January 6, 2023
Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,
Happy New Year! Ringing in the new year may look different for each of us, but I am reminded that there is a special magic that comes with all the horns, bells, streamers and “cheers” of the new year. This is a time when we can set goals, resolutions, and hopes for the year ahead. It can also serve as a reminder to check in on family and friends.
Like many of you, for me, the extended holiday break allowed for a little more downtime, whether listening to an audiobook or podcast, or watching a Masterclass…it felt good to catch up! Linked here is a short article with a simple reminder of the skills our children need in life!
We kick off the budget season on Monday, January 9, with the presentation of the Superintendent’s Proposed FY24 Operating Budget at the 7:00 p.m. Board of Education meeting. The introduction to the budget will be followed by a full-day Special Meeting (virtual) on January 21. I hope you can join us on both days. While there will be many opportunities for families and community members to share their thoughts on the budget, these two sessions will provide context and the story about the FY 24 budget.
Again, Happy 2023!
Susie Da Silva, Ed.D.
Quote of the Week
“Rest is fuel for humans… Life is easier when there’s gas in your tank. Productivity goes up. Creativity comes back… Don’t wait till the weekend to put gas in your tank.”
—Dan Rockwell (ibid.)
Important District Reminders
BOE Meeting—This Monday
Free Lunch for Grades K-8 Ends on January 13
Ridgefield’s allocation to provide free meals for K-8 students will go through January 13, 2023. On Tuesday, January 17, 2023, following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the district will revert to charging for meals. Find more information here.
Virtual Curriculum Presentation, K-12 Math Pathways
On Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. the RPS Curriculum team will host a virtual presentation on k-12 Math Pathways. All RPS students receive enriching mathematical experiences through various pathways. While each pathway provides students with slightly different standards upon graduation, all students engage in core mathematical practices. This presentation will focus on these key practices and what a student’s mathematical experience will look like across K-12. Attendees will walk away knowing what these pathways are and how each prepares students for success upon graduation. We will have a separate virtual parent presentation on middle school math placement on February 8. Live and recorded here.
Preschool Peer Program Applications Due by March 1
The RPS Preschool Program is currently accepting Peer Model applications for the 2023-24 school year. Please go to the website for more information and click on the Peer Model Application to apply. Applications are due by March 1, 2023.
In the Classroom
A Meeting of the Math Minds: Grade 5 Visits Grade 6
On Thursday morning, fifth-grade math teachers and elementary specialists observed first-period Middle School math classes. Teachers from Branchville, Farmingville, and Veterans Park visited East Ridge sixth-grade classes; teachers from Barlow Mountain, Ridgebury, and Scotland went to Scotts Ridge. “This has been a long-time coming,” said one elementary math specialist, clearly excited to see where her students were heading after this year.
“It’s such a different atmosphere,” one math teacher commented. Another said, “With a lot of similarities. They have grown so much.” Students lit up when their former teachers walked into their math classrooms, and then quickly got to work. At Scotts Ridge, students reviewed division of fractions, order of operation, and learned about the distributive property, an essential part of algebra.
This visit is part of an initiative that aims to deepen the connection and smooth students’ transition from fifth-grade to sixth-grade math. Elementary Director Linda Johnson explains that the central focus for the visits is: What does student learning around conceptual understanding, fluency, and/or application look like in a math lesson?
After the lesson, teachers had a few minutes to reflect. “I loved seeing the rapport with their students and established routines that the teachers have,” commented one of the teachers. “I liked seeing everyone working together on a productive struggle.” “We should do this on Saturday,” said another who enjoyed engaging with her former students. “I could stay here and talk math all day,” said another, articulating the enthusiasm the elementary group had for seeing their colleagues and former students. Teachers will have more time to consider what they observed during the January 12 professional development day, explains Grade 6-12 Math and Science Supervisor, Jeffrey Corbishley.
Sixth-grade teachers will all have a similar opportunity to observe a fifth-grade classroom in March.
More photos from Scotts Ridge below.
In December, RPS Update reported on an East Ridge school-wide Computer Science lesson that used no electricity or screens. In the photos above, Branchville Elementary is also 'coding unplugged." Kindergarteners and first graders "code" their game piece through a maze and onto the finish line.
Veterans Park Warms Up
Veterans Park Elementary's youngest students demonstrate an active warm-up in these photos from this week's PE classes. Planks, crab hold, jumping jacks, and dog pose all get students' muscles and hearts moving.
The HeARTS of RPS—Elementary Art Enrichment
RPS offers fourth and fifth-graders Art LEAP enrichment, a voluntary program for motivated creatives. Ridgebury and Scotland Elementary Art LEAP students made these sweet 3-D animal portraits using paper mache and acrylic paints.
Beyond the Classroom
Thank You, PTAs!
Photo: East Ridge PTA Holiday Lunch for teachers and staff
RHS Is Top 10 for UConn Early College Course Enrollment
The University of Connecticut informed RHS this week that it was one of the Top 5 High Schools for total number of students enrolled in the UConn Early College Experience program for the 2022-2023 academic year. 256 RHS students are enrolled in ECE UConn classes. Some of these classes are AP and UConn ECE classes.
Cocoa and Cram for RHS Ninth Graders
This Month in Photos
We're Impressed, VPES!
Veterans Park Elementary was looking good during its "Dress to Impress" pre-holiday spirit day. See some of the photos from the school's newsletter, The VP Press below.
All Is Merry and Bright at Farmingville
The photos below show some pre-holiday cheer at Farmingville Elementary. Chris Olson, Elementary Supervisor as an elf, Snowman is Steve Ethier ("Mr. E"), FES P.E. teacher. Sherry Crosby and Amanda Cody are in the photo right.
The Grinch's Heart Grows at ERMS
The Grinch (aka Head Custodian Mike Kilcran) on a pre-break visit to East Ridge Middle School.