearbooks.com. There is a list of those who have purchased a yearbook outside room 706 in the high school. For information, visit yearbook information.


Middle School Yearbooks are also available for purchase. Order now to make sure that your child receives one. Yearbooks are $40 and can be ordered on our website at click here. The price goes up to $45 on January 9th.


Seniors will have the opportunity to participate in the Senior Service Project which should run from approximately May 22 to June 12.  To participate, students must meet certain eligibility requirements. For information, read the letter on the website at Senior Service Letter.


Student Achievements:


The West Essex High School Robotics Club and its Team Estonia will be going to the Zero Robotics Finals at MIT on January 22 and 23 at the MIT campus. The team placed fourth nationally.


The Roseland Borough Council plans to recognize the West Essex Marching Knights for their successful season. The council will commemorate the band season at its January 24th council meeting at 7 p.m.


A poster created by West Essex High School Freshman Rebecca Bucci has been selected as one of the winners of the 2012 Art Educator’s of New Jersey Power of Art Poster contest and as the New Jersey High School Poster Design Winner.


Rebecca said she never thought that her colorful poster of the gold finch, New Jersey’s state bird holding a paint brush with splotches of color around it would be selected and used for the Art Educator’s of New Jersey annual poster. The contest asked students to create a poster demonstrating the power of art. Rebecca will be honored by the Art Educators in March.


Three West Essex High School musicians have been selected for the Area Band. They are: junior and clarinet player Jason Ajmo, sophomore trumpet player Michael Markus and senior trumpet player David Shields. The Area Band is an auditioned group of the top 200 high school musicians from Essex, Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties. The band will perform its concert January 15th at Mount Olive High School.


The West Essex Middle School Social Studies Department is proud to announce the top three students in the National History Bee Middle School Competition. They are: Jason Morganti, first place; Louis Galrowicz, second place; Isabel Parzecki, third place. The top two students will move on to the Online Regional Qualifying Exam.


West Essex Middle School seventh grade art students have decorated the middle school cafeteria classroom with snowflakes they created in Roger Munch’s art classes. Come and check out the snow wonderland!


West Essex Middle School Principal David Montgomery has recognized the Students of the Month for January 2012. They are seventh graders Brian Contaldi and Karin Maher, both from team 7A, and eighth graders Kyle Wiatrak and Madison Yuran, both from Team 8A.


Victoria Agrifolio of Fairfield, a West Essex High School sophomore, performed the lead part of “Clara” in the New Jersey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” December 26th at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.


 Kira Shabbab, a seventh grader at West Essex Regional Middle School, was cast as “Annie” in the musical “Annie” at the Smiling Rhino Theatre, 247 Wanaque Ave. Pompton Lakes. Kira is in the silver cast. Show times are Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25; $22 seniors and $20 students and children. Call (973) 248-9491. Visit www.smilingrhinotheatre.com.




The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently honored the West Essex Football and Field Hockey teams for their successful fall 2011 seasons. The freeholders presented team members and coaches with board commendations December 14th at the Hall of Records in Newark.


PTO News:


The West Essex PTO is planning a Project Graduation meeting January 19th at 7:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. Parents interested in helping out with the project, especially 8th Grade and current freshman parents should plan on attending. A meeting date will be announced soon.


PTO Membership forms will be mailed out to families in the near future. Each family is encouraged to make a $35 donation to the organization. In the past, the money has been used to purchase a mascot costume, a new speaker system for the stadium, equipment for the fitness center and contributions for the beautification committee’s efforts. The PTO also supplies refreshments for special events including class breakfasts, teacher in-service days and funds special teacher projects. The PTO is also looking for volunteers to help with these events. If you would like to volunteer, contact Jenifer at jpetrocca@optonline.net


WEFE News:


The West Essex Foundation for Education is planning its Annual Cut-A-Thon for the end of February to raise money for the Foundation. It is also looking forward to its annual 5-K Trotting for Technology on May 19th. The foundation will hold its next meeting January 10th at 7:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. Anyone interested in helping the foundation plan or host its events is encouraged to attend. For information, contact Eileen Fiore at EMGFiore@comcast.net.


West Essex Volunteers:


As an extension of the Seventh Grade Character Education Curriculum in Health, all seventh grade students donated and collected school supplies and toys for students at Rosa Parks Central Community School in Orange. Before the holiday break, the students and teachers loaded more than 230 decorated shoeboxes of school supplies and toys to be donated to the children onto to a school bus to transport the donations to the children. Health/Physical Education teacher Greg Ruggiero said he started the program five years ago as part of the character education program in the seventh grade. Ruggiero said he and the other middle school health/physical education teachers “are teaching kids to give back. It is a good feeling knowing that you did something for someone else…for kids who are less fortunate.” Ruggiero, who taught at the school in Orange before coming to West Essex, recalled how students there used telephone wire as jump ropes on the playground.

“Our seventh graders exceeded our expectations in terms of generosity,” said health teacher Barbara Bruchac. “Our goal was to collect one filled box for each student in the first grade.”

Other teachers involved include Heather Hemmer, Bob Lenoy and Bettina Mianulli.


In an effort to promote literacy in young adults, the members of the West Essex High School English National Honor Society collected hundreds of books in a book drive for middle school students in November and December and will donate the books to Paterson School #7. The Honor Society members will take a field trip to deliver the books to students at the school in February. The West Essex students will also recognize Paterson School #7 students who won a school poetry contest. The West Essex students will also mentor students at Paterson School #7.


Recycle your holiday greeting cards. Please bring them in and place them in the donation box by the middle school library entrance.


Community News:


The Fairfield Home School Association is seeking donations for its May 10, 2012 Tricky Tray at the Hanover Manor in East Hanover. All proceeds go to the Fairfield HSA. If you would like to make a donation, e-mail Kelly Hricko at kellyhricko@yahoo.com.


Special Note:

We are asking parents to fill out a new Student Publicity Authorization form posted under general forms on the website and send them in to school with your child.  This is different than the original form you filled out in September. The form will allow your child’s photograph or name be used in a press release for the District website and the local media. Please take a few minutes to fill it out now.  Click here for the form:  Publicity Authorization Form.


If you do not receive the West Essex News and would like to have it e-mailed to you, please e-mail afreeman@westex.org.




Take care,





Allison Freeman

Manager of Communications and Community Outreach

West Essex Regional School District

West Greenbrook Road

North Caldwell, NJ 07006

(973) 228-1200 ext. 101


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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