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Dr. Fishbein’s Letter on New Safety measures for the Ridgewood School District


Dear Parents/Guardians:

To better secure our schools and most importantly, our children and staff, the Ridgewood Public Schools has recently incorporated the TPASS K-12 Visitor Management System into our daily safety protocols. This system operates with ID card readers now installed outside the main entrance at all of our schools. They have the ability to “red flag” visitors not allowed on school grounds and also create a visibly distinct visitor badge. We will pilot our process at Ridgewood High School starting Monday, October 1 and go live at all schools on Monday, October 8.

Continue reading Dr. Fishbein’s Letter on New Safety measures for the Ridgewood School District

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Ridgewood Public Schools spring calendar survey results are out


July 24,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the Ridgewood Public Schools spring calendar survey results are out.

At the July 16, 2018 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Fishbein presented the results of the spring calendar survey sent to district parents / guardians and staff. The Board discussed possible changes to the 2019-2020 calendar based on the survey results. The survey results may be viewed here:


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Reader says Ridgewood Public Schools has gone down the toilet since I move in and yet, I pay more and more each year


I moved in 30 years ago, years before I had kids. I’m still here after my kids have left RPS. My taxes have quadrupled but I’m still paying. I worked full time when my kids were young. and I paid good money for kindergarten enrichment. My kids are successful despite not having full day kindergarten . . . why did people think free kindergarten baby sitting was the way to go. There’s no reason to have full day K in our socioeconomic cohort. Just because I want to dump my brats and go to yoga and lunch is not a good reason for full day kindergarten (and no, I don’t hink our real estate value was in jeopardy because we didnt have full day K. No self respecting Mommy around here works). Lots of waste. at the BoE and I just want some form of reasonable increases directed at quality education (BTW . . . RPS has gone down the toilet since I move in and yet, I pay more and more each year) . I can well afford to live here but really don’t want to continue to allow the BoE to spend foolishly. Very little of the proposed increase are going toward classroom and education goals; have you looked at the budget or is your smarmy ass head stuck in the sand?

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Ridgewood Public Schools New Security Protocols and Practices

Ridgewood Police RHS

file photo by Boyd Loving

March 2,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Dr. Fishbein outlines RPS security measures.Please take a moment to read a March 1 letter to the Ridgewood community on RPS security protocols and practices:

March 1, 2018
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff and Members of the Ridgewood Community:
As the recent Parkland shooting has raised a number of worthy questions from our community members about school safety, I am writing today to address this important topic.
Across the district a highly developed safety plan and security protocols are in place at each of our buildings that are designed for both the prevention of, and response to, a variety of security breaches, including, but not limited to lone shooter incidents. Individualized to each school and regularly reviewed for effectiveness, the plan ranges from specific technology-based and mechanical installations like locked doors and web cams, to ongoing practice drills for our students and staff, and professional development. Regular training, evaluation and dialogue with Village of Ridgewood safety officials is another key component of the plan.

This closely coordinated effort is further buttressed by a safety curriculum that works in tandem with our goals for academic excellence and focuses on avoiding dangerous situations. We strive in the Ridgewood Public Schools to build a trusting environment in each building so that our students and staff feel comfortable coming forward with any concerns or knowledge that might impact school safety. We encourage open dialogue and consider the practice of “see something, say something” to be a valuable aspect of our safety plan.

The answer to the question, “Is my child safe?” is yes. Ridgewood schools are very safe. We work hard to provide a secure environment and continuously look to add precautionary measures and other enhancements that will bolster our safety standards and practices. We have a great relationship with Village emergency services professionals, whom we welcome at our practice drills and depend upon for feedback. Parents and guardians, staff and students can be reassured that children and staff are out of harm’s way when they enter our buildings each and every day. Safety is the foundation upon which our mission of excellence is built. Without it, our children cannot be free to fully engage in the learning process, nor are our teachers and staff able to do their jobs.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. In the wake of Parkland, we are again reviewing our protocols with our administrators, staff and students, as well as with the police department and other safety professionals. We will try to learn from that tragedy and implement any adjustments or measures that will further strengthen our security plan.

It is a good time to ask everyone to also look to improve their personal approach to safety. In order to maximize the effectiveness of our security measures and minimize human error, everyone must also do their part by respecting the rules, approaching our drills seriously, and also reporting any safety deficiencies — like open doors — to the building principal or my office. And, while our students and staff are very kind and considerate, opening doors for strangers entering our buildings greatly diminishes security and weakens our ability to enforce the requirement that all visitors report to the Main Office or sign-in area. Posting sensitive information on social media can also weaken our safety and potentially create danger.

The above measures constitute the broad strokes of a carefully created, deep-level plan for assuring the safety of our students and staff in the event of a school shooting, even as we know that events of this type are unlikely to occur and somewhat random. A list of more detailed ways the district seeks to provide a safe environment is also provided at the end of this letter.

