The Wise Owl

The Official Newsletter of the Park Ridge School District

January 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

  • February 2 - Kindergarten Orientation (6 PM - East Brook Elementary School)

  • February 2 - Kindergarten Orientation (6:30 PM - West Ridge Elementary School)

  • February 9 - Coffee with the Superintendent (7 PM - WR Media Center)

  • February 13 - BOE Meeting (7 PM - HS Little Theater)

  • February 20-24 - Winter Recess (Schools Closed)

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

EB/WR Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten Registration will be held on Monday, February 6th, through Friday, February 10th, from 9:30 AM -2:30 PM at both schools. Please see information below for more details.

From the BOE President ...

Good afternoon Park Ridge School Community,

I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and had a great start to the new year. Park Ridge schools are in full swing now and I am happy to hear that the winter sports program is going so well, kudos to all of our athletes and their coaches who work so hard in representing Park Ridge. I also had the privilege of attending the Marching Band Dinner on January 12. It was an excellent night and was so good to see the amazing support our students received from the community and to witness the awards ceremony.

At our last Board of Education meeting, several committees reported.

The policy committee met on January 19th, and has been working toward updating the PRSD policy for usage of school facilities. In order to offset increasing costs to the district, and also to help ensure that organizations and groups most closely affiliated with PR students and residents have the access they need to school facilities, we are developing new pricing guidelines as well as categories to define and prioritize the different entities who request usage of our facilities. This work has been developing over the past several months, and we are drawing closer to presenting an updated policy to the board for approval. The Policy committee has also been involved in helping craft structure and language for policies that will be relevant to the SLEOIII officers the district intends to add to our schools. This policy work is on-going.

The Finance Committee met on January 18 and discussed the 2023-24 budget. We

specifically reviewed the CAP and our strategies for moving forward. We also discussed purchasing a new vehicle for the OWL house.

The Personnel Committee met to discuss the upcoming negotiations with PREA and to set a meeting date in early February.

The Building & Grounds/Security Committee met on January 10 in which we reviewed the latest plans for the locker room renovation. These plans have been approved, so now the architects are busy preparing the drawings necessary to submit for bids. We hope to go out to bid in March and accept a bid in April. It is a 14 month project, starting July 2023 and ending September 2024. We also discussed the SLEO III agreement which is going to our attorney for further review. The bids for the West Ridge bathroom renovations came in less that expected.

The Education/Technology Committee met with Mr. Lederman and several department supervisors on January 10 to discuss the opportunity of creating new course offerings in the High School Business and Science departments. The science department supervisor presented the committee with a recommendation for a new AP Biology textbook (the current one is out of date). Dr. Gamper discussed with the committee the challenges the district faces with regard to increasing enrollment and limited classroom space and we talked about some short term solutions. The board plans to do a study to project enrollment to inform longer term solutions. Dr. Gamper also shared a plan to create an ABA classroom in district which would allow our youngest students (ages 3-4) to remain in district and close to home as well as provide cost savings to the district.

In closing, now that we have concluded our first month of the new year, it is great to

see our kids so fully involved in so many activities. I hope everyone has the chance to enjoy the upcoming winter recess and our students come back rejuvenated.

Warmest regards,

Dave Bradler

President, Park Ridge Board of Education

From the Superintendent of Schools ...

Dear School Community Member:

I hope you and your family are happy and healthy as we begin 2023. Although bittersweet, it is always a relief once the hustle and bustle of the holidays are behind us. January, February and March are a nice time to reset, pay off the credit cards and enjoy the winter weather!

Speaking of the weather, we are experiencing a very unusual warm stretch. The arctic blast this weekend is going be short lived, and next week we should return to above average temperatures. For those of you hoping for snow or a "Snow Day," we still have a long way to go.

This time of year is extremely busy in the classroom. With minimal distractions and long stretches of uninterrupted schooling, students are able to remain focused on instruction, while teachers continue to navigate through our curriculum. These winter months, especially March, are an extremely productive part of our academic year.

A few weeks ago, the Board received the final development plans for the Sony property. They are in the process of hiring a demographer to develop a 5-year enrollment projection. It will be based on the number of additional units and bedrooms that will be built in the Borough within the next few years. At the same time, the BOE continues to discuss options on how to handle increased enrollments in our schools.

