“East…Always Moving Towards Excellence!”

Our mission is to work with the school community to provide a safe educational environment where students are stimulated to become lifelong learners, equipped with the knowledge and analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills to meet the demands of college and/or careers as informed citizens in a globally competitive market.

Greetings Raider parents, guardians, and friends,

Welcome back!  I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy time with your family over the Spring Break and to disconnect from work/school.  I spent the week catching up on various school and home projects.  My daughter decided on her college and we spent a few days at the Admitted Student Day over the week.  She will be pursuing her degree in nursing at Fairfield University.  I really liked the campus and commitment from the school to ensure student success.  They seemed dedicated to making personal connections to each of the students, something I value in education.  The town is nice and only a 2 ½ hour drive from Toms River.  We will be working on providing more and more support to our students and parents on the college application process.  Please make sure your child is listening to the announcements and attends our college-ready workshops.

Week in Review

Don’t forget to check out our Twitter and Instagram feeds at @raiderpublco and our Facebook @raiderpubco.  You can also get updates from our school accounts, www.facebook.com/tomsriverhseast, www.twitter.com/tomsriverhseast and www.instagram.com/tomsriverhseast.  Parents, don’t forget to check our website for information posted on our Daily Bulletin.  We highlight weekly club and various school-related activities which are not typically posted in this newsletter.

We ran our PARCC Dry-Run on Monday morning to ensure our technology needs were in order for the test which will begin on the 16th.  Please refer to our mailing for details on the testing schedule.  I will provide a few details in the Information Section of this Newsletter.  Our STEAM Team met with the parents in our various strands Monday evening to discuss the projected course sequencing.  I would like to thank Mr. Kevin McCann, Mrs. Monica Santamaria, and Ms. Norma DeNoia for their efforts to support the evening.  We began our Battle of the Classes Monday, with Athlete versus Mathlete and $1 pie a teacher at lunch.    

I attended a Workshop on Performance Matters Tuesday morning to learn more about how we can access school data to improve student achievement.  Great stuff!  Our Raiders Helping Raiders held our EGGstravaganza activity throughout the day.  Mentors and Mentees helped to decorate eggs.  Our Attendance Committee held our monthly hearings and worked with students and parents on addressing excessive absences and lates to school.  Great job Mrs. Kristi Klem-Koskowski for all your efforts to support student needs.  Tuesday was Disney versus Marvel Day as part of our Battle of the Classes.  

We held Kevin’s Corner Wednesday morning.  Mr. McCann shared out with various staff members tips how climate and culture relate to Danielson Component 2b: Establishing a Culture for Learning.  Teachers were provided information on levels of performance, examples of behavior and strategies for improvement. The Workshop explored the differences between climate and culture and how they impact the educational environment.  Great job Mr. McCann!  I spent the day with Security Officer, Mr. Ed Kayler, providing further professional development on school safety during Conference periods.  We went into more detail defining how to respond in an active shooter scenario.  We asked our staff to evaluate their classroom setting to determine if they are able to better prepare their room for safety emergencies.  We also discussed holding healthy discussions with students on appropriate responsive behavior.  Our College and Career Connection Committee hosted a student workshop on Dressing for Success.  Special thanks to Mrs. Kaitlin Mahony for coordinating the workshop.  Students were provided with information on how to dress professionally for an interview, first impressions, interview tips, and resume tips.  Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday (mismatched, backwards, crazy hair, or inside out) as part of our Battle of the Classes.

We held our Spring Pep Rally Thursday morning.  The kids dressed in their respective colors and engaged in competitive games.  I always enjoy the smiles and level of effort from the kids supporting their classmates.  Special shout-out to our Dance Team for their impressive performance during the Pep Rally.  Great job to Mrs. Janine Hatton and Ms. Ashley Fitzgerald coordinating the event.  Mrs. Ann Millard held a workshop on how to start the college application process with our juniors Thursday in the Lecture Hall.  Great job Mrs. Millard.  

I held a Principal Joke of the Day Contest Thursday.  I provided a few throughout the day and students came down to the office to enter their joke into the contest.  We selected Mrs. Melissa Friedman’s joke as the winner.  (A farmer is milking a cow and sees a fly go into the cow’s ear.  A minute later, the fly ends up in the bucket of milk.  The farmer says, “In one ear, out the utter).  

