• ThomasJefferson School

    Morris School District

    TJ School  







    Welcome to Thomas Jefferson School.  This handbook was written to provide you witha reference guide to important details of school life by giving you basicinformation about many aspects of our school. At Thomas Jefferson school we believe that all students can learn andbecome responsible citizens.  We believethat the success of our students is dependent upon the cooperative effort andcommunication between students, parents, teachers, support staff andadministration.  Thomas Jefferson School is a multiculturaland diverse learning community that prepares each student for academic, social,and personal success by providing a safe, supportive, challenging andmeaningful environment.  Join us as webegin our journey into this new school year, so filled with exciting promise!









    The School Day

    School is in session from 8:55 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. We follow a six-day schedule, withdays designated A through F, which continues uninterrupted when days are missedfor holidays or unexpected closings. This means that particular activities andevents do not always occur on the same day each week.



    Visitor Policy

    Ourprimary concern is the safety of our students, staff, and volunteers. All doors are  locked and visitors must ring thebell at the front entrance to gain admittance. Please ring the bell, identify yourself and purpose of visit.


    All school visitors (including parents) must sign in at the front office to obtain a visitor’s pass. At the conclusionof each visit the visitor must sign out.


    visitors to the classroom:  We are carefulto protect the privacy of all our students and to maintain careful classroom instruction. Therefore, visitation to any classroom is limited and must be arranged in advance.



    Morning Arrival Procedures

    There is no supervision before 8:55, and children who are dropped off orwalk to school and arrive before that time, will not be permitted to enter thebuilding.   Any student arrivingafter 9:10 must go to the nurse’s office to obtain a late slip before going to class.


    Dismissal Procedures Begins at 3:20

    Allstudents are encouraged to ride the school bus.  Students may not switch buses to rideto a friend’s house. Parents must send in a note in the morning indicating whena child will be picked up; otherwise the child will be sent home on the bus.

    At dismissal, students will be dismissed from theauditorium. Students being picked up must be signed out at the side parking lot door. When pickingup your child, please park only in the designated spaces.  If a space is not available, please circulateslowly around the parking lot until a space becomes available. The doorwill be unlocked at 3:20 and parents will pick up their children in the orderthat they arrive at the pick up door.
    These rules are for the safety of ourchildren, and provide us with a written record indicating with whom a child hasleft the building.




    Most of the children at Thomas Jefferson School ride the schoolbus. The district transportation supervisor schedules the bus routes and sendshome a card before school opens with the student’s bus route number, bus stoplocation, and expected pick-up time. Students from Woodland and Thomas Jefferson schools ridetogether on the same buses. There is no changing of buses to ride to a friend’shome.


    Pick-Up During the Day

    Ifa situation arises that requires you to pick your child up during the schoolday, a note must be sent to the office specifying the pick-up time. Studentsbeing picked up early are asked to be picked up before 3 p.m. Before leaving,you must sign your child out in the notebook provided in the office.  Unless an emergency arises, please refrainfrom calling the office after 1:30 to make changes to your child’sdismissal.  



    Parentsand visitors to the school are to park in the side parking lot. Parking is prohibited at all times along thedriveway in front of the school and in any areas designated fire zones ormarked in yellow.   Please be mindful ofwalkers using the crosswalk as you exit the side parking lot.



    Emergency SchoolClosings and Early Dismissals


    hen it is necessary to close school dueto extreme weather or other emergencies that may have developed during the night,or during the day, the MSD will utilize the Honeywell Alert System to notifyparents. When you receive a call fromthe Honeywell system, please press 1to acknowledge the call.  You areresponsible for updating the system with contact information.  The following TV stations will have theannouncement also:

         FoxTV (Channel 5), WABC (Channel 7), District Website, School Main Number

                    Ifthe emergency situation develops after school has started for the day, studentswill be sent home four hours and twenty minutes after the start of the day. Ouroffice lines are usually very busy on these days, but voice mail will recordany message you leave.   Becauseemergencies occur unexpectedly it is critical that you update your profile onthe Honeywell System (https://instantalert.honeywell.com)

    While every effort is made tonotify you if school closes early, it is important that your children know whatto do if they arrive home to an empty house. Please discuss with your childrenwhether they should go to a neighbor, where to look for a spare key, etc.

