Principal's Monthly Update
Principal's Monthly Message
Posted on 09/07/2020
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Mary K. Ferreri, Principal


Orchard Elementary

Ridgewood Public Schools


Dear Orchard Families, September 4, 2020
Congratulations! We have made it through our first three days of school! Your children, your teachers, and yourselves are to be commended for making this happen. As I told our staff, I have spent the last few days filled with such joy and pride. It is a wonderful thing to have children back in our hallways and classrooms, and I am so proud of our teachers, staff, and district for making this happen for our children! 

As we head into a long weekend, here are just a few notes and reminders on our start thus far. Thank you for reading! 

Back to School Night has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 17. More information on this virtual event will be shared next week! 

Hybrid A/B Days & Hybrid Master Schedule 

For our hybrid students, we know that the at-home learning days require students to toggle between homeroom teacher Google Classrooms as well as specialist classrooms. Now that our LIVE specials are up and running, it will be important for your child to go to their specialist’s classroom and click on that Google Meet. This master schedule should provide you with a one-page detail of each grade level in our school and their assigned academic periods. This is a good one to print and keep handy at home! 

Hybrid Model Master Schedule 

If you have not already, please print out our A/B calendar for home as well. 

September A/B Calendar 

Mask Reminders 

Our students have done a terrific job wearing their masks! Please remember to send your child in with a quality mask that offers good protection. The only permissible face coverings are masks; therefore, scarves, shirts, bandanas, gaiters, and the like are not acceptable. Face shields are also not an acceptable mouth covering and can only be used in combination with a mask. A good rule of thumb for appropriate mask protection is to check to see that a lit birthday candle cannot be extinguished, no matter how hard you try, when wearing your mask. 

Arrival Procedures Reminder 

Thank you for a wonderful first few days! Our entry to school has been quite smooth and students and families have left our grounds promptly at dismissal. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation! One reminder: please remember to take the symptom checking survey for your child prior to coming to Orchard School. The survey needs a few minutes to sync up - probably just the time it takes for you to leave home and get to Orchard. Make sure to get that survey done and then get going! 

An FYI for Parents Regarding the Start of a School Year 

As we continue to work in tandem for your child’s education, it is important to recognize what the start of this school year truly looks like for elementary school students. The first few weeks of September are crucial for setting up routines and expectations. While these weeks may seem soft on academics, this important time for community building and goal setting always pays off in huge dividends throughout the year. We will begin to see our students act as independent agents in the classroom and gain their trust to take risks, be vulnerable and grow each day. Although this is challenging in any year, our current situation presents additional challenges - but we are up to the task! 

So, we ask that you recognize that, for now, our school will focus on community building and learning critical technology skills. Additionally, we will introduce new content in a way that is engaging and creates enthusiasm. As we move into the content for the year, our pacing guides will pick up in speed and students will have lots to do. Presently, celebrating a return to routine, acknowledging the extra effort it takes to attend school with many parameters, and fostering responsibility to check Google Classroom are three main goals for students. We invite you to trust our process as a thoughtful one intended to set the stage for a great year of inquiry, learning and growth for all. 
Finally, and I will continue to say this often, do your part to help Orchard School stay healthy this school year. Wear masks, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and help all of us stay healthy and safe. This will only work if we all do our part and make good choices! As we began our start back at Orchard, I found this NY Times opinion piece to be a good reminder. We have taken on additional risk by returning to school, be smart about the choices you make outside of school. 

Have a wonderful weekend, and we will see you on Tuesday, a “B” day in school for our hybrid learners! 

MarySignature.jpgMrs. Ferreri