Ridgewood School Board Meeting Highlights Student Achievements, Discusses New Policies and Curriculum Changes

The recent Ridgewood School Board meeting spotlighted student accomplishments, particularly the Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s BBN program, while also addressing new policies and curriculum changes. Superintendent Dr. Thomas A. Gorman presided over the meeting, with board member Michael Lembo absent due to illness. Notable topics included the resurgence of the BBN program after the COVID-19 impact, the introduction of new courses at Ridgewood High School, the discussion of policies including eligibility of non-resident students, and concerns about the formation of a personnel committee.

The BBN program, a student-led initiative that aims to foster a sense of pride and community within the school, was presented by English teacher Miss Beth Fulmer and student representatives. The students not only brainstorm and develop scripts, but they also film and edit segments showcasing school news, community events, and entertaining elements like trivia games. The program has seen a resurgence post COVID-19, with Fulmer expressing pride in the students’ work.

Various updates and announcements highlighted the vibrant school community. The Applied Engineering Club is working on projects related to community sustainability and climate change, while the Department of Visual and Performing Arts is set to open its 60th season of the Maroon and White Recital and Art Exhibit series. The Oasis Club organized a Thanksgiving Drive, and Project Interact donated to the United Service Organization’s Holiday Drive. The board also acknowledged the hard work of staff and students in preparing for a Veterans Day breakfast to honor veterans and their families.

Dr. Gorman spoke on several topics, including the mitigation of flooding at the school fields, with community groups showing interest in funding feasibility studies for possible solutions. He also thanked the League of Women Voters for their advocacy and expressed his gratitude for the Ridgewood team’s representation of the district at state-level discussions.

The meeting also addressed new courses and curriculum-related matters. Ridgewood High School plans to offer a unified elective pathway program for special needs students, starting with a dance class. Other proposed courses include Real Estate Dynamics, Fashion Design, Engineering with Applied Physics Honors, Cyber Security, and Mathematics Applications 8. The board members expressed enthusiasm for these diverse course offerings and the potential positive impact on students.

Policy discussions took place, including the examination of policy 5111, which focused on the eligibility of non-resident students. The administrative team is set to study the impact of this policy, looking at factors like total revenues and costs, policies of other districts, and the perception of the policy among participating and newly hired staff. Policies regarding the right to privacy and procedures for videotaping staff members, as well as food services, were also discussed, with the board seeking further information and examination from the administrative team.

The creation of a personnel committee sparked a debate among board members. The process of its formation was questioned, with Miss Weber referring to the board’s policy on committee formation.

Did we get something wrong? Let us know.
Dr. Thomas A. Gorman
School Board Officials:
Michael Lembo, Hyunju Kwak, Sheila Brogan, Saurabh Dani, Muhammad Mahmoud

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