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RHS Jamboree 2019 has started its journey

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Since 1947 Jamboree has raised over $1 million in need based scholarship funds for graduating Ridgewood high school students. And we put on a show in order to do it!  Save the dates! The show will run February 7th 8th and 9th. See times above. Bring a friend! Make a night of it! You’re in for an evening of good fun entertainment. There will be singing, dancing, and a little bit of humor now and then!

Can’t make it to the show? You can still donate to this great cause.  Click on the “Donate to Jamboree” tab above, or click here: .  Feel free to share this with friends and family.

However we know we’ll see you at the show!!

Questions?  Email the producers at [email protected]

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Reader asks,” how this can be?”

Ridgewood Police at RHS

file photo by Boyd Loving

I don’t understand how this can be?
How can a system that teaches, celebrates and prioritizes gender politics, social justice, racial and cultural balkinization and socialism over educational fundamentals (aka “the 3 Rs”) and objective fact based learning (aka “drill and kill”) fail?

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Ridgewood Schools Audit Reports 2009-2017

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Appellate Court Strikes Down New Jersey’s PARCC Graduation Testing Rules

April 20, 2011 John de Rosier editorial cartoon

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, In a unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey struck down the New Jersey Department of Education’s (DOE) regulations designating the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) end-of-course exams as the requirement for obtaining a high school diploma.

The Court held that the current rules violated provisions of the Proficiency Standards and Assessments Act (Act). This statute, enacted by the Legislature in 1979 and amended in 1988, authorizes the DOE to administer a single, eleventh-grade test in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics to determine proficiency under state curriculum standards for graduation.

“Even before the regulations were enacted in 2016, we urged the Department of Education to withdraw these rules because they clearly violate state law. Today’s ruling vindicates our position,” said ELC Senior Attorney Jessica Levin. “We are ready to work with the Commissioner, the State Board of Education and the Legislature to respond to this ruling in a manner that complies with governing law and reflects sound education policy.”

Key elements of the Court’s ruling include:

  • The current rules violate the Act because they require PARCC ELA 10, administered in tenth grade, and Algebra I, which may be taken in any high school grade or earlier, instead of an eleventh-grade graduation test.  The Court held that “to the extent the regulations required testing of non-eleventh-grade students, they are contrary to the Act and are invalid.”
  • Administering multiple end-of-course exams for graduation contravenes the Legislature’s intent that a single graduation test be administered to eleventh-grade students.
  • The regulations do not fulfill the Act’s mandate that students be provided retesting opportunities on the designated graduation test.
  • The Act requires the DOE to give students access to a non-standardized test as a graduation alternative. The Court ruled the Act “compels DOE to provide for alternative methods of assessing proficiency other than through PARCC testing or any other standardized testing process.”

“The court struck down a graduation testing regime that was unfair to students and their families,” said Jeanne LoCicero, ACLU-NJ Legal Director.” We look forward to working with the State on new regulations that will comply with the law and remove barriers that disproportionately burdened poor students and English language learners.”

The court made clear that while the DOE may decide what test to use, “the regulations violate the Act to the extent they specifically authorize multiple tests administered in grades other than the eleventh grade.” The Court stayed its judgment for 30 days to permit the DOE to seek further review by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

The lawsuit challenging the regulations was brought by the Latino Action Network, the Latino Coalition of New Jersey, the Paterson Education Fund, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, and Education Law Center (ELC). The groups are represented by ELC and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ).

More information about this lawsuit is available from the Education Law Center.

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Reader” finds it hard to believe he was not told way earlier to get his hair compliant to regulations”

“Wrestlers have their hair nails and skin checked prior to wrestling. Ridgewood has had wrestlers with hair, the solution or options are 1 – where a hair net (which some wrestlers choose) or 2-cut it to legal length. If a wrestler’s hair in its natural state extends below the earlobe on the sides or touches the top of a normal shirt, it’s required to be secured in a legal hair cover, according to rules set by the National Federation of State High School Associations. In addition, if the hair is longer than allowed, it must be contained in a legal hair cover that is attached to the ear guards.
My son who wrestled for RHS has no sympathy for the kid and finds it hard to believe he was not told way way earlier to get his hair compliant to regulations, being that one of his friends did wrestle with a legal hair net for RHS. Also, they cut your nails on the spot if they are too long. Coach failed the kid. Solution to cut it is a reasonable solution at the time. But seems the coach and the kid both should have known the rules. It seems unlikely they did not. His hair will grow back.”

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Social Media Wellness: Understanding the Intersection of School, Stress, and Social Media

Save the date for the next Wellness Series speaker
Wednesday, January 16

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Ana Homayoun will present “Social Media Wellness: Understanding the Intersection of School, Stress, and Social Media” at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Earlier that day, Ana will speak to all ninth grade students on this important topic. Following her evening parent program, Bookends Bookstore will be on-site to host a book sale and signing. Books can be pre-ordered at Bookends for this event or purchased that evening at George Washington Middle School.

To register for An Evening with Ana Homayoun, please click here.

Ana Homayoun is a noted teen and millennial expert, author, speaker, and educator. Her latest book, Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World, discusses modern social media dilemmas and offers prescriptive solutions. Her first book, That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life, quickly became a classic among parents and educators for the pragmatic approach to executive functioning issues. Her next book, The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life, explores the real-life dilemmas of young women today and provides strategies for finding authentic success and happiness.

