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.

Ricky Mottram – “The Best of the Best”

 This is one of those moments when I say….”Hey, I used to be his principal.” So proud of Ricky Mottram. Exceptional student and even better person. Well done, Ricky!
Five exceptional scholar-athletes will be honored for their high school accomplishments during the NFF Chapter Awards Luncheon, presented by Under Armour, Dec. 5 in New York City.
Tweet this release: http://bit.ly/2017ChapterSA
IRVING, Texas (Oct. 4, 2017) – From the more than 1.1 million high school football players across the country, the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) announced today the names of five outstanding individuals as the recipients of the 2017 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards. Each recipient is selected as the best of the best from his region of the country at the high school level. The five honorees, who are now playing college football after graduating high school in May 2017, are being recognized solely for their accomplishments in high school.
“The NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Awards showcase first-class high school football players from across the country,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “This year’s honorees have set the standard for accomplishment on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We are truly proud to honor their success in December.”
2017 NFF Chapter Scholar-Athlete Honorees
(Currently college freshmen, the award is solely based on high school accomplishments.)
  • John Mahoney – from Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa, and the Iowa Chapter in the Midwest Region. (Currently attending the University of Notre Dame.)
  • Bobby Maimaron – from Duxbury High School in Duxbury, Mass., and the Jack Grinold/Eastern Massachusetts Chapter in the Northeast Region. (Currently attending Williams College [Mass.].)
  • Brandon Micale – from Pomona High School in Arvada, Colo., and the Colorado Chapter in the West Region. (Currently attending the University of San Diego.)
  • Rick Mottram – from Allentown High School in Allentown, N.J., and the Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter in the East Region. (Currently attending Bucknell University.)
  • Blake Wooden – from American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla., and the Brian Piccolo/Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Chapter in South Region. (Currently attending Columbia University.)
Allentown High School in Allentown, N.J.
East Region – NFF Delaware Valley (N.J.) Chapter
Currently Playing at Bucknell University
Rick Mottram defined the student-athlete ideal at Allentown High School in Allentown, N.J. The two-year team captain earned First Team All-State honors at linebacker as a senior after guiding the Redbirds to the 2016 Central Jersey Group IV state title. Mottram made 141 tackles on the way to the championship, including 24 for loss and 3.5 sacks, while also recording two interceptions and forcing four fumbles. He ended his stellar career with a school-record 435 tackles while leading Allentown to three conference titles. The Times of Trenton named Mottram its Defensive Player of the Year twice, and he was a three-time First Team All-Area and First Team All-Group IV selection. A four-year letterman, he was twice named team MVP.
The valedictorian of his class, Mottram graduated from Allentown with the highest GPA in school history – a weighted 4.549. An Allentown High School Scholar-Athlete, he received multiple accolades, including the AP Physics, AP Calculus, AP U.S. History and AP Chemistry awards.
Mottram consistently gave back to his community in high school. A student council representative, he was a four-year captain of a Relay for Life team and was a member of a Villages in Partnership Water Walk team. Mottram was also a member of the National Honor Society and the Math, History and Science Honor Societies, and he helped tutor other students.
He is studying engineering at Bucknell, where he appears as a linebacker for the Bison.

Dec. 5-9 – Hour of Code / Computer Science Week

As you may know, next week is the annual Hour of Code event that occurs every year in the world. It is a great way for you and your students to understand the importance of coding and to develop your skills in programming.

Why should you or your students care about coding? 
Resources for all grade levels (It’s really simple):
I know you are all busy (this doesn’t have to be done next week); but I thought I would share these resources with you, because the ability to code is an important skill for our kids (see articles above). This can be done at anytime, anywhere!

How was your school day? – 15 Questions to Replace “How was school today?”


15 Questions to Replace “How Was School Today?”

These questions will help you draw out important information from your kids.

How many times have you asked your child, “How was school today?” and been frustrated by the lack of response? As a parent, I’m guilty of asking my son this question all the time, even though I usually don’t get much in return.

The Questions

With slight wording modifications, these questions can work with children of all ages:

  1. Tell me about a moment today when you felt excited about what you were learning.
  2. Tell me about a moment in class when you felt confused.
  3. Think about what you learned and did in school today. What’s something you’d like to know more about? What’s a question you have that came from your learning today?
  4. Were there any moments today when you felt worried? When you felt scared?
  5. Were there any times today when you felt disrespected by anyone? Tell me about those moments.
  6. Were there times today when you felt that one of your classmates demonstrated care for you?
  7. Were there any moments today when you felt proud of yourself?
  8. Tell me about a conversation you had with a classmate or friend that you enjoyed.
  9. What was challenging about your day?
  10. What do you appreciate about your day?
  11. What did you learn about yourself today?
  12. Is there anything that you’d like to talk about that I might be able to help you figure out?
  13. Is there anything you’re worried about?
  14. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  15. Is there a question you wish I’d ask you about your day?

Tips for Asking Questions

How and when we ask these questions makes a big difference in the information we receive from our kids. First, you don’t want to ask all of these questions on the same day. You might ask one or two. After a while, you’ll figure out which ones elicit the most meaningful responses. You’ll want to ask during a time when you have the ability to focus so that your child feels they have your full attention. With my child—and in my household—dinner and driving in the car are optimal times for these conversations.

Now these conversations have become routine. My son knows that when we drive to school I’ll ask him what he’s looking forward to, if there’s anything he’s worried about, and if there’s anything he wants to talk about with me that I might be able to help him figure out.

More Suggestions

The following can help your conversations be positive and powerful:

  • Don’t interrupt. This is a good rule for any conversation, but especially if you want to get a lot of information out of a kid.
  • Ask for more. Simply say, “I’d love to hear more about that…” Or, “Can you expand on that a little?”
  • Ask about feelings. After a child describes an experience, ask, “How did you feel in that moment? What did you notice about your feelings?”
  • Validate feelings. Whatever your kid feels is normal and okay. Let them know that. Feelings are okay. Tell them this.
  • Tell them it’s not okay for teachers or kids to be unkind or mean. If they tell you a story about a teacher who yelled or disrespected them (regardless of what they said or did) let them know that it’s not okay for an adult to treat them that way. Same goes for how they are treated by other children.
  • Thank them for sharing with you. Always appreciate their honesty and willingness to share the highlights and bright spots, as well as the difficult moments. This will fuel their confidence in telling you more.

What questions bring about the most conversation between you and your kids?