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Maximizing opportunities to meet the needs of all students for a meaningful life

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Superintendent's Corner Column

Attitude of Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation

is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

November 20, 2022

Thanksgiving marks a holiday reserved for slowing down, enjoying time with the people that matter most to us, and appreciating all that we have been blessed with. It is also a time for expressing gratitude for all that we have and how much we have to be thankful for.

It is safe to say that you settled down with your families in the FLOW community for the outstanding staff and schools, an incredibly strong community, and opportunities for our children that likely exceed our own experiences growing up. I have the benefit of being in the community and around our students and staff each and every day. Our students are thoughtful, honest, open-minded, and empathetic. We want our children to grow up engaged and fulfilled, knowing the value of discipline and hard work, while understanding what it means to be treated with respect and civility. 

As a community, we have a responsibility to work together to meet our objectives, without sacrificing our principles and our core values. Above all else, the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District is a powerful platform for students to build character, foster positive values, and develop important life skills in an environment that is safe, positive, and inclusive for all students. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, coach, student, parent or interested resident of the community – you all have an important and positive role to play.

I am grateful for the commitment of our students and their dedication to academics, athletics, and extracurriculars. This past week, I had the honor to serve as a judge along with so many wonderful staff for the DECA Roleplay Night. Roleplay Night is critical to the RIH DECA Chapter's success in competition at the Regional, State, and National levels since it gives our members a chance to practice and improve their skills before competing. Best wishes to our amazing students as they embark on their season. We look forward to hearing all about their experiences this year. 

Let us give thanks to our student representatives who organized and facilitated a tremendous panel discussion on November 16th marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX civil rights legislation. A special thank you to Ramapo Senior Victoria Jolakian, members of Ramapo High School Leadership Club (RAALC), Indian Hills Student Leaders, and Director of Athletics Mr. Mancino for coordinating this special event. Our students engaged in meaningful dialogue with each other and panel experts regarding the law's history, advancement, where we are today regarding gender equity, and what next steps are ahead for a brighter future.


We are thankful for the progress we have made and our commitments on facilities improvements which include an energy savings improvement project (ESIP). To learn more about this progress on the ESIP, click the following link for the November 14th BOE meeting to watch the video presentation (approximately 4 hours and 10 minutes into the video). The slide deck presentation shared that evening is posted on the district website and may also be viewed here.

We are grateful for the incredible success our steering committee has accomplished thus far with our strategic planning efforts. The feedback from our community has enabled us to focus our vision and goals on the areas of teaching & learning, culture and climate, allocation of time, and student & staff wellness. Focus groups are underway with students and staff for exchange of meaningful dialogue through in-person sessions. Parents will receive an invitation in the coming days for focus group sign ups to participate in feedback sessions. 

This week’s edition also provides an update to the school calendar with two (2) new early dismissals (1/9/23 & 3/6/23) to carve out necessary time for staff development, the Academic Assistance Program supports available to our students, facility improvements planned for athletic field lights at both high schools, and a plethora of other highlights celebrating our students. We hope you take some time to peruse these updates as well as activities in the links below.

Our accomplishments are the fruits of our labor. We have much to be thankful for. So it is most appropriate, this time of the year and every day, to express gratitude. Thank you for your support, for your engagement in our schools, and for entrusting us with your children, and their intellectual and personal development.


It is only fitting during this Thanksgiving season that we extend our thanks to you in our community for all of your support. On behalf of our staff and Board of Education, we wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving.

All my best,

Dr. Rui Dionisio

Superintendent of Schools

Academic Assistance Program

Beginning on Monday, November 28, 2022, the District will be offering after school academic assistance in English, Mathematics, and Science through the Learning Acceleration School Year Program. The goal of this program is to provide additional academic support to students who are struggling in these subjects. Students participating in this program will receive additional academic support from a certified RIH teacher after the school day and according to a weekly schedule. Each after school session will be limited to four students, with different content areas and courses spread out throughout the week.

Students in need of after school academic assistance can sign up through the district and schools’ websites under the Academics drop down menu (Learning Acceleration Program). The District hopes that students find this program helpful to support their learning needs and meet their academic goals.

