September 2022

Dear Cedar Mountain Families:

We have had a great opening at the home of Vernon’s kindergarten and first-grade students. Under rainy skies, we began the day by greeting each student as they came off their buses and lined up by teacher. Ms. Mariconda’s class led our school in the flag salute and rang our school bell to begin the new school year. This has become a very special annual tradition!

Thank you for following The Cedar Mountain Blog to stay informed of our school and our district events! As a reminder, you will receive a Friday School Messenger email that provides upcoming information and school reminders. You can link more than one email address to this weekly email so all parents and guardians can stay informed. Please call the Cedar Mountain Main office if we can assist you with anything with Genesis or any other questions you may have. Our number is 973-764-2890.



First days of School

As our students are settling into school routines, enjoy some pictures of our students in their classroom learning.




Thank you to our Cedar Mountain Administrative Assistants! Please join me in thanking our office staff at Cedar Mountain- Mrs. O’Keefe, Mrs. Donovan, and Ms. Speight, who worked tirelessly this summer to make sure our school was ready to be opened, that our classrooms were stocked with materials and supplies, and that all students were registered. Look closely at their t-shirts that say it all… “I’ll be there for you”!! We couldn’t run our school without them!




Bus Safety Program: Thank you to our bus drivers Mrs. Anthony and Mrs. Blackburn along with our School Counselor, Ms. Green, who taught our students about bus safety during our first week of school. Thank you for reinforcing our bus rules with your children to keep your child and every passenger safe on our buses.





Please join us for our annual…

Cedar Mountain Fall Harvest Open House -Saturday, September 17th, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Come enjoy some refreshments, tour our building, explore our curriculum in demonstrations throughout various classrooms, experience the computer lab as your child would in computer class, visit our library and stop at stations from different community organizations, and learn about our music program. There will be crafts, food, and games. We will also have various community organizations with us such as the Vernon Police Vernon PAL, the Vernon Coalition, The Center for Prevention and Counseling, Project Self Sufficiency, Girls Scouts, and UMAC Karate school. This program has been made available through a generous NJEA Pride grant organized by Mrs. Lombardi one of our preschool teachers at Walnut Ridge. We are very excited to collaborate with the VTEA and NJEA for this special activity.


School Picture Day

As a reminder, School Picture Day is Tuesday, September 20! Retakes will be held on October 27th. 2022.




Principal’s Forum

Please join me along with other building experts for the Cedar Mountain Principal’s Forum on Wednesday, September 21, at 6:00 pm, held in the cafeteria. At the Principal’s Forum, you will hear about ways to stay involved in and support your child’s education as well as the academic programs at Cedar Mountain. You will be hearing from the following building experts, Mrs. Gibson, Speech/Language Therapist, Ms. Green, Professional School Counselor, and Mrs. Krops, Reading Specialist, and Mrs. Battista, Math Interventionist.




News from the Art Room: For those families whose children are in currently in art this marking period. Please CLICK HERE for an informative newsletter from Mrs. Patchell, our art teacher. You will learn how to access your child’s artwork in Artsonia. Artsonia is a digital portfolio of all the artworks your child is creating in art. The best part is you can now share your child’s creative accomplishments with friends and family both near and far. As your child grows, so will their art portfolio as many other art teachers in Vernon also use Artsonia and their student account transfers year to year!





SCA Meetings

I would like to thank our 22-23 SCA officers for serving our school this year, their dedication to our school is greatly appreciated! They are…

President: Megan Kapusta

Vice President: Rose Ahearn

Recording Secretary: Ericka Petrucci

Treasurer: Rachel Cawley

Corresponding Secretary: Viviana Quiros


Our first SCA meeting was held on September 8th. If you would like to read the minutes of this meeting. Please go to the Cedar Mountain website and click on PARENT GROUPS/SCA. This will take you to the district SCA page where you can read our minutes and access other Cedar Mountain information. Our meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at 9:45 am. We also will be opening a Zoom link so you can join us live wherever you are, HERE IS THE ZOOM LINK. Those online are encouraged to be active participants with our parents and guardians who are in person. All parents and guardians are always invited to attend. Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, October 6th. Please note the following upcoming SCA events:

  • Mum fundraiser going on until September 16, 2022. Pick up your mums at Pappa’s Garden Supply on Route 94 in McAfee. HERE IS THE LINK to the online order
  • Pretzels/Popcorn/Pizza Fundraiser will run from September 19 through October 4, 2022-order forms will be given to homeroom teachers shortly
  • Puravida Bracelets Spiritwear sale- Fundraiser ends on September 23, 2022. CLICK HERE for the order form
  • SCA Hoe Down- Friday, October 7th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, held in the lower parking lot. There will be a food truck and a “caller” who will lead our students in various dances




Heggerty Kindergarten Assessment: Our kindergarten students will be receiving a Heggerty baseline screening from their teacher this month. This screening will identify each student’s phonological and phonemic awareness skills, the results will be used to plan for instruction when using our Heggerty and Fundations instruction.





