Riverdale Gazette

October 2021

Principal's Message

Dear Riverdale Families,

I love taking a look back at what school was like last year! On Tuesday, October 5th, we acknowledged in the morning announcements that it was the 1-year anniversary of the day we were able to welcome the first in-person learners back to Riverdale School since March 12, 2020. On Monday, October 5, 2020, we welcomed about 13 students into the building. The following week, on October 13th, we were able to welcome the entire “Cohort B” for in-person learning. This very week last year, we welcomed our 1st-graders in “Cohorts C and D” back, and then we were finally able to welcome back everyone on Monday, October 26, 2020!

Why do I take you on this walk down Memory Lane? Simple - we so often get caught up in the here and now and our concerns about making things “back to normal” and “perfect,” that we forget about all the progress that has been made. It’s crucial to take a minute and recognize the small successes we have had, because those small successes are what will keep us going to any goal we set. Do we still have masks on? Sure. Are we having students put swabs in their noses in the hallways, instead of telling them to stop picking their noses? You bet. Did I ever think any of this would be part of any of your jobs? Not in a million years. However, these actions are what make it so that, as I write this, none of our students need to be sitting home trying to connect with their teachers through a computer. Our students are here with us and their classmates growing academically and socially, and that is thanks to all of the progress we’ve made. Don’t forget to think back on what we’ve all survived and done together...it’s no small feat!

Please keep supporting your students and their teachers the way you have been by making sure if your student is sick, he/she stays home. This has helped immensely in keeping everyone healthy at Riverdale School! If you haven’t done so already, please consider signing your student up for the pooled testing that takes place every Monday. It takes about 15 seconds and is a great way to make sure we are catching asymptomatic cases that may arise. Your teamwork, as always, is so appreciated!!

I need to also thank all of our Riverdale staff for the immense amount of thoughtfulness they put into their jobs everyday. Our educators are teaching even more social-emotional skills than we’ve ever had to, along with making sure we are addressing any academic gaps that may have formed through the COVID-19 closures. Our custodians are continuing to clean and sanitize high touch surfaces. As I wrote above, our school secretary and nurse are holding vials up so that they can count the number of boogery nose swabs in them before getting them to a lab for proper surveillance testing. Everyone’s job at Riverdale has had many things added to them, and they come every single day to do what we set out to do every year - give the students what they need to move them forward in their education.

We will continue to work hard to do this and thank you for you support in this endeavor. To find out how you can support your students and the school, please be sure to read through the rest of this newsletter to learn about upcoming events and more!


Ed Paris, Principal

Counselor's Corner - Mrs. Elaine Sheehy, LICSW

Winter 2021 Holiday Help

The Charlotte and Bob Castagnola Holiday Gift Giving Program through the Dedham Youth Commission (DYC) will run again this year.

The DYC will be receiving people’s requests directly and distributing gift cards only this year through the DYC office.

Due to the ongoing COVID Pandemic, the annual DYC Holiday Gift Giving Program will once again "look and feel" a lot different this year. Due to safety, health and economic reasons, Sponsors are not physically buying toys or gifts this year, but instead donating $50 gift cards to Amazon or VISA. If you would like to receive a $50 gift card (one per child), please fully complete and submit the form below. We hope to return to our usual system next year. However, it is still our goal to help youth and families in need this Holiday season. We still want to ensure that every child has some toys or gifts under the tree! Last year, we assisted over 400 kids and we expect the same this year! Please note that you must complete a form for each child requesting assistance. (Your information is confidential)

To qualify for the DYC Holiday Assistance Program, you must:

1. Be an official Dedham resident

2. Qualify for Low Income Housing or Free/Reduced Lunch

3. Be experiencing an unforeseen financial difficulty

The DEADLINE TO APPLY is October 29, 2021. No exceptions will be made.

*Please note, applying for DYC Holiday Assistance does not guarantee a $50 gift card. But every effort will be made to make it happen for everyone who qualifies for assistance.

It is the DYC’s goal to distribute the gift cards to participants the week immediately after Thanksgiving.



