1200 Boulevard, Westfield, New Jersey 07090-2726          

A quick reference for your questions about school procedures at Jefferson School. Please check this sheet first to find out what you want to know. If your question isn't answered, call our main office at 789-4490, (open 8:00 am to 4:00 pm every school day) and we'll be happy to help you.

Early Alert Program School Starting Times School Dismissal
Staying After School About Lunch Outside Recess At Lunch
Going Home for Lunch Cancellations and Delayed Openings  Early Dismissal Days
Library and Gym Days.."Specials"  Chorus and Music Lessons Assemblies and Special Events
Newsletters and the School Directory  PTO Suggestions?
Interim Progress Reports Parent Conferences Parent-Teacher Appointments
Chats with the Principal     Art Galleries

 

KNOWING YOUR CHILD ARRIVES SAFELY... EARLY ALERT PROGRAM
Jefferson's Early Alert Program provides an absentee verification service for parents to help insure a safe arrival at school each day. Parents call the school office between 8:00 and 8:30 am or 12:15 and 12:30 pm if their child is going to be absent. We will attempt to contact parents if a child is absent from school and we have not received a call that the child was to be absent. (For more detailed information, please read your Early Alert sheet sent home in your first day packet.)

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SCHOOL STARTING TIMES/ENTERING THE SCHOOL BUILDING
Students should arrive on school grounds by 8:40 am. All students should report to the entrance door indicated. Teachers will be on duty from 8:30 to 8:40. Students should line up with their class to enter the building. The duty teacher will send students to their classroom at the 8:40 bell.

Students who arrive late to school, morning or afternoon, must enter by the main door and must check in at the office before going to class. We are very serious about accurate attendance and tardy records. For safety reasons we want to make sure we know who is here and who is not.

On mornings when it is raining, students will be allowed to enter the building at 8:30 when staff supervision is available. Students will wait inside in the entrance hallway until the 8:40 bell. Parents are asked not to come inside to help minimize hallway traffic congestion.

School doors will be locked after the entrance bell for security reasons. If you want to come into the school during the school day, you will need to use the main door. All locked doors do open from the inside out. No one ever gets locked in. Remember, you need to check in at the office first, whenever you visit. Again, this is for organization and security reasons.

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SCHOOL DISMISSAL/LEAVING THE SCHOOL BUILDING
All students will leave the building at the 3:05 dismissal bell from the designated exit door (which may not be the door they use to enter the building in the morning). Parents are asked to wait outside the building for their children at dismissal to make our traffic flow inside go a lot more smoothly. Please stand back and away from the door so students can get out.

There will always be days when the children may be late getting outside. We ask your patience when this happens. Remember, we are teaching your children independence and responsibility in gathering up their own things and getting themselves out in a mature way.

If you are missing a child... don't panic! Wait a few minutes and then check the school office.

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STAYING AFTER SCHOOL
Staying after school is sometimes arranged for extra help or as an advisable "discipline" procedure. Students may be detained between five and ten minutes beyond the 3:05 dismissal to speak with a teacher about homework or behavior. Your cooperation is requested when this happens. No child will stay more than 10 minutes unless you have been informed at least one day in advance, either by phone or by note. You will know exactly what time your child will be dismissed if "staying after" is recommended. Students who stay longer than 10 minutes will be dismissed from the front door. If you receive a notification that your child is scheduled to stay after school, please fulfill your responsibility and return it with your signature to school with your child the next day. This insures both of us of your child's safety and well being.

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ABOUT LUNCH
The lunch hour is 11:30-12:30 each day. Teachers are not on duty. Students staying at school for lunch eat in their classrooms and are supervised by our lunch aides. Students who stay for lunch must bring in a written permission form to be kept on file, and cannot leave school during lunch except through the main office when signed out by a parent. Students eating at school must bring a lunch for the first few weeks of school. A letter about purchasing school lunches and/or milk comes home by mid-September. A placemat (vinyl is best) is required for everyone who eats lunch in school. No gum is allowed... soda is discouraged... .both get very messy.

