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Who were the other candidates for Superintendent?

>The Fly is curious. Has anyone filed an OPRA yet to determine the names of candidates #2 & #3? Were any internal candidates being considered? Reportedly, there were over 30 applicants.

It’s difficult to believe that BOE members are going to appoint another interim Super instead of just tapping the next person on their list. Could it be that Marty Brooks was the only candidate they ever looked at?


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Brooks Declines Ridgewood Superintendency


From the Village Website!!!

Brooks Declines Ridgewood Superintendency

Dr. Martin Brooks has informed the Ridgewood Board of Education that because of personal reasons he will not accept the Superintendency in Ridgewood. It is the position of the Board that before Dr. Brooks’ arrival he was made to feel unwelcome. Anonymous phone calls, emails, blogs, and web postings by some community members questioned his integrity, ethics and educational philosophy. The Board considers this to be a most unfortunate situation for the Village and schools. It is not reflective of Ridgewood’s supportive community and its values.After an extensive nine-month process, using criteria and specifications developed in collaboration with the community, the Board selected Dr. Brooks to be the next superintendent. Some in the community took exception to the Board’s decision and have undermined the process.At its June 18, 2007, meeting, the Board will discuss the hiring of an interim superintendent and the initiation of a second superintendent search. As always, the Board will continue to focus on the education of more than 5,600 students in the Ridgewood Public School system.

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the fly hears the N.Y. Times checks out the districts fuzzy math…

>The fly heard Dr. Arilotta and Bob Muller got their hair blown out yesterday.
It must have been that the New York Times was coming to visit Travell and Orchard school and interview the district about their fuzzy Math. Hmmmh, the NY Times, why didn’t Marty Brooks want to come and speak with the Times about how he implemented TERC in his last district?

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Welcome Reception for Marty Brooks Postponed

>Because of scheduling conflicts, the Board of Education is postponing the public welcome reception for Dr. Martin Brooks, the incoming Superintendent of Schools at the Ed Center, originally scheduled for Monday, June 11, 2007.

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Meet Dr. Marty Brooks – June 11, 2007 @ 7:30pm Ed. Center

>The Board of Education is inviting the public to a welcome reception for Dr. Martin Brooks, the incoming Superintendent of Schools at the Ed Center, third floor, 49 Cottage Place, on Monday, June 11, 2007, from 7:30-8:30 PM. The informal occasion is the first opportunity for residents to meet Dr. Brooks who was appointed to the position at the May 14, 2007, Board meeting. He takes over the Ridgewood post on July 1, 2007.

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Is the former Town Garage property for sale, again?

Village Council members met behind closed doors on Wednesday evening to
discuss possible options for acquiring 120 Franklin Avenue, formerly home of
the Town Garage. Acquisition of this property is key to the planned
construction of a municipal parking garage at the northwest corner of North
Walnut Street and Franklin Avenue.

It is now rumored that Ridgewood 120 LLC, the site’s current owners, have
offered the property for sale to Village officials at a price much higher
than the $1.265 million paid in November of 2006. Scuttlebutt is that
Ridgewood 120 LLC’s asking price is at least $1.865 million, and possibly as
high as $2.265 million. The current owners have made no improvements to the
property since purchasing it from the Agnello family late last year.

Council members must decide whether to: 1) pay the asking price, or 2) enact
the right of eminent domain, or 3) revise parking garage building plans to
eliminate the need for that parcel. Still unanswered is the question: “How
did Village Council members manage to get themselves in such an expensive
jam? In other words, how was a real estate investment group able to acquire
the Town Garage property from right under the Council’s noses?”

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Marty Brooks responds to readers Inquiry

>Dear Ms. Edwards:

Thanks for this note. I’d like to make a few comments about the link you attached. The math wars, like the whole language wars of the past decade, are based on a false dichotomy: traditional education v. progressive education. Good instruction focuses on the needs of the child – every child, one by one – and no one approach meets the needs of all children.

The math issue is interesting in that the battle seems to be pitched around algorithmic fluency v. conceptual understanding. They are not mutually exclusive. Both are essential for mathematical literacy. Students who learn algorithms procedurally without conceptual understanding aren’t truly fluent because although they are able to answer questions correctly on tests (when the questions are posed in the precise format the students are used to seeing), they often have difficulty knowing whether to (and how to) apply that algorithm to new and different situations. Teaching for conceptual understanding helps children develop efficient strategies for computing. Understanding the concept that underlies the algorithm helps students know how and when to apply it, helping them to become more proficient in solving new, differently presented problems and/or more complex problems.

Programs don’t teach children, teachers do. Good teachers vary their instruction – and their materials – based on student response.


Marty Brooks

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Ridgewood News Purposeful Misrepresentations ?

>Submitted to The Ridgewood News

To the editor:

While it is fair to say that most editors save their opinion for the
editorial pages, clearly some do not. Your article on a recently
filed civil rights lawsuit to stem the purposeful discrimination that
was proliferated against our then 12-year old daughter lacked
credibility. It provided far too many errors, of omission and
commission, which, despite efforts to suppress them, nonetheless rose
to the surface as misrepresented facts collided uncomfortably with
uninformed opinion.

