Community Park PTO Newsletter - Issue 1 - Welcome (Back)!
Tue, Sep 22 4:27pm


  • Special Ed PTO Coffee Talk - Saturday, September 26, 9 a.m.
  • Yom Kippur (SCHOOLS CLOSED) - Monday, September 28
  • Hybrid Learning Q&A (K-1st) w/Principal Gruchacz - Wednesday, September 30, 9 a.m.
  • Hybrid Learning Q&A (2nd-5th) w/Principal Gruchacz - Thursday, October 8, 9 a.m.


Around School

  • Q&As on Hybrid Learning
  • Meet CP's New Garden Educator
  • Make Konstella Work for You

Your Support 

  • A Word About Fundraising & Volunteering This Year
  • Give to CP Without Spending an Extra Cent

Community Service

  • Las Manos Amigas: Be a CP Buddy

Around Town

  • SpEd PTO Coffee Talks
  • Meet (the 8!) Board of Education Candidates
  • Forum on Building Racially-Progressive Schools

Q&As on Hybrid Learning
K-1st, Wednesday, September 30, 9 a.m. 
2nd-5th, Thursday, October 8, 9 a.m.
Where: Zoom from Your Room (details sent separately)

CP Principal Dineen Gruchacz will hold two virtual Q&A sessions with parents ahead of the start of hybrid learning. The first will address Kindergarten through 1st grade, which are expected to move to hybrid learning on October 1. 

The second will address 2nd through 5th grades, which are slated to join them in hybrid on October 12. Both conversations will be recorded and shared via Konstella.


Meet CP's New Garden Educator 

Peter Wagner has joined CP as our new garden educator and has lots of plans for the fall: building new beds, weeding galore, and hanging with the turtles. Come visit the CP garden via his video tour! If you and your student(s) would like to volunteer in the garden, sign up here.


Make Konstella Work For You

In this year of virtual everything, the CP PTO will rely entirely on for all communication, including after school club info, calendar updates, fundraising activities, and volunteer opportunities. If you haven't already logged in to set up your account, please do.

We recommend your first action on Konstella should be to set your notifications so that they work best for you (fyi, the default setting is to be notified by text and email every time we drop a pin, which is inadvisable for most people's sanity). Check out our Konstella cheat sheet to see how to create your account, manage notifications, sign up for committees, and more.


A Word About Fundraising & Volunteering This Year
We all want the best for our kids. We want the best for our school. But we cannot get there without your help. We need hands and minds and money. 
The CP PTO board is currently operating with about half the number of usual volunteers. Many parents have moved on and, with the upheaval last spring, some fundamental roles, from grade representatives to fundraising and events coordinators, have not yet been filled.
We also face considerable needs this year: supporting teachers’ virtual and hybrid classrooms, addressing food insecurity in our community, and creating opportunities for socialization and enrichment for our students, whether virtual or in-person. If you can give time, thank you. If you can give money, thank you. If you can give both, thank you. We need it all to move forward this year.
Please consider sharing your time, talents, or resources with our school:
  • The Fall Flower Fundraiser is underway and ends Monday, September 28.
  • See the next news item for passive giving opportunities through AmazonSmile, McCaffrey's Food Market, and BoxTops.
  • Look out soon for our Direct Donations Drive.
Volunteering: Click on the job to sign up.
  • Room Parents and Grade Representatives - There are several room parent slots yet to be filled--especially in 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades. This is a fundamental role to support teachers and students right now.
  • Online Auction Co-Organizers - Solicit auction items from CP parents and community members and create a one-week online auction typically held in the fall.
  • Party Boards Co-Coordinators - Solicit party board hosts to hold parties this October & November.
  • Party Board Hosts - Host a virtual or outdoor, socially distance event in October or November for a small group of families or adults. The PTO has a number of party ideas to make it easy.
  • Halloween Parade Volunteers - CP is determining how to hold a safe, socially-distanced parade. Volunteers typically decorate the parade route. Stay tuned for details. 
  • Nomad Pizza Night Coordinator - Coordinate a single weeknight event with Nomad Pizza in Princeton where CP receives proceeds from any pick up orders by CP families.
  • Community Service Outreach Coordinator - CP has a rich tradition of community service outreach. The coordinator would work with community partners to create service opportunities for our students, such as the February food drive with Arm-in-Arm. 
  • Volunteers to Run/Assist Fall Clubs (Virtual and Outdoor/In-person) - CP has a robust clubs program and Clubs Coordinator Patty Kim Joseffer is pulling together many virtual and in-person (outdoor) clubs for this fall but we need more parents to lead them or assist with them to make it happen.
  • *New* Gardening Committee - Volunteer in the CP garden: weeding, harvesting vegetables, building new beds, and feeding the turtles. Easy, 50-minute shifts that your whole family can participate in.  
Give to CP Without Spending an Extra Cent
Did you know you can give money to CP without spending any additional dollars? Yes! You can raise money through your regular purchases from, the McCaffrey's Food Market at the Princeton Shopping Center, and Box Top items from any store. It's easy and costs you nothing extra! Please see details below....
Amazon Smile
Every time you shop on Amazon, the AmazonSmile Foundation will contribute 0.5 percent of eligible purchases to the CP PTO. Click here to get started.

