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Superintendent of the Ridgewood Public Schools : The $110,000,000 2018-2019 budget, will be approved by the Board of Education on May 7

Dan Fishbein 10

The following column appeared in The Ridgewood News on April 27, 2018.

Dare I say that springtime is finally here? The crocuses and daffodils have had to push a bit harder to get to the surface due to some late snowstorms but it seems winter is now well behind us as we move from school closures and delayed openings to the spring sports calendar, Earth Day celebrations and the first barbecues of the season ahead … and yes, cutting the grass.

Along with turning our thoughts to the great outdoors, this is also the time of year in which the Ridgewood Board of Education finalizes and approves the next year’s school budget. For the past several months our administrators have been working to develop a 2018-2019 budget that provides resources for our outstanding instructional and co-curricular programs, our fine staff, and for the maintenance and operations of our facilities. Given rising costs and legal mandates, it is a tall order to put together a fiscally responsible budget but I am happy to say that once again we have succeeded.

The 2018-2019 budget, which will be approved by the Board of Education on May 7 and is approximately $110,000,000, maintains our outstanding staff, upholds and improves our excellent and rigorous academic offerings and supports new initiatives. As detailed in our 2018-2019 budget presentation, next year’s budget will also permit us to add new staff and programs, maintain and continue to upgrade our instructional technology equipment, implement new curriculum at all grade levels and undertake some facility renovations and improvements to school security.

How do we develop the budget? We start the process by creating instructional goals, which focus our work on the budget. Those goals for next year are as follows:

• Build capacity to create and implement authentic growth-based, innovative assessment practices to measure progress and foster student success. We do this through a review and update of curriculum and assessments, through formal and informal observations in classrooms, and by continuing to shift and leverage technology integration and learning environments.

• Continue to build capacity for implementation of interventions and instructional strategies for diverse learners to maximize students’ individual success. Examples of this goal are the two-year training of 21-plus staff members in multi-sensory reading strategies, and also curricular improvements such two new A.P. classes (Physics C and Human Geography) at the high school and many other courses in grades K-12.

• Build capacity to foster student wellbeing by focusing on social/emotional learning as an integral component of student health and achievement. We will do this by replicating our Ridgewood High School therapeutic program at our middle schools, by continuing to grow and infuse mindfulness activities into our classrooms and programs, and by fostering building initiatives like the “Choose to be Nice” programs within our schools. In addition, we are adding significant security measures to improve physical safety for staff and students.

Goals aside, some thoughtful residents have asked whether Ridgewood’s tradition of excellence continues to be upheld over the years. I want to share with you here some basic information taken from New Jersey official reports showing how the Ridgewood Public Schools continue to be effective and efficient:

• SAT and ACT scores: The RHS Class of 2017 had an average SAT score of 1272 and ACT score of 27, which exceed the average New Jersey SAT score of 1103 and ACT score of 23.75 and the average national SAT score of 1060 and ACT score of 21.

• Per pupil spending: Our per pupil spending continues to be significantly lower than surrounding districts. According to the 2016-2017 NJ Department of Education Comparative Spending Guide, Ridgewood came in at $15,119, while for example, Paramus was $18,826, Mahwah $18329 and Tenafly $17,049.

For additional information and commentary, I invite you to take a look at the full 2018-2019 budget presentation, which may be found on the home page of our website at I would also encourage you to browse through the Program of Studies for the elementary schools, middle schools and high school, which are located on the website under Academics/Departments. I also welcome any questions about the 2018-2019 budget, which may be emailed to

The Ridgewood community is a critical partner in financing our mission of educational excellence. Due to the manner in which the State of New Jersey funds schools, the majority of our school funding is generated through the local property tax. Our proposed total budget for 2018-2019 of $110,167,997 will add $250.71 to the local tax bill on the average-assessed Ridgewood home.

In closing, the Ridgewood Public Schools continue to be fiscally prudent and efficient as well as educationally successful. For your support of the budget through taxes, and for the community’s further generous donations that this year exceeded one million dollars for curricular and co-curricular programs, I am grateful.

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

Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D., is Superintendent of the Ridgewood Public Schools

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Superintendent of the Ridgewood Public Schools fails to Address Bullying and Favoritism in his Recent letter

Dan Fishbein 10

January 8,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, in his latest letter Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Ridgewood Public Schools promotes the value of the Global Classroom . While the blog has always been opposed to the idea of “small town small mind “, Perhaps after the recent run of events at the schools the superintendent’s time would be better spent  focus on the problems of the here and now and addressing those issues ie fighting ,bullying , name calling and worst favoritism .

The following column appeared in The Ridgewood News on December 29, 2017.

Over the past decade, I have had the pleasure of representing the United States on trips to different countries to learn about other educational systems and cultures. For example, I was fortunate to visit China the summer they hosted the Olympics and was surprised to see what looked like a semi-market economy. In Japan I visited the Hiroshima memorial site and witnessed firsthand how that country recovered post WWII. Finally, I was impressed on a trip to South Korea by how that country rose up from the ashes of the Korean War into a modern world economic power that is grateful to the USA for our intervention into that conflict.

