“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,

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.

I met with Mrs. Joy Forrest, our District Supervisor for Special Education, on Monday morning to discuss the growth and development of our Autism and Life Skills Academies.  We are looking to build upon our existing structure to provide an engaging, relevant, and rigorous program to support student success in life beyond our walls.  I met with Guidance Director, Mrs. Monica Santamaria, to discuss the upcoming PARCC and coordinated the logistics of providing an effective testing environment.  This will be our 4th year implementing the test and feel that we have a good system in place at this time.  We recognized Ms. Marissa Regad’s Homeroom as part of our ‘Got Attendance’ initiative this month.  Ms. Regard’s students will receive a bagel and donut breakfast for winning the ‘game’ over the course of the month.  The objective was to bring about awareness to the importance of positive school attendance to student achievement.  

On Tuesday, we sent students and staff to the Renaissance Workshop in Edison, New Jersey to bring back ideas how to improve school climate and how to be better leaders and people.  Our group listened to speakers and participated in several activities aimed at supporting a positive school environment.  We plan on taking the lessons learned during this invaluable experience to better promote positive student-student relationships at East.  The ultimate goal is to create an academic environment where students feel included, welcomed, safe, and valued.  The group will be meeting next Tuesday to develop methods to move our building forward.  


We held our district professional development day on Wednesday.  Staff members from around the district attended an assortment of workshops aimed at improving student achievement.  We hosted the Physical Education, History, Math, and English Departments during the day.  

We woke up to an inclement weather delay Thursday morning.  I will admit, I enjoyed the few extra minutes of sleep.  Our STEAM Committee met Thursday morning to finalize our course sequencing for the three strands.  We will organize parent meetings to discuss the program within the next week or two.  Our administrative team met with our new hires after school Thursday afternoon to review important school procedures.  Mrs. Erin Anders conducted the meeting and provided staff with tips how to best resolve various student and parent issues.  We addressed staff questions and felt the meeting to be extremely productive.

Friday was New Jersey Makers Day, a statewide celebration of “making” and hands-on learning experiences.  Various students within the technical courses were invited to participate in the event.  The Ocean County Teen Services Librarians conducted an “Escape Room” problem solving activity and our Robotics Team provided demonstrations from our First Tech Challenge Robot.  Visitors were also provided opportunities to become familiar with Arduino electronic circuits, Finch Robots, Sphero Robots, and some hands-on puzzles to problem solve.  Special thanks to Mrs. Suzanne Signorelli for organizing the event.  I met with district administrators Friday afternoon to discuss how we are going to support and manage the March 14th Student Walkout Day.  

Congratulations to Mr. Jacob McCartney (Trainer Jake) for being named our Employee of the Week.  We hired Mr. McCartney approximately two years ago and have been more than pleased with his professionalism and commitment to helping others.  More importantly, we appreciate his personal connections to our student-athletes and staff.  Mr. McCartney brings a positive attitude to work each day and appears to thoroughly enjoy what he is doing.  I appreciate seeing him at all of the games (even when he does not have to go) in support of our teams.  The kids love him and he has been a tremendous addition to the staff!  Thank you Mr. McCartney for all you do and 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. Katie Koenigstein, Mrs. Janine Hatton, Ms. Nicole Foy, and Mrs. Erin Calicchio, and Mrs. Erin Anders for volunteering to organize our Renaissance school field trip on Tuesday.  Your commitment to improving our school culture through positive student-student relationships is commendable.  You are all people of character and role models for our students.  I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of our new assistant principal, Mrs. Erin Anders, for taking it upon herself to organize a new teacher support workshop.  Mrs. Anders is a problem solver and gathered feedback from our new teachers and organized a workshop to address/support a better understanding how to address various school-related issues.  I observed the workshop and felt it to be extremely productive.

Congratulations to Ms. Nicole Foy for being recognized as a Teacher Who Rocks by 100.1 WJRZ on Friday.  Ms. Foy was nominated by a colleague for her dedication to children.  She gives up her personal time during lunch periods to keep kids up to speed.  She works very hard on her lessons and she has incredible patience.  Ms. Foy is such an underappreciated staff member.  She does so many things very well, building relationships with her students, providing effective instructional strategies aimed at meeting individual needs, and adding value to the overall well-being of our school through RHR and the Behavior Committee.  Ms. Foy’s story was heard over the radio Friday morning.  Great job Ms. Foy for being such a positive reflection of our school community.  