Congratulations to Anthony Marinelli for being recognized as a Respectful Raider this week.  Anthony was kind enough to turn in a bag with money to the Main Office.  The bag was returned to the owner.  Thank you Anthony for being a positive reflection of our school community.

As part of our 180 Days of Excellence, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Mrs. Kaitlin Mahony for taking the time to organize our Dress for Success Workshop on Thursday.  The details are posted on the district website.  I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Mrs. Ann Millard for taking the time to further support our college application process by providing workshops to our juniors.  It is never too early to get a start.  

Congratulations to Mrs. Laura Morgan for being recognized as our Employee of the Week.  I chose Mrs. Morgan for her passion of her subject matter and committed to move her students forward.  I meet with Mrs. Morgan regularly to discuss educational trends and how we can improve student outcomes.  Mrs. Morgan is a lifelong learner, always looking to improve her trade.  Her recent literacy campaign is admirable.  Mrs. Morgan is seeking to improve student critical reading skills and love for the activity.  Great job Mrs. Morgan for being a positive reflection of our school community.

Ms. Fitzgerald’s 100 Things to do Before You Graduate

79.  Eat a slice of pizza with your friends at Charlie’s.

78.  Introduce yourself to a principal that does not know you.

77.  Be kind to a stranger.

76.  Eat an Otis cookie at lunch.

75.  Congratulate a friend on their college acceptance.

74.  Actually read a book that is assigned in class.

73.  Go to a sporting event you normally wouldn’t go to.

72.  Surprise a friend with a bagel or donut in the morning.

71.  Make Honor Roll.

70.  Go to Mr. TRE.

I will include 10 or so each week.  Thank you Ms. Kelly Fitzgerald for your list!

Freshman Academy/STEAM

We are holding our outdoor team activity with Peer Leaders Thursday during lunch, weather permitting!

Attendance Matters

Many Off-Track Freshmen Do Not Show Signs of Failure Before High School

Implications High school early warning systems are critical to keep most students from failing; the problem is not simply that they entered high school unprepared. While there are calls for early identification of dropouts in middle school, the change in context from elementary school to high school makes it difficult to predict exactly who will struggle in ninth grade, beyond the students with very high risk. Once students show signs of struggle in ninth grade—with absence from classes or low grades—they become at high risk of not graduating. One reason it is difficult to predict who will fail in high school based on their middle grade performance is that the probability of failure is strongly influenced by which high school a student attends. Whether a student is “ready” for high school depends not only on their academic performance in the middle grades but also on the context in to which they enter in ninth grade. Students with the same academic records in middle school have different high school outcomes depending on which high school they attend. Students are more likely to pass their ninth-grade classes in some high schools rather than in others; this is especially true for students with moderate GPAs (between a 1.0 and 3.0). For example, among students with moderate probability of being on-track  (50 to 75 percent)—based on their eighth grade GPAs, attendance, and test scores, actual on-track rates range from 31 percent at some high schools to 75 percent at others, after accounting for differences in which school they attended for the middle grades (i.e., middle school differences in GPAs).7  When students enter some high schools, their attendance and work effort drop considerably, while students at other high schools show much smaller declines in academic behaviors.8  University of Chicago CCSR’s 2014 report Free to Fail or On-Track to College: Why Grades Drop When Students Enter High School and What Adults Can Do About It (Rosenkranz, de la Torre, Stevens, and Allensworth) provides a description of the school factors that influence the decline in academic behaviors from eighth to ninth grade.

I will provide the rest of this article in next week’s newsletter.  The article was collected from the below address.


Character Counts

7 Leadership Qualities of Great Leaders

Here are the seven most identified attributes of great leaders and executives:

What Makes A Great Leader?

Great leaders find the balance between business foresight, performance, and character. They have vision, courage, integrity, humility and focus along with the ability to plan strategically and catalyze cooperation amongst their team.


“With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.” – Zig Ziglar

In every strategic planning session that I have conducted for large and small corporations, the first value that all the gathered executives agree upon for their company is integrity. They all agree on the importance of complete honesty in everything they do, both internally and externally.

The core of integrity is truthfulness.

Integrity requires that you always tell the truth, to all people, in every situation. Truthfulness is the foundation quality of the trust that is necessary for the success of any business.