This begs the question: how many times is the editor of the Ridgewood
News allowed to bend the truth without having her credibility broken?
One, five, nine? In the above mentioned article, no less than seven
errors emanated from the first few paragraphs of a hate-filled rant
against our efforts to protect rights to which all are entitled.

Some of these falsehoods even prompted one letter writer to shrill
shamelessly that we should “move” out of town, a town to which I first
moved in 1969. Since when is defending a civil right the source of
such pointed venom? Or are the “rules” just different in Ridgewood?

What concerns me, however, is that the nature and subjectivity of
these errors appear designed to be purposefully mean-spirited. One is
left to wonder at the editor’s true purpose in making them. Take for
instance the following (for clarification, I use italics for what was
stated in the original article):

“…Caitlin Alvaro had asked to play on her brother’s fifth and sixth
grade recreation-league team..”

Our daughter never asked to be on her brother’s team. She asked to be
included in the draft of boys for her grade’s recreation basketball
league, to be drafted for any team like any other player. Though she
completed the evaluation, she was later denied participation and was
removed from the draft by the Biddy organization. After the New
Jersey Division of Civil Rights became involved, Biddy eventually
assigned her to the team on which our son also played, though they
continued to deny her permission to play.

“Despite what her father said was a skillful performance in her

Caitlin’s father never said such a thing. It was merely noted in the
complaint that she had successfully sunk all five of the required
baskets during that particular evaluation. It is solely the editor’s
opinion that this constituted a “skillful performance.”

“…two sides reached a settlement requiring Ridgewood Biddy

There was not a settlement, monetary or otherwise, but an agreement by
Biddy to obey the law. This took place between the NJDCR and the
Ridgewood Biddy Inc. The Alvaro’s were neither present nor asked to
participate in this conference. The Ridgewood School district, a
party to the complaint, did not attend, thereby maintaining an active complaint
against them with the NJDCR. Biddy honored this agreement and so is not
a party named in this lawsuit. They allowed Caitlin to play in the
boy’s league the next two years. Her team reached the championship
game the first year, and she was honored by her teammates with the
selection to play on the all-star team this year. Teammates and other
players were always exemplary in their manner towards her.

“…Alvaro is seeking unspecified monetary compensation…pain and
suffering, while watching those games from the bench.”

Having a player sit on the bench is not against the law, nor is it a
reason for seeking compensation. That the editor would make such a
statement is totally ludicrous and misleading.

“…a history of adversarial relations with the school district.”

This characterization by the editor is selectively pejorative. It is
possible to disagree and not be adversarial; only the ignorant to presume
otherwise. District and Village officials have always and continue to
extend the utmost courtesy to our family. We return this treatment

“…taking legal action against the board for sponsoring what they
felt was an invasive survey.”

Though later “clarified” by the editor, the purpose of this knowingly
false statement was reprehensible. Seven parents filed complaints
against the school board for the survey and three filed a federal lawsuit. Were
they also “adversarial?” My contribution was to work tirelessly toward
getting a law passed in New Jersey to prevent such an encroachment on
parental rights. The far superior and more appropriate “norms” survey
recently given in the High School was a welcome result of such

“…include resistance to renovations at Orchard Elementary School.”

Also knowingly untrue. Our disagreement was not with renovations,
which we welcomed, but with the building of a new addition on top of
the basketball courts which parents had recently provided for our
children with money from their own pockets. What the editor did not
reveal to her readers was that I sat in her office and she looked over
our 200 signatures from parents who signed a petition asking to change
the addition’s location. She knew this was a majority position– two hundred
signatures from a population of fewer than 350 students. Her efforts to
mislead and characterize this as “adversarial” by means of singular
intent are shockingly dishonest.

So, how many times may an editor bend the truth before her
credibility is broken? Only her publisher knows.

Frances Edwards

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day


ABOUT SAINT PATRICKSaint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a “most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God.”

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been – the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick’s death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city

Why Saint Patrick’s Day?
Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.

So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green! ( )

photo’s by ArtChick Photo’s shot at Irish Eyes on Ridgewood Ave

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The Town Garage, 120 Franklin Avenue; the eye of the storm . . .

The current hot discussion topic among those who monitor Village Hall happenings is how an out of town firm was able purchase the Town Garage property from right out under the noses of Village Council members. Village ownership of the subject property (see posted photo) is seen as key to the successful construction of a municipal parking garage.

Reportedly, Village officials had offered previous owner Richard Agnello more than the $1.265 million sale price. However, it is being reported that Mr. Agnello refused to sell until the Village found a suitable location nearby for him to relocate his motor vehicle repair facility.

So the fly would like to know: 1) How was the Wells partnership able to buy the property for less than what Village officials had offered Mr. Agnello? 2) Will Mr. Agnello be closing up shop, or has the Wells partnership found a location for him to move his operation to? And, 3) What prompted the Wells partnership to purchase a piece of property destined for involvement in eminent domain proceedings?