Principal’s Corner

October 2018

Dear Academy Families,

Thank you for your patience and understanding as I “oopsed” in agreeing to have the general HSA meeting on a Wednesday, forgetting we do not have school/gym access on Wednesdays due to Catechists (CCD) classes. Our HSA executive board met late last night and agreed on the new date; Thursday, November 1st at 7:30 PM in the Gym. We hope that at least one parent from each of our families can attend. Please join us!

The days are becoming shorter and hopefully chillier as Academy students are filled with excitement, knowing Walk-a-thon is today! If you are able to volunteer for this event, it is greatly appreciated. It is the school’s 2nd largest fundraiser and we THANK Mr. Sterling for chairing it this year. Walk-a-thon will take place today, Friday, October 12th at 1:15 PM. If you are available to volunteer please show up today at the School Gym between 11-11:30. Please see Mr. Sterling for any questions.

As you drive onto our property, I am sure you have all seen that the garden project has been completed; creating a peaceful, and welcoming entrance area to our school. By the Spring students will be able to enjoy the space for prayer and classes. Thank you to all of our donors who made this possible and to Mr. Flood for chairing the committee. Funding for this project was accomplished entirely with private donations; no school funds were used.

Thank you for your continued support and sharing the good news of how amazing our school continues to be. We will be hosting our Fall Open House on Sunday, November 11th from 10 AM to 12:30 PM. If you would like to bring a friend, please do so.

Important Dates:
October 12th – Walkathon at 1:15PM
October 16th – Progress Reports Go Home
October 26th – No School For Students
October 31st – Halloween Parade 1:30 PM
November 1st – HSA Meeting 7:30 PM in the Gym
November 2nd – First Friday Mass 11 AM, Half Day 12:30 Dismissal
November 8th – Fall Pictures
November 9th – Family Fun Night, COOP Exam (8th Grade)
November 11th – Open House 10AM-12:30PM

Our Lady of Peace, pray for us.

Mr. Joel A. Castillo, EDS
Principal The Academy of Our Lady of Peace


September 2018

“Be Brave, Be Creative, Be Kind, Be Thankful, Be Happy…Be You.”

Dear Academy Families,

Welcome to the start of another great year at The Academy! We hope you had a relaxing summer with the opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends. Summer is a wonderful time to recharge your batteries for the upcoming school year.

The Academy faculty, staff and I are looking forward to working with you in the 2018-2019 school year. Together we will guide our students to achieve academic excellence in a faith-filled environment where students’ academic achievement and connection to God are second to none.
The Academy doors will open during its 65th anniversary year with many new enhancements for the students.

• Our main entrance has been upgraded with a security vestibule as well as small flashing lights all around the property. When these lights are on, it signals to outsiders that the school is under a lock-down situation; no visitors may gain access during this time.
• The outer property will showcase a face-lift with the parking lot being repaved and the main-entrance of the school being landscaped and converted into a peaceful oasis.
• A portion of the library has been converted into a Maker Space/STEAM room where students in grades 1-4 will have the opportunity to take part in innovative tasks beyond their homeroom space. Students will be able to explore, collaborate, build and learn without preassigned educational templates. Thank you to Mr. Cruz and Fr. Johan for helping us build this interesting space.
• The “SuperKids” K-2 literacy program will begin its final phase of rolling out the curricula to those three grade levels.
• More HP Chromebooks have been ordered for our students who utilize the Google Classroom environment and more will be added in the Fall using grant money from New Jersey’s Nonpublic Technology Initiative funding. In addition we will also have some Sphero Star Wars robot balls available in our Maker Space for our younger students. And there is now a Kindle Fire tablet stationed outside the main office for sign-in/out for the faculty, students, substitutes and volunteers. This will eliminate the need for paper.

Last week, you should have received a “Save the Date” email from Mrs. Mollo. As aforementioned, we are celebrating the school’s 65th Anniversary. Hence, on September 21st, 2018 from 7PM – 11PM at the Westin Hotel in Morristown we will have an Anniversary Gala (dinner and dancing) among friends to celebrate this momentous occasion. Invitations will be mailed shortly. We hope you can join us!

Date reminders:
• September 5th – First Day of School, K-8, 12:30 p.m. Dismissal
• September 6th – 12:30 p.m. Dismissal, Pre-K Orientation, PK 4 – 9-10 a.m., PK 3 – 10:30-11:30 a.m.
• September 7th – First Friday Mass, Buddy Reception, 12:30 p.m. Dismissal
• September 9th – Backpack Sunday, 12 p.m.
• September 10th – 1st Full Day, 1st Day for Pre-K
• September 17th – Back To School Night, 7 p.m.
• September 21st – Walkathon Pep Rally, 65th Anniversary

Looking forward to seeing you all in a few weeks. Have a blessed Labor Day holiday.

Our Lady of Peace, pray for us.

Mr. Joel A. Castillo, Ed.S Principal
The Academy of Our Lady of Peace

June 2018

“Summer is here…Live in the Sunshine of the Lord!”

Dear Academy Families,

Please join me in congratulating our 8th grade graduates as they count their final days as middle school students in The Academy corridors. We also cheer for our Kindergarten graduates as they transition from early childhood into elementary school. The 8th graders have received acceptances into Mount Saint Mary Academy, Union Catholic, Oratory Prep, Union County Magnet school, Academy of St. Elizabeth and Mother Seton High School. We wish all of our graduates continued success.

As we end one school year and begin the process of initiating the 2018-2019 school year, I would like to share with you some new features arriving for the students in the new school year:

  • 2nd grade will initiate a new literacy program with a deep focus on phonemic awareness.
  • Middle school homerooms will become advisories. This will entail having students in the MS in multi-grade groups, just for their advisory sections. The advisory model will assist in growing closer teacher/student relationships, develop leadership roles, and promote a more cooperative model where students gain self-confidence. There will be 5 advisory sections with Mr. Berger, Ms. Church, Mrs. Chapman, Mrs. Frith, and Sra. Birkmann. 8th grade advisory will remain intact with Mr. Berger as they have much to do in applying to high schools and preparing for the events during their final year as an Academy student.
  • Security is always a top priority at our school. The New Providence Police Department made a recommendation that the school make enhancements to our main entrance. Therefore, this summer we will be adding a “man trap” or secured clearance area to our vestibule entrance. This “trap” is essentially a small room designed to trap those who would enter a secure area of a facility and try to do harm.

A reminder that all H.S.A. volunteer hour fees are due to the school by June 7th. Your amount would be the equivalent of the # of uncompleted volunteer hours times $20.

A special THANK YOU to Mrs. Grimm as she retires from our school advisory board after serving for several years. Thank you for your continued dedication to The Academy’s success.

Lastly, I would like to say THANK YOU for choosing to be part of The Academy community. Our success is only possible through the efforts and dedication of our families, faculty and staff. It truly takes a village and what an amazing village we create. Have a blessed summer break and we will see you all in September.

Our Lady of Peace, pray for us.

Mr. Joel A. Castillo, Ed.S