Principal's Message

Dear Godwin Families,

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year at the Godwin School!  The staff and I eagerly await your arrival on Friday, September 3, 2021. 

As you might imagine, I have been busy making preparations for the upcoming school year.  Part of those preparations involve our personnel assignments:

 Please join me in welcoming, Mrs. Rashida Garcia as the new Hearing Impaired Program Principal.  If you are new to our school district, allow me to elaborate on the partnership with Bergen County Special Services’ Hearing Impaired Program (HIP).  For the past 25 plus years, students in the Hearing Impaired Program have been attending our schools and learning side by side with our Midland Park residents.  Students in both programs benefit from this collaborative model of instruction.  Mrs. Garcia has oversight of the HIP and SHIP programs in all three buildings and works collaboratively with the administrative team. 


Mrs. Diana Ragone will assume the teaching responsibilities of the integrated pre-k class.  Diana has been our special education kindergarten teacher for the past six years.  She taught pre-k during ESY for the past three years and developed a longing to teach it full time.  While I am very sad to see her leave kindergarten, I know Mrs. Ragone will be a dynamic pre-k teacher and prepare our little ones for their formal school career. 

 Congratulations to Ms. Crystal Fernandez who was married this summer and returns to us as Mrs. Crystal Santiago.  We wish her and Mr. Santiago a lifetime of happiness together. 


Please join me in welcoming Ms. Jaclyn Kelly to the Godwin School as our new special education kindergarten teacher.  Jaclyn joins our staff after completing a year in the Ramsey School District.  Jaclyn is trained in Orton Gillingham and the Workshop Model.  She and Mrs. Laurie Belthoff will work collaboratively to educate our young learners by laying a solid foundation in kindergarten. 

 Welcome to our school, Ms. Alexandra Juranich as the new kindergarten teacher.  Ms. Juranich joins our staff from Leonia where she taught the virtual kindergarten class during the 2020-21 school year.  She completed her studies at University of Vermont and is certified in Early Education Pre-K – 3rd grade.  Ms. Juranich is eager to begin her career in Midland Park and make it her home. 

 Also moving to kindergarten is Ms. Faith Hrdy as the HIP (Hearing Impaired Program) small group teacher.  Ms. Hrdy has been in the Godwin School for several years and taught 2nd grade.  Her students will push in with Ms. Juranich’s class for specials, parties and field trips.  The Midland Park School District is known for its’ collaborative partnership with HIP run by Bergen County Special Services.  

 1st Grade

Welcome back from maternity leave, Mrs. Jean Swanson.  Mrs. Swanson is a seasoned 1st grade teacher and we are thrilled to have her back with us.  Mrs. Swanson has been home with her two young daughters for the past two years and while it will be difficult to separate, I know she is eager to rejoin our team and educate our 1st graders. 

 Congratulations to Ms. Kristie Fucarino on becoming Mrs. Kristie Gambutti last May.  We wish her and Mr. Gambutti a lifetime of happiness together. 

 2nd Grade

This year, Ashley-Rose Sherman will be moving from the first grade team to join our second grade team.  Ms. Sherman also got married in June and will start the year as Mrs. Ashley-Rose Hook.  Mrs. Hook began her teaching career at the Godwin School as maternity leave teacher and was recently appointed to a permanent position.  Mrs. Hook will bring her knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to the second grade this year! 

 Also returning to us as a maternity leave teacher is Ms. Donna Materia.  Ms. Materia was a life-saver last year and transitioned beautifully into the second grade opening.  She taught the all virtual class with vigor and compassion which led to several students returning to in-person instruction.  We are extremely fortunate to have Ms. Materia stay on with us through the first half of the year. 



Welcome aboard to both Godwin and Highland School, Mrs. Trish Olson as our Spanish/ESL teacher. Mrs. Olson recently completed a fifth grade maternity leave position at Highland School and has been a dedicated substitute for the past several years.  Mrs. Olson will teach Spanish to students in second and third grade and teach ESL to identified students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

 Welcome to Ms. Denise Inirio as the district Physical Therapist.  Mrs. Inirio will provide physical therapy to identified students in pre-k through twelve grade. 

 Finally, welcome back to our guidance counselor, Ms. Christine Soderman.  Ms. Soderman is a contracted therapist through West Bergen Mental Health as our full time counselor.  Ms. Soderman’s role will be diverse as she dives in to teach lessons, facilitate lunch bunch groups, meet one to one students and answer parent questions related to Social and Emotional Needs.  We are very fortunate to bring Ms. Soderman back in this full time capacity. 


As you can see, I have been very busy staffing my school this summer.  Next, I will share some curriculum and Social and Emotional Learning updates.

Two years ago, we implemented the Wilson Fundations Phonics Program in kindergarten.  We continued that implementation into first grade this past year.  The Fundations program was already being used in our Basic Skills Classes, therefore streamlining into the general education classes promoted continuity of instruction.  The program has been very successful thus far and this year the second grade classes will implement it.  The skills spiral and build from one grade level to the next, fostering phonemic awareness, decoding, and encoding to promote reading fluency.  Our Reading Specialist, Stacy Boufford and Reading Teacher, Suzanne Kelly have been providing training on this program since its’ inception. 

 Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)
The State of New Jersey identified five Competencies and Sub-Competencies for Social Emotional Learning in August 2017.  In September of 2018, we implemented the 7 Mindsets online program based on the book, The 7 Mindsets: To Live Your Ultimate Life.  In conjunction with this program, we are partnering with Lily Howard, a curriculum developer and social and emotional learning coach from Gravity Goldberg, LLC.   She received her Masters Degree in Teaching Literacy and Childhood General Education from Bank Street College of Education, where she now teaches in the Continuing Professional Studies department.  She was a featured speaker at the 2019 Collaborative for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning (CASEL) SEL Exchange, and her writing about the importance of a child-centered approach to teaching and learning has been published in The Washington Post.  Ms. Howard will work with the staff to further integrate the Competencies into the existing curriculum and bring the conversations to a new level. 

 Math Expressions
The Elementary Schools are moving into year 2 of implementation of Math Expressions a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt product.  With the help of our Math Consultant, Mary Oates, the staff implemented this brand new program during the 2020-2021 school year through in-person and virtual means. 

 School Procedures
As we begin the 2021 school year, students and staff will wear masks while inside the building.  During snack, lunch and outdoor recess, students will be permitted to remove their masks.  Classroom seating will be spaced to the greatest possible extent up to 3 feet, which will vary in each classroom due to the size of the room and the number of students.  During lunch, table dividers will be used to provide individual cubbies for each student.  Since children are unmasked, we believe this is the safest approach to eating lunch in school.   It is recommended that students bring water bottles to school and refill them at the water refilling stations.  The bottle filler mechanism will be available but the water fountain spout will not. 

 Parent Portal and Consent Forms
An e-mail was sent out this week about updating the parent portal and signing consent forms.  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT E-MAIL.  All parents must update their information and sign off on important documents.  Please follow the directions on the e-mail. This must be done by September 2, 2021. This ensures that all information is accurate and up to date.

Quarantining Statement
As we continue to navigate the different nuances of this pandemic and how it effects the students who attend the Midland Park Schools System, the New Jersey Department of Health has made it clear that quarantining protocol is still in effect for positive cases and potential exposures.  Should a student or class have to be quarantined, virtual instruction will be provided so that learning can continue unabated and a student’s academic progress can remain commensurate with their in-person peers. We thank you for your continued patience and working collaboratively to make this a safe school year.  


Morning Entrance
Prior to coming to school, parents should take their child’s temperature, and if the thermometer reads 100.4 or higher, the student should stay home.  Upon arrival, every child will have their temperature taken and parents will be contacted if it reads 100.4 or higher.  If your child is experiencing any of the Covid-19 symptoms, please keep him/her home.  The school will continue to ere on the side of safety and contact parents when there is concern about a child’s health condition.


Morning Line-up
In order to facilitate morning line-up, students will be divided into three different areas.  Drop off will start at 8:10am and parents may use the car line or walk their child to the school building.  Parents will not be permitted in the school or on the playground.  Building aides will be present to supervise our students.  The car line does tend to get very long, please plan ahead to make this a smooth process.  Homeroom is from 8:20-8:27am, after 8:27am the student must be walked to the Main Office. 

Kindergarteners – enter through door # 3, near the crosswalk and school sign and report to the All Purpose Room.  Aides will be present to assist. 

