Mr. Spino and Mrs. Gruetzner, Principal and Assistant Principal of Consolidated School

Dear Consolidated Families,

We hope everyone has been enjoying the summer. It’s hard to believe that school will be starting in a couple of weeks! Hopefully you have received the Welcome Back letter from our Assistant Superintendent, Mrs. Julie Luby, and that you’ve had a chance to view her most recent message about the mitigation strategies that will be in place for the start of school. We are very excited to start another school year and look forward to welcoming all the children on the first day, Monday, 8/30. 

We are so incredibly proud of our work last year and what we were able to accomplish. We have taken some time to reflect upon lessons learned from the pandemic. Most importantly, we have learned the value of the home-school partnership and two-way communication. Your support is the reason we were able to achieve a “somewhat close to normal” school year. This year we look forward to building upon those lessons learned and shoring up some of our most effective instructional practices. 

This letter highlights some important information about what to expect for this coming school year. For more information, please see the 2021 Consolidated School Parent Handbook

GOODBYES & HELLOS

As we think about starting another school year, we sadly say goodbye to some staff members: Mrs. Pat Shollar, Mrs. Kathy Curran, Mrs. Sandy Potts, Mrs. Robin Welton, and Mrs. Nancy Olyha have all moved on to new adventures and are enjoying their retirement. These educators have all made such a tremendous impact on thousands of students and they will be sorely missed! 

Sadly, we also say “see you soon” to Ms. Janine Laurent and Mrs. Linda Lathrop. Ms. Laurent has accepted a position closer to home and Mrs. Lathrop has moved on to a full time position elsewhere. We wish them all the best! 

A few of our wonderful paraprofessionals will be working in other schools this year. We will truly miss them as they are each a special part of our family! We sadly say, “see you soon” to Ms. Val San Carlos, Mrs. Vanessa Shay, Mrs. Kim Santoro, Mrs. Jen Esposito, Mrs. Vivian Ruiz, and Mrs. Rose Bicelli. 

There are also many hellos and changes of which we’d like to make you aware. We are thrilled to have a reading and math team back in place this year to support teaching and learning. Joining our staff, we are excited to welcome Ms. Deborah Fields. Ms. Fields comes to us with impressive credentials and is looking forward to joining the Consolidated family as our new literacy coach. Mrs. Amy Cabral will be returning to Consolidated School as a reading interventionist, and joining her is Mrs. Allannah Greco, also new to our reading support team. Mrs. Bianco will be returning to her role as reading interventionist. 

Mrs. Nicole Briggs will be stepping out of the general education classroom once again and is excitedly stepping into the role of Math Coach.  Mrs. Robyn Biasetti is stepping out of her role as a first grade teacher,  and is joining our math team as one of our math interventionists. We also welcome Miss Stephanie Taylor from MHHS as a math interventionist.  

We welcome back to Consolidated Mrs. Kelly Rich and Miss Becky Pendergast, both of whom will be teaching Grade 2.  Also new to Grade 2, but not new to Consolidated, are Miss Alexandra Mills and Mrs. Diane Dooley. 

Mrs. Duffy will be teaching special education, which is her passion!  We are so fortunate to have her in this role! Mrs. Jennifer Berberian is joining our district as our new STEAM Teacher. We are excited to welcome her to New Fairfield and know she will love working with our teachers and students at Consolidated School. 

Joining Mr. Riehl in teaching P.E. is Miss Janna Stratman. Both Mr. Riehl and Miss Stratman will be seeing all the children once in a 4-day rotation. 

Ms. Justine Smith from MHHS is joining our special education team. We are excited to welcome her to Consolidated and I know she’s looking forward to working with our staff and students. 

We thank those who are leaving for their dedication and service to our school and community, look forward to new, highly-qualified staff joining our Consolidated family, and are excited to see some of our staff members transition into their new roles!

OTHER NOTABLE CHANGES

As mentioned above, our special area rotation is adjusting slightly. With Miss Stratman joining our team we are able to offer students physical education twice per 4-day rotation.  During the 2020-2021 school year, we utilized a weekly specials rotation to minimize contact with large numbers of students. This year, however, we will be returning to a 4-day rotation. Please see the Specials Rotation Schedule

Library will no longer be in the rotation, although students will still have access to the library and will still be able to check out library books. Mrs. Paixao and Mrs. Berberian will be working alongside classroom teachers at Consolidated and MHHS to incorporate STEAM into classroom instruction, support research and technology integration, and continue to welcome children to the library at both schools. 

VOLUNTEERS and VISITORS

For the safety of our staff and students, parents and visitors will continue to be extremely limited, as per our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cosentino. 

TRANSPORTATION (DROP-OFF & PICK-UP)

For your convenience and the safety of our school community, we highly recommend students ride the bus to and from school. The children will have assigned seats on the buses, allowing for much more precise contact tracing should the need arise. Buses begin dropping students off at 8:40 a.m. Bus routes and numbers will be posted on our district website within the next couple weeks.  

For those of you driving your child(ren), we will maintain the same drop-off and pick-up procedures as the 20-21 school year, which are as follows:

Morning drop-off begins at 8:35 a.m. around the back of the building. For safety reasons, we only have one lane of traffic passing behind the building in the morning. There will continue to be multiple drop-off locations, one around the back of the building for grades 1 & 2, and a kindergarten-specific drop-off area near the loading dock. Students arriving at school after 9:00 a.m. will have to be signed into the main office by a parent/guardian. 

Afternoon pick-up begins at 3:10 p.m. for kindergarten and 3:20 p.m. for grades 1 & 2. Our pick-up windows are considerably shorter than last year in order to preserve learning time. We anticipate some congestion and traffic during pick-up and encourage bus transportation. 