You can also use AmazonSmile on your mobile app: Open the app and find "Settings" in the main menu (☰). Tap on "AmazonSmile" and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone.

McCaffrey's Receipts
  Remember to save your receipts when you shop at McCaffrey's Food Market in the Princeton Shopping Center. CP receives 0.95% from each receipt, which adds up quickly. Starting Monday, September 28, the McCaffrey's receipts drop box will be located outside CP's main entrance.


Box Tops

Redeeming Box Tops clips is easier than ever. No clipping! Just a quick scan and done. Here's how:

  • Download the Box Tops app to your phone.
  • Shop as you normally do.
  • Scan your store receipts to find participating products.
  • The app will automatically credit CP’s Box Tops earnings.

Las Manos Amigas*: Be a CP Buddy
If your student is new to CP, we have a buddy for them! And if your student wants to help a new friend, we have a buddy for them too. CP's Buddy program pairs new or incoming families with those of returning students who can be available to answer questions about CP and Princeton. If your family wishes to participate, please contact CP parent Jaclyn Fusaro at In your email, please include your child(ren)'s grade(s), and whether they are in the DLI or traditional program, and whether you're a new or returning family. You can also join the new CP Buddies social group on Konstella.
*Las Manos Amigas is a weekly community-oriented activity that parents may do with their student. 

Special Education PTO Coffee Talk Series is Back!
When: September 26, October 31, November 21, 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Where: Zoom from Your Room 

Coffee Talks are back starting September 26th! Join parents (on Zoom) from across the district for an informal conversation about topics of interest to families with students receiving special education services in Princeton. This will not be a formal presentation, but rather a parent-led group conversation. It's a great chance to meet other parents, ask questions, and share knowledge. All are welcome to join--for a few minutes, or the whole session!

Find more SpEd PTO updates and subscribe to the monthly newsletter here. Or contact Lynda Dodd, SpEd PTO Parent Liaison at CP, by private message on Konstella or at

Meet the (8!) Board of Education Candidates
Yes, eight candidates are running for three available seats on the Princeton Board of Education this year. Find out what each candidate proposes for our schools checking out their campaign information or tuning in to one of several planned forums:

Attend: Wednesday, September 30, 7:30-9 p.m. (Virtual) "Board of Education Candidates Forum" hosted by the Princeton League of Women Voters.

Attend: Thursday, October 8, 7:00-8:45 p.m. (Virtual) "Board of Education Candidates Night" hosted by the Special Education PTO. Focused on special education issues but open to all. 

Read/Watch: Check out campaign info and videos submitted by the candidates to the Princeton PTO Council.

Watch: Candidate Q&A Hosted by Princeton Progressive Action Group from Sunday, September 13 (Video).


Forum: Building and Sustaining Racially-Progressive Schools
When: Thursday, October 1, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom from Your Room (registration required)

"What does a racially-progressive school, in which all students, teachers, and staff feel that they are treated equitably, look like? Why is it so challenging to create and sustain such schools?" A panel of PPS students, alumni, parents, teachers, and administrators, including Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso, will wrestle with these questions in a virtual public forum.

This event was inspired by the New York Times podcast series "Nice White Parents," and is co-sponsored by Not in Our Town Princeton, PPS, Princeton Civil Rights Commission, Princeton Public Library, Princeton YWCA, Princeton Family YMCA, the Witherspoon Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, and the Witherspoon Jackson Neighborhood Association.


P.S. - We Hear You 

If you have feedback or suggestions regarding the newsletter, please message Nicole Pezold Hancock on Konstella or email  

For general thoughts regarding PTO activities or how parents can further help support CP, please contact Co-Presidents Manishi Prasad and Georgette Stern via Konstella or at and

Thanks for reading!