Frequently Asked Questions about Freehold Borough Schools:For any questions not listed here, please contact the Community Relations Committee via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
When is a student eligible for admission to a local school district?
Why didn't my child get into the Pre-School Program?
Why doesn’t the district have busing?
What are the VAPAS? How often do they have them?
How long is lunch? Do students get a recess? Can students just buy a drink at lunch or whole meal? Are there healthy snacks?
What is an "inclusion" class?
Why are there two principals for one school complex?
How many administrators does the district have?
How much are Board of Education members paid?
What is the difference between a PTO & PTA? How do I become involved with the PTO?
Which areas of Freehold Borough are designated to attend which school?
What is the policy on bullying?
Is there a dress code?
What is the role of a Business Administrator?
Will I now have to pay for my child to play a sport?
Why hasn't the Freehold Borough School District and Freehold Township merged?
Where can I find the district calendar?
Do our 8th graders get into the FRHSD Learning Centers & Academies?
Why do you teach to the non-english speaking children in their native language?
Why are things sent home in Spanish?
How do you check students’ grades on-line?
New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 18A:38-1a, provides that a district must allow free attendance to any student over five and under 20 years of age, who is “domiciled” in the district. Administrative code elaborates further and describes a wide range of circumstances wherein a student will be considered domiciled in the district.
A student is domiciled in the district when he/she is living with a parent or legal guardian whose permanent home is located within the district. A home is permanent when the parent or guardian intends to return to it when absent and has no present intent of moving from it, despite the existence of homes or residences elsewhere. A student is also considered to be domiciled in the district when his/her parent or legal guardian resides within the district on an all-year-round basis for one year or more, even if the parent or guardian maintains a domicile elsewhere.
Illegal aliens and those residing in violation of housing codes/regulations
Illegal aliens are entitled to free schooling if they are domiciled in the district. Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982); I.C. and M.C. on behalf of J.C. v. Paterson Bd. of Ed., 1983 S.L.D. 218. A student’s immigration/visa status does not affect the student’s eligibility to attend school. However, students who have come to the United States with a visa issued specifically for the purpose of limited study on a tuition basis in a United States public secondary school ("F-1 Visa"), are limited in their rights to the terms of the visa. Neither the physical condition of an applicant’s housing, nor an applicant’s compliance with local housing ordinances or terms of a lease affect the pupil’s eligibility to attend school. For example, a pupil who was domiciled year-round in a campground was entitled to a free education in the school district in which the campground was located even though year-round occupation of the seasonal campsite violated campground bylaws and local ordinances. Middle Twp. Bd. of Ed. v. K.K. and P.K., 93 N.J.A.R.2d (EDU) 461.
During the 2006-2007 school year, our district was required to submit an application for pre-school expansion aid, which we did. Although the application was deemed in good order by the DOE, we were told we need to expand to a full-day program. This was done for the 2008-2009 school year. Since that time, we have had triple the number of applicants than available seats and had to hold a lottery. Due to reduced pre-school funding, the District was only able to offer a half-day program for the 2011-2012 school year, and that will remain the same for 2012-2013. The amount of applicants decreased, and a lottery was not necessary. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\Freehold Borough is considered to be a “universal” district, so every child that resides in the district is eligible for a seat in pre-school at every income level.
All districts are required to accept pre-school handicapped students starting at age 3.
Mandatory Busing State law requires a school district to bus students who live more than two miles from their public elementary and middle schools and more than 2.5 miles from their public high schools. This type of busing is known as remote busing. Freehold Borough is 1.9 square miles, so the school district does not receive any funding for busing. State law also requires a school district to bus special education students who require transportation in accordance with their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The VAPAS are Visual and Performing Arts classes such as Art, Music, Physical Education and Health. Typically, the rotation for these classes is once per week, but will vary among the schools depending on scheduling.
Lunch is 30 minutes long for each grade, and all students in Grade 1 to 5 have 15-20 minutes of recess each day. Kindergarten recess is incorporated into the school day through classroom activities during the first half of the year and then students are brought outside for recess at the start of the Spring season.
Students can but a whole lunch, partial lunch, snacks or drinks at lunch. There are healthy snacks available each day that meet the federal nutritional guidelines.
