Sunday, October 4, 2020

October 2020

 October 2, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

Fall is here, which  is always an enjoyable time of the year. The cooler weather gives everyone a  little pep in their step, and the earlier sunsets provide lots of extra time for curling up with a good book at home. Reading with your child is a proven way to promote early literacy. One of the most important things you can do to prepare your child for his/her future is helping to make sure that your child is reading on grade level by third grade. You can influence your child’s success in school by making reading a daily routine in your home. Research shows that students who read at least 20 minutes per day score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. What can you do to support your child with reading? Read at home with your child daily (at least 20 minutes) with books they enjoy. Some ways to do this:

  • Read out loud to your child.

  • Listen to your child read.

  • When you are listening to your child read, and something doesn’t make sense or sound correct, ask them to go back and try again.

  • If they are stuck on a word, please feel free to just tell them the word. 

  • If they don’t understand a word, give them a child friendly explanation to help them better understand the story.

  • Echo read (you read a line, then they repeat).

  • Read together at the same time.

  • Talk to your child about the books you  are reading by asking your child to share what they remember about what they heard you read. 

  • Talk about their favorite parts.

  • Talk about what they  have learned.

  • Talk about how the pictures in the book connect to the words on the page.

  • Help connect the reading to your child’s life or other books they’ve read.


We know that your support is critical to your student’s success. It is our hope that all children will have plenty of books available for at home reading, so they become proficient lifelong readers. Please let us know if you need more books for at home reading with your child and we will be happy to send more home. 

Safety in the Parking Lot!

The morning “drop off” time before school and 12:30 “pick up” time after school has students and parents negotiating a very busy parking lot. PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY AND CAUTIOUSLY and put the safety of our students first. The drop off lane is a “kiss and go lane”, please pull all the way forward, stay in your car, give them a kiss and a hug, send them out to the sidewalk and keep the line moving. We would like the line to move quickly so parents with other morning commitments can get through the line efficiently. If you want to get out of the car please park. Also, remember to save the parking spaces labeled handicapped for those with the appropriate legal designation.


Daily Symptom Check 

The Portland Public Schools uses the SchoolMessenger system (SMS) to deliver important information about events, school closings, safety alerts and the Daily Symptom Check via phone calls and emails. It also can send the  Daily Symptom Check straight to your mobile phone. However, you must “opt in” to get text messages. Parents will need to check their children for COVID-19 symptoms each day, just clicking on the  easy free app on their phones to let us know they have done so and our child is safe to attend school.. Staff also must check for symptoms daily. What are those symptoms? See the list in PPS Health and Safety Protocols section of the School Reopening site on the district website. That section and the  Frequently Asked Questions have a lot of other helpful information, such as what kind of masks are acceptable – no gaiters! 

 

Hybrid Schedule Extended

Since school reopened,  we have continued to focus on maintaining a safe and healthy environment for staff and students. The vast majority of our students have done an amazing job complying with mask wearing and social distancing There is nothing “normal” about the ways we have had to adjust, individually or as a school, except for the fact that we continue to make our way through difficult times by supporting each other in any way we can.  As you may have read in a letter from Superintendent Botana last week, Portland Public Schools  has decided NOT to bring pre-K through grade 5 students back full time this month. There are concerns that transitioning to a different scenario in which twice as many students are in our schools each day would greatly increase staff and student risk. Plus, it would be difficult to have students be six feet from each other while eating, as state health and safety protocols dictate. The challenges are likely to prevent us from bringing students back full time for the foreseeable future. Portland Public Schools  has worked with community partners to provide safe and nurturing places for students to learn during their remote days and also after school. There are still  some slots available. Go to the  PPS Community Partnerships page on the PPS website to sign up. 


Music News

Ms. Cassie Cooper is our fantastic new music teacher at Talbot this year. She is primarily working with grades Pre-K, K and 2 for the first trimester. In Pre-K, students have been exploring what it means to listen. They have also explored the idea that a steady beat of music is like a heartbeat through dancing, playing egg shakers, and playing drums. A favorite activity has been moving to the beat in a game called "Giants and Fairies" where students move to the beat in character.  