Please be in touch with Riverdale’s Counselor, Elaine Sheehy, with any questions! St Susanna’s Church will also be distributing gift cards for their holiday program and I can refer people there if the DYC program is not a good fit for your family.

If you’d like to provide help to a Riverdale Family this year please let me know!

esheehy@dedham.k12.ma.us direct line 781-310-2709 school main line 781-310-2200

I am available at all times by email at esheehy@dedham.k12.ma.us or by phone at 781-310-2709. If you have any concerns or questions about your child's adjustment to school, feelings, behavior, social skills, or if I can help you connect with any local resources you need, please contact me. Please visit my website for more information and resources: Riverdale Counseling Website

Ask a Grader

Ask a first-grader the turn-around-fact for 5+3

Ask a second-grader to skip count by 10's starting at 30 to 100.

Ask a third-grader what it looks and sounds like to be an active listener in class.

Ask a fourth grader to build an array for 32 with small objects from home (paperclips, chocolate chips, etc.) Challenge them to build a different array for the same number!

Ask a fifth grader to name some objects that have volume and explain a strategy for finding the volume of an object.

Pool Testing

Riverdale has over 100 students participating in Pool Testing.

It's not too late to sign up for Pool Testing.

In order to participate, you must provide consent – even if you provided consent last year. Consent forms must be completed for EACH student participating.


Please be sure to select the correct school for your child (the screen defaults to ECEC).

The state-wide consent form (which we cannot change) is asking you to consent to all types of testing offered by the state this year. This is by design, to avoid the need to reach out for consent multiple times, should a school district decide to add more testing options later on. You always have the opportunity to opt-out at any time by contacting Emily Kadehjian, our District COVID Testing Coordinator at ekadehjian@dedham.k12.ma.us and support@cic-health.com.

If you need the consent form in a specific language, please visit the DPS website for PDFs that can be printed and returned to the school secretary.

If you are interested in having your student participate – please complete the consent form ASAP, if possible. The more students participating and testing early-on, the better we can help ensure our classrooms remain as safe as they can be.

Grandma's Coffee Cakes

Riverdale PTO will be selling coffee cakes from 10/18-10/29 Cost is $13.00 per cake (cash or check made out to Riverdale PTO) Please fill out form/include payment and return it back to school with your student. Any questions please contact Rebecca Huff at rweber19@yahoo.com * Coffee cakes will be delivered just in time for Thanksgiving. PTO appreciates your support.
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Halloween Parade - Friday October 29th

Halloween Parade for Grades 1st & 2nd

9:00 AM on the basketball court. All grades are invited to wear their costume while the parade is going on. (Only 1st & 2nd will be in the parade, 3-5 will be watching)

All students will change out of there costume at the end of the parade.

Important Dates

· Friday, October 29 – Halloween Parade for Grades 1 & 2 at 9:00 AM Basketball Court

· Tuesday, November 2 – No School, Professional Development

· Thursday, November 11 – Veterans Day, No School

· Tuesday, November 16 – PTO Meeting

· Monday, November 18 – Reschedule Fall Picture Day

· Wednesday November 24 – Early Dismissal at Noon

· Thursday, November 25 & 26 – Thanksgiving Recess, No School

Thank you from Mrs. Martin & Ms. Mayyasi

Thank you to all the parents/guardians for getting in the "blue" demographic forms. We are the only school with 100% participation in this tedious task!

I want to thank everyone for their support of the book fair. It was quite successful and a lot of fun. The profits from the fair allow me to purchase new books for the library and students have already given me their suggestions for titles that we should have in the Riverdale Library. Students were particularly excited given that the last book fair took place two years ago. I plan on having a spring book fair as well.

I am still in need of volunteers to help in the library. You are welcome to come when your child's class comes or another time that works well with your schedule. There are always books that need to be shelved! I would be very grateful for any help that I receive.

Students in grades 1-3 will be participating in Read for the Record this month. Students will be reading Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang which is a celebration of culture, family and believing in yourself. Read for the Record is sponsored by Jumpstart and began 16 years ago to highlight the importance of early literacy. I encourage all of you to take time to read with your students.

Thank you to the Riverdale Community that participated in Walk to School Day