Humility gets results. Larry Bossidy, the former CEO of Honeywell and author of the book Execution, explained why leadership characteristics, such as humility, make you a more effective leader:

“The more you can contain your ego, the more realistic you are about your problems. You learn how to listen, and admit that you don’t know all the answers. You exhibit the attitude that you can learn from anyone at any time. Your pride doesn’t get in the way of gathering the information you need to achieve the best results. It doesn’t keep you from sharing the credit that needs to be shared. Humility allows you to acknowledge your mistakes.” – Larry Bossidy

Great leaders are those who are strong and decisive but also humble.

Humility doesn’t mean that you’re weak or unsure of yourself. It means that you have the self-confidence and self-awareness to recognize the value of others without feeling threatened.

This is one of the rarer attributes – or traits – of good leaders because it requires containment of one’s ego.

It means that you are willing to admit you could be wrong, that you recognize you may not have all the answers. And it means that you give credit where credit is due – – which many people struggle to do.

I like to include information regarding the importance of positive behavior on personal outcomes.  The above article was collected from the below address.


Tips to Improve School Outcomes

I have included the below article as a method to encourage and support your child to read.  The article comes from a teacher’s perspective, but place yourself in the role of the teacher here.  

Reigniting a Passion for Reading

By Kaye Newton

Many students stop reading for pleasure by middle school. Here are some ways parent volunteers can help counteract that trend.

Research shows that reading for pleasure leads to success in school, the workplace, and life. It helps students empathize with their peers and reduces their stress levels.

Unfortunately, as children age, they read less. Parents and teachers report that kids read much less in middle and high school than they did in elementary school. Common Sense Media’s “Children, Teens, and Reading” 2014 research brief reflects this distressing trend:

Many parents recognize that reading is important and want to help reverse this decline. Middle school parents, in particular, are an untapped resource of classroom support. Many of them were active volunteers in their children’s elementary school and would welcome the opportunity to assist again in the classroom.

3 Ways Parent Volunteers Can Promote Reading

1. Communicate peer reading recommendations: Peer book recommendations are among the best ways to get adolescents reading. Twice a year, before winter and summer break, email the class and ask for a parent volunteer to come into the classroom to document student reading recommendations.

Each student and the teacher should say one or two things about their favorite young adult book. Students who don’t have any recommendations could suggest a book-based movie like Ready Player One or Wonder.

The parent volunteer takes notes, types up the list of recommended books, and sends it out to the class via email. The teacher can post the list in the Google Classroom, and if it’s posted in the physical classroom, students should take pictures of it with their phones—either way, they’ll always have a good book recommendation with them.

Schools can assign the reading of three or four free choice books over summer break. Research shows that kids need to be able to choose the books they read. Doing so enables them to explore authentic interests and become confident and enthusiastic readers.

In my experience, most parents welcome free choice summer reading assignments. They want their kids to avoid the summer slide and experience the life-enhancing benefits of reading.

2. Facilitate access to books: As elementary students, kids enjoy weekly visits to the school library to check out books. In middle school, library time vanishes—at many middle schools, students visit the library only once or twice a year to take standardized tests on the computers there.

Building a robust classroom library where kids can easily borrow books is an effective way to promote reading, and parent volunteers can help stock these libraries. Ask for one or two parents to step up and be your classroom library managers.

They can request book donations from the class parents via email, and reach out to parents of older students to ask that they donate a book or two that their kids enjoyed. If your school has a book fair, your parent volunteers can send out a wish list of books, including recent peer recommendations, that can be purchased at the book fair and donated to your class.

The classroom library manager can paste bookplate stickers in front of the books with a message like “Happy reading! Please return this book to Ms. Smith’s classroom library when you finish so another student can enjoy it.”

Teachers can also contact PTO leaders or the PTO library committee and request funds for building a classroom library. If the PTO doesn’t have the budget for books, it can make a request on a crowdfunding site like GoFundMe or DonorsChoose.

3. Show them why reading matters: Adolescents often wonder, “Why should I care about reading?” and “What’s in it for me?” PTO-sponsored speakers can address how literacy contributed to their success or helped them through a tough time.

PTOs can also sponsor visits from popular YA authors. If your school doesn’t have speaker assemblies due to cost, keep in mind that speaking fees are often negotiable, and such visits can be conducted by video chat, which can reduce the cost. And your PTO can look into state and federal programs such as Title I that contribute funds for author visits and motivational speakers. It’s worth exploring funding for author visits, which can really get kids excited about reading.

