Principal's Message

August 2023

 Dear Washington School Students and Families,

It is with great anticipation that I write to you as we prepare to begin the new school year!  We are all excited to get started and look forward to a wonderful year at Washington School.  

We will welcome our students on Tuesday, September 5, 2023.  Mrs. Khalap and Mrs. Wolfe have been working hard in our main office in preparation for our opening. Teachers have participated in a variety of professional development activities, in addition to setting up their classrooms and preparing materials for the new year.  

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 Ms. Brigid Cunningham, our Media/Technology Facilitator.  Each of our classrooms is equipped with Smart Software and an interactive panel.  Every fifth grader will have a Chromebook which allows for each student to use them throughout the day. 

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

PACK                   TEACHER                                                                  ROOM NUMBER


W                         Mr. Bodmer                                                                        119

W                         Mrs. Schaefer                                                                  113


O                         Mrs. Murphy                                                                       111

O                         Mrs. Button                                                                        123

O                         Mrs. Dias                                                                            121


L                          Mrs. Chibaro                                                                       215

L                          Mrs. Del Vecchio                                                             213                             


V                          Mr. de la Fuente                                                                221

V                          Mrs.  Lepinsky                                                                    209

V                          Mrs. Van Dzura                                                                  217


E                          Ms. Leone                                                                         205

E                          Ms. Livingstone                                                                 203

E                         Mrs. Policarpio                                                                  201


S                          Ms. Thompson                                                                  219

S                          Mrs. Monaco                                                                     207    

S                          Ms. Scharer                                                                      211


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 trimester 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 that have been “gentrified” 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 planners & t-shirts for our students, Leader in Me Membership, and an author visit with author, Anna Crowley Redding. Our new basketball court for students to use for both recess and gym class is a welcomed addition to our playground area. We are extremely thankful to the Washington School PTO.

All students will have leadership opportunities through the Leader in Me philosophy. For more information, you may visit the website at (  Our goal is to equip our students with the skills needed to practice leadership and positive decision-making. Students will create leadership portfolios, set goals, and participate in student-led conferences in April.  

There will be many wonderful things happening at Washington School.  Look for Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Literacy/Newspaper, Peer Leadership, Broadcast, Washington Forum, and the Environmental Club.  The Washington School PTO is also planning for After School Enrichment, Trep$, 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 Interventionists, and other Child Study Team members.  The purpose of this committee is to review the information provided by the K-4 schools, review data, identify students with social, emotional, behavioral, or academic needs, and 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. Our Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Bonnie Loew,  will continue to be a wonderful resource for our students and families during this transitional year and offer her expertise and guidance. 

A Message From the School Nurse, Mrs. O’Gorman

A warm welcome to Washington School from Mrs. O'Gorman, School Nurse.

I am here to help in any way I can so please make sure to inform me of any chronic or acute illnesses or injuries your child experiences while at Washington School. 


If your child needs to take medication while at school, including over-the-counter medication you must submit the appropriate documentation. It is much easier to have this set up in advance. Please note, that we cannot distribute any medication, prescription or OTC, without medical authorization forms signed by you and your child’s physician.

All medication must be given to me in the original prescription packaging with the child's name on it.


  • Do not send your child to school sick. A student must be fever-free for 24 hours without medication before returning to school and 24 hours without GI symptoms before returning to school.

  • Please provide your correct contact information in PowerSchool.

  • Your emergency contacts in PowerSchool must be individuals who are available to come pick up your child if we cannot get hold of you. Ideally, the emergency contact is within 20 minutes of the school. 

  • Notify me of any illnesses or injuries, especially those that require a student to be absent, receive medication, or need assistance.

  • Your child must stay home for 5 days if diagnosed with COVID-19 and may return on day 6 wearing a well-fitted mask through day 10.

  • Additional COVID guidelines are available on the District Website and are aligned with the New Jersey Department of Health COVID guidelines.

Family Life: 

In 5th grade, our health curriculum includes family life which focuses on puberty and the changes the student can expect physically and emotionally. We focus on the physical, emotional, and social aspects of puberty. This is not a class in sexual education.

