Distance Learning – Staff Check In!


Students have been sharing their favorite books, Netflix shows, and video game suggestions.. but what are the TEACHERS up to?!  Well, the GW Times did some investigating, and here’s what we found out!

What do you miss the most about being IN school?

The most popular response, was, of course, seeing all of the students of GW in PERSON!  We did, however, get some unique responses to this question…

Mr. Betkowski says that he misses “The back and forth banter with students.” And I think it’s safe to say that his students are most definitely missing that banter, as well!! 😂


Miss Ginart (ELA Ginart) says she misses “getting to see my scholars every day! I miss hearing them fake laugh at my Friday puns”


Mr. Nazarro also makes some good points that we can all agree with! “I miss the social interactions with students and staff, actually being somewhere all day, personally seeing the results of helping others, and the overall feeling of accomplishing something everyday.” 


Mrs. Morrison states that she misses “being with my students, talking with them, and telling them my math jokes in person!” ➗


Mrs. Moré misses “joking around with the students and hearing them (fake) laugh at my hysterical jokes


Mrs. Medley *chimes*  in with what she misses about school. “I miss making music together in person! Singing in a choir is a unique experience that cannot be replicated virtually and I miss those special moments in class when a piece of music just ‘clicks!‘ ” We all could use some good, live music right now, chorus!!  🎵


Mrs. Palmieri reminds us of what a fun place GW can be! “I miss laughing at all of the fun things that happen during the day at GW.”


Mrs. Pagano, along with all of the staff, misses the good times.  “Joking around and laughing with everybody…there is always something interesting that happens during a typical middle school day!”

What are you doing to keep busy?

You probably won’t find it too shocking that a group of teachers would respond to this question with “READING!” However, there were quite a few other activities that our GW staff members are doing to entertain themselves…

  • 🐶Walking dogs (and cats? 🙀 Apparently that’s what Mr. Medley is trying out with the Medley cat, Pepper, and Mrs. Lee is doing the same with her daughter’s cat)
  • 🍪Cooking, baking, and exercising – probably due to all of the cooking and baking!
  • 💃🏽Jazzercise! (Go, Mrs. Tible!)
  • 💻Zoom hangouts with family and friends
  • 🎲Virtual game nights
  • 🧩Puzzles & Board Games
  • 📺Family Netflix nights
  • 🧹Cleaning / Organizing
  • 🍅Gardening
  • 🔨Home projects
  • 💻Learning how to use Google Classroom (Good luck, Mr. Geissel.  We know you can do it!)
  • 👩‍👦‍👦Spending quality time with family
  • 🐦Bird watching
  • 👏Mr. Carlo’s daughter’s Girl Scouts Troop donated cookies to various hospitals
  • 👏Mrs. French has been going the extra mile!!  “I have been working with my town Drug Alliance to help feed and take care of the families in town that have lost their jobs. We are also sending thank you packages to all of the Front Line and Essential Workers in town.”
  • 📷Yearbook Production! Mrs. Weiss states, “Our yearbook students got in a lot of interviews and took thousands of photos before school let out, so we had to edit, fact check, and finish laying out the book so we got it to the publishers.”

Have you picked up any new hobbies?

You’ve probably seen people on TV or the internet learning how to do new things, or picking up new hobbies.  Have our teachers at GW learned how to do anything new?

Mrs. Estok may have a new job… “I am quite good at being a referee to my own children!”

Mrs. Puentes is very proud of her newfound cooking ability “ I can now flip a fried egg without breaking the yolk!!” 

Mr. Betkowski  has perfected an old art… “Grading – I’ve done it before, but I think I’m getting the hang of it now.”

Ms. DePasquale, along with many others, have learned some new technology “I learned how to use Zoom, Flipgrid, Screencastify and Edpuzzle.”

Miss Spano is trying out some new recipes in the kitchen – “I started baking bread.”

Mr. Smilon  picked up some new outdoor activities. “We bought a soccer tennis net”

Of course, Mrs. Palmieri is keeping the science lessons going.. “I started an indoor garden. I made some self watering planters by taking old shoelaces to use as a wick for the water reservoir and then cut the soda bottles to make an area for the plant with a connection to the water.”

Mrs. Pagano is also preparing for a new job.. “I have been testing out my new-found dog grooming skills (they need some work though)”

Miss Hecht is getting creative: “I am going to try and knit!”

Mrs. Weiss is doing some cool work outside:  “Carpentry and landscape design! My husband and I built a bridge in our backyard. We had to dig out tree stumps and move rocks. It’s a work in progress, but we’ve got big ideas for the land beyond the bridge.”


