Riverdale Gazette

November 2021

Principal's Message

Dear Riverdale Community,

You’re not going to believe this, but we have already completed over a quarter of the 2021-2022 school year. It’s wild to me that it feels like I just welcomed the 1st-graders into the gym and auditorium for their first day of school, but now we’re 51 days in! What’s so rewarding as Principal is that I get to walk throughout the building each day to see what has been accomplished over those past 51 days. Our 1st-graders are writing how-to books across multiple pages. Our second-graders have their phonemic awareness drills down pat. In third grade, students are growing their mental math abilities by using partial sums addition (which even I now use to help me do mental math!). I had to walk into a 4th-grade classroom a couple of weeks ago to see what was making so much noise, and it was the circuits our students had built using wire and batteries. And in 5th grade, students are able to carry on conversations about each branch of our government and the volume of container. This is all, of course, due to the engaging instructional techniques the staff uses and the very thoughtful lesson plans that are created for our students each evening (and often weekends!). To say the students and staff of Riverdale are working hard this year would be an enormous understatement.

As we enter into the holiday season, I want to make sure that highlight two points:

  1. If there is anything you or your family needs during what can be a very hard time of year for many families, please do not hesitate to reach out to the school to let us know how we can help. This can be done by emailing/calling me, Ms. Elaine Sheehy, Nurse Byrne, your child’s teacher...anyone here! We strongly believe in and practice confidentiality, so please use us as the community resource that we are. Students have a much harder time learning when their needs aren’t being met, and that includes knowing their families are taken care of. Taking care of eachother is one of the things that Riverdale does best, so lean on us or a neighbor when you need to!

  1. The Riverdale Community is always so thoughtful and generous to me around the holidays. My tagline with students is always, “Your presence is present enough,” and I truly mean that. This year, I’m asking that any families that would like to give me a gift for the holidays make a donation to the Dedham Food Pantry in my name. I’m extremely fortunate to have so much in my life, so the best gift any of my students or their families could give me would be to supporting their neighbors through the Dedham Food Pantry or any other similar organization.

Lastly, I always enjoy writing the November Gazette message to families because it allows me to take time out to say that, like every year, one of the most important things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving is being the Principal of Riverdale Elementary School. It’s not every person that gets to say that they truly enjoy where they work. Sure, the past year and a half has had its challenges, but knowing that the work I do directly benefits the students of Riverdale, their teachers and their families makes those challenges absolutely worth it. Thank you for being a part of this community and letting me work with all of you while we continue to grow our students into the very best people they can be.

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season. May the cold days and nights ahead be warmed by time with friends and family!


Ed Paris, Principal


I am always impressed by the generosity of our community at this time of year. If you would like to help a family in need and teach your children about the importance of helping the less fortunate, please be in touch. There are always opportunities to help others.

Please be in touch as soon as possible if you need Thanksgiving food assistance. If you are able, please consider donating a grocery gift card for a family in need this year.

If you need assistance for the Winter holidays, please reach out to me as soon as possible. This year our community partners are primarily offering gift cards rather than gift items to families in need due to covid restrictions. If you’d like to help a Riverdale family, please let me know.

Once again at this time of year, I would like to suggest that we all stop and take a moment to think about why we are thankful. One way to do this is to write a gratitude list or create a family gratitude jar and fill it with slips of paper with phrases about things you are grateful for. You can refer back to this list when you need a boost. Gratitude exercises help us to appreciate the positives in our lives even when life events are difficult. They can shift our mindsets and moods. Hand-writing your gratitude list items can help implant the positive thoughts in your memory. You can also say 3 things you are grateful for before you go to sleep to improve your sleep and your mindset. If you or your child are feeling so low that no ideas come, try to engage your imagination and imagine what in your life might inspire someone else to feel gratitude.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving!

You can reach me through the school’s main line: 781-310-2000, on my direct line 781-310-2709 or by email at esheehy@dedham.k12.ma.us Access my counselor’s website here: https://sites.google.com/dedham.k12.ma.us/esheehy/home

Ask a Grader

Ask a first-grader to be a "digraph detective" - can they spot words with digraphs (th, sh, ch, ck, wh) all around?

Ask a second-grader what the three states of matter are.

Ask a third-grader what their favorite book is. Then ask them to give you a summary of the book using the "SWBST" strategy if needed.

Ask a fourth-grader if they know the difference between a factor and a multiple.

Ask a 5th-grader to tell you about the personal narrative story that they have published.

Nurses Notes - Judy Byrne, R.N.

Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic

Students Ages 5-11

November 20, 2021

9:00am - 12:30pm

Dedham Middle School

Please click below for the Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic Webpage and to register for the Vaccine


Click below for all the latest information on Covid-19 and to Register for Pool Testing


Library - Ingrid Mayyast

In grades 1-3 we have been learning about how to be good digital citizens which means being safe, responsible and respectful online. Much of the material for our digital citizenship curriculum comes from Common Sense Media. They have a lot of good information for parents and it is well worth your time to take a look at this website. The digital citizenship curriculum is under the educator tab. Technology is constantly changing and it is important to keep up with what students are exposed to. Grades 4 and 5 will cover digital citizenship a bit later this year.

Students in grades 1-3 participated in Read for the Record at the end of October and we were part of the two million people who took part in this campaign to raise awareness of the importance of childhood literacy. We read the book Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon and Mr. Sances made a beautiful dragon that is now hanging in the library. Students decorated the dragon with beautiful scales they designed.

Students in grades 4 and 5 have been making booksnaps using a google slide. Booksnaps are a way for students to share in a visual way their personal connection to a text and to reflect on what they have been reading.

I wanted to share a nonfiction picture book that I love and think would be a wonderful book for you to share with your children, We Are Grateful by Traci Sorell. Otsaliheliga is the Cherokee word for gratitude. This book celebrates the large and small blessings taking place each season of the year. It is certainly something for all of us to think about during the month of November.

Thanksgiving Baskets

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Adult Trivia Night

You’re invited:
Riverdale Elementary Parent’s Night Out
Trivia Edition
Friday, November 19th, 6:30pm–10pm
at The American Legion
Pack some snacks, your sense of friendly competition,
and bring your cash for a 50/50 raffle.
Pizza & salad will be served and
drinks will be available for purchase.
Adults-only (21+)
For more information and to buy tickets, go to


Halloween Festivities at Riverdale School

Picture Day

School Name: Riverdale Elementary School

Picture Day Date: Thursday, November 18

Picture Day ID: EVTM2CFSN

Meadow Farms Fundraiser November 15 - 29

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Coats for Kids

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Important Dates

  • November 15-29 – Meadow Farms Fundraiser
  • Thursday, November 18 – Reschedule Fall Picture Day
  • Friday, November 19 - Adult Trivia Night
  • Wednesday November 24 – Turkey Trot @ 11:30 am; Early Dismissal at Noon
  • Thursday, November 25 & 26 – Thanksgiving Recess, No School