Craig School New Jersey

LS/MS Week Of February 15, 2021



Dear Parents,

This will come as no surprise when I say that the majority of our students struggle with writing. Writing is an art form that takes years and years to develop. The Craig LA teachers spend countless hours searching for topics that are fun and of high interest, understanding that the prompt is just the beginning to the writing process.

One of the most enjoyable starts to an LA class has become the “Do Now” which can be used as a prerequisite to a more formally developed writing piece. We have learned that telling a student to write about anything is a recipe for disaster and giving too many choices can also make it too difficult for any students to start. Finding an enticing topic and then working together as a group to have a good brainstorming session is decidedly the most effective prewriting activity. The LA teachers make fun organizers to encourage brainstorming, and add a discussion component to help the students get the creative juices flowing.

Mrs. Miller is no novice when it comes to getting her emergent writers to put ideas to paper. You can walk into her class and see on the smart board snow tubers laughing and gliding down snowy hills. As part of that visual she will add graphic organizers highlighting the structure words from the visualizing and verbalizing program, making sentences come to life. 

Mrs. Butter has found the sentence starters have helped to reduce writer’s block. Once her students saw that the written response was partially composed, they could begin with far less pressure. Sentence starters are the refueling tools for writing. They can help her students get started and also push them to go even deeper. Add a creative twist to the sentence starter and you have a “hook” to elaboration. “If I could go anywhere to escape the winter cold I would choose _____”. I know at this point I could write pages on that topic.

Whether completing Quick writes in Mrs. Charniga’s class or using a picture prompt including subject describers and predicate expanders in Mrs. Dolan’s class, all LA teachers look to make the writing process fun and low stress. They emphasize the importance of modeling writing, create templates as organizers and continue to be your child’s cheerleaders to encourage all to engage in the writing process. 



Janet Cozine



Monday, February 15 - School Closed (Mid Winter Break)


Tuesday, February 16- Classes resume


Monday, March 8 - Trimester II Goals and Objectives Emailed to Parents 




Congratulations to Joseph D. for being recognized as Art Student Spotlight for January. Joseph never gives up, even when he is frustrated. He shows kindness to his classmates and has amazing potential in art.




February 5th Leadership Council met with their 2,3, 4th grade buddies to create postcards for residents at St. Francis Residential Senior Living Community. As many of you know we have a long standing connection to St. Francis. The Leadership Council has been making monthly visits for over 6 years, so when COVID hit we were at a loss how to maintain our connection. Looking for a way to connect we sent holiday postcards to our friends. These cards were such a big hit the Recreation Direction asked if we could send more. This all came when Brynn and Gabby were developing the Buddy program. It made sense to include not only Leadership but our entire school community in this endeavor. 

Listening to the Buddies as they work was pure magic. “I wanna say something funny,” stated a 3rd grader to his buddy. “I picture my grandma”, said another 2nd grader. 

Providing opportunities to develop and strengthen students' empathy skills is essential. Once viewed as a soft skill,  Harvard Business Review named empathy as one of the "essential ingredients for leadership success and excellent performance".

The Craig Campus News has continued their Friday broadcast. This past Friday Cooper interviewed a newish student, Thomas to learn a bit about him. Lizzy was our anchor and William delivered Some Good News. The CCN will be on break during our half day this week but will return next Friday, with a new cast. 


All the best, 

Laura Given 



 This year the family life education program at the Craig Lower School will be led by Melissa Keyes DiGioia, CSE Director of Education at Finding Your Individuality. Melissa specializes in teaching personal care and relationship concepts with youth with learning differences. Finding Your Individuality’s mission is to empower individuals with the education, skills, support and resources they need to meet their fullest potential in the relationships they hold with themselves and others within their community. Alessandra Edwards and Ellen Meisenbacher will be present and moderating the sessions. 

The education program contains medically accurate and age appropriate concepts that adhere to the state of NJ’s core curriculum standards for grades 2-5. The sessions will run on Monday’s for 7 sessions. Monday February 8, 2021 will be the students first class. Areas of concentration include the Zones of Regulation (an intervention to help individuals recognize feelings and strategies for navigating feelings); caring for the body through healthy nutrition, personal hygiene, mindfulness & exercise; relationship boundaries; and bullying. Students will be encouraged to communicate with caregivers about the topics.

If you have any questions please feel free to call Mrs. Edwards- Social Clinician at x108.  




Dear Parents and Guardians, 

The new year has begun, and we know you are navigating this semester in the context of COVID-19. We know you are balancing so much, and we hope you will take some time to let us know how we’re doing and how COVID-19 has affected your experience as a part of our school community. 

Please complete a short survey by February 19th, 2021 to help us understand your experience right now. 

The survey, hosted on the website of the National Association of Independent Schools, will only take about 5 minutes to complete. Your responses will help us improve the way we deliver programming and communicate with our community.

Thank you for your partnership and ongoing support of our school community.


Go Badgers! 

Dr. Kara A. Loftin 

Head of School 


SPECIAL SPEAKER EVENT - March 3rd, 2021 7 pm


Mark your calendars now for an upcoming webinar featuring Robin O’Shea from Key2Ed, a nationally recognized leader in facilitated IEP training. The webinar will take place virtually on March 3rd at 7 pm. More information to follow in next week’s newsletter. 

Conflict in Special Education: Conflict Resolution, Appropriate Dispute Resolution, and Facilitated IEPs

The Individuals with Disabilities Act strongly emphasizes the importance of an effective family-professional partnership in creating the student’s educational program (IDEA, 2004). The IEP meeting is an opportunity for the team of experts, including parents, teachers, related service providers, and the child (when appropriate), to openly communicate and collaborate. However, there may be times when the participants come to the table with varying perspectives or disagreements. This session presents an overview of how the team can use research-based facilitation techniques to promote communication, prevent conflict, and reconcile differences so that the team can focus on the student's needs and craft a robust and unique program for the child. Participants will leave with tools and techniques they can implement at their next IEP. 

For those of you who would like to register for the event now may do so by clicking on this link: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.



Re-enrollment contracts for the 2021-2022 school year will be emailed this month.  After receiving your students contract, please log in and electronically sign the document to hold your students placement for next year.  Whether your student is attending The Craig School privately or through your district, every student is required to be re-enrolled through our portal system by a parent/guardian signing their enrollment contract.  This process and your signature ensures that your student will have a space secured for next year.  Any questions, please contact Nicole Moon, Director of Admission at




Grades 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, Girls and Boys Basketball-  Mondays from 3:05 to 4:00

February 22nd and March 1st. Please see the linked attachments for sign-ups.



Girls Basketball

Grades 5th to 8th- Tuesday and Thursday 3:05 to 4:30

Boys Basketball

Grades 5th to 8th- Wednesday and Friday 3:05 to 4:30

These two seasons have been extended until the 1st week of March


For those of you that would like to purchase The Craig School basketball gear, please check out our Squad Locker Store set up for both girl and boy basketball players. It is not mandatory to buy, but it is encouraged to show your Badger Pride!  Please use this link provided to order:


If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Mr. Furlong at



Dates Week of February 15th


NO HWH Feb. 15th - School Closed

Wednesday, February 17th

Thursday, February 18th 


If your child is leaving early, not coming to Homework Help or will be virtual and wants to participate in Homework Help, please contact Mrs. Butter by email at or via call/text message on the Homework Help hotline 1-862-207-9863. Thanks!





Please send an email to Kimberly McGroarty OR call our Main Line (973-334-4375 X101) for student absences before 7:30 a.m. We need to know:


(a) If your child is absent and is unable to attend virtually. This student will be marked “Absent.” OR

 (b) If your child is absent AND attending classes virtually. This student will be marked “Present.”



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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