Category Archives: News

iPhone 7 Launches Across the World

By Tommy C.

The new iPhone 7 came out on September 7, 2016. While the phone has excellent sales in the United States, the iPhone 7 has been banned by some countries because they aren’t pleased with the success of Apple’s new phone. Also, patriotism is a big deal in China, and some companies feel that buying a smartphone from a foreign company — specifically Apple — does not demonstrate patriotism. As a result, they’ve issued warnings to employees: ‘Buy an iPhone 7 and your employment will be terminated.’ However, in other countries, sales are on high, with formerly stocked shelves brimming with boxes and sleek displays completely bare and empty from the rush.

Surveys show that 50% of people would buy an iPhone if they had the money, but the cost of $649-$749 proves the phone to be extremely expensive compared to models from years before. Some new features on the iPhone 7 are water resistant, bigger, better camera, new home button, The better performance, longer lasting battery life, immersive stereo speakers, the bright colors, and lack of headphone jackets make it the best phone, by far. Despite this, people are complaining about their being no headphone jack because if they forget their headphones or earbuds they can’t borrow it from friends since not many people have the iPhone 7 yet.

The iPhone has two sizes and five finishes. They are constructed with incredibly strong 7000 series aluminum and are available in the colors black, jet black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Also, the iPhone is the most popular camera in the world, so they’ve reengineered that beloved camera, adding optical image stabilization, an f/1.8 aperture, and a six element lens to make it even better for taking pictures and filming videos in low light.

The FaceTime HD camera is not only higher resolution but it also uses wide color capture. If you’re worried about lighting, the Retina Flash matches the ambient light for a shot with natural-looking skin tones. The Photos app offers tools let you find, share, and remaster your photos in entirely new ways. You can buy the phone on Apple’s website or in Apple stores near you, if you want to spend $649-$749.



New Teaching Profile: Mr. Defeo

By Stephanie M.

Mr. Defeo is the new math teacher for seventh grade. But no need to fear! Mrs. Touw is still here. While Mrs. Touw was out for maternity leave, Mr. Defeo was her replacement. However, with the school’s new hour math schedule, Mr Defeo was able to remain the seventh grade math teacher, and Mrs. Touw is the overflow teacher.

Recently, I sat down with Mr. Defeo to ask him a few questions. Here is what he responded with:

Q: How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
A: I always wanted to be a teacher, but I did not originally go to college to become a teacher.  After college, I worked a couple different jobs, but on the weekends, I used to help my younger brother with his math homework.  I really enjoyed working with my brother and that is when I made the decision to go back to school to earn my teaching degree.

Q: Where did you study teaching?
A: Montclair State University

Q: Did you ever struggle with math?
A: My toughest class in high school was Algebra II honors.  I remember struggling with this course, but I also had an amazing teacher who helped me during extra help.  I remember being determined to master the material and earn an A.

Q: What’s your favorite type of math?
A: My favorite type of math is Pre-Algebra / Algebra.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: My favorite color is blue.

Q: On a scale of one to ten, how much do you love math? Please answer in the form of a simplified square root.
A: Square root of 100 = 10

I remember when I had Mr. Defeo last year, he was a fun teacher and my classmates enjoyed being in his class. We are so glad to welcome him to Brookside, and we hope he likes it here!

New Teacher Profile: Mrs. Cahill

By Stuti P.

This year, we have some new teachers that are joining us here at Brookside. One of them is Ms. Cahill. Ms. Cahill’s the 8th grade study skills teacher. Many of you may not know her, but she is a fantastic addition to the 8th grade team.

What is your favorite thing about Brookside?
The teachers that I work with are very helpful and supportive.


What are your hobbies?
I like to bake and I enjoy spending time with my family.

What is your least favorite subject?
I don’t really have a least favorite subject.

What’s the best part about teaching?
Seeing students believe in themselves and succeed.

What motivated you to teach?
When I was in school, I was fortunate to have some amazing teachers that really made a difference in my life.  I wanted to be able to do the same for others.

Do you plan on staying at Brookside?
I am enjoying my time here and I would like to continue teaching here.

Overall it seems like Ms. Cahill likes to work here at Brookside and everyone enjoys having her here. We hope to have her here for the years to come!

New Teacher Profile: Ms. Crowther

By Erin O.

Ms. Crowther is a relatively new teacher at Brookside School. She arrived toward the end of the 2014-2015 school year, and this is her first full year of teaching in Allendale.

