Dear Riverside Families,
As the final days of summer fade away, I hope that you all share the excitement of a new school year – opportunities for our children to learn in engaging and challenging ways, to forge new relationships, and to develop a greater sense of empathy and global awareness. Riverside Elementary School has a powerful tradition of excellence in all of these areas, and our staff members look forward to working collaboratively to build on that foundation in 2019-2020 by creating a caring and engaging community in which our students can flourish. 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 unique talents and interests, and to develop a deeper understanding of the world and how to care for our planet and all of its people. And most importantly, we want for all of our kids to feel safe, valued, affirmed, and loved for who they are.
As we embark on a new school year, I want to invite you all to join our staff in our focus on cultivating a learning community with a “culture of care, curiosity, creativity, and collaboration” (the “Four ‘C’sons”), and 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:
CARE: Our first point of emphasis will be on helping students learn to be more empathetic, seeking to understand what others may be thinking and feeling and finding opportunities to help their friends, their family, and the broader community. This pillar certainly includes a focus on equity – helping students dialogue with and understand those who might look, live, and learn differently as we want for our students to broaden their ethic of care to all people in the global community.
CURIOSITY: Our second “Cson” 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, that help students connect their learning to their own lives, and that promote a constructivist perspective as students build their own meaning and understanding of the world.
CREATIVITY: A third important goal for our school community will be a focus on creative and divergent thinking, helping students approach problems in unique ways by not limiting themselves to conventional ideas. This skill is foundational for success as the students move through school and life itself, and our staff is committed to embedding this point of emphasis in our curriculum and pedagogy. We want our students to “think outside the box.”
COLLABORATION: Our fourth and final “Cson” 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 one of these “Csons” during each academic quarter (roughly nine weeks) in a variety of ways – from lessons in the classroom to bulletin boards to broader school activities. In essence, our focus on the “Four Csons” 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 next week 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.