    On days whenschool is closed or dismissed early because of inclement weather or otheremergency, all after-school activities, including the Sunset Program, arecancelled.

    Delayed School Openings: School opens at10:55

    If a decision is made to delay theopening of school:

    ·        Buspick-ups will begin approximately 2 hours later than normal.

    ·        Schoolwill dismiss at the regular time.

    Four-hour Sessions (DISMISSAL BEGINS AT1:30)

    Whenthere is a scheduled early dismissal, the day is required by law to be at leastfour hours and twenty minutes long. All students will have eaten lunch beforedismissal.


    Sunrise/Sunsetprovides a safe, supportive, supervised environment for children to work andplay while their parents work. It is offered through the Morris School District Community School.The district houses this program in various schools. All fees are payable tothe Community School.

    Before School Care:7a.m. until classes start.Breakfast and quiet games.

    After School Care: Dismissal timeto 6:30 p.m. Snacks, physicalactivities, homework, study and relaxation.

    Enrollmentcan be made on a full, part-time, or daily basis. There is no drop-in service.Students must be enrolled in advance. More information on schedules and fees isavailable from Morris School District Community School at (973) 292-2063.




    School Nurse (973) 292-2090 ext. 2



    The school nurse, is present during school hours to provide care for illnesses oraccidents and maintain health records.



    Regularattendance is essential to success in school. A student not only misses work on the day of absence, but is notprepared for the next day because of missing instruction.  Students must be in school for at least 164days to complete the instructional program requirements of the gradelevel.  A letter will be mailed home whena student’s absences total 8, 12, and 16 days. A waiver of attendance requirement may be granted for good cause by theprincipal upon recommendation of a review committee.  Documentation shall be the responsibility ofthe parent or guardian.


    Emergency Phone Numbers

    Onthe first day of school you will receive an emergency card to be filled out andreturned to school by your child. Thephone numbers requested are important in case of accident, illness, oremergency closing. The people you list should be local and available during theday, and you should inform them that their names have been given to the schoolfor this purpose. The information yougive should be updated whenever there are changes.



    Ifa child is going to be absent or late the parent or guardian should call thenurse (292-2090  ext. 2) by the start ofschool, or leave a message on the 24-hour voice mail at that number. If theschool is not notified, the parent or guardian will be called. The school mustaccount for all children every day. If the school cannot obtain informationregarding a child’s absence, a home visit may be necessary. Any student arrivingafter 9:10 must go to the nurse’s office and obtain a late slip before going toclass.

    A child should be kept out ofschool if he/she has a fever over 100 degrees. Fever should be less than 100degrees for 24 hours before a child returns to school. A child with vomitingand/or diarrhea may return to school when there have been no symptomsfor 24 hours.

    Children should be kept at home if there isevidence of a contagious disease such as chicken pox, conjunctivitis (“pinkeye”), or strep throat. A child with “pink eye” may return to school afterbeing on medication for 24 hours. A child with strep throat may return toschool after being on medication for 24 hours. A doctor’s note should be sentafter surgery or injury to advise whether any restrictions must be placed onthe child’s level of participation in school activities. If you are in doubtabout the need for this, please talk with the school nurse.



    Ifyour child requires medication or nonprescription medications during the schoolday, the following is necessary:

    ·        Dispensingprescription and non-prescription medicines (Tylenol, cough meds, allergy meds.Etc.) requires a Morris School District Medication Authorization form filledout by your physician. It should list the diagnosis, name and dosage of thedrug, and the time(s) to be given. Medical authorization forms are available from the school nurse.  This procedure will be strictly enforced.

    ·        All medication must be in an original, labeledcontainer or package.




