What's Happening at the Hive #4

Posted by Jennifer Buller on 11/8/2021 12:00:00 PM

Hello Florida Ruffin Ridley School Families and Friends,


I hope that you are all finding moments to step back, reflect, relax, and connect with people, places, and things that spark joy in your lives.  I want to thank the many of you who reached out over the past few days to offer your kind words of sympathy, beautiful memories, and support as we collectively move through this period of grief as a community.  Jeni’s family is holding a private service today and we will work closely with her family to plan a public celebration of her life in April around her birthday which is what she wanted.  A brief obituary for Jeni can be found here.  I appreciate the patience and grace you are all showing our staff, for many of whom this is a difficult time.  I also want to share my deep gratitude for the incredible work our Clinical Team has been doing in supporting the students and families who worked so closely with Jeni.  As a reminder, if you or your child need support please reach out to a member of our Clinical Team.


Caitlin Simmon: School Psychologist, caitlin_simmon@psbma.org, 617-879-4481

Bob Babigian: School Psychologist, robert_babigian@psbma.org,  617-879-4407

Jordana Spitz: K-2 Guidance Counselor, jordana_spitz@psbma.org,  617-879-4409

Mary Murphy: Grades 3-5 Guidance Counselor, mary_murphy2@psbma.org,  617-879-4412 

Jen Maylone: Grades 6-8 Guidance Counselor, jennifer_maylone@psbma.org,  617-879-4937

Amy Burch: School Social Worker, amy_burch@psbma.org,  617-879-4948

Jeffery Pierre: School Adjustment Counselor, jeffery_pierre@psbma.org,  617-879-4495


Below are some updates and reminders for our community including:

  • Family Night with Kass Minor reminder
  • K-8 Family/Educator Conferences and Early Release Days
  • Professional Development Day recap and next steps
  • Safety at arrival and dismissal
  • Girls on the Run Human/Dog Bake Sale to benefit MSPCA


REMINDER: Family Night with Kass Minor: Tuesday 11/9 6:30pm

WHAT: FRR Community Building Activity Kick-off Virtual Meeting with Kass Minor

WHEN: Tuesday, November 9th 6:30 - 7:30pm


Join Zoom Meeting

ID: 89899804134

Passcode: 047N3Wj1


The Details: 

Cooking is part of every culture, and how we make food and share it is central to our way of life. Our foodways carry the stories and memories of home and culture that are best told through their tastes, smells, and textures. 


For many families who work to maintain connection with their communities, meal-making and meal-sharing is one of the most heartfelt ways for people to celebrate their relationships and culture. 


During this one hour workshop with Kass Minor, we'll kick off a powerful way to connect  the FRR community, build relationships, and learn more about one another by unpacking the powerful literacy behind food stories.  Throughout our time together, we'll also initiate a plan for documenting our food stories with the potentiality to create a School-Wide Community Cookbook!


K-8 Educator/Family Conferences and Early Release Days

Over the next few weeks we have 4 early release days to make space for educators and families to connect around students goals and growth.  Each early release day is at 12:40pm.  Please make plans for your child to be picked up promptly at this time. 

  • Wednesday 11/10: K-6 Early Release
  • Thursday 11/18: K-8 Early Release
  • Thursday 12/2: K-8 Early Release
  • Wednesday 12/8: K-12 Early Release


Families in K-6 should have received communication from your child(ren)’s homeroom/classroom teacher about how to sign up for conferences.  If you have not received this communication yet, please reach out to your child(ren)’s teacher.  Since there are fewer release days for grades 7-8, the teaching teams in these grade levels will be scheduling 15 minute conferences with parents/guardians of students for whom concerns have been identified by the grade level team.  If you are not connected with for a conference this fall and have questions about your child’s progress in a particular class after seeing the term 1 report card, which will be on the Aspen Portal on November 15th at 5pm, please email that teacher directly at any time at (firstname_lastname@psbma.org)


Professional Development Day Recap and Next Steps

PD Day Recap

On Monday, November 1st the Public Schools of Brookline held a Professional Development Day for all staff.  At FRR in the morning our educators engaged in community building exercises, wellness opportunities, were presented data from MCAS and the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) screener, and had time to work in grade level bands and job alike groups on utilizing the many resources we have in our toolbox to address SEL across the school day.  Based on some of the intersections from various data points we shared our next steps to address some of the growing edges and opportunities that are present in various underperforming subgroups.  After a delicious lunch, thanks to our generous PTO, our educators engaged in a variety of opportunities from district-led curriculum sessions to self-directed team time that focused on our School Improvement Plan (SIP) and district wide goals.  


Next Steps

Coming out of and building on the momentum from the Professional Development Day, we are committed to the following goals as they are aligned with our School Improvement Plan (SIP).

  • Increase the growth of all students in ELA and Math (as measured by Student Growth Percentile (SGP) on MCAS)
  • Increase the number of students from underperforming subgroups who score Meets/Exceeds in ELA and Math  (as measured by MCAS and the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS)) 
  • Increase the number of students who report favorably in the areas of self efficacy, school belonging, and emotional regulation as measured by our SEL screener


Our action steps are many to achieve these goals.  Below are a few:

  • Dedicate staff meeting time 1x/month to team meetings centered around planning and utilizing SEL resources that target self efficacy, school belonging, and emotional regulation
  • Dedicate staff meeting time 1x/month to team meetings centered around planning, instruction, intervention, and progress monitoring for identified students with support from literacy and math specialists/coaches. 
  • Develop a student council that will provide more student voice and agency within our school community 


There is much more work that we will be doing in classrooms, intervention spaces, and beyond that is not captured above.  You can find more information about our School Improvement Plan and some additional work we are doing by visiting the School Council section of our website


Safety at Arrival and Dismissal

With the mornings getting colder each day we are noticing more students arriving to and leaving school by vehicle.  A few reminders:

  • There is NO driving in the front loop between 7:45 - 8:15am and 2:15 - 2:45pm (1:30-1:50pm on Fridays)
    • You may either park on Harvard and walk your student to the front door, or have them walk themselves, OR drive up Stedman Street and use the LIVE PARKING ONLY left lane to drop off
  • The left lane on Stedman Street is for LIVE PARKING ONLY
    • Please do not exit your vehicle when dropping off or picking up when parked on the left side of Stedman Street
    • Also when pulling back out into traffic on Stedman please be careful to look for pedestrians and cyclists 
  • Please do not park on the RIGHT side of Stedman Street for arrival and dismissal.  We want to be good neighbors and not disturb the flow of traffic in the neighborhood. 


If you are dismissing your child(ren) early from school, you must physically be present at the school’s main entrance on Harvard Street and ring the bell prior to your child(ren) being allowed to leave the school.  As a reminder, please do not call or text your child(ren) with dismissal plans during the school day as they are not allowed to use their phones during the day here in school.  


Girls on the Run (GOTR) Human and Dog Bake Sale: TOMORROW

As part of their community impact project our Girls on the Run team will be hosting a human and dog bake sale tomorrow from 2:30 - 4:00p on the back playground.  Human and dog treats will be available for sale.  All money collected will benefit the MSPCA. 

As we enter a season where many people pause to reflect and share gratitude, I hope that you can find the time and space in your days to share gratitude and connection with one another and those you hold close.  I look forward to connecting with you hopefully tomorrow at our virtual Family Community Event with Kass Minor and around the building at some of our in person events in the coming month.