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PTO meeting with adults sitting in chairs and 3 students standing in front of the SMART Panel.
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Student drawing on a Chromebook about the Rings of Responsibility.

Learning about the Rings of Responsibility through the Digital Citizenship unit. 

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Remember to wash your hands to stay healthy as the seasons change. 

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Happy Halloween from the Washington School Faculty. Professional multitaskers, we do it all! 

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Nearpod enhancing instruction and providing every-student response opportunities throughout the lesson. 

About Us » Principal's Message

Principal's Message

Dear Washington School Students and Families,

Washington School looks to foster the growth of all fifth-grade students through a comprehensive curriculum. Our academic objectives can be accomplished by successfully working together this school year. Fifth-grade teachers will continue to implement Balanced Literacy and provide reading and writing instruction through Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop.  Math In Focus, based on the Singapore approach, is our main resource for mathematics instruction and professional development in this area is ongoing. We will also be utilizing the latest technology with guidance from Mrs. Danielle Haggerty, our Media/Technology Facilitator.  Each of our classrooms is equipped with Smart Software and an interactive panel. Every classroom has a Chromebook cart which allows for each student to use their own Chromebook throughout the day.


As the Washington Wolves, our classes are organized in “packs.”  The packs are as follows:


W- Ms. Cunningham (BUILDER), Ms. Irving (Social Studies), Mrs. Schaefer (Science)

O- Mrs. Murphy (Science & BUILDER), Mrs. Turtletaub (Social Studies & BUILDER)

L- Mrs. Chibaro (Social Studies & BUILDER), Mrs. Del Vecchio (Science & BUILDER)

V- Mrs. Briber (Social Studies), Ms. Gottfried (Science), Mrs. Van Dzura (BUILDER)

E- Mr. de la Fuente (Science), Mrs. Jones(Social Studies), Mrs. Policarpio (BUILDER)

S- Mrs. Monaco (BUILDER), Mrs. Roberts (Social Studies), Ms. Cassels (Science)


Within the packs, language arts and math will be taught by your child’s respective homeroom teacher, while science, social studies, and BUILDER (—Brainstorm, Understand  —Imagine/Invent, Learn, Design, Engineer, Research) will be taught on a three-day rotation by the other teachers within their pack.  All fifth-grade students will have Art, Music, and Spanish once a week and Physical Education twice a week.  Students will have an opportunity to visit the Media Den to check out books which have been “genrefied” to meet the needs of our adolescent readers.

I would like to thank The Washington School PTO for their generosity and hard work in helping us get our school equipped with a variety of programs to support our daily instruction. To start off the year, the Washington School PTO has donated Audio Visual equipment for our gym, student planners, and a new Washington School sign.  We are extremely thankful to the Washington School PTO.


All students will begin their day with Leadership and learning skills through the Leader in Me philosophy. For more information visit the website at (  Our goal is to equip our students with the skills needed to practice leadership and positive decision making.  


There will be many wonderful things happening at Washington School.  Look for Band and Orchestra, Chorus, Literacy/Newspaper, Peer Leadership, Broadcast, Washington Forum and the Environmental Club.  The Washington School PTO is also planning for After School Enrichment and Odyssey of the Mind.


Meeting our Students’ Academic, Social, Emotional & Behavioral Needs:

Washington School strives to meet the needs of all learners.  Washington School has a full Child Study Team that supports our students with special needs. They work as a collaborative team to meet each student’s individual needs.  If you have any questions regarding your child’s IEP, please contact your child’s case manager directly.


Our school has a committee, the Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) Team, led by Mrs. Emmanouilidis, which serves as a brainstorming panel for which teachers and parents can refer children who they feel could use additional strategies, skills and supports in school under the umbrella of regular education. The I&RS Team consists of building administrators, your child’s teacher, our learning consultant, a teacher representative, our Strategies Intervention teacher and a Child Study Team member.  The purpose of this committee is to review the information provided by the K-4 schools, identify students with a social, emotional, behavioral or academic need and to develop accommodations, based on teacher input, that would provide opportunities for students to reach their full potential.


