I hope that you are all staying cool and safe over these hot summer-like days we’ve recently been having. We are grateful to be in our renovated building today with the dehumidification system that is keeping us nice and cool.
As we head into the final full two weeks of school I wanted to share some updates with you including information about:
Class placements for the 2021 - 2022 school year
Upcoming work and partnership with the Minor Collective
PTO Coffee and Conversation and School Council Meeting
Grade 8 graduation updates
Student activism on campus
Girls on the Run
COVID-19 updates and reminders
Class Placement for the 2021 - 2022 School Year
We have just about completed our class placement process for the 2021-2022 school year. As a reminder if you do not intend to return to Ruffin Ridley this fall please fill out the district withdrawal form so we can be sure we have accurate and balanced class placements.
We will align with the rest of the K-8 schools in Brookline and share out placement information via email around August 1st. I know this is a departure from our past practice. This extra time will give us an opportunity to respond to enrollment changes and ensure that accurate placement assignments and staffing are communicated to families. Since we will be sharing out by email please be sure that your email address(es) are updated in Aspen. Also, as a reminder, in the class placement notification email you will receive your class/teacher/homeroom assignment and a welcome letter. We do not share class lists. If you would like to know what other children are in your child(ren)’s class(es) please register with the PTO Directory.
Upcoming Work and Partnership with the Minor Collective
We are in the final stages of securing our contract with the Minor Collective for next year. We are excited for the opportunities we will engage in with staff, families, students, and as a community. We are incredibly grateful to the Ruffin Ridley PTO, Brookline Education Foundation, and the Public Schools of Brookline for their generous contributions to the funding of this work.
As a reminder we began to prepare for this upcoming work as a staff this year through a series of 5 discussion groups centered around the themes of teacher and student identities, implicit bias and stereotype threat, systemic racism and other systems of oppression, whiteness, white privilege, and white supremacy culture, and becoming an anti-racist educator. Each cycle groups read or watched short articles/discussions connected to the theme and then followed up in small discussion groups sharing ways in which these topics impact our practices in schools. After each discussion group shared feedback and questions that helped lead us to seek out the Minor Collective to help design and support our next phase of our community work. The work with the Minors is just part of our commitment to becoming a more just and equitable school community.
We plan to send a small “seed team” of educators this summer to the Reaching All Learners: Taking Action for Equity workshop at Lesley University led by Kass and Cornelius Minor. Then starting in the fall through our work together we will engage in a school culture assessment which will be followed by a workshop series on broadening justice-oriented student centered design and practicing instructional delivery that is centered in decolonized, anti-racist, and culturally responsive pedagogy.
There will also be a series of family workshops where “parents and caregivers will have an opportunity to express their dreams, desires, concerns, and ultimately-their funds of knowledge to be shared and integrated within school community planning” We hope to work closely with our FRR Equity PAC and other key family leadership groups and stakeholders to energize all families to participate in these sessions.
Wrapping up in the spring we will spend time practicing and applying our shared understanding of equity concepts and growing the work within the broader community while taking care to document and share out the gains we’ve made.
We are so excited to work with the Minors and look forward to sharing more at our upcoming PTO Coffee and Conversation and School Council meeting.
PTO Coffee and Conversation and School Council Meeting
PTO Coffee and Conversation: Friday June 11th 8:15am
We are welcoming families back to FRR to close out the school year with an in person PTO Coffee and Conversation this Friday at 8:15am on the 3rd floor outdoor classroom. All families are welcome to attend. If you will be attending we ask that you enter the building using the Stedman Street entrance, sign in and sign the health attestation form in the cafeteria and make your way up to the third floor using the back stairwell at the rear of the cafeteria.
For families who are unable to join in person we will be attempting to live stream the event using the link below:
A friendly reminder that we will host our Grade 8 graduation on Thursday June 17th (rain date Monday June 21st) on the back playfield. The entire back playfield, structures, and basketball courts will be closed to the public after school to help us prepare for the ceremony, hold the ceremony, and hold the after graduation celebration.
We kindly ask that families use other local parks such as Amory, the Rose Garden, or Coolidge Park to play in for this day.
Student Activism on Campus
This past Wednesday at our all school community meeting, one of our student groups (The Equity Project Team) shared with the whole school community their plan for a protest for racial justice and equity tomorrow, June 8th after school. The group will be meeting today after school to make posters and will be leading the protest right after school at 2:30pm outside on a march around the exterior of the school building.
A huge thanks to all of the students, families, and staff that came out to collaborate with our GSA, Department of Public Works, and Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Relations this past Saturday to paint our crosswalk at the corner of Stedman and Harvard Streets. The crosswalk is now a beautiful representation of the Philadelphia Pride flag. In a follow up conversation with one of our students after the event, they shared that they were going to change their walking route to school just so they could walk over the crosswalk each morning and smile.
Shelby Sullivan, our interim grades 6-8 guidance counselor, has been working with our GSA on other ways that we can celebrate Pride Month here at FRR. Stay tuned!
Girls on the Run
Congratulations to all our grades 4 and 5 runners who participated in Girls on the Run this season! The team wrapped up their season with their 5K around the Chestnut Hill reservoir on Saturday showing determination and commitment as they battled the intense heat on the way to completing their goals. We are so proud of them and grateful to all our coaches who supported this season. We also want to thank all the families who came to the reservoir to cheer the girls on.
We had an overwhelming amount of interest in the program and unfortunately had to turn some girls away this season. We are hopeful to have more teams run this fall and even expand the program to our middle school provided we have enough coaches. Please be on the lookout for emails in the fall about ways to get involved!
COVID-19 Weekly Update
As a reminder you can access the PSB COVID-19 dashboard on the main page of the Public Schools of Brookline website. There you will find the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the PSB school community by week and learning model. For the purpose of this dataset, weeks run Monday - Sunday.
For the week of May 19th - June 7th at Ruffin Ridley we have had 0 confirmed positive cases and 0 presumed positive cases in our community which resulted in 0 close contacts being identified.
This is certainly a busy time in the hive as we get closer and closer to the end of the year. Typically the end of the school year brings up lots of emotions for students as they prepare for summer and possibly saying goodbye to our community as they move on. This year is no exception. There are bound to be lots of emotions as students grapple with their feelings about closing up a school year that, for many, feels like it was just getting started since our return to full in person learning. There are likely worried feelings about what next year will bring since we’ve had two relatively unstable years where we’ve asked students, families, and staff to change plans suddenly and be incredibly adaptable and flexible. We will do our best over the next two weeks to bring calm, stability, and predictability to our days and provide as much previewing as possible with students while also taking time to celebrate the incredible accomplishments, growth, and successes that have happened during this exceptionally challenging year.
I look forward to hopefully seeing many of you at our Coffee and Conversation this week and School Council Meeting next week!