August 26, 2022
Welcome Back, RPS!
Dear Faculty and Families,
Welcome back! You will notice that our Friday update looks a little different. For those of you that are new to RPS, you can expect a communication from me each Friday afternoon or evening. This year, we are combining my Friday Update with RPS News. Our goal is to streamline our communication to you while highlighting important events, as well as sharing all of the special moments happening across RPS. Please be sure to read through the update so you don’t miss a thing. Also, if you enjoy social media, follow us on instagram and twitter (handles below) for quick, fun snapshots of our schools.
By now, it is likely that you are in the midst of transitioning “back to school” routines- we are as well. Our district and school-based leaders joined us for a 2-day retreat. During our time together, we learned about new legislation, matters of security, District Priorities, and of course, we reminded ourselves of the importance of laughter. Our transition back also included inviting new teachers to join us for a 3-day event of introductions, fun, professional learning, and preparations. What an exceptional group of educators, we are lucky to have them! Finally, we came together with our entire school community during Convocation- a truly memorable morning. It will be hard to beat! This opening tradition is an opportunity for the entire district to celebrate our faculty and staff, our profession, and the ability to impact the lives of children in ways very few professions can. Together, we coalesced around our theme of the year, Ridgefield Imagines, and set the tone for the year. You will learn more about our theme, and how it will operationalize itself over the course of the school year.
We look forward to meeting new RPS students, while also welcoming back our returning students. They bring so much spirit and joy to the Ridgefield Public Schools- we can’t wait to see them.
May you have a wonderful start to the school year. Let it be the best one yet!
Susie Da Silva, Ed.D.
Quote of the Week
"Thank you for believing in me and I will NOT let you down", a new teacher at RPS
RPS Kicks Off the Year with Imagination, Spirit, and Hope
Ridgefield Public Schools celebrated convocation on Wednesday. Convocation is the annual kick-off to the school year—where faculty come together to celebrate the "vocation" of teaching. The celebratory atmosphere of school mascots, cheerleaders, and balloons was matched by the thoughtful presentation of this year's theme of "Ridgefield Imagines." Students and faculty shared what "Imagine" means to them. A funk band of talented Ridgefield music teachers accompanied student performances. This year's RPS Teacher of the Year, Jessica Margiotta, delivered an address that was audacious, hilarious, touching, and reminded everyone present of how much talent is in the district. Superintendent Dr. Susie Da Silva, Assistant Superintendents Cory Gillette and Dr. Elizabeth Hannaway, and their team challenged district staff to imagine, take risks, and jump in. Please see Photos from the Week below.
Health and Wellness
We hope that you have had a healthy summer. The RPS Health and Safety Committee reviewed updated guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health released in mid-July and available here and here. We updated our in-district COVID-19 practices from last year to maximize in-person learning for our students. We ask that families carefully review these and reach out to their school principal or nurse with any questions. You can access these updates by clicking here: RPS 22-23 COVID Return to School Protocols
think! Mathematics: Elementary Math Team Trains on New Curriculum Resource
Grade 3, 4, and 5 math teachers and leaders came together this week to train with the new RPS curriculum resource, think! Mathematics. These dynamic and collaborative workshops with trainers from Mathodology introduced our elementary math team to new approaches to familiar concepts in the curriculum. Teachers worked in groups to strategize on lesson plans. Trainers could answer educator questions in real-time. Elementary supervisor Linda Johnson says, “the goal is continuity and cohesion so that students build on math concepts—concrete, pictorial, and eventually, abstract—as they move through upper elementary into sixth grade. It’s fantastic to have all the teachers, math specialists, and principals here to learn this research-based pedagogy aligned to the Common Core curriculum.”
Board of Education: New Interim Member
For those new to the District, the Board of Education is a nine member committee of elected volunteers. On Monday, they selected Divya Dorairajan (photo right) as an interim board member to replace Kenneth Sjoberg, who moved out of town this summer. Ms. Dorairajan's interim assignment will expire in November 2023. Board meetings resume in person on Monday, September 12 at 7 pm. The meeting location is Central Office at 90 East Ridge Road. Meetings are also streamed live and available recorded. Public comments must be made in person. More information, including links to meetings, can be found here.
Join the PTA
The RPS PTAs are an integral part of our schools. Already, PTAs have been hard at work making the start to the 2022-23 school year great. New student outreach, faculty appreciation, communication, grants for enrichment, advocacy, and meal support for families going through hard times are just some of the ways PTAs serve our community, Please click here to sign up for your school/schools' PTAs.
School Buses Hold Precious Cargo!
Recently, kindergarteners (RHS Class of 2035) gathered at their elementary schools for School Bus Orientation. Our youngest students met their principals and fellow classmates and learned about bus safety from First Student Bus Company. They rode on buses during a rite of passage aimed to help them overcome nerves when school starts.
Thank you in advance for your patience during the first few weeks of school. We recognize how important establishing routines are, and hope to have very few bumps (no pun intended), however, if you do experience an issue, you may use the google sheet here to let us know! If you have already reported an issue to your stop, please continue to check PowerSchool for updates as we work through all of the submissions. Please be extra careful during pick up and drop off and obey all laws when following a school bus or passing in the other direction.
Food Service News: There Is Such a Thing As Free Lunch
Ridgefield Public Schools announced that they have contracted with Aramark to be the District’s new food service provider. Aramark’s commitment to excellence, affordability, the environment, and diversity were all important in this decision. There will be no change in the payment system; all school lunch balances will roll over.
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) advised that federal funds have been allocated for the Free School Meals for Children grant. Funding will support free lunches for all students in grades K-8 until funds are depleted. Please read the letter here.
Technology Department Videos and Help
The RPS Technology Department is excited to have everyone back in the buildings! If you are curious about this year’s Chromebook rollout, we have some great informational videos.
If you have further technology questions or concerns email: email@example.com.
RHS Athletics Website for Tigers Fans
The Ridgefield High School Athletic Department launched a new website this week where the community can find game schedules, results, and a lot more. Athletic Director Dane Street credits RHS secretary and field hockey coach, Jessica DeLuca for doing the lion's share on the Tiger site. The website also has a link to the YouTube channel, where impatient RHS sports fans can watch reruns of some games from last year and then tune in once the seasons begin (scrimmages starting this weekend). Guidance for parents, open coaching opportunities, facility rentals, and forms are also on this well-designed site. Athletic Director Dane Street says, "We hope this website helps the Ridgefield community stay connected to this important part of students' education."