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Elysian Charter School of Hoboken - A positively different public school.
School website: | To donate: Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director
Elysian Charter School
Weekly Newsletter

A Positively Different Public School

November 7, 2016         Vol. 12  Issue 10
Please note that the school newsletter is sent out on Mondays.  When there is a holiday, the newsletter is sent the following day.  Please send news to by 1:00 PM on Mondays.

The weekly newsletter is archived on Elysian's website,, so that you can always access both the most recent newsletter as well as all previous ones.
Harry's Corner
What Teens Need Most From Their Parents
As adolescents navigate the stormiest years in their development, they need coaching, support, good examples and most of all understanding
New research suggests ways parents can play a positive, active role in the lives of adolescents. WSJ's Sue Shellenbarger joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero and explains why parents should stay close and be more emotionally connected to teens.
Sue Shellenbarger
Originally published in “The Wall Street Journal”  Aug. 9, 2016

The teenage years can be mystifying for parents. Sensible children turn scatter-brained or start having wild mood swings. Formerly level-headed adolescents ride in cars with dangerous drivers or take other foolish risks.
A flood of new research offers explanations for some of these mysteries. Brain imaging adds another kind of data that can help test hypotheses and corroborate teens’ own accounts of their behavior and emotions. Dozens of recent multiyear studies have traced adolescent development through time, rather than comparing sets of adolescents at a single point.
The new longitudinal research is changing scientists’ views on the role parents play in helping children navigate a volatile decade. Once seen as a time for parents to step back, adolescence is increasingly viewed as an opportunity to stay tuned in and emotionally connected. The research makes it possible to identify four important phases in the development of intellectual, social and emotional skills that most teens will experience at certain ages. Here is a guide to the latest findings:
Ages 11 to 12
As puberty takes center stage, tweens can actually slip backward in some basic skills. Spatial learning and certain kinds of reasoning may decline at this stage, studies show. Parts of the brain responsible for prospective memory, or remembering what you are supposed to do in the future, are still maturing. This may be why a teen may seem clueless if asked to give the teacher a note before school.
Coaching tweens in organizational skills can help. Parents can help build memory cues into daily routines, such as placing a gym bag by the front door, or helping set reminders on a cellphone. They can share helpful tools, such as task-manager apps.
Young teens’ reasoning and decision-making skills often aren’t fully developed; parents can coach them in being organized and considering other points of view. Illustration: Robert Neubecker
Parents can help foster sound decision-making, thinking through pros and cons and considering other viewpoints. Children who know by age 10 or 11 how to make sound decisions tend to exhibit less anxiety and sadness, get in fewer fights and have fewer problems with friends at ages 12 and 13, according to a 2014 study of 76 participants published in the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making.
By remaining warm and supportive, parents may be able to influence the way their teen’s brain develops at this stage. A 2014 study of 188 children compared the effect of mothers ​who were warm, affectionate and approving during disagreements, versus mothers who became angry and argumentative. Teens at age 16, who had affectionate moms when they were 12, ​showed brain changes linked to lower rates of sadness and anxiety and greater self-control, according to the study led by researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Ages 13 to 14
Parents should brace themselves for what is often a wildly emotional passage. Young teens become sensitive to peers’ opinions and react strongly to them. Yet the social skills they need to figure out what their peers really think won’t be fully mature for years, making this a confusing and potentially miserable time.
At about this time, teens’ response to stress goes haywire, sparking more door-slamming and tears. The impact of social stress is peaking around this time: Of adults with mental disorders often triggered by stress, 50% received a diagnosis before age 15. Other research shows teens from ages 11 to 15 become sad and anxious when subjected to social stresses such exclusion from social groups, while adults don’t show a similar effect.
Parts of the brain most vulnerable to stress are still maturing, so coping strategies teens use at this stage can become ingrained in the brain’s circuitry as lifelong patterns, according to a 2016 research review in Developmental Science Review. Psychologists advise teaching and modeling self-soothing skills, such as meditation, exercise or listening to music.
Teens are susceptible to social stress at ages 13-14. Parents can help decode peers’ social cues and model healthy coping behavior, like exercise or meditation. Illustration: Robert Neubecker
Coach teens on friendship skills, including how to read their peers’ expressions and body language. Encourage them to choose friends based on shared interests, not popularity, and to dump friends who are unkind. Teach them how to repair friendships after a fight by apologizing, making amends or compromising.
Family support is a stress buffer. Teens whose families provide companionship, problem-solving and emotional support are less likely to become depressed after exposure to severe stress, according to a 2016 study of 362 Israeli adolescents in the Journal of Family Psychology.
Ages 15 to 16
Teens’ appetite for risk-taking peaks at this age, according to a 2015 study of more than 200 participants ages 8 to 27 led by researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands. The brain’s reward receptors are blossoming, amplifying adolescents’ response to dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. This makes thrill-seeking more desirable than it will ever be again.
Normal fears of danger are temporarily suppressed during adolescence, a shift scientists believe is rooted in an evolutionary need to leave home and explore new habitats. Studies have found adolescents fail to change their appraisal of risky situations even after being warned that the hazards are greater than they expect.
The ability to make and keep good friends is especially useful at this stage. Teens with friends they trust and count on for support are less likely to engage in risky behavior such as shoplifting, riding with a dangerous driver or having unprotected sex, according to a 2015 study of 46 teens led by Dr. Eva Telzer, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Teens who argue often with close friends are more likely to take such gambles. 
Thrill-seeking will never be more irresistible than it is for a 15- to 16-year-old, whose reward receptors in the brain are blossoming. Parents can still make a difference: Encourage healthy friendships; show warmth and support. Illustration: Robert Neubecker

