Florida Ruffin Ridley School Principal's Blog

  • What's Happening at the Hive #9

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 1/19/2021 6:30:00 PM

    Hello Ruffin Ridley Families and Friends,

    Yesterday, we had a day away from school to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  As a nation we have a long way to go to realize Dr. King’s vision and within our community we have much work to do to actualize our commitment to social justice and disrupting systemic racism.  I hope that you were able to spend some time yesterday as a family or individuals working in acts of community service as well as found time to reflect on and recommit your actions to lifting up our corner of the world.   

    As we head into Inauguration Day tomorrow, our eyes and ears are open to a hopeful promise of healing, unity, justice, and strength in the days and months ahead.  Regardless of our political beliefs and alignments, tomorrow will be a historic day as we witness the first woman, first Black woman, first woman of South Asian descent, and first daughter of immigrants be sworn in as the vice president of the United States. Representation, especially in positions of power, matters.  In addition to Vice President-Elect Harris our government also is moving towards having a cabinet that better represents the diversity of the American people.  I hope that everyone is able to make space in their day to watch the inauguration tomorrow with your children.  

    Below are some reminders and updates for this week including:

    • Ruffin Ridley Readers
    • Family Forum DATE CHANGE
    • Community Meetings Restart
    • School Picture Retakes
    • COVID-19 Weekly Update
    • Updated Flu Vaccine Information
    • Lunch Volunteers Needed
    • Learning Model Switch
    • Florida Ruffin Ridley Renaming Ceremony


    Ruffin Ridley Readers: Wednesday, January 20 7:30pm

    Saeed Ola, our Grades 6-8 vice principal, will be the Special Guest Reader for this Wednesday's Storytime!

    K-8 Family Forum DATE CHANGE: Thursday January 21st 8:00pm

    This week’s K-8 Family Forum will be held on Thursday to accommodate the special Ruffin Ridley Readers with Mr. Ola and the follow up discussion groups.  

    • K-8 Family Forum
      • Meeting ID: 979 2593 4603
      • Passcode: HiveForum
    • Agenda
      • Hybrid Learning Updates
      • Education is Social Justice Work
      • Preliminary School and District Based Budget Update

    Community Meetings Restart

    We are excited to share that we are restarting our monthly grade level band community meetings.  Our first meeting will take place on Wednesday February 3rd from 8:10 - 8:30am via Zoom.  K-2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6-8 will all have their own separate meetings and links that will be shared by classroom and homeroom teachers.   The theme for the February meeting is COMMUNITY

    School Picture Retakes

    Picture Retakes - In Person Students

    Picture retakes have been rescheduled and will now be held on February 1st and February 4th.  Cohort A students as well as PreK and Kindergarten students will have the opportunity for retakes on Monday, February 1st.  Cohort B students will participate in retakes on Thursday, February 4th.   Your child may participate in retakes if they were absent or if you are unhappy with the photograph from the Fall.  If your child was photographed in the Fall and you would like a retake, please plan to send in the photograph with your student on the day of their retake so that it may be returned to CoffeePond.  If you received a digital copy of your child's photo, there is no need to return anything on the day of retakes.  

    Composite class pictures will be created this year for each classroom following the retake dates.  Students should expect to receive class pictures in the Spring.

    Picture Retakes - RLA

    Remote Learning Academy students may use the Sign Up Genius link below to sign up for a 5 minute slot on February 4th.  Please note, picture retakes will be held inside the building.  Per our visitor policy, we will ask adults to wait outside while the student is photographed.  Staff will be available on the afternoon of retakes to escort our younger students to and from the photo area as needed.   

    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 January 11th - 17th at Ruffin Ridley we have had 4 confirmed positive cases in our community.  Three of the positive cases were not in school during the infectious period and all 4 cases are unrelated. 

    Updated Flu Vaccine Information

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/preschool, primary, secondary and postsecondary education. Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been

    adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19.


    Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID -19 vaccination efforts. DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year.


    We sincerely thank everyone for so diligently working with us. Your collective efforts to meet the previous requirement was part of an important public health endeavor to limit influenza and help our community combat Covid-19 more effectively.


    Thank you all for your continued patience and compliance!


