The Wise Owl

The Official Newsletter of the Park Ridge School District


April 2023


“Owls Together: Community, Friendship, and Kindness”

The Owl Mission

The Park Ridge School District is committed to educating and empowering all students to think critically and creatively to express their full potential. We cultivate a community of lifelong learners and nurture all students to be kind, ethical, and responsible citizens, as well as independent, productive members of an increasingly complex and interconnected world. As a district, we embrace individuality and value cultural diversity, equity, and mutual respect.


The Owl Vision

We are dedicated to creating a culture and climate of collaboration and acceptance, where all members of the district are encouraged to challenge themselves and learn from their experiences. We recognize the importance of interconnection and encourage development of multiple intelligences and divergent thinkers. We strive to support our students as they grow academically, socially, physically, and emotionally, and recognize that this process is enhanced through collaboration within the larger community. The Park Ridge School District strives to advocate for the individual needs and goals of every member of the school community, by fostering an environment where growth and well-being are paramount.


Upcoming Dates


  • May 4-5 - Gr. 8 Philadelphia Trip


  • May 8-12 - Teacher Appreciation Week (Thank you!)


  • May 15 - BOE Meeting (7 PM - HS Little Theater)


  • May 18 - HS Vocal Concert "Melodies of Life" (7 PM Little Theater)


  • May 18 - Coffee with the Superintendent (7 PM - EB Media Center )


  • May 22 - HS Renaissance Dinner (6 PM - Season's)


  • May 26-31 - Schools Closed (Extended Memorial Day Weekend)

Important Reminders


BOE Test Score Presentation


At the BOE meeting on January 23rd, Dr. Bernardo and the administration presented our 2022 NJ Start Strong Assessment results to the public. The complete presentation can be found at this link Click Here


2022-23 District Testing Information


For a complete listing of all assessment dates, please Click Here


2022-23 School Calendar Update


The PRSD has three (3) emergency closing days built into the 2022-23 school calendar. As a result of these days not being used, all students and staff members will enjoy a longer Memorial Day Weekend. All schools will be closed on Friday, May 26th, Tuesday, May 30th, and Wednesday, May 31st.

From the BOE President ...


Good afternoon Park Ridge School Community,

      

I’d like to open this message with a sincere thank you to all of our teachers and support staff as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12). We are so fortunate to have such a professional and talented staff who tirelessly give of themselves day in and day out. We appreciate all that you do for our children.


At our most recent Board of Education meeting, we had the pleasure of honoring our wrestling team on becoming NJIC Division & Conference Champions. I’d also like to congratulate Joseph Mazzeo for becoming the NJIC Patriot Division Wrestling Coach of the Year and Brian Koch for NJIC Patriot Division Basketball Coach of the Year. Also, congratulations to Alexandra Shenloogian for earning the honor of becoming the Record’s Athlete of the Week.


We also had the privilege of recognizing our Student Ambassadors. It’s been a pleasure for our community to witness all of the hard work that our ambassadors demonstrate on a daily basis. 


I also want to congratulate all those involved in this year's musical, Spongebob Squarepants. The performance by our students was excellent and kudos to everyone who contributed to the successful shows.


After two rounds of interviews with our SLEO III officer applicants, we have selected our three finalists and submitted our recommendations to Mayor Misciagna and the Borough Council for approval. We look forward to working with them and extend them a warm welcome from our school community. I’d like to thank our Board members who assisted in the interviewing process, Amara Wagner and Joe Bucco, as well as Dr. Gamper, Mr. Lederman, Mr. Stokes, Mr. Kirkby, Chief Madden, and Captain Rampolla. Thanks everyone!


Our HS locker room addition and renovation bids went out on April 21 and are due by May 18. All documents pertaining to this project are available through our architect, Parrette Somjen. Speaking of facilities, our Policy Committee met and continues to discuss the restructuring of our facility usage. 


On a final note, I look forward to all of the festivities that culminate with the close of the school year and I’d like to wish all of you health and happiness as we prepare for summer.

      

Warmest regards,


Dave Bradler 

President, Park Ridge Board of Education

From the Superintendent of Schools ...


Dear School Community Member:


Hello to all! We are officially in the home stretch of the school year. The calendar for May and June is filled with events that showcase all the hard work completed by our students and staff. For starters, I attended the EB K-3 Spring Concert yesterday and it was awesome! If you missed it, the same show will be held at WR on Friday at 9 AM. Trust me when I say that "Crocodile Rock" will never be the same once you hear the finale!


On Monday night, the BOE held its annual Budget Hearing. I am pleased to announce that the 23-24 school budget maintains all current programs and services. It also includes the addition of an SLEO III officer at each school, which will be funded via a grant from the State. The budget also funds the following new programs and resources:


  • Funding for a new Kindergarten and Grade 1 ABA class;
  • PRSD website upgrade (100% ADA Compliant);
  • Four new HS electives (Entrepreneurship, Media Marketing, Sports Entertainment Management and AP Environmental Science);
  • New K-6 Science Resources;
  • New K-3 Phonics Program;
  • New AP Biology and Algebra I textbooks.


