Dear Riverside Families,
We have really enjoyed welcoming our bigger classes of 2nd graders back this week, and we are excited to have a number of Cohort C students in grades 3-5 rejoining us next Monday. We will then welcome back all of our classes to our four-day-per-week model starting after spring break, and as I hope that you have gleaned from several messages from Dr. Galasso, the district is working diligently on plans for five full-days of school as normal in the fall.
I do have a few notes/reminders to share with you:
1) I want to stress that with our shift to the four-day-per-week model, our educators are experimenting with different approaches to teaching and including all kids, and as a result, we are tweaking our plans and expectations for the afternoon time period from 1:30 - 3:00. The big change is that our afternoons are no longer entirely "asynchronous" as our teachers will be using that time to teach science/social studies directly and to engage students in various small group and/or whole class activities.
In addition, most (but not all) of our classes also will have one "special" in the afternoon, and it is essential that we actively support all of these teachers by having our kids join lessons for music, PE, Spanish, STEAM, art, and library. Many of our students find so much interest and joy in our "specials," and we want to honor the rich curriculum and engaging experiences that these teachers share with their students daily.
2) I have received several inquiries about Wednesdays -- specifically why they are still remote -- and I wanted to share the rationale and plan with all of you, not to argue the point but just to help you understand the district's decision. As we have shared previously, one of our big concerns is how to ensure that our students who need to remain in Cohort C are able to be fully included and to receive educational experiences that are comparable to their in-school peers -- a particular challenge when they will no longer be joined daily by the students in Cohort A or B. We remain committed to the promise that all kids will remain with their assigned teacher, and we are trying some different approaches to teaching and integrating these kids. Yet, our team of administrators and teachers agreed that Wednesday remains important by creating a classroom environment in which all kids are "together" the same way (i.e. -- remotely) rather than the segregation of the other four days of the week when 1 or 2 students are joining remotely while everyone else is together in person.
We do realize that we have a few classrooms with no kids in Cohort C, but we need to maintain consistency across our general ed grade levels in each building. Again -- I am simply offering the district's rationale for our plan, and we are thrilled that we have been able to double in-person time for most kids as we move towards "normalcy" in the fall.
3) Three other quick notes:
-- Please consider supporting our PTO and Garden spring fundraiser. I have attached a flyer, and you can also find information at this link:
-- Please remember that this Friday, March 18, we are encouraging all staff and students to wear crazy socks to celebrate Down Syndrome Day.
-- We are starting to receive parent placement forms, and I hope that those of you who have not yet completed it will do so and send it back to us -- either via your child's folder/backpack or directly to the main office -- by spring break.
Wishing you all a wonderful week!
- Riverside News