MIDDLE SCHOOL LEADS THE WAY

pltwRed Bank Middle School teacher Elizabeth Willoughby oversees students doing research in a new program called Project Lead the Way. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Reading from a textbook and writing down answers on a test are all well and good, but at Red Bank Middle School, they’re just two ways to acquaint students hands-on with concepts in math, science and more.

That’s where Project Lead the Way, a national initiative to spark “ingenuity, creativity and innovation” within students, comes in.

“It’s really trying to mold and influence this generation and fill a gap that’s been left in America,” said Chris Ippolito, one of two teachers involved in the program. “This is like a supplement to math, science, engineering, et cetera.”

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A NIGHT OF HERITAGE

hispanic-heritage1Red Bank Middle School had a strong showing from the community Wednesday night for its Hispanic Heritage celebration. Families of all cultures joined in the action of song, dance and tons of ethnic grub. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi: click to enlarge)

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FOR TONIGHT: A CULTURAL CELEBRATION

edgar-sandovalJournalist and author Edgar Sandoval, a native of Mexico, spoke to Red Bank Middle School students Tuesday as part of the district’s Hispanic heritage celebration. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Edgar Sandoval is just the kind of guy Red Bank school officials wanted to speak to students at the middle school during its celebration of Hispanic heritage. He emigrated to the United States from Mexico when he was 16, was a ‘C’ student and, with a little determination and hard work, found success as a journalist and author.

“He’s a living, breathing example of what we have here,” said middle school teacher Luz Nieves. “This is the example. This is what we need.”

Sandoval, a reporter for the New York Daily News, made a stop in Red Bank Tuesday to read from his book, “The New Face of Small-Town America: Snapshots of Latino Life in Allentown, Pennsylvania.” It’s a book that he said can easily be transposed to Red Bank, which has a growing Hispanic population among a mix of other cultures.

“This book is really about what it means to be you in a small town like Red Bank or Allentown, Pennsylvania,” Sandoval told students.

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RETURN OF RBMS SPORTS HINGES ON VOTES

rbmsThe middle school is looking for votes to win a grant that would bring back its sports programs. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If there’s any chance of sports returning to Red Bank Middle School, it’s got something like lottery ticket odds.

That’s why the school needs your help.

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A TOUCHING EXPERIENCE

truck-1At the controls: a young participant in Saturday’s Touch-a-Truck event at the Red Bank Middle School enjoys his time behind the wheel. The event was hosted by Monmouth Day Care Center, a private, nonprofit child care facility in Red Bank. (Photos by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

BACK IN BLACK…AND RED AND WHITE

rbms-uniformsStarting in October, Red Bank’s public school students must wear uniforms. For now, it’s optional, but many have chosen to start the school year in according threads. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Schools across The Green opened up the 2010-11 academic year today.

In Red Bank, many of the students not only got acclimated to the start of a new school year, but also a new look.

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LEADING SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: IT’S SUMMER!

field-day2Charter school students play a game with water balloons during Thursday’s end-of-year field day. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For kids, it’s the best time of the school year: the end. And right about now, they can taste it.

Literally so, for some students at the Red Bank Charter School. Yesterday, they invaded the grassy field of Riverside Gardens Park for their annual field day, which includes a free-for-all for kids to blast tone another and their teachers with  water balloons.

Red Bank Middle School students, meanwhile, still have another few days until they can hit the beach with any regularity. But the school’s 6th graders spent Thursday priming for the dog days with their counterparts from Monmouth Beach.

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COCKROACH VIDEO NETS MIDDLE SCHOOL $3K

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

In the nationwide rat race — or, to be taxonomically precise, the rodent, termite, mosquito and cockroach race —  Red Bank Middle School students stand alone.

On Thursday, they collected the grand prize of $3,000 in the first national contest to create a public service announcement for the National Pest Management Association. Their winning entry, “Club Roach,” may be broadcast nationwide, a spokeswoman for the group says.

Two other entries submitted by the middle school also finished in the top five.

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RED BANK USING SOLE MUSIC TO HELP HAITI

soles4soulsDonation bins like this one can be found at all Red Bank schools in a campaign to collect shoes for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Face it, you’ve been staring at that cluster of shoes in the closet for a long time now. You’ve only worn them a couple times since you bought them and you need to make space.

Red Bank’s students have a place to put them that’s a lot better than chucking them in the garbage.

They’ve also put their ideas for a couple of concerts in motion to do the same thing they hope to do with old shoes: help out the victims of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

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RED BANK REMEMBERS A LOVING TEACHER

jonelle4Toni Graham, a teacher at Red Bank Middle School, comforts student Kadajyah Smith as she chokes up during a reading for Jonelle Melton, who was killed in September. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Just walking into the Red Bank Middle School auditorium Friday night, you could learn a lot about Jonelle Melton. She had a great big smile, loved butterflies, her favorite color was purple and, perhaps above all else, she touched a lot of lives.

And this you could figure out before anybody said a word.

As students, teachers, friends and family entered the middle school for a memorial to Melton, who was killed in September, they were greeted by a placard with butterflies bordering a picture of Melton — the same picture that was screened onto T-shirts that teachers and students inside the auditorium wore.

Those who didn’t wear the shirts chose to wear a purple band, Melton’s favorite color, on their left sleeve.

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RBMS HAS EYES ON NO.1 PRIZE

rbms-kids1

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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