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Ridgewood High School Transitions Back to Remote Learning

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Due to two recent positive COVID-19 cases of unknown origin, Ridgewood High School will transition to all remote learning tomorrow, Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
In person instruction will resume on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Please make sure that Ridgewood High School students do not participate in out of school activities during this time of remote learning. Close contacts are currently being investigated. We understand the level of concern regarding
COVID-19.

18 thoughts on “Ridgewood High School Transitions Back to Remote Learning

  1. Does it sound like a plan to stay home during holidays?

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  2. RHS = 1 and 1/2 months of Open,Close, Close, Open, Close, and all of this chaos before the holiday break in addition to an A B hybrid schedule. There are so many cases it is no wonder the BOE can’t even get the correct wording in the letters regarding the known and unknown nature of the cases and their implications on whether the school should be open or not. Do we really think our kids are benefitting from this idiotic system of education these past 7 weeks? Any other sane school district would have kept the schools on remote only until mid January when we know the forever travelling untruthful Ridgewood parents will return from wherever and enough time would have past to ensure other more responsible staff and students would not be in jeopardy of being infected.

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  3. Looks like it’s just extended till Jan 19th

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  4. For all you post here who wanted to keep the schools open no matter what because of your freedoms etc, well the BOE just decided to close them all and go remote until Jan 19th. How do you like that !!!

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  5. Just read Dr Gorman’s letter to have all the Ridgewood schools to go remote until Jan 19th 2021. But why are athletics still able to continue as from what I have heard they are the true super spreaders in the school system.

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  6. Good point…they need to shut down the athletics. I think the term is shared sacrifice.

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  7. Furlough the auxiliary sports staff. They are students in a school. This sports push is dangerous for all students, not just the players.

    Save money and save lives.

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  8. CarrieT above , I am glad Dr Gorman listened to your plea to shutter the schools for safety reasons. At least now those parents won’t have to lie about their whereabouts if they were to be interviewed by the town’s contact tracer because by Jan 19th this buffer should be enough time to determine if anyone in their family has contracted the virus without exposing the entire school district right after the holiday break.

    Thank you Dr Gorman for understanding your new role as the protector of the safety of our children in this perilous time frame.

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  9. Kwak seemed to want the schools open especially for the ‘youngest learners.’

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  10. We heard Fishbein always wanted to keep the schools fully open as he thought by doing such would somehow make him look like a hero by being the only area school district to keep the doors open no matter the safety risk his actions caused as the cases spiraled out of control . We also heard that Mr. Lembo wanted to keep the schools open so that his special needs child would continue to receive the in person one on one education our tax dollars pay for at the Glen School, again not being too overly concerned about the health risks to others of his personal desire.
    It is refreshing to to see how Dr. Gorman has taken an unbiased, swift and more prudent approach to the safety and well being of the entire staff and students of the Ridgewood public education system by closing all the buildings until mid January. As the principal of RHS, he undoubtedly witnessed first hand how that school was unable to control the spread and we applaud his proactive and decisive action to pause in person instruction. That is leadership in action.

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  11. Top-performing students attending high schools in northeast New Jersey have recently been receiving the best possible academic preparation for college.

    The National Merit organization’s statistics prove this out.

    It has always been up to each individual student arriving for their first day of high school instruction in New Jersey, particularly in the northeast part of the state, to take a clear-eyed and sober look around campus, as well as around the state if they can be exposed to the relevant data, so as to get an accurate sense of the competition they will face. If they harbor the highest hopes for themselves, they must recognize that if they don’t get off to a running start at the beginning of ninth grade, or if their performance is subsequently seen to sag or dip slightly for as few as one or two academic quarters, they could easily find themseves disappointed at the end of senior year, when the relevant announcements start rolling in, and the names of the best performing students in the graduating class become known.

