Jan. 4, 2019 – Updates

Noon  –

Good Afternoon,

We are still moving through a normal day. We continue to have an added presence, and the investigation is continuing. I expect another update by between 2:00 and 2:30 that will provide more insight into the investigation.

10:00 a.m. –

Good Morning,

All students are in school and classes have gone off as normal. Thanks to the Allentown Police, State Police, and Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office for there work. This morning we had added officers from a K-9 unit, which included the Monmouth County Sheriffs, ATF, and Howell Police. We are so appreciative to these awesome police officers.

On another note, we WILL be having after-school activities today. There will continue to be a police presence into the evening.

I will keep you updated and send out another email around Noon today.

8:15 a.m. –

Good Morning,

Throughout the day, I will be sharing email updates to the community. Currently, all students are in first block. All is normal. Students assembled in the auditorium and gym due to some added safety measures we were taking this morning in conjunction with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s K-9 unit.

More updates to come around 10:00a.m.

Energized and Excited!

Dear UFRSD Community,

I am humbled and honored to be the Superintendent of the GREAT Upper Freehold Regional School District. I have had a terrific model of a Superintendent to observe over the past 11 years; Dr. Fitzpatrick will always hold a special spot in our hearts.

I have an abundance of energy, excitement and anticipation for what’s to come in our district. I come into the position recognizing that we have fantastic, talented and caring teachers, skilled and compassionate administrators, and immensely supportive and passionate parents/families. What brings us all together? The brilliantly enthusiastic, smart, caring, responsible, and gifted students that attend our schools; doing what is best for them unites us all! I am looking forward to working with everyone to continue the progress we have made and to push UFRSD forward.

Over the next few months, I am hoping to solicit feedback from the community, our staff and administrators so that you have an opportunity to share your hopes and dreams for UFRSD. Please be on the lookout for meeting times, surveys and, perhaps, some opportunities to meet virtually.

In the meantime, please know that if you have any questions, concerns or ideas, I would love to hear them!

My best,

Mark Guterl

Superintendent of Schools


Allentown Soars at FFA Convention

The information below was taken from an email by Dale Cruzan, Denise Emmons, and Allison Mains, FFA Advisors. Thank you to each of them for their leadership in the FFA program.

Last week, the Allentown FFA participated in the 91st National FFA Convention & Exposition in Indianapolis, Indiana. Students represented New Jersey & Allentown in 3 National Contests, competed in Hall of States, explored the career fair & college expo, and attended various sessions. We wanted to share some of the results. The link above will provide additional information.

This year, the event set a record attendance of 69, 944 students & guests. Our students represented Allentown well!

FFA Competitive Events: Students may earn a gold, silver, or bronze rating. Students who earn a gold rating are among the top 1/3 of the nation.
Veterinary Science– Team Earned a Bronze Rating
  • Francesca Buchalski (c/o 2018)- Gold 
  • Alyssia Carotenuto- Bronze
  • Susan Mandeville- Bronze
  • Alexandria Riozzi- Bronze
Nursery & Landscape- Team Earned a Bronze Rating
  • Ava Conte- Bronze
  • Heather Fortunato (c/o 2018)- Bronze
  • Rebecca Hopkins- Bronze
  • Jennifer Healey- Bronze
Environmental & Natural Resources– Team Earned a Bronze Rating
  • Cheyenne Archer- Silver
  • Jessica Corbett (c/o 2018)- Silver
  • Matthew Gold (c/o 2018)- Silver
  • Ethan Lipper- Bronze
Hall of States- students had to design a informational booth about New Jersey Agriculture and share their experiences with convention attendees. Only the first place team of Georgia was recognized. 
  • Nicholas Corbett
  • Brian Posluszny
Chapter Recognition: 
  • The Chapter was recognized as a National Gold, 2 Star Chapter. This places us in the top 2% of the Nation! 
Alumni Recognition- During the convention, various alumni received awards and recognition.
  • Renee Stillwell (c/o 2016)- Renee represented the State of New Jersey as a National Officer Candidate. Renee advanced to the second round of interviews but was not selected as an officer. We are proud of her and she represented the state and school well! 
  • Renee Stillwell (c/o 2016) and Steven Williams (c/o 2016) both earned their American FFA Degree. The American Degree is only given to the top 1% of FFA membership. 
  • Susan Schmidt (c/o 2017) represented New Jersey on various delegate business sessions for the National FFA Organization as a part of her service as the 2018-2019 New Jersey FFA Reporter. 
Honorary American Degree– the Honorary American Degree is given to individuals who contribute to the success of the FFA at the state/ national level. We are proud to announce Patrick Leary received the degree after being nominated by the New Jersey FFA Association this summer. This is the highest award an individual can receive from the National FFA Organization. 
We would like to thank each of the teachers who have supported our students and alumni throughout the years! Our student’s success is not possible without your ongoing support! Attached, please find a few photos of the convention!

