Our Stonybrook Blog is moving!

Thanks to the development of the new Kinnelon Public Schools website, which will “go live” during the week of October 8th, Our Stonybrook Blog will now exist directly on the Stonybrook website.  You can update your bookmarks and RSS feeds accordingly if you so choose.  I look forward to continuing to use the blog to keep you informed about all that is taking place at Stonybrook!

Please join us for Back to School Night

Back to School Night is almost here!  Parents of students in kindergarten and 3rd grade can join us on Wednesday, October 3rd, and parents of 4th and 5th grade students can join us on Thursday, October 4th.  The event will begin at 6:30 each night with an opportunity to visit teachers of special-area subjects, followed by a presentation by the principal in the gym, and then classroom visitation and presentations from 7:30-8:00 PM.  We hope you can join us!

important upcoming dates

Please be aware of these upcoming dates:

  • Wednesday, 9/26-school closed for Yom Kippur
  • Wednesday, 10/3-Back to School Night (kindergarten and 3rd grade)*
  • Thursday, 10/4-Back to School Night (4th and 5th grade)*
  • Monday, 10/15-Picture Day
  • Wednesday, 10/17-Open Classroom Visitation Day*

*We hope you can join us for these events, which will allow you to develop a deeper understanding of your child’s school experience. 


As the new school year continues…

It is early in the school year, and all of our students are establishing, or re-establishing, habits that will influence the way they work throughout the course of the year.  Here are some important habits and routines to emphasize with your child:

Setting up a time and space for completion of homework:  Consistency in the timing and location of homework completion helps students to be more efficient and focused when working with these assignments.  Some students prefer to get their homework done right after school, while others need a little time to decompress, or perhaps a snack, after the school day.  You know your child best, and will know what will work for him or her.

Checking homework:  “At what grade level do I no longer need to check my child’s homework?”  This question comes up frequently, which is probably because there is no simple, “one-size-fits-all” answer.  The simplest  test is this:  when you do not check your child’s homework, is he or she able to complete it thoroughly and accurately?  If so, he or she has achieved a level of independence and responsibility where daily checks may not be necessary.  With that said, checking homework is also a great way for you to see what your child is learning, and how he or she is doing with those concepts and skills.  So, checking your child’s homework and assignments always has value regardless of his or her personal level of independence.

Talking about the school day:  You’ve heard me say this before, but it’s because I really believe that this is so important.  A conversation about your child’s school experience causes your child to process his or her day, and also provides you with valuable insight about what he or she is learning.  The lines of communication you use when this is a daily habit tend to be open and lasting.

With routines like these in place, the stage is set for your child to have an outstanding school year.

We’re off to a great start!

The first two days of school have been outstanding!  Our 4th and 5th graders have returned to Stonybrook ready to pick up where they left off, and build upon all that they have learned.   Our kindergarteners and 3rd graders have fit right in, and are already becoming comfortable with the routines of their new grade levels.  The stage is set for a wonderful year, and the best is certainly yet to come.

A note as we prepare for next week:  During this past week, we met each morning in the gym, and then teachers escorted their students to the classrooms.  Beginning on Monday, we will follow our typical procedure, which is to have students report directly to their classrooms when they get to school in the morning.  We will have people in the hallways to guide them.  We look forward to next week, and to the exciting school year ahead!

Welcome back!

Welcome to the 2012-2013 school year!  We have been hard at work all summer preparing for what promises to be an outstanding school year, and we look forward to sharing it with you and your child.  Here are some things to look forward to:

Writing Workshop:  As you may know, we established a partnership with Teachers’ College at Columbia University last year.  We have worked with staff developers to deepen and enrich our understanding of the Writers’ Workshop model of writing instruction.  This not only helps students to develop stronger skills and greater independence in writing, but also engenders a love of the process.  This is something that I saw firsthand last year, and I look forward to it continuing this year as we enter our 2nd year of the partnership.