    Near the end of their junior year of high school, hundreds of thousands of college-bound high school students nationwide sit for the PSAT. The PSAT is a preliminary test to the SAT. Results from the PSAT are not directly used to determine college admission. However, students who take the PSAT are given an excellent opportunity to show how much they’ve learned and achieved academically up until that point, which is not far from the end of high school. The best of college-bound students all take the PSAT with the specific goal of receiving a score that qualifies them for special recognition from the National Merit organization.

    Nearly every college-bound high-school junior in the United States is simultaneously handed the exact same version of the PSAT test, which is administered not only on the same spring day in every state, but also at the exact same moment on that day. No provisions are made for differences in time zone. If a given high school junior fails, for whatever reason, to sit for the PSAT on the single day and at the single time it is administered, that’s it. Game over. No provision is made for a “make up” in the world of the PSAT. So the PSAT is really is a fair and square test, with virtually no opportunity for misbehavior or monkey business by test takers amounting to cheating.

    Year in and year out, for the past five or ten years at least, New Jersey’s top-performing students, considered together as a class or cohort, have proven themselves through their collective performance on the PSAT, to be the best in the country in terms of overall academic achievement and preparation for college-level work.

    Competition for the status of National Merit Semifinalist is stiffer in New Jersey than anywhere else in the country.

    Let that sink in. Competition in New Jersey for recognition by the National Merit organization is not just “among” the stiffest. It is the stiffest, hands down, and has been for years.

    Usually the competition for National Merit recognition within New Jersey is so uniquely stiff, that if a given New Jersey junior’s scaled score on the PSAT falls more than one point short of perfect, that student may safely expect to lose out, not just on National Merit Finalist status, but also on National Merit Semifinalist status. Both National Merit Finalist status, and National Merit Semifinalist status, show that the test taker has scored in the upper half of the top one percent of all Junior year students in that test-takers state who took the PSAT and received a corresponding score based on their performance. When the announcements are made in the spring of senior year, a New Jersey student whose scaled score placed them in the lower half of the top one percent of all such test takers will typically receive the less prestigious recognition of “Commended Student”. Recently, “Commended Student” status has gone to New Jersey Juniors whose scaled score on the PSAT fell a mere two points shy of perfect. With three, four or more points shy in terms of a scaled PSAT score, the typical New Jersey junior will fall out of the top one percent of test takers in the state. No special recognition is typically given to such students.

    In literally every other state and territory in the U.S., a high school junior whose scaled score on the PSAT is only two points shy of perfect will typically always end up being recognized with National Merit Semifinalist status when the final announcements are made in the spring of their senior year. Actually, in the case of a great many states, considerably lower scores than that will still be high enough for the high school junior to qualify for National Merit Semifinalist status.

    Only in New Jersey do junior students with nearly perfect scaled scores on the PSAT regularly end up on the outside of the National Merit system, looking in.

    Fortunately for New Jersey applicants who fail to earn the very highest levels of recognition from National Merit, admissions offices at excellent colleges nationwide are aware of all of this, including New Jersey’s recent dominance. After taking all other relevant factors into account, such schools usually admit many otherwise highly qualified graduates of New Jersey high schools every year.

    What is a shame right now, though, is that New Jersey, with all that it has done in the past fifty years to distinguish itself, after making the absolute most of the traditional “in person” mode of high school instruction, finds itself mired neck-deep in the common mediocrity of so-called “remote learning”. As a result, New Jersey must suffer the unfamiliar fate of being lumped together with the vast bulk of states, most of which have in no way been as diligent or as successful as New Jersey in terms of mastering the noted traditional mode.

    In such circumstances, it has to be an open question as to whether New Jersey will maintain its perennial pole position with the National Merit organization when the annual PSAT is administered in spring 2021.

    The class of 2022, now juniors, will be the ones to take the PSAT “for real” in spring 2021. It will be interesting to see how well Ridgewood’s current juniors do on the PSAT as compared to their peers in other New Jersey school districts, as well as how well New Jersey’s current juniors as a whole do on the PSAT as compared to their peers in other states.

