2018 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
Lisa J. Ruiz
East Rockaway UFSD
Since taking the helm of the East Rockaway School District, Lisa J. Ruiz has proven to be an invaluable leader. Among her first endeavors was the development of the district’s strategic plan, which operates under the mission “Setting a Course for Excellence” through the implementation of four key concepts: achievement, opportunity, innovation and connection. The plan vastly expanded the districtwide curriculum, increased extracurricular activities and brought in help for struggling learners, all without reduction to current programs or exceeding the tax cap.
The elementary-level “STEAM for All” program created hands-on, exploratory, collaborative learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) for all children in grades 3-6. At the middle school, the Honors by Achievement initiative and the Middle School Advisory program give students the chance to achieve honors status. Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for high school students have more than tripled throughout the district, including the extracurricular Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) CTE program.
Under the plan, new technological programs have been introduced to enhance literacy skills. Staff and resources were reallocated to better meet the needs of struggling learners. The plan also provides for quality professional development to support all district initiatives and to increase staff cooperation, such as the Achievement Via Individual Determination professional learning program, designed to help educators increase college readiness for all students.
Ms. Ruiz helped develop the K-12 Writing Framework, ensuring that students’ writing skills meet the common core standards at all grade levels. Under her guidance, East Rockaway High School earned the National Education Policy Center’s Silver Schools of Opportunity Award, for its focus on excellence and equity. The district earned a place of distinction on the College Board’s AP District Honor Roll, in acknowledgement of increased access to advanced placement courses with an improved scoring rate of three or higher on AP exams.
“We’re always working to improve outcomes for students,” said superintendent Ruiz.” Every day brings a new challenge and opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life.”