Autumn Update

West Long Branch School District

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"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." – L.M. Montgomery

In what seems like a blink, the weather has turned crisp and clear, and Autumn is truly upon us! I hope this newsletter finds you and your families enjoying the bounties of the season - hayrides, pumpkins, apple picking, and togetherness.


The beginning of the school year has been a true whirlwind of hard work, lots of fun, and a return to so many of our most loved traditions and events. We would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of the wonderful things that have been going on in WLB during the Fall season, and to share some of the exciting events and work coming up soon!!


I'd like to thank all of our coaches, advisors, and all the others who contributed information and photos to make this newsletter possible!!


Warm Regards,

Christina Egan

Fall Athletics Season Recap From The Coaches!

Girls' Soccer

Through a hard fought couple weeks, including some injuries and bumps and bruises, the girls proved just how tough they are. We had many new faces this year that brought quite a spark to the pitch, as well as some veterans to lead our team. In the first few matches we saw some goals, assists, and sound leadership from eighth graders and co-captains, Jenna Eichenbaum and Daniele Radisch. Jenna finished the season early with an injury but scored two goals, and Daniele finished with five goals and two assists. Mackenzie Rogers and Sophia Massre added strong pace and determination on game days as well. Frankie Coppola and co-captain Aubrey McGrade made up a solid back line for the Spartans, who kept us in every game.


Seventh grader Haley Russo gave depth to our roster, providing more options for attacking the goal. Alex Klein and Gabby Garofalo developed a strong chemistry in the middle of the field, providing a solid core to our attacking and defensive midfield. Gabby finished the season with seven goals and five assists. While Alex finished with one goal and one assist. Our final seventh grader, Jaelyn Smith, was a "wall" on defense, working hard all season long to keep the ball out of the net!


Our sixth graders each brought something special to the team and we are excited they're here to stay. Aili Simonson has shown so much growth over the season, and took some great shots on goal. Addie McGrade looked solid on defense learning from her sister and teammates all season long. Teagan Waters has brought a grit you can't teach to this team, making non-stop runs up and down the field all season long. Rebecca Simmen worked hard all season earning one goal this year, and is a true team player! Anna Hess and Raegan Cagliostro both made consistent runs into the box, finding the open space for their teammates all season, I'm so excited for what we will see from these two next year! Finally our goalies, Mady Skellinger and Leah Steffich worked so hard in goal, and trained each day to become even better! We are so excited to watch the team improve even more next season!

Boys' Soccer

The boys soccer team wrapped up their season this week, and will start playoffs next week. After a hard season with an injury towards the end, the boys proved just how tough and determined they are. We had many new faces this year that brought quite a spark to the team, as well as some veterans to lead the way. In the first few matches we saw some goals, assists, and sound leadership from our eighth graders, Santino Scarponi, Madden DeRosa, Enzo Cagliostro, Ryan and Andrew Barham, Hudson Chambers, Mikey Marotta, Trevor Doremus, Riley Smaltini, Finn Watson, Grant Gryta, Jasias Colon, and Luce Moccia.


Our eighth graders were determined and helped the team towards our victories. Santino and Madden were two of our key players who scored a lot of goals and had a handful of assists. Madden finished the season a little early due to an injury but continued to help the team with his high spirits and motivation. Enzo and Mikey were our two very competitive players who brought a lot of spark to the team. They added strong pace and determination on game days and made some goals throughout the season. Andrew and Ryan Barham brought a lot of communicating to the games. Ryan was an all-star goalkeeper helping the team with a bunch of saves. Andrew helped the team with goals, a couple assists, and on the offensive side of the ball with a header goal. Luce helped the team on the defensive line as well as midfield. Hudson, Finn, Trevor, Grant, Riley, and Jasias made up a solid back line for the Spartans, who kept us in every game.


Andreas Barrett being our key seventh grader contributing and starting in every game gave us more options for attacking the goal. Andreas hustled all season in the middle of the field, providing a solid core to our attacking and defensive midfield. Andreas contributed to the team with a few goals, assists, and a penalty kick. Our final seventh grader, Joseph Logo, improved his skills throughout the season and helped us in a few games.

Our sixth graders each brought something special to the team and we're excited they're here to stay. Callum Spurrier and Brian Silveira have shown so much growth over the season, and took some great shots on goal. Tommy Pragosa brought energy and motivation to each game, ready to play and determined to win. JP LoBello, Brian Howell, and Brian Sisk showed so much improvement throughout the season. They all came to every practice motivated and ready to train to become even better! We are so excited to watch the team improve even more next season!

