Lower Elementary

About

Serving students in grades K-3

The Lower Elementary School serves 480 children in grades K-3. The school focuses on providing every student with a strong academic foundation in math and language arts using integrated approaches that incorporate science, social studies and world languages.

Instructional Programs

Innovative Curriculum & Self-directed Learning

  • Structured and extensive instructional time to maximize the amount of instructional time provided in each content area. Including ninety minutes of Mathematics and ninety minutes of English Language Arts each school day, and one-hour core extension time built to provide teachers to review subject matter as a class or work.
  • Innovative curriculum focused on helping young children to develop the cognitive, social-emotional, self-regulatory, and foundational academic skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. The school uses Tools of the Mind as its main curriculum to give children the tools needed to take charge of their own learning.
  • Self-directed learning that focuses on having students create their own learning plan throughout the day through the use of classroom based independent activity centers and the motivation to work with “study buddies” in the classroom.
  • Immersing students in technology through regular class periods dedicated to teaching basic computer skills as well as early coding skills. All Kindergartners have access to IPads and to notebooks in grades 1-3

Principal's Message

Preparing Children to Thrive as Global Citizens

Welcome to the STEM Elementary School. As your principal, it is my pleasure to serve our learning community and ensure that our students are successful, safe and happy.

The STEM Elementary School campus serves 480 students in grades K-3. The academic focus of the school is on providing a strong foundation in math and language arts, integrated with the teaching of other core content areas such as Science, Social Studies and World Languages. Our school’s curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, and our school’s schedule is specifically tailored to maximize the amount of instructional time provided in each content area. Students receive ninety minutes of Mathematics and ninety minutes of English Language Arts each school day. In addition, students have one hour of core extension time built into their schedules to allow classroom teachers to review a subject matter as a class, or work individually with students that are struggling to master a specific skill.

To ensure that our students are immersed in STEM content areas, we offered the Tools of the Mind curriculum in the early grades to give children the necessary academic foundation to take charge of their own learning by allowing students to create their own learning plan throughout the day. The instructional day in our classroom is structured through a combination of activities that include teacher-led instruction combined with learning centers where students engage in independent activity.

We provide a variety of support services for our students to ensure that everyone is at the academic level needed to achieve proficiency and enjoy learning. On a regular basis, we provide support from a Reading Specialist, Occupational and Speech Language Therapy and ESL Support for our second language learners.

Every family in our school is very important to us, as we create a school community that will prepare children to thrive as global citizens and be successful in their school and college career.

Come and visit us!!

Jovita Veguilla

Faculty/Staff


Administration

  • Building Administration

Faculty

  • Kindergarten
  • First Grade
  • Second Grade
  • Third Grade
  • Special Services
  • Special Area Teachers (Arts, Music, Theater, Spanish & ESL)