These enriching trips were wonderful experiences that provided me with close-up and personal opportunities to observe a variety of educational practices in operation and learn about amazing countries and their beliefs, arts and traditions. They have also provided the district the opportunity to reciprocate and host representative educators around the globe back home in Ridgewood, for just as we have much to learn from our fellow educators abroad, our international colleagues wish to visit the USA because they want their school systems to emulate ours, too.

We are also fortunate to be able to offer several opportunities for our Ridgewood students and educators to travel abroad and engage with their fellow learners and educational professionals around the globe.

Here is a representative list of destinations, with brief program descriptions, that are made available to our Ridgewood students:

Ecuador, Iceland and Nicaragua RHS students travel on expeditions to Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Iceland with World Challenge School Expeditions. By managing important aspects of the entire experience, students gain life skills such as leadership, decision-making and teamwork – skills that are not easily taught in the classroom.

Australia and Sweden RHS Global Classroom Club is part of an international organization. The students spend the year doing research on a particular educational topic supplied by one of the member countries. Selected club members then travel to that country’s host school and present their findings at the Global Classroom Conference. The countries involved in this organization are Australia, New Zealand, The Czech Republic, Germany, The Shetland Islands, Sweden, South Africa, and the United States.

France, Germany, Japan, Spain, China and Italy RHS students have the opportunity to experience other cultural traditions and languages by participating in homestay visits with host families in international countries. RHS families have also hosted families from Germany, France, and Japan.

Switzerland RHS physics students visit the international European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known as CERN, as part of a trip to Switzerland. CERN is a research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.

In sum, travel opportunities for our students and staff provide us all a chance to experience and better understand the world in which we live. They also help us expand our mission of excellence beyond our Ridgewood borders. I find that as we broaden our perspective of the world, we are better able to reflect on home and what makes us great as a country, state and community. These reflections then lead to being better role models.

Although we have very little control over the rhetoric on the national and global level, we do have influence on what happens in our community, our homes, our school district and classrooms. Travel, and exposure to other cultures and practices, helps us build respect for others that are so critical for our children to learn. If they are surrounded by good behavior, they will behave in a manner in which they are immersed.

During the holiday season, when we tend to reflect on the year that is coming to a close, I hope you are able to say that many good things came your way in 2017. I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D., is Superintendent of the Ridgewood Public Schools

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Ridgewood Superintendent’s Column: On digital citizenship



Ridgewood Superintendent’s Column: On digital citizenship

MARCH 27, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2015, 12:31 AM

Years ago I ran in a local road race that had a very strange outcome.

Now you are probably wondering why is this guy telling this story? Well, it’s because I innocently signed up for this race as did a few hundred others and found that the organizers of the race gave away or sold that list. We do this same thing all the time when we hit the “Agree” button to get information off the Internet.

We hardly give it a thought when we electronically sign up, email, tweet, use Facebook, post on Instagram and blog as part of our everyday existence. Our lives have improved in many ways with the fast, easy, convenient and mostly free access to information at our online fingertips, whether we are researching directions, restaurant reviews or places to stay, ordering our clothing and books, or keeping track of our bank accounts, our photo albums, our documents.

Such convenience makes it easy to forget that when we log on, we also agree, yes, agree, to hand over access to all types of personal information about ourselves in exchange for that instant line of communication. Our privacy and personally identifiable information is easily shared, as we know from the personalized ads that appear on the sites we search. And yet, we get upset and outraged when the obvious happens, when a breach occurs and our files are hacked, or a company is called out as a spy on an individual.

Just this month, a student in another New Jersey district tweeted out some PARCC testing information. Pearson, the company that developed the assessment, followed its protocol to contact state officials, who then called to inform those school district administrators of a testing breach.

Many people were upset at this chain of events … and so was I … at first. Then I thought about Daniella. Sixteen years ago I had essentially “tweeted” out my personal information when I agreed to run that race, never thinking of the consequences. I did what we have all done dozens, maybe hundreds, of times when we readily fill out an electronic form, order over the phone, search for our next vacation and the like.

We know now that when we order from our favorite online vendor, they remember us. They know how our waist sizes have expanded or shrunk from the last time we ordered, our color preferences, the types of movies we like to watch.

As we move forward, others will know more and more about us because we have either given them this information directly, or granted them permission to access our files. We must hope that they use our personal information ethically, at least that is my expectation, but we must also make every effort to scrutinize to whom we give out our data so that it does not come back to haunt us. We must teach our children the same and pray every night that they’ve listened.

Taking responsibility for technology-based information, and having this conversation with our children, too, is called good digital citizenship. The Ridgewood Public Schools guards our data and only shares with state and federal officials the information that is required by law. We make every effort to teach our students about good digital citizenship and with the beginning next school year, we will teach it more formally through a Digital Citizenship Curriculum, from kindergarten through Grade 12.

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

Daniel Fishbein, Ed.D., is Superintendent of the Ridgewood Public Schools. Dr. Fishbein can be reached at 201-670-2700, ext. 10530, or via e-mail at For more information on the Ridgewood Public Schools visit the district website at or visit the Facebook page at