Field Hockey

The season got off to its start with a strong recruiting effort, to ensure we had enough players to field a team. The returning players who were committed to having a season started to recruit athletic girls to come try field hockey during the second week of the season. One of those players who was convinced to try field hockey for the first time was Alex O’Connell. Alex was open to trying the goalkeeper position and the first day she put the pads on she was a natural. She did an amazing job on her first day in goal at practice. In that first game against Rumson Country Day School we played one player down and with a goalie who just had one practice under her belt. On that day, all of our players worked really hard and played their best, we only lost 1-2.


As the season progressed, each of the girls improved individually with their stick skills and started to cohesively play well together as a team. Our team was guided by two wonderful captains, Meghan Chewning & Haylee Townsend. Their strong leadership and positive energy led this team throughout the season. The three wins that we had were all shutouts over Henry Hudson (3-0) and Forrestdale twice (3-0, 4-0). The forwards were Haylee, Kathleen, Camila, and Sarah, who collectively scored a total of 16 goals during the season. Our strong midfielders were Claudia, Amy, Julia, and Scarlett, who controlled the flow of the game. The defensive unit who fought very hard to keep us competitive were Meghan, Samantha, and Mary. When our season came to an end, we finished with 3 wins, 6 losses, and 1 tie.


We, the coaches, are extremely proud of our team and what they accomplished in a short period of time throughout this season. It was our pleasure to coach this group of unique, fun, and talented field hockey players this year.


Little Free Library Grand Opening!

On Thursday, October 21st, we held a small gathering outside to celebrate the Grand Opening of our new WLB Little Free Library!


Graciously donated by the WLB Foundation for Education, and dedicated to Mrs. Angel Somers to commemorate her retirement from the West Long Branch School District, this new addition to the school grounds is a friendly place to take a book or leave a book, entirely free!


Please stop by and check it out, and feel free to leave a favorite book you'd recommend to a friend!

Clubs & Activities Update!

Our clubs and activities offer great opportunities for fun, friendship, and creativity! Please encourage your middle school children to get involved, the more the merrier!! Here are a few highlights:

Maker Club

Students engage in ACTIVE learning and problem solving in Maker Club, holding an active role in their exploration and learning and engaging their minds and bodies. Students use the resources available to create rather than consume, building their creativity and confidence along the way. Participating in this creative process results in improved critical thinking and problem solving. When a student has a creative mindset, they are breaking a problem/project apart, discovering the details, and building things back up again.

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National Junior Honor Society

The NJHS has been meeting to brainstorm ideas of how to help the community. The students have also volunteered at various school and town events, such as PTA and Foundation meetings, Back to School Night, Fall Festival, and Pop Warner games. At the last meeting, we began counting our pop tabs that will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House and so far we have over 15,000 counted! Our next activity will be to make holiday cards for the troops.

Open Gym/Intramurals

We’ve had a great start to Open Gym this year, with a lot of interest shown for the club!


Open Gym is a program designed to bring students together after school to participate in various athletic activities, which enhance their physical and social well-being. The actual day varies due to gym availability; please check the Intramurals/Open Gym website frequently for information.


Details will also be posted on flyers around the school and announcements made over the PA during homeroom. Students need to have a current physical on file and should remember to bring sneakers. Also, participating students will need to have a ride home at 3:15 pm.


We hope to see you all there!

Art Club

Students in Art Club 5-6 have been working hard on painting paper lanterns, while Art Club 7-8 has been creating paper mache lanterns, to bring to the 2nd West Long Branch Lantern Walk on November 19th at Franklin Lake.

Yearbook Club & Project Lead

Yearbook Club


With Picture Day behind us, the Yearbook Club will be kicking their work into high gear, beginning to choose yearbook themes, colors, and fonts. Candid photos are a year-long process!


Project Lead

Our teacher/student mentorship club provides opportunities for students to build collaborative and leadership skills. Club activities include fun events, assistance with schoolwork, relationship building activities, and leadership strengthening opportunities.

Club de español

Club de Espanol is off to a strong start! In September, club members nominated and elected the 2021-2022 Spanish Club officers. The newly elected officers are:


Presidenta - Grace Sweeney

Vice Presidenta - Jaelyn Smith

Secretaria - Lola Cattelona

Tesorera - Victoria Vitaliano.


