Back to School Information
Dear Riverside Families,
As the final days of summer fade away, I hope that you all share the excitement of a new school year, gratitude that we are all back in the building as a school family, and confidence in our commitment to providing a safe and healthy educational experience for our children. Riverside Elementary School has a powerful tradition of excellence and our staff members look forward to working collaboratively to continue building on the best foundation.
During the 2021-2022 academic year we will continue to build our caring and engaging school community, support our students through increased social emotional strategies, and stay tuned in to our families with open and frequent lines of communication. We hope to challenge all of our students to think critically and creatively, to find joy and purpose in learning, to grow through exploration and play, to pursue opportunities and experiences that tap into their diverse talents and interests, and to develop a deeper understanding of the world and how to care for our planet and all of its people.
The first day of school for students, Thursday, September 9, will be a full day of school with the learning day ending at 3:00 PM. Each morning, the children must be at their Morning Meetings at 8:25AM to be counted present for the day. We are asking for your assistance in ensuring this occurs.
As we embark on a new school year, I want to invite you all to join our staff in our focus on building the best school family. I want to briefly share a bit of what that theme means to me and how I hope that it will shape our school community this year and beyond:
1) BOLD: Our first point of emphasis will be on increasing our students’ confidence in their pursuit of knowledge. They will be unafraid to be innovative in problem-solving and communicating an idea or opinion. They will feel safe in showing empathy, empowered by learning through the experiences of others and find strength in working together as a family. This pillar includes a focus on equity – helping students dialogue with and understand those who might look, live, and learn differently as they acknowledge the value of all people in the global community.
2) ENGAGED: Our second point of emphasis will focus on stimulating a love of learning and a sense of joy in discovery. By seeking to understand our students as learners and as people, we are committed to facilitating educational experiences that inspire them to dream big, connect their classroom instruction to their real-life experiences, and promote self-efficacy as students create, build and reflect upon their own meaning and understanding of the world.
3) STRENGTHEN: A third important goal for our school community will be a focus on increasing our academic strength in mathematics by ensuring alignment of our instruction and learning practices with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. We will use both formal and informal assessments to collect data that will allow us to create appropriate and equitable learning opportunities. Our staff is committed to improving our students’ math skills and knowledge.
4) TOGETHERNESS: Our fourth and final goal is, in essence, a culmination of the first three as we strive to build a community of learners who appreciate and care for each other, who display a delightful sense of curiosity that is contagious, and who understand that the world works best when we learn and solve problems by working together thoughtfully and creatively.
Our vision is to highlight the district theme of “Building on the Best” each academic quarter (roughly in a variety of ways – from lessons in the classroom to bulletin boards to broader school activities. In essence, our focus on “Building on the Best” represents the nexus between our commitment to academic excellence, our focus on critical and divergent thinking, and our Upstander code of expectations.
Please know how excited we are to welcome your children to Riverside and to partner with you in the educational journey that will unfold before us in the year ahead. For those of you who are returning, we will be so glad to see you again, and for those of you who are joining us for the first time, we know that our lives and community will be enriched by your presence and participation. I wish you all the best for a wonderful last week of summer.
Riverside Elementary School
Dear Riverside Families,
We are looking forward to welcoming students on Thursday. Here are procedures and protocols that you may find helpful.
Arrival and Breakfast
The daily screening tool for all students must be completed before 7:30 am. Failure to comply with completing the tool will result in a phone call home to pick-up your child from school. This is critical to keeping Riverside safe this school year!
Arrival begins at 8:00 am. Students will arrive at Riverside either by bus or by car. We also encourage our students to walk or ride their bikes (with supervision) while the weather cooperates.
All students who arrive by car will be dropped off at our curbside car lane. Please drive all the way to the “Kiss-and-Go” (at the end of the lane) area where a staff member will greet you. Please do not let your student out prior to reaching a staff member at the “Kiss-and-Go,” area.
Once students enter the building, they will pick up breakfast if they have not eaten yet and they will report to their designated area until they report to their classroom at 8:25 am.
Nurse Sarah will coordinate with our food services to ensure that all restrictions for food allergies are adhered.
We have designated four areas around the building for students to gather upon arrival to maintain appropriate social distancing while students play and/or eat before reporting to class. We will have plenty of supervision in all of the areas so that students are closely monitored.
Lunch periods have been reduced to 20-minute blocks beginning at 10:15 am and ending at 1:10 pm.
Students will eat lunch by one grade-level at a time to reduce the number of students in the cafeteria at one time.
Students are able to bring their own lunch to school.
Riverside has 4 tents on the side of the building. We will utilize these spaces for outdoor eating as much as possible. If there is inclement weather, we can safely seat 72 students in the cafeteria for lunch. Classrooms are also available for students to eat, with social distancing rules in effect.
Teachers will also have the option to eat lunch in their classroom if there is inclement weather, provided social distancing rules are followed.
While we know that lunch is a “social” time for students to gather, we are going to make sure our students stay focused on eating lunch without their mask on rather than talking. When students are finished eating, they will immediately put their mask back on.
To summarize, outdoor eating will be our first plan. When there is inclement weather, we will utilize indoor space in the cafeteria and/or classroom.
Recess will take place outdoors and students will keep their masks on. In inclement weather, we will have an alternate activity planned for our students so that they get a mental break before returning to their class. Recess is supervised by an adult at all times.
We encourage our students to bring a snack to school every day. Some of our students are eating earlier or later than usual and will need a snack to get them through the school day.
Our bus riders will be dismissed first so we can release our buses and make room for car pick-ups.
Our car riders will be called to the “Kiss-and-Go” area door and will wait for their parent to arrive. Car riders have two options:
- Parents can park their car on the street and walk up to the Main Entrance door to receive their child. Or,
- Parents can pull up to the “Kiss and Go” door and wait in their vehicle for their child to be escorted to the car. In this case, please have your child’s name posted in the window of your car so we can quickly see the name.
Please drive slowly and carefully when entering or exiting Riverside. There will be a lot of car and pedestrian traffic during peak times (arrival and dismissal).
Masks and Mask Breaks
Masks will be worn by all students and staff members at Riverside, indoors and outdoors. The only exception to this rule will be:
- When a student is eating lunch, and
- If a teacher gives a student a mask break.
When mask breaks are taken, students will maintain social distancing rules and will be supervised by an adult.
HVAC and Indoor Air Quality in Classrooms
This summer, Riverside was under construction to replace the HVAC system in all of the classrooms. The system is much more sophisticated and efficient.
For specific information regarding the HVAC system, please see the following links.
Indoor Air Quality video - with the PPS Director of Facilities
COVID-19 Testing for Students
PPS recently completed a survey to opt in for receiving State COVID-19 screening testing support to initiate a program to screen our unvaccinated students. We will await further information from the state on next steps. In the meantime, we will continue to explore options available to initiate a testing program when COVID-19 activity levels in our local community are in the moderate to very high range.