The first superintendent of Ridgewood, Eugene R. Howard, was a great proponent of the educational theories of Dr. J. Lloyd Trump. Dr. Trump’s teaching methods of secondary school education were revolutionary for their time. Students attended classes ranging in length from 20 to 80 minutes. One third of the instruction was done in large lecture halls of 60-160 students, making extensive use of educational TV and films. One third was then done in small discussion seminar groups of 10-20 students, led by students and guided by teachers’ aides. The final third of the students’ time was intended to be devoted to individual study.

Ridgewood High School was designed with the Trump System in mind. The building was wired for cable television and initially laid out with the required lecture halls and seminar spaces.  The school became famous for these educational innovations, with articles appearing in 1968 in Time Magazine and Ladies Home Journal proclaiming the school was one of “America’s Top Ten High Schools”.

Most of the records of this shared experience do not exist outside of Ridgewood High School.  The condition of the materials varies, of course. In particular, some of the older yearbooks show the wear and tear of 50 years of use. We would like to make these materials available online to both increase their use and to protect their form. The users of these records will be the generations of Ridgewood High School alumnae, educational researchers interested in the Trump system of education, and local historians.


And No Bells Rang with Hugh Downs