Ridge Street School is excellent and we are thrilled to be a part of a district that offers so much. The extra-curricular programs the PTA make available and coordination with town programs is plentiful and amazing. In addition, afterschool care is available on site so children with working parents can remain in the school until pick up. The principal is very engaged with the students and has championed an enviornment supportive of being a good citizen, team work, and respect for fellow students. This year the Superintendent has spent much effort in evaluating school safety and procedures and has made some positive changes to security protocols to better protect the children and staff. Despite some concerns I have read expressed in previous reviews, in my opinion, full time Kindergarten has worked well for us and many parents we know, especially those who come from 2 career households. Many children who enter Kindergarten are already accustomed to full time care and had no issue around transition as it pertains to the length of day in the classroom.
I have two children in the school. We moved from another area where the schools were lacking simply because of Blind Brook's reputation. While the community can feel too small at times, the schools do not disappoint. The standards are exceptional and resources abundant. The PTA does an amazing job, and the kids excel. Really has a private school feel to it. Wonderful opportunities fro every child.
The district is one of the smaller ones in the county but they manage to offer so much to students and families. Parent involvement is great with an active PTA and the district (from what I see) welcomes input. The decision makers are thoughtful about what works and what doesn't. The school has nice traditions (experienced my first grader's 'Snow Ball Dance'). Teacher retention is great and they all show they care about the students and school. The only negative is the elementary school needs to find a long-term principal (they had 3 or more in the last 10 years).
While the kindergarten day is a bit long for some children, Mr. Fittinghoff, the principal, and Ms. Tayor, the assistant principal, initiated steps to ensure a smooth transition for the children. These are as follows: a six-week introductory schedule during which kids had three full days and two half days, a kindergarten-only bus for the first day of school and the afternoon trip during this period, and half days for the first few days of school involving either private diagnostic meetings or 'meet and greet's within groups of roughly 11 children .
My child is in 1st grade here. We'd like to be out by 3rd grade, when all the standardized testing starts. That's when the school switches from educating the children to focussing on test prep. The superintendent is clearly pursuing test scores for their own sake, rather than viewing them as the natural by-product of a good education. This is also a district that, starting this year, has the kindergarteners in school from 8:30-3:10 5 days a week, over the strenuous objections of the kindergarten teachers and most parents, all of whom feel that it's far too long a day for these kids.
Most of the teachers are great and dedicated. The new principal and assistant principal are very energetic, approachable and focused on the kids. The physical facilities are in serious need of updating and/or repair.
I went to RSS from 1965 - 1971 and still think it's the best school around. I raised my daughter in Boca Raton Florida and compared to the schools here (which are supposed to be pretty good in Boca) RSS was like an upper-echelon private school. The work I did in 6th grade is harder than my daughter's 12th grade work - I grew up feeling average, but now that I'm a 48 year old, I believe my elementary and jr. high education prepared me above and beyond what most people get out of school. I wish I still lived in Rye Brook so my daughter could have gone to RSS! Great memories when Mr. P. was ass't vice principal and gave us the Ponterio Pinch - Susan Miller