 

Kindergarten music students have been exploring the idea that the steady beat of music is like a heartbeat. They have danced and played drums to the steady beat. Kindergarten students have also used our outdoor music classroom to learn to sing the songs "Here We Go Riding our Ponies" and the "This is My Trunk" a song about how Apple trees change through the seasons. Their favorite activity has been riding their imaginary ponies to the beat of the song. 

 

In 2nd grade music, we have been solidifying our understanding of steady beat. Students have been demonstrating the steady beat with movement, body percussion, and while playing drums and xylophone bars with correct technique! A favorite activity of students has been learning to play "Uptown Funk." 

 

News from the Library

Right now, our wonderful Library Ed Tech, Mrs. Doane visits 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade classrooms. In addition to checking out books, Mrs. Doane treats students to a variety of stories and sometimes even a few podcasts. Here are the highlights:

  • In first grade, we've learned about book care and are starting to learn about the parts of a book and fiction vs. nonfiction. So far, we have focused on books about kindness and adjusting to the new school year, including All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold and The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson. For learning book care, we read A Perfectly Messed-up Story by Patrick McDonnell and The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Robinson Jeffers.

  • For grades 3 and 5, we are learning how to use Destiny Discover to request books from our library. Soon, we will be teaching students how to use Portland Public Library resources, such as their PPL To-go program and their SEED program, which will allow students to access eBooks at no cost. 5th graders are also going to learn about this year's Maine Student book awards! So far, we have read: Of Thee I Sing by Barack Obama; Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson; The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt; I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debby Levy; and more.

With Indigenous People's Day on the horizon, we will also be reading books by indigenous authors or about indigenous people. We are very excited that we will soon be sharing We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, which focuses on water sovereignty and its relationship to the tribes. It's a brand new book with a beautiful message!

 

PE Update

We are so fortunate to have Mr. Noah Kerrigan as our in person PE teacher this year, working with students in grades K, 1 and 3.  Our main focus in PE right now is helping kids get moving, safely interact with one another, and have fun! We're doing this in a variety of ways including exercise games, running, and building skills in various sports like soccer and basketball. We're emphasizing participation and effort over everything else. It's my belief that if we can instill a love of sport and a fondness for exercise in kids at a young age, they'll carry this with them throughout their lives.

 

School Pictures

Just a friendly reminder that there will be no school pictures taken this fall due to Covid-19. If possible, we hope to be able to schedule school pictures for the spring. 

 

Upcoming Events

Friday, October 9 : No School 

Monday, October 12: No School (Indigenous People’s Day)

Saturday, October 17: Drive Thru PumpkinFest! 10:00-2:00

 

Cordially, 

Ann Hanna, Principal


Saturday, February 22, 2020

February News

Dear Families,

Happy February! The school year is flying by and February Vacation is right around the corner.  I am writing this newsletter on what is the fourth snow day of the year, making the last student day unofficially on June 17th.  There is no doubt the second half of the school year will go by as quickly as the first half did!

As you may know, the Portland Board of Public Education voted unanimously this week to rename Riverton Elementary School as the Gerald E. Talbot Community School. The vote followed a public hearing that showed strong support for the renaming. The name change will take effect in the fall for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. The district soon will be announcing details of a fundraising campaign it plans to launch to pay for a new school sign.

I am thrilled about renaming Riverton as the Gerald E. Talbot Community School. Mr. Talbot is an icon of our community, and his work to promote civil and human rights will serve as an inspiration to children who attend our school for many generations to come. Mr. Talbot is one of Portland’s most cherished and respected community leaders and among his accomplishments were the successful passage of the Maine Fair Housing Bill and the Maine Human Rights Act and the establishment of the Maine Human Rights Commission.

The Board’s vote took place during Black History Month 2020. During Black History Month in February 2019, the Portland City Council requested the Board and district consider naming a school after this renowned City resident. This past May, the Board passed a resolution to establish a process to consider such a renaming.