UFRSD and Newell ES get a visit from the NJ Commissioner of Education!

The Newell Elementary School Reading Rally was this morning. The purpose was to celebrate the close to 1.6 million minutes of reading our students did over the summer….#1 in NJ. The Commissioner of Education in NJ, Dr. Repollet, came to our Rally and praised our kids for the great work they had done. GREAT day at Newell Elementary School. Below are some pics from the day!

Commissioner Repollet talks to the students of Newell ES to congratulate them on their 1st place finish in NJ for the Scholastic Reading Challenge.

2nd grader, Sophia M., leads Dr. Repollet to her classroom.


Dr. Repollet meets his “new best friend”, Sophia M.

A captive audience listens to the Commissioner speak about how great Newell kids are!


Commissioner Repollet takes a selfie with 2nd graders, Ms. Hutchison & Mrs. Tate.

Commissioner Repollet meets Sophia M. on the bus dock.


Commissioner Repollet talks to Ms. Hutchison’s/Mrs. Tate’s class.







Gather students around as a selfie pose is searched for.

Dr. Richens, Exec. County Superintendent., speaks to Newell Elementary School students to congratulate them.

Commissioner Repollet addresses the enthusiastic students of Newell ES.

Newell’s Top Readers!!!!

UFRSD Safety & Security Update – Aug. 31, 2018

Dear UFRSD Parents and Guardians,

I hope this letter finds you well and that the wonderful energy of the upcoming school year has entered your home.  We are so excited to have our students back! As a matter of fact, our sleepless nights thinking about innovative lessons, opening day and doing whatever we can to support our students have already begun.

I writing to update the community on a major safety initiative that we have been working on within the district. The Board of Education has worked with our local municipalities to secure a law enforcement officer’s presence within the district every day, all year. At the present time, we are finalizing the details of this agreement, but we wanted to assure you that we will have an officer in our district throughout the school year. We will share all the details once the agreement is finalized. Additionally, during the first few days / weeks of school you will see an added police presence so that officers are able to familiarize themselves with the district and, most importantly, get to know our students, staff and administrators. These officers will be a friendly presence for all students and comforting one for our parents and staff.

I would like to thank the Board of Education for their determination and dedication to the parents, students and staff of UFRSD. They have been unwavering in their desire to have a law enforcement officer on our campuses during the first day of school and throughout the year. I would also like to thank Mayor Stephen Alexander, Mrs. Lori Mount and the entire Upper Freehold Township Committee for their hard work towards, and support of, this initiative.

Finally, I would like to invite all of you to our first UFRSD Community Conversation, which will be focused on School Safety and Security. This conversation will take place on Thursday, September 27th at 6:30 p.m. in the Allentown High School auditorium. Our conversation will focus on some of the steps we have taken to ensure the safety of our kids and also give people the opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and listen to some experts talk about school safety.

My best,

Mark Guterl

Acting Superintendent



During difficult times, communities tend to come together and unite in order to support each other. Recently, this has been the case in the UFRSD. As many know, our Superintendent, Dr. Fitzpatrick was hospitalized early last week and is recovering after surgery on his brain. He continues to express his love for the kids, parents and staff of our district on a daily basis!

Many have asked, “Is there something I can do?” Knowing this would be a common question around the district, we chose to focus on something that Dr. Fitzpatrick is passionate about – The Water Walk for Villages in Partnership. Every year, Dr. Fitzpatrick has walked around the high school track (once for 14 hours) to raise funds and awareness for the people of Malawi. This year, Dr. Fitzpatrick will not be able to walk in the Water Walk. Fortunately though, the district community is uniting and is “walking with doc.” We are planning on sending him a picture of all of us! If you are interested in Walking With Doc, join us at 6:30 p.m. (’til about 8:00 p.m.), this Saturday, May 19th at the AHS track (behind the school), and wear RED. You can register at the Walking With Doc table and are more than welcome (not required) to make a donation to Villages in Partnership. All donations made through the Walking With Doc team will go toward the completion of a school library for kids in Malawi.