Congratulations to January Seniors of the Month, Joey Gamboa and Madeline Higgins.  Joey is a scholar athlete who also finds time to be part of the Military Club, National Honor Society and T.E.A.M.  His teachers describe him as a mature, compassionate and diligent student who sets the example for the rest of his classmates.  He finds himself in many leadership roles including being the senior class president and integral member of the wrestling and soccer teams.  Medeline is described by her teachers as well-rounded and conscientious.  She is able to balance her rigorous academic schedule effectively by remaining in the top 5% of her class.  She is involved in the Math League, Academic Challenge, International Thespian Honor Society, Environmental Club, Photography Club, T.E.A.M., Ambassadors, National Honor Society and the school play.  She is also very kind!  Thank you Joey and Madeline for being such positive reflections of our school community.

I would also like to congratulate our February Seniors of the Month, Skylar Mahaffey and Alexander Waldron.  Skylar is described by her teachers as a decision maker, quick thinker, detailed-oriented and vibrant personality.  She is in the top 20 of her class and an active member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Peer Leadership, East Ambassadors and Interact Club.  She has established leadership positions on both the field hockey and softball teams and has been an integral member of the team all four years at East.  She finds time to volunteer with various community organizations and makes a big impact in and out of our school setting.  Alex is listed in the top 10% of his senior class.  He embodies the true meaning of the word ‘student-athlete’.  He excels in academia, ice hockey and baseball.  Alex has a rigorous schedule and earned an ‘A’ or ‘A+’ in all of his courses his junior year.  He is an impressive math student who scored a perfect 800 on the SATs.  He was the co-organizer of our schools Great SAT Race last month.  He is an active member of the National Honor Society, Interact, Key and History Clubs.  He is described by his guidance counselor as a resourceful student.  Thank you Skylar and Alex for being positive reflections of our school community.

Did you Know?


Freshmen Academy/STEAM

We received our 3D printers in our Makerspace room.  We demonstrated the capability of the printers by creating a statue of a cat.  I look forward to our students getting the invaluable experience of working with the new technology.

We completed our STEAM meetings to discuss the course sequencing and will be presenting to our parents.  Our STEAM students will be participating in an engineering career day on the 14th through a trip to Rutgers University.  We will be awarding our February students of the month this week.

Attendance Matters

Congratulations to Ms. Marissa Regad for winning the ‘Got Attendance’ game for the month of February.  Ms. Regad’s Homeroom will be awarded a bagel and donut breakfast!    

The below is the completion of last week’s article.

Attendance and GPA are Critical Indicators


High school staff do not need to wait until students are failing ninth-grade classes to intervene. They can use eighth-grade GPA and attendance to create a simple indicator system to identify students who are at risk of failing classes in high school even before they enter ninth grade. Many potential indicators are correlated with high school outcomes, but it is not necessary or efficient to track all of them. Grades and attendance are the most accurate indicators to use for setting coursework goals for students and identifying students who need intervention for staying on-track to graduate.  Currently, many high schools use test scores to identify students who will need support to pass Algebra or English I, providing double-period classes or tutors. However, prior grades and attendance provide a much better indication than test scores of who is likely to struggle.  If only students who have low test scores receive support, high schools many miss many students who are at risk of failure. To get more students on the path to college readiness, high school practitioners  can also use eighth-grade GPA and attendance data to identify students’ risk for earning less than As and Bs  in high school.


Evaluating our attendance data for February, we observed an increase in the daily average absences and lates by 3.6 and 3.8, respectively compared to February 2017 data.  We also noted a 0.1% reduction in the overall daily attendance rate.  Approximately 860 total students were absent at least one day in February compared to 794 total students last year for the month of February.  Seniors continue to be our most problematic group and Mondays and Fridays continue to be our most problematic days.  We did note a significant reduction in the overall number of class cuts compared to last February.  Our monthly school-wide daily average attendance rate was 92.3%.  We observed approximately 529 students with perfect attendance for the month of February.  We will continue our diligent efforts to bring about the awareness of positive school attendance to personal success through our committee initiatives.  

