duck Two Rivers ExhibitionDecoys, shorebirds and wildlife art (above) are the stars of the show…and artist-author David Rhodes (below) is the special guest exhibitor…as the annual Two Rivers Exhibition returns to Rumson’s Forrestdale School on Saturday. 

David RhodesIt’s one of those best-kept-secret events that keep local life here on the greater Green so worthy of continued exploration — and for enthusiasts of a certain sort of niche craft, it’s an excursion that sure beats getting up before dawn and shivering the morning away in some lonesome duck blind.

Back for its third annual edition this Saturday, March 12, the Two Rivers Exhibition of Sporting Collectible Art  commandeers the all-purpose room of Forrestdale School (60 Forrest Avenue in Rumson) between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., for a one-stop occasion in which some of the finest carvers of decoys and shorebirds from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland will compete for Best in Show honors (entries to be judged on anatomy, originality, likeness to species, and proper flotation). Also offered will be wildlife-themed art (watercolor, acrylic, oils, photographs, metal, pottery and more), artist demos, antique decoy appraisals, silent auction, 50/50 raffle, and lunch menu — a must-see “if you love birds, are interested in learning about the history of decoys or simply enjoy nature and delight in seeing all the beauty it has to offer.”

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Peter_O'ConnorPress release from Rumson School District

To fish in Lake Winnipesaukee and ski near Franconia Notch, you would travel to which state? Sea kayakers can explore hundreds of islands off the Dalmatian coast of which European country? The Forbidden City where the Chinese emperors lived is located within what present-day city?

These are among the questions that have been asked of middle school students competing in Geographic Bees at schools throughout New Jersey — and for the second consecutive year, Rumson student Peter O’Connor has been crowned the Geographic Bee champion at Forrestdale School. The 7th grader, son of Joe and Margot O’Connor, has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he will be eligible to compete as a semifinalist in the 2016 New Jersey National Geographic State Bee, to be held Friday, April 1 at the Tohill Theater on the campus of Rowan University in Glassboro.

Peter has also qualified for the New York Regional Finals of the National History Bee, which takes place on April 2. He independently took an online test for that competition, and in late January found out he qualified.  In 2015, Peter won the New York Regional Final, then went to Louisville, KY for the National Finals and finished in the top 30 in the country.

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Dr Alison BlockPress release from Rumson School District 

Types of Anxiety. What Determines “Normal.” Distinguishing between Thoughts and Feelings. Dealing with Phobias. And the phenomenon of “Almost-Anxiety.” These were the topics of discussion, when some 45 parents of Rumson School District students attended another session of “Parent Acaemy” at Forrestdale School on the night of February 18.

The parents joined guest speaker Dr. Alison Block for a lecture on “Recognizing Anxiety in Elementary and Middle School Children,” with school officials including  Superintendent Dr. John Bormann, School Psychologist Spencer Austin, School Counselors Jenn Crow and Jessica Piernik, and Supervisor of Student Services Vera Ridoux, also in attendance.

“What I would like is for all of you to leave here with a model to help you understand anxiety in your child, as well as steps you can take to address it,” said Dr. Block, a licensed psychologist and well-known cognitive behavioral therapist, and the Director of the Health Psychology Center in Little Silver. “Kids are great at telling us how they feel, but what we need to examine is what they are thinking when they feel this way.”

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Rumson spelling beeSeventh-grader Josie Schneider (center) celebrates victory with her mother Andrea Huber, and Forrestdale School Spelling Bee Emcee Keith Laviola.

Press release from Rumson School District 

On January 26, seventh-grader Josie Schneider claimed the first place finish at the annual Forrestdale School Spelling Bee. Josie attained victory with the correct spelling of her Championship word, “sedimentary.”

Fifth-grader Charlie Patton was first runner-up in the competition, entering the championship round with his correct spelling of the word “antonym.” In all, 27 students in grades four through eight, all of whom had prevailed in their individual classroom spelling bees, participated in the schoolwide event.

