The Wise Owl

The Official Newsletter of the Park Ridge School District

December 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

  • December 7 - HS Winter Vocal Concert (7 PM)

  • December 12 - EB Winter Vocal Concert (7 PM)

  • December 13 - HS Winter Instrumental Concert (7 PM)

  • December 14 - WR Winter Vocal Concert (7 PM)

  • December 18 - BOE Meeting (7 PM)

  • December 19 - WR Winter Instrumental Concert (7 PM)

  • December 20 - EB Winter Instrumental Concert (7 PM)

  • December 22 - Early Dismissal (Students & Staff)

  • December 25 - January 1 - Holiday Recess (Schools Closed)

  • January 2 - Schools Reopen

Important Reminders

BOE Test Score Presentation

At the BOE meeting on August 30th, Dr. Bernardo presented our 2023 NJ Graduate Proficiency Assessment results to the public. The complete presentation can be found at this link Click Here

At the BOE meeting on October 16th, Dr. Bernardo presented our 2023 NJ Student Learning Assessment results to the public. The complete presentation can be found at this link Click Here

2023-24 K-6 Student - Parent Handbook

Please be sure to review the information contained in the handbook Click Here

PRSD State Assessment Calendar

Please click on the link below to view the NJ State Assessment Calendar ...

2023-24 State Assessment Calendar

From the BOE President ...

Dear Park Ridge School Community:

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and had the chance to spend quality time with their family and friends. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the coaches, parents, and players who have competed so well this past Fall sports season. It has been a pleasure to witness all of the hard work that everyone demonstrates on a daily basis. We are looking forward to a great Winter sports season. Go Owls!

I also want to offer my compliments to all those involved in this year’s production of “She Kills Monsters.” It was a tremendous success. As well as congrats to the Junior class on winning the 2023 PRHS Powderpuff Bowl.

And my congratulations to our newest members of the PRHS National Honor Society! We are very proud of all the inductees. Well done!


I have no doubt that the high school students will have an awesome time at this year’s Winter Activity that will take place on December 22.

I’d like to offer my congratulations to our Athletic Director, Chris Brown for receiving the Nicholas G. Saingas Service to Youth Award Being at the annual Bergen County YMCA Sports Award Banquet. 

On a personal note, I will be stepping down as Board of Education President in January, 2024. I will continue to serve as a board trustee but I believe it is time to pass the torch to another board member. It has been a profound pleasure to serve our community in this role and I’d like to thank Dr. Gamper, Mr. Wright, and their administrative team; our faculty, staff, coaches, and administrators, the Park Ridge School Community, and of course my fellow trustees who have made my tenure as president such a rewarding experience.


In closing, now that the holiday season has arrived in full swing, I am looking forward to seeing the children perform at their upcoming concerts. And on that “note,” on behalf of the Park Ridge Board of Education, I would like to wish everyone the very best this joyful season has to offer and may your homes be filled with warmth and wonder and may the new year bring you peace, joy, and happiness.

Warmest regards,


Dave Bradler 

President, Park Ridge Board of Education

From the Superintendent of Schools ...

Dear School Community Member:

I hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving recess. The next few weeks are always a great time to work in schools. The energy and excitement in the classrooms and hallways that builds until the holiday break is palpable.

The PRSD received a High Impact Tutoring Grant from the NJDOE. The funds ($38k) will be used for before and after-school tutoring at East Brook and West Ridge. A majority of the allocation will be used to help at-risk 3rd and 4th graders in English-Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

At the BOE meeting on November 20th, the Board approved the 24-25 PRSD calendar. A link can be found in the newsletter below. Once again, students will start after Labor Day in September.

The new district website is very close to being released. Some minor revisions are still needed, but a large majority of the main page and links are ready to go. Thanks for your patience as we continue to work on this initiative.

As Mr. Bradler mentioned above, he will be stepping down as Board President in January. On behalf of the school community, I want to thank him for his leadership and service during the last three years. Being the President is a difficult job, but doing so during the pandemic was extremely demanding.

I also want to thank Debbie Clare and Lauren Sum who will be leaving the Board next month. Both of them always made decisions with the best interest of children in mind. They will be missed, and I wish them all the best in the future.

Lastly, I want to wish all of the members of the school community a happy and healthy holiday season. Best wishes for a positive and productive 2024!

Owls Together,


Robert M. Gamper, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Matt And Drew Sports Media Winter Athletics Update

Written by Drew Welsh and Matt Constante (PRHS Class of 2024)

With the Winter season fast approaching, let's take a look at what Park Ridge Athletics has to look forward to this upcoming season!


Boys Basketball: After finishing 18-8 last year, with an 8-2 league record, boys basketball led by Coach Koch will look to continue to bring the program to new heights. Some key returnees include Senior Deron McLaughlin, Sophomore Sam Fasola, Junior Brendan Burns, and Senior Jack Broderick.


Girls Basketball: Girls basketball will look to continue their league dominance after another title this past season. Led by junior standout Allie Shenloogian, who is closing in on 1,000 points, Ryan Dennis will have a fully loaded squad who is primed to make a run in the state tournament.


Wrestling: The Emerson/Park Ridge Wrestling Team came off yet another successful year last season, earning another league title, conference title, and punching a ticket to the State Sectional Finals where they fell short to Kittatinny. They look to bounce back and continue to dominate the league and conference and hopefully come back with a State Sectional Title.


Winter Track: Winter track will be having meets at the Armory NYC, Toms River Bubble, Ocean Breeze, and RCC. Team goals tend to be to get individual personal bests at relays in leagues, counties, sectionals, and groups. Key experience is held by Nicole Freiler, William O’Donovan, Amanda Cicero, Patrick Tallman, and Jada Rios.


