By participating in our program children will develop a strong foundation for catholic values, school readiness and academic success in a developmentally-appropriate program.
Our goal is for children to gain independence, facilitate a confident attitude toward themselves as well as their peers and an eagerness to learn in each of the following domains: approaches to learning, physical development and health, social and emotional development, communication, language, and literacy, and cognition and knowledge of the world.
These five domain areas combined with an array of fun activities initiated through play will enhance early literacy, and pre-math and science skills in a safe and nurturing environment. Our program challenges and empowers preschoolers to learn and achieve!


The Most Rewarding Year.....

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Navigating the past school year was nothing short of a Herculean effort for school administrators tasked with keeping their students safe and parents well-informed as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continued to impact nearly every aspect of daily life in Staten Island schools.
For Lawrence Hansen, the principal of St. Joseph Hill Academy Elementary School in Arrochar, the task was tall, but the payoff as rewarding as he’s ever experienced in his two-plus decades working in schools.
“The past school year was challenging, but I can honestly say that in over 20 years of being an educator, it was probably the most rewarding year that I have had,” Hansen said. “Seeing our teachers, our faculty and staff, the kids, the parents, seeing them all pull together to make the school year successful, I was in awe.”
From cohorts and quarantines, to mask usage and hybrid learning, there was no shortage of moving parts for Hansen to juggle as he strived to make his students as comfortable as possible and keep their parents appraised of the policies and procedures being implemented to assure their safety.
“I knew coming into the school year in September 2020 that I had to make it something that was worthwhile for them and that made them want to come here, and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from doing that,” said Hansen.
Among the biggest challenges for Hansen was making sure that parents knew what to expect throughout the school year, as the ever-changing pandemic resulted in a constantly shifting set of circumstances for the school.
“One of the major challenges was, obviously, the communication, and making sure that everybody knew what our plan was and making sure that our plans were put out to the entire school community to make sure everyone was aware of what was going on,” said Hansen.
To help keep families and faculty members appraised on the state of the school, Hansen sent out weekly newsletters on Sundays that provided an overview of what to expect in the coming week.
“Every Friday I would sit down and start a lengthy newsletter to let the parents know, this is what’s going to happen, this is what we did last week, this is what was successful, these are some of the challenges we faced and this is what we’ll do next week,” Hansen said.
“Once we got into the swing of things the communication became pretty commonplace. Everyone knew to look on Sunday night, that this would be coming out and that this is what to expect,” he added.
“One of the major challenges was, obviously, the communication, and making sure that everybody knew what our plan was and making sure that our plans were put out to the entire school community to make sure everyone was aware of what was going on,” said Hansen.
Implementing and enforcing the various policies and procedures needed to abide by the necessary health and safety guidelines for the past school year was a challenge for Hansen, but he said the efforts by the members of the school community made it all possible.
“If it weren’t for the support of the parents, the hard work of my teachers who, every day, wore those masks and made sure the students were safe and had what they need, and if it weren’t for those kids who were so willing to adapt, none of this would have gotten done,” Hansen said.
Among the main concerns was whether the students would be able to wear a mask all day while in the school building. Surprisingly, the younger students didn’t have as much of an issue with it as Hansen initially anticipated.
“Believe it or not, it was less of an issue for the lower grades, for our pre-K and our kindergarten students. They were very comfortable wearing the mask,” Hansen said. “I think that came from the fact that a lot of their parents wanted them to be in school ... so they practiced with them. They told them what could happen if they didn’t wear the mask.”
Other issues arose when certain cohorts of students were required to quarantine following a positive coronavirus case, forcing the administration to come up with a safe way to ensure that students had all the necessary resources to transition to temporary remote learning.
“Coordinating quarantines was difficult. We had to set up assembly lines outside of the building and have parents come pick up whatever materials and books the students needed,” said Hansen.
Providing synchronous learning to all in-school and remote cohorts also proved to be a complicated endeavor, but the spaciousness of the school and flexibility of the teachers allowed things to run smoothly.
For example, the fifth-grade class consisted of four cohorts; three in-school and one remote. Two of the cohorts, each made up of 15 students, were in classrooms with a teacher. The third in-school cohort, made up of about 20 students, was annexed into the school’s gymnasium, where students would receive synchronous live-streamed instruction from the teachers in the classrooms. These three in-school cohorts would rotate on a weekly basis, with the remote cohort also receiving the same live-streamed instruction as those in the gymnasium.
“Those teachers were teaching to four different locations at one time and they did an amazing job with that,” Hansen said. “The students really stuck it out and they didn’t complain, the parents didn’t complain. Everyone really pulled together.”
“One of the other biggest challenges was the students not having all the other things that come with a normal school year, like school dances and school trips and recess,” said Hansen. “A lot of that was very difficult for them, so we found ways to make the school year a little bit more exciting for them.”
In addition to ensuring the health and safety of the school community, Hansen said it was incredibly important for him to do as much as possible to make students feel as though it was a normal school year.
“One of the other biggest challenges was the students not having all the other things that come with a normal school year, like school dances and school trips and recess,” said Hansen. “A lot of that was very difficult for them, so we found ways to make the school year a little bit more exciting for them.”
To help facilitate feelings of normalcy, the school hosted various themed days each month, like “Crazy Hat Day” or “Star Wars Day,” giving students an opportunity to dress up and have fun like they would during a pre-pandemic school year.
Students were also taken for walks across the campus throughout the day, granting them the chance to get some fresh air and interact with their peers in a non-classroom environment.
“They really appreciated that, and I think those little things did a tremendous amount for their social and emotional needs,” Hansen said.
Hansen said he hopes to take the lessons he learned during the past school year and apply them moving forward, with the coronavirus pandemic ongoing and poised to play a major role once again during the upcoming year.
It wasn’t just the students and parents Hansen was worried about, but also making sure that the school’s faculty members were well-supported, both personally and professionally, during the challenging school year.
“In my mind I had a plan, and it was a great plan, but they were the ones that actually had to put it into practice, so getting the feedback from them and making sure that I took what their needs were into consideration was important,” he said.
To make teachers’ lives more comfortable, Hansen gave them additional dress-down days, encouraged them to make full use of their breaks and often bought coffee and lunch to boost morale.
“Making sure that they had time during the day to decompress was key. We made sure that every teacher had a full hour for lunch. We made sure every teacher had a break during the day,” Hansen said. “That really allowed them an opportunity to get out of their heads for a little bit.”
“I think it really just came down to listening to what their needs were, as far as their personal needs and professional needs, to make sure that they had whatever they needed to make it a successful year for their students,” he added.
Hansen said he hopes to take the lessons he learned during the past school year and apply them moving forward, with the coronavirus pandemic ongoing and poised to play a major role once again during the upcoming year.
“We hope to make it even better than it was this year,” Hansen said. “Now that we have a year of blended learning, I think we’ve learned so much.”
“All the events that happened last year only made this year’s planning that much easier, and I’m looking forward to a very successful school year,” he added.
These include: the teachers who taught our youth both remotely and on campus; the paraprofessionals who offered much-needed support; the principals and assistant principals who served as outstanding leaders; the custodians who kept schools healthy and clean, and the food-service workers who made sure our community was not hungry.
Connect with the SJHA Elementary School on Facebook and Instagram!