 ·      1st Grade – enter through door #2, near the Flag Pole and report to your classroom door.  Aides will monitor the students once inside the building.  Aides will be present to assist. 

 ·      2nd Grade – walk down the driveway on the right side of the school and line up on the playground.  During inclement weather, send your child with an umbrella or raincoat.  I will re-evaluate when the weather turns colder.  Parents may not accompany their child to the playground.  Aides will be present to assist. 

Pre-K - Drop off at 8:30am.  
Ragone's Class - Door # 2 - wait on the sidewalk with your child

Santiago's Class - Door # 3 - wait on the sidewalk with your child

Students will eat lunch in the cafeteria while being supervised by our building aides.  As stated above, table dividers will be used to provide individual cubbies for each student.  Lunch will be provided again by the State of New Jersey to all interested students; however, I highly recommend kindergartners bring their own lunch for the first few months of school.  The lunch will be served in the same grab and go fashion as the previous school year.  The lunches will be warm if the meal requires it.  Otherwise, it will be a cold lunch.  It may help the new kindergarteners to bring their own lunch for two reasons: parents know their child likes it and to ensure they can eat it in the allotted 20 minute time slot. Please start practicing now. 

Students will participate in outdoor recess as often as possible and be permitted to remove their mask.  If you want your child to keep their mask on, please be sure you communicate that information to your child and teacher.  If recess moves indoors, students will wear their masks while playing in their classroom. 

Students will attend special classes throughout the week in Godwin and Highland Schools.  Students walk across to the Highland School for Library, Art, Music and (*Technology only grades 1 and 2).  Students walk in cold weather, rain and snow.  Please check the weather and dress them appropriately. 


Our dismissal procedures vary from the morning drop off procedures.  Parents may not drive up to the front of the school to pick up their child.  HIP will have buses/vans/cars lining the street in front of the school.  Parents/guardians must walk to the front of the school to pick up their child.  The parent must make eye contact with the teacher prior to the child being released.  Dismissal times are strictly enforced to keep the sidewalk clear. 

 2:40pm – Kindergarten

Belthoff/Kelly – Door # 3

Fino/Weimann – Door # 4

Lieberman – Door # 2

Juranich – Door # 3

2:45pm – Pre-K

Santiago – Door # 3

Ragone – Door # 2


2:50pm – 1st grade

Caruso/Gambutti – Door # 3

Frangipane/Perez – Door # 2

Martinez – Door # 2

Swanson – Door # 3


2:50pm - 2nd grade

Greenberg/Holmes – Door # 2

Hook – Door # 3

Materia – Door # 3

Winters – Door # 2


Dismissal Changes
If your child’s typical pick up procedure is going to change, i.e., a different caregiver is picking up, a playdate, early pick up, late arrival, etc, please contact the Classroom Teacher via note or email.  The classroom teacher is the most important person to have this information as they are with your child all day and at dismissal.  If the dismissal procedure changes last minute, contact the Main Office.  The secretary will contact the classroom teacher.  As you can imagine, the end of the day is quite busy in the Main Office, please anticipate your needs as early as possible and notify the correct personnel. 


Before Care and After Care
Before and after Care are housed in Godwin School.  Students may be dropped off as early as 7:00am and will be supervised by a member of the Continuing Education Staff in the All Purpose Room.  After Care will take place in two locations: All Purpose Room and Kindergarten Room.  The kindergarten students are separated from the 1st – 6th graders from 2:40pm to 4:30pm.  Extensive information about the After Care program, procedures, pick up, snacks, electronics, etc. are outlined in their handbook.  Contact Beth Kasbarian for more details. 


District Website
Please utilize the district website at for information: From this website you can access Godwin School’s webpage which will give you information on summer work, school supplies, teacher webpages, staff contacts, and will also allow you to find information on school procedures, important dates, code of conduct, attendance regulations, etc. IMPORTANT: The site will also let you register for school/district e-blasts with the most current information and opportunities.


Thank you very much for reading this document to the end.  I realize this a lot of information, but knowledge is power and I want to keep you informed.  Please contact me with questions and I look forward to seeing you on the first day, September 3, 2021. 



 Ms. Danielle Bache


Godwin School

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