Riverdale Gazette

May 2020

Principal's Message

Dear Riverdale Families,

We know you have been receiving a lot of emails, but we thought it would be nice to send out a newsletter to try to give some semblance of normalcy during all of this. If reading this is going to cause information overload, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO STOP READING NOW!

My message in this month’s gazette is simply this - thank you for the partnership we’ve all strengthened during these school closures. As I’ve said to many families over the last 7 weeks, families are on a “spectrum of needs.” There are families that are saying, “Please stop sending so much home! I’m trying to survive over here!!” and on the other end, there are families saying, “Why aren’t you sending more?? We’re ready to roll and my students are fully ready to go completely online!” while there are also many, many families somewhere in between. Remember: “We’re not all in the same boat. We’re in the same storm.” No matter where you fall on this “spectrum of needs,” it’s our strong partnership, open and honest communication, and a solutions-based approach to issues that arise that are going to make this work. Thank you for playing a huge part in this partnership.

I’m going to stop there, because the amount of words being thrown at you all is ENORMOUS!! As always, if there’s anything you need, reach out to your students’ classroom teacher(s), related service provider (i.e. Special Education teacher, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational/Physical Therapist, etc.) and/or Specialist (i.e. PE, Library, Art, Music)...and of course me (I just may have a slower turnaround time on emails!).

Stay well!

Ed Paris, Principal

Library Newsletter - Ms. Mayyasi

Dear Riverdale Families,

I can’t tell you how much I have missed seeing your children in the library and sharing books with them. I don’t see the kids all summer when we are on vacation, but this feels very different. School ended so abruptly and there wasn’t even a chance to say goodbye.

The elementary librarians have put together a list of resources to help you during this time. Every week new activities/assignments are posted based around a theme. There are also lists of resources organized by things to do, reading/listening, making, and wondering.

I went to my public library before they closed and stocked up on books that I thought would get me through this pandemic. I did not check out nearly enough books. You and your children might be feeling this way too. I have been making use of the public library’s online resources and you can too. They have resources for children and adults alike. There are ebooks, audio books and movies. All that you need to access these resources is a library card and if for some reason you don’t have one, it is possible to get one. You can also apply for a Boston Public Library card online:

I wanted to highlight a few resources that you might find most useful:

  • For younger students - Tumblebooks (Username: matumbles Password: trial). There are mainly picture books on this site and the books are read to you.

  • For all students and adults - Hoopla is on the Dedham Public Library website. There are ebooks, audiobooks and movies available. There is instant gratification with this site as there are no waiting lists for items, but most libraries limit how many items you can check out each month.

  • For all students and adults - Overdrive is available on the Dedham Public Library website. There are ebooks and audiobooks available. Many books have a waiting list, so you may need to reserve a book. I have put multiple books on reserve. The waiting lists are often not as long as stated.

I would love to hear from you and your children. Please share what you are reading or doing at home during this time. Notes and pictures would be most welcome. If there is anything you need help with please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at imayyasi@dedham.k12.ma.us.

Please stay safe and healthy,

Ingrid Mayyasi

Counselor's Corner - Mrs. Sheehy, LICSW

Dear Riverdale Families-

First and foremost, I hope that you all are safe and well. I especially appreciate the opportunity to reach out to you all this month. As we all know, these are unprecedented circumstances. In my 20 years serving as a social worker in the Dedham Public School System, I have never before experienced what it feels like to be denied the option of seeing your children shine and sparkle the way they do at Riverdale. I so love greeting them at the circle drive door in the mornings, in my office, in the hallways and in the classrooms and saying goodbye at the end of each day. I am working to see this time as an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for so many things that I had taken for granted, and I urge you to do the same. I also acknowledge that this type of thinking is a luxury that I am afforded since my family and I are safe, healthy and secure. If there is anything that your families need that I may be able to provide through community resources, consultation, phone call or virtual meeting, please reach out to me.

A large part of a social workers clinical training is focused on healthy goodbyes. Therapeutic goodbyes can be powerful tools for healing old wounds and cementing the progress made through the therapeutic relationship. We are now tasked with maintaining healthy connections with students, who we will see again at Riverdale, and celebrating the achievements of and saying goodbye to our 5th graders and any other students, who may be moving on from our school. I have the utmost confidence that the Riverdale community will rise to this challenge. We will need to create new ways to review growth and mark the moving on of these students.

We need your help, of course, please let us know how your child is doing and what you think might be helpful for them to manage this enormous change. You may see an increase in negative behaviors in your children as they unconsciously try to get back some sense of control. Their tempers may be short; their moods might be low. All of those reactions would be within behavioral expectations. If these feelings and behaviors persist or reach a concerning intensity, or if you would just like to chat about what might be expectable during these times, please be in touch. You can help them best by creating consistent routines, hearing their feelings, comforting them, giving them safe, controlled choices and encouraging and modelling a gratitude practice.

If you would like to receive the weekly email I send out to families with resources and a video of me either leading a mindfulness activity or a read-aloud please let me know.

We have grocery store gift cards available through the PTO. Please let me know if you need one.

Our Food Service Department continues to offer meals each day for any Dedham residents under the age of 18, at the Riverdale Elementary School, at the Avery Elementary School and at the Dedham Housing Authority Community Center (92 Veteran’s Road), Hours for all three sites will be 9-11:00 AM. All children must be present to receive food.

Dedham Public Schools counseling department resources: COVID-19 Resources and Social Distancing

Please be in touch if I can be of any help. I can check my office voicemails remotely: 781-310-2709. Email is the quickest way to reach me: esheehy@dedham.k12.ma.us

Take care, Elaine

Big picture

Photos of Riverdale Students Learning from Home

For students that have medication that needs to be picked up, Nurse Byrne is at Riverdale every Thursday from 8:30am to 10:00am

Riverdale Staff Presents A Music Video!!!

Riverdale Staff: Here With Me