Dear Riverdale Families,
What a strange last Gazette message to be writing to you all. I remember leaving school a bit early on March 12th for a meeting at the Superintendent's office to discuss the possibility of needing to close the schools for a short period of time to make sure the COVID-19 pandemic didn't spread throughout DPS. Had I known that would be the last time I'd be in this building with our students, I surely would've taken the moment in a bit longer. Instead, I simply walked out the door, sure that I'd see everyone that next morning. Looking back on March 12th, how naive I was to think we'd only be out of school for a short while!!
As the school year comes to a close, I am also looking back on what we've all done together over the last three months. I've always been proud of how involved our families have been with what goes on at Riverdale School, but I never thought you'd have to be this involved!! You all stepped up to the plate and worked with us to make sure our students were getting the best they could get during such a time. Were there growing pains? Yup. Disagreements on the platforms or frequency of virtual meetings? You bet. And that's ok. In any well-running team, these concerns are brought up to the group in a constructive and respectful way to see how we can problem-solve them. I'm just as proud of that work that we all did during these closures, as well. When we start finding out how we'll be able to be back for the 2020-2021 school year, we'll need to remember to rely on this team approach to figuring out solutions to complex questions.
I am so happy that I am going to be here with all of you in September as we work to figure out our "new normal," but I'm just as happy to stop using that term! I'm also looking forward to not having to use terms like, "unprecedented," "unchartered waters," and "Can you hear me? Am I unmuted?" The phrase I am hopeful we'll continue to use is, "We're all in this together." That shouldn't go away. As we enter into the summer battling not only the pandemic of COVID-19, but also the crisis around racism and social injustice happening in our country and world right now, we need to all be in this together. That means listening to where others are coming from and understanding that although we're in the same storm, we're in different boats that are constructed from many different backgrounds and experiences.
I hope you find time this summer to slow down, ease some of the pressures that we've all put on ourselves, and spend time with family not worrying about when the next Google Meet or Zoom call is...I know that's my plan! That being said, though, please do not think of this message as a "Farewell and good luck on your own this summer!" I will be taking some vacation time over the coming months, but if you need anything, please reach out. My response time may be a bit slower, but I'll help in any way I can.
Have a great summer!!
Ed Paris, Principal
Counselor's Corner - Mrs. Sheehy, LICSW
We've made it to the last week of distance learning! This "new normal" has felt anything but normal to many of us, I know. I hope that you and your children can take some pride in whatever you've accomplished under these difficult circumstances, and now take more time for self-care and nurturing yourselves. I have so missed seeing your children each day in person, but I am grateful for the option to see them on-line.
Below I'm attaching a resource about helping children understand what is happening across the country these days. Please be careful of what your children hear and see on media sources and continue to be there to talk with them about their concerns and questions. I am hopeful that the future will be brighter because your children and their peers will learn from what is happening now and make positive change as they grow up.
We continue to have grocery gift cards available for families and, as always, I'm happy to try to help connect you with whatever resource you might need.
I'm delighted to let you know that Meal Distribution will continue at Dedham distribution sites throughout the Summer! For this week meals are available every week day. Beginning next week the Summer schedule will go into effect and meals will be distributed only on Tuesdays and Thursdays in greater quantities to last longer. Children do not need to be present to receive breakfast and lunch at our 3 distribution sites (Avery Elementary, Riverdale Elementary, and Dedham Housing Authority at 92 Veteran’s Road). All Dedham residents 21 and younger can receive free meals from 9:00 - 11:00 AM.
PBS Kids for Parents: Parenting During Coronavirus: You Are Enough: You Are Enough
Life is Good, Talking to Kids About Racism Webinar: To fight racism effectively, we need to tap into the power of optimism. Not the “everything will be okay” type of optimism, but the type of optimism that will keep us believing in a better future and fighting to create real change. Life Is Good
The Town of Dedham has put together a comprehensive collection of resources for families: Dedham Covid-19 Responses and Resources
Dedham Public Schools counseling resources: COVID-19 Resources and Social Distancing
Congratulations to our Riverdale graduates! We will be here rooting for you! Please come and visit! Best wishes to everyone moving on from Riverdale, we will always hold you in our hearts.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care and have a wonderful Summer!
Library - Ingrid Mayyasi
Dear Riverdale Families,
With school ending, I have a stack of books that I plan on reading. Having time for pleasure reading is one of my favorite parts of the summer. I hope too that you and your children will make time for reading.
The Dedham Public Schools have a summer learning site and reading is a big part of that. Here is a link to the K-5 Reading page. The elementary librarians helped put this page together and there are many resources for your children. A new and fun feature this year is a bitmoji library which is a cartoon version of a library. All of the elementary librarians are in the library and I hope that you will recognize me. All you have to do is click on different parts of the bitmoji library and it will take you to the different resources. The same resources are also listed below the library. Because of the pandemic, we've added a number of additional activities to our summer learning page this year. They are in the same format as our weekly activities were: Read, Do, Make, Wonder.
Not only have extra resources been added due to the pandemic, but there is also a Black Lives Matter bookshelf in response to the recent events taking place across the country. The bookshelf has book suggestions for read alouds as well as chapter books. The books cover the themes of inclusion, racial justice and community. Reading these books with your children is sure to lead to great discussions. There is a wonderful introduction to the bookshelf by Sarah Bickel, the Greenlodge Librarian that I encourage you to listen to.
The virtual book fair to benefit the Riverdale Library is going on until Friday, June 19th. This is another great way to get books for your children to enjoy. Here is the link to the book fair.
On the K-5 Reading page there is a link to the Dedham Public Library summer reading program which will be online this year. There are also other DPL links on the page to help you find books online. In the May newsletter I highlighted ways to get books online and I have included them again. Many public libraries are now starting curbside pick up for patrons, but it may still be easier to get the books you want online.
Email email@example.com for help with getting a library card.
BPL ecard access - free for any resident of Massachusetts (Boston Public Library card)
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 children 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 children 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 hope that you all have a safe and enjoyable summer. Happy reading!
Nurse's Notes - Judy Byrne, R.N
Each year our 5th grade students receive state-mandated vision and scoliosis screenings in school. All 5th grade students received the vision screening.
Due to the COVID-19 building closure, none of the 5th grade class received scoliosis (postural) screening. This screening is also done in the 6th grade, so your student will receive it next year. If you have any concerns about your child's growth and development, please contact their pediatrician; most providers do this screening at annual health exams as well.
The 5th grade class also did not receive the educational video and discussion about puberty that we normally do in May or June. Our Dedham Middle School Nurse, Jennifer Atkins, is planning to provide this education to students during 6th grade. If you have any questions or concerns, or would like some puberty resources for your child, please contact Mrs. Byrne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be advised that 1st, 2nd & 3rd grade students did not receive their state mandate vision/hearing screenings. Families can let their pediatrician know so that these screenings can be done at their upcoming physicals.
Any 4th grade student that did not turn in a state mandate physical for this year, please send them to Riverdale before we return to school in September.
I hope you all have a safe, healthy and fun Summer!
Congratulations to our 5th Graders
We will miss you roaming the halls at Riverdale School. Good luck in Middle School
Click below for the virtual Onward and Upward video