May 5, 2023
Dear Families, Faculty, and Staff,
This week RPS was joined by the Tri-State Consortium, “The Tri-State Consortium is an alliance of public school districts committed to systems thinking and collaborative inquiry as pathways toward continuous improvement. Working together as colleagues and critical friends, we apply the standards of the Tri-State model to benchmark member districts' progress in advancing teaching and learning. Consortium members support each other through external peer review of programs and practices, study groups, conferences, and topic-based seminars designed to deepen professional learning.” The visiting team, led by Dr. Marty Brooks, included district, school, and classroom leaders from as far as Long Island and as close as New Canaan. The team, alongside RPS leadership, teachers, parents, and Board of Education members dove deep into essential questions connected to our world language program, 6-12. We look forward to sharing what we learn with the Board of Education.
Visual Performing Art Shows are happening across our community- hope you can get out there and see the work of our students.
On Monday, all three Boards came together for the annual meeting- don’t forget to come out and vote, Tuesday, May 9!
Have a great weekend.
Dr. Susie Da Silva, Ed.D
Photo Caption: The Tri-State Consortium
Please Check Your School Calendar
This is such a busy time of year. Please check your school's calendar to keep on top of important dates and events. Note the following important district dates.
Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m.
The meeting is at the BOE Conference Room at 90 East Ridge Rd.
Entrance doors are located off Governor Street, directly opposite the police station cell tower. All public comments must be made in person. (comments taken at the beginning and end of the meeting)
To watch, use our RPS YouTube link:
View the agenda here:
The Budget Vote is Tuesday, May 9 at Yanity Gym, 6 am to 8 pm.
RHS Orchestra Spring Concert--WEDNESDAY!
Wednesday, May 10 at 6:30 pm—RHS Auditorium. Flyer below!
Tentative Last Day of School
The tentative last day of school for students is Monday, June 19.
It is an early dismissal day for students.
The tentative End-of-Year PD Day for Teachers is Tuesday, June 20.
District News and Reminders
NEW! Teacher Appreciation Week—MAY 8-12!!!
Just a reminder to check your PTA Newsletters and emails for Teacher Appreciation Week celebrations.Thank you to the PTA volunteers for your creativity, kindness, and generosity.
On this week’s episode of Tiger Talk, we get down to business with a Ridgefield High School Business Department. Business teachers Jesse Peterkin and Kelly Predham along with a whole host of business students join us on the podcast to discuss all of the interesting topics that are covered in the many different business classes that they can take. We also talk about three impressive business clubs that are student-run. Thanks for listening! Read more about the Business Department's sixth annual symposium below.
Kindergarten Registration—HELP NEEDED!
Final Call for Session #2 RHS Jump Start for Rising Grade 9
Our Kings (and Queens): School Principal Day!
Monday was School Principals Day. Thank you to the nine principals who make RPS great!
Jennifer Phostole-East Ridge Middle School
Tim Salem-Scotts Ridge Middle School
Becky Laus-Barlow Mountain Elementary
Keith Margolus-Branchville Elementary
Nancy Caron-Farmingville Elementary
Mary Scalise-Ridgebury Elementary
Jill Katkocin-Scotland Elementary
Sheri Prendergast-Veterans Park Elementary
Hardworking! Articulate! Caring! Compassionate! Supportive! Connected! The best!
Please Check the e-Backpack Every Week!
RPS Elementary Librarians Are Common Sense Educators
All elementary LLC staff earned Common Sense Educator status from Common Sense Media. They each completed professional development, student instruction, and reflection on Digital Citizenship to earn their Commons Sense badge.
In the Classroom
Business Symposium at RHS Attracts Local Leaders
Last week, the RHS Business Department hosted its sixth-annual Business Symposium. The RHS Business Department is proud to once again offer this experience that brings together business students with successful local business professionals and entrepreneurs.
RHS Business Chair, Jesse Peterkin writes, “We are fortunate and thankful for the time that these executives take out of their busy schedules to give back to students in our community. The real-world knowledge and experience that our students gain from this event is unique and special. The takeaways can be life-changing for our students."
The event includes student presentations, a keynote speech by Wilder Rumpf, Founder and CEO of FinTron, a Ridgefield Thrift Shop Fashion Show, and workshops presented by a number of prominent business professionals from such companies and schools as Doordash, Columbia Business School, Marist College, SunnyD, The Granola Bar, Piper Sandler, Rides for Ridgefield and Sompo International.
This event is both fun and rewarding and meant to bring true engagement to the educational experience. Ridgefield High School strives to make the educational experience meaningful and impactful for its students. This event takes months of coordination and working with business professionals directly to develop our student projects. Students research, collaborate and explore ways to solve real-world challenges, and will make strategic recommendations to our business partners.
