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Community Park News

September 13, 2020

Dear CP Families,

The first day of school is such a magical day. That magic comes from our hearts and our anticipation of something new. It is a combination of yearning for the unknown and fearing the unknown.

This year is unlike any other for us adults or for our children. Let's focus on what will be the same. My commitment to being here for you and for your children remains. Our teachers' dedication to your children's success is even stronger. They have poured their passion into preparing for this fall. You know that teaching in this environment is not for the faint of heart!  CP teachers have heart!

Our entire staff has worked tirelessly to prepare for our "all-remote" model. You may interact for now through a screen, but our teachers and assistants are real, passionate, and energized and that will come through. Their initial lessons and days will focus on building community. We all crave community with our school peers - we have missed our students. We will also emphasize how to work together in the remote environment and how to organize our days for success and for great experiences.

Teachers will introduce themselves and establish general plans for this week. Most students will be meeting with their homeroom teacher on Monday morning around 8:30 am as a starting point, and most (if not all) are planning to start with Zoom next week just as we get used to Canvas. We are excited about all of the possibilities that this new platform offers. As with anything new, we are asking for your patience and flexibility as it may take a few days to make sure that everything is working as smoothly as possible.  

You should know that if you have any technical issues with your device, your log-in information, or other programs, please send an email to both your child's teacher and to our tech assistant, Vaishali Pandkar (

If you were unable to pick-up a device and/or your child's classroom materials, please contact the main office (609-806-4230). We are on site and can assist you with a pick-up time. 

The elementary schools are approaching this fall with a more scheduled day in the hopes of keeping things organized for kids. There will be some dedicated times for Morning Meeting and for the content areas. However, please know that the intent is not for students to be on screen the whole time, and we have worked with teachers on age-appropriate guidelines for "screen time" for academic subjects -- with the daily totals increasing with age in accordance with guidelines from scientists and medical professionals.  Thus, the school day should be a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and that variety will also be evident with our "specials" as those will all take a different form. 

We will also be focusing on SEL (social-emotional learning) as we know how important connections are during this time of uncertainty and trauma for so many individuals and families. Teachers will be using their daily "Morning Meeting" time for this purpose, but we will also be intentional about prioritizing these values and activities.  If you are concerned about your child's social-emotional status or growth in any way, please reach out to our wonderful guidance counselor Liz Cameron (

We are required by the state of NJ to keep daily attendance. Our staff has agreed to a process that we will all use. Each homeroom teacher will take attendance on the first Zoom (Morning Meeting) and the last Zoom each day, and if students are present for both of those, we will be counting them "present" for official purposes.  

I am sure you have questions about our upcoming switch to a "hybrid" model in early to mid-October; however, our immediate focus is on Monday and the rest of week #1.  There will be more detailed information to share with you by next week.  I will work with the PTO to set up another parent forum via Zoom at some point in late September. 

At this time, we are planning for Thursday, September 17, for Back to School Night - details to follow.

Please breathe and know that we are here for you and your children.


Dineen Gruchacz

  • Community Park News