If you are interested in discussing the future of our schools, including increasing enrollments and budget constraints, please join me for my 2nd Coffee with the Superintendent on February 9th at 7 PM in the West Ridge Media Center. Our last meeting was helpful and informative for all those in attendance.

In closing, the Owls continue to prosper inside and outside the classroom. I love the fact that I can leave my office at the end of the day and walk into the gym to watch a basketball game. Whether it is a varsity game or middle school, the Owls are always fun to watch and a nice way to end my day!

Owls Together,

Robert M. Gamper, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

2023-24 Kindergarten Registration & Orientation

Park Ridge children who will be 5 years old by 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.

Kindergarten Orientation will be held on Thursday, February 2, 2023 as follows: East Brook – 6:00 PM and West Ridge – 6:30 PM. Kindergarten Orientation is for parents only.

Kindergarten Registration will be held Monday, February 6, through Friday, February 10, from 9:30 AM -2:30 PM at both schools.

Please access the on-line portion of registration at: 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. 

Pre-School Lottery Information - Applications Open

The Park Ridge School District is again offering Park Ridge residents an Integrated Preschool Program scheduled to start in September, at the same time as the district’s 2023-2024 school year. Two classes will be offered at West Ridge Elementary School; one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.


The Integrated Preschool Program classes are composed of general and special education children, ages 3 and 4. Classes will be held five days a week as part of the morning session (8:45-11:25) or afternoon session (12:30-3:15) at West Ridge Elementary School.  


To be eligible, a general education student must be three years of age on or before October 1, 2023, and toilet trained. Students will be chosen through a lottery system. Only an application is necessary to enter the lottery. Any child selected for the Integrated Program will then be required to complete new student registration, which includes providing a birth certificate, copy of immunization records and proof of residency, prior to formal acceptance.


Tuition for each general education child is $3,100* for the ten-month program. Each family accepted into the program will be required to pay $1,550 by June 1, 2023, and $1,550, by December 1, 2023. (*Tuition is pending Board approval. Final approved tuition amount will be provided as soon as possible.)


Applications can be completed via Google Form at this link: 2023-2024 Preschool Lottery Application . Should you require a paper copy please call (201) 573-6000 x1301 or email Gina Colaneri at All completed applications are due by Tuesday February 28, 2023. The lottery will be held on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.


Please contact Jill Connolly, Director of Special Programs & Student Services, at 201-573-6000 ext 1301, if you have any questions or need additional information.

Schwartz Center (PRHS Athletics Update)

Written by Allie Schwartz (PRHS Class of 2023)

2023 is on a roll here at Park Ridge High School! These Winter teams have had successful seasons thus far and continue to improve daily. As you know, this is SchwartzCenter, the information hub for all PRHS Sports!! Let’s look back on this eventful month of January:


WRESTLING: The Wrestling Team has been on a role, recently capturing the BCCA Group D Team Championship. The team also secured the league title, after wrestling Bogota/Ridgefield Park. Their season is far from over, as they take on some big teams in the near future.


BOWLING: Saddle River Day and Palisades Park were no match for the Bowling Team. Both games were a clean sweep for the Owls, and the team looks forward to Midland Park, who they won against 5-2 at their last game. 


COMPETITION CHEER: The Cheer team is now 6-0 in Mini Meets and is hosting the Winter Cheer Challenge on Tuesday. The team had a flawless performance at their meet in Waldwick and continues to improve for future competitions!


HOCKEY: The Pascack Hockey Team has been on an incredible ride. After playing a difficult Ramsey squad, the team was behind 2-1, but regrouped and were able to secure a 4-3 win. The attitude of the team is fierce, and their way of play is crafty, hardworking, and most certainly impressive.


WINTER TRACK: The team headed to the NYC Armory to race in the Army Hall of Fame Meet! Select athletes attended and did an in incredible job! The team has also competed at Rockland Community College and looks forward to what the second half of the season has to offer.


BOYS BASKETBALL: Boys Basketball has been pushing through their season like a freight train. The team was able to also take part in the Bergen County Jamboree. Against Eastern Christian during a regular season game, the team brought forth their best energy, and were able to stay ahead 47-40.


GIRLS BASKETBALL: During a Bergen County Invitational game, the Girls Basketball team was able to come back off of a 16-point deficit against Becton, to beat them 43-35. The team was able to lock in after the second half and make a statement to the rest of the BIT teams that they are a force to be reckoned with.


