Ridgefield Park High School is a six-year comprehensive community public high school that serves students in seventh through twelfth grade from Ridgefield Park, in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, operating as the lone secondary school of the Ridgefield Park Public Schools.
As of the 2017-18 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,232 students and 87.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student-teacher ratio of 14.1:1. There were 366 students (29.7% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 96 (7.8% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
Students from Little Ferry attend the district's high school as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Little Ferry Public Schools that has been in place since 1953. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools since 1930.
Awards, recognition and rankings
For the 2005-06 school year, Ridgefield Park High School was one of 22 schools statewide selected as Governor's School of Excellence Winners, an award given to schools that have demonstrated significant academic improvement over the previous two academic years.
A team of students was one of five finalists in the 2004 New Jersey Business Idea Competition Winners at Fairleigh Dickinson University representing the Northern Region, which covers Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Warren Counties. Three other RPHS teams were semi-finalists.
The school was the 209th-ranked public high school in New Jersey out of 339 schools statewide in New Jersey Monthly magazine's September 2014 cover story on the state's "Top Public High Schools", using a new ranking methodology. The school had been ranked 237th in the state of 328 schools in 2012, after being ranked 207th in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 180th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 161st in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which surveyed 316 schools across the state. Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 145th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of 25 positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (81.3%) and language arts literacy (96.7%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
The Ridgefield Park High School Scarlets compete in the Big North Conference, following a reorganization of sports leagues in Northern New Jersey by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJISAA). With 738 students in grades 10-12, the school was classified by the NJSIAA for the 2015-16 school year as North II, Group II for most athletic competition purposes, which included schools with an enrollment of 508 to 770 students in that grade range. Prior to the 2010 realignment, the school had competed in the Bergen County Scholastic League (BCSL) American Conference, which included private and public high schools located in Bergen County and Hudson County.
The boys' basketball team won the Group III state championship in 1924 (defeating Glen Ridge High School in the tournament final), 1926 (vs. Princeton High School), 1927 (vs. Roselle Park High School), 1934 (vs. Woodbury High School), 1944 (vs. Rahway High School), and won the Group II title in 1960 (vs. Riverside High School).
The baseball team won the Group III state championship in 1974 (defeating Franklin High School in the final game of the tournament) and 1977 (vs. Rancocas Valley Regional High School).
The football team won the NJSIAA North I Group III state sectional championships in both 1975 and 1976, and won the North I Group II state titles in 1995 and 1996.
The cross country team won both the Big North Division Championship and the County Group C Championship in the 2011 fall cross country season. The team hadn't won a division championship since 1985 and had never won a county championship title. The team finished off their 2011 season with an undefeated dual meet record and several championship titles, including the Group 1-2 Maroon Invitational, the program's first invitational championship.
In 1916, Ridgefield Park High School was the subject of a groundbreaking ruling by the New Jersey Commissioner of Education, who ruled that teachers could remove their jackets while in class. A principal and teacher at the high school had been removed from his duties, based on charges against him that included 'conduct unbecoming a teacher' related to the removal of his coat while teaching one day. The charges were dismissed and the teacher was reinstated.
In March 2006, alumnus Gregory Olsen (RPHS '62), an entrepreneur who paid $20 million to become the world's third paying space tourist visited his alma mater to share his experiences in space.
13 of the 17 students featured in the 1978 documentary film Scared Straight! were from Ridgefield Park High School. Over 300 students, nearly a quarter of the school's enrollment, had voluntarily participated in the program at Rahway State Prison (now formally known as East Jersey State Prison), in which the students were given a hard look at the "physical and psychological brutality of prison life." The program was credited with contributing to a sharp drop in teen-aged crime in Ridgefield Park from 1976 to 1978.
Ridgefield Park High School was featured on TruTV's The Principal's Office in 2009.
The school's principal is Eric Koenig. His core administrative team includes the assistant principal, director of athletics and two deans of students.
- Alex Gaston (1893-1979), catcher in Major League Baseball who played for the New York Giants and Boston Red Sox
- Jimmy Gnecco (born 1973), singer/songwriter of the band Ours.
- Leonard W. Hatton Jr. (1956-2001, class of 1975), special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center when he entered one of the towers to help evacuate the occupants and stayed when the towers collapsed.
- John Huchra (1948-2010, cass of 1966), astronomer and professor, who was the Vice Provost for Research Policy at Harvard University and a Professor of Astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
- Mike Isabella, chef and reality TV Star on Bravo's Top Chef.
- Louis F. Kosco (born 1932, class of 1950), politician who served in both the New Jersey General Assembly and the New Jersey Senate.
- Robert A. Lewis (1918-1983), co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.
- Steve Lonegan (born 1956), former mayor of Bogota, New Jersey from 1995-2007.
- Johnny Messner (1909-1986; class of 1928), bandleader, composer, saxophonist, and vocalist during the big band/swing heyday.
- Pete Michels (class of 1983), animation director who is the supervising director of Future-Worm! on Disney XD.
- Ozzie Nelson (1906-1975), band leader and TV star.