I hope I have succeeded in allaying concerns about our district’s safety protocols and practices. It is also my hope that I need not address this issue ever again, while recognizing that a lot must happen before my hope becomes reality.

I look forward to further dialogue on this important topic and welcome suggestions on how we can optimize our partnership to make our schools as safe as possible while also continuing to be welcoming and supportive learning environments.

Thank you for your continued support of the Ridgewood Public Schools.
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Elements of the Ridgewood Public Schools Safety Plan
While a tragedy like Parkland is unlikely to happen in Ridgewood, we must be prepared as best we can. The Ridgewood Public Schools safety plan includes:
• A strong partnership with the Ridgewood Police Department, the Ridgewood Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management and other first responders up to the county level and beyond. The Ridgewood Board of Education, the Ridgewood Police Department and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office sign an annual Memorandum of Agreement that ensures partnerships, coordinates tactics and shares information. The Ridgewood Police Department partners with surrounding municipal police departments to practice “live fire” entrees in our schools several times a year, which have been proven effective during occasional false alarm incidents.
• Twice monthly training (one fire drill and one safety drill) for all students, faculty and staff. The value of these drills cannot be overemphasized; as seen in the Parkland shooting, they are effective in maintaining calm order and minimizing harm.
• Secure exterior entries: Locked exterior doors that are visibly numbered to aid swift emergency response; ID swipe card entry systems; exterior and interior police-accessible video surveillance cameras.
• Secure classrooms that are locked at all times and equipped with Voice over IP phone systems enabling calls for assistance and/or 911; exterior-facing classrooms numbered to aid swift emergency response; room signage and markings to aid students and staff during drills and emergencies.
• Share 911 software installed on staff cell phones for drills and emergency communication.
• Safety professionals: Recently established position of Safety/Security Director and recent hire of a school safety officer.
• Community partnerships: Formal reciprocal evacuation agreements with local houses of worship, schools and secondary sites; outreach to extend our lockdown software to local preschools; security guards posted at school voting sites on Election Day, in partnership with the Village of Ridgewood.
Planned improvements include:
• One-button lockdown solution with notification out at our fields and playgrounds, as well as signal strobe lights on exterior of buildings.
• Visitor “kiosk” software/badge systems for our schools, which will require 100% visitor sign-in at our offices.
• Re-establishment of the School Resource Officer positon with the Village.

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Reader asks Why do Ridgewood Public Schools choose to keep schools open and in session for students while schools are used as polling places on Election Day


Why do Ridgewood Public Schools choose to keep schools open and in session for students while schools are used as polling places on Election Day and open to the general public? In today’s day and age, where incidents of mass violence have become commonplace, we allow the general public to enter our schools unchecked with little security beyond HSA volunteers. I ask the Ridgewood Board of Ed to either change the polling places to non-school locations, or make Election Day a school holiday as many other districts do.

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Ridgewood Public Schools Anti-Bullying Specialist Contact Information 2017-18


RPS Anti-Bullying Specialist Contact Information 2017-18

Anti-Bullying District Coordinator, Stacie Poelstra

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 10532
Address:The Education Center
49 Cottage Place
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Benjamin Franklin Middle School (Grade 6), Lara Sheer

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 30556
Address:Benjamin Franklin Middle School
335 North Van Dien Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Benjamin Franklin Middle School (Grade 7), Meredith Wearley

201-670-2700, ext. 30559
Address:Benjamin Franklin Middle School
335 North Van Dien Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Benjamin Franklin Middle School (Grade 8), David Tashian

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 30555
Address:Benjamin Franklin Middle School
335 North Van Dien Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

George Washington Middle School (Godwin House), Michael Mullin

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 40557
Address:George Washington Middle School
155 Washington Place
Ridgewood, NJ  07451

George Washington Middle School (Monroe House), David Pfeiffer

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 40556
Address:George Washington Middle School
155 Washington Place
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Glen School (Infant/Toddler Development Center), Lisa Kontos

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 60502
Address:Glen School (Infant/Toddler Development Center)
865 Glen Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Glen School (Ridgewood Early Development Program), Karen Price

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 60501
Address:Glen School (Ridgewood Early Development Program)
865 Glen Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Hawes Elementary School, Jane Gerald

Address:Hawes Elementary School
531 Stevens Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Orchard Elementary School, Stephanie McAloon

Address:Orchard Elementary School
230 Demarest Street
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Ridge Elementary School, Stephanie McAloon

Address:Ridge Elementary School
325 West Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Ridgewood High School, Elizabeth O’Brien

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 20568
Address:Ridgewood High School
627 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Ridgewood High School, David Bailey

Phone: 201-670-2700, ext. 20561
Address:Ridgewood High School
627 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Ridgewood High School, Meredith Yannone

Phone: 201-670-2700 ext. 20567
Address:Ridgewood High School
627 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Ridgewood High School, Margaret Schaefer