Thank You!!

We can’t possibly say “Thank You” enough to all of the essential workers who are helping to keep us safe and keep our lives as normal as possible.  The GW Staff has some very special people they would like to give an extra “THANK YOU” shout out to.

Mrs. Schweighardt:  “My daughter, Kaitlin, is working at Shop Rite in the Shop From Home Dept.”

Mr. Betkowski:  “My in class support teachers – Chris Carlo, Sevilay Karca and Christine Lewis. They have been essential for me.”

Ms. DePasquale: “I know too many essential workers to name here but the person closest to my heart is my sister, Amy.”

Mrs. Ginart:  “I would like to thank my husband, Dr. Gaspar Ginart, My brother in law, a respiratory therapist, Froilan Ginart, my sister in law Susan Ginart who is a nurse practitioner, and my cousins Lissette Deltoro  who is an E.R. Nurse, and Casey O,Leary, a physician’s assistant.”

Mrs. Medley:  “My dad who still goes to work every day as an essential worker! Love you dad! :)’

Ms. Facciolla:  “I would like to thank Officer Collins for continuing to support our Wayne community.”

Mrs. Carpenter:  “I’d like to thank my friends that are nurses for risking their lives every day going to work, especially Marianne Kaiser”

Mrs. Stapleton:  “All police officers, including my husband Brendan, and the healthcare workers, delivery men/women, and food workers.”

Mrs. Brillo:  “Nurse Peggy and Officer Dave”

Mrs. Olive:  “My son is a supervisor at UPS and has been working 12 plus hours a day to get everyone their orders.”

Miss Cronk:  “My best friend is a nurse and I know that she and all of our essential workers deserve all the thanks in the world right now.”

Mrs. Finkelstein:  “My sister who works at a nursing home and must check all employees as they enter the building and leave an my niece who is working in an emergency room, a new job, hoping to get into a nursing program.

Mrs. Scriffignano:Personally, I am so proud and thankful for my daughter Allison who is a new Physician Assistant and has been working on the front lines at Hackensack Hospital. Little did she know that she would graduate, become Board Certified, and immediately be thrown into this pandemic all in less than 6 months, but she is learning so much about her field, herself, and her strength!”

Mrs. Lee:  “Nurses Dana Iapichino and Michelle Sarabamoun- Mrs. Iapichino’s Daughters

Mrs. Gunther:  “My brother, Mike – automotive technician and my niece, Gail – nurse”

Mrs. Conklin:  “My daughter, Kalyn Cedrowski and my daughter-in-law Kristina Conklin, I thank you and all essential workers very much!”

Miss Ginart: “I would like to specifically thank my father, my aunt, and my uncle who all work in the healthcare field. I would also like to thank my fiance who works in law enforcement. Their dedication and bravery is an inspiration to me!”

Mrs. Pagano:  “My husband, Keith Pagano–he works for PSEG, so he’s the guy that keep our electricity running!”

Mrs. Montini:  “My nephew Nick Henriquez is a member of the Wayne Police Department. I’d like to tell him how proud I am of him and that Wayne is lucky to have him protecting our community!”

Mrs. Moré:  “My husband, whose company has been making electric motors for ventilators.  And many of my former Wayne Valley student athletes, who are now in the medical field, such as Gianna Colella and Kayla Hart, as well as my former Ramapo College student athlete, and now nurse, Stacey Faria.”

Nurse Serek:  “I would like to thank my daughter, Tori, who works in an emergency room in the Bronx.

And we think Mrs. Rodriguez summed it up perfectly: “I have always known that teachers, doctors, nurses, police officers, and firefighters were the true heroes. However, more than ever, I am incredibly grateful for restaurant workers, supermarket employees, postal workers, and delivery men and women.”

A message for the students!

The teachers and staff members at GWMS have some final words of wisdom for you, the students of GW!

Mrs. Kirstein:  “You are part of an unusual time in history. We are all so proud of you and the efforts you have made during this time to keep on going.”

Mrs. Tible:  “I just miss your energy and your beautiful faces!”

Mrs. McGugart, Ms. DePasquale, Mr. Giesel, Mrs. French:  “This too shall pass!”

Mr. Betkowski:  “I can’t wait to hear those whiny voices again!!!”

Mrs. Rodriguez:  “Keep working hard and taking care of yourself. You will miss this slower pace once we are back at school. Positive thoughts – your thoughts become your reality!”

Miss Ginart:  “To my scholars: You make me proud every single day. I know that this experience is not easy, but I hope that you feel the warmth and support of your GW family. Have hope that this time will be temporary. When we are able to reunite, we will surely cherish some of the things that we took for granted. Essay writing and novel annotation might even seem a bit sweeter when we return!”

