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STRATEGIC PLANNING FOR 20/20 VISION

Dear Parents, Teachers, Administrators, and Community Members:

Yogi Berra said, “If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.” Adapting that for school district strategic planning, “If you don't know where you're going, you won’t know how to get there…or if and when you get there.” During the next eight months, our school community will engage in unbiased, scholarly work that will answer three very critical questions:  Where is our district now?  Where does the District want to be in three to five years? and How are we going to get there?  We will consider the evidence that abounds in the areas of demographics, school processes, student learning, and perceptions.  We will employ a solid process, which includes: 1) clarifying vision, mission, and values; 2) collecting data; 3) identifying critical issues; 4) choosing strategies; and 5) writing a plan.  A Strategic Planning Committee of twenty to twenty-five representative school community members will do this work and then present it in the form of recommendations to the Superintendent and the Board of Education for implementation in 2015-2020.  One might say that we are on a quest for 20/20 Vision. 

I look forward to facilitating a committee comprised of approximately two Board of Education members, six administrators, six teachers, six parents, two community officials, and two general community members. The Committee will gather for eight two-hour general meetings, several smaller task group breakout sessions in between general meetings, and one community forum where it will present its findings and take input from audience participants before making its final recommendations. 

Through careful consideration of the evidence, the Planning Committee will explore areas such as program and instruction, operations, facilities, personnel, and community relations.  It will look to develop not only long-term goals but also a beginning framework of annual goals (the practical work), strategies (the way of achieving the work), benchmarks (the look of the work), milestones (the timelines for the work) and responsibilities (the accountability for the work). 

If you are looking for an opportunity to serve and are willing to commit to the full extent of this study as defined here, then please take the time to complete the  attached application and return it to the Ridgefield Public Schools Central Office.  The deadline for submission is Friday, October 10, 2014 by 12:00 PM. The first committee meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 22 at 4:00 PM.  General monthly meetings will alternate between late afternoon and evening. 

For more information, contact Ms. Kara Doviak at (201) 945-7747 or  

Sincerely, 


Frank Romano, III, Ed.D. 

Superintendent of Schools 

REFERENDUM VOTE 2014-15

Members of the School Community,

Thank you for your commitment to our schools!  Our bond referendum passed by an overwhelming majority vote!

FINAL RESULTS:

YES: 358

NO: 164

 

BOND REFERENDUM PASSES

In order for children to learn, they need to feel safe, secure, and comfortable.  They need to come to healthy and stimulating environments.  They need to have the appropriate tools.  In these modern times, challenges continue to grow, and with our limited means, the needs become harder to accommodate.  During these past several years, Ridgefield taxpayers have been gracious enough to pass two smaller referendum projects to help the Ridgefield Schools repair our roofs, purchase new boilers, and build up-to-date science labs.  While those efforts have improved conditions, our schools are old and in serious need of repair in a variety of other areas.

Many classroom windows do not lock.  They are single-paned and extremely inefficient when it comes to energy use and cost.  Roughly 80 percent of our exterior windows and doors are original to the schools and remain in serious need of replacement.  Exterior entranceways require security upgrades.  Electrical systems no longer supply the service needed to power newer technologies.  Multipurpose rooms are environmentally challenging for many youngsters.  Schools do not have the appropriate internal features to secure them during evening events, and vandalism has resulted in expensive repair work.

Ridgefield Public Schools has a new opportunity to improve current conditions.  NJ State grant funding for regular operating districts (RODs) will bring a total of 1.2 million dollars now that taxpayers have passed a 3 million dollar referendum to improve our schools.  Several building projects were approved by the State and will require funding for 60 percent of the total cost, which comes to roughly $37.20 per year for fifteen years for the average household.  The State will cover 40 percent of the cost.  The end results will bring energy efficiency (savings), safety, security, and more optimal learning environments.

