Thursday, September 6, 2012
Students returned to school Thursday.
Students walked, drove and were driven to school with their parents and caregivers on Thursday when all the schools in the School District of the Chathams opened their doors. Moms and Dads are sending in photos of their children on the first day of classes. Click through our growing photo gallery, and add some of your own photos.
Drop-off patterns and staff members directing traffic helped make the first day of school easier for motorists.
When Chatham High School introduced their new traffic policy in 2011, which did not allow cars dropping off passengers to enter the front parking lot, motorists took some getting used to it. When school began Thursday morning, traffic flowed much easier outside Chatham High. "That's why we're here, to get these cars through quickly," Assistant Principal Lori Gironda said as she and Douglas Walker, the new co-assistant principal, directed cars through the drop-off zone. A school district staff member guarded the entrance to the parking lot and allowed only cars with permits to enter. A new, later start time for Lafayette Avenue School also helped alleviate traffic conditions. As a result, cars were able to travel south along Lafayette …
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The elementary school has a new floor in the gymnasium and new playground equipment in the schoolyard.
Students and families at Milton Avenue School (MAS) will be sure to notice improvements to the facilities when they return to school Thursday. "We've been very busy over the summer," Principal Marion McCarthy said. "We've had classes and offices painted, we had a mural painted in the front hall instead of a banner hanging." In the school's gymnasium, which is used for school assemblies and as a voting area at elections, the floor was stripped down to its original maple wood, refinished and repainted. "Over years and years, they've come in and finished it off every summer. Now it's just reached the point where they have to take everything off and start fresh," McCarthy said. The school also replaced the old playground equipment with new …
The district's smallest elementary school has seen enrollment increase by about 100 students in eight years.
When Marion McCarthy first became principal of Milton Avenue School (MAS) eight years ago, enrollment in the school was 285. When the 2011-12 school year ended, there were 381 students enrolled. "We have more kids, more families," McCarthy said. "Some people have moved into the area, but a lot of people choose a full-day kindergarten, which we don't provide, unfortunately." Parents may enroll their children in a kindergarten program which offers a full day and then enroll them in the School District of the Chathams beginning in first grade. As of Aug. 16, enrollment at MAS was at 387 students, including about 20 new first-grade students. As enrollment has increased, the school has made concessions within the building. "We had to give up …
Monday, September 3, 2012
Moms share tips and creative lunch ideas.
Kids head back to school this week. Back to school means back to packing lunches. Yikes! I have such a hard time coming up with new ideas. Peanut butter and jelly gets boring. Nutella has been a great backup especially paired with some strawberries, but that gets old too. Regardless, both options will be in my pantry for busy mornings but I need some more interesting solutions. Do you have any good lunch box ideas? I asked around and some other moms shared their tips with me. Elise S., an N.J. mom of two, told me how she brightens up peanut butter and jelly or tuna sandwiches with a little trick. “I sometimes cut them into different shapes with cookie cutters or use a little gadget that cuts the sandwich into a circle with no crusts.” …
What you need to know this week.
It's official! The start of school is here, a mere three days away. But there's more happening this week than just the first day of school, so check in with Patch every day for these stories: 1. You need to know about Milton Avenue School: New playgrounds, new gym floors and a new school year. Everything you need to know to be prepared for the new year at Milton Avenue School. 2. You need to take a little advice (if you're a senior): Members of the class of 2012 pass down their words of wisdom for Chatham High School's class of 2013. 3. You need to know about the first day of school: Look for our coverage of back to school, including photos and traffic updates throughout Thursday morning. 4. You need to know why the town looks teal: The …
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Everything you need to start the school year off right.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Who doesn't love shopping for school supplies? Okay, maybe we can guess the answer to that question. But with the start of school a mere six days away, parents and kids don't have much choice but to make their lists and check it twice if they want to be ready for the 2012-13 school year. Most schools in the School District of the Chathams publish recommended school supplies, and to help make your back to school shopping easier, we've recreated those lists here. So bring Patch with you on your mobile phone as you head out to the stores and you'll be ready for the school year ahead.
Principal Mary Quigley worked with St. Patrick School and Chatham Borough Police to improve conditions near the school.
Traffic and pedestrian safety at and around Washington Avenue School (WAS) is a big job. So over the summer, Principal Mary Quigley met with representatives from St. Patrick School, the School District of the Chathams' home office, Chatham Borough and the Chatham Borough Police Department to discuss ways to make the area safer for students and motorists. "[Traffic Officer] Robert Sweetin finally got us the sign for Watchung Avenue saying the speed limit is 20 miles-per-hour there now," Quigley said. "It's not even 25." Motorists exiting St. Patrick School onto Oliver Street will soon see a sign directing them to turn left only during school drop-off and pick-up times, according to Sweetin. This should redirect that school's traffic away …
Thursday, August 23, 2012
School officials ask parents to drive up to the school or drop students off near Colony Pool.
Ralph Pesapane, the principal at Southern Boulevard School, knows there will be one major adjustment that will be difficult for students and parents to get used to this year. "The gazebo is closed to us," he said. "We can't use it anymore." PSE&G owns the property along Southern Boulevard and recently revoked a licensing agreement which permitted the Chatham Township gazebo as a structure on the lot. This also means motorists can no longer use the parking lot or the park. The dirt driveway and parking lot adjacent to the gazebo has traditionally been used as an alternative drop-off and pick-up location for people who wish to avoid the front of the school. "This is big for us," Pesapane said. "They are not allowed to go there and pick up …
Student population creates some shuffling, as enrollment falls, but not by much.
Students and parents at Southern Boulevard School (SBS) will notice several classrooms in a slightly different location from last year. Principal Ralph Pesapane said several classrooms which were occupied by the first or third grade have been shuffled around to accommodate an additional kindergarten classroom. As part of the 2012-13 school budget, the district added a fifth section of kindergarten to SBS. Kindergarten enrollment is already over 100 students, and even though kindergarten only meets for half-day sessions, Pesapane said the space is already needed. "These are nice, big classrooms," he said. "They'll be good for kindergarten." Originally, Pesapane said he hoped the school would have 40 to 50 fewer students than last year. With…