December 3, 2022
Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,
We were lucky to be able to open all of our schools on time yesterday after our community faced downed power lines and trees. Power outages impacted over 9000 community members. There are times when road blockages or power issues impact some of our schools but not all of our schools. As a result, it is important to know that there is the possibility of some school closures while others remain open. If this was to occur, you would be notified by email, text, call, and posting on social media.
This past Monday, the Board of Education elected new officers. The Board of Education, and administration extended their deepest gratitude to the outgoing Board Chair, Jonathan Steckler and Secretary, Rachel Ruggeri for their service. We are also grateful that both Mr. Steckler and Ms. Ruggeri will continue their contributions as members of our Board of Education. We would like to also congratulate our newly elected officers- Tina Malhotra as Chair of the Board of Education and Elizabeth Floegel as Vice Chair. Ms. Amy Casey also accepted the nomination of Secretary.
The administration held their first “Coffee and Conversation” with parents this past Tuesday. A big thank you to the leadership team who participated. We will continue to create a variety of diverse opportunities to engage families. More to come.
The next Board of Education meeting will be held in person on Monday, December 12, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy your weekend,
Susie Da Silva Ed.D.
Quote of the Week
“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow.”
- Mary Tyler Moore
Photo above: Students Francesca Rossi and Joshua Lin played "Josefin's Waltz" at the Board of Education meeting.
Save the Date: RHS Winter Concert—December 14, 7 PM
Evening Drop-in Tutoring for Middle School
RPS is excited to offer Middle School Virtual Evening Drop-in tutoring again this year! Please read the email from the middle school principals on how sixth, seventh, or eighth grader can join in here.
On Tuesday, parents joined district leaders for a conversation about issues important to them. Jeffrey Corbishley, Grade 6-12 Math Supervisor, moderated the substantive discussion, which responded to parents' questions on School Security, Curriculum, Scheduling, Dyslexia, Athletics, Diversity, Budget, Assessments, Fairness in Grading, RHS Counseling, Enrichment, School Climate, and more. Questions from parents indicated an interest in learning more about the professional development RPS teachers receive so we look forward to sharing more about this important work in future RPS Communications. Building leaders and administrators expressed an open-door policy for any questions or concerns. At the high school level, students should self-advocate by communicating with teachers, coaches, and counselors directly whenever possible.
In the Classroom
RES Biography Day Is Also Lesson on Digital Citizenship
Ridgebury Elementary librarian Ellen Paradisor reports about an exciting extension of the fifth-grade Biography Day project and library Digital Citizenship unit. Paradiso writes, "We used green screen technology to transport RES fifth graders to the settings of the historical figures they profiled! Students took snapshots in front of the greenscreen in their period costumes and then learned how to search for copyright-free photos to use as backgrounds for their biographies. While some students chose copyrighted photos covered under Fair Use for Education, the background images you see here are all rights-cleared to reuse and share on social media."
Photos below: Henry Ford, Jane Goodall, Bethany Hamilton, Albert Einstein, Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Steve Jobs, and Katherine Johnson
English Language Learners Quickly Become Multilingual
Veterans Park Elementary English Language Learner tutor Wendy Richardson asked her students to describe what she does. Third grader Maria said, “Ms. Richardson helps people talk in English better. For example, we made a soap box speech about adopt, don’t shop. I had to talk about why we should adopt and not shop for a pet. I got videoed standing on a soap box saying my speech.”
Kindergartener Luca said, “Ms. Richardson’s job is to have Lego Lunch Bunch and school. In Lego Lunch she has people have fun and we do Legos, sing songs, write new songs, and make books. Of course, we eat lunch too. In my classroom, Ms. Richardson talks to kids and helps kids with Fundations and words.” Ujjwal says, “Ms. Richardson’s job is Legos and teaching. Ms. Richardson teaches me letters. We learn songs and make lego books.”
Jennifer Wolfenden who teaches English Learners at Branchville and Ridgebury Elementary shared some photos that explain recent lessons. “To encourage students to practice spoken English we use a variety of story boxes,” Wolfenden explains. “This is a great way for younger students to create and share a story using simple props. Imagination and language grow when you have a box full of interesting objects!”
On the same day, Wolfenden reports that an older student, William, is exploring Branchville grounds. “It is easier to learn and retain new words if you can use a variety of senses,'' Wolfenden says. “William is creating a word bank to help him add detail to his writing. We think of words to describe the sounds of the birds, children playing, a plane passing, and a nearby truck reversing.”
Assistant Superintendent Elizabeth Hannaway says that there are about 80 English Language Learners currently in the District. With the support of teachers like Richardson and Wolfenden, classmates, and classroom teachers, RPS English Language Learners quickly become English proficient. For those looking to expand their language learning opportunities, share school news with non-English-speaking family members, or test their high school French, RPS Update can be instantly translated into over 120 languages from Afrikaans to Zulu. Just click the “translate” button on the top right.
Sticker Shock? Applied Math Lesson Raises Funds
Building Future Engineers
Scotts Ridge eighth graders on Team Phoenix recently participated in a STEM challenge that required students to build a structure with a free-swinging bucket that held mass. Science teacher Kelly Hall reports that she gave students 20 straws, 1 3 oz cup, 36 inches of string, 36 inches of tape, and an hour to build a structure that held as many washers as possible prior to collapse. The winning team built a tower with 87 one-inch washers!
