Grade School Principal's Blog

  • RGS Back-to-School Message and New Staff Introductions

    Posted by Stephanie Kendall on 9/4/2020

     Dear Riverdale Grade School Families, 

    Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! I am thrilled to welcome you back to school. It is truly an honor for me to be serving as the interim principal of Riverdale Grade School. I am privileged to work with an outstanding staff who have been diligently preparing a smooth transition for our students.
    This fall, with Oregon Department of Education’s (ODE) latest guidance, we are excited to move forward in kicking off a new school year. Riverdale School District has purchased new online curriculum and teachers have been working in grade level teams to implement this in meaningful and thoughtful ways. I appreciate the expertise our teachers bring to RGS and the commitment to learn and grow as we teach in new ways to meet the needs of all students.  
    The beginning of the year will be dedicated to creating inclusive communities, forging social-emotional foundations and learning classroom expectations. During the first weeks of school, the intent of the staff is to introduce curriculum in a thoughtful manner to alleviate frustrations and ensure success. As we introduce curriculum, the best practice is to remain flexible as we adapt to the needs of each student. We look forward to this journey together and ask for patience and grace as we embark on this unique school year. 
    Partnering with families will be crucial this year as we face obstacles due to the global pandemic. I appreciate your support, flexibility and kindness as you partner with us during comprehensive distance learning. I encourage families to stay connected and informed by following our district website and eblasts for important district updates and information. Individual teachers will directly communicate with students and families regarding schedules and classroom news. 
    I wish we were in the gym kicking off the 2020-2021 school year at a welcome back assembly. In the coming weeks, I will be looking for opportunities to meet students and families virtually. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, concerns or ideas.  
    WELCOME BACK Falcons!
    RGS Interim Principal Stephanie Kendall 

    Social Distancing, Masks Required and Playground Equipment Closed 

    We would like to remind everyone of RSD campus requirements: 

    • Our buildings remain closed to the public. 
    • Per statewide guidance, “face coverings are required for ages 5 and up in indoor public spaces and outdoors anywhere physical distancing isn’t possible" while on campus please maintain face coverings to allow staff to safely pass when coming and going.
    • Access to the RGS playground is restricted due to OHA guidance recommending that day-use areas prone to attracting crowds be closed. 
    • At this time, the district is not able to run organized sports practices, even in small groups.

    We ask all community members to please adhere to the Multnomah County Phase 1 guidance. This guidance is based on the latest OHA document: July 1, 2020Statewide Reopening Guidance –Outdoor Recreation Organizations.


    Introducing New Staff

    Please join us in welcoming our new grade school, high school and district staff members.

    Hannah Hanke - Music Teacher

    Born and raised in Green Bay, WI, Hannah has taught music around the world and is excited to be the new music teacher at Riverdale Grade School! Hannah has a strong passion for helping students make music and infuses creativity, relationship building and cultural context into her teaching. Hannah is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Northwestern University and brings experiences in choral conducting, vocal development, instrumental music education, the Orff-Schulwerk and Dalcroze techniques, community outreach, student composition, restorative justice and social-emotional education. She enjoys learning new things, interacting with animals and drinking coffee. 

    Kelsey Kaul - HS Counselor

    Kelsey's professional experience has always involved education, in a variety of roles.  Chronologically, he was a martial arts instructor, taught K-12 philosophy, coordinated tutoring programs for AVID, was a school secretary, and is now entering his second year of school counseling, having graduated from Lewis and Clark College Graduate School of Education and Counseling in 2019. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. His research and professional presentations include the following topics: Supporting Students of Color at Jesuit High SchoolBreaking the Binary: Honoring Queer YouthOn Friendship and Stereotypes. Kelsey's roots are spread throughout Wisconsin, Ohio and North Carolina, but he has called Portland home for the past five+ years. In his spare time, Kelsey plays video games, board games, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons and loves camping.  

