- June 5, 2020
This week marks the end of the 12th week of remote learning. We are in the home stretch as our world continues to erupt and continually throw challenges in front of us. This week, our students stood strong and rallied their peers and our OB community as they behaved better than many adults and faced their own fears to protect others. They rallied for change and to educate others on the inequalities that continue to exist all around us and reminded us once again we must continue these conversations until they elicit change. We thank the Old Bridge Police Department, Public Works and the Mayor’s Office for supporting our student constitutional right to be heard.
High School Seniors were notified that we are moving forward with planning a series of in person ceremonies for our high school graduates. The ceremonies are tentatively planned for July 9th and/or July 10th with more detailed information coming soon. Please be patient- it is difficult to plan an event without clear guidelines and we are working to provide a memorable event with safety a priority.
The NJDOE created a survey seeking parent input on remote learning. Please complete the survey by June 8th to have your voice heard.
May 29, 2020
This week we have received multiple updates regarding graduation and moving up ceremonies. These updates come with little clarification and many limitations. We are currently working with the State Department, the township, and the office of Emergency Management to determine how best to proceed based on the guidelines provided. We appreciate your patience as we explore potential options that will ensure student and staff safety.
Many teachers returned to our schools this week to retrieve personal belongings, instructional items and to assist with identifying student items. Our custodial staff began packing items and, in some cases, parents were able to begin the retrieval process. If you have not already received a notification, you will be hearing from your child’s school in the coming days regarding the retrieval schedule. Please adhere to the guidelines and schedules as they are outlined to maintain the safety of all.
With June beginning next week, we continue to focus on our graduates and students at all levels. Please continue to follow Twitter and watch the Knightly Wrap Up. We would also like to highlight our retirees. This week’s “Spotlight” highlights three retirees with a combined total of 90 years in education. We appreciate their service to the students and families here in Old Bridge and wish them well as they begin a new journey and chapter in life.
May 22, 2020
This week we had the pleasure of celebrating our recipients of the Teacher of the Year and Educational Support Staff of the Year. These dedicated professionals are recognized by colleagues for going above and beyond and for remaining steadfast in educating our students. They each bring to the classroom unique qualities that meet the varying needs of our students while also supporting our staff and the community. We are proud of honorees and we share with you our virtual recognition highlighting these individuals.
Please enjoy the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euWqptkgNsU
We are proud to announce that six of our schools and the District have been recertified as National Schools/District of Character by Character.org. This accomplishment is certainly a team effort by our staff, students, and the Old Bridge Community. We are proud of our Old Bridge team for continuing to reinforce the value of kindness, tolerance, and social emotional well-being. These traits have helped us navigate our current situation and maintain our positivity during challenging times.
An additional honoree is our very own Superintendent. Mr. Cittadino has been recognized as the Middlesex County Superintendent of the Year, a well-deserved honor. We are grateful for his positive spirit and leadership and for his commitment to the Old Bridge family; staff, students and the community.
Today, students across the District took a break from the books/computers and participated in Virtual Field Day. Athletic Director, Mr. DiMino worked with our Physical Education Department as well as our music and art staff to plan a well-designed day integrating a little competition and outdoor fun. Well Done!
Teachers will begin retrieving personal belongings from classrooms as early as next week and parents will soon receive information from schools regarding retrieval of student personal items.
May 15, 2020
We are excited and honored to share that Old Bridge has again been named a National District of Character! Additionally, Carpenter, Miller, Memorial, Schirra, and Southwood Elementary Schools, plus Old Bridge High School were ALL recertified as NATIONAL SCHOOLS OF CHARACTER. They will maintain this prestigious recognition for 5 more years.
The recognition to be recertified as a National District of Character speaks to the desire of this community to want the best possible environment for their children to learn and live. We are especially happy for every educator, staff member, family, and local resource that made this possible. During these most difficult times, Old Bridge once again rises above the despondency to be recognized as a community that believes in the power of positivity.
Plans are being drafted to allow for staff and students to retrieve any personal materials left within the school buildings. After we have all measures in place to ensure healthy and safe practices will be used for property pickup, an advisory notification will be published with dates and times. Please anticipate for these events to occur after Memorial Day.
