Superintendent's Message

Bethlehem Township School District

Community Update from the Chief School Administrator

May 22, 2020

To the Bethlehem Township School District Community:

This Memorial Day weekend I ask that we think of those who gave their lives for our freedom and our country.  Please take some time to honor the sacrifices of so many of our brave heroes.

As I began to write this week’s updates we got some positive news from Governor Murphy that groups of up to 25 can now gather outdoors.  Just in time for the unofficial start of Summer!  This is positive news and an optimistic start to our state’s reopening. 

We are asking for some parents to volunteer to serve on our Return to School Steering Committee.  The Steering Committee will include representatives of teachers, maintenance, health, administration and other representative bodies of our township.  The committee is our first step in the oversight of essential workflows detailed in the New Jersey Department of Education’s road map to recovery.  If you are interested in joining this committee, please email Peggy Andrews at mandrews@btschools.org.

There is a Q&A document available on our website in response to the questions that came up at our Virtual Town Hall last week.  I hope this will clarify the issues that parents had regarding this change.  All decisions we make take concerns, opinions, and all of the facts into consideration.  The Q&A document is available on our district website.

We have a four-day weekend with Home/Online instruction resuming on Tuesday.

Please relax and enjoy the weekend!

Sincerely,

Gregory C. Farley

Gregory C. Farley, Ed.D.

Chief School Administrator/Principal - Ethel Hoppock Middle School

Bethlehem Township Public Schools

280 Asbury West Portal Rd, Asbury, NJ 08802

(908) 479-6336 Ext 2222


May 1, 2020

Greetings to the Bethlehem Township Educational Community!

Welcome to the first day of May!  There is no news on a potential return to school from Governor Murphy but he is expected to make an announcement on May 15th.  We continue to follow the Health Department directives that prioritize the safety and health of our students and citizens.  Our district faces the challenges of reopening before or after the summer months and remains committed to providing exceptional instruction to all of our students during this closure. 

We are preparing for multiple scenarios regarding 8th grade graduation and other celebrations for all of our students once a final decision is made regarding this school year.  There are a variety of ways to make the end of the year special for our staff and students and we will structure a committee of stakeholders to determine the best way to celebrate the end of this school year once a final determination is made.  I promise that we will see each other in some way and finish our school year with the spirit and strength of our community.  We are also in the planning stages for Extended School Year, Summer Camp, and Enrichment but are awaiting guidance from the Governor before we can move forward with any plans for in-person activities.

Principal Smith and I will be hosting a Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, May 13th at 6:30 pm to discuss our Long Range planning goals, facilities usage for 2020-2021, and recommendations for grade level configuration for our schools.  Information regarding this video conference/call will be shared through the township and School Messenger early next week.  We look forward to input and feedback from our community!

Please fill out our home/online instruction survey if you have not already that was sent out via email to our parents and students.  If you did not receive the communication, please contact Peggy Andrews at mandrews@btschools.org for a link to our survey.

Our staff and administration in coordination with other county school districts are considering assessment alternatives for the 4th marking period report cards taking all options into consideration for our students.  We want to keep our students focused and motivated for the rest of this school year as our incredible teaching staff continues to work with our students each day.

Please submit any photos of our students reading or learning from home for our 2019-2020 Yearbook.  Please see the email from last week requesting photos be sent to Ms. Swenson (jswenson@btschools.org) by May 9th.  This will be a unique addition to our Yearbook that will commemorate this time in our lives where school was conducted in our homes.

In closing, I just spoke with a friend from our township that has such a positive outlook on the quarantine and I wanted to share that with our community.  She described this experience with her family as a “time we will never have again” where her sons have been connecting like never before and her family has been bonding together at home.  In an era when everyone is usually busy with sports, work, and other activities, being together for meals, games, and togetherness should be cherished and seen as an opportunity rather than a burden.  Stay positive and strong during this time, Bethlehem Township, we will be back!

Gregory C. Farley

Chief School Administrator/Principal-Ethel Hoppock Middle School

Bethlehem Township Public Schools                                                                 280 Asbury-West Portal Road, Asbury, NJ 08802

(908) 479-6336, Ext. #2222


Message from Dr. Farley: April 27, 2020
Greetings to our Bethlehem Township Educational Community:


We returned last week to our home/online instruction after spring break and I hope everyone had some time to relax and be away from school work and videoconferencing and get outside, relax, and prepare for the rest of our school year.  We really needed that time off.


These are some very trying times for all of us.  Governor Murphy has closed our schools until at least May 21st and our teachers and staff are continuing to prepare and deliver meaningful learning experiences for our students and our families and ensure that everyone is working hard and doing their best.  Grading is going to be adapted to meet this new learning environment and that information will come out after our Tuesday Board meeting.


I am dealing with the same reality that we all share, staying home and limiting travel to groceries and a couple of trips a week to Hoppock and Conley to check-in.  At my house we have three daughters, a 6th grader, a 9th grader, a college Junior, and my wife, a preschool teacher.  I am sure this is much like your homes with the Google Meets, Zooms, calls, working, learning, typing, devices, getting on WiFi, and trying to find a quiet place to talk and work.


If there is a positive to this quarantine I would say it is the time with my family, because we have never spent this much time together.  Although there have been some arguments, there have been many more games, much more laughter and sharing time and experiences that I would not have had because my children are typically at practice and I am usually at school.  I know when we look back at this time, I will remember how the Farleys connected during the pandemic of 2020.  I hope the same for you and your families as we get through this together.


Being away from school for the last six weeks I think of the little things I miss, like 6th/7th grade lunch -  coming in the side way in Conley and deciding whether I walk left past the 1st, 2nd and Kindergarten, or go right and pass 2nd, 4th and the 3rd graders.  I miss passing by and seeing our preschoolers and the ALC and saying good morning to our 5th graders down in that wing.  Seeing our Child Study Team, School Counselors, and watching students enjoying Physical Education, Art, Music and time in the Libraries.  Seeing our smiling staff and teachers and missing their positivity and passion for helping our students.  Take some time to reflect on these memories and know that we will be back at school, we don’t know when, but we will be back.


Now on to our 8th graders.  This is supposed to be an exit ramp from their time in Bethlehem Township schools and should be filled with class trips, dances, and celebrations.  We all know someone in 8th grade and this is supposed to be their time to finish out at Hoppock.  Work hard and finish these last six weeks strong, and we are looking at multiple scenarios to celebrate your accomplishments with you and your families, and get awards and diplomas, and throw your hats in the air.  I promise you all that.  


So now that we are back on a schedule working on assignments and projects, please remember to keep everything in perspective.  What I mean is that if you are feeling stress and anxiety, take a break.  If anyone is struggling, contact a teacher, counselor, or staff member, we are all here to help.  A lesson I have learned during the past six weeks is that there are some things that are just as, if not more, important than school, and that is our families, our health, our safety, and our well being.  


I conclude by thanking all of our families with Doctors, Nurses, PAs, health care providers, first responders, law enforcement and any essential employees who are out working in our communities.  From my family and me, we thank you.


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