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

Monday, September 13, 2010

News from the BOE

What's that? You didn't watch tonight's meeting on webcast or on Cablevision Channel 77? Here's a little bit of what we covered:

Dr. Fishbein presented the Opening of School Report, the key fact of which was how much the District's enrollment has grown since last year.

Enrollment Figures as of 9/10/10*
(9/09 figures are in parentheses)

Glen (36) 44 +8
Hawes (408) 409 +1
Orchard (323) 340 +17
Ridge (478) 496 +18
Somerville (533) 540 +7
Travell (410) 408 -2
Willard (456) 501 +45
TOTAL ELEMENTARY (2,644) 2738 +94

BFMS (687) 694 +7
GWMS (675) 693 +18
TOTAL MIDDLE SCHOOL (1,362) 1387 +25

RHS (1,666) 1692 +26

Total Enrollment (5672) 5817 +145

*These numbers can be expected to change a little still, as families who moved away are removed from the rolls.

Also at last night's meeting, Dr. Fishbein recognized Jane Blakely, who was the recipient of the 2010 Ashby Award for her contributions to Ridgewood High School over the past 26 years.

Michele Lenhard read a list of all donors to the Ridgewood Public Schools for the 2009-10 year. It's a long list (maybe I'll post it here later), but the total was $546,695. That's amazing! Thank you, Ridgewood!

The Board's new Student Representative, Max Z., reported on the opening of the high school. Bottom line: the new lockers are a big hit.

We had a great presentation from our architect, engineer, and construction managers on the status of various referendum and capital projects throughout the District. The detailed report, complete with photos, amounts spent and percent complete, will be posted on the website, hopefully tomorrow. I'll post a link when it's there.

Business Administrator Angelo DeSimone presented the reorganization of the IT (formerly MIS) Department and described some of the many projects that department has been busy with all summer. Right now, the big effort is in getting all students and families set-up in Skyward, the new student information system. There were some "glitches" with the initial mailing of instructional letters to parents: apparently there were old, out-of-date address still existing in the old SASI system, and they were mistakenly imported into Skyward. So about 250-300 letters were unable to be delivered, and those parents are having to correct their information (and prove residency, if their address has changed). It's definitely a lot of work for everyone (including parents), but they are working through it and the system is going to be a huge improvement once it's all in place.

Mr. DeSimone also spoke about many hardware projects completed or currently underway, including replacing 350+ computers and upgrading our wireless internet service. When it's complete, there will be full wireless service in every school -- no more hot spots or dead zones. And, I was glad to hear that students will be able to access the internet eventually, once they can install good firewalls that can't be hacked, with students trying to get in and change grades, etc. Full wireless access in our schools -- especially the high school -- will be a great step forward in terms of our students' connected learning.

Sheila Brogan gave a legislative update, and said the Obama administration has announced a third round of Race to the Top grants -- will the third time be the charm for New Jersey?

Finally, Regina Botsford reported that, while we are waiting for official scores, it appears that Hawes Special Ed students may not have met AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) in Language Arts, which would place Hawes on the "Early Warning List." I'll write more in the next few days about what this means, but it appears we will have plenty of company from some very high performing districts. (The last time Ridgewood had a school on the Early Warning List was RHS in 2005-06, again due to special ed students' scores in Language Arts). More to come on this...

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