- Gregory Olsen (born 1945), entrepreneur and scientist who in October 2005 became the third private citizen to make a paid trip into space with Space Adventures, Ltd.
- Hatch Rosdahl (1941-2004), professional football player.
- Daniel Ruch (born 1983), assistant soccer coach with Virginia Wesleyan who played professionally for two years for the Virginia Beach Mariners and the Wilmington Hammerheads.
- Hal Turner (born 1962), conservative talk radio host.
- Buddy Valastro (born 1977), owner of Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey and star of the TLC show Cake Boss.
- George Warrington (1952-2007, class of 1970), transportation official, who served NJ Transit for 28 years, latterly in the post of executive director.
- ^ a b c d e School data for Ridgefield Park Jr Sr High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed November 1, 2019.
- ^ a b Meet Our Staff, Ridgefield Park Junior / Senior High School. Accessed November 25, 2019.
- ^ a b c Ridgefield Park High School, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 25, 2015.
- ^ James, George. "School Districts' Battle On Tuition Goes to Court", The New York Times, December 16, 1989. Accessed October 17, 2017. "School officials in the borough, Little Ferry, which sends 202 students to the 546-student high school, say a partial audit several years ago raised suspicions that Ridgefield Park has overcharged them by hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years.... Little Ferry, a borough of 1.5 square miles and 9,900 people, has sent its high school students to this neighboring 1.92-square mile village of 12,000 people, since 1953."
- ^ Miraglia, Mary K. "Little Ferry Schools Not Responsible For $1.5M Gap In Ridgefield Park", Ridgefield Park-Hasbrouck Heights Daily Voice, January 13, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2017. "Ridgefield Park Superintendent Eric Koenig reached out to Little Ferry Superintendent Frank Scarafile after his board meeting Jan. 7 to go over plans for filling the budget shortfall. Koenig assured him Ridgefield Park won't be trying to make any changes to the sending - receiving contract that would impose new tuition in the current year, according to a letter Scarafile sent to his board members."
- ^ About Our District, Little Ferry Public Schools. Accessed October 17, 2017. "Little Ferry's 9-12 students attend Ridgefield Park High School in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey."
- ^ Ridgefield Park Junior / Senior High School, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Secondary Schools, backed up by the Internet Archive as of April 14, 2012. Accessed June 5, 2015.
- ^ 22 Governor's Schools of Excellence Winners Recognized, New Jersey Department of Education, November 22, 2005. Accessed July 21, 2016.
- ^ Awards Ceremony for the 2004 - New Jersey Business Idea Competition, Fairleigh Dickinson University. Accessed November 27, 2006.
- ^ Staff. "Top Schools Alphabetical List 2014", New Jersey Monthly, September 2, 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.
- ^ Staff. "The Top New Jersey High Schools: Alphabetical", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2012. Accessed August 28, 2012.
- ^ Staff. "2010 Top High Schools", New Jersey Monthly, August 16, 2010. Accessed March 18, 2011.
- ^ "Top New Jersey High Schools 2008: By Rank", New Jersey Monthly, September 2008, posted August 7, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2008.
- ^ New Jersey High School Rankings: 11th Grade HSPA Language Arts Literacy & HSPA Math 2010-2011, Schooldigger.com. Accessed March 5, 2012.
- ^ League & Conference Affiliations 2016-2017, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 10, 2017.
- ^ General Public School Classifications 2015-2016, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, as of December 15, 2015. Accessed December 12, 2016.
- ^ New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association League Memberships - 2009-2010, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 24, 2011. Accessed November 23, 2014.
- ^ School Info, Bergen County Scholastic League American Division, backed up by the Internet Archive as of March 4, 2009. Accessed August 29, 2011.
- ^ Public Past State Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 22, 2017.
- ^ History of the NJSIAA Baseball Championships, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed January 22, 2017.
- ^ Goldberg, Jeff. NJSIAA Football Playoff Champions, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Accessed November 25, 2015.
- ^ Schwartz, Paul. "Ridgefield Park captures school's first boys cross-country invitational title", The Record (Bergen County), October 1, 2011. Accessed August 28, 2012. "Ridgefield Park's boys have won one major championship in the past 50 years of cross-country, the 1981 BCSL American championship. Friday the Scarlets won their first ever invitational title by routing the field at the Group 1-2 Maroon Invitational at Garret Mountain."
- ^ Staff. "SHIRT SLEEVES WIN.; Commissioner Kendall Rules Teacher May Take Off Coat.", The New York Times, July 9, 1916, p. 16. Accessed March 18, 2011
- ^ a b George, Jason. "From a C Student to a Celestial Traveler", The New York Times, May 16, 2004. Accessed December 24, 2011. "In 1962, with an F in trigonometry and a C average at Ridgefield Park High School in New Jersey, Gregory Olsen seemed destined for the final frontier of a steady job, evenings in front of the television and, if lucky, vacations on the Jersey Shore."
- ^ Janley, Robert. "'Scared Straight!' Film a Part of Life for Many Students in One Town; Officials Are Pleased Arrest Rate Drops Only Volunteers Go Father Fears Future Effect", The New York Times, May 6, 1979, p. 37. Accessed March 18, 2011.