Staff

  • Support Staff

Building Administration

Jovita Veguilla

Principal Grades K-3

856-614-5631jveguilla@leap.rutgers.edu

Tugba Hoguet

Assistant Principal/ESL & Dual-Language Supervisor

thoguet@leap.rutgers.edu

Scott Lunn

Assistant Principal

856-614-2095slunn@leap.rutgers.edu

Kindergarten

Helen Bennett

Kindergarten Teacher

habreu@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Angela Brown

Kindergarten Teacher

abrown@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Melissa Cloherty

Kindergarten Teacher

mcloherty@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Ashley Hudock

Kindergarten Teacher

ahudock@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Ciara Morris

Kindergarten Teacher Fellow

cmorris@leap.rutgers.edu

Emmy Maldonado

Kindergarten Teacher

emaldonado@leap.rutgers.edu

Greseida DeJesus

Instructional Assistant

gdejesus@leap.rutgers.edu

Mirtha Escalona

Instructional Assistant

mescalona@leap.rutgers.edu

Tonya McFadden

Instructional Assistant

tmcfadden@leap.rutgers.edu

Sarah Sabado

Instructional Assistant

ssabado@leap.rutgers.edu

Raven Vanderpuye

Instructional Assistant

rvanderpuye@leap.rutgers.edu

Joan Rodriguez

Instructional Assistant

jrodriguez@leap.rutgers.edu

First Grade

Stephanie Datiz

1st Grade Teacher

sdatiz@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Anna Elson

1st Grade Teacher

aelson@leap.rutgers.edu

Tiyana Hicks

1st Grade Teacher

thicks@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Heather Phillips

1st Grade Teacher

hphillips@leap.rutgers.edu

Claudia Schneider

1st Grade Teacher

cschneider@leap.rutgers.edu

Gretchen Timer

1st Grade Teacher

gtimer@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Valencia Sellers

1st Grade Teacher Fellow

vsellers@leap.rutgers.edu

Second Grade

Michelle Biggs

2nd Grade Teacher

mbiggs@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Amanda Carpenter

2nd Grade Teacher

acarpenter@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Catherine Clark

2nd Grade Teacher

cclark@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Justine Cuneo

2nd Grade Teacher

Jcuneo@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Amanda Gossenberger

2nd Grade Teacher

agossenberger@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Jennifer Johns

2nd Grade Teacher

jjohns@leap.rutgers.edu

Emily Manser

2nd Grade Teacher

emanser@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Chantelle Davis

2nd Grade Teacher Fellow

cdavis@leap.rutgers.edu

Quintessa Davis

2nd Grade Teacher Fellow

qdavis@leap.rutgers.edu

Third Grade

Nicole Jones

3rd Grade Teacher

njones@leap.rutgers.edu

Ashley Martinez

3rd Grade Teacher

amartinez@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Christine Meslar

3rd Grade Teacher

cmeslar@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Gabrielle Sebastian

3rd Grade Teacher

gsebastian@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Sandra Schwan

3rd Grade Teacher

sschwan@leap.rutgers.edu

George Tillman

3rd Grade Teacher Fellow

gtillman@leap.rutgers.edu

Special Services

Sarah Horneff

Special Education Teacher

shorneff@leap.rutgers.edu

Lora Shinault

Special Education Teacher

lshinault@leap.rutgers.edu

Marguerite Lyon

Reading Specialist

mlyon@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Nurcihan Allison

ESL Teacher

nallison@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Special Area Teachers (Arts, Music, Theater, Spanish & ESL)

Renee Coccia

Music Teacher

rcoccia@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Shannon Covington

Health/P.E. Teacher

scovinton@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Beth Goodman-Berkowitz

Technology Teacher

bgoodman@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Eric Mills

Theater Teacher

emills@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Jeffrey Phillips

Art Teacher

jphillips@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Lissel Vasilaskis

Spanish Teacher

lvasilaskis@leap.rutgers.eduWebsite

Support Staff

Maria Cruz

Director of Parent Engagement Center

856-614-5084mcruz@leap.rutgers.edu

Gina Torres

Office Manager

856-614-2088gtorres@leap.rutgers.edu

Nijita Rivera

School Nurse

856-614-2097nrivera@leap.rutgers.edu

Robert Hichliffe

Technology Specialist

rhinchliffe@leap.rutgers.edu

Stephanie Paduani Gomez

Teacher Fellow Family Support/College Access Associate

spaduanigomez@leap.rutgers.edu

Juan Rivera

Custodian

jrivera@leap.rutgers.edu

Jose Algarin

Custodian

Maria Irizarry

Custodian

Nutrition

View & Download Menus for Lower Elementary Students

Food is cooked daily in each school.  The staff works diligently to provide balanced and nutritious meals. Menus are available each week.

ESL Program

English as a Second Language (ESL) Program

LEAP Academy’s ESL Program aims to provide culturally and linguistically responsive education for all English language learners to ensure equitable access to opportunities that promote language acquisition, life long learning, and global citizenship.

Click here to learn more