New school year, new principal

Parents visit Roosevelt school for open house

Hundreds of parents turned out for open house at the Roosevelt School on Sept. 30. They gathered to hear Alfred Orecchio, new principal at the school after Anthony D’Angelo’s retirement last year, talk about the coming school year. Parents packed the first floor of the auditorium and the balcony.
“This is my first open house,” said Orecchio. “I wanted it to be memorable. We started planning way before. We got the word out. We had a good turnout.”
Salma Rivera, 11, a sixth grader in Ms. Jimmerson’s class, was enthusiastic. “It’s exciting because we have a new principal and there are a lot of new things in our school.”


A high number of parents turned out for The Roosevelt School’s open house night.

“So far this year has been good,” said 12-year old Karen Gutierrez, a sixth grader in Ms. Juzdan’s class, who said her parents were interested in speaking with her teacher to find out more about the new responsibilities she will have this year.

Settling in

“I’m looking forward to getting settled down right now, and I keep reminding myself that it’s only the second week of school and I don’t need to rush,” said Orecchio. “Once I do that, I just look forward to getting into the classrooms, talking with the kids, watching my teachers teach, and learning from them.”
Orecchio was previously assistant principal at Weehawken High School for a few years. He said that the biggest difference between high school and the Roosevelt School apart from the kids’ ages was that in the high school, he was assistant principal and sometimes the disciplinarian. Many students were too shy to openly be themselves in front of him, while at the Roosevelt School, children are getting to know him and openly come up to him or wave hello.
“Discipline is all about relationships. You build good relationships with the kids and then they’ll listen to you,” he said. He added that he admired the legacy left by Anthony D’Angelo.
“Get involved. We need everybody,” said Orecchio when asked what message he would like to emphasize to parents this year. “We listen to them. It takes courage to stand and speak but it also takes courage to sit down and listen. I try to do that.”

State review coming up

This year the school, and the Weehawken School Board will undergo a review by the state Department of Education.
“Every portion of the school district is monitored, the curriculum, the finance, the facilities, governance, personnel,” said Superintendent Kevin McLellan. “We’re going to be reviewed by the state department, probably sometime in January, and then after that they will give us a report as to our stats.”
McLellan said the results will be presented to the Weehawken Board of Education. It will help the board to determine if the school district needs improvement and if they are meeting their goals and objectives.
McLellan noted that it was seven years since the last time the school and school board were monitored.
A new monitoring system will be used this time around. The name of the new system is called the New Jersey Quality School Assurance Continuum (NJ QSAC).
“We’ve always received high marks from the state Department of Education,” said McLellan.
“I’ve been very fortunate, because I have students who have a yearning and a desire to learn, I have parents that are very supportive of the learning process,” McLellan added. “I have a community that takes pride of their schools, and I have a mayor and council and school board that realize that quality education is probably one of the most important aspects in township government.”
“School is hard work, but it’s going to be fun. We’re going to have a fun year,” said Orecchio.
Melissa Rappaport may be reached at

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