We also understand that our fifth graders have unique social and emotional needs. We are excited to welcome our Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Bonnie Loew, who will be a wonderful resource for our students and families during this transitional year and offer her expertise and guidance.

Washington School Code of Conduct:

We will provide students with proactive ways to socialize as well as appropriate ways to handle conflicts.  Students are taught to use “I Messages” and “TAG” (Tell someone what they are doing to bother you.  Ask them to stop.  Go tell someone if they do not.)

We ask all students to follow our Code of Conduct as follows:

  1. Respect people and property.
  2. Keep hands, feet, & objects to yourself.  
  3. Use appropriate language.  
  4. Be courteous; speak kindly.  

Washington School belongs to all of us. All students have the right to learn and feel safe. We must take good care of each other and the building and grounds to maintain a pleasant and safe learning environment for all of us.

The expectation for behavior at Washington School:

Be kind, safe and show respect to other people and property inside and outside the building at all times. 
Kindness, Safety, and Respect will be discussed and reviewed within the classrooms and within the school all year long. Please continue these conversations at home.

The following steps will be taken when expectations are not met:

  1. Teacher or administrator confers with a student. 

  2. Parents will be informed through phone calls, conferences or written notes when expectations are 
repeatedly not met or if the severity of a single incident requires immediate parental involvement/notification. 

  3. Different privileges may be revoked when appropriate. This may include loss of recess or other school 

  4. An after-school detention period may be appropriate in some cases. The individual teacher or the 
principal will supervise this detention period. 

  5. In-school or out-of-school suspension may be assigned by the building principal in instances where 
behavior is severely inappropriate. Parents will be immediately notified by the principal of any suspension. 

We have a building safety team that will investigate and report on all incidents in regards to Harassment,  Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB). Mrs. Emmanouilidis is our Building Specialist and can be contacted with any issues related to HIB.


We are encouraging all students to stay off social media and want to teach them appropriate good digital citizenship skills.  We will be working closely this school year with Detective Ed and our DARE team of Millburn Police Officers. Our message is to be internet and technology responsible, utilizing all forms of media in an appropriate manner.  Our fifth-grade peer leaders will learn to be proactive and develop habits to help them navigate situations involving social media. We will hold an assembly with Detective Ed de la Fuente in September to address the use of technology and social media.  Thank you for your support!

  • Cell Phone Usage:  Washington School will not be responsible for the loss or damage of any student cell phone.  Students must turn them off and keep them away during the school day. After school, students can use their device to communicate with a parent or guardian.  Students may not use their cell phone while traveling on the school bus. Please know that we discourage picture taking and videotaping on school grounds.



The school day begins at 8:40 a.m., with arrival beginning at 8:20.  Children should not arrive before 8:20 a.m. as they may be unsupervised.


Doors that will be open during arrival: Main Office entrance, Willow Street entrance and bus loop entrance.


Walkers: Students walking to school may enter through any of the entrances.


Crossing Guard Locations:  (may be subject to change)

  1. 2 crossing guards at the intersection of Spring and Willow right in front of the school
  2. 1 crossing guard at Ridgewood and Main
  3. 1 crossing guard at Meeker and Willow
  4. 1 crossing guard at Spring and Rector

Car drop-off: Parents arriving by car may drop off students in the bus loop area between 8:20 and 8:40. During the time that buses are dropping off students in the loop.  Cars may also drop-off in this location during this time. Please exercise safety while in the loop. All students must exit their vehicles on the passenger side only.   Students are to proceed into the building through this entrance and report to their classroom door.


Bussers:  All students arriving by bus will enter through the loop entrance as this is where buses will park. Bus students will exit the bus and proceed into the building to line up by their classrooms.   


Before School Activities: Students participating in any activities before school, including orchestra, band, clubs, etc. may enter the building through the main entrance or the bus loop.


Safety: We need to keep a continuous flow of traffic during this busy time period.  Everyone’s help is greatly appreciated during this time. For the safety of our children, please be certain that the children use the designated crosswalk areas and do not cross the street directly from your parked car.  Please do not park in the “Drop Off Zone” along Spring Street.