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Forrestdale band concertForrestdale School band director John Lebitsch conducts the Jazz Ensemble during the annual Winter Concert program in the school’s auditorium.

Press release from Rumson School District

The winter blues were kept at bay for one memorable night, as the Forrestdale School Winter Band Concert took place on the evening of January 14. Led by Forrestdale School Band Director John Lebitsch, the Advanced and Intermediate Bands and the Jazz Ensemble played to a packed house, and delighted the crowd.

The evening’s lineup featured Advanced Band performances of “Autumn Fanfare” (composed by Mekel Rogers) and “Train Heading West” (Timothy Broege). The Intermediate Band performed the Brian Balmages composition “Midnight Suite,” and the Combined Advanced and Intermediate Bands teamed up for a performance of the Tchaikovsky favorite “March from the Nutcracker.”

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Rumson Schools CodePress release from Rumson School District

Computers are everywhere, touching nearly every aspect of our lives — but surprisingly, fewer schools teach computer science now than were teaching it 10 years ago.

“Teaching kids to code is just as important as teaching them any other language,” stated Apple CEO Tim Cook on December 9th, 2015. “And the younger they start learning it, the better.”

This sentiment is echoed by the Rumson School District. Both Educational Technology teachers, Mark Panas of Deane-Porter (K-3) and Chris Macioch of Forrestdale (4-8) and their students have joined in on the largest education event in history: The Hour of Code.

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Rumson Laurie VolpeSupervisor of Curriculum, Instruction and Guidance Laurie Volpe addresses parents at Forrestdale School, during the Rumson School District’s presentation of “Understanding Your Child’s PARCC Scores.”

Press release from Rumson School District 

On the evening of January 11, the Rumson School District invited parents of borough students to a public presentation entitled “Understanding Your Child’s PARCC Scores.” Over 40 parents attended the Parent Academy presentation inside the All Purpose Room at Forrestdale School, co-hosted by Superintendent Dr. John Bormann and Laurie Volpe, Supervisor of Instruction, Curriculum, and Guidance.

This spring, and for the second consecutive year, the Borough of Rumson is preparing to administer Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing for all students in the public school system. Testing will take place from April 11 – 15 for students in grades four through eight, and from May 2-6 for third graders.

The 7 pm Parent Academy presentation provided district parents with timely information and perspective on the PARCC Assessment, which is aligned with Common Core Standards.

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Kim CrowleyKim Crowley, RN of Meridian Health instructs eighth graders at Forrestdale School in the use of an Advanced External Defibrillator.

During their classes in Health and Physical Education on January 6-8, seventh and eighth grade students at Forrestdale School in Rumson learned critical lifesaving skills, courtesy of an initiative from Meridian Health.

Presented under the banner Create a Community of Lifesavers, the initiative allowed students to receive instruction in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) compression, as well as abdominal thrust methods for treating choking victims. The 40-minute sessions were presented and overseen by Meridian Health representatives Kim Crowley, Ashley Davis, Angela Norosavage, and CJ Sabosik.

The wheels were set in motion when the school’s Health teacher Heather de Laszlo, RN received a letter outlining the need for and availability of Creating a Community of Lifesavers. Made possible by a partnership between Meridian Health and the American Heart Association, the program is being offered at no cost to local schools.

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Supt Borman RumsonRumson Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Bormann (at right) discusses a group activity during the October 26th session of the Rumson School District’s “Parent Academy.”

Press release from Rumson School District

The Rumson School District recently sponsored a Parent Academy session, for the purpose of outlining Social and Emotional Learning initiatives taking place in Forrestdale and Deane-Porter Schools.  Over 90 parents of borough schoolchildren attended the event, held on the evening of October 26 and hosted by Superintendent Dr. John E. Bormann, Deane-Porter School Counselor Jessica Piernik, and Forrestdale School Counselor Jenn Crow.

“School is one of the few places where children are faced with social situations and conflicts that can be handled by working together with caring adults,” said Bormann. “This makes us an excellent proving ground.”