It has been an exciting past month!! If you haven’t already, make sure to come down to the Main Gym to support the High School Winter Sports Teams. Having a great crowd is essential, so bring the energy and enjoy the talents that Park Ridge High School has to offer!! That’s all for January, see you in February on SchwartzCenter!! 


-         Allie Schwartz | SchwartzCenter

Follow on @SchwartzReport_ on Twitter to receive live updates, video coverage and stats from all PRHS Teams!

Focus on PRHS Mathematics

Written by Steve Kopelman, Mathematics Department Supervisor

The Mathematics students at Park Ridge have been very busy, navigating their way through the curricula. Grades 7 through 10 started with the Start Strong assessment in September. Our juniors and seniors sat for the PSATs, ACTs, and SATs in the fall and winter, using the tools they sharpened in their classes. Juniors have the chance to take an SAT review class taught at night by Mr. Awais, Mrs. Dow, and Mrs. Papadopoulos. Juniors will also sit for the NJGPA this coming March.

Our middle school Math Club has started their competitions, moderated by Mrs. Palacios. Students meet bi-weekly and take a MOEMS contest monthly, which are out-of-the-box type of examples. It's a truly fun-filled math competition program that teaches the students multiple strategies for these critical thinking problems and fosters mathematical creativity. The students discuss these strategies and develop mathematical flexibility and fluency in solving the tasks at hand.

Mr. Awais is leading our high school Math Club and Math Team against other high schools. Students love the challenge and have been performing well. They meet once or twice a month, as they attempt to answer 6 challenging questions on topics ranging from Algebra to Geometry to Trigonometry to Logic. They have 36 minutes to answer 6 questions, and this is broken into 3 groups of questions (2 questions in 12 minutes). We have some strong students this year answering difficult questions and in March, the team will travel to Tenafly High School for our first in-person competition in over 3 years.

Brand new textbooks have arrived for our Algebra 1 students. This includes online editions that have a six-year license. They will effectively feed into our new Algebra 2 textbooks purchased last year, as they are from the same publisher (Big Ideas Learning). All levels of Algebra 1 have access to these new resources.

Our Advanced Placement students are preparing for their May assessments in Calculus AB and Statistics. Mr. Awais and Mrs. Caine are working hard to provide various types of problems and strategies for our students to succeed.

The Chess Club and Chess Team is also under way and under the tutelage of Mr. Awais. Our team has participated in a winter tournament for the first time and went undefeated, beating Midland Park and Cliffside Park in separate tournaments. The Chess Club meets once a week as the students play against one another. This promotes great competition among our chess masters within Park Ridge High School. The club is hoping for an in-house, end of the year competition, with a grand champion to be crowned!

Winter Weather Reminder ...

Even though the winter weather has been unusually mild, all school districts are still watching the weather reports with a close eye. Snow, ice, and sleet can play havoc with school schedules and lead to disrupted school days. It is important to note that Park Ridge collaborates with Emerson, Westwood and all of the Pascack Valley districts for weather related decisions. Here are some general guidelines that we will follow this winter:

  • When facing reports of impending snow and/or bad weather, Park Ridge’s default position will always be to contact the community the morning of school regarding any weather-related change to the school schedule. The only exception is when there is a clear indication that an overwhelming storm is descending upon the region. 

  • It is important for our communities to remember that all school districts make the best decision based on the information available at that time. These are not clear-cut decisions and often information and data are changing up until the morning of a school day.

  • Often local or state officials will declare a “State of Emergency,” and it’s important to note that it is often more of an administrative matter allowing for additional funds to be released. For clarification, it is important to note that such a declaration does not require that schools close. 

  • Families are encouraged to monitor the weather and make plans for all eventualities. Park Ridge will communicate as close as reasonably possible to the start of school.


The Board of Education is currently working with PRPD Chief Madden to hire Class III Special Law Enforcement Officers (SLEO III). The Board approved the necessary school security policy on January 23rd and hopes to approve the SLEO III agreement with the borough at their February 13th meeting. After the approval, Chief Madden will begin to screen and vet applicants during the first round of interviews. Then, the BOE Security Committee and school administration will interview finalists for the position in each school. 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

Our architect is finalizing the construction documents and will be sending them to a cost estimator. Once the Board knows the cost of the renovation/addition, including several different entrance/lobby options, they can decide how they would like to bid the project. At this time, the plan is to go out to bid in early March. 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