• August 16, 2017

    Dear Parents and Guardians,

    I am excited to announce that the West Orange Public Schools will be relocating the preschool program from Kelly Elementary School to a new facility, The Life Christian Church, beginning September 6, 2017. On Friday, August 11, 2017, the West Orange Board of Education finalized a lease agreement with The Life Christian Church Board, which is located at 747 Northfield Avenue, West Orange.

    The name of the new preschool will be the Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center and our principal will be Ms. Connie Salimbeno. Betty Maddalena was our district’s Director of Student Support Services until her passing in 2011. As an educator for over 30 years, she began her career in West Orange as a teacher, advancing to Coordinator, then Supervisor, and ultimately Director. She was the first to receive the prestigious Educator Medal of Honor Award in 2006 from Governor Jon Corzine and Commissioner of Education Lucille Davy. She was always a true advocate for all of our children and extremely well respected by her peers. The Board of Education wished to honor her legacy by naming the new preschool in her memory.

    I hope you will be able to join us on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 from 7:00pm-8:30pm for an Open House at the new facility. During the Open House, there will be a brief meeting discussing the preschool program and a tour of the classrooms and the related service rooms. A question and answer session will follow the tour.

    Directions to the Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center:

    • Turn onto Vizcaya Blvd off of Northfield Avenue across from the Jewish Community Center (JCC). Go up the hill and make the first left. This will be the front of The Life Christian Church. Please enter through the front doors. District personnel will be available to assist you.

    Below are a few items for clarification prior to the Open House.

    • The Executive County Superintendent and New Jersey Department of Education have approved the use of this facility for the West Orange Public Schools.
    • All religious materials located where the students will be learning or walking will be covered when school is in session.
    • The majority of the preschool personnel will be transferring from Kelly Elementary School. This facility will be staffed by teachers, related services providers, paraprofessionals, principal, administrative assistant, nurse, custodian, and lunch aides.
    • The start and end times for the morning, afternoon and full time school day will be the same as last year. (Full day is 8:45-3:15, Morning (AM) is 8:45-11:23, and afternoon (PM) is 12:10-3:23)
    • All instructional materials used at Kelly Elementary School will be used at the Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center.
    • The security plan will include all doors locked with only the West Orange staff having access cards for entry. Cameras will monitor all exterior doors. Only one door will be used for parent/guardian access as it will be monitored while school is in session.
    • The safety plan will follow district protocol and align with the other schools in the district.
    • For those preschoolers eligible for busing, the bus passes and notification will be mailed on Thursday, August 24, 2017.

    If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Salimbeno at (csalimbeno@westorangeschools.org (973-669-5400 extension 20530), or me at jrutzky@westorangeschools.org (973-669-5400 extension 20512). Please copy Ms. Hughes on the email at ehughes@westorangeschools.org.

    Please know that Dr. Pollara, Kelly Elementary School Principal, will be assisting during the transition. Dr. Pollara was the principal of the preschool, while at Kelly Elementary School, and is committed to the continued success of the program.

    On behalf of the Board of Education and the personnel who will be working with your children, we would like to welcome our new preschool families and welcome back the families with children who attended the preschool program last year. It is going to be a wonderful year.

    Again, I hope you will be able to join us on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 7:00pm for the Open House. In the event you are unable to attend the Open House, please feel free to contact Ms. Salimbeno to schedule a visit prior to school opening.


    Jeffrey Rutzky
    Superintendent of Schools