Riverdale Gazette

September 2021

Principals Message

Dear Riverdale Families,

Looking back on my Gazette message to you from last September, I wrote to you about troubleshooting technology issues, Riverdale staff making connections with students who they had never met in person before, and the perseverance of our students as they worked to learn over Zoom. At this point last year, everyone was still learning from home and we were gearing up to welcome “Cohort B” back to school in the coming weeks.

This year, I get to go around the building every morning and say hello to all of our students in person. Through a mask? Sure, but we would all rather through a mask than through a computer screen. Our students have come back invigorated and excited to learn with their peers, and it is paying off in a big way. Our educators have been able to hit the ground running by administering reading, writing and math assessments so that they can plan instruction that will meet the needs of all the learners in front of them.

Keeping this learning going is also the continued support we have from our families. From getting your students back to a sleeping routine to signing them up for pool testing, your partnership is what keeps Riverdale open and safe so our students can learn. Thank you for your collaboration in this! If you have not signed your student(s) up for pool testing and would like to, please click here to register. If you are still deciding if you would like to have your student(s) participate and have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me by email (eparis@dedham.k12.ma.us) or by calling the main office.

As you’ll see in the updated flyer I sent out in a separate email about Open House, we will need to shift gears and make our Open House virtual, as it was last year. Due to increased numbers in the region, the other principals and I, along with Superintendent Welch, did not feel it wise to welcome so many people into the building at once when we can do this online. In the coming days, your students’ teachers will email Zoom links for you to attend Open House. Like many of you, I am extremely disappointed we can not welcome families into the building. I assure you that I am already thinking of ways to get you in here at another point in the year so you can see the warm, inviting and inclusionary learning spaces the teachers have set up for your students to learn in each day.

I am truly looking forward to continuing this school year on the positive path we’ve started on. Please let me or any of the staff members know how we can help you or your students make this year a great one!


Ed Paris, Principal

Counselor's Corner - Mrs. Elaine Sheehy, LICSW

We are off to a great start here at Riverdale! It is a pleasure to welcome our new students and staff and to see how our returning children have grown over the summer. We are working together as a community to keep everyone safe and to be able to enjoy being together.

We have begun teaching The Zones of Regulation curriculum in our first and second grade classrooms and reinforcing it school-wide. Zones is used to teach self-regulation by labeling all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four zones. The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of their emotions, improve controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts. If you'd like more information on Zones go to www.zonesofregulation.com

Riverdale’s instructional aide, Paul Sances, has created a beautiful bulletin board to begin our school-wide gratitude practice. Students and staff can write something they are grateful for on a paper leaf and Mr. Sances or I attach them to our tree. It is lovely to see our community members expressing gratitude for each other and the people and things in their lives they value.

Please be in touch if I can be of any assistance to you or your child. I am available at all times by e-mail 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.

Nurse's Notes - Judy Byrne, R.N

Attention 4th Grade Parents

The State of Massachusetts mandates that all fourth grade students have a physical exam and this documentation is part of their school health record. This exam is to take place the summer before fourth grade or through the fourth grade school year. I suggest that parents remember to send them to me right after the physical takes place, so it is less likely for you to forget. I would be glad to take a copy and return the original back to you. This physical needs to be completed or the student is not able to start fifth grade in the fall. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please feel free to call my office at (781) 310-2245.

Thank you

Pool Testing

This past Monday, Riverdale began rolling-out Weekly Routine COVID Safety Checks (pooled testing):

This is very similar to the testing we did last year. Students (for whom parents have provided consent) and consented staff are tested by nasal swab weekly, in school, and groups of swabs are collected and tested. If a pool returns as “Positive” members in that group are re-tested individually to follow up. You must provide consent for your child to participate in this program (even if you did last year!).


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.

Library - Ingrid Mayysi

Dot Day is one of my favorite library celebrations of the year and it takes place on September 15th ish. We celebrated as a school on Wednesday, September 22nd by wearing polka dots to school. We will be celebrating Dot Day for the next two weeks in the library by reading the book, The Dot and being creative with different dot projects. The first and second graders will be connecting with students at the ECEC by creating "buddy dots".

Students will be very excited to know that there will be a Scholastic book fair this fall. It will be held in the library on Thursday, Sept 30th and Friday, October 1st. Parents are welcome to come and shop with their child's class or any other time of the day. All of the details on the book fair will be coming home shortly. The proceeds from the sale allow me to purchase new books for the library and the kids love when new books arrive.

Acknowledgment Forms

Please click here for the Riverdale Handbook Acknowledgement, Student Photo Opt Out and PTO Directory Opt Out Forms These are forms that need to be completed as soon as possible. It will take you no more than 2 minutes to complete. Thank you to those that have already completed.

Notes from the Main Office

To Reach the Main Office at any time, please call (781) 310-2200

If your student will be absent for any reason (illness, tardy, appointment, travel, etc.) Please call the Absentee Line (781) 310-2799. Outside of regular school hours there is an answering machine to take your message.

If you need to come in to the school please be sure to use the Main Entrance. You will be asked to identify yourself, sign in at the Main Office and wear a Visitors Pass if you will be staying for any length of time.

If you need to dismiss your student during the middle of the day (for example: if they have an appointment that cannot be scheduled other than during school time), please write a note to your students' teacher or the Main Office with the date and time they will be dismissed and who will be picking up the child.

Just a reminder that all volunteers who work with children need to have a current CORI FORM on file with Dedham Public Schools (Especially, if you wish to be a parent volunteer for class trips, field days, etc.). Cori Forms are available in the Main Office.

We want to make both your student and your time at Riverdale a safe and positive learning experience. We are here to help in any way we can!

Ask a Grader

Ask a first grader how to write their lowercase letters and what sounds they make.

Ask a second grader "what is a digraph?"

Ask a third grader what are you doing in class to make sure you and your classmates can be

successful learners?

Ask a fourth grader one way to round a number.

Ask a fifth grader to brainstorm and tell about 3 physical properties for an object in their kitchen.

Remembering September 11th

Ice Cream Social

Thanks to all that came out for the Annual Ice Cream Social.

Also Thank You to Donahue Real Estate for sponsoring the event and making all of the delicious sundaes!!

Fall Picture Day


School Name: Riverdale Elementary School

Picture Day Date: Thursday, October 14

Picture Day ID: EVTM2CFSN

More information to come!

Important Dates

  • Wednesday, September 22 – Dot Day
  • Friday, September 24 – Pinwheels for Peace Day
  • Thursday, September 30 – Back to School Night VIRTUAL (See email sent by Mr. Paris)
  • Tuesday, October 5 – Professional Development Dismissal Noon
  • Wednesday, October 6 - Walk to School
  • Monday, October 11 – Columbus Day, No School
  • Thursday, October 14 – Fall Picture Day
  • Tuesday, October 19 – PTO Meeting