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FAIR HAVEN: SCHOOL STARTUP SPINS A PROFIT

Hailey Blum shows off a fidget spinner, joined by Milana Strulowitz and Shane Sullivan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s a rare business that gets to take the summer off. But a startup run by Fair Haven fifth-and sixth-graders has earned some slack time after landing and delivering on a legit $1,000 manufacturing contract this past school year with San Francisco-based Slack.

And it all revolved around a faddish chill-out device called a fidget spinner.

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RED BANK: GOP ‘CANDIDATE’ BLASTS… GOP

irwin katz 040307.jpgCamera-shy then as now, Irwin Katz hides behind a sign at his short-lived Monmouth Street store in 2007. Below is the August 10 GOP Facebook post that angered Katz. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB GOP school board post 081015One of three candidates on a Republican-recruited slate for the Red Bank school board tells redbankgreen he wants nothing to do with party, whose officials he calls “a bunch of liars, gangsters and thieves.”

Irwin Katz said he was talked into running without any mention of the GOP’s involvement, which he said he resents in a race that he believes should be non-partisan. But now that he’s on the November 3 ballot, he’ll stand as an independent, as intended, he said Wednesday.

“I’m going forward, for hell or high water,” Katz said. “Now my Irish is up.”

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RED BANK: BASIE UNVEILS NEW ARTS SPACE


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Guests mingled in the new Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy Monday. Below, Yvonne Lamb Scudiery and Mayor Pasquale Menna spoke at the unveiling. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

cbpac 092115 1Old-timers will recall its days as a WaWa, but its future is as a laboratory for the arts.

So say officials at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy about the onetime convenience store that is now the academy’s home.

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RED BANK: BASIE NETS $1M FOR STUDENT ARTS

basie-marquee-3-090213-500x375donegoodlogoRed Bank’s Count Basie Theatre is $1 million richer this month, thanks to a Brielle-based charity. The Charles Lafitte Foundation, founded by Vonage board chairman Jeffrey Citron and his wife, Suzanne, matched funds raised at the foundation’s annual single-beneficiary golf outing, held June 29 in Union County, to raise a record sum for the theater.

Adam Philipson, the Basie’s president and CEO, said the money will be used to create an endowment that will make the arts available to students of all backgrounds “for generations to come.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: BUSKING FOR THE PROGRAM

rb strings 072614Red Bank primary and middle school strings players performing at the borough Sidewalk Sale on Saturday included, from left, Hannah Ludwikowski, Claudia Garcia, Parker Ludwikowski, Mae Woolley, Sarah Perry and Lillian Woolley. 

Parents of strings students have joined forces with the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation to raise the $85,000 required for restoration of the strings program, which was terminated recently over budget issues. (Photo by Wayne Woolley. Click to enlarge)

LITTLE SILVER: MIND YOUR RIND AT SICKLES

sickles cheese caitlinCheesemonger Caitlin O’Neill will be leading a series of cheese classes in the Sickles Market greenhouse. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

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When Caitlin O’Neill, cheesemonger at Sickles Market in Little Silver, tells PieHole that cheese consumption and cheese buying is not as cultivated in our country as it is in European countries, we’re not surprised.

Our national cheese — the rubbery Day-Glo orange square that serves as the perfect creamy foil to the tang of a few slices of pork roll — undeniably lacks the character and terroir of a nice sheep’s milk cheese from Spain.

O’Neill wants to help her customers understand what they might be missing out on.

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WEEKEND: REGATTA, TEA, A MAN IN A TREE…

on borrowed time 4‘On Borrowed Time’ continues its run at the Two River Theater, above. Judith Krall Russo, below, talks tea and women in history at the Eastern Branch Monmouth County Library Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, September 27:

SONY DSCSHREWSBURY: Alexander Saulon leads a discussion about social media sites and how to use Skype and Facebook to stay connected with family and friends at the Monmouth County Eastern Branch Library. The discussion begins at 11 a.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

RED BANK: Keep up with the Jonzes at the Walt Street Pub for some Friday night entertainment. The Jonzes are sure to please with their eclectic musical range from heavy metal to reggae, pop, dance, and more. The music begins at 8 p.m. 180 Monmouth Street.

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RFH: TECH EXPERT TO ADDRESS TEACHERS

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High

Ian Jukes, who has garnered international acclaim as an expert on educating the “Digital Generation,” will be the featured speaker at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s Professional Day on September 3.

His keynote address, titled “Critical Thinking and Effective Question/Discussion Strategies,” will be presented to all RFH staff members in the school’s auditorium. This special presentation will serve as a kick-off for the events of Professional Day, which is designed to help RFH staff effectively prepare for the upcoming school year.

