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 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