Glendale-River Hills

June 2020: School District Update

Dear Glendale River Hills Families:

Before I start this newsletter I want to express my utter dismay over the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing demonstrations that have followed. I am asking all of us, in particular those of us who are white, to combat our nation's deep-rooted racism and harm that our communities of color are experiencing.

I also want to point out the additional layers of trauma and pain that our students, families, staff, and leaders of color are experiencing, compounding the stress and suffering many are already feeling during COVID-19.

To my friends and community members of color, I see you, I respect you and I support you! I’m calling on my Glendale River Hills community to change my word of I to WE! The Glendale River Hills School District is fortunate to have building leaders of color who have helped open my eyes and ears to the tragedies happening around me that I may not otherwise have noticed. I am committed to helping our schools to actively disrupt racism. I know that the fight against racism, oppression, and hate cannot fall only on our community members of color. Glendale River Hills families WE must lead it together!

And I know that it is not enough to simply speak out and condemn racism when I see it. I want you to know that the district, including principals and staff, are working to support those who have been impacted by racism in our own community by leading conversations and lessons around the recent incidents.

To conclude, I want to thank you for your partnership in talking with your children often about racism. All families of color must have these conversations on a regular basis, most likely daily, WE need to make this statement say ALL families have conversations about racism on a regular basis.

If your student is in need of support during this time, please reach out to your principal or trusted adult in the building. It is so important for us that our students of color know how much we love and care for them, now more than ever.

In memory of George Floyd, and all who have faced racism we must strive to do more and to do better.


Larry Smalley-Superintendent

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Congratulations 8th Grade Students!

Our outstanding middle school staff has organized a virtual promotion ceremony for our 8th-grade students this coming Saturday, June 6th. Congratulations to our students, parents, and staff for all their hard work and commitment! This is certainly not the way we hoped to end their 8th-grade career, but HIGH we come!

8th-grade families will personally receive the link to the ceremony, but it will also be available on our website for anyone else that would like to watch and celebrate with our 8th-grade students!

Best wishes to everyone!

Looking Ahead!

The Glendale River Hills School District has continued to work closely with our partners in public health as well as area district superintendents to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our students, staff, families, and communities healthy. We understand that resuming in-person operations will require significant planning and numerous precautions to minimize the risk to the health of our school community. Schools are complex social organizations and we are working diligently to plan for a future when we can gather again on campus. While we don’t have many answers, we wanted to keep families informed regarding our ongoing efforts to plan for our 2020-2021 return to school in fall.

The Department of Public Instruction and the North Shore Health Department will be providing guidelines for local school districts to utilize in preparing for the return to school. We must plan for our future in a way that creates “social distancing” from the very moment a child steps on a bus for arrival to their departure home. When we plan for reopening schools, we must have a clear understanding of how to monitor and respond to COVID-19 symptoms, what to do when someone from our schools tests positive and ensuring we have access to appropriate personal protective equipment as well as cleaning and sanitizing supplies. Our planning will remain contingent on local health conditions, safety will be paramount, and flexibility will be critical as we move forward.

We need to rethink every moment of a child’s day:

  • Our bus drivers will need to be recalled from layoff and we need to redesign routes to create appropriate distance between students on a bus.

  • If we continue to have limits on group size, we will need to create a virtual and physical schedule to rotate students in every other day or every other week.

  • When we return, we will need to reteach and enforce safe student behaviors such as frequent handwashing, not sharing materials or lockers/cubbies, safe and socially distanced hallway expectations, avoiding touching others, etc.

  • As schools, we will also need to rethink how we use shared spaces such as playgrounds, restrooms, lunchrooms, health offices, and physical education areas look like as they have traditionally been times of increased group size, physical contact, or shared materials (balls, mats, etc.)

These are just a few examples of the in-depth planning that is occurring in preparation for fall. We are planning how we can provide educational experiences that are safe and meaningful, even though they may be different from what we have done in the past.

Starting with this knowledge, our Glendale Principals and their staff are preparing for virtual learning, in-person learning, and/or a hybrid of both for the beginning of next year. I am hopeful that a final decision can be made by the week of July 17 (giving us a full 6 weeks to prepare our schools for whatever decision). We plan on holding our registration days the week of August 10, knowing that this too, will probably look different. Regardless, of how we start school next year, you still have our commitment to EVERY Kid, EVERY day, WHATEVER IT TAKES!

Thank you for working with us to keep our students, staff, families, and communities healthy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.


Larry Smalley-Superintendent

While you were away...

Closing the year!

Each building is preparing your child's personal items for pick up in the next week. Please refer to communication from your building administrators for the details.

Suggestions for staying in the reading zone this summer!

  • Read to your child/teenager as well as to your younger children.

  • Have your child/teen read to you. Encourage him or her to have fun using dialects, funny character voices, etc. when reading aloud.

  • Try family read-alouds on outings or vacations.

  • Have your child/teen read to younger siblings.

  • Make your house a place where it is easy to read - comfortable, good lighting - and set aside some quiet, private time for reading, for everyone.

  • Have plenty of books, magazines, and newspapers around the house.

  • Set a good example and be a reader yourself; if your child/teen sees you reading for enjoyment, it will seem like a natural part of life.

  • Establish a specific time to read each day and stick to it.

  • Read for 30 minutes a day, five days a week...or create a regular schedule that works for you.

  • Visit the public library or local bookstores and participate in summer reading programs they offer.

  • Organize or participate in a summer book club with friends or neighbors.

  • Read five books in a series or by the same author.

  • Research a topic such as a vacation spot, a hobby, a famous person, a science experiment, a historical event, or a topic that interests you.

  • Create a literacy blog to share with other kids.

  • Get to know the passionate interests of your child/teen and connect these interests to his or her reading.

  • Use television, the internet, and movies in a positive way to raise curiosity and interest, so your child/teen will want to “read more about it.”


As a district, we are committed to providing a quality education for ALL students.

Our commitment is to EVERY kid, EVERY day, Whatever it takes!