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.
EDUCATION CENTER 49 COTTAGE PLACE RIDGEWOOD NJ 07450 www.ridgewood.k12.nj.us

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