The recent Ridgewood School Board meeting spotlighted Superintendent Mark Schwarz’s attainment of his doctorate while juggling responsibilities during the COVID era. At the same time, the meeting was marked by concerns regarding school board election timings, criticisms of board member Michael Lembo, and the reopening of high school fields.
Superintendent Mark Schwarz expressed gratitude to the board for their support during his academic pursuit amidst the challenges of the COVID pandemic. He hinted at unveiling insights from his doctoral research in upcoming meetings, ensuring that the board and community would benefit from his scholarly endeavors.
The annual school elections took center stage during the discussions. Concerns were raised about returning to annual elections post-November 2024. Board members Muhammad Mahmoud and Hyunju Kwak offered their perspectives, emphasizing the importance of rectifying any oversights and adhering to legal requirements. Public commenter Lori Weber sharply criticized the board for purported errors in the election timing and took issue with Michael Lembo’s handling of a censure resolution concerning James Morgan.
On the educational front, Ridgewood High School saw various noteworthy developments. Ms. Bronstein announced a memorable engagement session between the Latin class and Rick Riordan, renowned for his Percy Jackson series. She also highlighted the architecture and art history classes’ exploration of local homes, discovering Greek architectural influences. Mental health first aid training’s importance for peer counselors and initiatives like the National Honors Society’s tutoring sessions and the Oasis Club’s collection drive were mentioned.
Sports and arts weren’t left behind. The girls’ varsity soccer team, boys’ soccer, girls’ tennis, and gymnastics all earned commendations for their performances. The marching band’s achievement of fourth place against Northern Highlands was celebrated, along with the announcement of the school play, “The Play That Goes Wrong”.
On the infrastructure side, updates on the reopening of the High School Stadium Field and Stevens Field were shared, with Keith Cook, Damen Smith, and Artan Moodi acknowledged for their efforts. Collaboration with the Army Corps of Engineers for sustainable solutions was discussed.
The Access for All Committee’s event at the Ridgewood public library, which saw Project Interact volunteering, was highlighted. Other noteworthy mentions included concerns about vaping at Ridgewood High School, the importance of participating in the general elections, and an upcoming college admissions talk.
Lastly, student representatives from Orchard School, introduced by Principal Mary Ferrer, offered glimpses into their experiences as fifth graders, covering various school programs and concluding with a group photo.