Posted on

Ridgewood Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Set New Date for Coffee & Conversation


New Date for Coffee & Conversation is May 14

May 2,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Members of the Ridgewood Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Daniel Fishbein will host residents for coffee and casual conversation on Monday, May 14 from 7-8:30 p.m. Please join them at the Education Center, 49 Cottage Place, Ridgewood. Residents are welcome to drop in and share their thoughts, questions, suggestions and concerns.

Posted on

Superintendent of Schools : Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


The following column appeared in The Ridgewood News on November 24, 2017.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

It’s been quite a month in our idyllic community. Faced with the fallout from a serious student incident that occurred on district property after school hours, our Village has been challenged to ponder some equally serious questions. How is that Ridgewood children chose to resolve their issues with serious physical violence rather than civil mediation? Why did bystanders feel motivated to record the incident rather than rush to intervene? What part did social media play in fueling the dispute and shaping the community’s reactions, rumors, rants and pointing of fingers?

Importantly, too: With the investigation now completed and behind us, where do we go from here? How can this incident be used as an opportunity to do better?

We are asking all of those questions at the school district level, starting by examining our student policies, as you already have heard us say. I invite you to look at the policies, especially 5512, which covers Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying, and also 5600, our Student Discipline Code of Conduct. The policies, which also detail how often they are revised, may be found on our website at

As important as the policies are, to a large extent examining them is the not-so-difficult part of the task ahead. I say this because policies are generally rules for dealing with the aftermath of incidents or instructions in how to do certain things, and we are equally intent on finding ways to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place.

Equally important is the need for all of us as individuals, as parents and guardians, mentors and coaches, residents and neighbors, to ask the above questions of ourselves. Such incidents challenge us to examine our own personal policies and behaviors, to look at how we can do better at modeling the behaviors we want our children to adopt as they grow into mature adults and assume the responsibilities as our society’s leaders of tomorrow.

For the most part, I think it’s fair to pat ourselves on the back. We do a terrific job in this community of raising responsible kids, and that is because we really are good people ourselves. We clearly have big hearts that are in the right place, proven by the endless list of ways we teach our children to try to make a difference. The full coin jars for hurricane relief, overflowing shoe collections for the needy, piles of coats and bags of groceries that are regularly collected, successful Pink Outs and Pajama Days for worthy causes, all point to the success of our parents and guardians, our teachers and administrators, in modeling strong values that align with Thanks and Giving, a favorite theme of mine and so many others at this time of year.

So how is it that a community so good at doing Thanks and Giving is facing such difficult questions at the moment? While I do not have that answer, nor the answers to the other challenging questions above, I will suggest that just as Thanks and Giving are important to our health and wellbeing as individuals and members of society, the practice of for-giving is vital, too.

Forgiveness. It takes humbleness and swallowing of pride and can be difficult. But as we know, forgiveness is also a very cathartic act, as well as the foundation for reconciliation, which is why we teach our children to say they are sorry from their earliest days.

At this time of Thanksgiving and the beginning of the magical holiday season when there is always much talk about counting our blessings and peace on earth, I’d like to encourage us all to think about forgiveness, too. It just may help us move forward, to grapple as a community with our issues in an honest and loving way.

I maintain hope that this incident and our reflections together will result in shaping us into even worthier citizens, an even stronger community, and yes, ultimately a better world that lives in peace.

Go Cowboys! And remember the Kelly Creegan Foundation’s annual Coat Drive this Saturday at Graydon parking lot!

As always, please feel free to contact me with your questions or concerns.


Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Posted on

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

Posted on

Superintendent: I’m a consultant for fed govt. Feds: We’ve never heard of this guy

James Bond

By Rebecca Everett | For
on March 18, 2017 at 8:35 AM, updated March 18, 2017 at 8:37 AM

On Tuesday, the day that Jason “Jay” Eitner ceased to be the Waterford Township school superintendent via a separation agreement, his Twitter and LinkedIn profiles said that he already had a new job.

“Superintendent-in-Residence, U.S. Department of Education,” they read. Both featured the Department of Education’s official seal.

But on that same day a spokesman for the Department of Education said Eitner does not work anywhere in the department.

“There’s not a shred of truth to anything this guy is peddling,” he said.

Eitner, who is active on social media and also maintains a blog on educational topics that he encourages the public to subscribe to, also wrote a post in January about a two-hour meeting he had with Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

“He’s never met with the secretary,” the spokesman said. “I’ve never heard of him and neither has [DeVos’] chief of staff.”

Posted on

Ridgewood Schools Superintendent of Schools Comments on Police Presence at Schools

"security walk through" at Ridgewood Schools

file photo courtesy of Boyd Loving’s Facebook

October 30, 2015

Dear Ridgewood Public Schools Parent or Guardian,
This letter comes on the heels of recent media reports that Ridgewood Police presence has increased at our schools as a result of a student incident.
First and foremost, I want to assure you that our students and staff are safe. I would also like to clarify that in a school district as large as ours of nearly 6,000 students and over 800 staff members in 11 buildings, isolated student incidents occur from time to time that require our highly trained professional staff to request additional interventional support.
We are fortunate to collaborate with community partners such as the police and outside mental health professionals for their dependable expert assistance at those times. In such situations, communication with district parents and guardians requires a delicate hand.
As you can imagine, these incidents are very private events for the individuals involved. It is our goal to make every attempt to communicate appropriately while maintaining confidentiality so as to protect the health and privacy rights of the individuals. Every school incident that occurs provides the opportunity to refine our Emergency Response Plan and prevention protocols.
You are aware that in the recent past our district has experienced two safety incidents that thankfully turned out to be false alarms, a hoax swatting incident last May and a mistaken trespasser event in October. These incidents, in combination with the nationwide upturn in violence on school campuses, have helped us to determine that an increased Ridgewood Police presence in our buildings is warranted at this time, as a preventative measure.
I hope you share my perspective that an increase in police presence at our schools is a positive precaution. The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority.
Thank you for your continued understanding, support and trust.
Sincerely yours,
Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools
Posted on

The Ridgewood News Superintendent’s Corner


The Ridgewood News Superintendent’s Corner
June 2014
by Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 201-670-2700 ext. 10530 
 (fax) 201-670-2668 
The following column appeared in The Ridgewood News on June 27, 2014.
Each June I reflect on the many great opportunities the Ridgewood Public Schools and the  Village of Ridgewood provide our youngest citizens, culminating in the Ridgewood High School  graduation at the close of the school year.