    One thing does seems clear, however. New Jersey cannot re-emerge from mediocrity as long as it continues to torture itself with so-called “remote learning”. This is probably so with respect to any given level within K-12. But it is especially true at the high school level.

    If New Jersey does not wake up or “snap out of it”, get a hold of itself, and hard-mindedly revert back to the “old normal” by the end of this academic year, meaning, returning faithfully and strictly to the traditional norm of in-person instruction at all of its best high schools, by means of which it so recently enjoyed such unrivaled success, those same New Jersey high schools will undoubtably collectively lose the persistent edge they earlier collectively developed in preparing the very best of this country’s high school students to be prepared for the utmost in academic success at the very best of this country’s colleges and universities.

    Success in recovery may simply come down to an eventual determination on New Jersey’s part to arrest what appears at the moment to constitute a potentially catastrophic slide into educational effeminacy. In the event the good people of New Jersey re-discover the wonders of masculinity, and recognize the benefits available to those who generally regard masculinity for the virtue that it is, our state’s K-12 educational system will certainly recover, and likely thrive. Otherwise we will certainly founder aimlessly, year after year after year, foolishly wasting every penny of the stored-up value of everything our predecessors had been doing so diligently, and for so many years, to make and keep our schools strong.

    Some may balk at the use of such terminology as effeminacy (a known vice) and masculinity (a known virtue). Such people are probably the biggest part of the current problem. Precious snowflakes all, they may safely be ignored by every serious citizen of this state. At some point, they will hopefully get tired of crying and simply replace their pacifiers.

    For the last fifty years or so, the people of New Jersey courageously committed themselves to enormous costs and great investments to bring our K-12 schools, and particularly our high schools, to the excellent state they were in on March 11, 2020. These costs and investments were not measured solely in terms of time and money. They also came in the form of blood, sweat, tears, love, sacrifice, and innovation, as well as–and this really does need to be said–decades of diligent mental and physical effort by rare and talented individuals in their thousands, many of whom are no longer with us, but all of whom literally spent themselves to try to give their beloved students the boosts of confidence and other moments of inspiration they needed to make the fearful leaps to college and to the wider world. Typically apolitical, or at least apparently so, not one of them would respect the currently fashionable trend of unreflective devotion to this or that current self-serving priority of teachers’ unions such as the NJEA.

    Built into our system of high school education in New Jersey was a heavy reliance and emphasis on the virtue-infusing and performance-enhancing effects of regular, diligent, physical attendance.

    Get your butt to school. Get there on time. Be respectful. Stay awake. Stay alert. Don’t waste this opportunity. This is a brief window of time. Prepare for what will probably be a long life. Make the absolute most of your high school experience.

    Many current RHS students have exceptional talent and intelligence.
    They are certainly seeking to demonstrate the highest levels of academic achievement and, in the process, politely distinguish themselves from their peers. Unfortunately, the current environment is likely too unstable to allow such excellent students to consistently keep their fate in their own hands despite typically diligent preparation and great effort on their part. If such excellent students get the sense over time that circumstances beyond their control will cause or are already causing their best efforts to go unrewarded, they will, like anyone else would, lose heart, become discouraged, and, worse yet, possibly disengage. This will be a great shame. Unfortunately, it seems as if it is bound to happen.

    Let’s get out of this rut while the getting’s good, shall we?

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  12. to anon above.

    You make some excellent points regarding New Jersey schools in general and in Ridgewood in particular However, the majority of the North Eastern Bergen County area and a large part of the USA, including Mass and Maryland, two top performing states, are on “remote learning” now so almost everyone is in the same boat regarding standard test prep and general education progress.

    For many years most Northern New Jersey public schools have been regarded by College admission officers as top notch after admitting generations of students to college x or y and then tracking those students success through their college years. This gives those college admissions officers comfort that Northern NJ public high school a or b consistently sends capable students because of the high school’s rigorous college prep coursework and therefore results in continuing recruitment from that specific high school.

