FREEHOLD – As the Freehold Borough K-8 School District continues to deal with rising enrollment and the overcapacity of its buildings, the Board of Education has taken action to realign the grade structure of the district’s two elementary schools beginning with the 2018-19 school year.
On Sept. 25, the board passed a resolution realigning the grade levels at the Freehold Learning Center elementary school on Dutch Lane Road and the Park Avenue Elementary School on Park Avenue. At present, both elementary schools educate children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
Beginning in September 2018, children in pre-kindergarten through second grade will attend the Freehold Learning Center and children in grades three, four and five will attend the Park Avenue Elementary School.
The district has one middle school, the Freehold Intermediate School on Park Avenue. The grade structure of the intermediate school, which is attended by students in grades six, seven and eight, will remain the same, according to district administrators.
The realignment follows an increase in enrollment which has resulted in building overcapacity. From 2010 to 2017, enrollment increased from 1,428 pupils to 1,700 pupils, according to district administrators. The district’s three schools have classroom space for 1,148 students.
As a result, Freehold Borough currently rents nine classrooms (six kindergarten and three pre-kindergarten) in the neighboring Freehold Township K-8 School District and one pre-kindergarten classroom at the First Baptist Church of Freehold in the borough.
Approximately 150 children from Freehold Borough attend class in Freehold Township or at the church and are considered to be in-district pupils.
A project to construct new facilities will increase Freehold Borough’s classroom space to 1,589 pupils, according to district administrators. A portion of the construction project will have a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 12.
In other business, the board authorized the district to join a grant application headed by Kean University for a national science grant competition.
According to the board, the grant will involve a professional development program for teachers in Freehold Borough and other districts to help them integrate the principles of computer science, computing and basic programming across the district’s curricula.
The board also approved entering into a partnership with the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University for the purpose of providing instrumental music lessons to Freehold Intermediate School students after school.
The total cost of the program is not to exceed $3,080. Instruments, music stands and instructional books will be provided by the district.
Mason Gross will provide brass small group instruction and woodwind small group instruction, according to the board. The brass instruction will take place on Mondays for 10 weeks from October through December. The woodwind instruction will take place on Fridays for 10 weeks from October through December. A concert is scheduled to take place on Dec. 20.