More photos below!
Tigers Toss for Special Olympics
Recently, twenty-two teams consisting of Ridgefield High School students, teachers, and police officers competed in the Tiger Toss cornhole tournament with all proceeds donated to the CT Special Olympics. Students in Jesse Peterkin's Sports Marketing class planned, promoted, and ran the tournament, learning about all the aspects of event management in the process. Peterkin writes, "It was an awesome finish won by sophomores Rohan Connelly and Caleb Miller who narrowly defeated second-place winners, seniors Tim Grove and Lucas Williams. Officer Kate Williams and Officer Mark Giglio had a nice showing finishing in third- place. The winners received gift cards donated by many local businesses including Genoa Deli, Prospector Theater, Prime Burger, Sobol, Bobos, and The Cake Box."
FIFA Fever in World Languages
Members of the RHS World Language Department have used World Cup soccer tournament to explore international culture and politics. French 4 students debated the pros and cons of holding the event in Qatar. They watched a news video in which Amnesty International recommended using the soccer tournament as a way of shining a light on issues in the Middle East. In many classes, they have sung the official song "Arhbo." The photo above shows Yu-Wei Hsu"s Mandarin class with the origami jerseys and soccer balls they created. Ms. Hsu writes, "It was fun to see them talking about the games and which athletics they like." Go, USA!
Two RHS Classes Trim a Tree for Ann's Place
The Ridgefield High School Visual Arts and Technology Education Departments teamed up to deck the halls, and give back to the community. Jane Grassi’s 3D Design (Jewelry and Metalsmithing) classes and Mike Murphy’s Product Design Class collaborated to create a tree decorated with student crafted jewelry for the Ann’s Place Festival of Trees. Both classes take place in the RHS STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Shop. Product Design students used their design, woodworking, and 3D printing skills to create a tree to showcase over 30 earrings, bracelets, and necklaces created by 3D Design students. Mr. Murphy writes, "I want to give full credit to Ms. Grassi, who came up the idea with this collaboration. learning opportunity for students in both classes to design to suit the requirements of the event, communicate with a partner class, and express their creativity!" The tree was part of the Festival of Trees fundraiser to support Ann’s Place, which provides a variety of services to those living with cancer and to their loved ones free of charge. More information at www.annsplacefestivaloftrees.org
The HeARTS of RPS—Spotlight on RHS Music
The week began with a wonderful performance by two RHS musicians at the Board of Education meeting. Thank you to Orchestra Director Michael McNamara, Francesca, and Josh! The RPS Music Program is filled with talented and devoted staff and students. Here's just a selection of recent noteworthy news.
Winter Concert—December 14 at 7 PM
Mark your calendar for a wonderful night of music, featuring Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Concert Choir, Concert Orchestra, and Symphonic Orchestra. December 14 at 7 pm in the RHS Auditorium. More information to come!
Music Department Student Leadership Council
Behind the scenes at RHS are pockets of students working overtime to support their passions. One of these pockets is the RHS Music Department Leadership Council, which includes a variety of student leadership from both band and orchestra. All of the section leaders are de facto members of the council by default. The Council is presented with a slate of officers selected by the director each year who serve executive functions. It meets approximately once a month to discuss a variety of items pertaining to band and orchestra. Some of these agenda items include:
Organizing events (rehearsals, concerts, festivals etc.)
Fundraising (FunkRaiser and others)
Problem solving some common student issues with the program
Any student who is interested in participating in the Leadership Council is invited. We particularly encourage underclassmen to consider joining so that your voice is heard. Interested students should email Mr. Mac about joining.
RHS Musician of the Month—Emma Dawson
Senior Emma Dawson is RHS Musician of the Month! Please read a full press release about Emma's musical contributions and successes in this press release, submitted by student Matthew Uy. Congratulations, Emma!
Beyond the Classroom
Mario Cart and Merchandise for The Logan Project
PTA Holiday Hustle at Ridgebury Helps Families in Need
Ridgebury Elementary is hustling for the holidays! The Ridgebury PTA is hosting its first Holiday Hustle 1-mile “Fun Run” this Sunday. The one-mile loop can be run, jogged, or walked. They hope that families will complete the loop together! The money raised by the Holiday Hustle will enrich the education of RES students by funding materials and programs. The PTA will also be donating a portion of the proceeds to Scottlet Storehouse which partners with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to help families in need during the holidays. Here is the link to donate and share!
Catch the Gingerbread for Believe in Brooke Fund
Hamlet Hub reports that RHS students Tess Coakley and Lauren Uecker have organized a seasonal gingerbread house hunt to raise funds for the Believe in Brooke Scholarship fund, which they want to establish in memory of their friend Brooke Blake. Read all about the students' sweet endeavor and how you can join in the fun here.
This Month In Photos
RHS librarians highlighted Native Heritage Month with this eye-catching display.
Veterans Park Elementary invited family and friends to come to school the day before Thanksgiving for the annual VP Gives Thanks! Here are some of the many wonderful photos of students and guests making crafts for a variety of local charities.
Branchville second graders made gratitude turkeys.
Scotties wore pajamas and drank cocoa to kick-off December on a Read Aloud and Bingo Night at Scotland Elementary.
Rain doesn't dampen the recess fun at Barlow Mountain Elementary.
Scotts Ridge engineers tackling the STEM Bucket Challenge (more above).