Riverdale Gazette

September 2020

Principal's Message

Dear Riverdale Families,

Typically when I write these opening messages for our Riverdale Gazette, I look back at last year’s, copy and paste it into a new document, make small changes and then send it on over to Ava. There is absolutely no way I can do that for this message. So much has changed and things are incredibly more different than we ever imagined they would be. The one thing that has remained constant thoughout is this - we are dedicated to the education and well being of your students.

I know this because I welcomed staff back into the building on August 31st and watched them go straight to work, figuring out how they would be able to work with your students this year in a remote learning model. I know this because as I walk the halls throughout the day, I see and hear Riverdale staff members troubleshooting technology issues while working to make connections with students they’ve never met in person before. It is never more glaringly apparent, however, than when I see the staff at the end of the day, exhausted from the work they’ve done and wondering how they can keep up the pace at which they’re working, and they still say, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” It is truly awe inspiring.

This model of learning is not easy on families either, and I thank you for your perseverance with it. We know that as adults, whether the teacher or a family member, children look to us to see our actions and often replicate these actions. By staying positive and problem solving issues that arise, you’re showing the student(s) in your family that everything doesn’t need to be perfect everytime they do something and that improvements can happen through hard work. What a valuable lesson we’re teaching them through all of this!

Please be sure to check out the many resources in this newsletter and on the Riverdale School website. They’ve been designed to support you as your work to help your student(s) during remote learning. And don’t forget that we’re always here in the main office to help, as well!

Stay healthy and take care of eachother,

Ed Paris, Principal

Counselor's Corner - Mrs. Elaine Sheehy, LICSW

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! I hope you all had some quality time to relax and safely enjoy the summer.

As Riverdale’s School Adjustment Counselor it is my job to help the children feel as positive as they can about school and about themselves. I am a licensed independent clinical social worker with twenty-five plus years of experience as a child therapist and consultant. I meet with children individually and in groups with the permission of their parents or guardians. I consult to parents and teachers and collaborate with collaterals that work with Riverdale students. I connect families with local agencies that provide resources to Riverdale families. Please visit my website for more information and resources: Riverdale Counseling Website

I am working on creative ways to provide counseling services online or outside until we are in-person again. Please be in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Free online event: Back to School Worries: Helping Your Family This Fall with Lynn Lyons, LICSW Thursday, September 24, 2020 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

As we navigate a school year like no other, parents need strategies to help children (and themselves!) manage the worry, disappointment and uncertainty of our current pandemic-dominated environment. This presentation describes the skills needed to help manage emotions, including how to increase flexibility, tolerate uncertainty, communicate effectively and replace catastrophic thinking with problem-solving. To Register

Food Distribution Update/New Time:

The schedule for Dedham Public Schools Meals distribution is changing as of Thursday, September 24th. Four days of meals will be given out at Riverdale, Avery and Veterans Rd from 11:00-1:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays until students are back in the school buildings

Dedham Food Pantry:

The Dedham Food Pantry has moved to the old Panera building next to Shaw’s Market, 797 Providence Highway. They are currently low on volunteers and asking for help. If you would like to volunteer, follow this link for more information: https://dedhamfoodpantry.org/

I am available at all times by e-mail 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.

Nurse's Notes - Judy Byrne, R.N

Check out the DPS nurses’ video “Dedham, Let’s Stop the Spread” on the homepage!

Thank you to all who came to the mobile COVID-19 test site at Endicott Estate. It has been extended into next week as follows:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 23 from 1-5 p.m.

  • Thursday, Sept. 24 from 2-6 p.m.

  • Friday, Sept. 25 from noon to 4 p.m.

The testing is conducted by Fallon Ambulance at the Endicott Estate, located at 656 East St.

Testing is open to and free for all. You do not need to have symptoms to be tested. The testing is drive-through only and no walk-ups will be allowed. No appointment is necessary.

If you can’t make these times, there are still plenty of places to get tested. Check out the Massachusetts COVID-19 Test Locator Page and the Massachusetts Stop the Spread free testing site at Massasoit College in Brockton.

***If someone in your family has symptoms, always call their primary care provider first.

Influenza vaccine will be mandatory for all K-12 students this year by December 31st per state guidelines. Please send me proof of vaccination via email or upload it into the SNAP Health Portal.

For 5th grade families: If your student had their annual physical exam between March and August 2020, please send me a copy of the physical exam form. We are required by state regulation to ensure 4th grade students receive a physical exam.

For all families: please send in copies of physical exam forms any time your student has their annual appointment. It helps me follow students’ growth and development and identify changes in health status that may affect learning.

I am in the building every day. Feel free to call anytime 781-310-2245 or email me at jbyrne@dedham.k12.ma.us to discuss your student’s individual health needs.




The USDA has provided a waiver to allow for every child to receive school meals for FREE through December 31, 2020

What does that mean here in Dedham?

Plans are being updated daily but as of right now 9-2-2020

This is our plan

Continue to serve meals curbside at three locations

Avery Elementary

Riverdale Elementary

Veterans Road

Once students are in the buildings we will update our plan but tentatively we will;

Serve all students that are in the buildings both a breakfast and lunch daily

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We will also be taking attendance during each class period. Students at home are expected to log into their virtual class meetings at 8:45 am. Students must be present with cameras turned on so that the teacher can interact with them. Students who miss too many virtual classes will be subject to the school attendance policy.

Students should find a space in their home where they can comfortably attend classes and complete schoolwork. It is recommended that students sit with their back to the wall so that there will not be any distracting activities in the background of the video.

Students are expected to dress appropriately for these class meetings

Adult English Classes from the Dedham Public Library