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Principal's Message, December 2023


Dear Johnson Families,


I hope you all enjoyed a restful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  As we move into the holiday season and closer to the winter break, we will be celebrating with school-wide holiday activities and classroom parties.  Be sure to check the Johnson website, PTO page and teacher Google Classrooms for upcoming events and detailed information.


A huge Thank you to our families and teachers who collaborated and planned for time to meet during parent/teacher conferences.  We had 93% family participation for conferences this year! A strong partnership between parents and educators is essential for student success. We appreciate your continued support!


Thank you to all the parents that supported the fall fundraisers such as our first “Staff Takeover Day” fundraiser.  Funds raised will help support the PTO pay for upcoming class trips. 


HCJ's Little Lending Library

HCJ Little Lending Library opened on November 20.  This is a free outdoor mini book library where students may swap books for their reading pleasure. It will utilize an honor system and will offer many reading choices!  Come grab a book and read!!


ID Cards:

It is important for ALL students to wear their STUDENT ID everyday. Students use their ID to purchase lunch/snacks in the cafeteria and swipe on and off the bus.  Using the IDs especially helps speed up the lunch line so students have more time to eat and socialize. Please make sure that your child(ren) has their student ID card with them.  If your child needs a new ID card, please email your child’s teacher.  Thank you!


The countdown to the 100th Day of School is on!  Students and staff dressed up in their finest Fifties Threads on November 20 to celebrate the 50th Day of School and they were ‘rockin’ it!” Next up is the 60th Day of School on December 6.  It would be “far out” if everyone dressed “groovy” for school that day.  We will be celebrating the 70th Day of School on December 20 with a Holiday Disco Day.  Dress in all the sequins and holiday sparkles you can find!

December 6th is the end of the First Marking Period and Report Cards will be available to Parents on December 14.


Attendance Reminders:


Our attendance statistics so far (Sep-Nov) this year are as follows:

148 (38%)students absent 3-5 days

35 (9%)students absent 6-8 days

13 (3%)students absent 9+ days


Students are expected to be in school every day.  Attendance is closely linked with student success.  A letter will be sent home on the 4th, 8th, 10th and 11th absences.  When a child returns to school after any absences, he/she must present a written explanation, signed by the student’s parent/guardian acknowledging the student’s absence.   The school’s Attendance Review Committee (ARC) will monitor student attendance. On a student’s 15th absence, the ARC will convene a meeting to develop an action plan for improved attendance at school.  Students with poor school attendance may be ineligible to participate in special programs/activities/athletics including dances, trips.  The ARC will communicate with parents throughout the year to document and encourage a student’s attendance in school. 


A student who has six (6) absences during a trimester or eighteen (18) for a full year does not meet the minimum instructional requirements. Those students will be labeled as “chronically absent” by the State of New Jersey. 


Research shows:

           Children chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.


Absences can add up quickly. A child is chronically absent if he or she misses just two days every month! 


We understand that students get sick. It's the cold and flu season.  To mitigate the spread of these viruses at school and at home during the holidays, please see this Health Office Memo from our nurse, Mrs. Harris.  Students should stay home when they are experiencing symptoms such as fever or vomiting. Please keep the school informed when this happens.  


Please also reach out if your child is missing school often due to other factors so we can work together in the best interest of your child’s well-being and education.


Helpful Hints for Building Habits for Good Attendance (Spanish)

Family Photos Requested: At HCJ we like to focus on community and family. For our school holiday bulletin board this year we would like to ask for you to send in a copy of a family photo or your family photo holiday card with your child to Ms. Ehlers . She will be displaying the photo proudly in our front hallway for all to see and show the importance and love of family for the holiday season. We’d love to add your family photos!

Please know due to the many students in our HCJ families the photo/card you send in will not be returned.

Thank you so much and warm well wishes

Diana Ehlers- Art teacher at HCJ



The PTO Holiday Shop is taking place the week of 12/4-12/8.  Each class will sign up for a time to shop for their friends and family.

This year’s 3rd Annual Winter Wonderland will be held on December 15.  Check the PTO webpage for details.  We look forward to seeing everyone there!


Picture retakes are scheduled for December 13.  The Prepay Code for students who were ABSENT ONLY is:  4C8Q2P6  CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER

Students retaking their picture must bring in the original package and provide it to the photographer.


Holiday Spirit Week is 12/18-12/22.  Let’s get in the spirit!


Just a reminder: 

School dismisses at 1:40 on Monday, 12/11 and Friday, 12/22. 

School will be closed December 25th through January 1st.  

We will reopen on January 2nd. 

Coming up in January:

1/15 School Closed

1/16 PTO Meeting

1/18 Fifth Grade Choral Concert

1/25 Intramural BasketBall Parent Showcase

1/29 No School for Students


HCJ PTO News: 

The December PTO meeting is scheduled for 12/18.  We hope to see you there. Please visit the PTO website for more information about up-coming events and fundraisers. 

Wishing you all a safe, healthy and happy holiday season.



Renee Pagano-Hein

Principal, Johnson Elementary