The Wise Owl

The Official Newsletter of the Park Ridge School District

March 2024

“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

  • March 14 - EB/WR Parent - Teacher Evening Conferences (6-8 PM)

  • March 15 - Early Dismissal (EB/WR Only)

  • March 18 - BOE Meeting (7 PM - HS Little Theater)

  • March 29 - Religious Holiday (Schools Closed)

  • April 15 - 19 Spring Recess (Schools Closed)

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 Superintendent of Schools ...

Dear School Community Member:

Good afternoon. I hope everyone is looking forward to the warm and dry weather this week. Hopefully, it will stay mild as our spring sports teams take to the fields, courts, and track.

Speaking of athletics, the end of the winter season was one for the ages. The PRHS Girls Basketball Team secured their first ever Sectional Title by defeating Mountain Lakes at home on Saturday, March 2nd by a score of 43 - 28. The atmosphere inside the PRHS main gym was electric, and the stands were filled with several generations of Owl faithful. It was a great day for everyone who witnessed this historical accomplishment.

And at the same time the Girls Basketball Team was making history, so was our Competitive Cheer Team. They brought home an NJIC North Division Championship title, as well as Park Ridge’s first-ever State Championship in the COED All-Music Intermediate Division. Even more impressive is that our Competitive Cheer Team is a relatively new program at PRHS. This much success at such an early stage is noteworthy. 

As we enter the home stretch of the school year, planning has already begun for the summer and next year. Please see the information below regarding Kindergarten Hoot Camp and 7th Grade Orientation. Both activities focus on helping students make a smooth transition to East Brook, West Ridge and PRHS.

Also, we have a team of K-6 teachers who are currently meeting to review our English - Language Arts (ELA) curriculum and resource materials to make sure that we are aligned with the new standards. As always, we are looking for research-based materials that are engaging for students to use in the classroom. At the same time our K-3 teachers continue to receive Orton Gillingham training so they can become proficient in a phonics-based approach to teaching ELA.

Needless to say, the PRSD has been and continues to be a very busy place.

Have a great week! Go Owls!



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 in the books, let's check in on our Winter Sports!


 Boys Basketball: The Boys Basketball Team finished the year 5-3 in the league and finished the year off 14-12, where their season ended in the quarterfinal round in the State Tournament against West Caldwell Tech. Previously, the team had a big win in the first round against Boonton, 52-36, where Sophomore Sam Fasola scored 23 points and Senior Deron McLaughlin with 18 points. The team also has had some big wins including rival Emerson, Hasbrouck Heights, and Pompton Lakes. The team capped off a great year with some exciting wins.


Girls Basketball: The Girls Basketball Team capped off what may have been their best season in programs history as they obtained their first State Sectional Title. The team finished off 8-0 in the league, and finished 23-6 overall on the season, one of their best in the program's history. The team had a legendary run in the State Tournament as they won 4 in a row to capture the title, making it one of the most exciting 4-game streaks in Park Ridge’s winter sports this year. Junior Allie Shenloogian broke the school's record of the most points in the program's history with 1,676! The 2023-2024 Girls Basketball team cemented themselves as one of the best the town has ever had.


Wrestling: The Wrestling Team ended the year with sending 5 wrestlers to the Regional Tournament in West Milford, Senior Luke Macfie, Cole Hughes, Ryan Messick, Jacob Shannon, and Junior Nathan Leuck. The goal is to place top 4 in this tournament to punch a ticket to the iconic NJSIAA State Tournament in Atlantic City, and Emerson/Park Ridge sent three kids to the tournament. Seniors Cole Hughes, Jacob Shannon, and Ryan Messick placed in the regional tournament giving them the opportunity to go down to Atlantic City where after an exciting first few days, Cole Hughes became the first EPR wrestler since 2019 to make the podium, placing 8th place in the 215 weight class. Overall, the team ended the year as the BCCA Group 1 & 2 Team of the Year after a successful season.


Winter Track: The winter track team had another fantastic season competing in meets at locations such as the New York City Armory, Staten Island, and Toms River. Standouts include seniors Nicole Freiler and Patrick Tallman, as well as seniors Amanda Cicero, Jada Rios, and Joshua Pena. Juniors Ava Peirano and William O’Donovan also played a strong role in the team. For the members once again playing in the Spring, they look to build on this fantastic 23-24 Winter track year and carry on the momentum!


Bowling: Park Ridge Bowling recorded a 11-7 mark this season. Standout junior Ronny Yun led the team in bowler average as well as single game high. Other contributors such as Ethan Spurr, Benjamin Danenza, Jameson DeTitta, and Samuel Halsband helped Coach Blair Buscareno enjoy a nice campaign.


Ice Hockey: Our hockey squad finished 13-10 on the year with several memorable accomplishments, none more than a Big North Gold Cup Final appearance against Passaic Tech. Although they lost 5-1, it was a monumental feat to reach the competition. Austin and Zack Groves were two huge contributors both tallying over 18 goals, with Jack Sheehan having 20 assists and 20 goals on the year. An impressive season for the team! 

Competitive Cheer: The Owls completed their most successful season on record, with a comprehensive 14-1 finish. Accolades included a 6-0 weekly meet finish in the NJIC which ended with a hard-fought loss in the finals. They went on to garner first-place wins at the Lyndhurst Golden Bear Competition, NVOT Gold Rush Competition, the Saddle Brook HS Competition and ImpACT Cheer and Dance Championships. What’s more, the Owls also earned the NJIC North Division Championship title, as well as Park Ridge’s FIRST-EVER State Championship in the COED All-Music Intermediate division in March. 

  • Matt Constante & Andrew Welsh


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

Listed below are several upcoming March events and summer camps. Please click on each link to see an informational flyer with detailed information for each event.

March 14th - OpGrad Painting Fundraiser

March 17th - PR Boy Scout Troop 80 Pancake Breakfast

March 20th - Bergen County College Fair

March 27th - OpGrad Dodgeball Tournament


Park Ridge Baseball Camp: June 24th – 27th for boys entering grades 1st-9th in September.

Lady Owls Soccer Camp: August 5th – 8th for girls entering grades 1st-9th in September.

Seventh Grade Orientation

Dear Sixth Grade Parent/Guardian:

As your child’s final year in elementary school is nearing its end, I would like to be the first to welcome you to Park Ridge Jr./Sr. High School. The leap from elementary to middle school is an exciting time. There will be many new adventures in store, and we want to render everything possible to make this transition a smooth and pleasant experience.

We will be holding seventh grade orientation on Tuesday, May 14th at 7:00 pm in the Theater of our high school. Please feel free to bring your child along, since we will be highlighting our curriculum, course offerings, and extracurricular activities. Additionally, I will introduce our guidance counselor and assistant principal to answer questions on any relative matters. Tours of the building will be given after the presentation. 

This is a thrilling time in your child’s life, and we are committed to making this progression positive and free from anxiety for you and our eager, incoming 7th graders. As a collaborative team, we can work together to overcome any challenges your child may face during this adjustment. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns. I look forward to the opportunity of meeting you and our brand new “Owls” on May 14th.


Troy Lederman

Principal, Park Ridge Jr./Sr. High School

Kindergarten Hoot Camp

This summer Park Ridge will once again be offering Hoot Camp. Hoot Camp is an exciting introduction to elementary school and is available to all incoming kindergartners in Park Ridge. All Hoot Camp 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

PRHS Locker Rooms & Fitness Center Update

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

The Contractor along with the Architect and Construction Manager have been hard at work on the Locker Room Addition Project. The work on the footings and foundations continues. After the foundations are completed the underground utilities will be installed, before the floor slab is poured. The construction team is working daily to move the project forward towards its completion.  

Click here to view Design Schematic

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 (

The PRSD Website was switched to a new platform on January 16th! Please check it out at 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