I attended Orchard School when Dr. Abate was principal. He actually tutored me in math before the school day would start. I remember him being patient, kind, and very funny. Would always make us laugh! My daughter is now a 2nd grader at Orchard and we are very happy there. Although Dr. Abate has retired, the school is now run by Mrs. Loonam, who is just as amazing and wonderful as her predecessor. Kudos to them both!
If anyone has personal information to share about your time with Dr. Abate, Please let me know. I am his son and would love to share your stories and experiences with him. "BrianonFB" jut like that. There are even pictures of him.
Wonderful, small community school with a big heart. Perfect combination of academic and social education. Very innovative, individualized curriculum and a very cohesive staff which fosters a tremendous sense of community amongst the children.
My three children attended Orchard; one is finishing up her 5th grade year. Orchard truly has high academic standards. The exception is the TERC program in math. TERC a/k/a Investigations is one of the worst reformed math programs in existence today. Our asst superintendent of curriculum favors it and it has really lowered the standards for Orchard children in math. With a new principal, TERC has been side lined. Hopefully not too much damage was done.
The constructivist math program, TERC, that was implemented in the school several years ago has brought the level of education down significantly. It is said what has happened to this school over the last several years, as well as many of the schools in Ridgewood.
I went to Orchard ten years ago and it is a warm and wonderful school. Under the leadership of Dr. Abate, it was also an place on the cutting edge of modern educational techniques. Far and away the most diverse and interesting elementary school in Ridgewood-- Somerville is also a great place for kids.