“Gerald Talbot has worked tirelessly on behalf of equity for everyone in our state,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest and most diverse school district and Equity is our foremost goal. Naming a school for Gerald Talbot is more than fitting.”

“It was truly special having Mr. Talbot present for the occasion,” said Board Chair Roberto Rodriguez. “I’m proud that the Board has named a school after such an exceptional leader, one who serves as a role model for Portland students and adults.”

I am honored that Riverton, which is one of the district’s most diverse schools, was chosen for the name change for several reasons. We are working to emphasize the role our school plays in the community.  “A new name highlighting a man who represents the broadest definition of the word ‘community’ will help to communicate that message and enhance Riverton’s proud history and tradition,” Botana said.  Superintendent Botana also said that including the word “community” instead of “elementary” in the new name will emphasize our school's role as the hub of the Riverton neighborhood. The Talbot family also has family connections that make Riverton an especially meaningful place for them.

Kindergarten Registration
This year’s Kindergarten registration period is from February 24 to March 9, 2020 and can be completed online at: https://www.portlandschools.org/families/school_enrollment/kindergarten_enrollment 
Children must be five years of age on or before October 15, 2020 in order to attend Kindergarten. For families who need assistance completing the application in English, please call the Multilingual & Multicultural Center at 874-8135 for translation/interpretation services. Once your online registration is complete, you will need to come into Riverton’s main office to show an original proof of birth (will be reviewed, not kept), the child’s immunization record, and proof of residency in the city of Portland (electricity, cable, internet bill or lease agreement). 

STEM Night

In January, we had our first annual STEM family night at Riverton School. Riverton staff worked countless hours to provide engaging activities for students and families to participate in learning about science and math.  Families learned how to make origami, use telescopes, learned about animals from Chewonki, floating boats, bee bots, estimation, and other math and science activities.  As part of the night, Wayside Kitchen provided a delicious meal that helped Riverton Elementary School serve dinner to over 150 people. Families were offered a delicious meal which included salad, lasagna, fruit, and cookies.  This was the largest turnout in recent years for this family event. Many thanks goes out to Wayside Kitchen for providing a meal to Riverton families and helping Riverton make this night successful for all.

Mid-Year Attendance Reminders
Good attendance is the first step in helping children become college and job ready.  It begins in preschool and elementary school and continues through high school. Building a habit of good attendance is your child’s ticket to success in school and eventually on the job. Some absences are unavoidable. We understand that children will get sick and need to stay home occasionally. The important thing is to get your children to school as often as possible, on time and to communicate with the school when your child will be absent.
As we prepare to take a short break from school over February vacation, we want to express our gratitude for everyone who makes it possible for our students to come to school every day, on time, and ready to learn. We thank:
·  our students and families for making daily attendance a priority. They know the habit of attendance will help them do well in the classroom and eventually in a job.
·  our wonderful teachers who make each classroom an exciting place for exploration and knowledge for children.
·  our support staff and community volunteers who provide the extra hands and attention our children need.

Attendance matters and every day counts!

Morning Drop Off Reminder
Thank you for following our new arrival routines and dropping students off at the Community Doors. The morning drop off has improved greatly! We want to remind parents and guardians that morning drop off should not occur earlier than 8:05 a.m. as there is no supervision before this time.  Students must not be dropped off at school in the morning before 8:05 a.m., unless they are attending the Morning Rec Program. If you need before school care for your child please call 874-8455.  Mrs. LeSieur and I offer a sincere thank you for working with us at morning drop off and dismissal by following the posted signage, keeping traffic flowing smoothly, and, most of all, creating safer conditions for our students. Your patience and efforts are deeply appreciated!

Upcoming Events:

February 12: Early Release, 1:50 Dismissal
February 12: PTO, Media Center, 5:30
February 14: School Spirit Day!
February 17-21: February Break, No School
February 26: Early Release, 1:50 Dismissal

Sincerely, 

Ann Hanna
Principal

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Happy New Year! January, 2020

January 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020! The onset of a new year is a time for resolutions, and looking forward. Teachers at Riverton are helping students do this by setting goals for learning, as we dive deeper into rigorous instruction before the next break in February. This winter promises to be filled with plenty of engaging learning opportunities designed to support students’ learning and growth.