Title IX Panel Discussion

As many are aware, this is the 50th Anniversary of the passage of Title IX legislation. The Ramapo High School Leadership Club (RAALC), combining with student leaders from Indian Hills High School have engaged in meaningful dialogue regarding the law's history, advancement, and where we are today regarding gender equity and parity. One of the RAALC club members, Victoria Jolakian as well as Indian Hills Students attended the NJSIAA Title IX 50th Anniversary Luncheon and came away quite impressed.


The Ramapo High School Leadership Club (RAALC) in cooperation with Ramapo, Indian Hills High School, and District Administration hosted a Title IX panel discussion on Wednesday, November 16th at 6:30 pm in our upper gym. Joetta Clark-Diggs (Olympic Track Star & Motivational Speaker), Theresa Grentz (Naismith/Basketball Hall of Fame & Rutgers/Illinois Head Basketball Coach, Danielle Pernetti (Division 1 Athlete/IHHS Parent), Jessica DePalo (Athletic Director Columbia University), and Ramapo Senior Victoria Jolakian were members on our panel. The format and questions for the evening were created by RAALC and Indian Hills students. RAALC moderated the event. It was a very informative evening and enjoyed by all who attended.


Indian Hills DECA organized a charity walk called “Light the Night” for the Covenant House of New Jersey on November 9th. The money raised for the Covenant House of New Jersey will provide immediate shelter and care for youth facing homelessness and/or trafficking. For the first time, RIH DECA brought their community service project to Indian Hills. In order to make this a successful night, DECA enlisted the help of Interact, Wellness, and the PTSO. During the hour-long walk around the track, over 70 kids came to support Covenant House. The PTSO’s generous donations kept everyone hydrated and motivated to walk while Wellness and Interact provided many of the games, signs, and support to make for an eventful night! In doing so, RIH DECA has surpassed their halfway mark for their community service project this year.

Indian Hills senior & NJ DECA State Officer Ryan LaDuca competed, presented, and represented New Jersey DECA at the Ultimate DECA Power Trip in Washington, D.C. LaDuca, who placed as the Ultimate Competitor in the DECA role-play event, was joined by over 1,000 DECA members from across the country and participated in interactive sessions, presented a teamwork workshop, and met many young and upcoming leaders from across the organization.

Ramapo Indian Hills DECA held their annual Roleplay Night event at Indian Hills this week. For the first time, Ramapo and Indian Hills hosted Roleplay Night together, having over 100 members participating in a mock roleplay and ready to receive feedback from judges. Roleplay Night is crucial for the continued success of our members at the local, state, and national levels. Our judges consisted of parents, teachers, Indian Hills administration and even Dr. Dionisio! The feedback our members received after their presentations helped them improve their presentation skills to prepare for the northern district level of competition in January. The Indian Hills officer board set up an incredible event that allowed our RIH DECA members to thrive. Thank you once again to our judges for making this event possible! 

UPSMR Biology

UPSMR had a busy week! UPSMR Biology received a shoutout on social media by TickEncounter and TickSpotters as they learned about ticks and Lyme Disease in class as part of a citizen science research project. Students researched and identified tick species along with facts about the range and feeding habits of male and female ticks. 

Visit the Tick Field Guide to learn more about ticks in our environment at: Our UPSMR Biomechanics students headed down to the weight room to collect video data for analysis in their kinematics unit. All four grade levels gathered for our marking period one UP Connections event to watch the inspirational film, Science Fair and ponder how we answer “What’s the big idea?”

AP Art Selection

Over the summer our AP Art Students work hard on summer assignments, and two pieces have been selected for statewide exhibition. Congratulations to Pluto Tirri and Sean Blake, whose artwork has been selected for the AENJ NJPAC Fall-Winter Exhibit!

Log Walk

I.H.H.S. senior Jon McCreedy high above the I.H. skyline striding his way ‘carefully’ across the Giant Log Walk Element! Congrats Johnny on your achievement, not quite a walk in the park!! Well done!!

