Craig School New Jersey

HS Newsletter

Week of November 16th

This week’s Newsletter will lead us into Thanksgiving Break and cover us for the next two weeks.  We guess that means it might make sense to read it twice!  Just a gentle reminder that we will be closed on Tuesday, November 23rd which is a change from the original 12PM close.  If you haven’t already, please let your transportation company know about the scheduling change or they will be outside your house that morning! 

Dr. Cap



Tuesday, November 17th

   Afterschool Volleyball Intramural League (3-4:30PM)

Monday, November 23rd

   Afterschool Volleyball Intramural League (3-4:30PM)

Tuesday, November 24th

   Closed: Thanksgiving Break

*Change to School Calendar. Contact Transportation Companies

Tuesday- Friday, November 25-27

   Closed: Thanksgiving Break


Program Spotlight

Student’s Poems Published:  Earlier this year, students from Ms. Gallagher's writing classes submitted poetry to a nationwide writing contest.  The contest was entitled Through Their Eyes and was offered by Young Writers USA.  Their challenge was to create a poem that was written from someone or something else’s point of view.  The Craig School-High School is very proud to announce that all of our students' submissions, selected from over 5000 entries, were chosen for publication.  Below is a group picture of our published writers and their proud teacher, Mrs. Gallagher.

Left to right: Aidan Marshall (Music), Derek Veal (The Rescue of the Princess), Julianna Christern (JC, Me Described), Nicole Murphy (Halftime)

Common Clubs Fall-Winter 2020: Last Thursday, we held our Fall-Winter Common Club Fair.  Our club leaders whose proposals were approved, set up shop in the gym and shared the goals, protocols, and processes of their clubs with prospective club members.  We held our first club meetings on Friday and are proud to share our official clubs for the 2020 Fall-Winter Session: ROBOTICS, PHOTOGRAPHY, INTRAMURAL SPORTS, GAMING, CASINO CLUB, and CROCHETING/KNITTING.

  Students signing up for their Fall Clubs 


HS Events

Craig 8th Grader Shadow Program: As a part of our school tradition,The Craig School 8th graders spent part of a day last week touring and seeing our high school up close and personal.  The purpose of our shadow program is to allow our 8th graders to experience a High School setting.  For some, it was their first high school visit so what safer and better place to start the high school exploration process than right here at The Craig School- High School.  Our guests did a walking tour, had a little  Q and A, enjoyed our Student Break Bar, and played a little volleyball with one of our PE Classes!   

Some of our 8th Grade guests joining in on a little Volleyball! 


December Parent-Teacher Conferences: It is hard to believe that we are bringing up the month of December already!  During the second week of December (W-Fr, Dec. 9-11), we will be hosting our Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences.  For our new parents, you can choose a one-hour block in either the morning or afternoon and have the opportunity to visit your teen’s classrooms for one-on-one conversations with your teen’s teachers.  Days and Hour-Blocks to choose from are:


WEDS, Dec. 9th 






THURS, Dec. 10th 






FRI, Dec. 11th 



To schedule a conference, you can email Mrs. Maas at or call (973)334-1234 to set up your hour block window. Also, let Mrs. Maas know if you would like to also touch base with any of our specialists (Mrs. Blount, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. DeSimone-WEDS and FRI only) during your conference block. For those parents whose schedule doesn’t allow you to attend, you also have the option of a phone conference. Let Mrs. Maas know this and provide her with a phone number and time within our conference blocks that teachers can touch base.




Today, after many months of change in our world, our mission and core values endure, and the need for The Craig School is greater than ever before.  This is why we are encouraging our community members to participate in the Annual Fund in  a capacity that is meaningful to you.  All gifts received go right back into the school we all love by supporting our teachers  and specialists, providing cutting edge technology and programs, a safe and secure campus environment, and continuing growth of all of our students.

Click the donate here button below.




COVID-19 & Travel During Breaks

The Craig School is asking families who choose to travel outside of the state during the Thanksgiving and/or Winter break notify the school of such travel. Per New Jersey state guidelines, if one travels to a state listed as restricted for travel due to COVID-19, a self-quarantine of 14-days is advised. More information regarding out-of-state travel for New Jersey residents may be found here: Travel Advisory. Per medical guidance, testing upon arrival back into the state of New Jersey does not replace self-quarantine as one may spread COVID-19 to other people including family, friends, and community for 14-days after exposure to the virus, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms. The NJ Department of Health provides a rationale for this: Why can't I test out of COVID-19 quarantine? 


