Riverdale Gazette

March 2021

Principal's Message

One year. It was this week a year ago on March 11, 2020, that I sent you the message linked here when we were all concerned about this thing called “Coronavirus.” I was in a meeting that following Thursday with Superintendent Welch when he said, “We may need to shut schools down for a week or two after tomorrow (Friday, March 13th) for deep cleaning.” Later that evening, I was out to dinner with friends when I received a text message from him stating that school was cancelled the next day, as DPS had it’s first reported case. Students never set foot back in the school the rest of the year. To me, it feels like it has been both the longest and shortest year, all at the same time.

Over the past 12 months, I have recorded Morning Announcements and community messages from my mother’s dining room, introduced you all to my COVID puppy, Jake, worked to come up with a plan in which students would be able to come to school for part of the week (which seemed a ridiculous idea that we’d never be able to make happen when we first started discussions about it), and, most recently, welcomed all first-grade students back to in-person learning 4 days per week.

During this time, I’ve also seen an entire staff shift gears in a matter of hours to prioritize making sure their students were accounted for in those first few weeks, making countless phone calls and writing emails to families to make sure everyone was ok. I received phone calls, emails and text messages from them all telling me who they were concerned about, who they hadn’t heard from yet, and what they were doing to touch base with all families and how they felt I could help. I witnessed a community of families come together to donate money and gift cards for their fellow families in need, while also offering to drop materials off to them. I saw students, confused by what was happening and being comforted by care-givers who were just as confused as they were, figure out a new way to learn what they could on a computer while being told to stay home away from their schools, friends and extended family.

Although this has been a difficult last 12 months filled with some things I hope I never have to see or hear again (“unchartered waters” and “unprecedented times” being among them), there were memories we all created together I hope I always remember - seeing students from their doorstep while dropping of Chromebooks, the smiles on students’ faces when being able to see their teachers at “materials pick up” last June and again in September. Looking ahead, I am hopeful I’ll soon be able to make the memory of welcoming everyone back here, full time.

I highly encourage you all to look back on the past 12 months and congratulate yourselves on what you’ve been able to survive and what you’ve done for your families, your students and your community. It’s with great pride I tell people I’m the Principal of Riverdale School, and that pride has never been so strong as it has been this past year.


Take care of yourselves and each other,

Ed Paris, Principal


Counselor's Corner - Mrs. Elaine Sheehy, LICSW

“There is more good than bad in this world; more light than darkness and YOU can make more light.” –a quote from our own Peter Reynolds

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since our world so dramatically changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I thought, as I’m sure many of you did, on that last day of school we had in March, that we would deep clean the building and be back to school in a matter of days. Instead we were all thrown into a surreal experience of a slow-moving trauma, that has both taught us about what we truly value, and has had us all grieving who and what we have lost. If you are familiar with the stages of grief, you might be able to identify your own and your loved ones’ related feelings of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Please keep in mind that, as is true of all traumas we humans experience, you could feel and observe an anniversary reaction at this time that brings up difficult feelings of loss. Please take good care of yourselves and your families and acknowledge that these difficult feelings are expected and this, and all difficult times, are temporary and things will improve. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

From CNN: Why Kids are Hitting the Pandemic Wall: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/01/health/kids-pandemic-wall-wellness/index.html

The BRYT Family Engagement Team invites you to participate in our weekly Parents Supporting Parents group where parents can get & receive support from each other: https://docs.google.com/document/d/13jox8VI9ElFXOxWXh4tHb-y8qLcm-BB24RUU3w9gxqw/edit?ts=6033e3db

The Dedham Community House Summer Camp has donated scholarships to each of the Dedham elementary schools. Please contact me ASAP if you would like a camp scholarship for your child. My deadline to submit requests is Friday, March 12th.

As always, please be in touch if I can be of assistance to you in connecting with resources, summer plans, or about any concern you have. You can reach me directly at 781-310-2709 (private line and answering machine) the school’s main line, 781-310-2000 or at esheehy@dedham.k12.ma.us


Nurse's Notes - Judy Byrne, R.N

Good Afternoon Riverdale Community,

I am excited to share that Dedham Public Schools is launching a new program, adding another layer of protection to help keep our school environment safe for everyone. The district will be rolling out a voluntary, free, weekly COVID-19 pooled testing program for students and staff!

  • Visiting: www.dedham.k12.ma.us/COVID where you will find links to documents, videos showing how easy it is for students to do the lower nasal swab, answers to frequently asked questions, and more.

  • Sending questions to Emily Kadehjian, District COVID Testing Coordinator (ekadehjian@dedham.k12.ma.us)

To get this program started, we need your help. We sent consent forms home last week in backpacks for you to sign and return if you would like your child to participate in the pooled testing program. You only need to sign once to consent for testing each week through the remainder of the school year. You can sign up or withdraw at any point. (The consent is also linked at the very end of this email, if you'd rather print it out!)

I am confident that this testing will only make our school community safer for both students and staff.


Consent - English

Consent - Spanish

Consent - Arabic

Consent - Pashto

Consent - Haitian Creole

Big picture

Ask a Grader

Ask a first grader to tell you a word with one of our new glued sounds (ang, ing, ong, ung).


Ask a second grader to name an example of solid water.


Ask a third grader to name their favorite book and what genre it is.


Ask a fourth grader to name and describe Earth's three layers (crust, mantle, core).


Ask a fifth grader to explain the difference between a planet rotating and revolving in our solar system. (rotate=object spins on its axis while revolve=object travels or orbits around another object).

Celebrating 100 Days of School

Big picture

Welcoming back our 1st Graders 4 days a week!!!

Big picture

Donahue's Give Back To Riverdale & Their Community

Big picture

Important Dates

March 10 - Riverdale Fundraiser Kickoff

March 30 - PTO Meeting

April 2 - No School Good Friday

April 7 - Early Release

April 19 to 23 - April vacation