    Since the mid 1990’s ,the public magnet schools in New Jersey including Bergen Academies( now #1 in the nation) and High Technology High School now take the top 10 % of all incoming 8th graders and those that are home schooled usually outperform the top 10 % of non magnet public school students. Moreover, the high income areas, including Ridgewood, have a greater percentage of Ivy league educated home owners, and as result, legacy admissions to prestigious colleges, for better or worse, continues to occur and as a result, college acceptance statistics to the top colleges skew in disproportion to the individual high school SAT scores. Many colleges and universities are aware of this imbalance and are dropping SAT and/or ACT scores but the unfair legacy system of admittance acceptance still persists in our country.
    So Ridgewood schools do have some built in educational advantages but don’t get carried away, for many reasons, our high school has fallen a lot over the last 10 years.

    We agree that the kids should be in school. They should have been in school this past summer to make up for lost time last spring during the first wave of the virus and the way we see it, they should be in school this summer to make up lost time as the second wave is currently causing most schools to go remote until at least mid Jan 2021. However, it makes no sense to demand that the schools be open now in the middle of this pandemic.
    The Ridgewood parents and students we are aware of totally support Dr Gorman’s decision to go remote, most have been using 3rd party on line enhanced math, writing and foreign language tutoring services for the last year, and all desire to have their children back in the classroom when it is safe to do so.
    We don’t agree that the RHS kids or in fact the middle school kids are discouraged or disengaged. They are resourceful, computer literate, and most responsible parents we know make sure their children stay engaged. There is no doom or gloom in our community as suggested but rather a realization these are not normal times, but in a few months, things will improve.
    We hope Dr Gorman and the BOE will consider a summer time session in which students can master any concepts that could not be acquired because of this period of disruption.

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  13. State says basketball practice for high schools can start on Jan 16th. Wrestling can start a little earlier if I’m not mistaken.

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  14. It’s easy to see that gaps can open up in a student’s subject matter knowledge during the academic year when one’s purely instructional interactions with one’s teacher go from being “actual” interactions or “non-remote” interactions or “direct person-to-person” interactions 100 percent of the time, which of course was by far and away the pre-pandemic norm, to intentionally being “virtual” interactions or “remote” interactions or “indirect person-to-technology-to-person” interactions at least part of the time, which has of course been unavoidable this academic year due to government-imposed and union-imposed restictions most people would never have gone along with but for the supposed notion of a hellish plague or contagion laying in wait just outside one’s door to claim your child as its very next victim (even though children are not getting very sick at all and are certainly not dying).

    Its also easy to see that gaps can open up in a student’s subject matter knowledge when one’s purely instructional interactions with one’s teacher go from being “live” interactions or “real-time” interactions or “non-time-shifted” interactions most or all of the time, which once again was by far and away the pre-pandemic norm, to being intentionally “time-shifted” at least part of the time. This situation is only an intentional 100-percent-of-the-time proposition in the classic example of the “correspondence course”. But it is said that many more teachers than seems actually necessary are making liberal use of this low-impact, reduced-effort method of instruction during the so-called pandemic situation.

    So basically, pre-pandemic, for better or for worse based on the quality of the individual teacher, we had live and in-person instructional interactions more or less all the time. And in Ridgewood, third party tutoring was already a mad craze to patch over persistent gaps in the quantity and quality of instruction.

    With the current so-called pandemic, we are being forced to endure live but remote instructional interactions (with real-time interaction available), as well as markedly increased use of non-live and remote instructional interactions (with no real-time interaction available). And, lo and behold, in Ridgewood, third party tutoring has become an even madder craze to make up for persistent shortcomings in the quantity and quality of instruction, the latter no longer being possible to refer to as “gaps” with a straight face, because they have expanded to the size of canyons.

