West Ridge Elementary School

               “Imagine, Believe, Achieve”

    Welcome to West Ridge Elementary School!  We believe that success is for everyone.  An important goal of our school is to engage and support West Ridge students to be caring, responsible, and productive individuals within our school and the larger world community.  Each month our School Climate Team selects a different character education word.  An assembly is held focused on learning about that quality and award winners are picked, based upon exhibiting that quality during each month.  We support our students to excel academically and to be self-directed, life-long learners fully prepared to thrive in the world of today and the world they will meet in the future.  We strongly believe in the spirit of community among the members of our school.  Parents are integral partners with us as we enable each child to achieve his or her individual potential.  Our 1-1 Laptop program in grades 3-6 is instrumental in students learning responsibility, independence ,and the technological skills to be successful moving forward.    

    West Ridge Elementary School is a warm, safe, happy, and active school.  Seeing smiling children throughout our building is a clear indication of what is important to us.  We support our students to live full, happy lives and we provide them every opportunity to achieve academic excellence.  Every September young eager children enter our doors as pre-school and kindergarten youngsters, and in June, we graduate many successful young adults from sixth grade.  We cherish the seven or eight years we have with our students, as we work together to provide them an enjoyable, meaningful environment in which to grow and learn creatively.  At West Ridge, we believe “Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.”        - C. Everett Koop, M.D.

     “We believe that all students are capable learners. Therefore, we will provide a rich learning environment, in which all students will reach their fullest potential.”

    Facts and Figures:

    • School Day – 8:35 AM to 3:20 PM (dismissal times for Pk and K will vary)
    • Address: 18 South First Street, Park Ridge, NJ 07656
    • Phone number: 201-573-6000 ext. 3000 Fax number: 201-573-8658
    • Principal – Chris Kirkby  (chriskirkby@parkridge.k12.nj.us)
    • Secretary to the Principal – Erin McCarthy
    • Office Secretary – Toni Sansone 
    • Web site: ParkRidgeSchools.Org
    • Approximately 350 students
    • Class sizes - 15 to 22 (Pre-K will vary)
    • Grade Levels: Pre-K through Grade six
    • 2 Preschool classes and 2 Full-Day Kindergarten classes
    • Students arrive at school by car or they walk to school
    • After school Homework Club is offered 2 times each week for those who qualify
    • Beginner Band and Advanced Band perform 2 concerts per year and rehearse in mornings before school 
    • Staff numbers: 18 Classroom Teachers, 19 Support Teachers, 1 school nurse, 3 CST members,  2 Secretaries.
    • Staff includes:
      2 Social Workers, 1 LD/TC, 1 Physical Education Teacher, 
      1 School Nurse, 2 Speech Teachers, 3 Basic Skills Teachers, 1 Counselor, 1 Vocal Music Teacher, 1 Art Teacher, 1 Instrumental Music Teacher, 1 English as Second Language Teacher, 1 Spanish Teacher, 1 French Teacher, 1 Technology Teacher, 4.5 Special Education Teachers, 1 Librarian/Media Specialist.  Many special area teachers are shared with East Brook School.  

     We invite all parents to follow @WestRidgeSchool on twitter to see pictures and details about school events inside and outside of the classroom!  

    Academic Focus
    West Ridge Elementary School’s academic program follows Park Ridge Public School District’s approved curriculum.    The West Ridge School Report Card is a standards based report card.  Parents are able to access their child’s report card online through Power School three times each year.  Our goals in our school Improvement efforts are to continue to improve student achievement for all West Ridge students and to involve all staff members in collaborative work to strengthen our academic program.  Parents, teachers, and staff members work collaboratively through the year on strategies and projects that enable us to meet our goal of providing our students a program of Academic Excellence.  Our Academic Program focuses on the individual needs of students, keeping in mind their development levels, learning styles, academic needs and social and emotional components.

    Immersion in literature, inquiry-based learning, constructivist teaching, STEAM based Science lessons, integrated instruction, problem-solving, and providing opportunities for real life experiences are foundations of our academic program.  We teach our students to believe in themselves and how to develop a “Growth Mindset”.  Language Arts instruction at all grade levels focuses on a Balanced Literacy Approach to learning.  Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops are the core of a Balanced Literacy Program.  It includes differentiated instruction, explicit lessons, teacher modeling, strategy groups, individual reading, shared reading and many writing experiences for all children.  All teachers are using the Next Generation Science Standards, which reveals the interconnected nature of science as it is practiced and experienced in the real world. Classroom instruction at West Ridge reflects the best of current educational research and traditional methodologies blended into a rich, comprehensive learning environment. 

    Students learn to take ownership for their own learning by believing in themselves and setting challenging goals.  West Ridge students take part in Student-Led and Student-Involved Conferences with their parents.  Teachers are present to highlight any aspects of the child’s growth but it is clear that parents are learning a lot about what goes on academically at school from their child.  School becomes much more meaningful for everyone involved and students shine!  While these conferences are held formally two times a year, conferences, formal and informal are available whenever necessary throughout the year.  

