Barbara Sapienza Biography & Facts
Pascack Valley High School (PVHS) is a four-year comprehensive regional public high school located in Hillsdale in Bergen County, New Jersey, United States, serving students in ninth through twelfth grades as one of two secondary schools in the Pascack Valley Regional High School District. Pascack Valley High School serves the residents of both Hillsdale and neighboring River Vale, while its counterpart Pascack Hills High School serves the communities of Woodcliff Lake and Montvale. As part of its 1:1 eLearning Initiative, the school has provided a laptop to every student, teacher, and administrator for educational use.
As of the 2018–19 school year, the school had an enrollment of 1,209 students and 92.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.1:1. There were 25 students (2.1% of enrollment) eligible for free lunch and 6 (0.5% of students) eligible for reduced-cost lunch.
Awards, recognition and rankings
The school was the 39th-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 73rd of 328 schools in the state in 2012, after being ranked 23rd in 2010 out of 322 schools listed. The magazine ranked the school 25th in 2008 out of 316 schools. The school was ranked 23rd in the magazine's September 2006 issue, which included 316 schools across the state. Schooldigger.com ranked the school tied for 49th out of 381 public high schools statewide in its 2011 rankings (a decrease of four positions from the 2010 ranking) which were based on the combined percentage of students classified as proficient or above proficient on the mathematics (91.8%) and language arts literacy (98.0%) components of the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). In 2013, Pascack Valley earned a place on the AP District Honor Roll along with Pascack Hills and 475 schools across the US and Canada.
The school opened in September 1955. Prior to that, students from Hillsdale, Montvale and Woodcliff Lake had attended Park Ridge High School as part of sending/receiving relationships.
School principal Dr. Joseph Poli died suddenly in 1989. Among the many memorials to Dr. Poli was the renaming of the annual holiday girls' basketball tournament in his memory. The Joe Poli Tournament attracts top teams from across the region.
In 1997, in an act of support for the proposed school budget which was up for voter approval, up to 700 students (much of the student body) walked out of the school. In the previous three years, the budget had been voted down, and if it had gone down again, the school would have had to dismiss about a third of its teachers, including all who were under age 40. In addition to other local activist activities, such as handing out fliers encouraging people to vote up the budget, students staged a walkout which the local media were called to attend. Originally, the principal had planned to let students walk only to the back following an all-student meeting, but students took matters into their own hands when the leaders of the group led the walkout to the front. In the end, the budget passed.
2008 child pornography scandal
In 2008, four freshman students were caught with nude pictures of underage girls. These pictures were shown to have been transmitted through school laptops.
2008 death of principal
On January 29, 2008, the school district announced that following surgery on her knee, then-principal Dr. Barbara Sapienza had become comatose and that her recovery was uncertain. Assistant principal Thomas DeMaio took over as acting principal, and remained in that position following Dr. Sapienza's death on March 5, 2008. DeMaio was subsequently appointed principal in his own right.
2015 white supremacy scandal
On May 10, 2015 an open letter from the school's Human Rights League was published on the website of the school's newspaper, The Smoke Signal. The letter referenced "incidents of racism" at the school, including a swastika being drawn on a hallway wall and white supremacy hand signs being flashed at sporting events. Media in northern New Jersey and nearby New York City picked up on the report, and the Anti-Defamation League visited with the school superintendent on Thursday, May 21. School officials revealed in media reports that five students were suspended, although the school would not make it clear what, if any, involvement these students had had in the incidents. To protest against white supremacy and to promote racial equality, school students put up a banner in the hallway, to be signed by students who wanted racial tolerance and diversity.
2018 child pornography scandal
In January 2018, several freshman were found with nude pictures of their fellow students on their cellphones, and were found to be distributing and showing these photos to their classmates.
After the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February 2018, students held a 17-minute walkout (in honor of the 17 victims of the shooting) on the morning of March 14, 2018. Police were present to make sure the walkout was safe. No students were reprimanded for any actions.
During a Board of Education meeting on November 5, 2018, Gundersen addressed two Swastikas previously found on September 27 and October 18, 2018, both being located in separate boys' bathrooms. After finding the second Swastika in October in the second floor boys' bathroom, it was closed up, with Principal DeMaio stating it was closed due damage that needed to be repaired.On November 6, 2018, it was announced that three additional Swastikas were found, leaving the locations unspecified. Plaques behind a baseball dugout were later found with, "homophobic slurs, racial slurs, and drug references, among other vulgar language" etched into them. DeMaio had previously asked for all the plaques to be removed, with only one being removed. After finding the hateful speech, all plaques were removed from the dugout.On November 21, 2018, the students of Pascack Valley formed the shape of a heart on the football field and gave speeches, part of the "Movement of Unity" in order to, "foster unity throughout the PV community." Almost a month after the Swastikas were addressed, more Swastikas and racial slurs were found in Pascack Hills High School, with administrators addressing students on the matter. On December 4, 2018, another Swastika was found in a bathroom at George G. White Middle School, part of the Hillsdale Public Schools district. It was later announced that a minor had been charged involving the incident.
1:1 eLearning initiative
In the fall of 2000, providing a laptop to every student and teacher for educational purposes was proposed. A wireless network environment for the school was part of a referendum project. As the concept evolved, school representatives visited dist.... Discover the Barbara Sapienza popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Barbara Sapienza books.