An Inclusion class is one that supports general and special education students. In an inclusion classroom, two teachers, one special education certified and the other general education certified, share the responsibility of educating all students in the class. There are 4 models of co-teaching/inclusion, and teachers embrace all models to create a classroom conducive to all types of learners. Model types include supportive teaching, parallel teaching, complimentary teaching, and team teaching. In Supportive teaching, one teacher presents the lesson/instruction, and the second teacher provides enrichment strategies. These strategies enhance learning for the entire class. With Parallel teaching, the teachers work with separate groups in the classroom. Using Complimentary teaching, teachers provide students with certain learning strategies within the context of a content lesson. Team teaching is when both teachers share the whole class instruction.
Historically, there were two principals at the Park Avenue Complex because there are two distinct schools housed on this campus. Park Avenue Elementary School is a Pre-K through Grade 5 school with approximately 560 students. For the 2011-2012 school year, the Disrict leased 4 Kinderarten classrooms at West Freehold School in Freehold Township). Our Kindergarten students are taught by Park Avenue Elementary School teachers and under the jurisdiction of the PAE Principal. Freehold Intermediate School has an enrollment slightlyover 400 students. The total enrollment of the two schools is over 900 students. Mr. Joseph Jerabek is "Acting Principal" for Freehold Intermediate School and we hired an "Interim Assistant Principal" for the 2011-2012 school year. This model will remain in place for the 2012-2013 school year. Restructuring of grade levels is under serious consideration through the district's Strategic Planning process.
Freehold Borough School District has 11 administrators.
1 Business Administrator
1 Director of Curriculum and Instruction
1 Director of Special Programs
1 "Interim" Assistant Principal
1 Supervisor of Technology & Assessment
1 Supervisor of Instruction (Bilingual/ESL & World Language)
1 Supervisor of Instruction (Anti-Bullying Coordinator, Gifted & Talented Program)
1 Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds
Freehold Learning Center 515 students
Park Avenue Elementary School 560 students
Freehold Intermediate School 400 students
Board of Education Members are not paid a salary and are not entitled to a pension for their service.
The technical differences between a PTA and a PTO are fairly simple. The National PTA is a formal membership organization headquartered in Chicago with a 105-year history of working for children. Local groups that choose to belong to the PTA must pay dues to the state and national organizations and abide by state and national group rules. In return, they get member benefits, and they get a voice in the operations of the larger organization. The National PTA maintains a Washington, D.C., lobbying office, and most state PTAs advocate at their respective state capitals, as well. The PTA carefully protects its name, so that in theory only dues-paying members of the group can call themselves a PTA. A PTO, on the other hand, is a more generic term. It generally represents the thousands of groups that choose to remain independent of the PTA. The acronym PTO is the most popular name for these independent organizations. These are most often single-school groups that operate under their own bylaws and by and large concern themselves with the goings-on at their building or in their own town.
Currently, Freehold Borough Schools operate under a “choice” model. Parents are permitted to select their first choice for an elementary school when registering their child for Kindergarten. Every effort is made to accommodate a parent’s preference, but a reasonable enrollment balance must be maintained between Park Avenue Elementary School and the Freehold Learning Center.
Harassment, Intimidation or Bullying
The Board of Education expects pupils to treat each other with civility and respect and will not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying. Like other disruptive or violent behaviors, this conduct interferes with a pupil’s ability to learn and a school’s ability to educate its pupils in a safe environment.
The Board prohibits acts of harassment, intimidation or bullying against any pupil. Harassment, intimidation or bullying is further defined as “subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving or other offensive touching or threatens to do so; or engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with the purpose to alarm or severely annoy such other person.” (N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4)
A bias crime is defined as any insulting or demanding gesture or written, verbal or physical act that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical or sensory handicap, or by any other distinguishing characteristic, that takes place on school property, at any school-sponsored function or on a school bus. Disciplinary action will be followed as stated in the consequences section. Students and parents are asked to report any acts of possible harassment to the immediate teacher or adult in charge at the time. That teacher will then look into the report and involve the principal if or when needed.
The dress code varies slightly from Elementary to intermediate school. The elementary schools’ policy is:
All students are expected to dress in clothing that is neat and clean, and to observe proper grooming. No single form of dress is required, but clothing and other attire that is immodest, overly revealing, unsafe or likely to distract from, or interfere with the educational process is prohibited. The following types of clothing or attire are specifically prohibited from being worn at Park Avenue Elementary School:
1. Tube tops or any shirts revealing the midriff or any other shirt or top which is sheer or so short or revealing, as to be embarrassing or indecent.
2. Shorts and skirts are permitted, provided they are not so revealing as to be indecent.
3. Skirts and shorts should not be shorter than the tip of the student’s finger tip when hands are atwaist side.
4. Sunglasses (unless a valid medical reason exists).
5. Hoods, hats, or scarves (except when leaving school for the day), or in accordance with religious observances.
6. Garments which display gang , vulgar, drug or alcohol wording or graphics/symbols.
7. Any type of footwear that has wheels. If a student is observed ‘wheeling’ in school they may be reminded as a first warning, the wheels taken out after a second offense and held until a parent can come in for them. A third offense will result in a child being sent to the nurse or office for a parent/guardian to come in with footwear that has no wheels.
8. Students need to wear sneakers for gym class for participation and safety reasons.
N.J.A.C. 6A:9-4.1 requires every public school district to have a Business Administrator. The Business Administrator is to be qualified in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:17-14.2 and N.J.A.C. 6A:9-12.7 and must hold the appropriate certificate as prescribed by the state board.
Our Business Administrator is Mr. Patrick S. DeGeorge. Mr. DeGeorge became the district’s Business Administrator on December 1, 2008. Mr. DeGeorge is our chief school financial officer and is responsible for the development, preparation, and management of our district’s budget. Mr. DeGeorge oversees district-wide payroll and accounting operations and ensures that the district is compliant with all state and federal reporting requirements. The Departments of Transportation, Food Services, and Facilities are also under Mr. DeGeorge direction. Mr. DeGeorge also serves as the secretary to the Board of Education. As such, he is the caretaker for all district records and is principally responsible for preparing board agendas and keeping accurate records of board actions. Mr. DeGeorge manages the district’s risk insurance program including property, liability, and auto coverage. Pursuant to statute, Mr. DeGeorge is the district’s purchasing agent and is responsible for the procurement of all goods and services and he ensures that all purchasing is consistent with law, code, and regulation.
Prior to coming to Freehold Borough, Mr. DeGeorge was the Business Administrator/Board Secretary for the Bass River Township Board of Education in Burlington County. His professional career includes the independent accounting firms of Price Waterhouse, Ernst & Young and J.H. Cohn, as well as financial services firms such as the Bank of New York/Mellon and Goldman Sachs.
Mr. DeGeorge holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Peter's College and a Masters of Arts degree from Seton Hall University. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of New Jersey, holds a valid license as School Business Administrator in the State of New Jersey, and currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Monmouth County Association of School Business Officials.
The solemn obligation to focus on student achievement, along with the ongoing systematic reduction in state aid has compelled many New Jersey public school districts to charge participation fees; especially in the area of athletics. However, at this time the Freehold Borough Board of Education does not anticipate charging an athletics participation fee for either the 2010-2011 or 2011-2012 school years.
The Law regarding the consolidation of public school districts may be found at N.J.S.A. 18A. Here is how the process works:
1. The Board of Education wishing to consolidate its public school district into another public school district (Board #1) passes a resolution to move toward consolidation.
2. Board #1 then approaches the Board of Education it wishes to consolidate into (Board #2)
3. If Board #2 agrees, then it passes a similar resolution.
4. A feasibility study would then need to be conducted. The study would take several months to complete and consider issues such as; negotiated employment agreements, tenure and pension rights, employee health benefits, etc. The cost of the study would be between $50,000 and $75,000; a cost which Board #1 would bear.
5. If the feasibility study is favorable for consolidation, then the matter is put to a vote by each Board of Education. It should be noted that Even if Board #1 votes to move to consolidation, Board #2 may still vote no.
