What's Happening at the Hive

Issue #10

The Buzz

Hello Florida Ruffin Ridley School Families and Friends,

I hope you are all staying warm and dry during these dreary winter days. The Hive has been buzzing with activity since we returned from the winter break! In the past few weeks alone we've had writer's celebrations in kindergarten, our grade 8 students engaging in conversations around Dr. King's "beloved community", the launch of the MCBA (Massachusetts Children Book Awards) project in 5th grade, our trout hatching as part of the grade 3 life cycle science unit, and so much more!

We are coming up to even more celebration and learning in the weeks ahead between now and the February break. This weekend is Lunar New Year and many of our classes across grade levels are learning more through reading, research, and interactions with family members who have been volunteering to come into the building to lead the learning and share their family's traditions. Next Friday we will mark the solemn Holocaust Remembrance Day which offers students developmentally appropriate ways to engage with the history of World War II and the Holocaust. (For more information about Holocaust Remembrance Day please check out these resources curated by our own EL educator and FRR parent Yael Neeman-Schubert) And as we look ahead to the start of Black History Month on February 1st our educators and students are already collaborating and in conversations about celebrations and learning culminating in our annual all school Black History Month assembly.

In addition to all the great work happening inside our classrooms and across our grade levels we are excited about our work as a community to invite students and families to work with us and feel empowered to design a more inclusive and kind community at our school. I hope that you will all consider engaging with our Family and Caregiver workshop coming up this Thursday (January 26th) at 6:00p and encouraging your middle schooler to attend the in school and after school workshops. These interactive solutions oriented workshops will offer opportunities to design and lead change within our school community to help ensure that all our students are safe, included, respected, and valued.

Lastly, we have some shifts, currently rolling out and coming in the future weeks, regarding our lunch and recess procedures. Your child(ren) may be coming home talking about some of these changes. You can read more about them in the sections below.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to reach out. I hope to see many of you this Thursday night!


Let's Talk About It Childcare Registration

Thank you to all of our families who already registered for the Let's Talk About Caregiver workshop and indicated the need for childcare. This information was helpful for us in our planning purposes.

To officially register for childcare please fill out this form.

Let's Talk About It: Family and Caregiver Workshop on January 26th UPDATES and REMINDERS

Join us and be part of an important conversation happening at FRR.

When: January 26th 6:00 - 7:30pm

Where: Florida Ruffin Ridley School Library

How can we support and empower students to design a more inclusive and kind community at school?

In this hands on, interactive, parent-led workshop, you will...

  • HEAR directly from students about the challenges they face

  • PARTICIPATE in group discussion and activities

  • DESIGN potential solutions as a parent community

  • SHARE solutions with students to get their feedback

The mission of this evening is to come together as a parent community in support of ALL children. While we will not be talking about specific instances or personal stories, we will be discussing hot topics informed by FRR students, including, but not limited to: unkindness, teasing, bullying, and exclusion.

If you plan to attend please RSVP for the event here.

Let's Talk About It: Middle School Student Workshop

In partnership with Design for Change we are inviting our grade 6-8 students to participate in a unique Leadership Workshop to address social dynamics and bullying at FRR. If you think that your child(ren) would benefit from and enjoy this special opportunity to step up and be a leader in our community please encourage them to connect with their homeroom advisor and/or Saeed Ola and Jen Buller.

Some information about this opportunity:

1. Design For Change is a globally recognized framework used in 70 countries

2. Developed in partnership with Harvard and Stanford

2. The workshop will be led by an FRR parent and supported by Saeed Ola and Jen Buller

3. It will be hands on, super fun, interactive multi series workshops that will address social dynamics and bullying at FRR.

4. Skills students will practice include: empathy, creativity, problem solving and collaboration

5. We will be offering workshops during the school day and after school. Students may choose which workshop times work best for their schedule

You can watch this video to learn a little more information about this work and the process that will be used during the workshops.

If you have any follow up questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to Jen Buller and Saeed Ola.

Safe Arrival REMINDER

As the snow starts falling and temperatures are dropping we are noticing more and more vehicles in our front loop in the morning. As a reminder there is NO DRIVING IN THE FRONT LOOP BETWEEN 7:45 - 8:05a. Please use the rolling drop off lane on the left side of Stedman Street if you are driving to the school building between 7:45 and 8:05a.

Lunch and Recess Changes

We have been working in partnership with our cafeteria and classroom staff to come up with solutions to some of the challenges we have been experiencing with lunch and recess. Through much collaboration, thoughtful dialogues, and great problem solving thinking we are moving forward with some adjustments to both lunch and recess.

Lunch Shifts and Timeline

  • We changed the traffic pattern and serving lines in the cafeteria starting on Tuesday in an effort to reduce waiting times in line. There are now two hot lunch only serving lines by the kitchen and a third serving line that handles all cold lunches in a separate part of the cafeteria. Already this week we are noticing a drastic reduction in wait times and improved traffic flow through the cafeteria.
  • Kindergarten and Grade 3 students will be returning to the cafeteria after the February break
  • We will be using the time between now and the February break to assess and make necessary adjustments to the new serving line design in preparation for adding back additional students and preparing supports to help preview and practice the changes
  • After the February break will be adding "sensory friendly" lunch spaces outside of the cafeteria during all lunch blocks and are working with educators on identifying students who would benefit from this support

Recess Shifts and Timeline

Starting in early December there have been a group of educators collaborating with Jen, Erin, and Steve to look at the safety and supervision plan for K-5 recess. The group recently arrived at a plan that will meet our needs for safety and supervision while also allowing students to have more opportunities to connect with peers outside of their own classrooms out at recess.

After the February break we will engage in our new recess plan for K-5 recess blocks and will support the transition with revised and communicated expectations and clear procedures for all classes. We will spend time collecting data after the transition to be sure that we are still providing safe spaces that have ample supervision and give students and opportunity to experience the various play equipment, structures, and spaces that our outdoor play spaces offer, and make adjustments as necessary.

Making changes to major routines and procedures in the middle of the school year is difficult and complex and something that we are confident as a team working together we can handle. We expect there will be some bumps along the way that we will learn from and adjust/respond to as quickly as possible. The hope is that these new designs and procedures will reduce the amount of wait time in lines, allow for more time to be spent eating and socializing, include more students in the cafeteria experience with their peers, and allow for more between class socialization during recess blocks. As challenges arise we ask that everyone take a position of curiosity and collaboration and work to have solutions oriented conversations knowing that we are all trying to support systems and procedures that are centered on students.

Two Week Calendar

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