Words cannot express the gratitude that the Fitzpatrick family is feeling for all of the good wishes and prayers. They are greatly appreciated! #WalkingWithDoc

Parent/Teacher Book Conversation – April 25th!

SBMS Parents,

Come join teachers for a book club on Wednesday, April 25th at            6 p.m. in the SBMS library.

The Gift of Failure, by Jessica LaheyImage result for gift of failure jessica lahey

Life inevitably contains obstacles and disappointments. As parents, we sometimes hope to smooth these away for our kids. In The Gift of Failure, Jessica Lahey explains the benefits of allowing kids to experience and solve their own problems. She makes the case that working through struggles helps children and teens learn important life skills for long-term success.

Light refreshments will be served.

What Makes Us Better

I have worked in the UFRSD since 2004. I have had the pleasure serving the students, staff, parents and community for that time, and I truly love coming to work each and every day. There are many things that cultivate the growth of my feelings towards this district, but the #1 factor is the people of the entire UFRSD community.

Over the past few days I have listened to parents, had conversations with staff and administrators, read emails and watched the discussion on social media focusing on yesterday’s nationwide school walkout…a topic that evokes strong opinions and an abundance of passion. Despite the differences in opinions, I feel these types of conversations strengthen us and our drive to do what is best for our kids.

Here’s what I find amazing (remarkable and in awe of):

  • I’m amazed by the passion of everyone involved in this conversation. Not surprised, but in awe of the amount of passion that this community has for our kids and our country. Community members, parents, students, former students have all shared their thoughts on social media….with one central focus….what they felt was best for our kids. Although, at times, we might not be happy with an opinion because it is in direct contrast to a belief, our community is strengthened by the conversation.
  • I’m amazed by the level of focus and care that our administrators, teachers and staff have for our kids. They are truly dedicated to making sure that our students have a voice. They care deeply for our students and want to do what is best for our kids by challenging them, by making sure our kids know they care, and by doing whatever it takes to emotionally and physically protect our kids. Equally of importance, our staff is respectful and appreciative of the multitude of opinions that every student possesses.
  • I’m amazed by the State Police and Allentown PD for always being supportive to our district. We feel safer knowing that you are there to help everyone in our district whenever we need.
  • I am amazed by students who chose to walk out (at AHS)  in support of 17 victims in Parkland and to make sure the world knew that violence in schools is not acceptable. Their passion to share their voices inspires us all. I also applaud those who chose not to walk out…their voices are also just as instrumental in our nation’s conversation.
  • I am amazed by the 9 middle school students who at 10:00 a.m. chose to stand at the flagpole and recite the names of the 17 victims in Florida. They wanted to be a part of the conversation, and they deserved that opportunity.
  • I am also amazed by those in our community who are passionate and upset about the events of yesterday. We do hear you, and we deeply respect your thoughts. As we do with every decision made in this district, we continue to talk about and assess what has happened, what are the effects on kids, and what we could do differently if something like this happened again.

Please also know this…our school district believes in America. We believe that our job isn’t to share our personal narrative, but to share the narrative of our country in an unbiased and neutral way. Please be assured that our focus continues to be providing the very best education for the students of Allentown, Millstone and Upper Freehold in a safe and caring environment. This will continue to be our focus.

My best,

Mark Guterl, Assistant Superintendent

Early College Academy to Launch at Allentown High School this Fall

Upper Freehold Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick and Mrs. Connie Embley, Principal of Allentown High School, are thrilled to announce an exciting opportunity for Allentown High School (AHS) students to earn an associate’s degree before graduating as part of the new Early College Academy @ Allentown High School (ECA@AHS) program offered in partnership with Brookdale Community College.

This fall, students will have the opportunity to augment their traditional curriculum with college-level courses taught at AHS.

ECA@AHS students begin studying at a regional Brookdale location in their junior year before becoming full-time college students on Brookdale’s Lincroft campus in their senior year. Successful graduates will finish high school ready to begin their junior year of college.