Hayden Planetarium

Ms. Wiese and Mr. Weiss visited the Hayden Planetarium with their Astronomy classes. They learned about the planets that share our solar system and the unique conditions that make life on Earth possible.

Economics Field Trip to Port of Newark

Mr. Witterschein’s Economics students visited the Port of Newark.  The Port system is a significant part of the "Supply Chain" in our economy. Port Newark Marine Terminal serves as the principal container ship facility for goods entering and leaving the New York Metropolitan Area. The efficiency of the port system lowers the cost of consumer and industrial goods in America. 

Hike at Ramapo State Forest

Ramapo's Horticulture classes hiked Ramapo State Forest in October. Students spent September and October honing their native and invasive plant identification skills and then took them "on the road". While hiking up to the Van Slyke Castle ruins they worked through a scavenger hunt facilitated by an app on their cell phones. This experience allowed students a chance to "grow" their appreciation for the natural world and sharpen their skills! The weather was perfect!

The Hermitage Field Trip

On November 3, Ms. VanderMolen took her US 1 AP class to The Hermitage in Waldwick, NJ where they were able to meet local historians and tour the Prevost home. During the Revolutionary War, while Major Prevost was fighting for the British in Georgia and South Carolina, the women and children were left alone in Ho-Ho-Kus. During this period, Bergen County was in the center of the conflict, with troops from both sides passing through the area with regularity. Aaron Burr, who had been stationed with the rebels just north in an area known as The Clove, became a frequent visitor to the site. Following the war, and the ensuing death of Lieutenant Colonel Prevost, Burr and Theodosia’s friendship led to a courtship that resulted in their marriage at The Hermitage in July of 1782.

M&T Bank

On November 9th, representatives from M&T bank presented information on budgeting in Financial Literacy classes at Ramapo High School.

IHHS Athletic Wrap-Up

Congratulations to Carlin Fatuova who won a GOLD MEDAL on vault at the State Sectional Gymnastics Meet at Ridgewood HS! She also set a SCHOOL RECORD with her score of 9.65! Carlin also finished 4th on the floor and will be attending the Gymnastics State Meet of Champions in Brick, NJ. Good luck Carlin!

Congratulations to Senior Raffi Buchakjian for qualifying for the Cross Country State Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park in Holmdel, NJ. This is an incredible achievement, especially for someone who just started running last year! Good luck Raffi!

Congratulations to the IHHS student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday to further their athletic careers at a DI or DII university! Indian Hills had three baseball players and a girls lacrosse player sign their letters with their family in attendance. A HUGE congratulations goes out to all 4 student-athletes on this tremendous accomplishment!

(L) Ryan Polansky - Stephen F. Austin University

(M) Chase Trolaro - University of Maine

(R) Gavin Enright - Felician University

Lauren Donellan - Gardner-Webb University

The Indian Hills Student Council put together another successful Powder Puff Football Game! We had about 108 players participate across 11 teams with their student coaches. Every grade was represented on various teams, with the multi-grade Mint Green team winning the tournament undefeated. The Light Pink team made up of girls varsity Cross Country runners came in second. Students Jebriel Tantawi and Rhys Burgess provided music and announcements with Athletic Director Jon Duncan in the press box. Interact hosted a bake sale during the game. All proceeds from the tournament will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Thank you to all the parents and community that showed up to watch!

RHS Athletic Wrap-Up

The Girls Soccer Team defeated Northern Highlands HS 3-1 to advance to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 3 Sectional Final against Sparta on Saturday, November 5th. In the final, the girls blasted Sparta 6-0 to win the Sectional Title. They defeated Chatham in the North Jersey Final on Tuesday, 11/08 1-0. Finally, they won a classic battle with Cherry Hill West at Kean University on Sunday, 11/13. The game ended in a 3-3 tie in regulation and 2 Overtime periods. On Penalty Kicks, Po prevailed 6-5!!! They are Group 3 State Champions!!!! Outstanding!!! The team finished 19-3 and is currently ranked #7 in NJ.

The Girls Gymnastics Team competed in the NJSIAA State Sectional Final at Ridgewood on Saturday 11/05. At the Group finals at Brick High School, Shayna Braver Vault was 34th place, 8.5 Bars 23rd place and 8.6 Beam 28th. Her AA 29th- 34.150 Marin Lai was 23rd in vault 9.1. The team finished 9-1!

