Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reason #2 to Vote YES on April 20:
It’s not all doom & gloom.

So much of the conversation surrounding the budget has focused on the unprecedented number of cuts we had to make, first to keep the budget under the state cap and then to make up for the loss of our state aid. But it’s important to remember the positives:

Student achievement is high. U.S. News & World Report ranks RHS in the top 2.5% of high schools nationwide. SAT scores are high. Our Class of 2010 has four National Merit Finalists, 36 Garden State Scholarship recipients and 102 College Board AP Scholars. And more...

Our staff is accomplished. RHS Social Studies teacher John Dombille was named 2009 VFW New Jersey Teacher of the Year. GW Teachers Dee Kuiken and Jen Make published a children’s book. Janelle Rose Jacoby, GWMS Orchestra Director, was selected to conduct the 2010 Jr. Regions Orchestra. And more...

Our class sizes are low. One of the things parents have communicated over and over is their commitment to keeping class sizes as low as possible. We've been able to continue to honor that commitment with this budget.

Our extra-curriculars are strong. A Ridge student was a winner of the National Geography Bee. Two BF violinists won seats in the 2010 New Jersey All-State Intermedia Orchestra. The RHS Ice Hockey team won the NJTCC Bergen/Hudson Division championship. And more...

Our program is growing and improving. The 2010-11 budget contains programs and services that exceed the State Board of Education’s Core Curriculum Content Standards, including: New math textbooks for grades 3-5 (funded by ARRA grant). New middle school courses in Shakespeare, Speech & Debate, Realistic Fiction & Short Stories, Foundations of Algebra, Dramatic Expressions, Conversational Spanish and Social Skills (Special Ed). New high school courses include Advanced Math Applications, Integrated Physics & Art, Entrepreneurship, Music Mentors, Journalism Production, and more. And new high school textbooks for AP Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, AP Macro/Mico Economics...And more...

I’ve said this before: The cuts we had to make are painful. We’re all going to have to work hard to adjust. (Or as Jack Lorenz says, “ a lot of people will have to do a lot more work”). We will do it. When you vote on April 20, you’re not voting for all the cuts we made…you’re not voting for the things we’re leaving behind. You’re voting for the future. In spite of the economic forces working against the district, the budget we approve will move us forward. Because on April 21, the day after the budget vote, we’ll still have the things that make Ridgewood great. We’ll still have amazing students, we’ll still have involved parents and we’ll still have excellent staff.

Please vote YES on April 20!

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