Daily attendance recording is a vital housekeeping task here  that keeps us all organized, communicative and running smoothly.  It is imperative that the school be informed and updated on each student in our care.  To that end, I’d like to remind parents to please let us know at Craig if we are to expect a change in your child’s status:  distracting mornings and changes in schedules aside, please remember your child’s welfare matters greatly to us and we need to be informed if they will not be in attendance as expected.  Call or e-mail us regarding attendance as follows:

High School Communication-Student Absences and Late Arrivals: If a student is going to be absent or late you can call the school at (973)334-1234  or email our school attendance specific email at, both of which will go directly to Mrs. Maas.  If we don’t hear from you by 9AM, you will hear from us!  

Please indicate if your student is:

(a) absent and is unable to attend virtually. This student will be marked “Absent.” 
(b) absent AND attending classes virtually. This student will be marked “Present.”

The Craig School is proud to introduce our parent Micki Boas, who has a sixth-grader Matias. She has just launched a book on Simon and Schuster called One In Five: How We're Fighting for Our Dyslexic Kids in A System That's Failing Them. She talks about the obstacles that parents face as they look for education equality. She went across the country and spoke with over 200 parents and experts to get to the heart of the issue. She provides advice that "professionals" won't tell you.

Excerpts from the book about The Craig School:


Exceeded Expectations

The Craig School came recommended by all of our experts. The toughest part of the search had been finding a school that specialized in educating younger children of Matias’s age. Early intervention through private pay is not a route many parents take. Most kids come into schools like Craig around the fifth grade, when the discrepancy model really kicks in, and their schools can no longer ignore their needs. The Craig School had a proven record with kids in second grade, led by a super-smart lower-school director, so it became the obvious choice. Not to mention the beautiful scenery was a perk; driving up to lake views is not too bad.

Enjoying Paradise

On a fine fall day in November, Matias entered the Craig School. He was greeted by a sweet girl named Ev. She was the only other person in second grade, so she was happy to have a friend in tow. She showed him the locker she had personalized for him, introduced him to all her favorite teachers, and taught him the schedule.

He came home glowing on the first day, talking about how great the teachers were and how great of a welcome he had received. This was the first time on this journey that I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. That night, we had a beautiful conversation that lasted for hours. Our family finally began to sleep well.

He started the first two hours of each day with a highly skilled Orton-Gillingham teacher, Mrs. Schilling, who is dyslexic herself. She crafted each lesson around his interests, his progress, and his abilities. Then he worked with the language arts teacher, Mrs. Wallace, who headed the department and graduated from the best school in the state for special education. To this day Matias still cries when he sees her, remembering their time together.

All the other subjects were built for how his brain learned, too. They learned science by planting and composting in the garden with Mr. Furlong. For history, his teacher would roll out a large map onto the floor and help them with visual-spatial skills to understand where each country was by standing inside the map. Math was Matias’s jam, and there was a system in place that brought context to the equations, which was a plus.

Did I mention there was swimming on Fridays, a reward program called badger points, and a fishing club?

Like I said, pure paradise. I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience.

Click this link to purchase this book -

Serving roughly 130 students with learning disabilities in grades 2-12 across two campuses in Mountain Lakes and Montville, The Craig School has been a leader in the provision of a strategy-based, comprehensive, challenging and rewarding school experience for 40 years.

Read the article on
The Craig School: A beacon of light and learning

“In my mind, Kate is the epitome of what a Craig teacher should be. She is friendly, inclusive, patient and a positive role model to all students. Anything that has been thrown her way over the years she has taken on the challenge with much success.  From starting the photography club which quickly became a big hit and favorite amongst students, she has helped get our students out into our community putting together and overseeing various cultural field trips. Our 9th grade parents share how accommodating Kate is with her World History class. She truly accommodates and modifies as you would want and expect any teacher at Craig to do.  She’ll go the extra mile meeting kids during support to review with them and will sit and map out a plan if they are overwhelmed.  She has a very comforting energy about her helping students feel safe and important. Kate seems to find a way to meet their needs and make a special connection with each of them.”
Dr. Kara A. Loftin, Head of School

The Craig School is happy to announce a new Head of School, Dr. Kara A. Loftin.