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OUTSIDE RECESS AT LUNCH
Every student goes outside (weather permitting) during the lunch period every day and should dress according to the weather. The only exceptions made are for students with a doctor's note stating the number of days the child needs to be inside, and why.

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GOING HOME FOR LUNCH
The lunch hour is 11:30-12:30 each day . Students going home will leave at 11:30 and may not return until 12:30. Keep in mind on cold and rainy days that students will not be let in until 12:30. The afternoon late bell rings at 12:35. There are designated exit and entrance doors for the lunch period. (For more detailed information on lunch, please read your About Lunch and lunch program letters sent home.)

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CANCELLATION OF SCHOOL AND DELAYED OPENINGS
School may open late in inclement weather. Delayed opening times are: 10:00 -3:05 for grades 1-5, 10:00-12:30 for AM kindergarten and 12:35-3:05 for PM kindergarten.

Regularly scheduled school days may be cancelled due to snow or other serious conditions involving danger to staff and students on the way to and from school.

Do not call the school.  If there is a delayed opening, or cancellation,  announcements will be broadcast over radio station New Jersey 101.5 FM, and television station News 12 (Cable TV Channel 42);  listen or watch to find out if school is delayed or closed.  You can also access this information on the Westfield website at www.westfieldnj.com.  The PTO is also notified, and a "phone chain" is started; parents are telephoned about delayed openings and no school days.

Emergency closings are very rare, but we have a procedure in place just in case. We will attempt to make calls  through the PTO phone chain if school must be closed for emergency reasons.  Children will not be able to stay at school, so parents need to plan ahead for emergency closings and send back to us The Emergency Closing Form (in the opening day packet).

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EARLY DISMISSAL DAYS
Early dismissal days are different from emergency closing days. Early dismissal days are scheduled in advance, are on the school calendar and mean that school is in session for a four-hour session and not a full-day session. Grades 1-5 attend school from 8:30 - 12:30; both sessions of kindergarten attend school from 10:00 - 12:30.

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LIBRARY AND GYM DAYS.. "SPECIALS"
"Specials" is a word we use to refer to classes for art, music, physical education (gym) and library. Parents will receive a schedule early in the year, usually at Back to School Night, which will show when your child's class is scheduled for "specials." The children will be expected to have their library books on library day and their sneakers on gym day.

We do have a borrowing library for parents; books on topics of interest for parents about parenting and school issues are available through the library or the principal's office.

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CHORUS AND MUSIC LESSONS
Chorus is scheduled once each week for fifth grade students which takes the place of the second music class. The fifth grade chorus usually presents two concerts: one in December and one in the spring.

Instrumental lessons are offered, free of charge, to all interested students in the upper grades. Third graders may take lessons for a string instrument; fourth and fifth graders may also take lessons for a band instrument. We do not offer piano or guitar lessons.

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ASSEMBLIES AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Interesting and special things happen all the time at Jefferson. The PTO sponsors several Cultural Arts Programs during the year. Many of the assembly programs and special events are noted on your school calendar.  The PTO newsletter, the Jefferson Journal, will list date and time changes and any new events coming up. Parents, relatives and friends are always invited to attend any of our special activities. Pre-schoolers usually do not have the attention span or interest for our assemblies, but if you think they will, and especially if a big brother or sister is performing, they are welcome to attend also. Kindergartners will receive a special notice when an assembly is scheduled when they are not in school (AM or PM) and are welcome to attend with a parent. We will ask any children attending our programs if they'd like to sit up front to see better. They may if they feel comfortable doing so, but don't have to. Parents and guests must sit in the chairs set up at the back of the auditorium. The chairs along the side walls are for teachers to sit close to the students they are supervising.

