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Ridgewood Schools 2018 Ashby Award and Tradition of Excellence award Presented at the all-staff Convocation

photo courtesy of the Ridgewood School System

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools presented recipient GWMS Guidance Counselor Mike Mullin with the 2018 coveted Ashby Award, and also presented  Somerville School custodian Paul Buscher, with this year’s Tradition of Excellence award. The winners were announced at today’s all-staff Convocation.

( had some difficulties adding the second pic of Paul Buscher , will post a bit later )

 

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Superintendent of Schools comments on the Ridgewood Schools $105 million budget

Dan Fishbein 10

May 9,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools comments on the Ridgewood Board of Education $105 million budget :

Spring is a time of abundance, with buckets of rain, sprouts of new foliage and flowers and pollen, and oh yes, the realities of tax returns and in the case of school districts, budgets.
 
Each year the Ridgewood Board of Education works hard to develop a budget for the following school year that provides for our exceptional instructional and co-curricular programs, as well as the maintenance and operations of our facilities.
 
The budget for the 2017-18 school year, which was approved on May 1 by the Board of Education, allots approximately $105 million to maintain our excellent staff, uphold our rigorous academic offerings, and support new initiatives. Next year’s budget will allow us to add new staff, maintain and upgrade instructional technology equipment, implement a new K-5 Science curriculum and other new or revised courses at the middle and high school levels, launch full-day Kindergarten and undertake a variety of renovation projects around the district.
 
The numbers tell the story.
 
The excellence of our academic, athletic, arts and social/emotional programs in our elementary, middle and high schools is regularly proven by the consistent high reach that our students achieve in nationally recognized programs and tests.
 
Statistics from Ridgewood High School – high ranking by US News and World Report – exemplify how we excel as a district. Our students perform very well on all measures, having for example, seven finalists, nine semi-finalists and 70 commended students in the National Merit Scholarship program over the last two years.
 
In the SAT and ACT, our class of 2016 performed at a very high level.
                                   SAT                                    ACT
           RHS                1759                                    26
           NJ                   1520                                    23.1
           USA                1490                                    21
 
On the AP exams, over 80 percent of our students scored 3 or higher and 134 students were named AP Scholars by the College Boards.
 
Over 95 percent of our Class of 2016 pursued a college or university education this past fall, with 84 percent of their chosen schools classified as competitive, more competitive, or most competitive.
 
And while academics are extremely important, excellence requires breadth in programming. We also provide a very full range of co-curricular and extra-curricular programs that includes fantastic fine and performing arts programs, 29 very successful sports programs and over 100 clubs and activities.
 
Excellence has a price.
 
Simply stated, our ability to offer the variety and depth of services and programs and make an impact in our students’ lives requires a budget of $105 million dollars.  The standard of excellence for Ridgewood students is a costly endeavor, yet an excellent investment in their future.
 
In fact, the State of New Jersey has determined that the 2016-2017 per-pupil cost of a Ridgewood education is $15,119, which is a relatively low per-pupil expenditure when compared to our neighboring districts and others across the state.  Let’s take a look:

Bergen Academies: 27,852
Northern Valley — Old Tappan / Demarest:19,964
Princeton: 19,964
Ramapo/Indian Hills: 19,479
Teaneck: 9,922
Tenafly: 17,049
State of New Jersey: 15,714
 
We couldn’t do it without you.
 
Especially as the majority of the budget is funded by our resident taxpayers, you might want to know that next year’s cost to homeowners is an additional yearly increase of $11 per $100,000 assessed home value. As a reference point, the average assessed Ridgewood home of $696,093 will see a tax increase of $76.56.
 
It is important for me to say thank you for your continued support of our schools, programs and students. The Ridgewood community is a critical partner in our mission of excellence, from the budget that you support through taxes, to the co-curricular and extra-curricular programs that cannot exist without the additional funds that you regularly raise through parent organizations such as HSAs, Booster clubs, individuals and organizations.
 
We are also particularly fortunate and grateful to our large organizational donors such as The Foundation and The Valley Hospital, hose large gifts supplement the budget and help ensure our ability to enhance our schools and the educational experience of every Ridgewood student.
 
We want to hear from you.
 