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FAIR HAVEN: TEENS LAUNCH MAG, WITH VERVE

A Verve magazine production session in Fair Haven last week. Below, instruction Jennifer Chauhan, left, with Samantha Quinn. (Photos by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

What is imagination? What is artistic expression?

It’s “Verve,” according to an ambitious group of local young creators led by Little Silver-based writer, editor and educator Jennifer Chauhan.

This summer, Chauhan, the founder of the JC Writing Studio in Fair Haven, is helping five teens from local schools tap into their creative energy and craft their  own online publication. During a four-day open writing studio last week, Chauhan helped the founding editors transform Verve from an idea into a reality.

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LITTLE SILVER: SCHOOL’S OUT, EVEN WHEN IN

Jersey Shore Free School students on the nature trail in Little Silver last month. Below, student Sophie makes a point while staff member Michael waits his turn. (Photo above by Michael Quirk; below by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

It’s a dream come true.

The kids follow the rules because they made them.

If you respect children, they listen to you. 

My day is seamless: I’m learning all the time. 

These are voices of parents, teachers and students at the Jersey Shore Free School, a social oasis tucked away in a onetime residence on Birch Ave in Little Silver.

It’s a place where the usual rules don’t apply – and unusual ones do. For starters, there are no ‘teachers’ here, staff member Katie Finn tells redbankgreen one recent morning. There’s no fixed syllabus or schedule: all classes are on request, like a recent impromptu lesson in calculating a tip for the delivery of a recent communal lunch. And the school is a full democracy, entrusting even the youngest students with an equal say in all aspects of school functioning, including budget, policies, programs and even hiring.

“The kids follow the rules because they make the rules,” Finn said.

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RED BANK: SCHOOL AID TO RISE 13 PERCENT

Red Bank Primary School. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank schools will see a $339,000 increase in budgetary help from Trenton next year, the Christie Administration announced Thursday.

As part of what the state Department of Education called “the largest appropriation of K-12 education dollars in the state’s history,” the two-school Red Bank district will see an increase in state aid of 13 percent, to a total $2.7 million, in the 2013-2014 year, the agency said in a press release.

The entirety of the increase reflects “under-adequacy” funding, a new DOE category of aid designed “to benefit districts that are currently 10 percent or more below” what the state figures it costs to provide students an adequate education.

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SEA BRIGHT: OPERATION SHEETROCK TRIMMED

The rebuilding of a public access stairway over the sea wall is among the projects in the scaled-back volunteer outreach, says coordinator Frank Lawrence, below. (Photo below by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Last month, Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long offered college students an altruistic alternative to the traditional debauchery-laden spring break: come help residents hang wallboard and make other repairs to their storm-battered homes.

Operation Sheetrock,” she dubbed it.

But with spring break now underway or rapidly approaching, few residences are ready for wallboard hanging, and won’t be for at least a few more weeks, according to borough volunteer coordinator Frank Lawrence.

“So many homes don’t have heat or electricity yet,” Lawrence said, “so a lot of the walls inside these houses are holding moisture. If we hang sheetrock over the walls right now, the moisture will be trapped inside, and when the weather warms up, mold will inevitably grow inside the walls. It’s the perfect environment”

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SANDY LOOMS OVER HOLIDAY GIVING

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Little Silver – Many of Red Bank Regional High School’s students come from beach towns and were faced with tragedy when their homes were struck by Hurricane Sandy. Some lost everything they owned, including crucial technology needed for their studies.

To help remedy this unforeseen loss, the RBR Education Foundation recently established the RBR Education Foundation Disaster Relief Fund in the amount of $10,000 to provide loaner educational technology such as laptops and calculators to students who lost those important tools in Hurricane Sandy.

Laptops have already been purchased and distributed to those identified with the most urgent need. According to RBR Principal Risa Clay, the technology will remain with the students until they graduate high school and then recycled for other RBR students in need of the technology.

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LITTLE SILVER TO VOTE ON ALL-DAY-K FUNDS

Two classrooms would be added to the Point Road School to accommodate the program. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After almost four years of study and discussion, a proposed full-day kindergarten program goes before Little Silver voters next month in the form of a funding referendum.

On the ballot: a $750,000 bond to pay for a two-classroom addition to the pre-k-to-fourth-grade Point Road School.

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FOURSOME LAUNCHING RUMSON ART SCHOOL

canvas-1Beth Sillen, Eileen Burgess, Meg Sellig and Maricarmen Buckley hope Canvas Studio Art will fill a void that the public schools cannot. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

They ran a marathon together. They paint together. And now, they’re going into business together.

Four local women plan to open an after-school art instruction program in Rumson next month, hoping it will supplement the instruction available in the public schools.

Though they have high praise for the work of the public school programs, they know about the limits of what the schools can offer not only because they have 11 children between them, but because teachers in the public system have expressed frustration over it. And at least two of those teachers have signed on to provide instruction.