January is also a time for mid-year assessments. Across the district, teachers will be giving assessments that help us know whether students are keeping up with the class, or may need a little extra help. The tests will also determine new areas for teachers to work on with students between now and spring. Starting on January 13, English language learning students will be taking the yearly ACCESS test. This test measures the domains of speaking, listening, reading, writing and comprehension in English.

Cromwell Center
Riverton Elementary School was happy to partner with The Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness this year. Our students took part in some great conversations about abilities, respect and inclusion. This fit perfectly with our school’s own efforts to build kindness and respect for all students. To learn more about this Maine non-profit and their free disabilities awareness programs, visit www.cromwellcenter.org.

STEM NightJanuary 23 there will be a special Science-Technology- Engineering-Math or​ STEM family event at Riverton School from 5:00-6:00. Please join us to discover the fun of learning through hands-on family activities. There will be math games and challenges science activities, telescopes, and live animal presentation from Chewonki. This event is
free​ and dinner will be served. We hope to see you there!

Working Together for School Success
When you think of parent involvement, do you picture parents and caregivers volunteering in the classroom? That is one way to help- but research shows that supporting your child’s education at home can make a big difference in your child’s education. Plus, not everyone has time to volunteer in classrooms, so here are some conversation starters that will help you stay involved with your child’s learning at school:
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“Let me see what you brought home.”​ - Take time to look at completed work to find out what your child is learning and how well he or she is doing. Comment on what you notice about their math work or writing. (“You know a lot about subtracting two digit numbers!”) Also, be sure to respond to notes from the teacher and sign any forms that are required.
“Show me what you have for homework.”- It is​ ​your​ ​child’s responsibility to do homework, but you can play a role, too. Make sure your child knows what they are supposed to do by having them explain the assignment to you. After they finish the homework, glance over the work to see that it is complete.
“Tell me about a book you enjoyed today.”- This gives you an idea of what your child likes to read. Build up your child’s daily reading habits by asking what they would like to read at home. Encourage their reading and listening skills by reading aloud to your child and letting them read to you.
“Tell me what you learned that you’d like to know more about.”-​ Use your child’s interests as jumping-off points for activities to share together. If your child likes geometry, you might hunt for shapes together. If they are fascinated by how animals adapt to winter, take them to the library to research the subject or look for informational videos on-line.
“Time to go to school!”-Helping your child maintain good attendance is key.
Being in school every day means your child will not miss out on learning. It is helpful if you can schedule appointments and family trips outside of school hours. If your child asks to stay home “just because,” remind them of what they will miss, such as a reading lesson or PE class. Explain that children can only be absent if they are sick or if there is a family emergency.


Special Reminder- Martin Luther King, Jr Day -There is no school on Monday, January 20, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Upcoming Dates
January 8: Early Release, 1:50
January 10: Spirit Day! Wear Riverton colors! January 13: ACCESS Testing begins
January 15: Early Release, 1:50
January 16: PTO meeting, 5:30 Media Center January 17: Play Me a Story-8:45, cafeteria
January 17: All Star Basketball Night
January 20: Martin Luther King Day, NO SCHOOL January 21: Math Meet, 9:00-12:00
January 22: Early Release, 1:50
January 23: Family Math/Science Night, 5:00-6:00 January 24: All Star Basketball Night
​ 3 x3
January 29: Early Release, 1:50

Please feel free to reach out to me, or Assistant Principal Kerri LeSieur if you ever have questions about how we can best support your student(s) at Riverton School (874-8210).

Sincerely,
Mrs. Ann Hanna Principal


Thursday, December 5, 2019

December to Remember!

December 2, 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome to December! How quickly the school year is flying by. Before we know it, 2020 will be here!
Thank you for attending your child’s conference last month. It was wonderful to see students sharing their work with families, and talking about what they have been learning in school. Many parents told me how proud and impressed they are with all that their children have learned since September.  If you were not able to attend your child’s conference, it is not too late! Please call the office at 874-8210 and schedule a conference time with your child’s teacher.
Cultivating Community and FoodCorps have partnered with our cafeteria to run taste tests of the new vegan lunch options throughout the school year. Students have the opportunity to taste a sample and give feedback when they are in the cafeteria for lunch. In October, students tasted falafel, a new lunch item that is vegan and high in protein. Vegan means there is no meat, eggs, or dairy. Protein keeps our students full and ready to learn all day. Of the 291 students that tried the falafel, 148 of them said that they loved it! Ask your student if they tried the falafel and check out the school lunch menu to see the next time it is offered.

The next taste test is on December 18th and students will be tasting tofu, another new lunch item that is vegan and high in protein. Students will have the opportunity to try a sample in addition to their school or home lunch. Please encourage your students to participate and share their feedback.

The office has recently implemented an automated robocall system for when students are marked absent from school without a notification from a parent/guardian. Parents/Guardians are expected to call the school office at 874-8210 or email Andrea Manuel manuea@portlandschools.org prior to 8:00 A.M. if their child will be absent or tardy.  Parents/Guardians who have not called in for an absent or tardy child will receive the automated phone call as a reminder to call the office to provide the reason for the absence. Excused absences are defined by Maine State Law and the Portland School Board of Education as:

  • personal illness;
  • an appointment with a health professional that must be made during school hours;
  • observance of a religious holiday;
  • a family emergency; or
  • a planned absence for a personal or educational purpose that has been approved in advance by the principal/assistant principal. 

If your child has a doctor’s appointment, you are encouraged to bring them to school after the appointment so they only miss a portion of their learning time, rather than the whole school day.

Maine Law (20-A MRSA 5001- A) requires that children attend school.  In cases of excessive unexcused absences (7 or more!) for which the parent is responsible, the school department may refer to the Department of Human Services and law enforcement.  Therefore, it is extremely important to notify the office whenever your child is absent from school. 
Finally, the snowy weather arrived early this year, and we know there will be many more cold days ahead. We urge you to do your best to send your children appropriately dressed for recess outside during the winter months. We have students go to recess outside every day throughout the winter, unless the temperature drops below 13 degrees with wind chill. Students need jackets, hats, snow pants, boots and gloves/mittens in order to be safely protected from the cold when they are outside at recess. If you need help getting these items for your child, please contact the office at 874-8210.  We are also continuing to accept donations of new or slightly used winter clothing, especially snow pants, socks, mittens, and gloves for students in need. Thank you for your generous support!

Please see the  library newsletter  here. 
Special Reminder - December Break is coming. There is no school from Dec 23 - Jan 1st. Classes resume Thursday, January 2nd.  All the best over the holidays and Happy New Year!

Upcoming Events:
December 4: Grade 5 to Portland Stage
December 4: Early Release Dismissal, 1:50
December 10, 11, 17,18 NWEAs, grade 5
December 11: Early Release Dismissal, 1;50
December 13: Spirit Day!
December 13: Grade 5 to Portland Museum of Art
December 13: PTO Movie Night, 5:30
December 16, 17: NWEAs, grade 3
December 16,17,18, 19, NWEAs, grade 4
December 17: Math Meet,
December 18: Early Release Dismissal, 1;50
December 19: PTO, Media Center, 5:30
December 20: Whole School Community Meeting, 8:45
December 20: Mr. Turner’s last day!

Sincerely,

Mrs. Ann Hanna, Principal

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November 2019

November 4, 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,
September and October have flown by and it is already November! The year is in full swing. Have you checked out your child’s classroom blog? The classroom blogs provide great information about all the exciting learning opportunities that are happening at school this year.  You can access the blogs on our website at https://riverton.portlandschools.org.