- ^ Decicco, Robin. "Ridgefield Park students to test their cooking skills.", Ridgefield Park Patriot, January 22, 2010. Accessed November 25, 2015. "The Food Network came to the high school because of a connection high school Principal Eric Koenig has with a freelance producer. The same freelance producer who produced TruTv's The Principal's Office, in which Koenig appeared on last year, said he was looking to feature football players on a cooking show."
- ^ Nowlin, Bill. Alex Gaston, Society for American Baseball Research. Accessed November 29, 2017. "The family lived most of the time in New Jersey, though Alex said he attended elementary school in New York City. His high school was Ridgefield Park in New Jersey, the community where Milt was born."
- ^ Calderone, Joe; and Zambito, Thomas. "Farewell To FBI Bomb Expert And Father of 4", New York Daily News, October 1, 2001. Accessed November 15, 2017. "Son of a cop, Hatton starred as halfback on the Ridgefield Park football team, married his high school sweetheart and took the only job he'd ever wanted, as an agent with the FBI. His work took him to New Orleans for years, but, after being assigned to the Joint Bank Robbery Task Force in New York, he returned to Ridgefield Park.... On Saturday, as strains of an Elton John song filtered through the church, Hatton's Ridgefield Park class, members of the Class of '75, wiped away tears."
- ^ Dr. John P. Huchra, Class of 1966, Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School Alumni Foundation. Accessed November 15, 2017. "Dr. Huchra, after receiving his diploma at Ridgefield Park High School went on to receive his B.S. degree in Physics at M.I.T. in 1970, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from Cal Tech in 1976."
- ^ Ung, Elisa. "Little Ferry native Mike Isabella takes on the 'Top Chef' finale", The Record (Bergen County), March 16, 2011. Accessed March 18, 2011. "Isabella, 36, spent most of his childhood in Little Ferry and later graduated from Ridgefield Park High School and the New York Restaurant School (now known as the Art Institute of New York City)."
- ^ Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey, 2000, p. 241. Fitzgerald's, 2000. ISBN 9781577410959 Accessed November 15, 2017. "Louis F. Kosco, Rep., Paramus - Assemblyman Kosco was born in Hackensack on June 5, 1932. He attended Ridgefield Park High School, Lincoln Technical Institute, and New York Institute of Auto Mechanics."
- ^ Louis Kosco Class of 1950, Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School Alumni Foundation. Accessed November 15, 2017. "Senator Louis Kosco attended Lincoln School and was a member of the class of 1950 at Ridgefield Park High School."
- ^ Fosdick, George. History of Ridgefield Park High School, Ridgefield Park Jr. / Sr. High School Alumni Association. Accessed February 12, 2008. "Bud Lewis '37 was the co-pilot of the Enola Gay Aircraft which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, leading to the end of World War II, a war in which over 1,000 RPHS graduates served. Many years later, when questioned about his role in WWII, Lewis commented, 'I would rather be remembered for being a member of RPHS Championship Football Team than for being the co-pilot of that plane.'"
- ^ "Candidates for 9th Congressional District to Appear at Forum", Fairleigh Dickinson University press release. Accessed February 12, 2008.
- ^ Wall of Achievement Members, Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School Alumni Foundation. Accessed November 15, 2017. "Johnny Messner '28"
- ^ "Johnny Messner Class of 1928", Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School Alumni Foundation. Accessed November 15, 2017.
- ^ Peter Michels Class of 1983, Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School Alumni Foundation. Accessed November 15, 2017. "Peter Michels graduated from Ridgefield Park High School in 1983."
- ^ History, Ridgefield Park High School. Accessed December 7, 2006.
- ^ Gavin, John A. "Harrison 'Hatch' Rosdahl, ex-pro football player, at 62", The Record (Bergen County), June 18, 2004. Accessed July 31, 2014. "RIDGEFIELD PARK - Harrison 'Hatch' Rosdahl, a professional football player for seven years, died from injuries suffered in a fall at his home Tuesday.... He graduated in 1959 from Ridgefield Park Junior-Senior High School, where he starred in football and track."
- ^ Dan Ruch, Old Dominion Monarchs soccer, backed up by the Internet Archive as of August 7, 2011. Accessed November 15, 2017. "Hometown: Ridgefield Park, NJ; High School: Ridgefield Park"
- ^ Harold "Hal" Turner, Turner2000.org, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 31, 2000. Accessed October 17, 2017. "At age 4, Hal's family moved from Union City to Ridgefield Park, in Bergen County. He attended Roosevelt School on Teaneck Road in Grades K - 8. Hal graduated from Ridgefield Park High School in 1980."
- ^ Kerwick, Mike. "Behind the scenes with Cake Boss Buddy Valastro", The Record (Bergen County), October 11, 2010. Accessed March 18, 2011. "Case in point: The day Valastro turned 17, he learned his father was dying of cancer. A few weeks later, his father was dead. Valastro dropped out of Ridgefield Park High School to take over the bakery."
- ^ George D. Warrington Class of 1970, https://sites.google.com/site/ridgefieldparkalumni/. Accessed November 15, 2017.