In the latest gathering of the River Dell School Board, members navigated an extensive agenda, spotlighting the unveiling of a new school app and laying out an ambitious plan for an upcoming $18.7 million referendum slated for a vote on December 12, 2023.
Assistant Superintendent Vito Delor introduced the Riverdale app, developed in association with School Messenger. The app, designed to be a one-stop hub facilitating streamlined communication within the school community, offers features like real-time updates through push notifications and easy access to a range of essential resources, from cafeteria details to the athletic schedule. Although it is technically live, the promotion has been delayed to incorporate feedback from board members. The board engaged in an insightful discussion, with member Stephanie Hartman inquiring about the amalgamation of events from both middle and high schools in the calendar view. Delor assured the integration of this feature, highlighting their plans to actively promote the app around the back-to-school night with QR codes facilitating easy downloads.
As the board ventured into discussions on the much-anticipated referendum, Alan Feigenson, chair of the Community Relations Committee, emphasized the timeliness of the move, aligning with the conclusion of repayments for the 2003 referendum and the availability of additional state aid. The $18.7 million project encompasses a plethora of improvements including heightened security measures, HVAC upgrades, and space renovations for special education programs. With state aid covering 34%, the local funding requirement narrows down to $12.3 million, promising tax reductions for the localities of River Ridge and Oradell. The board portrayed a unified front, advocating for a promotional strategy encompassing social media blitzes, email campaigns, and community outreach programs to rally public support.
The meeting reverberated with positive notes on the commencement of the new academic year. Student representative Melissa Yee delineated a host of activities and initiatives at both high and middle schools, spotlighting the positive energy that shaped a smooth start despite the heatwave. The new aesthetic improvements around the school were commended.
Commendations also extended to the recent ranking of Riverdale High School by the US News and World Report, placing it at number 62 in New Jersey, a testimony to the collaborative spirit and academic rigor fostered in the school.
In a latter segment, the discussion evolved to the schedule and functionalities of the “Genesis” student information system on the app. The board contemplated restricted access times to foster a stress-free learning environment, balancing the convenience of real-time updates with the mental well-being of students and parents.
Public comments included an request to facilitate easier access to policy documents on the improved website.