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NEWSLETTERS AND THE SCHOOL DIRECTORY
The PTO newsletter, the Jefferson Journal is published on a weekly basis by our PTO in order to keep our parents well informed of upcoming events and activities. There are also periodic announcements from the Principal's office.
Both newsletters list events, assemblies and special dates, but do check both because they don't always list the same things.
Jefferson has its own school directory, thanks to our PTO! In it, you will find a list of teachers and staff, a list of PTO committees and chairpersons, and a listing of students and parents for each homeroom. (Be sure to complete and return the directory information form in your first day packet).

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PTO
We have an excellent, very active PTO. PTO meetings are held periodically (approximately once every other month, in the evenings and are listed on the school calendar. Everyone is welcome. Meetings generally are scheduled at 8:00 pm for coffee and chatting, with a formal program beginning at 8:15 pm. PTO meetings are planned for adults, so children are not expected to come with you. If you are interested in becoming involved, we would like to hear from you. You can complete and return the PTO Volunteer Interest Form (in your first day packet), or drop a note in the PTO box in the office, or call any person on the PTO Executive Committee, or call the main office, or talk to your child's teacher or to the principal,  whatever way is easiest for you. The PTO periodically will send notices home or put announcements in the Jefferson Journal,  when volunteers are needed for special projects.

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SUGGESTIONS?
We are always open to ideas and suggestions, so don't hesitate to offer yours. You can call us... or e-mail us... or drop a note in the PTO box.. or drop a note in the suggestion box.  The PTO box and the suggestion box are both in the main office.

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INTERIM PROGRESS REPORTS
In addition to the regular report card sent home four times during the year, parents may receive an interim report. Not everyone gets one. These are not failing notices. Interim reports are intended to be a formal communication from school to home halfway between report cards to inform parents of their child's progress since the last report card or parent conference. They can alert parents, and students, to specific concerns or changes in performance, attitude or behavior.. .good as well as not so good. Interim reports, unlike the report cards, are mailed home. Mailing dates for interim reports are noted on your school calendar.. as are distribution dates for report cards.

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PARENT CONFERENCES
We schedule a parent conference for every student during the month of November. Your child's teacher will contact you for a mutually convenient time and date. Conferences may be requested by either the teacher or parent, at any time during the school year. Just write a note to your child's teacher or call the school office to let us know you would like an appointment and what choice of dates would be good for you. Your child's teacher will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please remember that teachers are supervising or teaching your children from the time they arrive at 8:40 until they leave at 3:05. Getting to a phone or writing a response to your note is impossible except during "prep" time (one half hour each day), or during lunch. We understand that parents are sometimes anxious to hear from us. Rest assured that we care about you and your child and that we will get back to you just as soon as we can.

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PARENT-TEACHER APPOINTMENTS
Parent-teacher appointments are often scheduled before school or after school. If you have an appointment, please use the front door and check in at the main office. If you like, you may write us a note to have your child meet you at the office instead of being dismissed with the class if your appointment is after school.

Please do not expect teachers to talk with you during school or as the children are arriving or leaving. A teacher's first responsibility at these times is to supervise or teach the children in their care. During these times they cannot give you the attention you deserve.

Please do make an appointment or ask for a phone conference if you wish to talk with your child's teachers. We encourage frequent home/school communication. Just call the office to ask for a conference or a return call.

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CHATS WITH THE PRINCIPAL
Chats are informal discussions about educational issues concerning the Jefferson School Community. These chats are held in the evening from 7:00-8:00 pm prior to each regularly scheduled PTO general meeting. Ideas for topics are suggested by parents. Generally, we hold four or five chats during the year.

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ART GALLERIES
Our Student Art Gallery, called "Our World", is located in the office hallway, just after the main entrance. We have created the gallery for the purpose of encouraging and recognizing children's contributions in art. Our art teacher serves as curator and changes the exhibit each marking period. We hope that parents and friends will find a few minutes to enjoy art in "Our World" when they are in our building.

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