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TR Excellence Expo. April 6th 2022. 5  PM to 8 P M. RWJBarnabas Health Arena. Free Entry. Join Us! Scan for more information
Have you seen this lawn sign out and about? Promotion for this event is rampant and justified. Find out why below.

TR Excellence Expo is April 6

For the better part of two full years, everything happening throughout Toms River Regional Schools has been shared virtually– in newsletters, online, and through emails– and only recently have parents and community members been able to take in performances, capstone projects, and showcases, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity. Now, as restrictions are being lifted and hope abounds that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, and the district embarks on a new era of leadership, is an ideal time to put on full display everything that’s been happening within district schools.

Because what’s happening has been incredible.

The TR Excellence Expo will be held 5 to 8 p.m. at RWJBarnabas Health Arena April 6. Entry is free, and the event will be an evening of teacher- and student-driven interactive experiences that showcase what makes TRRS an excellent place to learn and grow.

The seeds of this idea were planted by Jersey Shore Makerfest, the day-long celebration of creativity, technology, and the maker mindset which the district hosted for five consecutive years, from 2015-2019. Out of that popular event, and emerging from a two-year era of pandemic restrictions which essentially halted Makerfest, a core group of administrators led by Curriculum Directors Rachel Cicala and Adrienne Gold have worked diligently and patiently to see this idea come to fruition.

"We’re beyond excited to show off what we do here.” -- 6-12 Curriculum Director Adrienne Gold

“Makerfest was so successful, and drew in thousands of attendees each year, so enhancing that model was a challenge,” said Gold. “But we thought that introducing new elements of creativity, including music and performing arts, and ceding much of the creative input to our students and teachers would help engage even more people. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re beyond excited to show off what we do here.”

Student presenting project

Genius Hour, which enables students to select their passion projects and do the necessary research, will be presented by students during the TR Excellence Expo.

Educational topics such as transitioning to an adult, bridging the gap to ASL, and multi-sensory phonics will coexist with information about schools’ Hispanic Heritage Clubs, Career Academy courses, and Genius Hour activities. A Green Fair featuring a host of guests will neighbor a robotics showcase. Local vendors will provide resources, and PTOs and booster clubs will promote their missions. Schools’ choruses, drama clubs, dancers, and bands will perform, and students will present their STEAM capstone and Genius Hour projects. The popular educational troupe Lead U will host hands-on music, yoga, and kids theater. There will be something for everyone, and all of it will be intentionally interactive.

Students will display their robot-making abilities, and guests can test out their robot-making skills.

“This is a true hands-on event,” said Assistant Superintendent Cara DiMeo. “Parents simply looking to see their children perform can come and watch up close and in person. Young kids can get engaged with arts enrichment, learn how to operate a robot (above), or take a yoga lesson. Any student, from preschool to kindergarten, will find something of interest. Overall, it will be a family event and a true source of pride for our district as we give our students an opportunity to showcase all of the amazing things that are happening.”

K-5 Curriculum Director Rachel Cicala has helped guide the event's planning and organizing, with help from DiMeo and Gold, as well as Assistant Superintendent Rich Fastnacht, Supervisor of Educational Technology Tiffany Lucey, and a host of principals, supervisors, and teachers. What they’re looking forward to the most, according to Gold, is being able to show parents and community members the educational impact of day-to-day life in Toms River Regional Schools.

“Those extraordinary projects and significant accomplishments tend to get covered, on our website, through local media outlets and more, which is great, of course,” said Gold. “But part of the mission of the Expo is to showcase everyday projects and activities, the ones which our students are excelling at, engaging in, and which have this almost subtle but long-lasting impact on them as learners.

“That’s really what education is all about.” 

HSE rock band

Ensembles like High School East's rock band will perform at the TR Excellence Expo April 6.

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