For the past 22 years, Dr. Loftin has been a leader in the education of students with learning disabilities both in the field as a dyslexia specialist working directly one to one with students as well as the creator and founder of The Learning Center at Wasatch Academy which provided a nationally recognized evidence-based whole child approach to educating students with exceptionalities. She has been featured as the keynote speaker at the Kuwait Association of Learning Disabilities National Conference, conducted a series of week-long workshops at the Kasiga School in Dehradun, India on school behavioral management systems and social-emotional competences and spoken about inclusive practices for students with learning disabilities at many national and international conferences including the Pac Rim International Conference on Diversity and Disability, and the annual conferences for the Council for Exceptional Children, the the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the National Association of Independent Schools, and the Independent Educational Consultant Association. In 2018, her work was recognized at the National Association of Independent Schools as one of the Top 10 Innovative Programs among the 3,000 member schools. Her passion for supporting the individual needs of each student translates into her work as a teacher trainer and thought leader in the field of education for students with exceptionalities. Over the past 22 years, her philosophy that education is not only an equalizer, but a powerful tool to lift up society and break down barriers between individuals with different backgrounds, values, and abilities, has driven her work, guiding her in creating educational experiences that are inclusive, embrace neurodiversity, and a celebration of a student’s competencies and strengths. Speaking of her appointment as the Head of School at The Craig School, Dr. Loftin states, “I am honored and humbled to begin my journey at The Craig School. The sense of care and commitment to building community and bringing forth the best from each student served at The Craig School is most evident.”

Celebrating its 40th year, The Craig School, located in Mountain Lakes and Montville, New Jersey, provides students in grades 2 - 12 with a strategy-based, comprehensive, and challenging school experience that acknowledges their learning disabilities, builds on their aptitudes, and strengthens their self-awareness and self-esteem.

Kara earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado and holds certifications as a Structured Literacy™ Dyslexia Specialist (C-SLDS), a Wilson ® Dyslexia Therapist (WDT), and an Applied Behavior Analyst.

Please Download the Restart and Recovery Plan for Education from the New Jersey Department of Education.

More specific details about our own Craig School plans will be forthcoming.

As promised, the missing pieces of our recent Class of 2020 graduation video have been completed.  Below is the link where you will find the original graduation video and below that video, you will find the Diploma exchange, the Tassel flip, and Cap Toss video.
It's still graduation weekend so we made it under the wire!
Enjoy and congrats again to the CHS Class of 2020.,
Dr. Cap

Watershed Year

Over the last 10 days, we have been reading, seeing, and hearing about the protests around the United States after another African American has been killed by police actions that are disturbing. I have been moved by the individuals who have participated in the peaceful and at times,  not peaceful protests.

As parents, we may find it important to talk about these issues with our children, as for me events in 1968 and 1973 were topics my parents spoke to me about and at the same time were part of my elementary,  middle  and high school classroom discussions. 

These days, our children have immediate access to a variety of sources of information. Some of our children may get them directly from utilizing their own electronic devices or they may get them directly from you or from their teachers.  Teachers may weave into discussion the issues of the world into classes, but as we move towards the end of school and the school classes are ending, your family may be looking for more.  I am providing links to a few that come to us from the association of schools we belong to that helps us in a variety of ways.

A former teacher of mine (now in his 70’s) and I were talking this week, and he noted that 2020 could be a “watershed year” similar to 1968 when he was entering college. I must agree that the Pandemic, the recent protests concerning race and inequality, and the consequences of both events has already made this year eventful.

I am wishing all good health and peace as we move towards the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

Possible resources:


CHS Alumni, Ethan Wukowitz has been busy since his 2017 CHS graduation. During that time, he has earned three welding certifications while working two part-time jobs. And somewhere in there, he found time to continue to pursue his love of music and learned to play both the piano and guitar. And on top of that, he also graduated Bergen Community College this May with certifications in Guest Services (American Hotel and Lodging Institute) and Food Handling (National Restaurant Association).

During Ethan’s time at CHS, his work ethic and drive were evident in everything he did whether it was leading our basketball team or earning honor roll. We were proud of him then and we are even more proud of him now! And did we mention that he is currently enrolled as an undergraduate at PCCC and working on his Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Music Technology? Congrats to Ethan on all of his impressive accomplishments!


As May ends, and we have celebrated Memorial Day, I have been impressed about how the natural world- flowers, trees, and plants have given us all calm. While many of us have increased our daily walks, I hope that you, like me, a lover of nature to begin with, have recognized the beauty in nature. Have you been enjoying it? Have your children been outside? May was glorious and June will be beautiful. Please enjoy.


Giving at Craig

For more information on ways of giving to Craig, please contact Katie Burke, Director of Development, at 973-334-1295 or make a donation online by clicking here.


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