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.
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).
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!
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