We believe additional guidance will be forthcoming from the Governor’s office related to school ceremonies. We are patiently planning for multiple scenarios and will share these plans as soon as concrete guidance is in place.
Today, the tennis courts at Carl Sandburg School were made available to the public following the same safety guidelines and times associated with our Old Bridge Township Parks. Please use this facility responsibly.
Lastly, beginning tonight and moving forward through the summer, every Friday night at 8:20 pm, the Lombardi Complex field lights will be illuminated for 20 minutes & 20 seconds for the Class 2020. We are so proud of each and every one of you. Go Knights!
***Don’t forget tomorrow is our 2nd Senior Saturday event at Bagel Boy!
May 8, 2020
As the week closes in which we celebrate the educators and school nurses that make learning possible, please know that we appreciate your contributions to student growth and development all year and now more than ever before.
This weekend we opened Lombardi Field from 7am-7pm daily. I thank you in advance for using it responsibly.
This Sunday, we celebrate all mothers who love and advocate for their children. You are remarkable heroes. Like most, I can’t be with my mom this weekend, however she knows I have love in my heart for her. Happy Mother’s Day!
Lastly, to all of our students and the Class of 2020: keep your head up! Look for the clouds with the silver lining. We hope you enjoy the special event planned for you by the Old Bridge Board of Education. A plane will carry a message for our students over Old Bridge Township from 11:15 – 12:30pm Saturday.
Stay healthy. We got this!
May 4, 2020
While governor Murphy’s announcement that all New Jersey schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year is not surprising, it is nonetheless heartbreaking. Educators are people who thrive upon human connection with our students and time-honored traditions to celebrate children with our community. However, if there is one thing I have learned in over seven years serving as this district’s superintendent; Old Bridge always demonstrate our greatest strength when adversity confronts us. There will be challenges and some things will have to change. Nevertheless, the canvas that holds us together is woven with the strongest material known to humankind; love.
Prior to the governor’s announcement, planning had already begun forming think tanks to celebrate all our students and especially the resilient class of 2020.
This class entered the world in the shadow of a national tragedy on September 11 and they continue to demonstrate their strengths even as we all unite fighting a global pandemic. I have never been as inspired by a collective group of young people. So yes, we will work towards a graduation event that meets the requirements contained in all government executive orders and CDC health guidelines. Yet we will still celebrate the class of 2020 and its many contributions to our community and the world beyond.
Additionally, teams are working nonstop brainstorming and shaping a blueprint for what education will look like in 2020-2021.The focus of that blueprint will be the main priority that has always existed under my leadership, student and staff safety first!
I know that so much is to be determined. Many families have questions about student property that is still within our schools. Currently, we are still under the Executive Order 107 with restrictions only 10 or more people entering a nonessential property. As soon as we get some direction from Trenton on how we can address that concern, we will reach out to our families.
As we celebrate, the contributions of courageous teachers this week, I want to thank everyone who is serving as a teacher during these challenging times.
One word sums up the emotions of today. GRATEFUL. I am grateful to work with the best and most kindhearted educators. I am grateful to serve families that inspire me and I am grateful for the Town of Old Bridge and its endless compassion, love, and strength.
May 1, 2020
Welcome to May! Hopefully, the sun that is expected this weekend will continue throughout the month and we will all enjoy some outdoor fun. Remember, despite the opening of some parks and the possibility of other venues opening soon, we must continue to practice our social distancing.
Last week, we announced our grading changes for the final marking period in the 2019-20 school year. We have since updated the prerequisite requirements for placement in honors and enrichment classes in 6th grade through 8th grade. These updates can be found under Academics on the District website, or by clicking the link below.
We have set up a technician support email firstname.lastname@example.org where our District Technicians will be available during school hours to answer questions related to general operations of a device. Parents may use this email to ask questions directly to our technicians on the issues below.
Power - Keyboard - Mouse - Display - Audio - etc.
