August 23, 2022

Dear PRSD Parent/Guardian:

Good afternoon. I hope this email finds you sitting on a beach or relaxing by the pool. The summer weather has been perfect for outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. I hope everyone had a chance to rest, relax and recharge drained batteries, because next week we start our engines!

This year in the PRSD, we will be promoting “Owls Together – Community, Friendship, Kindness” as our focus during the school year. As a school community, it is important for everyone to look out for each other. The pandemic has impacted all of us, some more than others, so let’s make sure all Owls enjoy a sense of unity and belonging

To help you plan for the upcoming school year, I am providing you with some important updates and information. Please see below:

Opening Day for Students - We will welcome all students back to our schools on Thursday, September 1st. Please check future emails from the principals for specific information about drop-off/pick-up times and procedures. Also, here is a link to our 2022-23 Park Ridge School District Calendar.

Capital Improvement Projects - As for our facilities, your children will return to a clean and updated building on September 1st. The HS Nurse’s Office has been completely renovated and now includes a single-use restroom in the Licht Wing. The bathrooms near the HS mini-gym have been converted to three (3) single-use restrooms. Also, the HS tennis courts have been replaced and should be ready for play by mid-September. Lastly, the main bathrooms at East Brook, across from the multi-purpose room, have been completely renovated and now include a family restroom for guests and visitors. Next summer, we will be completing the same project at West Ridge. Considering the number of projects undertaken, Tom Lepore and his department have done an outstanding job, once again.

Curriculum Revisions - Over the summer, our faculty has worked hard to update multiple curricula and align them with the new NJ Student Learning Standards. These updates are mandated by the NJDOE and must be in place by September 1st. This evening at 7 PM, the K-6 Health Curricula will be available for parents to review in the WR multi-purpose room. The administration will be available to answer specific questions. Speaking of our administration, we owe our Director of Curriculum, Dr. Bernardo, a hearty thank you for coordinating this effort.

COVID-19 - Regarding COVID-19, all aspects of the school day (academics, extracurricular activities, lunch, field trips, etc.) will return to pre-pandemic norms. The school nurses are no longer required to contact trace and masks will remain optional. If your child is healthy, we look forward to seeing him/her in school. If they are not, please keep them home. Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 will need to quarantine for 5 days (Day 0 = first day with symptoms) and then wear a mask for 5 days upon his/her return to school. Also, on August 15th, Governor Murphy repealed E.O. 253, which means that unvaccinated staff members and volunteers will no longer need to be screened weekly for COVID-19.

Laptop Refresh - All students in grades 4-12 will receive a brand new MacBook Air at the start of the school year. Please check the email from PRHS for specific pick-up dates/times. Students at EB and WR will receive their laptops from their teacher soon after school opens. Special thanks to the Technology Department for preparing over 800 machines for distribution. It makes me proud to say that our 1:1 laptop program is starting its 10th year.

New Staff Members - Please join me in welcoming Ms. Jill Connolly to the administrative team in Park Ridge. On July 18th, Jill started as our new Director of Special Programs & Student Services. Previously, she worked in the same position in Bogota for several years and is looking forward to working with the Owls. Also, the teachers and paraprofessionals who are starting in September are a great group of educators. We continue to attract top notch candidates to the district and look forward to working with them in the future.

PRSD Monthly Newsletter - As a way to enhance communication with parents and update the school community on upcoming events and academic/extra-curricular activities, my office will be distributing a newsletter at the end of each month. This publication will include a focus on individual departments at the HS, along with spotlights on EB and WR.  I look forward to highlighting all of the great work by our students and staff on a monthly basis.  Please keep an eye out for the first edition at the end of September. 

Field Trips - All class trips and off-campus travel will return during the 2022-23 school year. This includes field trips at EB/WR and all overnight trips, including Gr. 6 (Camp Bernie) and Gr. 8 (Philadelphia).

School Security - We will continue to look for ways to enhance school security, including the possibility of adding a retired police officer to the staff at each school. This person would carry a concealed firearm in the building during the school day. The BOE will be discussing this option when school opens and will be looking for input from the school community later in the school year.

Start Strong Assessments - We have been informed by the NJDOE that the Start Strong Assessments will return at the start of the school year. The administration window for this short, online assessment is August 31st to September 30th. The Curriculum Office and principals will release more information about the exact test dates/times once school opens next week.

Back to School Nights - For planning purposes, these are the dates for our Back to School Nights at each building:

  • East Brook - 9/7 @ 7 PM
  • West Ridge - 9/14 @ 7 PM
  • MS 9/22 @ 7 PM
  • HS 9/15 @ 7 PM
  • In-person Only (No virtual option will be offered)

In closing, we are looking forward to a great school year. Please enjoy the last two weeks of summer and bring those smiles on September 1st! Let's go Mets!

Owls Together,

Robert M. Gamper, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools