The Wise Owl

The Official Newsletter of the Park Ridge School District

September 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

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

  • September 5 - Opening Day for Students

  • September 7 - EB Back to School Night (7 PM)

  • September 14 - WR Back to School Night (7 PM)

  • September 18 - BOE Meeting (7 PM)

  • September 21 - HS Back to School Night (7 PM)

  • September 25 - Schools Closed (Religious Holiday)

  • September 28 - MS Back to School Night (7 PM)

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

2023-24 K-6 Student - Parent Handbook

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

Did you know ...

That most of the classrooms, especially at EB and WR, are already set-up by the end of August? Yes, many of our teachers volunteer their time to start working in their classroom before the summer ends. Please be sure to thank them when you return next week!

From the Superintendent of Schools ...

Dear School Community Member:

We are back! Yesterday, our faculty and staff returned to the buildings for an informative and productive professional day. Today was more of the same which included faculty, department and grade level meetings. Needless to say, everyone in the PRSD is looking forward to the students returning on Tuesday, September 5th!

The start of the school year is always an exciting time in Park Ridge. Did you know that many of our teachers still have a difficult time sleeping before the first day of school? Believe it or not, your children will not be the only ones having a hard time falling asleep on Monday night.

Right now, the biggest project in the district that is underway is the HS locker room addition and renovation. If you drive into the lower lot you will see a sizable construction zone protected by construction fencing. During drop-off/pick-up please adhere to the information that was sent by Mr. Lederman (see below). We will also have our HS SLEO in the area to direct traffic and keep everyone safe.

The transition from the summer months to September can be challenging, especially for younger children who can have a difficult time adjusting to new routines and schedules. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child's principal if you need assistance or guidance on how to transition back to the school year.

Lastly, it has been great to see our athletic teams taking to the gyms and fields the last few weeks. I know I am looking forward to watching our student-athletes once the season starts in September.

Please enjoy a safe Labor Day weekend. See you on Tuesday.


Owls Together,


Robert M. Gamper, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Welcome back to East Brook School!

... From Principal Stokes

We are one week away from the launch of the 2023-24 school year!


Morning arrival is always exciting on the first day, but I kindly request that you continue to follow our stop, drop, and go procedures. If you'd like to walk up to East Brook with your child, please park on the side street. 1st Grade will line up in the gym and all other students will enter through the main school doors and line up outside their classrooms.


Kindergarten students will arrive at 9am on the first day. We will meet in the multi-purpose room for a quick meet and greet. I also look forward to seeing our incoming Kindergarteners at the PTO Summer Social on Thursday, 8/31 at 2:00pm.


IMPORTANT *Health Curriculum Information* - Please go to the link below for information on the K-6 health curriculum topics and also for the opt-out form should you choose to use it. There is a link at the top to take you to the grade-by-grade breakdown of topics. This is ONLY if you wish to opt out of topics. Health Information


Everything dismissal-related was posted in my Summer Newsletter. Please click on this link to review the information: Summer Newsletter and Dismissal Map


The calendar and Parent/Student Handbook are updated on the website. Everything else you need to is there. I'll be checking e-mail until Thursday - e-mail me any questions you have.

Welcome back to West Ridge School!

... From Principal Kirkby

We are rapidly approaching the start of our 2023-2024 school year!! (cue the groans from the kids and the cheers from the parents...)


Please take a look below at the reminders for the start of the school year. Every registered student in pre-k and Kindergarten should have received a mailing from us. All students in grades 1-6 can access their homeroom teacher through the Parent Portal.


School begins on Tuesday, September 5.

Students in grades 1-6 can be dropped off between 8:15 am - 8:35 am.

THE FRONT CIRCLE IS FOR PARENTS DROPPING THEIR CHILD OFF AND GOING. IF YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR CAR, PLEASE DO NOT USE THE FRONT CIRCLE. There are plenty of parking spots on the right side of the building. If you need to get out with your child, please park there and get out. If adults get out of the car in the front circle drop off line, you hold everyone else up, back up traffic to the corner, you will probably get honked at, and it will just cause greater angst for your child.