Thank you to business student Corrie Vakil for helping create this program that includes the participants, their affiliations, and a schedule of the day's events.
LISTEN TO THIS WEEK'S PODCAST TO LEARN MORE!
RHS and RTS—Forever Fashionable...and Sustainable
Will somebody tell fashion editor Anna Wintour that the MET Gala glam might have been supplanted by wearable and sustainable fashions from the Ridgefield Thrift Shop? Spearheaded by business teacher Kelly Predham and MCed by RHS student icon Avery Siburn, the show featured fashions ranging from golf to business casual to hallway chic. Special thanks to Pam Simoneau of the Ridgefield Thrift Shop who curated all of the outfits and the RHS models.
Author Visit at SRMS Is a Hit
Author Jennifer Nielsen spent Wednesday with Scotts Ridge Middle School students talking about writing...and reading...and World War 1...and Marvel Comics...and...There seemed to be nary a topic of conversation that Ms. Nielsen didn't cover with enthusiasm, intelligence, and depth. Throughout the day, Nielsen presented to grade-wide groups, teams, and small groups with equal success and engagement. "You could hear a pin drop," says librarian Janine Johnson of the early morning meeting with sixth graders.
During lunch, students who had won trivia contests based on Nielsen’s books talked and ate with the author. In a game-like format, Ms. Nielsen weaved stories together with eighth graders who chose the direction of the plot, characters’ motivation, setting, and more. “I could gladly do this every day,” said one of the students. Nielsen chatted with some of her avid fans to learn about their interests and passions. After her day at SRMS, Nielsen visited Books on the Common. The Ridgefield Education Foundation funded this enriching and fun author visit. Come back, Ms. Nielsen!
How to Explain Your Dragon
Lesson on the Vocabulary of Nonfiction
Veterans Park Elementary students have been honing their nonfiction writing techniques by writing about…Dragons. Throughout time, dragons have captured the human imagination. Wendy Richardon's VPES ELL students covered these mythological creatures using the language of fact and nonfiction.
Ms. Richardson reports that "the kindergartens explained everything they know about dragons, and said that even though dragons are apex predators, they occasionally like to eat fruit. Grade One took the time to categorize all dragons into one of two groups. Did you know that dragons from Europe fly and breathe fire, while Eastern dragons are more serpent-like?"
Grade Two managed an even greater project, according to Richardson. "They all wrote a nonfiction book that used scientific and expert language to convince any reader that dragons are, indeed, 'real'. They worked to persuade readers that Dragons not only exist but have certain dietary needs and live around 70 years.
Afterward, students made an enormous dragon to put above the cafeteria entrance. Kindergarten, Grades One and Two pupils, along with some eager older students, contributed a ‘scale’ to cover the dragon - making the dragon a VPES multicolored extravaganza of awesomeness!"
The HeARTS of RPS
RHS Orchestra Spring Concert—WEDNESDAY!
RHS Art Show
On Thursday, the RHS Art Show opened with a celebration of the VItality of the Arts. RHS Choir members performed in the Black Box Theater amidst student art. During lunch periods yesterday and today, students enjoyed their peers' talents. "I would love to own one of those rings," exclaimed one student. "That's iconic," said another. "So cool!".
Please see a special section of student art creating this buzz and installation photos from the RHS Art Show in "Photos From the Week" below.
All Beauties at Branchville!
Beyond the Classroom
RHS Student Kyle Song Wins Award for Superior Writing
Essay Addresses How to He Came to Love Learning Again
RHS junior Kyle Song received a 2023 Achievement Award in Writing from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) for his essay “Why Is There School?” The essay addresses how a summer program reinvigorated his passion for learning and commitment to academics. Kyle's tenth-grade English teacher Julie Henderson encouraged him to enter the competition.
Kyle is a member of the Varsity Tennis team. He loves science and participated in a summer program for high school students last summer with NASA. He coaches tennis and is a tutor at Danbury Grassroots Academy, who describes himself as “a curious person… (who tries ) to have fun and be creative in (his) daily life."
The NCTE press release describes its Achievement Awards in Writing "as a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students to write and to recognize some of the best student writers in the nation. Schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, US territories, Canada, and American schools abroad are eligible to nominate students for the writing program. This year, schools nominated 360 students. Two to three independent judges scored each submission on the expression of ideas, language use, and unique perspective and voice.” Kyle's essay earned "Superior" distinction.
For more information about the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, including past winners, click here.
