What's Happening at the Hive: Summer Edition #1

Posted by Jennifer Buller on 8/5/2022 4:30:00 PM

Hello Florida Ruffin Ridley School Families and Friends,


I hope that you all are having a safe summer filled with time to rest, relax and read!  Though our building has been busy with summer programs buzzing around our spaces, it isn’t quite the same when our whole hive is here together.  I’ve definitely missed seeing all our educators, students, and families over the past month.  


Preparations for the upcoming school year are well underway and I am feeling energized and excited about all that we have to look forward to when we start up again on Tuesday, September 6th.  I did want to share a few brief updates and what you can expect in terms of communication as we get on the onramp to the school year this month. 


Class Placement Notifications

The Public Schools of Brookline is shifting the way in which families are notified of class placement assignments. This shift will help us all get more familiar with using the Family Portal (Aspen) as it is the central place to find information such as grades, attendance, progress reports as well as fill out important information such as health and other school forms.  


On August 15th, you will receive a message from the District reminding you how to log into the Family Portal and access your child’s class placement. This message will also have instructions on how to reset/retrieve your username and password if needed, and other important Back to School information.  After you have the class placement assignment, head on over to our school website and search for your child(ren)’s teacher(s) by clicking on the CLASSROOMS tab and then opening the corresponding GRADE LEVEL page.  There you will find a welcome letter from your child(ren)’s teacher(s) and/or grade level team.  Within this letter may also include a supply list if needed.  You can then take all this new information and head on over to Membership Toolkit to log in or register your child with our PTO directory and update their class placement assignment.  


All of this information will be shared again with more specific instructions and supporting documents in a follow up email from me on August 15th.  


Support for using the Family Portal

For those who may need assistance using the Family portal, FRR will be hosting a drop in help session from 2:00-6:00pm on August 16th in our library. If you would like some additional support with your account and accessing information found on the Family Portal and/or our website, please stop by during this drop in session.  You can enter the building by ringing the doorbell at the main entrance off Harvard Street. 

Placement for Students Registering this Summer

For our newer families who have registered within the past 2 months, once you set up and attend an appointment to meet with our guidance counselors towards the end of this month, our team will meet and determine your child(ren)’s placement.  At that time you will receive notification of placement.  


Financial Assistance Application

In order to maintain their eligibility for the next school year, families MUST submit a new application, along with current supporting documents. Financial Assistance applications can be found here. The form can be filled out on your computer and, with the supporting documents, emailed to financialassistance@psbma.org. PSB accepts photos and scans of all the documents. If you need assistance, please contact Qianna Price at 617-730-2425.

Staffing Updates

We have been busy this summer recruiting and supporting new educators as they join our Hive for the upcoming school year.  I know you all will join me in welcoming the following educators to our community!


New to FRR this upcoming school year

  • James Smith: Grade 4

    • We are excited to welcome Mr. Smith to our Hive this coming school year.  Prior to joining our hive Mr. Smith ​​has worked as a language specialist in public elementary schools here in Massachusetts and abroad in Spain.

  • Elizabeth Eichenberg: Grades 4-8 and TLC ETF

    • Ms. Eichenberg joins our Hive this coming school year as our grades 4-8 and TLC Education Team Facilitator.  Prior to migrating to our Hive after 6 years in the Belmont Public Schools as an Inclusion Specialist where she served as a member of their crisis team, chaired initial, re-eval, and annual review special education meetings, and mentored new educators in the special education department.  

  • Sarah Hubbard Benham: Grade 7 ELA 

    • We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Benham to join our team at FRR this coming school year as our Grade 7 ELA educator which was previously Ms. Kane who has moved to Western Massachusetts to be closer to her family.  Ms. Benham is joining our community after serving for 3 years as a grade 7 ELA educator at Roxbury Prep Lucy Stone Uncommon Schools.  Prior to her service there she supported students for 2 years in Oklahoma as a 7th grade ELA educator and team leader.


In addition to new staff joining our team for this coming school year, we have also had some transitions within our hive.  


Returning to FRR 

  • Lexie Smith: Grades 3-4 Learning Center:

    • We are so excited to welcome back Ms. Smith to our grades 3-4 Learning Center.  Last school year Ms. Smith supported our grades 3 and 4 students with special education needs while covering for Ms. Greene’s 1 year leave of absence.  Ms. Greene is relocating to New York with her family and Ms. Smith will now join our Hive as our new grades 3-4 Learning Center educator. 

  • Emily Manning-Mingle: Art 

    • Ms. Manning-Mingle has spent the past two years working on a Master’s program at Boston University.  Her thesis exhibition was on view at the Stone Gallery this past spring.  We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Manning-Mingle back to the Hive!

  • Abigail Robichaud: Art

    • Ms. Robichaud was previously covering the 2 year leave of absence for Ms. Manning-Mingle.  Ms. Kwok is relocating to California to be closer to family and while we will miss her tremendously, we are thrilled that Ms. Robichaud will stay on at FRR to fill her position. 

  • Liliana O’Day: K-5 Spanish 

    • Ms. O’Day recently joined our Hive as a short term substitute teacher for Profé Elkhessassi this past fall. She has also been an outstanding paraprofessional serving the Heath community.  As Profé Elkhessassi transitions to a new role closer to home we are so excited to have Ms. O’Day rejoin our community in the role of K-5 Spanish educator!


Transitioning to new roles at FRR

  • Jennifer Driscoll: Grade 4 

    • Previously Ms. Driscoll served the FRR community on our grade 3 team.  She has been a committed and strong educator in our community working in several different grade levels for 16 years.  With several positions being open on our grade 4 team for this coming school year (due to Ms. Gelotte’s retirement, Ms. Smith moving to a Science Coach role in Cambridge, and Ms. Cradle-deSilva relocating to Virginia) we are so fortunate to have Ms. Driscoll’s expertise and experience support our grade 4 team! 
  • Gwen Kerr: Grade 4 

    • Previously Ms. Kerr has been supporting our students in grades 6 and 7 with special education needs.  Prior to joining the FRR community Ms. Kerr worked as a grade 5 educator in Virginia.  In thinking about rebuilding our grade 4 team this year, we are thrilled to have Ms. Kerr bring her classroom and special education experience to the team! 

  • Katie Judd: Grade 3 

    • Previously Ms. Judd has been supporting our students in grades 7 and 8 with special education needs.  Ms. Judd has been a member of our FRR team for 10 years and has a strong commitment to inclusion, educational equity, and fostering student growth and achievement.  We are so excited to welcome her to our grade 3 team! 


We are still working on finalizing hiring for several other positions in the building as well as rounding out our paraprofessional team.  We will share more staffing announcements in our next What’s Happening at the Hive: Summer Edition email later this month.  


Summer Communications

During the month of August you will receive additional communications from the district and our school via email.  Please pay close attention to these communications as they will have important information that will help you and your child(ren) get ready for the start of the school year.  The next edition of What’s Happening at the Hive: Summer Edition will come out in two weeks.  You can expect editions of What’s Happening at the Hive (our school wide newsletter) to be sent via email every two weeks.  We will also post it on our website.  


I know this is a lot of information for August and with the start of the school year being about a month away.  The new school year always brings a lot of information to digest and process.  As you navigate this and future communications, if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to reach out (jennifer_buller@psbma.org 617-879-4403). 


Stay cool and safe this weekend!