Ana’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, USA Today, Psychology Today, ABC News, CNN, and more. She is also a frequent guest on NPR. Ana is the founder of Green Ivy Educational Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based educational consulting firm and has spent the past seventeen years working with students, parents, and educators around the world.

We look forward to seeing you on January 16, 2019.


Stacie Poelstra
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

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Gottheimer Hosts Fifth District School Superintendent Call on Combating Anti-Semitism and Hate Following A Series of Recent Attacks

Ridgewood Police at RHS

file photo by Boyd Loving 

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Following the discovery of anti-Semitic symbols in the Pascack Valley Regional School District, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) hosted a conference call for school superintendents, featuring experts from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), as well as Superintendent of Schools Erik Gundersen from the Pascack Valley Regional School District on Tuesday.

Speakers addressed concerns regarding anti-Semitic activity in New Jersey schools and shared best practices in curbing the rising trend. Superintendents from more than thirty North Jersey schools joined the call, including representatives from school districts in Bergen, Sussex, and Warren counties. The ADL was represented by Deputy Director Melanie Robbins, Associate Regional Director for New Jersey Alex Rosemberg, and Education Director for New York/New Jersey Nicole Straker. The NJOHSP was represented by Chief of Staff Patrick Rigby.

On November 6th, Pascack Valley staff members found three Nazi swastikas in Pascack Valley High School. Additional swastikas and a racial slur were found at Pascack Valley High School at the end of November,  followed by anti-Semitic symbols and racial slurs scrawled on a bathroom wall in Pascack Hills High School in early December. A few days later, a similar incident occurred at Ridgewood High School.

The ADL identified 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated throughout the United States in 2017. This represents an increase of 57 percent over the incidents reported in 2016. New Jersey experienced the third-highest number of those incidents in the nation.

Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) said, “These incidents are completely unacceptable. We cannot ignore the fact that our schools are facing a disturbing uptick in incidents of hate and intolerance. As both a parent and your Congressman, I am ready to work with New Jersey superintendents to ensure that instances of bias, hatred, and anti-Semitism are swiftly addressed and dealt with. Together, we must continue to send a strong and clear message that anti-Semitism and all acts of hate have absolutely no place anywhere in our communities.”

Evan R. Bernstein, Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League New York/New Jersey Regional Office said, “We are grateful to Representative Gottheimer for convening a call today with ADL, NJOHSP, and dozens of school superintendents to discuss how we can collectively address hate, bias, and bigotry in our K-12 schools.  Last year, we at ADL saw a surge in anti-Semitic incidents targeting students across the country, which included an astounding 94 percent rise in incidents at K-12 schools. Unfortunately, elementary, middle and high schools have exceeded public spaces (such as parks and streets) as the locations with the most anti-Semitic incidents, surpassing homes, businesses, Jewish institutions, and college campuses.  We remain deeply troubled by these trends, but are heartened by the outpouring of support from elected officials and community leaders in New Jersey, who remain committed to addressing this very serious problem. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Representative Gottheimer and others to build a safer and more inclusive learning environment for our young people in New Jersey.”

Superintendent of Schools Erik Gundersen said, “I appreciate that the Congressman and other local elected officials throughout the Pascack Valley area have rallied behind our district in light of these events.  It is important for all elected leaders and faith-based leaders to join their school partners to shed light on how our communities must stand up against hateful actions.  The Pascack Valley Regional High School District can’t do this alone and needs the ongoing support, guidance, and expertise of our community partners and other national organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey as we strive to move forward.  Together, we will be able to inform, take action, and educate our students and communities on how we can stand up against hate. It is my hope that the Congressman’s conference call, where we received a briefing from The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and The Anti-Defamation League, along with learning from Pascack Valley Regional’s experience, will provide superintendents with the tools to more effectively address anti-semitic events – should they present themselves in additional schools around the 5th Congressional District.”

This summer, Congressman Gottheimer led a Synagogue Security Summit with experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the NJOHSP.

Congressman Gottheimer has also worked across the aisle in Congress to combat disturbing uptick in bias, intolerance, and hate crimes against Jewish institutions. He led 11 other members of New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation in writing a letter to Congressional leadership, requesting a funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice for their programs to better secure Jewish Community Centers (JCCs).

In September, the President signed the Protecting Religiously Affiliated Institutions Act (P.L. 115-249), legislation Congressman Gottheimer cosponsored, which criminalizes the intentional obstruction of any person’s free exercise of religious beliefs by threat of force against religious property.

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NBC4 I-Team Report Focuses On North Bergen Coerced Teachers’ Contributions

North Bergen NJ, ‘Several current and former educators and political insiders in Hudson County claim teachers are pressured to make political donations to a campaign fund linked to North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco. Some said their jobs and promotions can be affected by whether and how much they give’, according to NBC4’s I-Team, led by investigative journalists Jonathan Dienst and David Paredes.  The current dispatch from the I-Team follows a previous report from November focusing on Sacco’s family employment in North Bergen.

The report also includes an audio clip sent to them in which Mayor Sacco allegedly speaks about the I-Team investigation, saying of NBC “they are liars. They are incompetent.  ‘You’re either totally incompetent or totally corrupt.’  One or the other. OK, that’s both response to them.  They are not your friends. They will twist what you say.”  Sacco allegedly also says that the NBC4 team is ‘behaving like criminals’.

According to the report, Sacco’s team contends that the I-Team is colluding with Sacco nemesis Larry Wainstein, a claim they deny.

Read the I-Team report here.