New Science Labs, Staff Members Coming to River Dell
The district will also celebrate the Field House's Grand Opening this fall and welcome a new boys soccer coach
The new school year is just around the corner for students at the River Dell Regional district and each grade level will be greeted by a variety of new upgrades and changes.
Similar to many other districts, River Dell will begin transitioning from the New Jersey core curriculum standards to the national common core standards.
The national standards primary goal is to make sure that all students receive the best possible education rather than the previous state standards which differed from one state to another. So far, only the new content requirements for K–12 in English language arts and mathematics have been released, although new standards for science and social studies are in the works.
Until the new science standards are complete, River Dell High School students will take part in a new science curriculum restructuring - freshman will now begin with learning physics instead of biology which will become their sophomore-level course. Chemistry would become the junior-class level instruction.
Entitled "Physics First", the restructured learning program relies on pre-algebra and algebra I math skills by allowing students to study a broad spectrum of introductory physics canon. Advanced physics courses would be offered towards their junior or senior years.
The high school is also welcoming four full-time and two part-time staff members following the 2012-13 school budget showed a drop-off in debt service and additional school aid. New full-time staff members will be placed in the mathematics, science, social studies and special education departments; while the part-time teachers will fill openings in the English and business courses.
The middle school will be adding three full-time teachers as well with faculty members going to the English, mathematics and special education departments.
Funding from the 2011-12 budget along with low projected renovations costs have allowed the district to upgrade two science rooms and a special education classroom. The science rooms have undergone a complete renovation with new equipment and the special education room (formerly utilized by the Growing Garden Nursery School) will now be set aside for a life-skills program.
It will also be a new season for the Golden Hawks as the gridiron squad has been shifted into North 1 Group 3 from North 1 Group 2 following the NJSIAA Executive Committee's decision in May to create a Group V.
River Dell's schedule will now pit them against familiar foes such as Mahwah, Pascack Valley and post-season rival West Essex along with new competitors who will seek a state title including Bergenfield, Garfield, High Point, Indian Hills, Jefferson, Lakeland, Morris Hills, Parsippany, Passaic Valley, Ramapo, Sparta and Tenafly.
The Friends of River Dell (FORD) six-year project to finish the Field House has come to an end and it will be dedicated on Sept. 28, prior to the Golden Hawks taking the field in the annual Bird Bowl against Westwood Regional.
Construction for the 2000-square-foot single story building began in September 2009 and features a refreshment stand for game patrons during fall and spring sports, a ticket booth, utilities and storage. The storage area will be reserved for athletic equipment for the Golden Hawk teams.
The project was originally offered twice to voters as a referendum. The first vote, in the mid-1990s, resulted in a tie. The second time, in 2003, voters rejected the $250,000 project. Since then, the group has held fund-raising events, such as the annual golf outing and Athletic Hall of Fame dinner, to fund the project. In 2008, volunteers laid down a sewer line and flooring for the project.
The varsity boys' soccer program said farewell to former coach Kevin Sabella last year and will now welcome first-year head coach John Graham to the pitch. Sabella, who teaches at Ramsey High School and coaches the Mahwah ice hockey team, left the Golden Hawks with a 100-71-13 record and led the team to the the North 1 Group 2 State Sectional Championship during the 2008-09 school year.
Graham comes to River Dell from the Jersey City School District where he previously coached soccer. He is a faculty member at Middle School 7 in Jersey City.