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Mr. Gallo’s 2019-2020 Back-to-School Updates and Reminders

Hello TCCS Parents and Guardians…

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer break!  Our maintenance staff and construction crews have been hard at work getting the building ready for the coming school year and our entire staff will begin our annual training and preparation week next Monday.  With September and the first day of school right around the corner, I wanted to share some important reminders and some new information pertaining to the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

BACK-TO-SCHOOL CHECKLIST:  All parents will be receiving a Back-to-School checklist and other important documentation (portal letter, walker permission forms, school calendar) in the mail in the next few days.  Please keep an eye on the mailbox and be sure to complete the required tasks before the school year begins on Tuesday, September 3!

PARENT HANDBOOK:  The 2019-2020 TCCS Parent Handbook is available online at and contains a wealth of important information about the school, including details regarding school security, arrival / dismissal procedures, student conduct policies, standardized testing dates, staff contact info, and more!  Please be sure to read through it to familiarize yourself with any changes or updates before the school year begins.

PARENT PORTAL:  The packet being mailed to you will include a letter regarding your login information for the TCCS parent portal, where all parents will be able to view student information (schedules, homeroom assignments, etc.) for the coming year.  In addition, parents must update their contact information and answer the annual required “Parent Questions”.  Information for the 2019-2020 school year will be available in the parent portal starting Monday, August 26.  Be sure to visit the portal to review student schedules and homeroom assignments prior to the first day of school.  Please note: All posted schedules and homeroom placements for 2019-2020 are final.

DISMISSAL PREFERENCE:  Prior to the beginning of the school year, all parents MUST provide their student(s)’ preferred dismissal method using the online form, which is available at  If you allow your child to walk home or to a legally parked car, you must provide a completed “walker permission form” on the first day of school.  You will find a hard copy of this document in the packet that was mailed home.

HOME LANGUAGE SURVEY:  New for 2019, the New Jersey Department of Education has mandated a revised Home Language Survey for parents, which must be completed for each student.  Please take a moment to complete the survey online at prior to the first day of school.

UPDATED SCHEDULE FORMAT:  I’m pleased to share that student schedules will now follow a 5-day Monday – Friday format!  (which means no more asking “what letter day is it today?”)  Please take note of this when reviewing schedules in the portal.

CURRICULUM UPDATES AND NEW COURSES:  To correlate with our new M-F schedule, I’m excited to announce a number of curriculum updates and new academic courses that we will be offering this school year…


Kindergarten: With the addition of a third kindergarten class, our class size at this grade level has been reduced to 15 students.  All three kindergarten classrooms have been completely renovated and feature new furniture and interactive Promethean display panels.

1st & 2nd Grade:  At our 1st and 2nd grade level, schedules have been arranged to offer Phonics, Reading, Writing, and Math in a split grade environment during the morning portion of the day, allowing for fewer transitions and more uninterrupted instruction.  Students will return to mixed grade groupings after lunch.

3rd & 4th Grade:  Our 3rd and 4th grade students will be taking a new weekly course in “organization skills” to help them prepare for the demands of our upper school structure.  We are also expanding our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) program down to this grade level, as all 3rd and 4th graders will now have a weekly stand-alone STEM class that is separate from their regular Science and Math instruction.

UPPER SCHOOL (Grades 5-8)

Back-to-Back Class Periods:  In addition to daily periods in ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies, students in grades 5-8 will have back-to-back periods of ELA and Writers’ Workshop 3 times per week, Math and Math Lab twice per week, Science and Science Lab twice per week, & Social Studies and Humanities classes twice per week.  In addition to offering increased flexibility and uninterrupted instruction in these subject areas, this scheduling format will begin to help our students adjust to the rigorous schedules that they will face when they move on to high school.

Electives:  With our improved school facility and new creative arts suite, all students in grades 5-8 will now have the option of taking two different year-long elective courses in the following areas, depending on grade level:  Instrumental Music / Band, Chorus, Graphic Design / Photography / Ceramics, Journalism, and Life Skills.  More information regarding electives, including course descriptions and registration (which will occur once students are back in school) will be shared with our upper school families in the coming week.

