Hello Florida Ruffin Ridley School Families and Friends,
We are eagerly awaiting fully welcoming Spring despite the snowy start to this Monday morning! Spring is a hopeful time of year when we begin to see green shoots breaking the surface all around our school grounds after a long winter and the seeds we planted in the Fall emerging from a dark winter beneath the ground. It is a reminder to us all that change is beautiful. Just as we observe the newness of life popping up all around us, so too do we begin to see our students growing and breaking through in their learning and social development around this time of year. All of the goals they set as seeds in the Fall and the efforts they put in throughout the long Winter are springing forward as they take strong steps forward in their development solidly planted in the strong foundation that was laid earlier this year. As we make our way to our final quarter, we are truly in a season of celebration!
Below are some updates and reminders about:
Health and Safety
Family Educator Conferences and Early Release Days
DASEP name change
Hey Sam Resource
April is World Autism Month
Health and Safety Reminders
We are continuing to report positive cases to individual classroom communities in K-5 and grade level in grades 6-8. Please read each email thoroughly as information is adjusted as we monitor case numbers in each class and grade level.
To help keep our Hive healthy and safe, please follow our guidelines:
It is important to keep your child(ren) home if they are symptomatic. Symptoms should be considered COVID-19 until proven otherwise.
If your child is testing negative AND their symptoms are improving, we strongly recommend they wear a mask in school until their symptoms have resolved fully.
Masking and rapid antigen testing before returning to school is strongly recommended for students and staff returning to school after isolation from a COVID-19 positive result.
Participate in home surveillance testing
As you are actively monitoring your child(ren) for symptoms and working with our nurses and your child(ren)’s primary health care provider to rule out COVID-19, we strongly encourage you to participate in the home surveillance testing program. If you have not signed up yet for the program, you can here: www.brookline.k12.ma.us/HomeTestOptIn
Family/Educator Conferences and Early Release Days
During April and May there are 4 early release days for families to connect with educators in K-5 for conferences. Please reach out to your child(ren)’s homeroom teacher if you have not yet received information about signing up for Spring Conferences in K-5. If you would like to connect with your child(ren)’s grades 6-8 educators about their progress, please reach out to them directly to set up a time to connect.
Below are the Early Release dates. Dismissal is at 12:40pm on each of these days. Unless your child(ren) participates in after-school activities or has signed up for Half Day Matinee through the PTO, please make arrangements to have your child(ren) picked up promptly at 12:40pm.
Wednesday April 6th: K-12 Early Release Day
Thursday April 14th: K-6 Early Release Day
Thursday April 28th: K-6 Early Release Day
Wednesday May 4th: K-6 Early Release Day *No Half Day Matinee offered
Class Placement for K-7 Students
As a reminder, our placement process includes an opportunity for families to provide information or share unique circumstances that you feel are important. We respect your right to advocate for your child and understand that you know your child best over time. If you feel that you have additional information that the placement team is not aware of, you are invited to fill out our Class Placement Feedback form. We will NOT be accepting letters via email this year and encourage all families who wish to submit additional information to use this form so we can keep all the information organized.
All information must be submitted via the form no later than Friday, April 15th.
Completing the form is optional. The same care and consideration will be given to every child during the placement process whether a parent/guardian submits input. If you do complete the form, your information will be shared with the placement team. Please remember that our primary objective is to ensure that each student will be assigned to a class that he/she can learn and grow academically and socially, and to build classes that function as lively heterogeneous cohorts. Requests for specific teachers in writing or in person will not be considered as part of this process. We take our responsibility seriously and, therefore, allocate ample time and care as we engage in reflection while looking forward to planning for next year’s classes.
If you are planning on moving and/or sending your child(ren) to another school for the 2022 - 2023 School Year please fill out this online form to help us gather information regarding next year’s students. You will need to fill out multiple forms if you have more than one child at the Florida Ruffin Ridley School.
DASEP Name Change
Please see the announcement below from Lauren Bernard, DASEP Director, regarding the shift in the DASEP name.
As many of you are aware, DASEP has earned a solid reputation in the school and even in the greater Boston community. In fact, I am contacted regularly by other enrichment and after school programs throughout Brookline—and beyond—about how much students and their families value the program. DASEP is obviously very established, well known, and has many positive associations.