Question  What do you like most about being a teacher?
Answer   I love helping people, no matter how old or young they are. Being able to teach someone a skill that they didn’t know before makes me feel good.

Question   What inspired you to become a teacher?
Answer  My mother is a teacher.  She would always come home from work, and during dinner, would tell us stories about her day.  I am very patient and kind like my mother and knew that teaching was something that I would love to do every day.

Question    What do you like the most about Allendale and why?
Answer  I love how helpful, skilled, and committed all of the teachers are in Allendale.  They work hard every day and go above and beyond to assure that all of their students succeed.

Question   What do you like most about your job and why?
Answer    I love being able to watch my students grow up from year to year.  I have noticed that when my 6th grade students move on to 7th grade they have changed in so many positive ways! I like to be able to see their progress over the years.

Question   What’s your least favorite thing about your job and why?
Answer   My least favorite part of my job is my commute to and home from work.  I live an hour and a half away from Allendale and, depending on traffic, it can take me a very long time to get to school and back home.  I am looking for a home closer to Allendale and can’t wait to see Allendale students outside of the school day.

Question  What did you do before you became a teacher?
Answer    I started babysitting at a young age, but my first real job was working in a deli while attending college.    

Question   What is your favorite part of the 2015- 2016 class?
Answer    All of my students this year are very sweet and hardworking.  Most attend extra help in the morning as well as during recess. This shows great initiative and determination and proves that they all want to do well this school year.

Question   How long have you been a teacher?
Answer    I graduated college in 2007 and started my first full-time teaching job in 2008.  I have been teaching for 7 years.

Question    What’s your favorite part of the year?
Answer    I only experienced the end of the year here at Brookside, so I would have to say that the Buehler Science Trip was one of my favorite parts of the year.  It was awesome to see the students working in teams, communicating with one another without speaking, and completing a moon landing.

Question    Have you ever taught any other grades and if so, what were they and what was your favorite one to teach?
Answer     I have taught almost every grade level.  The job that I had prior to working at Brookside was working with students from grade 2 all the way up to grade 12!

Question    What do you like best and least about the Chromebook?
Answer   I love that everything I need is in one place.  This helps me stay organized.  Everything saves automatically, and all of my websites and passwords are easily accessible.  I dislike the size of my Chromebook.  I feel that it is easier to carry a smaller device (such as a phone) and it is easier for me to quietly consult with a student during class with a smaller device. The Chromebooks are also really heavy and hurt my arm when I hold them.

Question  Have you worked at any other schools and if so what were they?Answer   My first teaching job was in South Brunswick, NJ as a Special Education Life Skills Teacher.  I have also worked in a few different schools in Belmar, NJ and Princeton, NJ.

Question    Can you tell me some fun facts about you?
Answer   My favorite color is purple. I am the youngest of 5 children.  I am extremely close with my family.  I love to take pictures.  I love to be outdoors.  I have two dogs named Lady and Jax.

New Playground Coming to Hillside

By Kasey Pataki


At recess each day, students at Hillside school run and play outside at recess, enjoying some fresh air and mid-day fun.
Soon, students in kindergarten through third grade will be able to enjoy an updated playground at Hillside school.

“The main goal of the playground expansion project was to enlarge our grassy area that was quite small for a suburban elementary school setting,” said Ms. Anastasia Maroulis, Principal of Hillside Elementary school. “We had so much blacktop space, and we wanted children to be able to safely play on more of a field area.”

In addition to expanding grassy ground, more options will be provided for play at recess. Basketball has a designated space, and there is an area for wall ball, kickball and football.


Additional embellishments will include a volleyball net in the grassy area. A funnel ball game was added for extra fun.
The ground will be covered in games like hopscotch, a checkerboard, foursquare, and a maze.

“The final phase will include a quiet seated area for students who prefer to read at recess or participate in projects like coloring, board games, etc.” said Ms. Maroulis.

The Parent Teacher Organization, or PTO, and Allendale Board of Education have been working together to finalize plans and figure out the best fundraising options.

To raise the funds, a paver drive was held. Pavers and and benches could be purchased in families’ names.
Borst Landscape and Design created the original plans. Revisions were made by the District architect and the final work will be done by JC Landscape.
Although the playground is not yet complete, plenty of work has been done on the playground already.

Ms. Maroulis said, “The blacktop had to be torn up, new drainage was installed, a sprinkler system added for the grass area, in addition to two basketball courts.”