The Boys Soccer Team lost a tough State Semifinal Game against Morris Hills High School on penalty kicks. The team still had a terrific season winning the Bergen County and Big North Freedom Division Championships while being ranked #12 in the State and finishing with a 15-0-2 record.

Congratulations to the RHS Girls Tennis Team All Conference Performers:

  • First Team: Cadia Sauter, Ella Saxton, Olivia Ring, Elizabeth Ring and Caroline Baker
  • Second Team: Giselle Sinoway and Chloe Heller
  • Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Hartgers:
  • Special Congratulations to Coach Kim Marchese "Coach of the Year!"

The 8-2 & 14th ranked Ramapo High School Football Team defeated Ridge High School 34-27 to advance to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 4 Sectional Final. They lost a tough game in overtime to Northern Highlands High School in the Sectional Final on Thursday, 11/10, 49-42. Great season for our team and coaches. So much to be proud of!

Girls Volleyball finished with 6 wins and did qualify for the State Tournament. They played hard all year against a difficult schedule. We are so proud of the team and especially our seniors.

The Cross Country Team competed in the NJSIAA State Tournament at Holmdel the weekend of 11/05. The Girls finished 10th overall. Amelia Keogh finished 13th in the race and is a wildcard entry into the State Meet of Champions on Saturday. Her great season continues as her time makes her the 3rd individual out of 30 that was accepted based off of times. Amelia competed in the State Finals on Saturday, 11/12 and finished 22nd overall and had the 2nd best time for Bergen County Runners!

Ramapo High School has numerous student athletes moving on to play their sport of choice collegiately. The tradition at Ramapo is to honor all of our College/University Signees during a late winter/early spring ceremony. We wanted to recognize and congratulate some early signees!

Carly Griffin-Lehigh University/Track

Megan Twomey-Seton Hall University/Soccer

Alex Cahill-University of Richmond/Track

Mackenzie Morante-Washington & Lee/Track

Madeleine Kellog-Carnegie Mellon University/Soccer

Athletic Field Lights 

As part of the Long Range Facilities Plan, our school district has been working on solutions to address the aging field lights which are over 20 years old at both Indian Hills High School and Ramapo High School. Indian Hills had experienced lighting issues several years ago that required necessary repairs which were completed. This past Spring, the Ramapo field lights began experiencing problems which required service repairs. The necessary repairs at Ramapo High School were completed which resulted in operational field lights. 

Most recently, the field lights experienced problems which resulted in confirmed mechanical issues during the recent football game between Ramapo and Northern Highlands. We are currently working with the lighting company to determine next steps for interim repairs. Due to the age of the lights, a long term remedy will be the best path to appropriately address and resolve any future issues. The district is working with our engineers to develop a capital improvement project to replace the athletic field lights at both high schools. The replacement of lights is a long term process that requires many months to complete. The scope of work for athletic field lighting replacement requires the formal bidding process under the law to obtain the best possible price and the need to prudently use and manage public funds. The proposal of a project for Board discussion on the development of bid specifications, formally bidding and awarding the contract, and completion of the work is anticipated to extend well into 2023. We will be moving forward without delay to improve our facilities and minimize any impact on future athletic seasons. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

School Calendar

The 2022 - 2023 School Calendar has been revised, Board approved and is posted on the District website. The revisions include two early dismissals for students and professional development afternoons for staff on January 9 and March 6. The updated School Calendar may be accessed below or by clicking here

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Connect to  Po Athletic Schedules

Welcome to the

Ramapo High School APTS

Association of Parents, Teachers & Students

Welcome to the 

Indian Hills High School PTSO

Parent, Teacher, Student Organization

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The Ramapo Indian Hills Board of Education implemented a new video streaming platform on our District webpage. RIH Board of Education meetings may be viewed directly on our District website by clicking here or at the following link:

Archived Board of Education videos may be accessed at the following link. Additional information is available on the District webpage under the Board of Ed tab at the top of the page.



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