The DASEP Board of Directors (composed of FRR parents like you), has deliberated carefully on the name change, weighing numerous factors. It has also given keen attention to how the “D” in the DFL acronym has been changed from “Devotion” to “Dave’s” (Dave O’Hara’s) Football League, thereby eliminating any association with Devotion but without triggering a disruption to the “brand name.”
After considerable discussion and reflection, the Board has voted unanimously for a simple change of the “D” in DASEP to “Daily,” making DASEP now and going forward stand for Daily After School Enrichment Program.
Hey Sam Resource
SAMARITANS LAUNCHES PEER-TO-PEER TEXT LINE TO PREVENT SUICIDE AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE
“Hey Sam” is a text line for people up to age 24, staffed by other young people
Samaritans, a Massachusetts-based suicide prevention organization, announced the launch of Hey Sam this week, a safe, anonymous, peer-to-peer text service designed for young people, staffed by young people. Supported by state funding secured by Senator Becca Rausch, Hey Sam is available for those up to age 24, and is staffed by trained volunteers of the same age group. Based on data that young people who are struggling are more likely to confide in a peer than an adult, and more likely to text than call a helpline, Hey Sam is another resource in a suite of free services provided by Samaritans that ensures everyone has a place to turn when in need.Hey Sam is available at 1-877-832-0890.
“Feeling accepted in their emotions may be what helps a young person seek the support they need,” said Kathy Marchi, Chief Executive Officer & President of Samaritans. “Often, that acceptance comes more readily from peers their own age. Hey Sam offers that opportunity in a safe, anonymous, judgment-free experience for young people.”
Teens and young adults can reach out to Hey Sam for any reason and a person around their age will be ready to listen on the other end of the text. This new service is available 9am - 9pm, seven days a week. The Samaritans standard toll-free helpline is still available to all ages 24/7/365, reachable by texting or calling 877-870-4673 (HOPE).
“Hey Sam is a game-changing service that will save lives here in Massachusetts,” said Senator Becca Rausch. “After talking with so many students across my district with mental health challenges during this pandemic, I fought for and secured the funds in our state budget to roll out this landmark pilot program. I am deeply grateful for the partnership, dedication, and expertise of Samaritans, Inc. to support our Commonwealth’s young people through these uncertain times.”
Samaritans is a Massachusetts-based suicide prevention organization. Its services and resources are free to all who need them. Samaritans staff and volunteers offer an ear to the struggling, a community for the grieving, and guidance for those supporting a loved one. For 50 years, Samaritans’ services have been available 24/7. Each year, Samaritans answers more than 80,000 calls, texts, and chats through the Helpline. Hey Sam offers a safe, anonymous, judgment-free place for anyone to turn, for any reason.
Additionally, if you know a young person (up to age 24) who would like to serve as a peer volunteer, they can start by filling out our Volunteer Inquiry Form.
Each year our students in Grades 3-8 participate in the statewide MCAS in English Language Arts (ELA), Math, and Science, Technology, and Engineering (STE) (grades 5 and 8). Below are the dates that our school is administering MCAS.
April 4 and 5: Grades 4 and 5 ELA
April 11 and 12: Grades 6-8 ELA
April 26 and 27: Grade 3 ELA
May 9 and 10: Grades 4 and 5 Math
May 11 and 12: Grade 3 Math
Math 16 and 17: Grades 6-8 Math
May 23 and 24: Grades 5 and 8 STE
April is World Autism Month
Some students and families were very curious about the blue lights that shine in our main entrance hallway for Autism Awareness Month I encourage you to engage with some of the resources from Autism Speaks and AANE to help open up conversations at home about our continued work to make our school a welcoming and inclusive community for everyone.
Juxtaposed to the celebration of the season we are moving into, we have very real challenges and work ahead of us. As you know from previous communications, we are seeing an uptick in our COVID cases. There is tension in our local, state, national, and international communities that weighs heavily on the hearts of students and staff each day. Our work is to meet all of these challenges within a culture of care while keeping our focus squarely on access, growth, connection, and achievement for all. It is a heavy lift, but one that our educators, students, and families show up for each day with determination. I know that when we are at our best, working alongside each other, approaching conflict with curiosity, and sharing gratitude, we are able to meet any challenges in our path.