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Riverside News

April 3, 2020

Parent Placement Form.docx 

Dear Riverside Families,

As we begin a spring break like no other, I wanted to write to share a few thoughts and notes with all of you in our school community…

* First, these past three weeks have certainly been full of adjustments for all of us, and after corresponding with many of you and engaging numerous staff members in discussions, I met with our School Leadership Team (SLT) this week.  One of our central tasks was to crystallize a list of “priorities” for our school community during this crisis, and after much spirited discussion and thoughtful reflection, we have adopted five core tenets that we hope will guide our collective and individual approaches to teaching and learning in the weeks after spring break. 

I think of these as almost a mini school vision for what we value as a school community during this unique and uncertain time of remote learning, and I have asked our staff members to consider these as they work with you and your children.

I am sharing them with all of you because I want for you to understand the core values that will shape our work for the rest of April and beyond:

1) To prioritize and promote the physical and mental health and wellness of our staff members, our students, and their families.

2) To help our students focus on content understanding and academic skills through a combination of meaningful online and offline learning experiences.

3) To strive to move kids "forward" academically while also being as flexible as possible in light of the numerous inequities and various family situations that are a reality in our community.

4) To provide activities and learning experiences that will foster a continued sense of passion and curiosity for learning among our students.

5) To nurture a sense of community for all of our students and their families through the innovative use of technology and other intentional and creative initiatives.

* Second, I need to share the sad news that Dorothy Mullen who founded Riverside’s garden and related educational programs passed away recently after a battle with cancer.  Led by Ms. Senior and several longtime Riverside veterans, we worked to honor Ms. Mullen’s legacy earlier this school year, and for those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing her, she is one of those amazing people who helped to make Riverside the wonderful community that it is.

*  Thanks to Ms. Kennedy who has taken the initiative to organize a school-wide “lip sync” challenge for our staff members and for our students and their families.  She will be sending out details via Konstella, and I hope that many of you will take some time next week to create a short, fun video and share it with her as she will then be packaging all of these clips into one big presentation that we will share with the whole school community.

* I also want to thank our PTO for helping to organize some ideas for activities over spring break, and I know that they are working on creating a list of fun and engaging Zoom sessions and other experiences that some of our parents and staff members may be willing to lead next week.  We will continue to communicate with you about these opportunities for your children.

* Finally, a few post spring break notes:

-- For those of you with children in 4th grade and younger, please remember to send your “placement form” to myself and to your child’s teacher so that we can include your insight as one of the factors that we consider in crafting class placement for next year.  Please remember that we will not accept forms that make any specific requests to have (or not to have) any specific teacher.  I have attached a copy of that form to this email.

-- For those of you who did not get to have your spring parent-teacher conference in March, our teachers will be reaching out to you after spring break to try to find a date/time to talk on the phone or via Zoom.  We have not forgotten you!

Should you have any questions or need support in any way, please reach out to me.  I wish you all good health and a restful, relaxing spring break.


Mark Shelley



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