You can tailor the above to support your efforts at home with your child.  The above article was collected from the following address.



I ask that we continue to remind our children of the importance of coming to school every day with the intent of doing our best.  This mindset is so very important to creating a culture of excellence at East.  If we can develop this mindset, think how more productive we will become in terms of preparing our children for their future college and career endeavors.

This Week at East

We are holding mental health awareness workshops in health classes this week.  Mrs. Dawn Aulisi is hosting Attitudes in Reverse on Monday and Tuesday for all 9th grade health classes and Mind Your Mind for all 11th grade health classes on Thursday.  I will be meeting with lunch periods on Tuesday discussing the details of the PARCC testing which will begin on Monday the 16th.  We will be reviewing the topics on English classes the remainder of the week.  We will hold our monthly Faculty Meeting after school on Wednesday.  Our annual Mr. TRE contest will be held in the Student Center Friday evening.  The district is hosting an IDOL contest where the winner will perform as an opening act for Country singer, Jessie Chris Saturday evening.


April is Autism Awareness Month.  We will be conducting activities throughout the month in support of our East students!  The OCPGA is holding their 4th annual Spring College Kick-Off Fair on Wednesday, April 11th at 6:00 PM at the RWJ Barnabas Health Arena (Formerly the Pine Belt Arena).

If your child is interested in pursuing a career in the hospital setting as a healthcare or service professional, we are holding interviews for sophomore and junior students in May.  Limited positions are available.  Applicants must apply by May 1, 2018.  Applications are available in the Guidance Office.


April 16-18 – English 11

April 19-23 – English 10

April 24-26 – English 9

April 30-May 2 – Algebra II

May 3-7 – Geometry

May 8-10 – Algebra I


If you have an interest in joining the PTO and supporting our worthy causes, please email Mrs. Kim Platten at kimplatten24@gmail.com.  If interested in participating on our school gift auction scheduled in April, please reach out to Mrs. Platten.  


I would like to thank The Olive Garden for their continued support of High School East.  We have received several lunches in recognition of the efforts our staff make to support student achievement.  Thank you Olive Garden, we appreciate you!

Special thanks to our anonymous donors for our Raise Craze Fundraiser!  The donors purchased a 43” LCD Smart Television to auction off in support of our goal to promote positive school behavior!  Thank you!

I would like to thank Douglas and Mary Fantuzzi for their generous donation to our Robotics Club – Short Circuits.  Our Robotics Club growth is dependent upon the acquisition of funds from various community sponsors.  On behalf of Mrs. Suzanne Signorelli and Mr. Walt Patelunas, I would like to personally thank you for your support of our program.  

I would like to thank CBJ Farms for donating the shrubs/plants for the front entrance of our building for our beautification project.  CBJ Farms is located on 36 Newbold Lane in Chesterfield, New Jersey.  The phone number is (609) 291-9292.  

I would like to thank Chris Rampone for his continued support of our school’s educational incentives to improve school achievement.  Mr. Rampone has generously donated thousands of dollars in coupons to his Jersey Mike’s Subs establishments in Toms River.  Chris is committed to supporting our initiative to improve school achievement through positive school behavior and attendance.  Thank you Chris for all you are doing for East and our community.  We are currently providing student and faculty ‘meal deals’ for $6.99, which include a regular sub, chips, and a 22 ounce fountain drink for demonstrating excellence in education!  

I would like to thank Morano Tours for donating $300 to our school account in support of our attendance and character initiatives.  Thank you Bill Morano your generosity.  The funds will be used to purchase certificates, shirts, and other gifts during our monthly student drawings.  Check out his website, Moranotours.net or call to make a reservation at (732) 237-9977.  Bill was a former teacher at East and is personally connected to our community.

I would also like to thank our wonderful partner, Thompson Health Care, for providing the staff with breakfast on our first day of school.  Thompson Health Care has volunteered to provide food, speakers, and other school-related services in support of our school vision and mission.  Thompson Health Care provides chiropractic, sports rehabilitation, acupuncture, physical therapy, medical pain management and medical weight loss to their patients.


Mr. Thomas, Principal

We at High School East


Anchored in Integrity,

Devoted to Excellence,


Focused on results:

well educated and highly ethical graduates.