Riverdale Gazette

September 2022


Dear Riverdale Families,

It’s hard to believe that today marks the 11th day of school. It feels like just yesterday I was introducing myself and inviting you to have popsicles with me. The energy in the building is contagious as our students have settled in and are exploring the joys of learning. Teachers have been working tirelessly to build classroom communities and it is amazing to witness.

Last Wednesday, we held our first all-school assembly and reviewed what it looks like to be a Riverdale model student. Students are able to verbalize our core values of being respectful, responsible, hardworking, and positive members of our community. We also read the book, "The Day You Begin" by Jacqueline Woodson. This is an outstanding book that celebrates diversity in the classroom and focuses on belonging, relationship skills, and having the courage to share your story. The story demonstrates how our stories help us to make connections to other people and realize our unique and special differences. I want each and every member of our Riverdale community to feel safe and proud to share their stories.

We continue to take proactive cleaning measures during the school day, washing surfaces and hands often. Nurse Byrne can administer a COVID-19 test for symptomatic individuals who have a new consent form on file. Please fill out this form if you wish to give your consent to have your child(ren) tested if they have symptoms during the school day.

We, at Riverdale, are looking for parents and community members that are willing to be part of our school council beginning in the fall of 2022. As a member of the school council you will join building staff as well as administration to assist in identifying the educational needs of students attending school, review the annual school building budget, adopt a school improvement plan and educational goals for the school that are consistent with local educational policies. Meetings will occur once a month from 6:00-7:00. If we have several interested individuals, we will hold an election this fall. If you are interested, or have questions please feel free to reach out to me via email dbennett@dedham.k12.ma.us.

As I mentioned in my August newsletter, I would like to invite the Riverdale Families to provide feedback to me via this form. All answers will be kept confidential and I will be using your feedback to identify themes, and will present them to you during a future PTO meeting. This will allow us to have a collaborative discussion on areas of strength and areas of growth.

As I close, I would like to share some bittersweet news regarding Mrs. Ava Martin, our Riverdale administrative assistant. Unfortunately for Riverdale, Mrs. Martin’s last day with us will be on September 30, 2022. Mrs. Martin is leaving Riverdale to pursue another opportunity that she could not pass up. After being part of our community for 9+ school years, she will be greatly missed here at Riverdale and throughout Dedham. I want to publicly thank Mrs. Martin for all she has done for me as I have transitioned to Dedham, and I know you will all join me in wishing her nothing but the best in her future endeavors.


Dana Bennett, Principal


It’s been a pleasure to meet our new students and welcome back our returning students for the 2022-2023 school year! The building is full of new positive energy.

I must apologize if anyone has tried to reach me by my office phone during the first days of school. My phone was not connected and I could not receive voicemails until last week. Please try again now if you would like to connect as my phone and voicemail are now in working order.

Weekly whole class self-regulation and social skill building lessons in 1st through 3rd grade classrooms have already begun. If you would like more information on the curriculum we use please visit: Zones of Regulation and Social Thinking

I am excited to share that Dedham will be a part of the McLean School Consultation Service through McLean Hospital again this year. This year the focus is on engaging and educating parents and caregivers in the community. There are 4 free webinars available to all PreK-12 parents/caregivers in Dedham. No pre-registration required. All webinars will also be recorded.

The first 4 topics will be:

- Understanding Self-Harm for Parents (Dr. Michael Hollander)

- Taking the Perfectionist Drive (Dr. Van Kirk)

- Mindful Parenting (Dr. Aguirre)

- Understanding Teens: Brains, Protection, and Risk (Dr. Silveri)

The Zoom links, dates, and times can be all found here: McLean Hospital Leaders in Youth Mental Health Series.

I am available at all times by email 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. Please visit my website for more information and resources: Riverdale Counseling Website

NURSES NOTES - Judy Byrne, R.N.

The Dedham Public School website has our Student Illness & Health Policies under the Student Handbook Link, (under Student Health).