Attached are the videos your student(s) will watch. The boys with Mr. Hogan and the girls with me. We follow the videos with Q&A time. You will be informed when this is going to be taught.

Girls Puberty Educational Video

Boys Puberty Educational Video


Please provide me with documentation of any vaccinations your student receives while at Washington School. This includes the COVID-19 vaccine and any boosters. TDaP and Meningococcal vaccines are required for all 11-year-olds and should be submitted at the time of receipt.

Students New to District:

New students must submit a health physical and an updated copy of their immunization records, as soon as possible. Students moving from certain countries to the US are required to receive a TB test.

Voluntary Student Accident Insurance and Dental Insurance:

Please see the informational flyers for accident insurance and voluntary dental insurance for your student.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to meet to discuss your child's health concerns.

Patricia (Trish) O'Gorman R.N., M.S., C.S.N.

Lead Nurse Millburn School District 

Tel 973-218-7500 ext. 39008

Fax 973-314-4995

Washington School 


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 our building and grounds to maintain a pleasant and safe learning environment for all of us.

The expectation for behavior at Washington School:

Be kind, and 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. The teacher or administrator confers with the 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 activities. 

  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 regard to Harassment,  Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB).  Mrs. Emmanouilidis is our Building Specialist and can be contacted with any issues related to HIB. 

We encourage all students to stay off social media. We want to teach them appropriate digital citizenship skills.  We will be working closely this school year with our DARE team of Millburn Police Officers.  Our message is for our students to be internet and technology responsible, utilizing all forms of media in an appropriate manner.  Our fifth-graders will learn to be proactive and develop habits to help them navigate situations involving 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 may use their devices to communicate with a parent or guardian only.  Students may not use their cell phones while traveling on the school bus.  Please know that we discourage picture-taking and videotaping on school grounds.


The school day begins at 8:55 a.m., with arrival beginning at 8:45.  Children should not arrive before 8:45 a.m. as they will be unsupervised. 

Doors that will be open during arrival: Main Office entrance, Spring 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:  Begins at 8:45 AM.  Parents dropping off their children can do so on Spring Street.  We will have the drop-off zone marked and a staff member will be present.  All students who are dropped off will enter through the Spring Street side door.  The staff member will direct students when they arrive. Cars may NOT enter the loop or the staff parking lot during drop-off.  Students are to proceed into the building through this entrance and report to their classroom.

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 children use the designated crosswalk areas and do not cross the street directly from their parked car.  Please do not park in the “Drop Off Zone” along Spring Street.   

Late arrivalAll doors will be locked at 9:00 AM.  Any student arriving after this time must enter through the main office doors and be signed in by a parent or guardian.  Any student arriving after 9:00 will be marked “tardy.”  

Absences: Please email all absences and late arrivals to Attendance.Washington@Millburn.orgPlease include your child’s full name, homeroom and the reason for the absence/ delay to enable us to update our records as mandated by the Department of Education.


Students will be dismissed following the procedures listed below:

Walkers will be dismissed at 3:20 by their teachers.  This includes any student who has been given permission by a parent to leave school unescorted by an adult, 

those walking to the car line, going home with a friend, or walking to a designated nearby location for pick up. Please note the proper permissions need to be in place in PowerSchool to allow the student to have a dismissal plan that includes any of these scenarios.

If you wish for your child to have the option to leave unescorted at dismissal to walk to the car line,  go home with a friend, or be met in a designated pick-up location, please be sure you have chosen “YES” in your answer to the question below in your PowerSchool parent portal. The section in PowerSchool reads as follows:

 My child has permission to leave school unescorted at dismissal. This includes walking to the car line, to a designated pick-up location, or leaving with a friend

Yes  No 

Students who do not have these permissions in place to leave unescorted and are getting picked up will be dismissed by their teacher as follows:

Teachers will bring the student to the field side doors behind the school for dismissal.  Once a teacher identifies a person who has been authorized to pick up,  students will be dismissed.  If an authorized person is not present at the field door at dismissal, the student will be brought to the main office where a contact person will be called. 

Please DO NOT use the staff parking lot for student pick-up. Please use street parking and walk to the field side exit at dismissal.