Late arrival: All doors will be locked at 8:50 am.  Any student arriving after this time must enter through the main office doors and be signed in by their parent. Any student arriving after 8:50 will be marked “tardy.”  



Students will be dismissed following the procedures listed below:


Walkers will be dismissed at 3:05 by their teachers.  This may include any student who has been given permission by a parent to leave school unescorted by an adult.


Bus students will report to their designated place, either by the loop or in the building, to meet their bus leaders.  They will line up for attendance by their assigned bus number. Please make sure your child is aware of their bus number.


Please take note of the following bus related items:  


Students can only ride the bus they are assigned to and students who are not bussers are not permitted on any bus.  All students riding the bus must remain seated and are required to wear seatbelts. Large instruments are NOT allowed to be transported on the bus.  Cell phones are to be used for emergencies only.


Students getting picked up will be dismissed by their teacher as follows:

  • Teachers will bring students to their designated area for dismissal to occur.  Once a teacher identifies a person who has been authorized to pick up,  students can be dismissed. If an authorized person is not present at dismissal, students will be brought to the main office where a contact person will be called.
  • Pods W, O, L, & V  will be dismissed out of the field side doors (subject to change throughout the year).
  • Pods E & S will be dismissed out of the Willow Street doors (subject to change throughout the year).
  • If a child does not get picked up, he/she will be brought to the main office and parents/guardians will be called. (Please make sure all phone numbers and contact information in PowerSchool are current!)  

If you are planning on picking up your child by this process,  please know that you must park in a designated location on the street.  Please remember to follow the appropriate signs for parking. The Millburn Police will issue tickets if cars are illegally parked.  Parents who pull up their vehicles on Willow Street for student pick-up must stay in their vehicles and exercise caution while pulling out into traffic. In order for your child to have the option to walk to your vehicle in the carpool line, the proper permissions to leave school unescorted must be in place in PowerSchool.


The bus loop will be closed during dismissal to allow buses to safely board students.  Once all busses have left the loop cars may use this area for pickup as needed.


After School Activities: Students will report to the appropriate individuals responsible for the activity and then be dismissed to their parents/guardians once the activity has ended. Please know that a nurse may not always be present or available during after-school activities.



  • 2 - hour parking is available on Meeker, Rector, Willow and Spring Street in some locations.  
  • Staff parking lot will be closed for parking between the hours of 8:00 and 3:30.
  • Loop area parking is permitted between the hours of 9:00 and 2:00, however, access to the building during these times is through the main office door only. There will be no parking in this area during arrival and dismissal. After busses have left this area parents may pick-up or park in this location.

Changes to Dismissal Plans:  It is imperative that parents and students are aware of any changes in dismissal plans in advance of the start of the school day.  If you have an unforeseen circumstance/emergency that changes your child’s dismissal plan during the school day, please notify both the office (by phone and/or email) and your child’s teacher (by email) as early in the day as possible.


Mark your home calendar for extended single session dates (dismissal at 12:45 pm) to ensure your child’s appropriate supervision on these early dismissal days.



Lunch is between 12:00 and 12:50 every day.  The PTO has made the following arrangements for lunch:   

  1. No Fuss lunch on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
  2. Pizza on Thursday
  3. Sushi on Friday

If you want to purchase lunch you must sign up on the PTO website.  If you have allergy concerns please contact our school nurse, Mrs. Trish O’Gorman at   


Safety and Security:  

Safety is a top priority for all of our students. When visiting during the school day you must enter through the doors located by the main office.  If you are dropping off a lunch, instrument, etc. we ask that you drop it off in the vestibule area only. Mrs. Khalap and Mrs. Todd will make sure that all belongings get to your children.  


Packs and room numbers are as follows:

Pack Teacher Room Number
W Cunningham 119
W Irving 219
W Schaefer 123
O Murphy 111
O Turtletaub 113
L Chibaro 215
L Del Vecchio 213
V Van Dzura 217
V Briber 211
V Gottfried 209
E Jones 121
E de la Fuente 221
E Policaprio 201
S Cassels 205
S Monaco 207
S Roberts 203

Yours truly,

Peter Mercurio

Washington School Principal

Principal Mercurio photo