STAFFING UPDATES:  There have been a number of positive instructional staffing updates for the coming school year that relate to existing teachers.  At the Kindergarten level, we welcome Ms. Katie Kwiatkowski (formerly one of our 1-2 teachers) as the teacher of our 3rd Kindergarten class.  In the 1-2’s, we welcome Ms. Renique Christolias (formerly one of our Special Education teachers) as our newest 1st and 2nd grade teacher.  At our 3rd and 4th grade level, I’m pleased to share that Ms. Susan Marsella will serve as the teacher of our new STEM course and Ms. Sonja McDaniel will be teaching our new organizational skills course.  Ms. Taylor Morgan, who was previously a part-time aide / part-time teacher, is now one of our full time Special Education teachers.

In addition to these changes, there are also a number of exciting new hires to announce.  At the administrative level, I’m pleased to welcome Ms. Kristina Anders, Director of Special Services, as the newest member of our administrative team.  In the classroom, Ms. Haley Symons joins us as our new lower school P.E. and Health teacher, and Ms. Dana Durham and Ms. Victoria Hanczyk join us as Special Education teachers.  We also welcome Mr. Joshua Lurie and Mr. Franklin Bautista as full time Instructional Aides.

SCHOOL CALENDAR:  As mentioned, you will be receiving a copy of the 2019-2020 school calendar in the mail in the coming days.  Please take a moment to review it and note the various half-days and days off.  A digital calendar of events is also available on the school website ( and will be constantly updated throughout the school year.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT:  Mark your calendars!  Back to school night will take place on Thursday, September 12!  In order to start the year off on the right foot, we are hoping that representatives from all families can join us for this important event.

LUNCH ORDERS:  TCCS will again be using Revolution Foods ( as our main lunch vendor for the coming school year, with pizza, pasta, and sandwiches from local vendors being offered on Fridays.  Please note, however, that lunch service will not begin until Monday, September 16 and students will need to bring their own lunch for the first two weeks of school.  Lunch orders and payment will once again be completed online at  Please note:  If you meet the requirements for the Free or Reduced Priced lunch program, you MUST complete the required application (even if you have already qualified in the past) before you are able to order and receive free or reduced price lunch.  You can apply online at

AFTER SCHOOL AND BEFORE CARE PROGRAMS:  Online registration for our After School and Before Care programs is now open on the TCCS website at  If you are interested in enrolling in either of these programs (or would like more information), please use the links that are provided.  All interested families must register for the programs, even if they only plan on using them for Drop-In dates. Both programs will begin on the SECOND day of school (Wednesday, September 4), so please register as soon as possible, to ensure appropriate staffing.

BUS SERVICE:  If you qualify for bussing, you will be receiving a notification from the Teaneck Board of Education.  Please note: The school does not oversee the AM and PM student transportation program.  Any questions should be directed to the Teaneck Board of Education’s Transportation Department at (201) 833-5505.  Depending on availability, subscription bus service for students who do not qualify for courtesy bussing may be offered.  This program, if available, will not begin until late September / early October.  Once availability is determined, additional registration information will be shared.

NJSLA SCORES:  Once the school receives paper copies of individual student score reports, they will be mailed to your homes.

SUMMER READING AND MATH:  All students entering grades 1-8 must read over the summer and complete the reading and math assignments that were provided by teachers in June.  Please visit for complete details.

CONSTRUCTION UPDATE:  The construction of our new Gymnasium and Creative Arts suite is almost complete!  Students will have full access to our new Art studio starting on the first day of school, but access to the Gymnasium, Performing Arts studio, and Digital Media studio will have to wait until a bit later this fall.  Once specific details are available about the grand opening of these major facility upgrades, they will be shared.  I hope you are able to join us for the celebration!

As always, there may be some additional information and reminders as we get even closer to the first day and once the school year begins.  Keep an eye on your inbox and text messages and be sure to update your contact information and notification preferences in the parent portal.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at  Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll see you on September 3!

Thanks and Best Regards,

Ralph Gallo
Lead Person / Director
Teaneck Community Charter School