    Student Life


    here are many aspects of student life at Thomas Jefferson School that go beyondacademic and special area instruction.

    Conflict Resolution

    Theschool community practices a conflict resolution system, which allows studentsto learn positive ways of responding to and resolving conflicts with peers. Aparent/school partnership provided training for staff members to learn how tocoach students to use various strategies and alternatives in dealing with peerconflicts. Students find daily opportunities to practice these skills, withteachers nearby to offer support and encouragement. Through this process,students begin to develop lifelong habits of positive interaction.


    Student Council

    TheStudent Council is a volunteer student organization composed of elected representatives.  The Council meets with faculty advisors toplan student sponsored activities throughout the school year. Activities may includecontests, food drives, and other community service projects. The Council offersstudents an opportunity to take a leadership role in their school.


    Birthday Celebrations

    Birthdaycelebrations will be foodless.


    Cell Phones/Electronic Devices

    Theuse of cell phones is not permitted during the school day.  If there is an emergency please call the mainoffice.  Students may bring electronicdevices to school such as              e-readersor Ipods to be used strictly for instructional purposes with their teacher’sand parents’ permission. 




    Lost and Found

    Pleasemark outer clothing, lunch containers and backpacks with your child’sname.  A “lost and found” area ismaintained in the custodian’s office where students can look through items tolocate things they have lost.  Founditems are kept for one marking period only.


    Fire Drills

    Firedrills are held 1 time each month, as required by law.  Security codes are also practiced once amonth.


    Lunch and Recess

    Lunchperiods are 40 minutes in length, with approximately 20 minutes each for eatingand outside play. Lunch room aides supervise and assist the students in bothsettings.

    Lunch Tickets: These are valid all year and do not have specificdates for use. Five-day and one-day tickets are available for purchase. Milkand dessert (usually fruit) are included in the price. Please check thedistrict lunch calendars that are sent home monthly for prices and menuselections. All students may buy milk separately.

    Free/Reduced Lunch: At the beginning of each year anapplication will be sent home for the free/reduced lunch program.  Families not interested in applying, need notreturn the form. If you are applying, only one form for ALL children in thefamily is required.

    Recess: Theplayground is located behind the building. Mr. Brown and aides supervise thisperiod to ensure that the children are safe. When the weather is suitable, but the ground is wet or muddy, the blacktop or parking lot is used for recess.   In inclement weather, students have in-classrecess.





    Parent Teacher Organization(P.T.O.)


    he P.T.O. is the school’s volunteer organization, made upof parents, guardians, and teachers, working to promote the welfare of childrenin the home, school, and community. Through fundraisers and many volunteers,the P.T.O. brings extra social and enrichment activities to the school. Theseinclude: Family Nights, cultural arts programs, additional field trips, thestudent directory, book fairs, and much more, including the provision ofspecial equipment and supplies.

    In addition, theP.T.O. supports the staff and teachers of the school through direct volunteerefforts. 

    Meetings: The P.T.O. meetsmonthly. Please check the Morris School District Calendar for dates.

    Membership: Membership in theP.T.O. is open to any parent or guardian of a child enrolled in the school andto teachers. Members vote on issues at H.S.A. meetings, but meetings andvolunteering are open to all.

    Student Directory: The P.T.O. compilesand prints a student directory each fall and distributes this to members.Inclusion in the directory is optional.

    Volunteering: Volunteeropportunities are numerous and frequent. Notices are sent home often seekingassistance with various projects. Please contact the P.T.O. volunteercoordinator to learn how you can help.

    Room Parents: The organization of room parents is done through theP.T.O. Duties include planning class parties and accompanying classes on fieldtrips. Functions vary by class and teacher.

    Cultural Arts: The cultural arts program at Thomas Jefferson iscoordinated by a committee of parents. The cultural arts experience ismultifaceted, ranging from artists-in-residence to assemblies to field trips.The programs are always geared to our children’s grade level and attentionspan. These programs are paid for with funds raised by the P.T.O. or specialgrant monies from the Morris Education Foundation.