Bowling: The bowling team will look to improve in their new campaign with the help of key participant James McPartland, as well as Ethan Spurr and James DeTitta, who will look to return the team to its past glory.


Ice Hockey: The Pascack Valley Boys Ice Hockey team also came off a successful 2022-2023 campaign where they finished 17-7-1 and look to improve this year as almost every player returns for the 2024 season. Senior Jason Bedell will help lead the team to a potential championship where they came just short in the semi-finals last season.

Competitive Cheer: The PRHS Competitive Cheer team will take flight in early January with a series of meets within the NJIC. In addition, the team is slated to participate in regional events with its sights set on the State Championships in late February. Come out and support the Owls when they host at Park Ridge on January 16th at 7pm.


Park Ridge Winter Sports look to continue their historical success by achieving individual and team awards all season long. We wish the Winter Teams good luck with their upcoming season!

  • Matt Constante & Andrew Welsh


Follow us on Twitter @PrhsSportsMedia to stay up to date with all Park Ridge Athletics Updates! 

Elementary Report Card Update

Dr. Bernardo, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Technology

As we come to the end of the first trimester, parents of our Kindergarten and 1st Grade students may notice some changes to the language in their report cards. Ms. Ballaera has been working with teachers to pilot and develop a consistent and research-based phonics program as a key part of our literacy curriculum in the district. As we have grown in our efforts, teachers noticed that the report card standards should better reflect our learning goals in the classroom. This is particularly important for our youngest learners, who have been busy acquiring lots of new skills to get ready to be lifelong readers! During the last professional development day, on November 7th, teachers completed a revision of those standards, which will now be reflected in the report cards. We hope that the new report card language will help us to better inform parents about the progress of their children and the goals of our program – we are proud of all the hard work in the district by teachers, administrators, and our students! 

NJ Learning Acceleration Program: High Impact Tutoring Grant

In September, the District applied for the High Impact Tutoring Grant from the State of NJ. Funding was requested for before and after-school tutoring at East Brook and West Ridge. The target group was third and fourth graders in English-Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Last month, the district was notified that the grant application was approved in the amount of $38K. It is important to note that students will be offered this opportunity based on a set criteria. Once the NJDOE releases its official guidance on the use of these funds, parents of qualifying students will be notified and offered the opportunity for tutoring.

PRHS 2023 National Honor Society Induction

Mr. Lederman, Principal PRHS

Congratulations to the 2023 National Honor Society inductees! The induction ceremony took place on Tuesday, November 28th. Making it into the PRHS National Honor Society chapter is an amazing accomplishment and I am so proud of our inductees’ efforts. Students at PRHS become eligible to apply for the NHS at the start of their Junior year. Details and requirements of the selection process can be found on page 31 of the student handbook.

PRHS Mid-Term Exams

This is just a reminder to mark your calendars. Mid-term exams will take place on Friday, January 26, and Monday, January 29 from 7:50am – 12:15pm. Tuesday, January 30 will also be a half day of instruction with the afternoon reserved for make-up exams and conflicts. Details and procedures for each grade level will be distributed by Mr. Lederman and Mr. Tashian.

PRHS Locker Rooms & Fitness Center Update

Provided by: Conor O'Brien, Project Executive, Legacy Construction Management

The Park Ridge High School Locker Room Addition Project continues. With the oversight of the environmental consultant and construction manager, the contractor removed the septic tanks and remediated the soil in the area. Work continues on the underground storm and sanitary sewer systems, with the permanent building connections upcoming. The shoring will begin shortly, with the building construction to follow. The architect, engineers, contractor, and construction manager work daily to progress the project towards its completion. 

Click here to view Design Schematic

Gingerbread Houses & Holiday Hoopla!

Sign up by December 5th!

For Children with Special Needs, Ages 3+

The Park Ridge TEAMM (Together Everyone Achieves More with Mentoring) Program is an opportunity for special needs students to participate in recreational and social activities that meet their needs. The goal is to support the educational, emotional and social development of our students, and to create an inclusive environment for children with special needs and their families, with the assistance of peer mentors.

Date: Friday, December 15, 2023

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Location: Park Ridge High School Cafeteria

Fee: $5

RSVP by: Tuesday, 12/5

Students will create gingerbread houses and enjoy holiday snacks, music, and fun. They will be assisted by our High School and Middle School Volunteer Mentors. You may drop your child off at this event, however if you have any concerns about leaving your child, please indicate on the Sign Up form.

To sign up - click here: TEAMM Event Sign Up

Please send payment to:

Park Ridge Department of Special Services

TEAMM Program

2 Park Ave

Park Ridge, NJ 07656


Checks made payable to Park Ridge Schools.

No one will be denied participation due to the financial obligation - please email the TEAMM Advisor, Ms. Sarah-Kate Maskin ([email protected]) with any questions.

A Message from Pomptonian Food Service

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has informed us that there is a nationwide milk supply chain shortage related to packaging issues. New Jersey is among the States affected. As a result, the district will need to temporarily switch to another vendor to supply milk. This change will result in the elimination of the skim milk and chocolate milk options. Only 1% milk will be offered for the near future. As soon as the issue with the supply chain packaging resolves itself, we will return to our normal milk offering options. 

Network Connectivity Update

The BOE has contracted 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. We were approved at the end of August for $90,255 from the E-Rate program, which is equal to 40% of all eligible costs.

PRSD Website (

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.

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 School Calendar

On November 21, 2022 the BOE approved the 2023-24 school calendar. The calendar is available at the link below:

2023-24 School Calendar

On November 20, 2023 the BOE approved the 2024-25 school calendar. Please be advised that school will open for students after Labor Day. The calendar is available at the link below:

2024-25 School Calendar