It is not too late for warm, supportive parents to make a difference. In a laboratory risk-taking test, teens who grew closer to their parents starting at age 15 showed less activation of a brain region linked to risk-taking and took fewer chances 18 months later, according to a 2015 study of 23 adolescents published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. The closeness to parents included having parents’ respect and help talking through problems, and an absence of arguing or yelling, according to the study, in which Dr. Telzer was a co-author.
Ages 17 to 18
Benefits of the teenage brain’s ability to change and develop are evident at this stage. Some teens show increases in IQ. Intellectually gifted teens are most likely to achieve gains in IQ scores, so teens who are already smart are likely to grow even smarter, according to a 2013 study of 11,000 pairs of twins led by researchers at Penn State University, in University Park, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. 
Older teens can put the brakes on emotions and risk-taking; their problem-solving and strategy-planning skills are developing. They might need help deciphering ambiguous people and situations. Illustration: Robert Neubecker
In older teens, the parts of the prefrontal cortex responsible for judgment and decision-making typically are developed enough to serve as a brake on runaway emotions and risk-taking. Executive-function skills, such as solving problems and planning strategies, continue to develop at least through age 20, according to a 2015 study by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, England.
Social skills and related brain regions are still maturing, according to researchers including Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London. At this stage, teens are better at noticing how others feel and showing empathy. They still lack the ability to decipher people’s motives and attitudes in complex social situations, though, such as figuring out why a friend might suddenly change the subject during a conversation at a party. 

Share Cory Booker's post about Elysian's video, "All In"!
See our All In video, led by our own Aram, on Senator Cory Booker's Facebook Page.
Senator Booker wrote:
#ALLIN celebrates the beauty of diversity, the power of perseverance, and the importance of working together. Here's a performance by Elysian Charter School in New Jersey, what we hope will be the first of many.
It has also been tweeted out by our Mayor, Dawn Zimmer (click on the #ALLIN link above).
We Are Proud To Announce The Grand Opening of Elysian’s Awesome Superstore!

The site will be open through Wednesday, November 16th to ensure delivery by the holidays. All orders will ship (for free!) to school for distribution. Browse around and shop for a variety of clothing items for the entire family. Proceeds from the school store will go towards reducing the cost of school trips and other school related activities. As the store evolves, new items and designs will be added. Please contact John Rutledge at with any questions. 

Tickets are for Elysian parents only until November 20, when, if any tickets are unsold, they will be open to non-Elysian friends, extended family and the public.
• Teams will ideally contain 6 people, but you can buy any number of tickets.
Discount: For a limited time, if you buy 6 tickets all at once, it will be $40/person. (Discount cannot be applied at a later time.) 
Click here to buy tickets & register:
• You can put together a full team of 6 yourself, either buying the tickets in one purchase or, if the tickets are bought separately, emailing us at to list your team’s players.
• You can also email us with less than 6 names, too, and we’ll add others to your team to round it out.
Deadline for emailing all team preferences is Monday, November 28.
• Teams will be created for everyone who buys a ticket. (In other words, you don’t need to come with your own 6-member team. We’ll put people together.)
• We will do our best to accommodate team requests, but it will be first come, first served.
Reminder: Sibling Applications for Kindergarten 2017-2018 are due for Elysian Family Sibling Preference
If you have a child at Elysian already, and you are planning to enroll a sibling in the 2017-18 school year, please complete an application form and return it to Susan Gilbertson in the office. You can find the form on Elysian's website,, or stop by the office to pick it up. We must have an application on file before the January 11th Lottery in order for you to receive sibling preference. 
The Deadline for ALL Applications is January 9th at 5:00 pm.

UUMBA Day is Coming!
Saturday, December 17

A Brief History of Elysian’s African Dance Residency:
When Elysian Charater School opened it's doors in 1997, we were a K-2 school.   That year, we applied to New Jersey Performing Arts Center for a dance residency, which we were awarded the following year.  We selected African Dance and decided it would be best to offer the program to the oldest students in the school, who would be in 3rd grade. 
Monroe Movement generously allowed Elysian Charter School to use their space for a demonstration of what the students learned during the residency.  The entire Elysian community turned out to watch the 3rd grade dance – we wanted to see what our “matching funds” had paid for. 
It was one of Elysian’s first  community gatherings.  After so many difficulties starting up one of the first charter schools in the state, that evening was a complete joy.   Every year since, we’ve had an African Dance residency in the 3rd grade.  Every year we have a school-wide celebration.  KUUMBA Day is a uniquely Elysian tradition.
What is KUUMBA Day? KUUMBA is not only a dance performance but a culmination of learning.  KUUMBA is about everyone dancing together –a demonstration of community.
Every child in the dance is given a tee-shirt with a square of African fabric sewn on by Elysian families, all cut from the same cloth.. 
KUUMBA means “creativity” in Swahili.  Our goal for everyone, Kindergarten through 8th grade, to come to KUUMBA and participate - that means eating international foods, playing games - such as mancala, participating in the cake walk (a chance to win a cake!) and sitting down in the different classrooms to create artwork.  

The illuminated letter "K", above,  was made by a 3rd grader participating in the Morgan Library Book Project.
First KUUMBA Day Planning Meeting is Wednesday, 8:30 AM.  Please come!
Check the office in the AM for location of meeting.  
We need help planning KUUMBA Day.  
If you have any questions, please contact

PICTURE RETAKE DAY is Tuesday, November 15! Please email if you plan to have retakes. We will need your child's name and teacher. Please keep the flyer you received, as the unique online access code will remain the same. Both the original and retake photos will both be available using that one access code.
PICTURE ORDERING DEADLINE is Friday, December 2! Please go to and enter your unique online access code to view photos and place orders!

How to make money for Elysian Charter at no extra cost to you!

-       iGive Button-

-       Smile Amazon -

-       Shutterfly/TinyPrints -

-       Shoprite -

-       Boxtops for Education – Clip and collect and turn into the main office AND download the app for even more boxtops rewards!

For Parents of Basketball Players
Basketball season is just around the corner.  We have many students who are excited to play this year and we are hoping that the city will allow us to have more than one team at some grade levels.  
Please make certain that you send in school form and that you sign up online with the city as soon as possible so that the city knows how many players we will have this year.
Elysian Collects Box Tops and LABELS for Education:  Look for the container near Deb's desk in the office!  Thank you! 
As per state law, we no longer publish the exact location of trips for security reasons.
Please read the calendar weekly, as changes are updated regularly.


Thursday, November 10
  • 8:45 AM Open House for prospective parents
Friday, November 11
  • School closed for Veteran's Day
Monday, November 14
  • Parent-teacher conference week begins
Tuesday, November 15
  • Parent-teacher conferences continue
Wednesday, November 16
  • Half Day of School., 12:30 dismissal for parent-teacher conferences
Thursday, November 17
  • Parent teacher conferences continue
Friday, November 18
  • Last day of parent-teacher conferences.
Monday, November 21
  • 4th and 5th grade day-long trip
Wednesday, November 23
  • Half day of school, 12:30 dismissal for Thanksgiving Holiday.  
  • After School Program ends early, 4:00 PM today
Thursday, November 24 and  Friday, November 25
  • Elysian closed for Thanksgiving Holiday.
Monday, November 28
  • Elysian Open House for prospective parents, 6:00 PM
  • Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:00 PM
Tuesday, November 29
  • Melissa's 2nd grade class trip
Wednesday, November 30
  • 6th Grade overnight trip
Friday, December 2
  • 6th grade returns from overnight trip

301 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director | | Phone:201.876.0102 | Fax:201.876.9576

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