2021/2022 Family Welcome Letter

Welcome Family Letter 2021/2022

Mr. Jeffrey Swiatowicz, Principal  

Ms. Monica Bermiss, Assistant Principal                                        

Ms. Shantel Brooks, Assistant Principal 

Dr. Harry Laub, Interim Assistant Principal 



August 26, 2021 

Dear John Jay Students and Families, 

I hope you are enjoying a wonderful summer. I also hope you are relaxed, recharged and ready to start a new school year.  

All signs point to another incredible and productive school year.  As we continue to work our way through this pandemic, the guidance, science, and trends continue to evolve. Thank you in advance for working with us on this adventure! 

As a school and as a district, we must continue to evolve with this ever-changing guidance. Our skilled and committed staff and faculty are already planning and preparing for your child(ren). Our enthusiastic office team is registering new families, ordering needed materials, and updating student files. Our hard-working and conscientious custodians have spent the entire summer thoroughly cleaning the facility. Our devoted teachers are preparing their classrooms for an optimal learning environment.  And our much-appreciated PTO is gearing up to welcome families, provide volunteer opportunities, and offer other exciting events and programs. We are indeed a joyous and caring community with the common goals of nurturing responsible, caring students and promoting high-level learning. 

At John Jay Middle School, we take tremendous pride in the strength of faculty, our educational programming, school operations, and school facility.  

Our priorities for reopening this year remain centered on two critical concepts: 

  • Protecting the physical and emotional well-being of our students and staff 
  • Upholding our mission to create learning experiences for all students that are engaging, relevant and take place in an active learning environment.  

At the August 19 Board of Education meeting, the Superintendent provided the community with a comprehensive presentation outlining KLSD’s plans for safely returning students to school. It can be accessed in its entirety at KLSD Return to School Plans 

In the letter that follows, you will see our best thinking as of the moment this letter is sent. We will continue to update you with more information as the year continues.  

This letter contains several important items, so please read all the information carefully and store it where you can reference it throughout the year. Please take time to read through the attached document outlining the procedures for student arrival and departure.   



Student Health: It is most important that you keep your child(ren) home if they are sick. The district will be sending regular reminders about the symptoms and reasons that would cause a child to stay home. In addition, please contact us immediately if you learn your child is COVID positive.  

Principal - 763-7502 

Jeff Swiatowicz,  jswiatowicz@klschools.org 

School Nurses: 763-7508 

Mary Mullaney   mmullaney@klschools.org  

Ellen Pappas epappas@klschools.org 



The updated ABC handbook is attached to this communication. We ask all students and parents to review the JJMS ABC Handbook prior to the start of school. Important information about daily school operations, academics, conduct expectations and more can be found in this document. Please take the time to read this important document together with your child.  

During the first days of school, students will review important parts of our Handbook with teachers or administrators.  

Important: You are also required to submit a signature form from the District Code of Conduct (one per student) to JJMS no later than the first day of school. This information was in the July mailing. 


The first day of school for all our students will be Thursday, September 9.  This day will be focused on orientation to our building, getting to know classmates and teachers, and understanding the expectations of the classes. More than anything, we really want students to rediscover their joy of learning and begin to make great connections with classmates and teachers as part of our larger JJMS community! 

We will send out more information about the First Day of School within the next few days. 



Over the next few days, you will be receiving several important pieces of communication from JJMS. One of the communications will provide a link to your child’s schedule and another link to an Information Card with important details. Please have your child bring a copy (printed or a screen shot) or write out this information and their schedule on the first day of school. 

Team letters will be sent in a separate communication home. 


NEW After School: Students need to make plans with their parents for after school.  Students may walk off campus at the end of the day without a note from the school. Once students leave campus, they are not permitted to return to campus for any reason unless accompanied by a parent. Students must attend an after-school activity to take a late bus home. (Please see Arrival and Dismissal information below for more details) 

At Home Space for Learning: Please help your child(ren) set up a school space at home. With what you know about your child, this can be in the child’s room, a common space at home, an office, etc. Wherever this space is, please make sure that it is free of distractions, especially a cellphone. 

Attendance: Attendance is taken each period of the day and marking students present or absent for each period. Regular attendance is the key to success for our middle school students. You may email JJMSAttendance@klschools.org for reasons your child is absent. 

Masks: It will be important for all JJMS community members that everyone always wears a mask which meets current CDC expectations and NY State regulations. Some exceptions to this are lunch, mask breaks, and when students are outside. Please know that this guidance will likely change throughout the year. We will communicate with you whenever a change is needed. 

Classroom Cleaning: Students will be asked to make sure that they are washing their hands regularly throughout the day. Hand sanitizer will also be provided by the school in classrooms around the building. Unlike last year, wipes will not be available in classrooms. 