Character Counts

Our March Character Pillar is Citizenship.  Students and staff will be participating in various activities in support of the Parkland, Florida community and Woman in History Month.  Students will brainstorm on ways to make our community and school a safer place and to evaluate the methods to bring about suffrage for women to create a better community today.  I appreciate the quality of effort and lessons designed by our Behavior Committee to support our school character initiative.  Thank you to all involved.

Evaluating our February data, we addressed approximately 246 incidents which required some form of discipline.  Our seniors accounted for approximately 33% of the referrals, and our sophomores followed with approximately 31%.  Our attendance (tardiness) tends to be our school’s biggest issue of concern regarding school policy, followed by class cuts, insubordination and disruptive behavior.  These are the issues which we focus on addressing through our various Behavior Committee and Character initiatives.  The following is a percentage breakdown of the behavior types for February:  Cell phones (2.8%), cuts (22.3%), cutting detention (2%), disruptive behavior (11.8%), drug policy (0.8%), HIB (0.4%), inappropriate behavior (0.8%), inappropriate language (0.8%), insubordination (12.6%), lates to school (35.4%), late to class (0.8%), vaping (2.4%), and school policy (5.7%).    

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.  I will include the rest of the article in next week’s newsletter.  

A Taste of Honey and Other Ways to Encourage Recreational Reading in Reluctant Readers

By Jill Jenkins

Get the Help of Parents

In my classroom, I always provided my students with ten minutes each day of silent sustained reading and I told them each day that it is their favorite part of the day. Repeating this every day can help them really believe that reading is an enjoyable activity, but ten minutes a day isn't long enough to make much of difference in a child's reading skill. Since the Common Core Curriculum is packed with learning objectives, spending more class time seems unreasonable. Teaching a novel every quarter is also not enough reading to increase reading skills, so it is imperative to engage the help of parents.

What do you do about the student who comes to class unprepared every day? For those students who never bring a book to class, with my own money, I bought subscriptions to a variety of magazines that were both age appropriate and interesting. Because they arrived unprepared, I did not give them full credit for the activity. Soon all the students had a book to read in class.  I required that my students read two hours a week or about 20 minutes a night. Some of my friends required one hour five nights a week. I encouraged my students to read longer by offering extra credit for reading four hours a week. Each student was given a reading chart that needed to be completed and signed by the parent or guardian and returned in one week. Honestly, I got this form from my daughter's 7th grade English teacher and adapted it for my classes. This is it:

Reading Record



Date Due:


Book Title:


Date, Min, Initial # of Pgs:

Fri 11/1:

Sat 11/2:

Sun 11/3:

Mon 11/4:

Tues 11/5:

Wed 11/6:

Thur 11/7:


*Note incomplete reading logs will not be accepted.

My son/daughter has read the book named above (not just watched the movie—if there is one).


Parent Signature



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

Business as usual.


This week the juniors will continue to have the opportunity to speak with their guidance counselors regarding their 2018-2019 schedule.  Students will be brought to the guidance office by their History teacher during assigned periods.  Courses must be requested via the parent portal.  Ocean County College has created an orientation/registration program for current seniors. This program includes a visit at High School East from an Ocean County College Representative who will walk you through the application and then if needed you would sit for the Accuplacer placement test.  A few weeks later you will be bussed to OCC for an orientation and OCC will provide lunch!  See your counselor for more information.  The next junior college workshop is on Wednesday, March 28th. The topic will be "College: Where to begin". Sign up in Guidance.  The registration deadline for the May 5th SAT is 4/6/18. Register at www.collegeboard.org.  Volunteer hours need to be submitted every month.  Please drop off your community service card in Guidance.  New scholarships are available on the HSE Guidance website. Check out the multitude of new scholarships recently added!


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.  Our next meeting will be held at HSE on the 13th at 6:00 PM in the Main Office Conference Room.


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.