“We are supplying our students with a much-needed venue to make missteps in the presence of well-informed staff members who will correct them and guide them in the right direction.”

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attach.mscCostume contest winner Carolyn Ott (center) meets Forrestdale School sixth-graders Sally Wingertzahn (left) and Brennan Stabler (right) during the Rumson Senior Citizen’s Club Halloween Luncheon, held at the First Presbyterian Church on October 26. The event is one of many student/senior activities offered throughout the school year by the club, information on which (including other activities like a holiday Toys For Tots drive and bus trips) is available by contacting the church.


abby_shawThey say that a person’s choice of Halloween costume reflects a lot about who they are on the inside — but while Abby Shaw doesn’t appear at first glance to be sporting an angel’s wings or a superhero’s cape, the 13 year old Rumson resident has figuratively suited up each of the past five Halloween seasons, on a do-good mission of her own devising.

Since the fall of 2011, during her days as a fourth grader at Forrestdale School, Abby has operated her own charitable enterprise, through which she collects donated Halloween costumes and distributes them to area kids in need.

Five years on, Abby’s Costumes for Kids Collection may not rank among the world’s most internationally recognizable nonprofit entities — but the smiles that have resulted from one kid’s hard work and positive energy have cured many cases of the trick-or-treat blues, and shown how a deceptively simple idea can capture a community’s imagination.

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ForrestdalePress release from Rumson School District

The graduation ceremony for Forrestdale School’s Class of 2015 was held at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School on the evening of June 17, during which Rumson Board of Education President Colleen O’Connor and Deane-Porter School Principal Shari Feeney awarded diplomas to 118 students.

SGA Secretary Ryan Champeau, presenting the Class Gift, announced that the Class of 2015 would be providing a Bulldog mat for the entryway of Forrestdale School. Speakers included District Assistant Principal Amy Romano, Forrestdale School Principal Jen Gibbons, and SGA President Maxwell Connery, who recalled his time at Forrestdale School as a new student by observing that “I was made to feel included immediately, and then I came to realize what is unique about Forrestdale…we are free to be who we are thanks to an environment of acceptance.”

Forrestdale Music Teacher John Lebitsch led the Graduation Ensemble in performances of the Processional (Pomp and Circumstance) and the Recessional (Stargate VI).

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Rumson superPress release from Rumson School District

Dr. John E. Bormann, Ed. D., has been announced as Superintendent of the Rumson School District. A special Rumson Board of Education Meeting, during which all members voted unanimously in favor of his appointment, was held on June 9 at Forrestdale School.

A two-time recipient of the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award,  Dr. Bormann (at left in photo) was selected from a field of 32 candidates, and will be responsible for Deane-Porter School (Pre-K through third grade) and Forrestdale School (fourth through eighth grade). His official start date is August 1, and his contract runs through June 30, 2020.

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Rumson teachersEighth Grade ELA teacher Lori Zucker of Forrestdale School, and First Grade teacher Holly Nixon of Deane-Porter School were recently named Teachers of the Year by the Rumson Board of Education.

Press release from Rumson School District

At its April 29 meeting held at Forrestdale School, the Rumson Board of Education honored Holly Nixon and Lori Zucker as its “Teachers of the Year” for 2015. The two educators received accolades from the Board and members of the administration, with family, friends, and colleagues in attendance.

A First Grade teacher at Deane-Porter School, Nixon has taught at both Deane-Porter (Pre-K to Third grades) and Forrestdale (Fourth through Eighth grades) Schools during her 14 years with the Rumson School District. She received her undergraduate degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attained her M. Ed. from Kean University in Union, New Jersey. A mother of four children — all of whom attended grade school in the district — she has been a resident of Rumson for the past 22 years.

