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Ridgewood Public Schools pivot to a Mask-optional Policy for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Visitors

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February 28, 2022

 

Dear Ridgewood Public Schools Community,

 

The District has updated its health and safety protocols in response to the State mandate requiring in-school universal masking that will expire on March 7, 2022. These changes have been made in consultation with the Village of Ridgewood Health Department and the School Physician after careful review of the revised NJDOH guidance.

Continue reading Ridgewood Public Schools pivot to a Mask-optional Policy for Students, Faculty, Staff, and Visitors

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Ridgewood High School Principal Adresses “the Incident “

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Important Message from Dr. Gorman
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November 7, 2017
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Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s) and Students:
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Two weekends ago, a serious situation occurred involving Ridgewood High School students that is still being investigated by the high school administration and Ridgewood Police Department. The investigation will be resolved as quickly as possible and the consequences for those involved will be appropriate, educational, and, if need be, therapeutic. Because the situation involves minors, the details and consequences of the case cannot be shared and will remain confidential. To protect all RHS students, we ask the public to please refrain from comments, speculation, and judgment. Every day we are trusted by the community to educate the children of RHS, supervise them in their activities, and partner with the parents/guardians when they are in need. We ask you to continue to trust us in this situation to be diligent and thoughtful in our investigation and determination.
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The recent altercation that occurred after school hours but on school grounds, is greatly troubling and upsetting to us on many levels. It saddens me and the entire high school faculty that some RHS students did not use their best judgment regarding this situation. This event now gives us all a chance to pause and reflect upon what is truly important in life. We ask all parents/guardians to please engage in a meaningful conversation with their children and encourage them to be open and honest with you and/or the school about anything that may be on their minds.
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At RHS, we pride ourselves on being a family that shares many of the same values – friendship, trust, appreciation, caring, and open and honest communication. Whether as a member of a team, the band, a club, or an academic class, this is the students’ home away from home. We strive to make Ridgewood High School a safe and welcoming place for everyone.
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Unfortunately, some feel that they can say or do whatever they wish when there is no adult watching over their shoulder. Having this kind of attitude pays a disservice to their family, teachers, religious communities, and classmates here at school. Students know better and should expect better. Remember the Platinum Rule – treat others as they wish to be treated. We teach this to our students as soon as they enter our doors and I am sure it is taught in your homes.
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Parents, as adults we need to model responsible use of social media and to refrain from using disrespectful or threatening language online. We cannot expect our children to behave better than we do. What we are learning about this situation is that it centered around the misuse of social media on the part of some students. We ask parents to take an active role in monitoring their children’s use of social media and to partner with the schools to educate our students about this crucial issue.
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Students, when we adults cannot be with you and you are under your parents/guardians’ care, we expect you to uphold the same values that we, here at RHS, and your parents/guardians, have imparted to you. You are responsible for your actions in school and when you are under your parents/guardians’ care after school hours. In addition, we expect you to hold accountable others who are not living up to these same values. As John Wooden, a famous basketball coach, once said, “The truest test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
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Social media posts that are malicious in nature can be psychologically damaging to all parties involved. Any such post should be reported immediately to an adult so that it can be addressed appropriately. We ask students not to participate in any negative chatter online through social media, to help monitor each other, and to stand up when someone fails to adhere to the value system we embrace when in the classrooms, halls, locker room, theater, or on the athletic fields. Finally, we ask you to keep an open and honest line of communication with the adults in this building. We are here to support you.
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Throughout a student’s experience at RHS, he or she will be exposed to many educational programs, academic lessons, and positive values and messages that reinforce what it means to be a RHS student. Such experiences include, but are not limited to, addressing all students at the beginning of each school year about HIB; participating in the #Day1 Tyler Clementi Foundation Upstander Pledge; exploring many student topics with peer counseling through Freshmen F.O.C.U.S.; educating all athletes about sportsmanship; teaching students about the dangers of texting and driving, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and vaping; teaching students through classroom lessons about respect, tolerance, and conflict resolution; and having students listen to guest speakers presenting first-hand accounts of genocide and the Holocaust. These offerings help to foster positive relationships between students and faculty, allowing students to feel comfortable sharing their problems with staff members. We believe that these programs also have reduced instances of bullying at Ridgewood High School.
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The policies and code of conduct that govern the high school are strong and have served us well. However, in light of recent events, we are revisiting them to determine if changes are necessary. Throughout many of the students’ classes at RHS, they are taught the proper protocols of technology and internet safety and responsibility. We will be revisiting these lessons and protocols to determine their effectiveness. We are also working with law enforcement officials to find appropriate future programs that can help further educate our students on the perils of bullying and harassment and how to stop volatile situations before they go too far.
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One of the school’s responsibilities is to ensure the safety and well-being of all the students and staff. When students experience problems, they are encouraged to seek out a teacher, counselor, or grade advisor. In addition to a student’s parents/guardians, these staff members are excellent resources from whom to get assistance on any issue. To ensure student success of all kinds, the school and community must work cooperatively to inspire and implement this shared vision.
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Sincerely,
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Thomas A. Gorman, Ed.D.
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Principal

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Ridgewood High School was not portrayed in the best light in the stands or in the parking lot at MetLife Stadium

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High School Problems

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:

We were excited that our football team made it to the final round of competition at Met Life Stadium on December 5.  It was great to see so many people from our community support our team, band, and cheerleaders for this final event.  The high school even ran student fan buses for close to 90 students.  Although the final score did not go our way, we are extremely proud of our coaches and players.

Unfortunately, despite previous warnings and pleas for assistance, Ridgewood High School was not portrayed in the best light in the stands or in the parking lot.  Administrators and faculty members spent much of the game dealing with students that were under the influence and/or involved in disruptive behavior.  In addition, the parking lot in the Ridgewood section was left in a very poor state with trash and broken bottles.

As we move forward, we hope this event will be a learning experience for all.  The incidents referenced above are not unique to this one weekend and come on the heels of the most recent issues at RHS regarding students and postings on social media sites, i.e., Yik Yak, Finstagram, Instagram, etc.  Many of these negative behaviors we have been experiencing are illegal, disruptive, and/or dangerous.  These incidents give us a chance to pause, reflect, and engage in meaningful discussions about character and decision-making.  We do not want to have these conversations after a tragic or permanently harmful event occurs.

Students, parents, and educators are continually being challenged to set limits in children’s lives that effectively support growth and healthy behavior.  Although initially frustrated, children thrive and are grateful in the long run when parents and educators set parameters and limits.  These concerns are not unique to Ridgewood but must be shared as a community.

At RHS, we will continue to have educational discussions with our students about the effects of drugs and alcohol; assist in the emotional, psychological, and physical development of our teenagers; and teach about character and decision-making through class lessons, athletics, and the arts.

In the weeks and months to come, we will be engaging in conversations with students and parents throughout the community.  We encourage you to do the same.  If you have any suggestions or feedback you wish to share, please reach out to any teacher, coach, or administrator as we work on determining the best course of action to help our youth reach their fullest potential.

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Gorman, Ed.D.

Principal
A Tradition of Excellence