Please note this does not apply to students who are taking the bus home.  

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.  Bus students may not be dropped off at a stop other than their designated stop.  All students riding the bus must remain seated and are required to wear seat belts.  Large instruments are NOT allowed to be transported on the bus.  Cell phones are to be used for emergencies only.  

Carpool Line Pickup

Students may be picked up in the carpool line at dismissal.  Please note, however, that your child’s permissions in PowerSchool must allow for him/her to leave school unescorted in order for them to walk to the carpool line. All cars should pull up to the yellow cones located outside of the Spring Street side doors.  Students that are getting picked up should wait in this area.  Please pick up your child and keep the line moving.  

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


  • 2-hour parking is available on Meeker, Rector, Willow, and Spring Street.  

  • Please do not enter the Staff parking lot during either AM or PM drop off or pick up.

  • Loop area  - No Parking!

Students and parents must be aware of the student’s dismissal plan prior to the start of the school day. We are unable to interrupt instruction for dismissal changes. If an unexpected situation occurs during the school day that necessitates a change in dismissal plans, please contact both the office and your child’s teacher by email. The email addresses for office staff are and   In case of a genuine emergency that warrants a change occurring after 12 noon, please email and call the office.

After-School Activities - Students will report to the appropriate individuals responsible for the activity and be dismissed either to their parents/guardians or on their own depending on the permissions submitted to the PTO. This is separate from their school dismissal permissions.  Please also be aware that students being picked up from ASC must be picked up promptly at 4:20 PM.

  • Please know that a nurse will not be present or available during after-school activities. 

Extended Single Session Days Please be sure to mark your calendars for extended single session dates (dismissal at 1:05 PM) to ensure your child’s appropriate supervision on these early dismissal days.  A copy of our District calendar can be found on our website ( Us/District Calendars).

Snack Time - Fifth graders will have the opportunity to have a snack each morning.  Your child’s teacher will share the time and details with you. 

Lunch -  Lunch is between 12:25 and 1:15 every day.  Students eat lunch in the gym with their class or eat outside in the lunch area, weather permitting.  Outdoor lunches follow a rotating schedule based on Packs. 

We will also be using the Art Room for each class to have a special Leadership Lunch following a rotating schedule.  

Washington School families will have the opportunity to order student lunches through our partner YAY Lunch.

Lunch will be available on all full days and delayed opening.

Lunch will NOT be provided on early dismissal days.

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

Communication and Parent-Teacher Conferences:  We encourage communication and will be available by phone, email, or for a personal meeting (during a mutually agreed upon day & time).  There are two dates for Parent-Teacher Conferences.  In November (6, 7, 8)  with the parent and teacher, and in April (16,17,18) we will have our Student-Led Conferences with students present during those times. 

Safety and Security:  Safety is a top priority for all of our students. When visiting during the school day you must sign in. Please make every effort to ensure that your child has what they need for their school day before they leave home in the morning.  If you are dropping off a lunch, instrument, etc., we ask that you mark it with your child’s name and drop it off on the blue cart outside the main entrance.  Mrs. Khalap and Mrs. Wolfe will make sure that all belongings get to your children.  

Additionally, at the last Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the hiring of six new Safety Officers, so there will now be security personnel assigned to each of our school buildings. Washington School welcomes Ron Guensch as our full-time security officer. We look forward to partnering with him to enhance the safety and security in our school.  

This Week

We will have an Open House for all 5th-grade students and their parents on Wednesday, August 30th, and Thursday, August 31st between 3:00 and 4:00.  This is an opportunity for students and parents to locate their classroom and become familiar with the building.  Our PTO has arranged for students to enjoy a frozen treat and receive a Washington School tee shirt outside on our field during each Open House.

Monday, August 30, 2021, between 3:00 - 4:00: Packs WOV

 Tuesday, August 31st, 2021, between 3:00 - 4:00: Packs LES 

We hope you will join us for Back to School Night on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30pm.   

The Washington School teachers and staff join me in wishing you a wonderful 2023 – 2024 school year. We are very excited to welcome everyone on the first day of school on September 5th. ​​​​​​​

Yours truly,

Peter Mercurio

Washington School Principal