    Clubs:The P.T.O. sponsors after school “clubs” which are open to students for anominal fee. These activities are supervised by teachers and parents, and meetonce each week for approximately one hour.  Watch for the flyer that will give specificdates and club topics.


    Support Services


    lassroom teachers provide extra help and individualattention for all students, but sometimes other resources are necessary.Persistent academic difficulties, as well as social and behavioral problems,are addressed through a range of support programs and services.

    Preventive and Remedial (PAR): Pupilswho qualify for a regular program of extra help in specific skill areas receivebasic skills instruction from a designated teacher.

    English language learners (ell): Studentswho are not native speakers of English receive language instruction and basicskills instruction from an ELL teacher.  This program is designed to move students intothe English-speaking mainstream as rapidly and comfortably as possible.

    INTERVENTIONAND REFERRAL COMMITTEE: (I&RS): This team meets oncea month and is comprised of the principal, classroom teacher, counselor, andspecial education teacher and a basic skills teacher.  A teacher and/or parent may request a meetingwith the team to discuss strategies for children having academic, social, orbehavioral difficulties. Parents are invited to attend and are participants inthe development of an “Intervention Plan” to assist the teacher and parents inmeeting the needs of the child.  The planincludes a follow up date to assess its effectiveness.  When there is a concern that a student mayhave a disability interfering with school performance, the I&RS and/orparent may request an evaluation by the Child Study Team.

    Counselor:  The school counselor, is in the building onMondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and may be reached at 292-2090, ext. 5557.

    Child Study Team (CST): The CSTincludes a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher-consultant, anda school social worker, who cooperate to identify students with speciallearning needs.

    Speech: Students who are eligiblefor Speech and Language Services receive speech therapy during the school day.Teachers or parents with a concern about a student’s speech or languagedevelopment should request a review by the I&RS Committee, in writing.



    Communication of Information from Schoolto Home


    leaseread and save the District Calendar which will arrive by mail.  It contains important information, districtphone numbers, and dates of events for all the district’s schools. Thecalendars are mailed in late August to all Morristownand Morris Township residents who have childrenregistered for school.

    At Thomas Jefferson most informationtravels home by way of “backpack mail.” At times you will receive informationfrom the teacher, principal, school nurse, and/or the P.T.O. Much of this information is timely and you should respond as soonas possible. The Thomas Jefferson school calendar will be sent home at the endof each month.



    Complaint Process

    Theprocedure for dealing with a complaint is as follows:

    Parent should:


    1.       Discuss the issue in person or by phone when concern arises

    Staff member

    2.       Discuss issue in person or by phone; expect timetable for action


    3.       Document issues in writing; request conference; expect response within 5 days after conference

    Assistant Superintendent

    4.       Discuss in person; expect written response within 10 days after meeting


    5.       Appeal Superintendent’s recommendation; expect written decision within 30 days

    Board of Education

    The goal of this process should be tofind resolution of the problem as early in the process as possible.

    If at any time during the processa parent/guardian has reason to believe that an action has been taken against achild as a consequence of a complaint, the parent/guardian shall immediatelyrefer the matter to the principal.

    Cases of suspected illegal,immoral, or unethical behaviors should be brought to the immediate attention ofthe supervisor in charge of the employee or program.


    Reporting StudentProgress

    The elementary calendar includes fourreporting periods. At the end of the first and third periods, teachers meetwith parents in a conference format.  Atthese conferences, information is shared regarding student progress in allmajor subjects. At the end of the second and fourth periods, report cards areissued.


    Homework Policy:

    Homework,an essential component of the district’s educational program, should:

    ·        Bepredictably assigned with realistic time frames for completion;

    ·        Clearlyrelate to the curriculum and daily classroom instruction;

    ·        Reinforcepreviously taught skills, critical thinking and/or build upon backgroundknowledge;

    ·        Assistpupils to work independently, or in small groups, to organize and budget timeand in the process develop good study skills.