Fountas & Pinnell Baseline Assessment System: Our Reading Test

At the end of this month, each student in first-grade is will be receiving a one-on-one reading assessment, called The Baseline Assessment System, to determine each student’s reading level, areas of reading strength, as well as where a student may require additional reading/literacy support. The Baseline Assessment System is used in the classroom to level reading instruction and teach the student at his or her level. Our kindergarten students will receive their first Baseline Assessment System screening in January 2023. Thank you for continuing to read to and with your child on a daily basis. There will be many opportunities this year for you to learn ways that you can support literacy at home beginning with The Principal’s Forum that will be held on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, at 6:00 pm, in the cafeteria.




Teacher of the Year Program

You are invited to nominate a teacher for the annual NJ Department of Education Governor’s Teacher of the Year and Governor’s Educational Services Professional of the Year. Please use THIS FORM to nominate a teacher at Cedar Mountain. Our building selection will be made in early November. There are so many outstanding professionals in Cedar Mountain for you to consider! Last year’s recipients were Mrs. Diana Czergovits, kindergarten teacher, and Mrs. Ashley Karlewicz, Speech/Language Specialist. 

Each candidate should:

  • Inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn;
  • Serves as an exceptionally skilled and dedicated educator in a public or charter school;
  • Expresses themselves in an engaging and articulate way;
  • Plays an active role in the community as well as the school;
  • Demonstrates leadership and innovation in and outside the classroom;
  • Has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues



Some information on communication and the proper channels… As school begins, it is very important that we promote communication with you via this blog, emails, phone calls, our calendar, Friday School Messenger emails, and the occasional memos that will be sent home with students. With this in mind, below are the steps to use as reference if you need to reach someone at school to discuss an educational matter. These steps support direct, open, and respectful interactions so that problems and concerns can be worked out quickly and efficiently. Any question or concern should always start with the person listed in Step 1, as that person will usually have the most information on the topic. If you have a question or concern, please follow the steps listed below for the relevant topic.


Classroom Issues Involving an Individual Child (Classroom procedures, behavior, grades, schedule, etc.) OR Curriculum and Instruction (Subject matter being taught, teaching strategies, textbooks and materials used, etc.)

STEP 1: Classroom Teacher; if not resolved…

STEP 2: School Counselor, Ms. Ingrid Green, 973-764-4509; if not resolved…

STEP 3: Principal

 STEP 4: Supervisor of ELA/Humanities, Dr. Cris Slotoroff, or Director of Math, Science and STEM, Dr. Hollyce Schoepp

STEP 5: Building Principal; if not resolved…

STEP 6: Director for Curriculum, Mr. Vincent Gagliostro if not resolved…

STEP 7: Acting Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Russ Rogers


Special Education, 504 Plans, and IEPs

STEP 1: Teacher, Specialist, or Child Study Team Member (Psychologist, School Counselor, Social Worker, Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist); if not resolved…

STEP 2: Case Manager; if not resolved…

STEP 3: Building Principal; if not resolved…

STEP 4: Supervisor of Special Services – Mrs. Suzanne MacDougall; if not resolved…

STEP 5: Director of Special Services- Mr. Russel Fay

STEP 6: Acting Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Russ Rogers


Medical Concerns

STEP 1: School Nurse; if not resolved…

STEP 2: Building Principal; if not resolved…

STEP 3: Acting Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Russ Roges


School Counseling and Related Services

STEP 1: School Counselor, Social Worker, School Psychologist; if not resolved…

STEP 2: Supervisor of School Counseling- Mrs. Susan Matteson; if not resolved…

STEP 3: Building Principal; if not resolved…

STEP 4: Director of Curriculum, Mr. Vincent Gagliostro; if not resolved…

STEP 5: Acting Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Russ Rogers


Transportation Concerns

(Behavior on school buses, etc.)

STEP 1: Building Principal; if not resolved…

STEP 2: Supervisor of Transportation, Mrs. Marisa Broesder; if not resolved…

STEP 3: Acting Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Russ Rogers



General Housekeeping Information

School Calendar: Please note our school will be closed on Wednesday, October 5th for Yom Kippur and on Monday, October 10th for our Teacher In-Service Day. We will have Early Dismissal Days from Tuesday, October 11th through Friday, October 14th. CLICK HERE for our 22-23 calendar.

Parent Handbook: A lot of school and district information can be found the Cedar Mountain Parent Handbook. The handbook can be found on the Digital Backpack for Cedar Mountain. HERE IS THE LINK FOR THE HANDBOOK.

Digital Backpack: Please see the Cedar Mountain DIGITAL BACKPACK for other important school information and the many district letters and forms that live on the Digital Backpack.

School Closings: It’s never too early to prepare for school closings! Please CLICK HERE for our district school closing information. Always start by looking at our district’s main page We post our closing, delayed openings, and early dismissals here in addition to you receiving an automated call on the phone that you connected in Genesis.

Our year is off to a great start! I hope to see you at our school events…

Mrs. Gebhardt