Phone:201-670-2700, ext. 20569
Address:Ridgewood High School
627 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Somerville Elementary School, Jane Gerald

Address:Somerville Elementary School
45 South Pleasant Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Travell Elementary School, Susan Fink

Address:Travell Elementary School
340 Bogert Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

Willard Elementary School, Susan Fink

Phone: 201-670- 2770
Address: Willard Elementary School
601 Morningside Road
Ridgewood, NJ 07451

201-670-2700, ext. 40557
Ridgewood High School
627 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 0745
Ridgewood High School
627 East Ridgewood Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 0745

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Ridgewood Public Schools Board of Education Meets Tonight at 7:30 pm


Board of Education Meets Tonight
January 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
The Education Center
49 Cottage Place, Ridgewood

Ridgewood NJ, The Ridgewood Board of Education will hold a Regular Public Meeting tonight, Monday, January 23, 2017. The Board meets at the Education Center, 49 Cottage Place, Floor 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting, or to watch from home on FiOS channel 33 or Optimum channel 77. Meetings are also streamed via the “Link in Live” tab on the district website at

Meeting webcasts are immediately available on the district website.

Click here to view the agenda as a PDF document.
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Ridgewood Public Schools Ranked 13th in New Jersey School Rankings


January 18,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The 2017 Best School Districts ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more.

Niche bills itself as a website that helps you discover the schools and neighborhoods that are right for you. We rigorously analyze dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards, and profiles for every K-12 school, college, and neighborhood in the U.S.

Their ranking system assesses 10,364 U.S. public school districts. The same methodology is used to produce the Overall Niche Grade for each ranked school district as well as additional school districts. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2014–2016, as self-reported by the school districts.

They rated Tenafly Public Schools number 6,Fair Lawn School District 15th, Glen Rock Public School District 19th,
Pascack Valley Regional High School District 27, Mahwah Township Public Schools 28,Park Ridge Public Schools 33,Cresskill Public School District 35, and Paramus Public Schools 39.

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Municipal Alliance and Ridgewood Public Schools Present Straight Shots – Substance Use and Social Norms

breakfest club
May 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Monday, May 23 7 – 9 pm, RHS Campus Center Presenter:

Ridgewood NJ, Dr. Tim Silvestri In conjunction with the Municipal Alliance of Ridgewood, the Ridgewood Public Schools will present a parent forum on underage drinking.

The Straight Shots program, featuring Dr. Tim Silvestri, Professor of Social Science at Lafayette University and licensed psychologist, will be held on Monday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m. in the Ridgewood High School Campus Center, 627 East Ridgewood Avenue.

The program is free and open to the adult public. Dr. Silvestri will inform middle school and high school parents and guardians about national social norms regarding underage drinking and drug use. He will provide detailed information on the biomechanics of alcohol and drug consumption on the teenage brain and present the multiple realities facing students, including social (mis)perception and positive expectations for substance use. A unique aspect of the program is a visual journey through the brain, from first drink to death, with a primary emphasis on skill building throughout. Research shows that parents can significantly influence their children’s decision-making about alcohol and drug use. Discussions with children about the dangers and risks of substance use can help to reduce underage drinking by up to thirty percent. Additionally, approximately seventyfive percent of all children turn to their parents for guidance on substance-use issues. It is essential to talk openly and honestly with children about alcohol and drug use. This program will provide parents with information that will promote these necessary conversations. Dr. Silvestri has two decades of experience educating business professionals, academic administrators, faculty, parents and students. His humorous and engaging style has been at the heart of his positive feedback from program attendees. His presentations carry the rigor of science with the accessibility of a casual conversation.
Municipal Alliance programs are funded through the Governor’s Counsel on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA) with money collected from fines on those convicted of drug-related offenses. Ridgewood’s Municipal Alliance coordinates the Safe Homes Parent Network and participates in the Parents who Host Lose the Most campaign.

RPS and Municipal Alliance Host Important Program on Underage DrinkingStraight Shots with Dr. Tim Silvestri 

Monday, May 23
RHS Campus Center
7-9 p.m

Click here for details.
Click here for the flyer

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Readers say Ridgewood Public Schools will drive emptynesters out of the village


Ridgewood Public Schools will drive emptynesters out of the village. The cycle is moving faster. Soon the town will be unable to afford all the kids in the district with special needs and the red-shirted “gifted”. Our reputation for quality schools is not based on out full/half day K program.

Full day K will definitely raise my taxes, it will not increase the quality of a Ridgewood Education.

I am saying this as someone who moved to the town before I had children . I paid taxes before, during and after I had children in the district. No one moves to Ridgewood for full day K. There are many great enrichment programs, some with transportation for working parents. Be grateful for what you have.

This survey is more likely to be filled out by people with preschool children. How are they reaching residents of all ages? They made it easy to be filled out by one part of the population Click here to take the survey.

It is not hard to take this survey more than once. I hope that the board does not think that this is a representative sample of taxpayers