    ·        Bedesigned with a student’s individual needs in mind; and

    ·        Supporta student in their development to become an independent life long learner.


    Grade Level

    Frequency of Assignments

    Suggested Total Daily Time

    3 – 4

    Four times a week

    30 – 40 minutes

    5 – 6

    Four times a week

    50 – 60 minutes


    Teachers shallencourage parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to:

    ·        Motivatepupils to accept their responsibilities for completing homework assignments byproviding an atmosphere of encouragement and support;

    ·        Providea suitable location and environment for homework;

    ·        Assistpupils in budgeting their time and planning so that homework assignments arecompleted satisfactorily and on time;

    ·        Createa routine to ensure homework gets returned to school as needed; and

    ·        Communicatewith teachers when problems arise which prevent children from completingassignments.

    Toview the Regulation and Policy in full, please go to https://www.morrisschooldistrict.org/



    Assignment Books: Allstudents are provided with assignment books to encourage good study habits andorganizational skills.  The children areexpected to record their assignments daily and parents are urged to monitor theuse of these books.




    Instructional Program


    heinstructional program at Thomas Jefferson Schoolincorporates a developmentally appropriate approach to learning. We recognizethat each student can benefit from activities that engage diverse learningstyles and multiple intelligences. We look for ways to integrate learningacross the curriculum and to support the Common Core State Standards.


    “The Basics”

    Ourstaff is committed to strengthening each child’s literacy skills by providingstudents with the keys of success.  OurBalanced Literacy framework immerses students in high quality literaturedesigned to help all students learn to read and write effectively.  The program stands firmly on the premise thatall students can learn in a child-centered classroom, providing manyopportunities for real life reading and writing experiences.

    Mathematics instruction isprovided using Everyday Mathematics materials developed at the University of Chicago. Students have the opportunityto be grouped for mathematics instruction in fourth and fifth grade only, basedon teacher recommendation and student performance. Final placement decisionsare made by the principal to best meet the needs of all students.


    Special Area Subjects

    Inaddition to the many experiences your child has in the classroom, all studentshave scheduled classes in science, technology, library, general music, physicaleducation, art, and world languages (Spanish). Band and orchestra are offeredin grades 4 and 5.


    Gifted and Talented Programming

    The Morris School Districtrecognizes the need to provide challenging, stimulating educationalopportunities for all students. We are committed to identify and educateacademically gifted children through the development of their special abilitiesand talents in a qualitatively different program.

    Quest: This programidentifies the top one to five percent of our student population, whodemonstrate “general intellectual talent, a wide range of general informationand high levels of vocabulary, memory, abstract word knowledge, and abstractreasoning.” These students work with the gifted and talented teacher in anintensive pull-out program that goes beyond the scope of the regular curriculum.

    School Wide Enrichment program: All students willhave the opportunity to participate in enrichment units presented by classroomteachers and specialists. Students choose by interest from among available“cluster” topics, but all will include a variety of problem solving strategiesthat complement their multiple intelligences. These Enrichment Clusters, asthey are called, occur once in six days at selected times during the year.

    Library/Media Center

    TheLibrary media center is the center of learning resources for the students andteachers of Thomas Jefferson School.In the media center, our vision is to maintain flexible scheduling to allowstudents to use the facility for information retrieval and the sheer joy ofreading. Both print and non-print materials are purchased with our students’ages and cultural diversity in mind. In this technological age, the librarymedia center can provide materials from many sources, however, as in the past,the borrower is responsible for the respectful handling and prompt return ofhis or her materials.


    Internet Use

    Accessto the Internet is one of the tools students are able to use in order to extendand enrich the educational experience. Internet use occurs for specific,relevant purposes, and is always supervised by an adult. Your child’s access tothe Internet is dependent upon your permission and agreement to support thedistrict’s technology/internet policy. Access to school technology and theInternet is considered a privilege. Students who do not follow the policy onInternet use will have their privileges revoked and may face disciplinaryaction.


    Field Trips

    Fieldtrips are an important addition to the school curriculum. Your child is likelyto participate in several trips per year. Occasionally, a fee is requested todefray the cost. A permission slip is always required.  All precautions for safety and health aretaken. Some trips require a parent or two to accompany the class.  If chaperones are necessary, the teacher willcontact the room parent to seek volunteers.




    Codeof Conduct


    ThomasJefferson Builds Character

    As TJ Citizens, We Show:


    ©       honest,reliable, loyal

    RESPECT by being

    ©      courteous, polite, accepting of differences



    ©      pursuing excellence, setting a good example


            FAIRNESS by

    ©      treating people equally, listening to others


            CARING by being

    ©      kind, considerate, helpful



    ©      playing by the rules, helping the community, respectingauthority


    Consequences: Discipline

    Our Code of Conduct helps to establish a peaceful school.When a child is having difficulty following school rules, consequences arenecessary. Consequences are not punishment, but rather a way to help thestudent learn the appropriate behaviors that are expected of all members of theTJ community.

    The classroom teacherhas the primary responsibility to address behavioral problems. The teacher willspeak to the child and, if necessary, contact the parent. If the child’snegative behavior continues, the child will be asked to complete a StudentProblem Report. After a conference with the child, the principal will make adetermination about further action and share that decision with the child andthe teacher.  A phone call may also bemade to the parent.

    Our parents arepartners in this process. Each child’s circumstances are reviewed carefully todetermine what is best and fair for each child. If theproblem persists, discussion by the Intervention and Referral Committee(IR&T Committee) is in order, in consultation with the school counselor andparent or guardian. This group will develop a plan of action together.  Serious behavior problems may require moresevere and immediate consequences.

    Consequences will berelated as closely as possible to the offense, and often result in thetemporary loss of a privilege:

    1.      Loss of recess, either in the cafeteria or in the office.

    2.      After-school detention- Parents will be responsible fortransportation of student.

           3.      In-school suspension for half a day or afull day. The student is required to          completeall classroom assignments outside the classroom environment. Parents      are notified immediately of this action.

    4.     Out-of-school suspension: the followingsteps will be taken to ensure the district's               compliancewith the law and the protection of student's rights under the law:

    o   A student hearing will be conducted prior to the suspension

    o   The parent/guardian will be notified, as will theSuperintendent, and the Case Manager, if the child is a student withdisabilities

    o   A suspended student may not come to school for any reasonduring the suspension and may not take part in any school activities, during orafter school, until reinstated

    o   Educational services will be provided within five days ofthe initial date of the suspension, as required by N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.2 andN.J.A.C 6A:14-2.8(a)

    Any actionssuspected to be harassment, intimidation and or bullying will undergo a full investigationas required by the H.I.B. law.  TheH.I.B. policy can be found on our school’s website.


    Dress Code

    Students are expected to dress in a manner that is neat andclean. Hats are not to be worn in the building. Sneakers are required forPhysical Education. Abbreviated clothing or clothing that is decorated withinappropriate language or images is not permitted. The school reserves theright to ask students to change inappropriate clothing.



    Students are encouraged to “Ride withPride” and adhere to the rules on the bus. Discipline problems on the bus arereported to the principal by bus drivers, who fill out bus conduct forms. Ifyour child is involved in significant misbehavior on the bus, he/she may losethe privilege of riding the bus for a period of time.  Please remind your child of the rules for safebehavior on the bus. The Transportation Department can be reached at(973)292-2066.












    Thomas Jefferson School

    School Colors: Blueand Gold

    Schoolwebsite www.thomasjeffersonschool.org




    Important TelephoneNumbers

    Thomas Jefferson School..... 292-2090

    School Nurse.............................. ext. 2

    Principal................................... 292-2090

    Counselor.................................... ext. 3

    Main Office Fax..................... 292-2069

    MSD Transportation......... 292-2066

    Child Study Team.......................... ext. 3

    MSD Central Office.......... 292-2300





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