Vicki Pede's Blog

September: Back to School

Yes, it may be hard to believe, but once again it is that time of year when our school hallways and classrooms will finally include that wonderful sound of children again!  Even with the impending hurricane-like weather and all of the construction we have had at our elementary school this summer, we WILL open on time.  Through the diligent efforts of our summer staff led by Mr. Marinelli, our schools have been readied for a stellar opening on September 6, 2011.  It has been a busy, but rewarding summer for all of us; there are many new faces to welcome our students and families into the Lopatcong community.  The following new staff members will be there to welcome you as you enter one of our schools in just a short time from now:


§  Ms. Andrea Baker – Special Education/Behavioral Support (MS)

§  Ms. Lauren Beruta – 2nd grade teacher (ES)

§  Mr. Richard Bonney – Middle School Assistant Principal

§  Ms. Rene Boylan – 4th grade long term substitute teacher (ES)

§  Ms. Stephanie Condon – 2nd grade teacher (ES)

§  Mrs. Jeanene Dutt – Middle School Principal

§  Mrs. Noelle Kondikoff – Elementary School Principal

§  Ms. Valerie Turker – Academic Support long term substitute teacher (ES)

§  Ms. Casey Unangst – 3rd grade long term substitute teacher (ES)

§  Ms. Kim von Essen – Physical Education/Health (MS)


This year, we will be continuing our efforts on the Writing Workshop through the partnership with East Stroudsburg University and the National Writing Project.  The concentration of these efforts will hopefully be at the elementary school this year so that the majority of the staff responsible for Language Arts Literacy in our district will now have been involved in the training.  In addition through the cooperative efforts of the PTA, an extension of Rachel’s Challenge will be an integral part of our character education programming.  Further, we will be strengthening our Response to Intervention (RTI) program to further concentrate on the needs of a balanced literacy program for our students.  Efforts in this area are sure to be seen in the classroom/school instruction for your child.  The Board of Education has adopted the following district/superintendent goals for this school year.  The goals are all focused on improved education for our children and were approved as follows:


1.      Provide professional support for new administrators

2.      Develop and implement a Behavioral Support program

3.      Evaluate the Elementary School facility and update as needed

4.      Improve individual student progress in the areas of literacy, writing and math


May I remind you to please check our newly designed website ( on a regular basis; Mr. Shea has worked diligently to improve our website and make our school district be highlighted in stellar fashion via the internet.  With this in mind, please make sure to provide the school with your email address as we will be utilizing our virtual backpack to send many notices home. Please also note our efforts to continue to reduce the amount of paper that goes home.  Once again, I ask that you note the importance of being involved in your child’s education.  We welcome your part in this portion of educating the whole child! Remember that in order to volunteer in either of our schools, you must be approved each year and participate in special training, which includes the mandated anti-bullying training.  It is very important that you complete the form the first week of school and watch for the days and times for volunteer training. 

In closing, I need to share the information I noted in the staff opening letter.  You see, it is a challenge for me to go away and not focus on our schools; you may be able to take this person out of this school district, but you can’t take this school district out of this person!  As such, when away on vacation, the following quote was placed strategically in our room: “A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place.”  If you think about it, this quote can certainly apply to our district.  Individually as members of any portion of the Lopatcong educational community we may be different; however, we all are focused on the goals of education for our children!  Welcome back to our schools this year – we are anxious to see you all on September 6th!

 Living and Learning in Lopatcong,

 Vicki Pede