Full Value:  This is our character education program, which is based on the following principles:

  • Be Here-listen attentively, give your full effort, pay attention to those around you
  • Be Safe-follow school rules, respect others’ space, keep hands to self, think before acting
  • Be Honest-tell the truth, use kind words
  • Commit to Goals-figure out what you want to do, make a plan, follow through
  • Let Go and Move On-forgive mistakes; look to the future, rather than dwelling on the past
  • Care for Self and Others-help others, include others, treat others as you would like to be treated

Each of our classes collaborates to develop a class contract based on these principles.  This is the foundation for creating a socially and emotionally healthy classroom and school atmosphere conducive to learning.

new website:  During the course of this school year, we will be unveiling a new district website.  This will make information more readily accessible, and facilitate communication between home and school. 

online form submission:  Many of you have already completed your student information submission for the 2012-13 school year.  What used to take a great deal of time, paper, and some duplication of effort, can now be completed online in one step (okay, three steps, if you count going to the website, typing in the information, and then clicking to submit).  If you have not already done so, you can access the online form for Stonybrook HERE.

These are just a few of the many components that will contribute to what we hope to be your child’s best year in school yet!  We look forward to the first day of school on Thursday, September 6th.

Thanks for a great school year!

The story of this school year is one written by all of us.  Students, teachers, parents, and community members all shaped the 2011-12 school year. 

If there is any question about how significant that is, I ask you only to think of this:  picture your child (or, students, picture yourselves) at the beginning of last September, and look at where he or she (or you) is (are)  now.  An incredible amount of growth has taken place, and we are all different, and better, than we were back then.  We know more, we have more experiences to draw from, and we have reaped the rewards of the effort we put forth in this time.

This is the beauty of what takes place over the course of the school year, and it works best when we all work together.  I certainly felt that partnership and support throughout this year, and I am grateful to all of you for it.  I wish you all a wonderful summer, and eagerly look forward to continuing this partnership in the next school year!

I’d like to close with a word of advice (literally) for the summer:  READ!  If there is one thing that your child can do to keep his or her mind actively engaged, to continue to learn, and to spend some time relaxing while also doing something incredibly beneficial, reading is it.  Parents, you can help your children to get the most out of the reading process by helping them to find reading material that interests them (the Kinnelon Public Library is an outstanding resource for this), and by asking them questions about what they are reading.  This will help your child to make sense of what he or she is reading, and may also give them the very satisfying feeling of being able to teach you something, as well!

NJ Cake Day

Our 4th grade classes had their NJ Cake Day this past week.  This is a celebration that accompanies their study of New Jersey in social studies, and it has become a tradition at Stonybrook.  Students contribute cakes shaped like counties, a variety of items to decorate the cakes to indicate unique features of different areas of New Jersey, and a lot of icing.  The resulting cakes are very impressive!  Take a look:









These cakes were made possible by a tremendous cooperative effort on the part of students, parents, and our 4th grade teachers.  We thank everyone who contributed to this fun and unique celebration of our state!


Upcoming dates

NJ ASK testing is now over (except for those who were absent at any time this past week), and our students can be proud of the hard work and focus they showed throughout the week.  We resume a normal schedule throughout the school on Monday, and there are a number of upcoming dates to be aware of:

5/14-There will be a meeting for 5th grade parents in preparation for the PEEC trip (6:30 PM in the band room at Stonybrook)

5/15-There will be a meeting for parents of next year’s 6th graders (6:30 PM at PRM)

5/17-Author Day assembly for kindergarten students at Stonybrook

5/21-4th Grade Band concert

5/22-5th Grade Band/Jazz Band concert

5/23-4th and 5th Grade Choir concert

5/25-5/30-school closed for Memorial Day and unused snow days

5/31-Field Day (or 5th grade student visit to PRM)

6/1-5th grade student visit to PRM (or Field Day rain date)

6/4-5th grade visit to PRM

6/7-5th grade leaves for PEEC, 4th grade fiesta

6/8-Kindergarten Extravaganza, 5th grade returns from PEEC

6/12-5th grade Bookfest, GOAL Museum Night (5:00-6:30 PM at Stonybrook)

6/13-5th grade DARE Graduation

6/15-last day of school for students