Startup and boot - Blue screen - Internet connectivity - Web browser - Flash player extension - Pop-ups - Audio - Common Office 365 problems.
The Old Bridge Public Library has provided a link which can also be found on our District webpage, for students to get a Digital Public Library Card.
We continue to review plans for milestone events and explore virtual learning opportunities. Our Physical Education Department will be working collaboratively to host a virtual Field Day for our elementary students on May 22, 2020, and staff members are exploring a variety of options to offer virtual field trips to our students. In addition, we are working with PTA President’s Council to encourage PTA sponsored virtual events to help support peer social interactions.
We thank you for your continued support, and will continue to work with our students and families to provide the best learning opportunities possible.
April 24, 2020
As we come to the close of another week of remote learning, I wish that I could provide you with definitive information on the eventual reopening of our schools. Please know that we have not received any additional information from the New Jersey Department of Education regarding our schools since Governor Murphy extended the mandatory closure through May 15, 2020. We continue to meet virtually with multiple county and state level departments to proactively determine our needs and challenges surrounding the reopening of schools. Conversations and information at this point are extremely hypothetical and are associated with many scenarios that will only become more concrete once we are provided with more answers from our State and local officials.
Our student and staff safety will remain in the forefront of our decision making. We will also continue to utilize staff and parent input to meet the needs of all stakeholders. Recent survey data confirmed for us the varied situations our students are facing at home. We have recently moved to the A/B schedule at the high school and are reviewing additional options for the middle and elementary levels. Next week, guidelines will be provided to students and parents regarding 4th marking period grading and prerequisites for honors and enrichment placements. The deadline for Challenge Program applications has been extended to May 15th.
Our staff continues to explore live streaming with individual students and chat features to communicate and make connections with students. Counselors and child study team members are working with parents regarding teletherapies, upcoming meetings and providing resources for financial assistance. Our support staff members are working with colleagues across the district to assist our students and their families. We are meeting regularly with educational teams at all levels and continuing to reevaluate current practices, as well as perform a needs assessment for the eventual reopening of our schools. We ask that you take the time to reach out to your child’s teacher, counselor or building principal if you have questions or need additional support. We respect the varied viewpoints and are willing to discuss these different viewpoints, however we just ask that you seek answers in lieu of posting misinformation on social media outlets. Our teachers are working tirelessly to provide a learning platform that could no way replicate what they do within the classroom. Their desire to meet the needs of every child is great. They are being creative and caring under the limitations of mandated distance education protocols. I ask that you support them with kindness. If there are expectations not being met during these distressing times; the blame is with me and not our teachers.
We hope you enjoy a restful weekend and look forward to continued partnership.
April 3, 2020
Our OB Team continues to strive for excellence even through these most challenging times. We appreciate your continued support as you also navigate a new way of life. You are doing an exceptional job helping us to educate your children!
This week we have reviewed virtual learning options, grading policies, remote therapy options, new registration procedures, etc. On April 13th we will launch our Phase II Remote Learning Plan and we will add the option for our staff to utilize virtual learning platforms. This will be an option and not mandatory and may only be an option for supplemental instruction, with no requirement for students to participate at a particular time. We must prohibit specific times due to shared device access in our students’ homes.
We have uploaded a letter addressing virtual learning into the Realtime Parent Portal. Parents will need to acknowledge the document before gaining access to the portal and for those parents choose not to have their child(ren) participate in virtual opportunities, will need to follow the steps outlined for opting out. Prior to engaging with students in virtual experiences, staff will verify the document has been acknowledged. In addition to virtual classroom experiences, our staff will begin virtual meetings to support our students and ensure that the continuation of programs continues for all students.
As we begin our Spring break week, we encourage you to stay active and visit our District website frequently for additional suggestions and ideas for managing home life during the Pandemic. Meal delivery services will resume beginning April 13, 2020. After the first week of Phase II of our Remote Learning Plan, we will be conducting a survey with parents to gain additional input/feedback to keep us informed of the home situations and needs of all of our students. We will continue to provide updates regularly and encourage you to reach out to your child(ren)’s teacher if you need additional support. We are all in this together and will continue to work collaboratively as the situation evolves.