Pre-K students will all enter by the lower entrance (next to the black electronic message board) at your designated times.


Kindergarten students start at 9:00 am on Tuesday 9/5 and Wednesday 9/6- you will enter through the Multi-Purpose Room (blue doors) and students will get walked to class from there. More info on this will be discussed at the Kindergarten Ice Cream Social on Thursday 8/31 at 1:00 pm.


Students in grade 3 will be getting their school-issued laptops soon after the start of school. They will be allowed to take them home. Parents in grade 3 will receive information on making the payment for insurance. You will have a deadline to pay that for students to have access to their machine both in school and at home.


Mrs. Fliesser will continue to be on maternity leave for the start of the school year. You will receive specific information about her replacement and her anticipated return date.


Students are able to bring water bottles to school and have access to them while in the classroom and during lunch. We will have water fountains accessible for drinks and to refill those bottles, as necessary. The nurse will not be handing out extra water bottles anymore. We will be adding a new water fountain to the mobile classrooms to assist students in those classrooms.


The bathrooms by the Multi-Purpose Room have been remodeled and there is an added multi-use bathroom that will come in handy for families at school events.


Health Curriculum Information - Please go to the link below for information on the K-6 health curriculum topics and also for the opt-out form should you choose to use it. There is a link at the top to take you to the grade by grade breakdown of topics. Any questions, please email Mr. Kirkby. Health Information


In conjunction with the PTO, we will be using the Remind App this year for additional announcements and school info. This will be for anyone interested and there will be a "sign up" process to receive school alerts via text as well. More info to follow on this.

Welcome back to Park Ridge High School!

... From Principal Lederman

I hope this letter finds you in good health and high spirits! As we begin another school year, I am delighted to welcome you back to PRHS! Whether you are returning or new to our school community, we are thrilled to have you as part of our Park Ridge Family.

I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to our parents for your continuous support and dedication to your child’s education. To the students of PRHS, this year promises to be one filled with tremendous opportunities for you as we strive to find ways to make your school experience an outstanding one.

Throughout the upcoming academic year, we will continue to strive for excellence in all aspects of education. Our passionate and dedicated staff is committed to providing a well-rounded education that nurtures creativity, curiosity, and a sense of responsibility in our students.

As the new school year begins, I encourage both students and parents to stay engaged with our school community. Please get to know our school’s website and communication channels, where you will find important updates, announcements, and resources to support your child’s learning.


PRHS Morning Drop-off Instructions

Parents / Guardians should drive down Wampum Road, turn left into the teacher parking lot, and follow the horseshoe-shaped road to the sign labeled “Drop off Here.” Once your child safely exits the vehicle, you can turn right, back onto Wampum Road. This will keep the flow of traffic moving smoothly. Your child will proceed up the stairs to the entrance behind the Board of Education building. The traffic pattern for drop-off will be clearly marked with cones and we will have school staff monitoring it for safety.

PRSD Demographics Study

In early August, the BOE received a draft of our Demographic Study from Statistical Forecasting LLC. The report includes a 5-year enrollment projection for the district, along with individual projections for each school. This information will help guide our decision-making in the future. As expected, the largest increase in students will be realized at West Ridge, due to the development of the Sony property. Our next step is to complete a Feasibility Study to determine the best approach to take when planning for the influx of new students during the next 5 years. Much more to come on this.

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. We hope to get this project started soon after schools open in September.

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. While we were hoping to have this ready for September, we encountered some delays over the summer and hope to have it online by early October.

Class III Special Law Enforcement Officers

Starting on Tuesday, September 5th all schools in the district will be protected by a Special Law Enforcement Officer (Class III).

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.

And Officer Solimano will start working at PRHS. He has an extensive background in law enforcement and worked as a SLEO in the Westwood School District last year.

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

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 under construction! A significant amount of progress has already been made on the fitness center and locker room renovation and addition at PRHS. On August 14th, an email was sent to all parents and staff members, which contained information on how the construction would impact the upcoming school year. Also, please be on the lookout for drop-off and pick-up changes as a result of the lower parking lot being used as part of the construction zone. This project will be completed in the Fall of 2024.

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