6. If Board #2 votes against consolidation at any point during the process, then the matter is closed.
It should be noted that although the consolidation of public school districts does pose the potential for economic savings, there is a real possibility that consolidation may cause overall costs and property taxes to actually increase as a result. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 18A:6-31.4 mandates that the teachers’ contracts that were in place in the largest district before consolidation become the new contracts for every teacher after consolidation. As such, should the largest district’s teachers’ contracts pay more than the other district, the cost of salaries would increase. Further, since the new board members may be composed by apportionment, there is the potential of larger district having more member representation on the new school board.
To date, the Freehold Borough Board of Education has not considered consolidation with the Freehold Township Board of Education to be beneficial to this District.
At the start of each school year, comprehensive district calendars are sent home with students that provide parents with detailed information on dates for Board meetings, PTO meetings and events, school holidays and early dismissals, parent/teacher conference schedules, and state testing assessments. Also included in this calendar are phone numbers for central office personnel, principals, PTO Presidents, mission statement, school hours, and other general information items. Information on support programs, after-school programs, health services and curriculum is also provided.
Yes, they do. Some of our students are also put on a wait list. If a spot becomes available at a later date, then more of our students are accepted, but at that point we are not notified. Seventeen percent of FIS applicants (2009-2010) were accepted or wait listed. Also, we have students who get accepted in the Monmouth County Vocational School District High Schools such as Academy of Allied Health & Science (AAHS), Biotechnology HS (BTHS), Communications High School (CHS), High Tech High School (HTHS), and Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST).
Why do you teach to the non-english speaking children in their native language?
As per the New Jersey Administrative Code, 6A:15, the district board of education shall establish bilingual education programs whenever there are 20 or more limited English proficient students in any one language classification enrolled in the district.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:35-18. Bilingual education programs shall be designed to prepare Limited English Proficient (LEP) students to acquire sufficient English skills and content knowledge to meet the Core Curriculum Content Standards. All LEP students participating in bilingual programs must also receive English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction. The school also should design a bilingual program curriculum that addresses the Core Curriculum Content Standards, the WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards and the use of two languages. The bilingual education curriculum shall be adopted by the district board of education; and should include the full range of required courses and activities offered on the same basis and under the same rules that apply to all students within the school district.
Parental involvement is essential for the academic achievement of students. Decades of research shows that when parents are involved, students have higher grades in school, better school attendance, increased motivation, and fewer instances of bad behavior. Family participation is twice as predictive of students’ academic success as family socioeconomic status. For this reason and more, it is important to involve parents in meaningful, comprehensible ways.
Additionally, the bilingual code explains that the district board of education shall provide for the maximum practicable involvement of parent(s) of limited English proficient students in the development and review of program objectives and dissemination of information to and from the boards of education and communities served by the bilingual, ESL, or English language services education program. Parental notifications of progress, identification, and exit, as well as other pertinent information for parents of children who are currently enrolled in bilingual education are required by N.J.A.C. 6A:15-1.13 to be in the language of which the child of the parents so notified possesses a primary speaking ability, and in English.
The Freehold Borough School District currently uses the Transitional Bilingual model in our full-time bilingual classrooms. This involves education in a child's native language, typically for no more than three years (Grades K – 2), to ensure that students have a strong foundation of content areas like math, science, and social studies while they are also learning English. The goal is to help students transition to mainstream, English-only classrooms as quickly as possible, and the linguistic goal of such programs is English acquisition. Teachers begin developing students’ literacy skills starting in Kindergarten and use the native language as a bridge to make connections and activate background knowledge. Teachers in Grades 3 - 5 may use Spanish to support English language learners in their classroom, while English is used for the formal instruction.
In some upper grade levels, where the district has established a part-time bilingual model, students are either pulled out for bilingual instruction or a bilingual teacher will provide instruction in an integrated setting.
FIS parents are encouraged to utilize the Genesis Parent Module at the start of each school year through the information supplied to parents in Principal Ribon’s September newsletter, at Back-to-School Night, and at Parent/Teacher Conferences. The process is very simple; parents contact the FIS Main Office for a registration form to complete. After it is returned, it is forwarded on to the Database Manager who sets up the account, and the parent/guardian is notified via email of the login information.