We also played El Toro, the Bull game, where students needed to answer Hispanic trivia questions correctly in order to throw a ball through the wooden bull's ojos (eyes), nariz (nose) or boca (mouth) for various points.


In October, we celebrated with a Taco Bell Fiesta in the WLB Reading Garden. Club members snacked on soft beef tacos with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream and sampled Cinnabon churros. During our fiesta, students played a game with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) vocabulary. Dia de los Muertos calavera lollipops were given as prizes.

Student Council

The Student Council held their annual elections this fall and will be holding officer elections and induction in the upcoming weeks. We are happy to bring back some old traditions like members being able to make morning announcements and holding weekly and monthly homeroom reports to keep the student body informed of upcoming events and activities. We are currently brainstorming our list of Spirit Days for the school year. Go Spartans!

Environmental Club

Environmental Club is off to a great start! Here are a few highlights from a recent Fall Clean Up event in the WLB Reading Garden.

Books and Beyond!

Research shows that consistent, quality home reading fosters stronger reading skills. To help encourage reading at home, the “Books and Beyond” program asks that students read daily. Students select their own reading materials on any subject they wish and in any language. All reading counts! This includes reading aloud, either by or to the child. The goal is for all students to read. Students complete monthly reading logs and return them to their classroom teacher on the last day of each month. Students who complete the reading log will be entered to win a Barnes and Noble gift card, donated by the West Long Branch Foundation for Education.


Building strong readers is an important goal of the Betty McElmon Elementary School. To help maximize the benefit of reading time, you can follow these steps.

  • Have your child read each day.

  • Allow your child to select reading materials that interest them.

  • Read aloud with your child to model fluency, good expression, and the pleasure of reading.

  • Discuss reading with your child. Ask questions before, during and after reading.

Computer Club

Computer Club is off to an exciting start. We have spent time learning how circuits work, and have also had the opportunity to dismantle several pieces of outdated technology in order to examine the circuit boards and other parts of the device that make it operate. We have learned to identify the mainboard of a computer tower, the hard drive, and the power supply.

STEM Club

STEM club is currently utilizing the Lego Mindstorms robotics kits. Students are building and programming robots to perform specific tasks. We are using Scratch as our coding software which has been developed by MIT and is an industry standard in learning basic code.
STEM Club

Chorus

It has been great to be back in school face to face for chorus. Students have enjoyed outdoor rehearsals, and are excited to welcome new members this year as well. Chorus members sang to the Spanish Club for their fiesta, and they look forward to more opportunities throughout the year to highlight the songs they have been practicing.


A few 8th grade members who have been dedicated chorus members since 5th grade are eager to perform at graduation this year as well. Also, keep an eye out for more fun surprises being organized for upcoming celebrations - no spoilers!

Drama Club

Drama Club meetings resumed for the 2021-2022 school year with a nice turnout in the beginning of October. We were excited to welcome new members in our 5th and 6th-grade students as well as welcome back two of our 8th-grade students that will be joining us for their 4th and final year in the FAS Drama Club. We look forward to getting back to in-person rehearsal and performances!

Newspaper Club

The FAS Newspaper Club picked up right where we left off. Our members are eager to get back to reporting the events around town and school! Our first edition is scheduled to be released on Friday, Oct. 29th, which will highlight all of the great things FAS has been up to in the past couple of months. Our readers will get a special Fall Edition, including news from both September and October. We have some additional members that joined the Newspaper Club this school year too! Some of our reporters are initiating monthly themes. For instance, Get the Buzz with History Buff David, The Latest with Layla (current events), Lightning Liv & Blizzard Becca with Weather, Trevor's This or That, Meg's Meet & Greets (teacher interviews), Magnificent Crafts with Mady, and much more!! We hope that the community enjoys our monthly editions of THE SPARTAN PRESS!


Get excited for the Fall Edition of The Spartan Press by revisiting the June 2021 Edition!

Click the Grey Button Below!

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Thank you to all our wonderful coaches and advisors for sharing information about your programs and fall activities!

Sustainable Jersey for Schools

HUGE congratulations to the Green Team, led last year by Mrs. Angel Somers and Ms. Alyssa LoPresti, on the accomplishment of achieving Bronze Level Recertification for 2021!! We attended a virtual celebration ceremony on October 20, 2021, marking this achievement.


Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a program for pre-kindergarten through twelfth-grade public schools in New Jersey, is voluntary, but achieving certification takes commitment and collaborative effort. “Participation in Sustainable Jersey for Schools demonstrates a commitment to sustainability. Becoming certified is a significant achievement,” explained Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey.