It’s great that I often receive emails or phone calls from residents who have questions, suggestions and, yes, even criticisms on day-to-day and larger issues affecting the Ridgewood Public Schools. I always welcome that one-on-one dialogue. This year, we are also seeking more formal feedback from our parents and guardians, who’ll be e-mailed our biennial satisfaction survey on May 8.
 
We do this survey every two years to gather data on how we are doing in our schools and as a district. Our last survey in 2015 received a 35.6% response rate, and while this number is very good, we want to beat it this year. Please know that your input is important and valued, so I do hope you will take a few minutes to complete the survey when it arrives in your inbox.  
 
Soon the rains will stop, the flowers will be in full bloom and we’ll be relaxing in our yards and enjoying the green spaces in our beautiful village.  However, the grass isn’t growing under our feet! We are already planning for the 2017-2018 school year, when will welcome the inaugural full-day kindergarten class… the future RHS Class of 2030!  Ouch… that number hurts!
 
As always, please feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns

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Reader says our esteemed superintendent of Schools should keep his eye on the job he is paid to do

Ridgewood Police at RHS

file photo by Boyd Loving

Yes, I too would ask our esteemed superintendent to keep his eye on the job he is paid to do.

I did not appreciate this letter, I am well aware of his political leanings and do not wish for them to be taught to my child.

Did he write letters like this in the past when the candidate he voted for was in office?

I am hoping that the BOE will shut down Fishbein’s political commentary – both in his letters and his tweets and retweets.

He can dance around a topic such as this as much as he wants BUT he is being political.

Sure, he never mentioned Trump but we all know what he is talking about.

How about teaching our kids to toughen up, not fall apart when their candidate loses, respect leaders and process even when you don’t like it and work for respect rather than expect it —– that would be a better education than they are currently getting!

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Are Ridgewood Schools truly a “melting pot” , or is this another Solution Looking for a Problem ?

Dan-Fishbein-10

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff:

Over the past year, we have all become aware of an increase in vocalized negative rhetoric concerning immigrants and foreign-born visitors to the United States. This problematic discourse has led to a corresponding buildup of concern and uncertainty for many, including for some of our own Village students and their families.

I feel that it may be helpful to remind everyone that our Ridgewood schools welcome and embrace children from all over the world, who by federal, state and local law are guaranteed equal access to an education. Our student database shows that we are truly a “melting pot,” with children from the following countries:

Albania Egypt Lebanon South Africa Australia El Salvador Malaysia Spain Bahrain Ethiopia Mexico Sri Lanka Bangladesh France Monaco Sweden Belarus Germany Netherlands Switzerland Belgium Guatemala Northern Mariana Islands Syrian Arab Republic Bermuda Honduras Pakistan Taiwan Bolivia Hong Kong Panama Turkey Brazil India Peru Ukraine Bulgaria Iran Philippines United Arab Emirates Canada Ireland Poland United Kingdom China Israel Puerto Rico United States Costa Rica Italy Romania Uruguay Czech Republic Japan Russian Federation Uzbekistan Denmark Kazakhastan Saudi Arabia Venezuela Dominican Republic Korea Singapore Vietnam

Far beyond our legal and moral responsibilities for educating all children, the Ridgewood Public Schools have a long and proud history of incorporating and celebrating the diverse cultures of our student body into our regular curricular programming. From the annual Asian Festival held at Ridgewood High School each spring, to the International clubs at the middle school level, and down to International Day at our elementary schools, we affirm our respect and admiration for other nationalities in large ways. We are fortunate to have numerous families and community members from other countries who are willing and eager to share their traditions and we are enriched by the numerous opportunities they give us to learn firsthand about other cultures and beliefs.

Through these opportunities, we are also able to teach our children about tolerance and respect for the dignity of every being. Of course, as we are all prone to making mistakes on occasion, we also have a longstanding official policy of zero-tolerance for prejudice and disrespect that is strictly enforced if the need arises.

In sum, long before the recent uptick in negative rhetoric on immigration issues, inclusivity has been a top priority in the administration of our schools. We have worked hard to be inclusive and we will always continue to work even harder to make all students and their families feel welcome and valued in the Ridgewood Public Schools.

I conclude with the meaningful words found at the base of the Statue of Liberty, that wonderful symbol of welcome to visitors and immigrants from afar:

The New Colossus Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883) 

If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s principal or me.

Sincerely yours,

Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools