Ridgefield School District Greenlights Mental Health Grant, Appointments in Recent Meeting

On June 15, the Ridgefield Board of Education unanimously approved the application for the School-Based Mental Health Grant, made significant personnel appointments, and authorized a multitude of financial and operational decisions. The meeting was held at Ridgefield High School’s Cafeteria, convening at 7:12 p.m., and wrapping up several hours later after an extensive agenda.

Of primary significance was the unanimous approval of the School-Based Mental Health Grant application. This initiative is timely given the rising concerns about the mental health of students, especially in the aftermath of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Tamika DePass made an insightful presentation on the Creative Communications Academy. Following her talk, committee reports were provided by the Education Committee – represented by Ralph Morilla, Maryam Juliet Inan, and Andrew Grippa – and the Operations Committee, spearheaded by Michael Jacobs, William Pych, and Andrew Grippa. Notably, Jacobs also served as the NJSBA/Legislative Delegate, representing the district’s interests on a larger stage.

Numerous resolutions, primarily focused on financial commitments for projects, grants, and other district initiatives, were tackled. These included decisions to ratify the bill list detailing financial transactions, greenlight various fundraisers, and accept several notable donations. Moreover, resolutions surrounding the approval for resident students to attend out-of-district schools based on individualized education programs (IEPs), emergency purchases for roof chiller unit repair and theatrical equipment, and a food service contract with Pomptonian, Inc. were also passed.

Among the several personnel decisions, Elizabeth Densen’s resignation as a teacher assistant, effective June 30, was accepted. She was subsequently appointed as a special education teacher at Slocum Skewes School for the upcoming school year. Other significant appointments for the 2023-2024 academic year included Robert Becker, Rafaella Bavaro, Mikayla Berlingeri, Joanna Tsoullis, and Sara Every in various capacities and at different Ridgefield schools.

The meeting also saw the board affirm the Interim Superintendent’s decisions on several Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) cases, with a couple being dismissed.

Amongst a series of policies either introduced, revised, or adopted, the board gave special attention to Policy #0144 on Board Member Orientation and Training, #5305 on Health Services Personnel, and #7440 concerning School District Security.

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