The Wise Owl

The Official Newsletter of the Park Ridge School District


May/June 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


  • June 21 - EB Grade 6 Promotion (10 AM)


  • June 21 - WR Grade 6 Promotion (4 PM)


  • June 22 - PRHS Class of 2023 Graduation (6 PM)


  • August 23 - PRSD New Teacher Orientation


  • August 30 & 31 - Staff Only


  • September 1 & 4 - Schools Closed (Labor Day Weekend)


  • September 5 - Opening Day for Students

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


Congratulations to our retirees!


Please join the BOE in wishing Tom Lepore (Director of Facilities), Janis Bullis (Owl House Teacher), Diane Galbo (HS Main Office Secretary) and Beverly Lajoie (EB Paraprofessional) all the best for a happy, healthy and lengthy retirement! Once an Owl, always an Owl! Be well!


From the Superintendent of Schools ...


Dear School Community Member:


Let the countdown begin! With only 2 days left in the school year, the excitement for the summer recess can be found in every corner of the district. However, before we leave for the pools, beaches and our Netflix accounts, we do have several special ceremonies to enjoy at each school.


The East Brook Grade 6 Promotion is being held tomorrow (June 21st) at 10 AM, followed by West Ridge at 4 PM. Then, the main event will be held on Doc Lewis Field (Weather Permitting) at 6 PM on Thursday, June 22nd, as the Class of 2023 graduates from Park Ridge High School. These traditions are a favorite part of the school year for so many students, staff members and parents.


In other news, the BOE approved Benard Associates at their June 19th meeting to construct the high school fitness center and locker room renovation/addition. This unanimous 7-0 vote by the Board will bring much needed change to the undersized and outdated conditions our students in grades 7-12 have endured for many years. It is important to note that the fitness center will be used by Physical Education students during the school day and by athletic teams before and after school hours. Included in the plan is a full-sized Athletic Trainer's room for all student-athletes to utilize. Like all construction, we will be inconvenienced at times, but I promise you the finished product will be worth the struggle.


This school year has been extremely positive and productive. Last month, the BOE and PREA settled a new collective bargaining agreement for 2023-2026. Needless to say, the faculty in our schools deserve the respect and appreciation that a timely contract signifies. We have planned for several new classes at the high school next year and will be updating resources at the elementary schools. The districtwide fiber project will greatly enhance our internet speeds and capabilities. And the installation of the SLEO III's adds another layer of school security to an already safe learning environment.


In closing, I want to thank all members of the school community for helping to make the PRSD a great place to learn and grow. I feel very blessed to work with such a talented group of students and educators. I am very proud of our schools and I hope you feel the same.


Have a safe and happy summer! See you in September!

 

Owls Together,

 

Robert M. Gamper, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

2023-24 Kindergarten Registration


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


It's not too late! 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


In April, 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 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. 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 Monday, May 15th, our Special Law Enforcement Officers (Class III) started working at the elementary schools.


Officer Bossolt is a retired police officer from the Township of Montclair where he also served as a DARE Instructor. He has been working with the East Brook School Community as their dedicated security officer.


Officer Stallone is a retired member of the Bergen County Sheriff's Department where he served as the Commander of the Crime Scene Unit. He has been assisting the West Ridge School Community.


The Board wants to thank all of the members of the school community who have welcomed these officers to their respective schools.


Chief Madden and the BOE Security Committee have selected a SLEO III for PRHS. However, the individual is unable to start until September 1st due to a current work obligation.


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


On Monday, June 19th, at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting the Board unanimously (7-0) passed a resolution to award Benard Associates the contract for the fitness center and locker room renovation and addition at PRHS. This project will begin on July 1st and be completed during the early part of the 2024-25 school year. Mr. Lederman (PRHS Principal) and Mr. Brown (Athletic Director) will be sending more information to students, staff and parents on how this construction will impact next school year.


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