Many students are excited by the renovations being done. Thomas C., a third grader at Hillside School said, “I’m pretty excited!” His favorite part of the new playground will be the ball funnel.
This demonstrates the enthusiasm of many students at Hillside School.

Soon, when recess comes one day, students will run and play on an amazing playground.

Security Upgrades Make Brookside Safer

By Megan W.


From a child’s perspective, parents are always worried about their safety. At Brookside School, parents’ fears are put to rest as the school has some of the best security available. Dr. Michael Barcadepone, Allendale School District’s superintendent, has made it his mission to making Brookside school safe. “First and foremost to me, is the security and safety of the students and staff.” Dr. Barcadepone has made many changes to the way things used to be done.

Dr. Barcadepone started with a simple change. He noticed that the doors were often left unlocked throughout the school day. He set out to fulfill his goal of making the school safer by having the outside doors locked at all times. Staff members can enter the outside doors by using their employee ID badge to gain access. Parents and other visitors must come through the main entrance.

His next step was to hire new personnel to monitor the entrance to the school. These campus greeters perform different functions. First, the greeter monitors the entry and exit of all visitors to the building. Each visitor is required to provide a driver’s license that the greeter runs through a scanner, ultimately creating an identification badge. This temporary ID must be visible throughout their stay so that staff can identify that this person belongs in the building at that time.


Greeters pay close attention to what is going on in the school. Amy Skroce, the afternoon greeter at Brookside, takes her job seriously. “There are 44 cameras in the school that show lots of different views of the school”, said Mrs. Skroce. There is not an inch of the school that is not on camera, and the greeter is responsible for making sure that things are status quo. There are some protocols the greeter has to follow. For example, if a door is accidentally left open, the greeter knows to call the custodian so that he/she can make sure it is secure. The job of greeter requires a great deal of technology. Mrs. Skroce feels that she has the necessary technology to watchover the school.

Security enhancements continue to improve. For instance, this year, a Lockaide system was installed on each classroom door. In the case of an emergency situation, the Lockaide provides teachers with the ability to lock their door from the inside, allowing them to focus all of their attention on keeping their students safe. Also, Dr. Barcadepone continues to work on making Brookside school as safe as possible, “ We have been thinking of putting in double doors.” The first door is the one to walk into to meet the greeter. The second door will not be open unless the greeter opens the door for you.

“I feel safer at the school with the new security, because I know no one can get in the school unless the greeter lets them in,” said 6th Grader Kaitlyn S.

Get Ready for the PARCC

By Meghan C. and Avyn S.


Brookside students will face a new standardized test this spring when the PARCC test will replace the NJASK test in New Jersey. The PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is a group of states that developed a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to being successful in college and their future careers. The test will keep teachers, schools, students, and parents more informed about whether or not students are on track in their education and are ready for success after high school. The PARCC tests can also be used as a tool to help teachers customize lessons to meet a student’s needs.

The language arts portion of the test will look extremely different than the NJASK. Mrs. Catherine Danahy, the district curriculum coordinator and Brookside testing coordinator, explained that the questions on PARCC will be more complex than what students have been used to. “For the reading section on the NJASK, you guys had to read a passage and answer questions about the passage you read,” she said. “On PARCC, you will probably have to read more than one passage, watch a few videos, and then you are more than likely going to have to come up with some opinions about what you read, listened to, or watched.”


In the mathematics portion of the test, the questions will be formatted to align with the Common Core Connected Mathematics program. Brookside Principal Mr. Bruce Winkelstein, said, “The PARCC looks to be a much more authentic type of test, because you are asked to do things that you have to do in real life, whereas the ASK has very short, one-step questions.”

Another major difference between ASK and PARCC is that while NJASK was taken once each year, PARCC requires students to take the test twice a year to track their progress. The school will also have a longer time period to get all the tests completed for each grade level, while with NJASK, students took the test during one or two assigned weeks each year. This will be less stressful for the school because administrators can set up the testing to format our schedule.

As Danahy said, “We are going to have a different schedule for everybody, so we are working on creating a really good schedule that’s not going to interfere or disrupt things, but you can expect that testing will go on in this building for about a month.”

One of the most significant differences between the ASK and PARCC is that PARCC is taken on a computer rather than with a pencil and paper. Many students are worried about typing speed and mistakes, but according to Danahy there are several websites to help students practice typing. Some websites that students can practice on are,, and

New Teacher Profile: Mr. Colucci

By Mary Claire F.