East Ridge Geo Bee
Last Friday, East Ridge Middle School held its annual Geo-Bee. Students who qualified to go head to head to match geography wits include Arthur Brown, Caroline Chaikivsky, Finley Cooper, Maxim Curt, Scott Dadasovich, Noah Fadla, Tristan Farmer, Sam Feliciano, Gabriel Fincham, Declan Good, Kaitan Gupta, Dalia Katra, Will Knispel, Gavin Kramer, Noah Lieberman, Graham Muncy, Aarna Pande, Ben Pearl, Derek Roxbury, Grace Smith...
and the winners (photo with Principal Jennifer Photostole) are:
Kaitan Gupta 1st
Ben Pearl 2nd
Graham Muncy 3rd
One Book, One School Inspires Wishing Day at VPES
Monday, May 1 was Wishing Day at Veterans Park Elementary. VPES kicked off May with an all-school meeting led by VPES Literacy Coach, Dr. Kara Tanner (photo). The assembly focused on the book Wishtree by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Charles Santoso, which the VPES PTA bought for all staff and students as part of the One Book, One School initiative. At the center of Applegate's novel is controversy over a neighborhood "wish tree". VPES fourth graders invited the community invited to hang their own wishes on the VPES tree just like the characters in the book. Two fourth graders shared their wishes to reduce pollution and make more friends. Dr. Tanner passed out tags so everyone could add their wishes to the tree. Hope all your wishes come true!
Scotland Read-A-Thon Gets Boost by Local Heroes
Local heroes including Police Chief Jeff Kreitz, Fire Captain Tony Cerulli, Paramedic Chris Sanders, and Firefighter Nick Latella came to Scotland Elementary to read to students during the PTA's Read-a-Thon fundraiser.
Photo: Tony Cerulli and Nick Latella with Scotland students
"Re-joice" for HRRA Recycling Billboard Winners
Last week's RPS Update reported on RPS students cleaning up at the annual HRRA Recycling Billboard Contest. Post-publication, the Update received an awesome photo of some of the winners with Ridgefield's recycling queen, Tiffany Carlson. This year's theme was "Recycle Outside the Bin," which gives information about all the products that are recyclable beyond the single stream bin. These posters are good reminders that paint and textiles should be recycled.
Here is a link to all the winners and designs.
Giorgia Avallone, 3rd Grade, Barlow Mountain Elementary, 2nd Place (below top).
Tommy Cockerille, 4th Grade, Ridgebury Elementary, 3rd Place (below middle).
Oliver Cockerille, 1st Grade, Ridgebury Elementary, 2nd Place (below bottom).
Eleanor Idone, 7th Grade, Scotts Ridge Middle School, 1st Place.
Sherry Wu, 8th Grade, East Ridge Middle School, 1st Place.
Brothers Play Carnegie Hall
RPS brothers returned to Carnegie Hall on April 29. Justin Kim, a seventh grader at East Ridge Middle School won first place in the Golden Key Music Festival for his solo performance. Justin and his brother Jayden, a fourth grader at Branchville Elementary School, won first place for their duet performance. These outstanding performances earned them the invitation to perform at the famed New York venue. Way to play!!!
Student Plans Blood Drive
Blood is thicker than water for the Langberg sisters. RHS student Juliette Langberg is picking up where her sister, Ariel, left off by hosting a blood drive, on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, from 2 pm - 7:00 pm at East Ridge Middle School. Here's a link to sign up: Click here to make an appointment
RIFF to Showcase Young FES Filmmakers
Looking for a way to experience the creativity and innovation of young filmmakers? Look no further than the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival at the Ridgefield Library on May 18 at 5 pm.
RIFF is proud to present a special showcase of stop-motion films created by talented Farmingville Elementary School fifth graders. Each short film is a unique work of art that will transport you to new worlds and leave you in awe of the creative talents of these young artists. Don't miss this chance to witness the magic of stop-motion animation and support the next generation of filmmakers. Click here for FES Librarian Laura Kovsky's RIFF_FES Film Fest Trailer. Family-friendly!
Pride in the Park Perk Cards Available
The RPS Gay Straight Alliance clubs are hosting the Fourth Annual Ridgefield Pride in the Park Celebration on June 3 from noon -3:00 pm at Ballard Park. As a fundraiser for the event, they are selling Pride Perks cards for $5. The card allows the holder to receive discounts from area merchants. New offers are being added all the time. A perk that many families enjoy is the Martin Park Beach pass discount. People can order them by going to the website ridgefieldctpride.com.
Photos from the Week
Nia Simpson Memorial Day Is a Win
On Saturday, the RPS community flocked to Tiger Hollow for a day to remember junior Nia Simpson. Junior Caroline Smith sang the National Anthem before the Girls Varsity Lacrosse Game. Friends and family wore green for Nia.
RHS Student Art Show
Student art gallery
Art teachers Dana Phelan and Jane Grassi on opening day of the RHS Art Show.