    Please send any health documentation or questions to our amazing school nurses:

    • Jana Young M. Ed., BSN, RN Jana_Young@psbma.org
    • Brianna Cormos M. Ed., BSN, RN Brianna_Cormos@psbma.org


    Lunch Volunteers Still Needed!


    I want to first again thank Kim Uyen Dang for her incredible efforts in organizing and recruiting volunteers for our lunch coverage needs this year.  I also want to extend my gratitude to everyone who has volunteered with us so far and provided the necessary supervision for a safe lunch experience for all our students.  

    Without adequate volunteers for lunch supervision our ability to safely monitor students, including keeping unmasked students separated and engaged in safe eating practices, diminishes greatly as the few volunteers we have are spread between classroom spaces.  Remember, our goal is to emerge from this year as a whole community healthy and safe.  It will take all of us working in partnership to achieve this goal. 


    Please consider donating a few hours of your time, even if it is one time slot a week or month. 




    Learning Model Switch


    As you have read from the superintendent’s latest email, the window to move between learning models (Hybrid at Ruffin Ridley or Remote at the Remote Learning Academy) is now open.  


    Families wishing to enroll in or withdraw from the Remote Learning Academy can request such a change from today, Tuesday, January 19 through Friday, January 22 at noon. Students who elect to change learning models, and receive confirmation the change was granted, will begin their new school placement on Monday, February 22. Please note that you must receive confirmation before your child makes a switch.


    If you would like to change the current learning model for your child (enroll in or withdraw from the Remote Learning Academy), please complete the linked form below by Friday, January 22 at noon. You must know your child’s local ID number (listed on the Aspen parent portal) in order to complete this process. Requests without an ID number will not be processed for review. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate any late requests. You only need to complete this form if you would like to request a change for your child(ren). If you are satisfied with your child’s current placement, please do not complete the form. Click here to learn how to access your child’s local ID number or LASID.


    Learning Model Open Enrollment Click Here to Request a Change


    This is the final opportunity for families to adjust their students' learning model during the course of this academic year. If you make a change to your child’s learning model at this time, they will remain in this learning model until the end of the academic year.  


    Florida Ruffin Ridley Renaming Ceremony

    On Friday, January 29th (Florida Ruffin Ridley’s birthday!) at 3:30pm we will be hosting a small physically distanced in person ceremony to celebrate our renaming.  The entire program will be broadcast live by Brookline Interactive Group.   Our public invitation includes more information and the link to the livestream.


    To help keep our guests and presenters safe, please DO NOT gather at or attend the in person ceremony on Stedman Street.  We ask that everyone watches safely from home.  Hopefully later this summer or fall we will be able to have a full in person celebration when it is safe.  



    I hope to see many of you and your children tomorrow night for the very special Ruffin Ridley Readers and then again on Thursday evening for our K-8 Family Forum.  Though the light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel is getting brighter and brighter, we still have much work to do together and I am confident that if we work in collaboration, and with empathy, we will make it through safely, ready to build back a stronger and more just community. 



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  • What's Happening at the Hive #8

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 1/10/2021 8:30:00 PM

    Hello Ruffin Ridley Families and Friends,

    I hope that this long weekend allowed you time as a family to connect, have conversations about the events that unfolded on Wednesday at our nation’s Capitol, and take part safely in things that allow you to reflect and spark joy.  At Ruffin Ridley our teachers spent Friday deeply engaged in professional development including sessions on anti-racist teaching, curriculum, self care, understanding psychological reports through a neuropsychological lens, understanding and supporting students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and more.  When we met as a full staff at the end of the day it was clear that our team had poured their whole selves into the work of the day.   I appreciate the sacrifice you and your children gave Friday for us to have this time to strengthen and improve our practices.  

    Below are a few announcements for this week including:

    • COVID-19 Update
    • Early Release Day reminder and schedule
    • Snow Day plan reminder
    • Attendance procedure adjustment
    • K-8 Family Forum 1/20 at 8:00pm

    COVID-19 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 January 4th - 10th at Ruffin Ridley we have had 2 confirmed positive cases in our community.  Both individuals were not in school during the infectious period and are unrelated. 


    Early Release Day Reminder and Schedule

    A friendly reminder that there will be an additional two early release days each month.  On these new early release days school will dismiss at 12:30pm.  Lunch will be served on these days.  The dates can be found on the updated PSB calendar and listed below.

    • Friday January 22nd and Monday January 25th
    • Friday February 5th and Monday February 22nd
    • Friday March 12th and Monday March 29th
    • Monday April 12th and Friday April 30th
    • Monday May 10th and Friday May 21st
    • Monday June 7th and Friday June 11th

    These dates are IN ADDITION to the 4 early release days set aside in the spring for family/teacher conferences.  Please see Dr. Marini’s email for more information about these days.  

    Also to balance the cohort days the following adjustments have been made:

    • Tuesday, February 9      Changed to Cohort B in-person day
    • Tuesday, March 16        Changed to Cohort B in-person day
    • Tuesday, June 22          Additional Cohort B in-person day


    Snow Day Plan

    As a reminder, based on feedback from the community the snow day plan has shifted.  Should a snow day be called students will follow their schedule for the day the snow day is happening. 

    For example: If a snow day is called on a Tuesday, students in Cohort A would log on and follow their in person schedule remotely with synchronous lessons provided by our staff.  Cohort B would follow their remote learning plan since they are not in person on Tuesdays (with the exception of days that were switched above)

    In the event of a snow day I will be in communication with all families to clarify the plan and ensure any questions are addressed. 


    Attendance Procedure Adjustment

    Our attendance procedure is shifting slightly.  For students in Grades 1-8 who are not in attendance in the school building on their scheduled in person days (and are not following a quarantine plan) they will be able to be marked virtually present if the following conditions are met:

    • Student is present for the virtual morning meeting/advisory
    • An adult family member is able to attest that the student completed at least ½ of available work on the learning management system.

    To be clear, for students in Grades 1-8 who are home on their scheduled in person days and are not following a quarantine plan, staff will not be creating additional and supplemental work for these days.  Students will be able to access the remote meeting and any other work available on the learning management system (Google Classroom, Canvas, and/or Seesaw).  Families must communicate the plan to remain at home for scheduled in person days with the classroom/homeroom teacher, grade level vice principal, and the nurses and then attest to the completion of at least ½ of the available work.  Please note that this is separate and different from our remote learning plans for students who are in active quarantine. 


    K-8 Family Forum: Wednesday January 20th 8:00pm

    I will be hosting a K-8 Family Forum on Wednesday January 20th at 8:00pm.  I will be sharing and agenda for the meeting in next week’s family update.

    Join Zoom Meeting


    Meeting ID: 979 2593 4603

    Passcode: HiveForum


    What continues to be most important as we navigate this year together is that our community emerges whole, healthy, and safe.  My hope is that when the pandemic is in our rearview mirror, we can all look back at the way we each conducted ourselves and feel proud of the way we supported one another and brought light to the community during darker stretches of time.  Now is a time for knitting our community tighter together, finding ways to reach out and offer acts and words of kindness, and engage in service to those who are struggling.  I am confident that we at Ruffin Ridley can lead by example and show the power of community in overcoming difficult and divisive times.    

    As always, if you have any questions or need additional support during this difficult time in our community please don’t hesitate to reach out.   

    Stay healthy and safe,


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  • In Response to Today's Violence at the Capitol

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 1/6/2021 5:30:00 PM

    Hello Ruffin Ridley Families and Friends,

    The events unfolding this afternoon and evening at our nation's capital are deeply disturbing and evoke a wide range of emotions for us as we try to process not only the actions of insurrection but the response, or lack thereof, to these acts.   


    Many of our students, staff, and community members are not and will not be ok tomorrow.  


    No matter what the next hours bring it will be important for us here at school to hold space for students to process.  I have shared some resources from Teaching Tolerance with our staff to help support them in creating space and supporting conversations that allow our students to process today’s events in developmentally appropriate ways.   In addition our Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator Gabe McCormick is working on additional resources to share with our staff to offer guidance/support for discussing today’s violence at the Capitol.  


    These events may open the door for you at home to have developmentally appropriate discussions with your child(ren) about political activism, peaceful and productive protest, and upstanding.   Our discussions in school will center on these themes.  


    There is so much we need to engage in with our community to ensure a more just society and disrupt the conditions and systems that created and allowed this moment today.  There are likely so many questions that your child(ren) will have tomorrow, and the next day, and in the coming months.   It is ok for us not to have all the answers or be able to fully tease apart and process this moment.  The images in the media of today's events may invoke fear and trauma for many in our community.  The most important thing for us to do right now for each other and your child(ren) is listen and be honest.  


    Please take care of yourselves tonight.  If you need support or anticipate that your child(ren) will need an individual check in with a staff member, please don't hesitate to reach out.


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  • What's Happening at the Hive #7

    Posted by Jennifer Buller on 1/3/2021 9:00:00 PM

    Hello Ruffin Ridley Families and Friends,

    I hope that you all had a safe, peaceful, and healthy winter break filled with moments that brought you laughter and joy, and of course lots of reading! :) 

    Below are some updates and information about:

    • COVID-19 Notifications from Winter Break
    • Travel Reminder
    • Lunch Volunteers
    • Picture Day Retake Reschedule
    • Professional Development Day on Friday 1/8 
    • Florida Ruffin Ridley Celebration- Save the Date

    As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. 


    COVID-19 Notifications from Winter Break

    We have had one reported positive case over the winter break.  The individual who tested positive was not in school during their infectious period and will complete their required quarantine so they can safely return to school.

    At Ruffin Ridley, we will continue to follow our safety protocols and promote mitigating strategies throughout the schooI day, such as wearing masks, washing hands, and maintaining six feet of distance.  We will be reviewing our safety protocols and procedures, as well as our expectations for a safe lunch, with our students this week and would appreciate you reinforcing the message at home as well. 

     Please remember to keep your child(ren) home if they are sick or show symptoms of illness and contact our school nurses.  Our students and staff did an outstanding  job before the winter break maintaining these mitigating strategies, and it is something that we will continue with and help reinforce as the year progresses.


    Travel Reminder

    If you have travelled internationally during the break, you must quarantine for 14 days, no matter what your test results show.  If you travelled to another state, you must quarantine for 14 days, or show evidence of a negative Covid 19 result to our nurses (jana_young@psbma.org, brianna_cormos@psbma.org)  upon return to Massachusetts.


    Lunch Volunteers

    We are in need of lunch volunteers through the foreseeable future.  Our volunteer pool has been slowly dwindling and we are unable to maintain our safe lunch procedures without your help!  Please consider signing up for one or a few volunteer slots! 



    Picture Day Retake Rescheduled

    By now, in person students should have received individual photos taken during our Fall picture day.   Class pictures have not yet arrived, but will be distributed when we receive them. Picture retake day was originally scheduled for Monday, January 11th for Cohort A and Thursday, January 14th for Cohort B.  We will be rescheduling our retake date for our in person students as well as the Remote Learning Academy students.  Dates for retakes will be shared as soon as they are available.  

    Remote Learning Academy (RLA) Picture Pick Up 

    Students who took photos during Fall picture day should plan to pick up photos after school on Monday, January 11th  from 2:45-3:45pm or Thursday, January 14th from 2:45-4:00pm.  Please plan to ring the doorbell at the main entrance when you arrive and we will bring the photo out to you.  Please contact erin_burke@psbma.org with any questions regarding photo pick up.


    Professional Development Day- NO SCHOOL Friday, January 8th

    A friendly reminder that this Friday our staff will be engaged in a full day of professional development working on topics including curriculum content, a discussion on anti-racist teaching practices, understanding psychological reports through a neuropsychological lens, and more. There will be no school for students (online or in person) on Friday, January 8th.


    Florida Ruffin Ridley Celebration - Save the Date

    Friday, January 29th is Florida Ruffin Ridley’s birthday! It is also the day we will officially celebrate our new name with a virtual ceremony.  Stay tuned for more information and details.


    We are excited to welcome back our students after this long and much needed break.   We look forward to spending these next six weeks between now and the February break offering spaces to connect, routines that offer predictability, flexibility, and opportunities for empowerment and engagement for all our students and families. 


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