Each school that is certified at the bronze-level must submit documentation to show it has completed a balanced portfolio of the program’s sustainability actions, attaining a minimum of 150 points. West Long Branch School District achieved 200 Points.


Out of 2,493 schools in New Jersey, only a few hundred have achieved this goal. This marks the second certification of each of our district schools. Our certification lasts until 2024, but the work doesn't stop here! We are maintaining our momentum and growing our sustainable practices through the efforts of the Green Team.

Introducing: "We Are S.P.A.R.T.A.N.S" Student Recognition Program

I am excited to share details about the new "We Are S.P.A.R.T.A.N.S." Student Recognition Program starting soon!


Over the past several years, it has become a WLB tradition that students of the month are identified and recognized as exceptional for their efforts and achievements, and that those students are invited to the Board meetings to be celebrated. We want to continue this tradition and also tie it into our endeavors to nurture and grow our positive school climate and help bring focus to the special qualities and behaviors that make our students so exceptional and make our schools such special places to be.


Each letter of the word SPARTANS stands for a specific trait or behavior that everyone can be “on the lookout” for throughout the month, and which is celebrated and reinforced each month in various ways, including Board meeting recognition.


WLB S.P.A.R.T.A.N.S. . .


Are Spreaders of kindness, and caring members of their school community

Are Positive influences on the school community, setting a good example for one and all

Are Authentic, showing honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity

Are Respectful of themselves, their friends, and all members of the school community

Are Team Players who work collaboratively with others

Are Academic hard workers, putting forth effort to do their best

Never give up, showing persistence and tenacity

Are Supportive of their classmates


Each month beginning in November, students who have exemplified the month’s quality or characteristic will be recognized at Board of Education meetings. Also, throughout each month we will be collecting names and referrals from staff and students alike of students for in-school “We Are S.P.A.R.T.A.N.S.” recognitions.

Shore Regional High School District - Superintendent Search

As you may know, Shore Regional is engaged in a Superintendent search process to select their next district leader. Since many of our West Long Branch students will attend Shore Regional in the future, the President of the Shore Regional Board of Education has requested that we share the below link to a community input survey. All input is anonymous and will be provided to the Shore Board of Education to assist in:


1. The selection of candidates to interview

2. The development of interview questions

3. Selecting the finalist


Survey will close on November 5, 2021

Upcoming WLB Events and Notes from the Virtual Backpack!

WLB PTA Fall Book Fair!

Monday, Oct. 25th, 8:30am to Friday, Oct. 29th, 3pm

West Long Branch, NJ, USA

West Long Branch, NJ

Book Fair Family Shopping Night

Wednesday, Oct. 27th, 5:30-7:30pm

20 Parker Road

West Long Branch, NJ

BME Halloween Parade

Friday, Oct. 29th, 10am

20 Parker Road

West Long Branch, NJ

You are cordially invited to attend our annual BME Halloween Parade, scheduled for Friday, October 29, 2021 at 10:00 AM.


Click HERE for more information

NO SCHOOL - NJEA Convention

Thursday, Nov. 4th, 7:30am to Friday, Nov. 5th, 3pm

This is an online event.

WLB Fall NIGHT Conferences

Wednesday, Nov. 10th, 5pm to Thursday, Nov. 11th, 6pm

West Long Branch, NJ, USA

West Long Branch, NJ

More details to follow from Building Principals!

WLB Fall Afternoon Conferences (BME)

Friday, Nov. 12th, 1:30pm

20 Parker Road

West Long Branch, NJ

WLB Fall Afternoon Conferences (FAS)

Friday, Nov. 12th, 12:30pm

135 Locust Avenue

West Long Branch, NJ

Click the gray buttons below to view notices from the Virtual Backpack

If you haven't checked out the Artsonia site yet, please do! It's so special to have items printed with your child's artwork, and all proceeds go to the WLB Foundation for Education!

Yet to come...

Even more amazing things yet to come! Some highlights:


  • Please keep your eye out for the Governor's Educator of the Year nomination forms coming from Mr. Erhardt - and please lend your voice to the nomination of some of our incredible educators and staff members here in WLB!
  • STRATEGIC PLANNING - Be part of the future of setting the vision and path for our district for years to come. We can't do it without YOU - Save the Dates soon to come!
  • More updates from our classrooms, clubs, and activities!

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