Ridgewood Public Schools Reflect on Share911

 Paul Semendinger, Ed.D.

Paul Semendinger, Ed.D.

At the time that Dr. Paul Semendinger was introduced to Share911, the app had only been used in one or two districts. But from the beginning, he thought it was a great idea. As Principal of Hawes Elementary School in Ridgewood, “school safety is taken very seriously,” says Dr. Semendinger. And while it took some time to get used to, implementing Share911 is now an integral part of what they do.

When asked what feature he likes the most, Dr. Semendinger says it’s “the fact that there’s a simple and efficient way for everyone to stay in communication during a drill. No longer are kids running to the front of the school with attendance lists. Everyone is tied together through the same network and we can quickly assess the situation.”

While he describes the app as “intuitive,” he also ensures that his faculty and staff are using it properly. Even when in drill mode, he will check to make sure every staff member has checked in and will follow up with them if not. The purpose is to reiterate that they are expected to do so in the event of a real scenario.

Dr. Daniel Fishbein, Superintendent of Ridgewood School District, says that the reactions of teachers and students have been “very positive.”

“The fact that we have to do these drills is very frightening, but it allows us to give some comfort that they’re not alone during these emergencies,” acknowledges Fishbein.

Both Superintendent and Principal agree that Erik Endress and his team have been willing to take suggestions when it comes to the app and are always available if there are ever any questions.

“Erik has been nothing but kind and generous with his time and thoughts,” says Dr. Semindinger.

Ultimately Dr. Semendinger believes that Share911 only brings positive results to the security measures that they take. Throughout each and every drill (which can happen on a monthly basis), Share911 has worked efficiently and did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Endress credits both the district and the Ridgewood Police Department for the success of the program.

“Dr. Fishbein and Chief Luthcke have been amazing partners for us since the beginning. For this to really work well, that’s what we need, district administrators who are willing to change the way they manage emergencies and a law enforcement leader who sees the benefit of what the software can do to improve response time, officer safety and save lives. That’s what we have in Ridgewood and we appreciate it very much.”