Mr. Smilon:  “To our students, stay strong, enjoy your time with your family and keep a positive attitude. We will all be back to a “normal” routine soon.”

Mrs. Ginart: “This situation has taught me to appreciate even the simple, mundane things that we may take for granted. Take time to be thankful for all that you have. Call old and new friends and let them know that you appreciate them. Treasure this time with your family. Perhaps write notes on your front door thanking delivery people and your mailman. Write and place a note for the sanitation workers on your garbage bins.”

Mrs. Medley: “I can honestly say I miss the silly conversations and interactions we shared at school. I so much look forward to the day we can laugh and make music together again. You kiddos are doing a great job adapting to this new style of learning and I am so proud of your hard work. Make sure you are finding time each day to do something that makes you happy. Whether it is singing, dancing, drawing or reading, find something that makes you smile. Reach out to your friends, call your grandparents, find ways to support the people on the frontlines. I love and miss you all SO much!!!!”

Mrs. Facciolla:  “Keep being mindful and take one day at a time. Be kind to you!”

Mrs. Stapleton:  “Hang in there! This will eventually come to an end and will be nothing but a distance memory.”

Mrs. Palmieri:  “During this time try to focus on the positives, stay active and do something everyday that makes you smile.”

Mrs. Brillo:  “Try to spend time interacting with your parents and siblings by doing fun activities such as playing board games, cooking, watching movies, and taking walks.”

Mrs. Olive: “I am so proud of how responsible, and hardworking you have been. I am so honored to know all of you.”

Miss Cronk:  “I miss you all so much. I am so grateful for all of the effort you are putting into your schoolwork during this time. Together, we will come out of this stronger (and more educated) than before. I hope you are taking care of yourselves and embracing this extra time with your loved ones. I look forward to the day when we are all back in the classroom together!”

Mrs. Scriffignano: “Keep working hard, I know this is something no one was prepared for, but I am so proud of how the teachers and students are doing everything to make this distance learning a success! And thank you parents for all your help with your children!”

Mrs. Ferreri: “Take every situation that is negative and look for the positive in it. Always hold onto hope. It is a gift we all have in our hearts. Hope. ”

Mr. Carlo:  “Do your work.”

Mrs. Pagano:  “Help out in any way you can at home! Whether it is helping your younger siblings with schoolwork and playing with them or helping the older members of your family with chores, they will really appreciate your kindness…plus, it will make you feel good and take your mind off of things!”

Mrs. Montini:  “We know that this is so hard some days. We know you really do miss your friends, and that you miss your teachers as much as we miss you. We “see” that you are working hard and trying your best; that’s all we ask. We are counting down the days until we can be together!”

Mrs. McGugart:  “If you want to explore more art, Cassie Stephens, Mo Willems, and Art for Kids Hub have a lot of great mini projects and tutorials.”

Nurse Boyd: “Just remember this will pass. Sometimes life will give us hills to climb but what we see on the other side is usually better than we ever could have imagined!”

Mrs. Weiss:  “This time is just one small part of your life. Don’t forget to dream big and know there are a lot of good times ahead! The future is so bright, you gotta wear shades!”

Nurse Serek:  “I miss all of you. I hope you are all taking care of yourselves, eating healthy and getting some exercise!”

Mrs. Coless: “To the 8th graders: You certainly have a challenging last year as GW Eagles. I want to remind you that even the best laid plans can be thwarted by an unexpected occurrence. You are not having the year that we had hoped you would but remember who you are and from where you come. Hold your heads up high and proud that you are meeting these challenges that were thrown at you with little warning or advanced notice. You will be transitioning from Eagles to Indians but never forget that Indians were first to notice the beauty and power of the majestic Eagle soaring high in the sky. Nothing could make me more proud of you than to see you continue to soar through any challenge put before you. Not only in high school but throughout your lives. Stay well. You’ve got this! To the 7th and 6th graders: You, too, have had a challenging year. You know what? So have all of your teachers, paras, principals, school nurses, cafeteria workers, cafeteria/playground aids, and school secretaries. When we are finally able to return to school, all of these people will be there for you. We will help you with that locker combination, scheduled or classroom location you may have forgotten. In the meantime, don’t worry. and stay well. It will be comforting and yet a little strange to get back to “normal” as normal will have changed. But you’ve got this and so do we!”


Say Cheese!!

Check out some of the children, pets, and hobbies of the GW Staff!  Along with some familiar faces!