Monthly supply list

2021-2022 SUPPLIES 

Please send in supplies in the following months: supplies are not needed on the first day of school.

September:  Christopher Avitable, Giulia Casella, Carter Pitcheralle

October: Matthew Cataldo, Dean Coccaro, Santino Tristani

November: Hazel Gallagher, Giselle Guirguis

December:  Riley Jackson, Drew Kasler

January: Ryan Keenan, Ella Lekperic

February:  Olivia Macca, Era Merkalu

March: TBD

April: TBD

May: TBD


Dear Parents:
Welcome to the St. Joseph Hill Academy Pre-Kindergarten 4-year-old program. We are looking
forward to a fun-filled, exciting year for your children. Here is some general information that
will be helpful to you this year. Please note that all items discussed below will be within the
guidelines of SJHA School Implementation Plan, policies, and procedures.
Class Assignment:
We will send an email with your child’s class assignment. As per administration's policy, no
changes will be made.
Meet the Teacher Night:
We will hold a Meet the Teacher night on September 8, 2021, at 6:30 PM. Location will be in
the Pre-K building. You will receive a separate email with more information regarding this
The children will be learning many new and exciting things this year. Some of the learning
activities will be socialization and communication skills. Academic skills will focus on Math,
Phonics, Early Literacy, and Religion. We will have Creative Arts, Music and Movement
activities. Your children will participate in group projects, discussions, and many learning
games. We will have centers. We will also learn the alphabet, the sounds, and the numbers
through various types of experiences and the Letter People Preschool Program. Most importantly
the children will learn to socialize and be a part of the group. They will learn to take turns, and
share and work cooperatively together. All activities will be socially distant and within the
guidelines of SJHA school plan, policies and procedures.
We will have two transition days for Pre-K. Thursday , September 9 th
from 8:30-10:30 AM and
Friday, September 10th
from 8:30-10:30 AM. Your teacher will notify you by email which
session your child will be attending. Please send a snack and a drink in a brown paper bag for the
transition days with their name on it.
The first full day of school for PreK-4: Monday, September 13, 2021 (unless you are a three-day
scheduled student, then you attend school on the first day of your scheduled days). Children
should come to school in their uniform; they also need a backpack (any color). Your child should
be able to open and close it themselves and it must be big enough to hold many items including a
large folder 9X12. We will ask for an emergency contact number and send home an emergency
card to be returned the next day. Please let us know who will be picking your child up at
dismissal. All children are to be dropped off at the Pre-K building at 8:00 AM sharp! Pre-K 4-1
Mrs. Kelly’s class will enter downstairs as well as Pre-K 4-3 Ms. Donato’s class.  Pre-K 4-2 Mrs.
Gregor’s class will enter in the front of the building. The Pre-K building is easy to access from
Columbia Avenue. Please park in the Upper Landis Ave. lot, which you can access by making a
left onto Chicago Ave. and then making a right into the parking lot. All students should arrive by
8:00 AM.
Lateness: Your child is expected to be in school by 8:00 AM SHARP! Latenesses will be
All children are to be picked up at the Pre-K building. If someone other than the parents will be
picking up your child, a note must be sent prior to dismissal. There will be exceptions made in
case of emergency. The children are dismissed at 2:00 PM on full days and 11:00 AM on half
days; side door downstairs for Pre-K 4-1, Pre- K 4-3 and front door for Pre-K 4-2. Please be on
time for dismissal.
Absences and Sickness:
If your child is absent from school an absent note is required. Please send the note the next day.
If your child vomits or has a fever, please keep them home until they are fever free for 24 hours.
We try to keep a germ-free environment because with early learners come lots of germs!! If your
child gets sick in school we will call you to come pick them up.
COVID Protocol: This information will be updated as soon as we have any information. Please
look at IRIS alerts as this will contain more information.
Messages and Notices:
All notes that need to be sent home will be sent via the blue SJHA folder or other folder sent
home by your child’s teacher. All correspondence with the teacher will be through this folder.