DPS Student Illness Policy

To minimize the spread of infectious disease and to provide for a safe environment, students should be kept home from school for:

● Fever of 100 or above within the last 24 hours (fever should be under 100 for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications before returning to school)

● Vomiting/diarrhea within the last 24 hours

● A communicable disease

● An upper respiratory illness with significant coughing and/or nasal discharge

● Pain that requires the use of medications.

Please arrange to have your child picked up within a half hour of notification that he/she does not feel well.

I advise parents to keep children home if they have contagious symptoms or if they are too tired or distracted by their symptoms to participate in school fully.

Our Illness policy hasn't changed. But we do have the added COVID symptoms that parents should look out for especially if they have not had COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

COVID-19 symptoms list: Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills. As stated above, stay home if any fever in the last 24 hours without the use of medicines.

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

• New loss of taste or smell

• Muscle aches or body aches

• Cough (not due to another known cause)

• Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms

• Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms As stated above, stay home if any vomiting/diarrhea in the last 24 hours

• Headache when in combination with other symptoms

• Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms

• Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

Also, with any change in your child’s health, the school nurse must be notified by the parent/guardian of any:

Serious injury, illness or hospitalization, planned surgery, communicable diseases, new diagnosis or change in your child’s health status, fracture, sprain, stitches, cast, or crutches and the need to be excused from physical education/recess.

If your child is returning to school after an injury, surgery, or hospitalization, we require a doctor signed Return to School letter with school day accomodations & restrictions listed in order to keep your child safe at school. Thank you for your cooperation.

Let's have a healthy school year,

Judy Byrne, R.N.

Riverdale School Nurse

Library - Ms. Mayyasi

Welcome back to the Riverdale Library. I hope that you all had an enjoyable and relaxing summer. I spent a lot of time reading new books and can't wait to share them with your students. The first week of school, students shared with me some of the books they enjoyed over the summer. I often get great suggestions for book purchases from students sharing books that they enjoyed.

The Riverdale Fall Book Fair will be held the first week of October. Parents are welcome to come and shop during the school day as well as back to school night on Thursday, October 6th. All proceeds of the book fair benefit the library and enable me to purchase new books. More details will be sent home the week before the book fair. If you haven’t seen the library, I would encourage you to stop by during back to school night and take a look around. I would love to meet you and am happy to answer any questions that you might have about the library program.

Last week, I sent out a form looking for parents or other family members who might be interested in volunteering in the library to help with book check out and the shelving of books. I am happy that I have already gotten some responses. If you are interested, please contact me at imayyasi@dedham.k12.ma.us. If you can't come on a regular basis, I also need help during the book fair which would be a one time commitment.

During the month of October, Jackson Gervais, the PE teacher and I will be promoting a month long Fit and Lit incentive. This program will encourage students to read and exercise on a daily basis. Students who participate in the challenge can earn book and sneaker charms for their backpacks. All the details will be sent home at the end of September.

Ingrid Mayyasi


Riverdale School


Class Website

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Notes from the Main Office - Mrs. MArtin

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 to sing the months of the year song or days of the week song!

Ask a second grader how to keep their volcano from erupting.

Ask a third grader to practice their doubles facts. For example, 6 + 6 =? , 8+ 8 =?, etc.

Ask a fourth grader about the A, B, C, D, Es of a scientific drawing.

Ask a fifth grader to tell you about PEMDAS and have them explain the steps in solving the problem... 100 / [ 5 x ( 6 - 2)]


· Tuesday, October 4 – Early Release Day, Dismissal at noon

· Thursday, October 6 – Back to School Night 5:30-7:30 PM

· Monday, October 10 – Columbus Day, No School

· Thursday, October 20 – Picture Day

After School Enrichment

Fall After School Enrichment will begin on October 17 and run for 5 weeks. Keep an eye out for classes that will be offered in the next couple of weeks.

Picture Day is Coming

School Name: Riverdale Elementary School

Picture Day Date: Thursday, October 20


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Congratulations to Ms. Sullivan who was awarded the Ed Kelley Award. Presented annually to the Dedham School Department employee who demonstrates those qualities of Compassion - Insight - Integrity

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