    We are proud of our Makerspace Media Center.  Here, our students will get great opportunities to learn about STEAM education and work together in various settings.  This great space for technology, Makerspace activities, and group activities is a tremendous addition to our building.  It is a great space for students to learn and grow.  


    The ever expanding and changing technologies are incorporated into existing curricula and utilized daily to enhance student achievement.  Robotics, Coding, Electronic Snap Circuits, Little Bits, Ozobots, Video Conferencing, and a sixth grade news program provide many meaningful experiences for our students.  STEAM and Makerspace activities have become a critical part of teaching engineering at all grade levels.  These lessons integrate with the technology that students use every day.  All teachers utilize MacBook Air laptop computers for instructional purposes.  A technology curriculum is offered to students beginning in kindergarten.  All content areas are integrated through the use of numerous laptops, Smartboards and specialized software.  A 1:1 MacBook Air laptop program is in place for all of our third through sixth grade students, and students in grades 3-6 are expected to complete work and assignments at home as well.  Students in the younger grades have easy access to laptops both in technology classes and, on occasion, in their classroom.    We are proud that West Ridge is a Google School.  Teachers are always learning more and more methods to use Google and other technology resources as a learning tool.  Recent virtual education has forced us to incorporate more use of Google programs such as Meet, Slides, and Classroom.  

    Student Health and Wellness

    Student Health and Wellness is an important part of our school day.  Students attend physical education class regularly and also have recess for 25 minutes each day.  The West Ridge School Climate Team and the School Nurse promote regular programs to support a healthy lifestyle.  The PACK Nutrition Program, the Walk-A-thon, and Jump Rope for Heart are yearly programs.  Yoga is part of our kindergarten and first grade programs.  Brain Breaks are a regular part of our school day to promote a calm and positive school environment for all students.  Nutrition is taught at all grade levels.  All food that is brought to school for birthdays and parties must be healthy.   A new full-time health teacher for grades K-6 will help lead the initiatives stated above, as well as meet basic curriculum needs.  The West Ridge PTO also helps sponsor healthy initiatives, including but not limited to the Reading Challenge, Spring Health Fair, and Field Day.  

    In the last four years, WR has more than doubled its counseling support available for students.  Teachers and counselors are on the lookout for students who may be struggling in school or dealing with something out of school that affects their ability to learn in school.  

    Student Life

    Students have many opportunities within their classrooms and throughout the school, for a diverse and exciting school life.  Activities include Band, Chorus, Reading, and Safety Patrol.  The staff provides many other opportunities for students to be creative in their learning through special projects.  STEAM and Makerspace have become important components of our curriculum.  Students attend field trips at all grade levels that are closely connected to the curriculum.  Some of the trips students take are to West Point, Liberty Science Center, Sterling Mineral Mine, Park Ridge Historical Walk. Farm visits, plays at different venues and many more.  West Ridge is committed to connecting students at all grade levels to their community through service projects such as our food and clothing drives, holiday toy drives, Josephine’s Garden, American Heart Association, and supporting the Tri-Boro Ambulance Corps.   At West Ridge, the students, in conjunction with teachers, have developed their own belief system.  These beliefs include students putting in our best effort; school is a place to learn and grow; We all strive to be good role models; We know the importance of keeping others and ourselves safe.  To provide focus on our belief system we promote positive behavior and attitudes of students through our Character Education Program.  Monthly Character Education Pep Rallies teach the monthly character trait, highlight the current service project and bring added spirit to our school community.  We continually look for new ways to extend the academic program, thereby providing many creative, engaging, real life experiences, which make learning meaningful for our students.  The growth of the Social Emotional part of elementary school is happening rapidly and we ensure that West Ridge students are provided with avenues to progress with it.  

    Parent Connections

    Parents are highly involved in all aspects of West Ridge Elementary School.  The West Ridge PTO provides an unparalleled level of support to teachers, which includes education materials, assemblies, and recess equipment.  Parental volunteer efforts enable parents to be highly visible and involved at West Ridge during class activities, field trips, school functions and other PTO activities.  The West Ridge PTO is instrumental to this support network providing many educational materials, artistic assemblies, authors in residence, field trips, book fairs, bingo nights, ice cream socials, holiday events, field days, walk-a-thons, and many other opportunities for students through their organizational and fundraising efforts.  Parents also organize and serve hot school lunches on all five days of the week, including pizza and ice cream Days.  The PTO organization is integral to connecting parents and school partners.  We believe that communication with parents and joining with them as learning partners is key to student success.  PTO meetings are well attended by parents and teachers.  The spirit of volunteerism is evidenced at each function sponsored by this group, which provides enrichment, enhancement, and excitement for students and faculty.


    West Ridge School Song
    “All Cheer for West Ridge School.
    We have integrity and follow all the rules.
    We’re making friends each day.
    We let kindness guide our way.
    We’re considerate in everything we do.”
    “The teachers and staff make learning fun.
    We are responsible and get our schoolwork done.
    It’s a safe place to be.
    We’re one big family.
    Three cheers for West Ridge.
    We love our West Ridge,
    All hail for West Ridge School."
                                      -Written by Joanne Toole


    “West Ridge is a school of independent readers, writers, thinkers, performers, musicians, artists, scientists, mathematicians, and health lovers.”