Day of Learning – February 7, 2014

Mr. Mount teaches students at NES strategies for using mental math.


SBMS students listen to Jimmy Valvano’s famous, “Don’t Give Up…Don’t Ever Give Up” speech as the culmination of Quest for the Cure Week benefiting the Jimmy V Foundation.


8th grade students at SBMS compare plant and animal cells during.

Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care!

The title of this post is my absolute favorite educational quote, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Many people are given the credit for saying it, so I usually just say, “Author Unknown.” I first heard it from an educational guru who happen to be a family friend, Jim Grant. It has stayed with me throughout my years in education and has become a focus of what I believe.

Recently, a teacher sent me this video. I am definitely a fan of Rita Pierson!

Day of Learning – February 4, 2014

The February 3 edition of The Newell News from NES.


Mr. Nice has students identify problems and correct procedures during Driver’s Education.


2nd grade students in Mrs. Kochman’s and Mrs. Graham’s classroom are taught a lesson about regrouping.

Coding / Computer Programming Club

Students at SBMS have started a computer programming/coding club. Under the tutelage of Mr. Yorinks, students use “Scratch” to create programs. Coding is a wonderful opportunity for students and helps them learn valuable tools for life. Below is a sample of a program that one student created.

According to the organization, which seeks to raise awareness about the need for students to learn computer coding, 1.4 million jobs in the computer field, including coding, engineering, and data mining, will be available in the United States by 2020, but there will be only 400,000 college students majoring in computer science. Those jobs come with significantly higher wages than jobs associated with many other college degrees. The starting salary for a 2013 computer science major is about $64,800, a 5 percent increase over the previous year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, based in Bethlehem, Pa., which tracks starting salaries for college graduates.


Day of Learning – January 29, 2014

I plan on posting pictures that highlight great learning experiences from accross the entire UFRSD. I believe the great things happening in our district should be captured and shared in the community. My hope is that you will find these pictures as an opportunity to see great teaching and learning happening throughout our district. Although I will not have pictures from each school everyday, I believe you will get the gist of what learning looks like in the UFRSD.

NES – Grade 3 – 


Today, in 3J, Mrs. Gleason worked with Mrs. Jacobs to teach a Reading Workshop lesson. The focus of the lesson: using our notes from text to teach others what we know and read. Team teaching was at its best in the classroom and our kids were tremendously engaged throughout the lesson.




SBMS – (last Friday)

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I was surprised by the staff and students of SBMS last Friday. It was my last day as the Principal of this wonderful middle school. I LOVE the kids, the staff and the parents of SBMS. One of the highlights included a rendition of “Stone Bridge” our alma mater by the Redbird Singers. 

10 Years Later…thanks UFRSD.

I remember my first interview in the UFRSD. Superintendent Dr. Connolly, Principal Mimi Peluso and Asst. Superintendent Maybeth Conway and me. At the time, I was ready to accept another job offer, but something was different about this interview – joy, humor, passion, and an unmatched commitment to kids were clearly present. I found a match. I wanted to be in this great district; a district whose first impression was, in fact, the reality.

10 years later, I consider myself so fortunate to be a part of this district. Things have changed – a new building, curriculum revisions, changes in staff….but, what hasn’t changed is the one major focus of our district (the focus that drew me here in the first place)… I had a professor in my first graduate class when I was attending Seton Hall who would always tell us about a sign she placed on her desk, “The answer is ‘YES,’ if it helps kids.” I love this thought and love that fact that Dr. Fitzpatrick, the administration, the teachers and staff all have this belief; it is one of the culturally synchronistic traits of our district. This is why I feel so proud to say that I am a part of this district – a common belief in doing whatever it takes to help, support and teach kids.

10 years later, I am embarking on a new part of my journey. I have been truly blessed to be the Principal of Stone Bridge Middle School. SBMS is a chapter in my professional and personal life that will remain closest to my heart. The students, staff and parents have taught me so much about excellence, resiliency, passion, and love. Lasting friendships have been formed. Stone Bridge is a special place. Today, I am transitioning to a new position, Assistant Superintendent, a position that will afford me the opportunity to work closer with the wonderful staff and students of Allentown High School and the talented staff and students of Newell Elementary School,  while I continue to work with the fantastic people at Stone Bridge. It is a position that will give me a chance to work with educators and kids in all of our schools as we continue to move forward as a district.

I leave Stone Bridge with confidence in the staff and students; they are truly a gift. I have supreme confidence in our new Principal, Ms. Negro – there is no better human being, educator, and advocate for kids. She is excellent in every sense of the word.

10 years later, time has flown by, but what hasn’t changed is this district’s primary focus – doing our best for kids. The answer in the UFRSD is “YES,” if it helps kids. Thank you UFRSD for having that same focus 10 years later – joy, humor, passion and an unmatched commitment to our kids. Carpe Diem!


Middle School Students Excel at Debate

2013-12-26 / Front Page
The English-Speaking Union, in collaboration with ClaremotMcKenna College, sponsored the Garden State Debate League tournament for middle school students on Dec. 7 at Stone Bridge Middle School in Allentown.
Competing for trophies in the categories of Best Speaker, Top Team and Best Overall School were 86 students from Barkalow Middle School (Freehold Township), Bolger Middle School (Keansburg), the Hun School (Princeton), Mother TeresaRegional School (Atlantic Highlands), Our Lady of Sorrows (Hamilton), Rumson Country Day School (Rumson), Stone Bridge Middle School (Upper Freehold Regional School District,and the Wilberforce School (Princeton), according to a press release.
The 29 teams all posed well-researched arguments on both sides of these topics: the atomic bombing of Japan was justified; single sex schools are good for K-12 students; raising the minimum wage causes more harm than good; and surveillance measures by the U.S. government are warranted.
Stone Bridge earned the first place school trophy for mostteam wins with 15, and the Hun School earned second place with 12 wins. The Wilberforce School took home the tournament trophy for highest percentage of wins and Stone Bridgeearned second place.
Students were also awarded individual speaker points for their debate performances.
The following students earned the top speaker award for their schools: Andrew Salm (Barkalow), Bernie Comey (Bolger,Michael Alonzo (Hun), Steven Claggit (Mother Teresa), Lauren Wright (Our Lady of Sorrows), Taylor Harrison (Rumson Country Day) Deven Kinney (Stone Bridge) and Andy D’Alessio(Wilberforce).
Nelson Lin, a first-time debater from the Barkalow Middle School, won the gavel for earning the most points for the entire tournament.
The Garden State Debate League is part of a national network of middle school debate programs established 10 years ago by Claremont McKenna College to integrate public speaking and debate into the school curriculum for young adolescents, according to the press release. Through middle school debate leagues, the English-Speaking Union promotes the art of public speaking and debate, and improves the state of civil discourse among the nation’s younger citizens.