We will continue to utilize School Dismissal Manager in order for you to communicate dismissal changes with us. Please see this updated information from School Dismissal Manager about the NEW APP!

IMPORTANT: Returning parents need to UNINSTALL last year’s App from their phone before installing the new App. 

The Apps are no longer available in the App Stores. New/Incoming parents will need to add the SDM App to a smartphone, tablet, or web browser via this link. The app is compatible with Android and Apple devices and is free.

a. Android – Open a Chrome browser window, go to www.schooldismissalmanager.com, and login.  Then click the three stacked dots at the top right corner, scroll down and click on Add to Home Screen, and follow the onscreen instructions to install the app.

b. iPhone – Open a Safari browser, go to www.schooldismissalmanager.com, and login. Then click on the box with the arrow pointing up, scroll down, and click Add to Home Screen. Type in (or click on if auto-filled) SDM and then tap Add to install the app.

*Your login credentials for the new School Dismissal Manager app will be sent in a separate email shortly before school starts. 

Please try to avoid picking up your child early from school. When students leave early in the afternoon, it poses a disruption to student learning as well as the class, but if you must do so, send a note with your child to give to the teacher that morning. 

ELC DROP-OFF

Morning session: 9:00 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.

Afternoon session: 12:40 p.m. - 3:20 p.m.

There is no curbside drop off for ELC students. Parents / guardians must park and walk their child to the ELC doors. There are designated parking spots available for this purpose. For pick-up please walk to the top of the stairs and sign them out with the staff from ELC. Due to the volume of cars in the parking lot, please return to your car in a timely manner to allow others an opportunity to park.  We greatly appreciate your patience and support!

 ELC PICK-UP

For the morning session of ELC, parents/guardians can park and walk to the top of the stairs to pick up their child. For afternoon ELC, students will be dismissed around the back of the building in order to avoid the buses in the main parking lot. We ask that ELC parents arrive no earlier than 3:20 p.m. as K-2 students are also being dismissed during this time and we need to utilize both lanes until that time. 

CLASS PLACEMENT

Your child’s class placement information can be found on the PowerSchool Parent Portal, which opens at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, 8/16.  All back-to-school forms can also be found on the Portal and must be completed by Friday, 8/27.  Every effort was made to place your child in the best possible learning environment. Parent and teacher input were consulted, and classes are heterogeneously balanced. Please know that class placements are final and cannot be changed. Information about the Parent Portal, including instructions on how to access it, can be found here

BACK TO SCHOOL FORMS

Forms will be found on the “General Forms” tab beginning Friday, August 20th at 8:00 a.m. Required forms are school and grade specific, so each child’s page will have their own forms to complete. Forms must be completed by 8/27/2021 to ensure all information for your child is current for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Back to school forms should be completed by only one parent. Instructions to complete back to school forms can be found at https://bit.ly/NFPSFormsHelp.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Our list of requested school supplies can be found on our website. Again this year Consolidated School will be supplying most of what students will need including pencils, a pencil box, markers, scissors, etc. These items will not be shared. 

FIRST DAY INFORMATION

School begins for K-2 students on Monday, August 30th; this is a full day for all K-2 students. 

The first official day for ELC is Tuesday, August 31st. You are invited to “Meet and Greet” your teacher on Monday, August 30th, at Consolidated School. Please plan to park at St. Edward’s Church.

 

  • The AM session is invited to attend 11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • The PM session is invited to attend 1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

 

MITIGATION STRATEGIES

While we all probably assumed the pandemic would be behind us by now, we aren’t quite there yet. We still have several mitigation strategies in place for the start of the upcoming school year. 

  • Masks will be required for all students and staff while inside the school building.* Masks can be removed outside. 

  • Lunches will continue to be eaten in the classrooms for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is student safety. 

  • Assigned seating on the bus.

  • All students (K-2) will continue to use desks (as opposed to tables). Desks are spaced 3 feet apart. 

  • Drinking fountains will remain inaccessible for students. We encourage you to send a water bottle with your child. There are sinks in every room for bottle filling. 

*We recognize that the community has mixed feelings about masks, and that this is an issue being debated across the country. At this time, we are in compliance with the Governor’s executive order requiring all individuals to wear masks inside the schools. We kindly ask that you send your child to school with a mask, though we are happy to supply one for him/her in the event he/she does not have one. We truly appreciate your continued cooperation and support as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times. Thank you!

UPCOMING EVENTS 

  • 8/23 Kindergarten Orientation (Times are dependent on teacher.)

  • 8/30 First Day of School for K-2 (This is a full day.)

  • 8/30 ELC Meet & Greet 

  • 8/31 ELC First Day of School

  • 9/6 Labor Day / No School

  • 9/10 Consolidated PTO Movie Night (More information to follow.)

  • 9/14 & 9/15  School Pictures: More information to come from your child’s classroom teacher. 

  • 9/15 Open House (in person as of right now.) 

    • 6:00-6:30 Pre-K & Kindergarten

    • 6:45-7:15 Grades 1 & 2

  • 9/16  No School: Yom Kippur

  • 9/17 No School: Professional Development

SUMMER MATH AND READING

Finally, we ask that you send your math and reading logs into school during the first week and give them to your classroom teacher.  If you find yourself suddenly scrambling for those packets, never fear; links are below:

Summer Reading Materials

Math Packet for Students Entering Grade 1

Math Packet for Students Entering Grade 2

We look forward to the year ahead and can’t wait to see the students on August 30th! 

Sincerely,

Robert Spino
Principal

Karen Gruetzner
Assistant Principal