    Megan Mandel - HS Science Teacher 

    Megan comes to Riverdale after two wonderful years of teaching IB Environmental Systems and Societies at South Salem High School. At South, she also taught an AVID course and coached Junior Varsity Girls Tennis. Prior to this, she completed her Master of Arts in teaching through George Fox University and student taught Biology at Tigard High School. She is a graduate of Chapman University. In her spare time, she loves to play the guitar and craft for her Etsy shop. Megan grew up in Lake Oswego and is really excited to join the Riverdale team. Plus, she will no longer have to make the two hour round-trip commute to Salem every day!

    Eric Comstock - HS Educational Assistant

    Eric has over a decade of experience in public schools, most recently at Oregon Connections Academy. He grew up in Southeast Portland, graduated from Franklin High School, and currently lives in Multnomah Village with his wife, Casey, and their dog, Fern. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, traveling and hiking the SW urban trails. He is looking forward to a great year at Riverdale.   

    Melissa Davies - Technology Support Specialist

    Passionate about the intersection of technology and education, Melissa previously spent 10 years as a Global Manufacturing Project Management Professional and before that five years in higher education. Melissa has a master's degree in intercultural higher education from Lesley University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Northeastern University. She has been in Portland since 2018. In her spare time Melissa enjoys volunteering with the Junior League of Portland, golfing and practicing mindfulness meditation. She is excited to join the Riverdale community and help out kids, parents, and staff with their technology needs. 

    Tera VanDyke - Business Manager

    Tera comes to Riverdale through a partnership with the Northwest Regional ESD for business services. She has been with the fiscal office for nine years with five fantastic years of experience as an Accounting Manager. Prior to that, she was the Payroll Manager for the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon in Beaverton. Tera is a graduate of Linfield University, formerly Linfield College. Tera loves camping and spending time with her family and grandkids and is so excited to be at Riverdale! 
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  • Summary from the latest meeting of the RGS Equity and Inclusion Team and a summer reading list.

    Posted by Joanna Tobin on 7/7/2020

    Summary from the latest meeting of the RGS Equity and Inclusion Team and a summer reading list. Look for the latest developments in our Fall 2020 Planning coming later this week. This Thursday - Indigenous Perspectives on the Ancient One through Friends of Tryon Creek. 

    RGS Equity Team June 26 meeting summary


    Dear RGS Parents, 
    Our RGS Equity and Inclusion Team met to identify short-term goals and to continue forward momentum. Below is a summary from Friday, June 26. Find the summary from the June 22 meeting here. We discussed the following:
    • Norms for the team for holding valuable conversations about racism 
    • Strengthening our online presence and ability to swiftly report concerns
    • Curriculum ideas and upcoming policy work including incorporating the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards formally into our teaching and learning
    • Ideas for student voice and to create an opportunity for RGS graduates to share and mentor our students
    • Create more opportunities for student peer-to-peer interactions outside of our predominantly white community through athletics, music and other collaborative activities to encourage student connection and voice
    • Work with our in-district and out-of-district partners to strengthen our efforts
    • Sharif Liwaru, Director of Regional Equity Initiatives and Partnerships at the 
      Cascade Alliance for Equity 
      and Wjyuana Montgomery, and as our district explores learning and partnership opportunities with The Center for Equity and Inclusion
    RGS Site Council Summer Reading Recommendation 
    Also, this May our RGS Site Council outlined a continued focus on Social and Emotional Learning as we move into the 2020-2021 school year. Our PTC is generously supporting a grant that provides a copy for all teachers of the book "All Learning is Social and Emotional" by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher and Dominique Smith. We encourage this book as part of your summer reading list as well. 

    Thursday, July 9

    Tryon Nature Pub - Disturbed Narratives: The Ancient One

    Join Friends of Tryon Creek for their online Nature Pub. Enjoy an evening of science and community.

    Disturbed Narratives: the Ancient One, Indigenous perspectives of the case of the Kennewick Man.


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