An eighth grade English Language Arts (ELA) teacher, Zucker is a 10-year member of the Forrestdale School faculty. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and her M. Ed. from Teachers College/Columbia University in New York City. She began her teaching career at John Adams Elementary School in North Brunswick, New Jersey, and spent 10 years working in educational publishing before returning to the classroom. She lives in Oakhurst with her husband, two children, nephew and dog.

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tri districtPress release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Returning to the auditorium at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, the annual Tri-District Music Festival is slated for the evening of Tuesday, April 7. The free performance is open to the public and will take place at 7 pm.

Tri-District features student musicians from Forrestdale School in Rumson and Knollwood School in Fair Haven, as well as RFH. It offers a unique opportunity for the high school and “sending district” students to perform together, and always provides top-notch entertainment and a rousing finale featuring all of the participants. This year’s lineup includes Combined Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Jazz Band, and Flute Choir.

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Rumson momsPress release from Rumson School District

On Monday, February 23, the Rumson School District presented a parent “coffee chat” on the subject of Internet Safety and Cyber Bullying. The event was organized by Forrestdale School Guidance Counselor and Anti-Bullying Specialist Jenn Crow — and hosted by local parent and internet safety expert Tyna Kilbourne, who has a wealth of industry experience (having once spearheaded AOL’s Criminal Compliance Unit).

Kilbourne, who is a member of the Forrestdale School Safety Team, examined the “ugly side” of the internet, where predators abound, and addressed issues such as “perceived anonymity” that affect today’s school-age children.

“Statistics show that 92% of children in the U.S. have had some exposure to the internet or have some form of online presence by the time they are two years old,” Kilbourne told a surprised group of parent attendees. “And a question that parents should always be asking when their children are using internet technology is ‘what exactly are they doing?’”

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TwoRiversEx2014Decoys, shorebirds and wildlife art from the region’s top carvers and artists are on display and for sale during the annual Two Rivers Exhibition, coming to Forrestdale School on Saturday. 

For enthusiasts of such craft, it’s the real deal — particularly if you find the guys from Duck Dynasty either too dag-nasty, or simply a bunch of quacks.

When the New Jersey Waterfowl Carvers Association hosts its annual Two Rivers Exhibition of Sporting Collectible Art in Rumson on Saturday, it will once again represent the finest one-stop collection of hand-carved decoys, shorebirds and related wildlife art created by some of the region’s best sculptors – including John Hanson, Dennis Jenny, Keith Salkeld, David Thibault, Rob Wilson – all of it on display and on sale.

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Geo BeeSixth-grader Peter O’Connor has been announced as first-place winner of the annual Geography Bee, held at Forrestdale School in Rumson on February 4. As the result of in-class competitions held prior to the event, 18 students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades were selected to participate.

Peter, the 12 year old son of Margot and Joe O’Connor of Rumson, achieved victory with his correct answer of “Canada” to the question, “Which country is the setting for Jack London’s classic novel ‘The Call of the Wild’, which takes place during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon?” Second-place winner was eighth-grader Sam Eckstein.

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SageEighth-grader Sage Basri of Rumson spelled the word “anathema” correctly to claim victory in the Forrestdale School Spelling Bee.

Press release from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School

Sage Basri, an eighth-grader at Forrestdale School in Rumson, has been announced as the winner of the annual School Spelling Bee. The 13 year old daughter of Nancy and Bill Basri will move on to the Regional Spelldown competition, to be held March 16 and 17 at Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

The Spelling Bee took place in the school’s gymnasium on Friday, January 30, with students and teachers as well as the families of participants in attendance. Approximately 30 students in fourth through eighth grade were selected to take part in the Spelling Bee, based on the results of grade-level competitions held prior to the school-wide event.

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Press release from Rumson School District

The Instrumental Music Program at Forrestdale School in Rumson took center stage for the Winter Concert on January 15, when the Intermediate and Advanced Bands and the Jazz Ensemble under the direction of John Lebitsch entertained a large and appreciative audience in the school gymnasium.

The Winter Concert featured selections that allowed various sections of the bands to shine. A crowd favorite, “Percussion Portrait” by Jerry Nowak, was performed by the Advanced Band and showcased the skills of the percussion section on six different instruments.