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‘A LOVE LETTER TO TEACHERS’ AT TRTC

nilajacarolroseggNilaja Sun stars as teacher, students, parents and faculty in NO CHILD…, the Obie winning one woman show going up at Two River Theater in Red Bank. (Photo by CAROL ROSEGG/ Berkeley Repertory Theater)

By TOM CHESEK

Regular followers of Two River Theater Company might find themselves a bit taken aback when they check out the new show inside the mainstage Rechnitz auditorium — where the 2011-2012 season recently opened with a Much Ado About Nothing that boasted a large cast of Broadway vets, a Tony-nominated director and a script by one Will Shakespeare.

When the play known as No Child… goes up in previews beginning Tuesday, theatergoers will look upon a spare set design populated by a single performer — a player who also happens to be the playwright.

Those who feel they’re not getting their money’s worth should know that No Child… is a critically acclaimed, Obie-winning hit that’s been seen by over a million ticketholders, with over 600 performances Off Broadway as well as major productions on both coasts and both sides of the Atlantic pond.

They should also know that No Child… is not a monologue but a full-fledged comedy-drama featuring some sixteen speaking parts — young and old, students and faculty, male and female, funny and not so — all of whom just happen to be played by native New Yorker Nilaja Sun. In fact, Ms. Sun, who won that 2007 Obie for her work here, originally scripted this play for a quartet of actors, and has been carrying the workload of four people ever since the play’s earliest performances.

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WEBSITE UNVEILS DETAILED SCHOOL DATA

How many children are in the average seventh-grade classroom at the Red Bank Middle School, and how does that compare to the statewide average?

screen-shot-2010-09-27-at-95035-amWhat percentage of the cost of operating two schools in the Rumson district comes directly from borough taxpayers, and how does that compare to nearby districts?

Where can one get math and verbal-skills proficiency results for students at Red Bank Regional?

NJ Spotlight, a public-issues news site launched earlier this year, has compiled and posted comprehensive data on every New Jersey public school’s performance and spending.

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SCHUNDLER MUM ON TRIP TO WOODSHED

stringsPre-K students playing string instruments greeted Education Commissioner Bret Schundler, in red tie, during his visit to the Red Bank Primary School this morning. (Click to enlarge)

He came, he listened, and he got choked up on his own words about “the vision of a beloved society” that quality education promises.

But one thing New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler did not do on a visit to Red Bank this morning was talk about a report that he’d gotten a dressing-down over the phone by Governor Chris Christie last Friday.

“It’s a great day to visit Red Bank Primary School,” Schundler said with a smile, when asked if a Star-Ledger report that Christie “tore into” him over a deal with the state teachers’ union was accurate.

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SCHUNDLER PLANS RED BANK STOP

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Department of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler is scheduled to visit the primary school tomorrow. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler plans on spending a little time checking out what school’s like in Red Bank tomorrow.

At the request of state Senator Jen Beck, Schundler will spend an hour at the primary school getting a glimpse of classroom instruction and will be treated to some music, said superintendent Laura Morana.

What he won’t get, says Morana, is any grousing about the Christie Administration’s budget-slashing, which left the two-school Red Bank district with just $24,000 in state aid this year, not counting funds for its highly regarded pilot pre-kindergarten program.

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RBMS HAS EYES ON NO.1 PRIZE

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Red Bank Middle School students Sandra Paz, Teddy Mitchell and Josh Bruce talk to the media Thursday about their involvement in “eInstruction Is The Key,” a video they made for an international competition. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The Top 10 isn’t good enough for Red Bank Middle School anymore.

Over the last couple years, students have shown the nation they’ve got loads of talent with their rock operas and rap videos that have placed in the Top 10 in education contests. Their videos have won a nice amount of cash for the school district. But this year, the students are taking their talent international, and they have their eyes on a sweet technology makeover for the first place winner.

The middle school has entered its students’ video, “e-Instruction Is The Key,” into the third annual e-Instruction Interactive Classroom Makeover Competition, which draws talent from all over the world to compete for technology upgrades worth $30,000 at the winning school. After placing as finalists the last two years, the Red Bank’s faculty and students have high hopes and expectations for 2009.

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RED BANK EARLY-ED PROGRAM IN SPOTLIGHT

tools-nytmag1The article appears in an education-themed edition of the magazine.

The Red Bank school system‘s cutting-edge early childhood education program known as Tools of the Mind is spotlighted in the New York Times Magazine on newsstands today and tomorrow.

Already a magnet for education theorists who come to town to see it in action, the borough program is used by the magazine as a jumping-off point for a detailed discussion of some fairly arcane research into what works and doesn’t work in equipping pre-K and kindergarten students with the ability to learn.

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