Once again, we are going to be talking with our children about scary events in our world.  I feel like I post about this way too often.

First, I hope that everyone in our community is okay and, by extension, the family and friends in our community.  If anyone needs any assistance, please email me or our school counselors Rachel Goodman and Mara Boden.

Our emails are terri.ruyter at, rachel.goodman at, and mara.boden at

In my blog post about terrorist attacks in Paris last fall, I provided an overview of how we respond to these events at school and listed resources for parents who are trying to navigate these conversations with their children.

Children will hear about the bombing on the playground and will overhear adult conversations.  It is important to respond to children’s concerns by ascertaining what they know, answering questions, and assuring them that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe.

Rachel and Mara will be supporting teachers and children at school this week as they engage in conversations about these topics.  Our teachers will respond to children’s concerns in developmentally appropriate ways.

As always, if you have any questions or your family needs any support, please let us know.




Welcome Back

Each fall I am eager to welcome back colleagues and families to school and to welcome new members of our community.

Over the summer we have said goodbye to several staff members.  Michael and Elizabeth Flegar both decided to transition to working in high schools.  And Youngjee Kim decided to take a leave of absence for the year.  Nico, Alexis and I were able to find strong teachers to fill in for them.

This year, we have a very strong math team in place.  Our fifth graders will learn math with Francis Laros, Mollie Gross, and Bari Baron.  Vivi Nguyen will be teaching one section each of grade 6 and grade 7 and Algebra 1.  Nicole Smolenski and Peggy Chen are two new math teachers for middle school.  Nicole and Jamie Christian are co-teaching two sections of grade 6.  Nicole and Linda Moftah co-teach one section of grade 8.  Peggy is teaching two sections of grade 7 and one section of grade 8. We are also excited to have Rachel Carr join our staff as a K-8 math intervention specialist.

Ariel Dlugasch is going to be taking most of the year at home with her baby.  She will be coming in to work with teachers in grades K-3 as a math consultant. Dawn Schafer will be taking on the role of in-house math coach and will be working with teachers in grades 4-8. I am excited that we have been able to build our math department to this level.

We are also refining the specialization of our science department. While Youngjee will be deeply missed this coming year, we have a strong science team in place.  Lee Garber will be teaching 7th and 8th grade science. Stevie  Latham will be teaching 6th and 7th grade science.  Jamie Christian and Jessica Kuhl co-teach science with Stevie and Lee.  Alexis Querques is returning to the science classroom as well. She will be teaching 4th and 5th grade science.  Kim Cooper will continue to lead our K-3rd graders in their scientific investigations.  Our science team is all participating in Urban Advantage, a science teacher professional learning organization in NYC.

Maren Aydogan is joining our staff as our 7th grade ELA teacher.  Morgan Fusetti is returning from maternity leave. She will be co-teaching two 6th grade ELA classes with Katie (Navarro) McGinn and one 7th grade ELA class with Maren.  Tamar Goelman and Linda Moftah will continue as 8th grade teachers.

Elizabeth Day, who taught K-3 music for the past several years, has taken a job closer to her home.  Krista Bruschini is joining Stephanie Mazarakis as a full time music teacher. This allows us to offer students in grades 5-8 an option of chorus with Krista or band with Stephanie.

Alisha Bennett’s departure left a hole in our school counselor department.  Mara Boden will be a strong replacement.  We are all eager to learn from her this year as she brings a strong counseling background to our community.

Yulis Guevara is another new colleague. She will be co-teaching with Kim Owens in kindergarten.

And we are welcoming Samantha Qureshi back from maternity leave as PE and health teacher.

In addition to these shifts, we have two other teachers who are changing roles in our school that I am very excited about.

Basia Tov has agreed to take on the huge task of organizing and running our library program. She has spent many hours over the summer attending trainings and refreshing our library.  She is reorganizing books and furniture to make the library more user friendly for our students and looking for authors to come and work with our students. If you are interested in volunteering to help shelve books during the year, you should reach out to her via email at

Rachel Lewis is taking on the role of technology teacher.  She will be teaching 5th and 8th graders a tech class and teaching other grades technology in cycles.  She will also be helping us craft a vision for our tech program, training teachers, and organizing the hardware and software needed to help this program become a reality. The SLT and PTA worked together to help me fund this position. So thank you all for your donations.

As part of our website redesign, we will be posting teacher bios to provide you with more information about our faculty. These should be up by September 22, Back to School Night, when you will also have a chance to meet our team.

Finally, Alexis Hoffman is our interim acting AP for the lower grades. She will be at the first PTA meeting at 8:30 am on Friday, September 16. Stop by to meet her.

It is going to be a great year of learning!







Basia is working so hard on getting the library together.  If you are interested in volunteering to help in the library this year, please email her.