“The Upper Freehold School District is committed to the Early College Academy concept because it is good for our students and enables families to benefit from the opportunity to have their child begin their post secondary education in a collegiate setting designed to maximize every learning experience as they advance and acquire an associate’s degree leading to a college diploma,” Superintendent Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick said.

This rigorous and engaging instruction will create new pathways for students to earn this concurrent high school and associate’s degree while still participating in all of the extra-curricular activities at AHS.

The ECA@AHS is expected to admit an inaugural class of 15 – 25 students in the fall of 2018. Students will complete college-level courses at Allentown High School during their freshman and sophomore years before studying at Brookdale’s Freehold Campus in their junior year. Students will become full-time college students and complete their studies on Brookdale’s Lincroft campus in their senior year. Successful graduates will earn an Associate of Arts degree in social sciences.

To apply for the ECA@AHS, eighth grade students:

  • Must have scored a 4 or better on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College (PARCC) or an equivalent test in 7th grade
  • Must have final grades of a C or better in 7th and 8th grade
  • Must not have any chronic issue with unexcused absences
  • Must be eligible to take Algebra 1 or Geometry in 9th grade
  • Must provide a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or school administrator
  • Must provide a formal written statement between 300 and 500 words describing why the student wishes to enroll

The application process includes submission of the application, a copy of the student transcript, report card, recommendation letter and letter expressing the students desire to be in the program and standardized test scores. Additionally, a student/parent interview must be completed prior to being accepted into the ECA@AHS Academy.

Upper Freehold School District is honored to take part in the ECA@AHS program this fall along with Manasquan School District and Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District. Similar early-college programs are already underway in the Asbury Park, Hazlet, Keyport, Middletown, Neptune and Wall public school districts and at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel.

“We are honored and excited to partner with these three outstanding Monmouth County school districts and help provide this rare opportunity to local students,” said interim Brookdale President David Stout. “These partnerships will save students both time and money in their pursuit of a college degree, while preparing them for the highest levels of success after graduation.”

“The ECA@AHS provides unique opportunity for students to graduate from high school with a diploma and an Associate’s Degree,” AHS Principal Connie Embley said. “AHS is always looking for opportunities to provide our students with pathways to achievement and growth. ECA@AHS students will remain our students all four years to participate in all high school offerings. We look forward to our initial cohort of students starting in this program. Such a great opportunity for students and parents!”

Tuition for the ECHS Academy will be $45 per credit if the course is taught by AHS staff members, $67 per credit if the course is taught by Brookdale Community College staff, and $135 per credit if the course is taken at one of the Brookdale Community College campuses. The main campus of Brookdale Community College is located in Lincroft and there are additional locations in Freehold Township, Hazlet, Wall Township, Long Branch and Neptune Township.

To successfully complete the 64-credit ECA@AHS Brookdale Associate’s Degree, the cost to parents will total $6,210*, not including the cost of books.

  • In 9th grade, students will be expected to take nine credits at a cost of $405 per year
  • In 10th grade, students will be expected to take nine credits at a cost of $405 per year
  • In 11th grade students must take 22 credits (nine at AHS) at a cost of $2,160.
  • In 12th grade, students must complete 24 credits at Brookdale at a cost of $3,240

* Tuition is set by Brookdale Community College

The Upper Freehold Board of Education approved a memorandum of agreement between the district and Brookdale Community College in December of 2017.  

For further information and a link to the application, please visit http://ahs.ufrsd.net/ and see the “Quick Links” (on right) to find the Early College Academy link for information and the application. The deadline for applications for incoming 9th graders is March 23, 2018.

written by Louise San Nicola

Trees…a poem by an SBMS student

By Caroline R.

Children of Mother Nature:
Birch, Maple, Oak, and others.
Greeks would say they’re from Gaea,
Romans would say Terra.

Some branches snap softly, others quite loudly.
Some bark is thick, others thin.
Branches and bark,
The color of chocolate.

There’s also the trunk,
Not the gray elephant kind,
The brown of hot coffee.
Home to multitudinous creatures.

And the leaves!
Swaying gracefully down
Like a snowfall.
Sprinkling a rainbow of red like a cherry,
Orange like a mango’s sweet inside,
Yellow like a sour lemon.
They all crunch noisily underneath you.