Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:
Every four years hundreds of athletes assemble at the highest stage to compete and represent their countries in the Olympic Games. It is an assembly of countries and individuals that represent the best and brightest of what the world has to offer. Every athlete has a unique journey and story that led them to the Olympics. It is a case study of preparation and resilience. Whether one is fortunate to receive a medal or they do not make the final event, each athlete is still the most talented in the world.
The stories that have unfolded include the most diverse and talented US Women’s Olympics Gymnastics Team that has ever been assembled and features sixteen year old New Jersey native Laurie Hernandez and Texas native Simone Biles, who once lived in foster care. The games also featured swimmer Simone Manuel, the gold medal winner of the 100 meter freestyle, who became first female African-American swimmer to win an individual Olympic medal. In addition, the games had a unique group of athletes that are not representing a country. They are ten “Refugee Olympic Athletes” who carry the Olympic flag and are bringing to light the challenges of refugees globally while they compete.
These athletes speak to the power of resilience. This also resonates in our “One Book, One School” required summer reading for all middle school students and staff. Wonder by R.J. Palacio is an instant fiction gem. It challenges all of us individually and collectively to reexamine how we see ourselves and others. If you have not completed the summer reading to date, please do so by the opening of the school year. The themes of the book will be part of our culture throughout the 2016-2017 school year that we will reference.
The start of a new school year often presents a mixture of anxieties for students and family members alike. These emotions are normal on the spectrum of growth and change. The North Plainfield Middle School community is a welcoming and inviting environment for all learners to strive for their individual goals. This is a fertile place for dreams to grow.
As we begin the 2016-2017 school year there are a few concepts that are keys to a successful year. The concepts include punctuality to school and class, making responsible and mature decisions both socially and academically, and maintaining good grades. In addition, the North Plainfield Middle School community offers several extracurricular activities to whet your intellectual and athletic appetites. Take the opportunity to try new programs and be an active member of your school.
We are excited to add a talented and dedicated group of professionals to the staff of North Plainfield Middle School. The staff members include: Laurel Hanns, Mathematics; Danielle Martini, American Sign Language; Lucy Pimpinella, Computers; Stephen Tsai, Mathematics; and Joseph Beselinoff, Robotics. Alexander Bak will serve as our new Band teacher and we would also like to welcome back Jennifer Riolo, Mathematics and Anabela Oliveira, Special Education. Silma Cardona and Lillian Morales will serve as our new Main Office Paraprofessionals.
As we embrace the start of another great year, let us reflect and learn from the passion, discipline, vision and dedication of our Olympic athletes and the characters in Wonder. Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year. I look forward to meeting and working with each of you throughout the school year. As a reminder, many of our forms will not be sent home. The forms can be found on our website.
Enjoy the remainder of your summer and I will see you on Wednesday, September 7, 2016.
Lennox H. Small Ed.D.