March 28, 2020
As our world grapples with defeating the COVID-19 outbreak, Governor Murphy declared that all schools in New Jersey will be closed for the foreseeable future to promote the only truly known solution, social distancing. With this in mind, the Old Bridge Township Public School District continues to evolve and grow with learners, families, and staff in the realm of remote learning.
Please take the time to review the truly comprehensive remote learning plan. The plan is inclusive of learner expectations, resources, and calendars to keep our community informed and working together. Please understand that the plan is a living document with the ability to expand learning opportunities as learners and educators gain comfort in this “new normal” together.
The strength of any community lies within the collective strength of the families, personnel, and officials that make the community whole. Please join us in facing this challenge together. With patience and resolve, we will grow and fuse into a better and stronger Old Bridge; existing to work together for endless tomorrows.
March 24, 2020 5:30pm
First, it is my hope that your family is doing well during these challenging times. Secondly, I would like to offer a brief update of some district happenings.
Our remote learning platform is currently being updated with enhanced learning opportunities as we enter into the second phase of school closings. As you will recall, Governor Murphy closed all New Jersey Schools indefinitely. The authority of the State Board of Health can only reopen them.
Additionally, due to increasing concerns from personnel as COVID-19 becomes more prevalent in New Jersey and Middlesex County, we have to limit our meal distribution model. Please see the district website for a copy of the meal distribution schedule.
Lastly, I would like to inform all kindergarten through second grade parents that tomorrow a technology device assessment will be sent home to you via district email. This information will be essential as we move into phase 2 of the remote learning platform. Please be patient as we negotiate these tumultuous and unchartered times. As much as you may have concerns, I cannot assist you if I do not know about those concerns. Please reach out to me because I assure you I am here for you and your family.
March 15, 2020 10:15am
As always, the public should continue to call the 24/7 COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-962-1253 if using a non-NJ cell phone. However, please note that the public hotline cannot provide information about where or how to get tested, testing results, or provide personal medical advice. The messaging remains that any individuals concerned about whether or not they should be tested or fear they may already have COVID-19 should CONTACT THEIR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN FIRST.
March 14, 2020 7:30pm
This evening, the Middlesex County Department of Health notified Old Bridge Township of the first Township resident testing positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The resident is a family member of a student at Walter M. Schirra Elementary School. At this time, the County Health Department is the lead investigator in the case and is the agency responsible for additional notifications. Names, addresses and personal identifying information of patients cannot be released or shared with the community. Updates will be provided as they become available. If the general public has questions regarding the Coronavirus, please contact the New Jersey Department of Health Hotline at 800-222-1222.
March 14,2020 3:00pm
Late this morning I received an update from the office of emergency management that offered some relief. The case that was originally reported to health officials in town has come back negative. However, they will continue to monitor this case and any other persons of concern. The rationale for officials to keep the location unidentified was to protect identities and not create a massive swell of worried-well community members reporting to hospitals that are already overwhelmed. You may not agree, but at this point, I trust those in our medical and emergency community as we face a challenge of this magnitude that we have not globally seen since the early 1900s.
Today, I am also advising you that Old Bridge Township Public schools will be closed to students the remainder of the week that ends on Friday, March 20, 2020. We will at that point see if there is further direction from the Department of Education and the governor’s office to ensure we are not placing our district in a disadvantageous position with compulsory education laws. However, at the end of the day we will do what is best for our students and our community here in Old Bridge. I think it is imperative that we prepare ourselves for what could be a long time out of school. We have the advantage of seeing the COVID-19 timelines in Asia and Europe. Those timelines indicate we have a long road ahead, but through calm and cooperation, we will have a stronger community and school district.
Lastly, please expect an update for me on Monday with more information about distance learning and grade K to 2 instructional packets. Additionally, you will learn how to retrieve items you may need in school inclusive of any medications that might be in the school nurse’s office.
Throughout this event, I will be creating a command center at my office. If there is anything you need educationally or personally please reach out to me. I only ask that you be patient and kind.