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Ms._Farrell_Grade_4_croppedMs. Farrell’s  fourth grade classroom at Forrestdale School in Rumson employs Google Chromebook  laptop computers, as part of an ambitious new project in the borough’s schools.

Press release from Rumson School District

The Chromebook Project, an initiative of the Rumson Education Foundation (REF), has achieved remarkable success and progress since its inception as the largest, most ambitious project in the history of the Education Foundation and the Rumson School District.

The project will provide state-of-the-art Google technology to all students in grades K through 8 at Deane Porter and Forrestdale Schools. The stated goal of the project is to provide “1 to 1 Chromebook Technology” and “Place the Future in Our Children’s Hands”.

The first phase is already complete, with an ample supply of Chromebook laptops now available in all fourth and fifth grade classrooms, where all subjects are taught by homeroom teachers. In the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades — in which teachers dedicate themselves to specific subjects — carts containing Chromebooks are available for use by all students in Math and Social Studies classes.

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V__EFD6Rumson PTO Book Fair attendees — and Clifford the Big Red Dog — enjoy a conch shell concert by Forrestdale School Music Teacher John Lebitsch, during the recent event.

Press release from Rumson School District  PTO

“I like books,” said Clara Winters, a first grader at Deane Porter School, when asked why she was excited to attend this year’s Rumson School District Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) Book Fair.

Judging by the number of excited youngsters clutching brand new books in anticipation of taking them home to enjoy, Clara was in good company.

The 2014 Rumson PTO Book Fair, held in the gymnasium of Deane Porter School from October 15 to 22, featured an astounding number of compelling titles to pique the interests of Pre-Kindergarteners through eighth graders at Deane Porter and Forrestdale Schools. Thousands of books and related items were available for immediate purchase, including a selection of titles for adults and young adults.

This year’s attendees were urged to make way for their new purchases by donating gently used titles to the Bridge of Books Foundation. Bridge of Books provides an ongoing source of books to underprivileged and at-risk children throughout New Jersey in order to support literacy skills and foster a love of reading. The generosity of the Rumson school community resulted in the donation of 20 cartons filled with books.

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RFHKindergarten student Aidan Giblin and second grader Cameron (Cami) Hendrickson of Rumson greet the Bulldog mascot at Family Fall Festival 2014.

Press release from Rumson School District

Music and laughter filled the air on September 26, as purple-clad youngsters ran hurriedly about the grounds of Deane Porter School, during the Rumson School District’s third annual Family Fall Festival.

A powerful display of “Purple Pride,” the event (cooked up by hardworking parent and student volunteers) featured bounce houses, carnival games with prizes, drills and games courtesy of CrossFit Triple Threat in Red Bank, basketball fun with “Coach Cal” and “Coach Shempy,” and airbrush tattoos by “Party on with Natalie.”

The large crowd enjoyed refreshments such as flavored ices and cotton candy, a variety of fare from Freshica’s in Fair Haven and Locals Foodery in Rumson, and hot dogs from the cart of Mrs. Reidy. Also featured were a candy and treat tent and a display of Bulldog-themed merchandise for sale.

The musical soundtrack accompanying the frenzy of activity was provided by DJ Tommy Lynch,  and even the RFH Bulldog mascot got in on the action, busting some dance moves and receiving hugs from happy youngsters.

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TriDistrictThe June 12 Tri-District Music Festival will feature RFH student musicians along with their counterparts from Knollwood and Forrestdale schools.

An annual tradition for over 17 years, the Tri-District Music Festival brings together talented musicians and singers from Forrestdale School in Rumson and Knollwood School in Fair Haven, as well as from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School. This year, for the first time, the Festival will be held at the outdoor venue — Victory Park, just off River Road in Rumson.

The performance will take place on Thursday, June 12 at 6 pm, with a rain date scheduled for the same time and place on Friday, June 13.

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