What's Happening at the Hive

Issue #11

The Buzz

Hello Florida Ruffin Ridley School Families and Friends,

The start of the Spring season is always an exciting and vibrant time in our school community. As the crocuses, daffodils, and tulips begin to push their way up through the thawed ground in our garden and around the school grounds, students are experiencing the growth and successes from seeds they planted in the fall that are leading to academic and social emotional growth and achievement. Simultaneously in the Spring as we build on momentum and growth and progress, we are beginning the processes of starting our preparations for the 2023 - 2024 school year including scheduling, student placement, and programming.

There is much to be celebrated and involved in during this busy time in the school year. We are getting ready for students to plant seeds in our garden beds as part of our Salad Days planting cycle. Our cycle for MCAS begins next week where students in grades 3-8 will participate in state testing that will provide valuable data points as we look to continuously improve our approaches to inclusive high quality educational experiences for all students. Classes are headed out on field trips to places such as Wheelock Family Theatre, Puppet Showplace, The Harvard Museum of Natural History, Hidden Brookline, The Museum of Fine Arts, and more, as ways to enrich the curriculum in which they are engaged. For the first time in several years we were able to bring back our full in person cardio drumming unit with students in Physical Education classes and the smiles and joy in each class were beyond reproach.

And yet with all the joy and excitement in our spaces we are ever mindful of the hurt and harm that continues to happen both in our closer community and beyond, and our collective responsibility to support each other and respond in ways that lifts up our corner of this world. When there is harm and violence in the world that impacts any of us it can often be difficult for children to make sense of what they are hearing and learning about. This resource from the National Association of School Psychologists offers some suggestions and starting points for conversations and ways to support. Additionally, our Clinical Team comprised of our guidance counselors, social workers, school adjustment counselor, and school psychologists are always here and ready to connect with any students who need additional support processing and responding to traumatic events.

Specifically in regards to the recent incident in Nashville, I want to reinforce that safety is our number one priority here at the Florida Ruffin Ridley School. Our staff engaged in two sessions at the start of the school year with Brookline Police Department around active threat training and we have numerous safety protocols and procedures in place throughout the building to keep our community safe. Further we take great care in fostering and building relationships with all our students to help them feel positively connected to our community and address any social emotional needs as they arise.

Together as a community we can continue to work on building and strengthening positive relationships and practices that support a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment for all our students and members to grow, achieve, and thrive.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.


MCAS Dates

April 3rd and 4th

Grades 6-8 ELA Sessions 1 and 2

April 11th and 13th

Grades 3-5 ELA Sessions 1 and 2

May 8th and 9th

Grades 3-5 Math Sessions 1 and 2

May 15th and 16th

Grades 6-8 Math Sessions 1 and 2

May 22nd and 23rd

Grades 5 and 8 Science and Technology/Engineering Sessions 1 and 2

Class Placement Family Feedback Form

Each year, beginning in April, we devote a great deal of time, care and thought to creating the following year’s classes. The following describes our class placement process. The goal of the placement process is to create balanced and equitable classes that provide the optimal learning environment for both the individual child and the group of children as a whole. We strive to create groupings that provide academic peers for each student and make it possible to provide high quality instruction and the most effective student services. As we balance classes, we create clusters as follows:

  • Each class will have students who can spark each other, have common interests or will work well together.

  • Each class will have students with varied learning strengths, and students with special needs will be clustered to facilitate service delivery.

  • Given sufficient numbers, students will not be isolated in terms of gender, race or ethnicity

Friendships are considered, but our primary focus is to provide appropriate learning peers for each student, understanding that each year brings new opportunities for friendships. The Brookline School Committee’s “Student Grouping, Inclusion and Placement Practices” policy states:

“When determining class placement of students at any grade level in elementary school and in the creation of middle school class lists, consideration shall be given to various student learning needs. In order to create effective learning environments and maintain valued diversity within each classroom, efforts will be made to place students with some peers who share similar profiles so that teachers can more effectively address the strengths and needs of all students.”

Class building is a team effort to which we devote a great deal of time and thought. Grade-level teachers, literacy and math specialists, special education teachers and related service providers, EL teachers, guidance counselors, and principals all work together on our placement process.