    Third party tutoring for one’s children has to be seen as a good option in the current environment for those who can afford it. And it’s arguably a necessity for those who are determined that their children not be short-changed in the medium- or long-term as a result of instructional limitations arising out of the so-called pandemic.

    But wow. Schools in wealthy areas like Ridgewood really benefit by the parents of their students having on average such an itchy trigger finger when it comes to calling in the third party tutoring “troops”.

    The Ridgewood School District ends up being like a governor enjoying the services of national guard troops on permanent deployment in every part of the state daily dealing with a continuous state of emergency, but one in which the governor need not be concerned in the least with planning for or directing the activities of such troops, and need fund not a penny of their salaries, benefits, or expenses. And yet everything unpleasant gets taken care of. As if by magic.

    What a deal! What governor (or local school superintendent) wouldn’t go for that?

    But isn’t there is also the fate of the citizens? Not every taxpayer in a town like Ridgewood is necessarily wealthy. Ordinary residents–who are also not necessarily flight-risks come the end of any given June–would appreciate some actual sanity be applied, and some actual problems squarely addressed for a change.

    The phrase “circling the drain” comes to mind. The thought becomes more and more difficult to dispel. Not good!

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  15. to the poster above, why do consider the pandemic to be a so called pandemic. Do you really live in Ridgewood or do you live somewhere else in outer space.

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  16. Its a virus being used as a tool for social change.
    Just curious, are you a product of a Ridgewood education?

  17. “to the poster above, why do consider the pandemic to be a so called pandemic. Do you really live in Ridgewood or do you live somewhere else in outer space.”

    To this poster: Do you really believe people have stopped dying of the flu in this country?

    Do you really believe this country is currently experiencing excess death in even one age cohort?

    Do you really believe wishful thinking will prevent a virion from passing straight through a mask as if it wasnt even there?

    Does it make you feel like you’re a good person when you believe what the government tells you no matter how screwy and illogical its reasoning and pour scorn on those who refuse to go there with you?

  18. to the poster above:
    You have really drank the cool aid from the “there is no pandemic crowd”. FYI, there are always viruses and once in awhile they turn into a worldwide pandemic like COVID 19.
    And for all who post here, if you are unaware, the virus is in fact airborne with small droplets in the .01 micron size. If you want to have a beef with anyone, you should turn your attention to our federal government that has not been truthful with any of us. First they said masks are only for first responders and only recently the government admitted that masks can protect you too. But there is a one big problem with that broad statement. The masks that are specified in ascending order of protection,eg, from a basic cloth covering to the “GOLD STANDARD” N95 mask are really not effective at stopping the COVID spread in close contact virus contact situations as those N95 masks can only stop a .05 micron ( hence the 95 in N95 representing stopping anything up to a .05 micron size particle) whereas the COVID in the air is as small as .01 micron.
    To fully protect oneself against a 01 micron airborne particle, one needs a N100 mask or a P100 half or full face mask. That is what the FEMA folks and NATO troops have been outfitted for protection against a biological attack and those babies, if you can find one, it will cost you big bucks.
    In my opinion, our government should have used the emergency production act to mandate the production of N100 masks rather than a lame attempt to make ventilators of which over 85 % failed to meet strict quality standards and moreover from the early on experience of doctors in Northern Italy after many died there in Feb and March 2020, when those doctors found that the use of ventilators contributed to the death of infected patients rather than healing them.

    Heard immunity has two paths, one with a vaccine, 7 months and a 85% population vaccinated rate plateau, or , as some aides in our government suggested in July, a freedom seeking, let everyone get it, laissez faire approach, in which up to 1.5 million of our dear Republican, Democrat, and Independent friends and family members will die for the greater good of the the rest of us here in the good old USA.

    I for one, will choose a pinch in the arm once or twice and continuing to wear a N100 mask until the lazy crazy days of this coming summer.

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