For $37.20 per average household per year for fifteen years, Ridgefield Public Schools will now benefit from window replacement, restroom exhaust systems, HVAC control replacement, electrical panels replacement, cooling system upgrades, and upgrades to communications and security.  The return on this relatively small investment will improve our schools, provide better learning environments and, in turn, increase property values. Thankfully, we can engage in this important opportunity for our schools and our town.

PRESS RELEASE: New Admin Team
RESTRUCTURING FOR TOMORROW AT RIDGEFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

During these past several months, the Ridgefield School District has undergone a significant transformation among its leadership team in an effort to better support school programs and personnel.  New Superintendent, Dr. Frank Romano proposed the following reorganization to the system in order to meet 1) the recent New Jersey State demands on schools and 2) the District’s local needs for improvement in the areas of Program and Instruction.  The Board of Education unanimously endorsed these efforts in order to support curriculum, instruction, and assessment and provide a well articulated and a more consistent student experience.  These changes require no additional funding, only some vision, careful planning, and reallocation of existing resources. 

DIRECTOR OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION
The plan began with the reinstatement of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction position to provide leadership, supervision, and coordination of the total educational program.  This critical resource has been absent for over a decade.  Filling the position is twenty-three-year veteran Janet Seabold.  Ms. Seabold has served the District in a variety of capacities, including special education teacher, Supervisor of the Learning Center Program, Director of Special Services, and Slocum Skewes Assistant Principal and then Principal.  Ms. Seabold has a track record of success, which most recently includes raising NJ ASK scores and taking Slocum Skewes out of the State’s School in Need of Improvement status, implementing the Reading and Writing Workshop Models, and expanding service to better serve struggling and advanced learners.  Ms. Seabold has been instrumental in the successful implementation of the new state-required principal and teacher evaluation systems, visionary in her role as chairperson of the District Evaluation Advisory Committee, and generous with her commitment to such efforts as Technology, Referendum, and Curriculum Committees.  It is only natural that this dedicated professional should want to progress to the next level of leadership and how lucky are all the Ridgefield Public Schools that she should serve them while overseeing all educational programs.  Congratulations, Ms. Seabold!
 
SUPERVISOR OF INSTRUCTION – GENERAL EDUCATION
Following the reinstatement of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction came the creation of the Supervisor of Instruction to assist with providing leadership, supervision, support, and coordination of the instructional program throughout the District.  Who better than our own Mr. Floro Villanueva to fill the role?  Mr. Villanueva begins his fourteenth year as an educator, serving Ridgefield Schools for the past nine years as a math teacher.  In August of 2013, he was promoted to Math Department Chair. In his time at Ridgefield, he has taught AP Statistics, Virtual High School: AP Statistics, Algebra, Geometry, PSAT Math, Math Skills, Personal Finance and Intermediate Algebra. In his seven years as AP Statistics teacher, his students achieved higher than the national average.  He served for several years as Head Coach of the Girls Volleyball Team, recognized as 2011 North NJ Coach of the Year. Mr. Villanueva has served on the RMHS School Improvement Panel and PARCC Committee. His work on the State’s new Student Growth Objective requirements has been monumental.  His experiences and skillsets make him a perfect addition to the leadership team and the right person for advancing our schools. Congratulations, Mr. Villanueva! 

SLOCUM SKEWES PRINCIPAL
New to the District and the Slocum Skewes School is Mr. John Coviello.  Subsequent to Ms. Seabold’s promotion and upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board appointed Mr. Coviello to the position of Principal of Slocum Skewes.  He comes to Ridgefield Public Schools with successful experience in the field of educational administration and the qualifications that spell successful growth into this new position. His academic studies, professional work experiences, certification work, and personal attributes will serve the faculty, staff, and students well. Mr. Coviello has Masters Degrees in the areas of educational leadership and special education. He is currently transitioning from an Assistant Principal position at Fort Lee High School, where he has served for the past four years.  Prior to that, he worked at New Milford Public Schools as Director of Theatrical Programming from 2007 through 2010, Social Studies Teacher from September 2008 through June of 2010, and Special Education Teacher from September of 2004 through August of 2008.  Congratulations and welcome, Mr. Coviello! 
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