Family Role in the Placement Process

Our placement process includes an opportunity for families to provide information or share unique circumstances that you feel are important. We respect your right to advocate for your child and understand that you know your child best over time. Especially in this unique year, you have valuable information from all the time your child(ren) spent at home learning. If you feel that you have additional information that the placement team is not aware of, you are invited to fill out our Class Placement Feedback form. We will NOT be accepting letters via email this year and encourage all families who wish to submit additional information to use this form so we can keep all the information organized.

All information must be submitted via the form no later than Friday, April 14th.

Completing the form is optional. The same care and consideration will be given to every child during the placement process whether a parent/guardian submits input. If you do complete the form, your information will be shared with the placement team. Please remember that our primary objective is to ensure that each student will be assigned to a class that he/she can learn and grow academically and socially, and to build classes that function as lively heterogeneous cohorts. Requests for specific teachers in writing or in person will not be considered as part of this process. We take our responsibility seriously and, therefore, allocate ample time and care as we engage in reflection while looking forward to planning for next year’s classes.

If you are planning on moving and/or sending your child(ren) to another school for the 2023 - 2024 School Year please fill out this online form to help us gather information regarding next year’s students. You will need to fill out multiple forms if you have more than one child at the Florida Ruffin Ridley School.

April PTO Coffee and Conversation: Friday April 14th

FRR PTO Coffee and Conversation: Katrina Kincade, METCO alum & much more (full bio here https://katrinakincadenews.com/bio/)

First Friday of Month: April 14 @ 8:05 am in the FRR Cafeteria.

We usually run an hour with presentations and Q&A

PTO will provide coffee and breakfast.

Early Release Day Reminder

Spring early release days (12:40 dismissal) for family/educator conferences are coming up in April and May. Below is the schedule of Spring early release days. Educators will share directly with families the procedures for signing up for Spring conferences. Please note each day as some are just for our K-6 students.

Wednesday April 12th (K-12)

Thursday April 26th (K-6)

Thursday May 4th (K-6)

Wednesday May 10th (K-6)

Please make a plan for your child(ren) on these early release days. Our AMAZING PTO will be offering Half Day Matinee for students in K-3 on three of the early release days.

Half-Day Matinee (HDM) will be held for registered students Kindergarten through 4th grade from 12:40pm to 2:30pm on early release days: April 12, April 27 & May 4. We are unable to run HDM on May 10th due to space constraints.

Here are the movie selections and you can register here:

K- Grade 2

  • April 12 - The Bad Guys
  • April 27 - DC League of Superpets
  • May 4 - Lyle Lyle Crocodile

Grade 3 & 4

  • April 12 - Lightyear
  • April 27 - Puss In Boots The Last Wish
  • May 4 - The Sea Beast

HDM Dismissal

Grades K-2 will be walked downstairs from the multipurpose room and dismissed from the entrance at the playground.

Grades 3-4 students will be dismissed on their own from the multipurpose room or room 341. Please coordinate an outdoor pick-up location with your students.

*Please make sure to inform students of their early release schedules.

Parent Volunteers Needed!

The PTO can only run HDM by enlisting the help of parent volunteers. To ensure that HDM can happen, please consider signing up for one or more of the days.

Parent volunteers may step out for teacher conferences and may bring younger siblings along if childcare is an issue. HDM fees are waived for students of parent volunteers.

Afterschool Supervision

As the weather warms we expect to see more and more students and families taking advantage of the beautiful weather and our outdoor play spaces including the playgrounds, fields, and basketball courts. As a reminder there is no FRR staff supervision of students after school hours and the Extended Day staff outside is there to supervise students who participate in Extended Day.

We do expect that even though the school day is over that our students are all still following our expectations of contributing positively and safely to the community. We understand that there are many students who stay after school on the grounds unsupervised by adults and they mature and gain more independence. If your child will be in our community spaces after school hours unsupervised please have a conversation reminding them of ways to show kindness, empathy, inclusion, and respect for all and ways in which they can intervene or get help if they see something that is unsafe or violates our community norms. Working together we can help support safe and inclusive spaces that help foster autonomy, responsibility, and independence for our students.

Two Week Calendar

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