Q: What made you decide to come work at Brookside?
A: Last year I was working in Allendale for Mr.Brown at Hillside. A position opened up here at Brookside and I interviewed for the job and got the job. I am very excited to work here at Allendale. I love the kids and community.

Q: Why did you decided to teach health?
A: I enjoy teaching health and Phys ED because I was very active as a kid, loved sports, being outside, and love teaching about the body and all of the health topics.

Q: What is one interesting thing about you that the students should know?
A: My favorite thing to do is go to the beach and if I could I would spend every day at the beach forever.

Q: What is your favorite hobby?
A: I love outdoor activities such as hiking, I loves playing baseball and hockey, and going for a bike ride.

Q: What’s your favorite color?
A: My favorite color is blue.

Q: What do you like most about Brookside?
A: I love how the kids are very nice, how it’s a fun environment to work in, and I like how you can have fun conversations in every class. I like how the school was very welcoming when I came.

Q: How do you like your class to act?
A: I like my class to be well behaved, but at the same time I don’t want it to be silent where I can hear crickets. I want everyone to talk, engage, discuss, and debate.

Q: What’s your favorite sport?
A: My favorite sports are ice hockey and baseball.

Q: Who’s your favorite team for that sport?
A: My favorite team for ice hockey is the New York Rangers and my favorite team for baseball is the New York Yankees.

Mr.Colucci also played baseball and hockey in college. He would like all Brookside students to know that if they ever want to have a conversation about anything such as sports, he would love to have a discussion about it.

A Glimpse into the World of Business

By Stephanie M.

Trep$, short for entrepreneurs, is a new club at Brookside that was introduced last school year. It is open to sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

Run by Mrs. Kathy Imhoff, Brookside’s eighth grade math teacher, Trep$ gives students an opportunity to create a business plan and put it into action. It is a six week course of lessons, followed by a marketplace in which the students actually sell the items created by their own company.

Throughout the course, the students learn many valuable lessons. Some are coming up with a product, advertising, managing money, and more. As the weeks progress, students take on group “challenges” and also form their businesses.

Although Trep$ lets the students have fun, they are also treated like real business owners, not just kids at play. Lauren Farrington, a seventh grader who participated in Trep$ last year, said, “Treps was very educational, and it gave us a glimpse at what business would be like in the real world if we wanted to pursue a career in it.” Many students could say the same.

Additionally, Trep$ is a learning experience for the teachers as well. It is a chance not only to teach, but to connect with the students.

As a participant in Trep$ myself, I believe it is a great program and learning opportunity. It is perfect for anyone who has even the slightest wish to own a business. Even if it’s not your dream, there are still so many valuable lessons for not only business, but for life. It is already being put into action for next year, and I absolutely recommend it to any student in the sixth, seventh, or eighth grade.

There will be an interest meeting in January, in Mrs. Imhoff’s room. Stay tuned to BTV for a specific date.

New Teacher Profile: Mrs. Lafferty

By Maggie B.


New teachers are the best because kids have a clean slate. For some kids, it is great to have a new teacher up in front of the classroom talking on the first day of school, but for others it may make them nervous. No need to worry though because Brookside School’s newest teacher, Elizabeth Lafferty, is definitely a teacher that everyone is going to love!

Before teaching here at Brookside School, Mrs. Lafferty taught fourth graders in Cranford, New Jersey for two years. She realized she wanted to become a teacher about five years ago. According to Mrs. Lafferty, “I have heard such wonderful things about the Allendale school district and I just wanted to be a part of it.”

Mrs. Lafferty loves the staff here at Brookside, the fourth grade team, and loves her students even more! She says that everyone is so nice and happy here at Brookside. She does a lot of fun things with her students as well. They play music and do fun activities, but they also work very hard in the classroom. Mrs. Lafferty seems like she is a great new teacher who wants to be in the classroom everyday to give her students the best fourth grade experience they can have here at Brookside!

Here is some more information about Mrs. Lafferty. She has two girls, Ava who is 9 years old and Sophie who is 7 years old, and she has no pets. Her favorite subjects to teach are math and reading. Also, her favorite book is The Great Gatsby.

Once the fourth graders are done with fourth grade, they will want to go back, that’s for sure! If you see Mrs. Lafferty in the hallways, say hello and give her a taste of what Brookside School is all about.