The faculty, staff and administration work tirelessly to bring the most current teaching resources and instructional methodologies to the classroom. Our Curriculum Office (Dr. Bernardo and Ms. Ballaera) is always on the lookout for new programs and professional development opportunities for teachers. For a small K-12 district, I know we make the most of the education we provide to the students entrusted to our care.


As mentioned below, we open the bids for the HS Locker Room Addition/Renovation on May 18th. If all goes well we will begin construction in July, with a substantial completion date of August 2024. Moving ahead, another space we are hoping to renovate is the HS cafeteria. Before doing so, we will need to make a determination on the future of our lunch program. With the limited number of lunches we sell in the cafeteria each day, does it make sense to include a new kitchen in the planning? Or, can that space be better used as a student commons and meeting area? Much more to come on this topic.


In closing, I want to thank you for helping to make the PRSD a great place to learn and grow. Enjoy the extended Memorial Day Weekend!

 

Owls Together,

 

Robert M. Gamper, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

2023-24 Kindergarten Registration & Orientation


Park Ridge children who will be 5 years old on or before October 1, 2023 will be eligible for full day Kindergarten registration for the 2023-2024 school year.


Children living west of Pascack Road will attend West Ridge Elementary School. Children living on or east of Pascack Road will attend East Brook School.


If you have not registered your child for September, please do so ASAP. The earlier we have an accurate account of the number of students who are enrolling, the easier it is to plan for next year.


Please access the on-line portion of registration at: https://www.parkridgeschools.org/domain/17 starting on Friday, February 3, 2023.


You can access and print the following required forms which you will need to bring into the school during registration hours.


1. New Student Medical Forms

2. New Student Home Language Form

3. New Student Owner/Landlord Affidavit Form


Please note, in addition to the forms listed above, the following documents are also required when you register your child for Kindergarten:


1. Original and a copy of your child’s birth certificate

2. Proof of residential identification

3. Most recent immunization history from pediatrician


If you need assistance, please contact Mrs. Syring at East Brook School at (201) 573-6000 Ext. 2000 or Ms. McCarthy at West Ridge at (201) 573-6000 Ext. 3000. 

Kindergarten Hoot Camp


This summer Park Ridge again will be offering Hoot Camp, an exciting introduction to elementary school for all incoming Kindergartners in Park Ridge. All instructors are certified teachers. Hoot Camp consists of a fun-filled four-week curriculum full of activities and lessons that will help prepare your child for Kindergarten. Each day, children will participate in activities that will help develop their confidence in reading readiness and math skills, social/emotional growth, and fine & gross motor skills. Hoot Camp provides a balance of learning and having fun, all while meeting new friends! If you have any questions or would like additional information, you can contact Melissa Ballaera at [email protected].


You can sign you child up here: Hoot Camp Link


PRSD Demographics Study


Last month, the BOE signed a contract with Statistical Forecasting LLC to complete a district demographics study. In addition to the base study, which includes a 5-year enrollment projection, a separate projection will be included for each school. At the completion of the study, the demographer will be presenting the report at a public BOE meeting. This information will be vital to planning for the future, especially when determining the impact of various housing developments in town. We know parents and staff members are especially concerned about the Sony development and future enrollment projections at WR.

Network Connectivity Update


The BOE is in the process of contracting with Millennium Communications Group Inc. to install a private fiber network between all three schools. This project will include a fiber run from East Brook to PRHS to West Ridge for a total of 2.65 miles. This will increase the speed and efficiency of our district network. We will also gain much needed flexibility in terms of designing the network, by updating switches and consolidating servers. It is important to note that we have applied for reimbursement under the E-Rate program, which will award us 40% of all eligible costs. We are anticipating a cost savings of approximately $80,000.

PRSD Website (www.parkridgeschools.org)


Thank you to all of the parents and faculty who responded to the district website survey. The website committee now has input from 180+ school community members to consider while working on this revision. The new website will be ADA compliant, contain more information and be formatted in a manner that is more user friendly. We hope to have it online in August, so parents can become familiar with it prior to school opening in September.

Class III Special Law Enforcement Officers


On February 13th, the Board of Education approved the SLEO III agreement with the Borough. Later that week, the Mayor and Council did the same, which was the last step needed to install retired police officers in all of our schools. Special thanks to Mayor Misciagna and Chief Madden for their leadership and guidance during this entire process. The BOE Security Committee and school administration have selected an officer for each school. We hope to start this program on May 15th. It is important to note that a SLEO III is not a disciplinarian. Disciplining students is the sole responsibility of the school administration and faculty.

PRHS Locker Rooms & Fitness Center Update


We are out to bid! The pre-construction walk through for interested contractors was held on Tuesday, May 2nd. Right now, the bid opening is scheduled for May 18th at 11 AM! Fingers crossed! Stay tuned ...


Click here to view Design Schematic

PRHS Online Cashless Payment Options for Lunch


Attention PRHS Parents/Guardians: 


Parents now have the option to prepay for cafeteria meals online, via credit card or ACH Electronic Checking, using Pay Schools Central. For more information click on the link below:


Cashless Payment

PRSD 2023-24 School Calendar


On November 21st, the BOE approved the 2023-24 school calendar. Please be advised that school will open for students after Labor Day. The calendar is available at the link below:


2023-24 School Calendar