The River Dell School Board meeting recently focused on student performance data, the importance of fostering a growth mindset, budgetary issues, and the upcoming referendum. The Board also addressed parent concerns regarding the need for more study abroad programs and mental health support.
In a comprehensive dive into the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA) tests data, the board members discussed the performance of students across English Language Arts (ELA), Math, Science, and Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The data showed high participation rates and consistent achievement in ELA. However, some challenges were noted in Math performance, which the board attributed to the pandemic. Despite these challenges, River Dell students continued to outperform state averages in Math. The scores in Science were also reported to be exceeding state levels. AP data from the past five years was also discussed, showing consistent scores of three or above.
Superintendent Patrick J. Fletcher stressed the importance of fostering a growth mindset in students. Fletcher stated that lessons on growth mindset would be incorporated in grade seven and grade eight curriculums to help students view challenges as opportunities for growth. Fletcher also acknowledged the work of Mrs. Kirkby in organizing a program to assist students with college applications.
The Budget and Finance Committee, chaired by Douglas Kupfer, outlined their upcoming audit and budget calendar. They announced a new set of auditors would be conducting the audit. The committee also discussed staffing changes and state aid amounts. Simultaneously, the Facilities and Security Committee, led by John Samuel, focused on the referendum, discussing the need for a threat assessment team and exploring options for around-the-clock threat monitoring.
The Board also discussed the consent agenda, approving line item transfers and adjustments in the financial report, students attending Bergen Technical Schools, and a donation from Friends of Riverdale for piano restoration.
Board member Alan Feigenson announced a special senior event on November 19th. This event will feature a presentation by Dr. Alorro and the architect Frank, followed by lunch and a tour of the school building. He also discussed promoting the event through various channels and the need for increased social media engagement following the general election.
The meeting concluded with a public comments section where parents advocated for more opportunities for study abroad programs and international experiences. The parents also expressed concerns about the district severing its relationship with Care Plus, a mental health service provider, and requested alternative resources to support students’ mental health needs.