I am so grateful for our teachers at Riverton. All learning begins with the most important person in the classroom, the teacher. As a proud principal, I can’t help but brag about the dedicated teachers at Riverton School who are doing outstanding work with your children.  We have an incredibly talented group of educators at Riverton who want nothing but the best for all students and families.  I am continually impressed with the amount of time and energy the teachers at Riverton put into making sure all students are successful and making gains. Our teachers are constantly pushing themselves to learn new and innovative ways to reach students and raise achievement.  They are committed to working collaboratively to support students at all levels and to provide supportive yet rigorous instruction for all learners. Please take time to make sure to let your child’s teacher know how much you appreciate the work they do. I am sure they would love a note of thanks from you during this season of thanksgiving.

Attendance
I want to congratulate Riverton Families on working hard to make sure children are attending school regularly. Being in school every day means your child won’t miss out on learning. Thank you for scheduling appointments and family trips outside of school hours. If your child asks to stay home “just because”, remind him or her of what he or she will miss, such as a reading group or PE class. Thanks for explaining that he/she can be absent only if he or she is sick or if there is a family emergency.

Parent Teacher Conferences
It is almost time for parent teacher conferences!  Parent Teacher Conferences are a wonderful opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher(s) to learn how your child is progressing academically and socially in school.  It is also a great opportunity to celebrate your child’s progress and all the things she/he has accomplished in just the first three months of school. The dates for conferences are November 21 and 22. Students will have lunch and be dismissed at 11:50 both days. We hope to have 100% of our parents/guardians attend conferences this year. Please call Riverton at 874-8210 if you need to schedule or reschedule your child’s conference. 

Community Resource Fair
On Thursday, November 21 during conferences, Riverton will be holding a Community Resource Fair.  At the Community Resource Fair, food, clothing, supplies, and other resource information will be provided for free to any family that visits.  The Community Resource Fair will be in the cafeteria from 12:00 to 5:00.

Book Fair
The Book Fair will also be happening November 21, 21 and 23 and will be located in the Media Center. Come and shop for some wonderful books for your child and/or your child’s class. Thank you to PTO volunteers for organizing the Book Fair. A portion of all sales from the Book Fair goes directly into supporting Riverton School!

Flu Clinic
One of the best ways to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year.  Riverton will be holding a Flu Clinic on Thursday, November 7 for those students whose parents have submitted permission forms. If you would like your child to have a flu shot, parents need to fill out the form completely and return it to the school.  Please be assured that if you have not returned the form, your child will not be given a flu shot. Teachers will remind students to pass in the returned flu permission forms, but be aware that sometimes the forms do not get passed in.  Please feel free to call and check to make sure your child's form has been turned in. Our goal is for every child to be protected against the flu this year!

Morning Arrival Time And Building Entry
Thank you for remembering that even with the arrival of cold weather, children are not allowed to enter the building  until 8:05am, unless your child attends morning Rec. Thank you!

Lost and Found
Just a friendly reminder to please check the Lost and Found for your child’s missing items. Lost and Found is located toward the back of the front lobby. Remember to sign in with the office if going to the Lost and Found area during school hours.  Thank you!

Upcoming Events:
November 4-15: FOOD DRIVE- please donate a nonperishable food item(s) to our food drive! All donations go to our very own Backpack Project!

November 5: Math Team Meet
November 6: Early Release, dismissal at 1:50
November 7: Flu Clinic
November 8: Movie Night
November 11: Veteran’s Day, NO SCHOOL!
November 13: Early Release: dismissal at 1:50
November 14: PTO Meeting, Media Center, 5:30
November 20: Portland Stage Workshops, grade 5
November 20: Early Release: dismissal at 1:50
November 21-23: Book Fair in Media Center
November 21: Early Release: 3-Way Conferences, 11:50 dismissal
November 22: Early Release: 3-Way Conferences, 11:50 dismissal
November 27, 28, 29: Thanksgiving Break, NO SCHOOL!

Happy Fall!
Mrs. Ann Hanna

Principal

October 2020

  October 2, 2020 Dear Parents and Guardians,  Fall is here, which  is always an enjoyable time of the year. The cooler weather...