However, we are always available at arrival and dismissal if you would like to speak to us. The
folder is to be sent to school every day. Please check it every night. We can be reached via
voicemail throughout the day at the following extensions:
Mrs. Kelly - Prek4-1- 1-718-981-1187 Ext. 9502 - [email protected]
Mrs. Gregor – Prek4-2 - 1-718-981-1187 Ext. 9503 - [email protected]
Ms. Donato - Prek4-3- 1-718-981-1187 Ext. 9510 - [email protected]
We check our phone messages at least 3 times a day. If it is an emergency you can contact the
general office and they will get us ASAP. The number is: 1 (718) 981-1187 Ext. 9136. We find
one of the best ways to communicate with us is by email. Please provide us with an e-mail
address that you check on a regular basis. We always check our email throughout the day.
Uniforms: (PRE-K four-year olds)
Your child is expected to be in uniform every day. The blue SJHA sweatpants with the school
golf (polo) shirt under the blue SJHA sweatshirt is the winter uniform. In the warmer weather the
children are permitted to wear blue gym shorts with the SJHA golf (polo) shirt. The SJHA fleece
jacket is an optional item. White Velcro sneakers must be worn every day. Please buy plain
sneakers; no sequins or lights.
Snacks and Lunch:
All children must have a snack with a drink and their lunch (including a drink). Please do not
send in sippy cups, thermoses, glass bottles, super size large drink/water bottles. Plastic small
bottles of water are the best. Try not to send canned snacks that are hard to open, food that needs
to be heated, soda, candy or popcorn. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Lunch
boxes are permitted, be sure to put their snack in a separate bag. Please wash lunch boxes at least
once a week. Due to many allergies, the entire Pre-K building will be a NUT FREE ZONE
Change of Clothes and Toilet Accidents:
Please send in a complete change of clothes for your child (if your child attends aftercare please
send in another set of clothes), including underwear, socks, sneakers, shirt and pants. Please label
all. Put them in a large Ziploc bag with your child’s name clearly printed on the outside of the
bag. We need these on the first day of school. We realize that accidents do happen, but all
children must be completely potty-trained. If there is an accident, you will be called to pick up
your child.
Hair :
● Girls’ hair should be neatly arranged and long hair must be pulled back or up.
● Boys’ hair must be neat at all times, combed and groomed, not to exceed the bottom
Newsletter and Calendar:
A monthly newsletter to update you with themes and special events will be posted on the school
website under the Pre-K heading. It will also be emailed on the first day of each month. Please
read the calendar each month very carefully. Days off and dates for special events may change
from the tentative summer calendar.
Class Website Page:
Each class has a website page. You can access the page from the school website.
Select the Classroom tab, then select Pre-K and K, and then the Pre-K 4. We post information
here as well as upcoming events. Please subscribe to the page to receive updates.
School Rush App:
You will receive an email with directions to sign up for the app. This app is an important part of
communication within the Pre-K. More information to follow.
Seesaw App
You will receive an email notification to sign up for the app. Weekly homework will be posted
using this application. More information to follow.
Class Birthdays:
We will celebrate individual class birthdays with the “Star of the Day” activity. More details to
follow. We will celebrate monthly birthdays with a class celebration. When your child’s
monthly birthday celebration is scheduled you will receive an email with a list of items like
pizza, mini cupcakes, ice cream, etc to select and send in for a monthly celebration. There will be
at least 3-4 students in a monthly celebration.
Supplies: Please check the monthly schedule on the class website for the collection of supplies.
● Baby/hand wipes
● Lysol/Clorox wipes
● Lysol Spray
● Magic Eraser
● Quart and Gallon size Ziploc bags
● Paper towels, napkins
● Tissues
● Three reams of white computer paper
● Extra Clothes - Labeled and in a Ziploc bag
● Extra Masks - Labeled and in a Ziploc bag
We hope that we have provided you with valuable information to help you and your child have a
great year!
Mrs. Kelly Pre-K 4-1
Mrs. Gregor Pre-K 4-2
Ms. Donato Pre-K 4-3