Social Distancing: We expect all community members to follow social distancing as often as possible when on the JJMS campus. Our classrooms are all set up with all student seating at three feet or more in classrooms.  We have also created lanes in our hallways for traffic flow. Students will notice upon arriving at school, there are yellow marks on the sidewalks so that students can properly socially distance themselves when waiting to enter the building.  

Lunch: We will be eating outside, weather permitting, as often as possible. When we do need to eat inside, we will be setting up rotations for classes so that the cafeteria is at approximately ½ capacity. Students will be expected to clean up their own area after eating lunch. Tables will be cleaned by our custodial staff between groups.  

Devices: All students at JJMS will have a district-issued device this year. We ask that the chargers stay at home so that students can fully charge their devices each night. A properly charged device will be able to last the full day of school. We will, however, have a few charging cords in each room if students forget. 

Lockers: Students will be assigned lockers to start the school year.  Students will also have the option to carry their belongings in a backpack in addition to or in place of a locker.  



Throughout the year, any parents wishing to share a specific concern or meet with a teacher should first contact the classroom teacher directly and then, if necessary, grade level guidance counselor to address specific concerns. Teachers may be reached via email or voice message. You will receive a team letter which identifies how teachers prefer to be contacted. 

GUIDANCE COUNSELORS AT JJMS: 914-763-7509 or 914-763-7510 

Grade 6 counselor: AnnMarie MacSweeney   amacsweeney@klschools.org  

Grade 7 counselor: Jen Makover  jmakover@klschools.org   

Grade 8 counselor:   Jeff Tepper jTepper@klschools.org  


Please read the attached flyer from the Health Office carefully. You should have also received a Health Emergency Information Form in the July mailing. We cannot stress enough how important it is that every family return this form. Please be aware of the immunization requirements for your child. All students must receive the required vaccines and provide proof of those vaccinations to the Health Office before school begins. Your child will not be able to attend school unless their vaccines are up to date. 

6th Grade students need the Tdap and Varicella booster shots. Please know that every vaccine already on record with your child’s elementary school Health Office is FORWARDED to the JJMS Health Office. 

7th Grade students need a meningitis shot. Please call your pediatrician if you have any questions about your child’s immunization status.  


All students are required to wear a mask on school transportation.  

Drop Off: 

There is a seat for every student on our buses. You will be able to access your child’s transportation information through the “transportation” tab on the Parent Portal. Please check the information carefully and get to the bus stop early this year.  

If you are driving your child to school, please drop them off at the middle school in the upper parking lot. Please do not drop students off at the high school, the shopping center, or track and have them walk the rest of the way.  

Pick Up: 

At the end of the day, all students should leave school on the buses unless they are being picked up or they are walking home.  

Students who are being picked up at the end of the day should meet their parents in the upper parking lot. 

Students need to make plans with their parents for after school.  Students may walk off campus at the end of the day without a note. Once students leave campus, they are not permitted to return to campus for any reason unless accompanied by a parent. 


Students need to have a note from a parent or designated adult to leave the campus before the regular dismissal time. Students may drop this note off in the morning or parents may email a picture of a hand-written note to:  


Parents will be expected to sign their children out with the security greeter upon arriving at school. 


Look for information coming about exciting team-building field trips over the first month of school for each grade. If you have any financial hardships, please let your school counselor know and we will provide assistance so that all students can attend. 


  1. Keep your child’s “welcome” team letter in a safe place for the year. This will provide all important contact information for your child’s school year. These will be sent home soon. 
  2. Please refer to our school’s website for any important information.  You can find most of the important information on this page. JJMS Homepage  
  3. Consistently check our school calendar through Schoology (will be made public for parents soon) for the upcoming activities, days off, etc. 

PARENT VOLUNTEERS: Consistent with CDC guidance, KLSD will limit non-essential visitors inside our buildings when the year begins. In general, parents should assume they will not be entering our buildings. We will be making limited exceptions, however, as we recognize there are times when individuals or small groups of visitors can be essential. We will also look to accommodate visitors outdoors, when possible. Our visitor guidance may evolve through the year and particularly if/when conditions change. However, please click on this link if you would possibly like to volunteer later in the year or in future years: Become A Volunteer 


Middle school is an exciting part of your journey towards lifelong intellectual, social, behavioral and emotional development. We are fortunate to have you attend JJMS and hope that you invest yourself in your own success and that of your peers and wider John Jay Middle School community.  

Keep in mind, you are about to start a new school year with a new schedule of engaging courses taught by caringcompassionate, and thoughtful teachers. You will have many opportunities to explore new ideas, meet new friends, and achieve personal goals. Your teachers will be celebrating your successes and guiding you to grow and learn through your setbacks.  

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend and the remaining days of summer. We look forward to seeing you all in person on September 9th 

All the best! 

Jeffrey S. Swiatowicz 

Attached Communication: 

Upcoming Communication: 

  • Opening Day Information