June 16, 2023
Riverdale School District News
Riverdale School District News from Old System
The district is testing its new system and this email is from our old system. Please go back to your inbox to see another email from the new one.
You should see this same message below from Superintendent Russo in the separate new email.
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Look for more information as we return to school about other system updates and improvements.
Message from Superintendent Russo
Dear Riverdale Community,
We have come to the close of the 22-23 school year, a year of building back, shoring up, a year of remembering again what school/education was like for Riverdale. The pandemic had a lasting impact and Riverdale has weathered its struggle with determination and persistence. That doesn’t happen in a void and it truly takes a community (and its support) to rebuild and establish. I speak on behalf of all the staff in expressing our gratitude for the community’s overwhelming positive and constructive support.
As with any difficult stretch, there are lessons learned, areas for improvement, places for program elevation and instructional innovation. I personally have appreciated the community interaction and feedback–via survey and/or one-on-one meetings. Every idea shared, every thought expressed, adds to the collaboration equation. Foundational systems are reestablished or refined, processes implemented and being adhered to, optimizations embraced all with the intent to not only establish but to evolve into a better, more efficient Riverdale School District.
The work has been challenging but rewarding and fulfilling. The relationships I’ve made are valued and appreciated. There’s still much to do and more community members to meet, but step by step we will get there. Please also see the message below from our Equity & Inclusion Director.
I wish you all the best of summers filled with family, rest and peace. We will see you again in August!
Riverdale School District Superintendent
A Statement from Abby Rotwein, Director of Equity and Inclusion
Dear Riverdale Students, Staff, Caregivers, and Community Members,
Every June, as the school year comes to a close, I like to take stock of what has been accomplished in the ten months prior. It helps me celebrate successes and set goals around what comes next.
This last week has been particularly poignant as I prepare myself for a new stage in my professional and personal journey. This summer I am moving to Los Angeles to continue equity and inclusion work in a school district there.
I am deeply proud of the impact I have made in the Riverdale School District over the course of the last 2.5 years as the inaugural Director of Equity and Inclusion. It is never easy being the first and that is especially the case in DEI work given the rampant misinformation and divisiveness that exists in our country today.
Here are a few fast facts to highlight some of my work the last 2.5 years:
- 19 Equity focused Professional Development Trainings for staff
- 32 different lessons created on the themes of identity and diversity for K-8 students
- 18 additional lessons on equity and respect created and taught at the Middle School
- 17 different lessons for K-8 students about Heritage Months
- 3 Community Affinity Groups created, 15 listening sessions held
- 2 Staff Affinity Groups created
- 10 Student Investment Account reports written in order to retain $460,000 of funding each year from the state
- Hundreds of hours of community engagement, data collection, and writing of narratives in order to align with state requirements and maintain funding as part of Aligning for Student Success
- 2 Gender Neutral Bathrooms created at RHS
- 50 Student Service Team meetings at RHS to support struggling students
- 10 student facing assemblies held focusing on a wide range of topics and featuring diverse speakers from across the country and world
- 5 Community facing events held
- $6,000 raised for Lines for Life Auction in honor of Carson Bride
- 50 Jewish Student Union meetings held at RHS
- 70+ No Place for Hate meetings held and numerous events planned
- 2 years that RHS was designated as a No Place for Hate School
- 4,000 food items collected by 7th/8th grade leadership for LiftUp Portland
- 500+ care kits created by 7th/8th grade leadership for Just Compassion Homeless Shelter
- 54 Equity Team meetings held across the district
- 66 “Equity and Inclusion Corner” newsletters written
Thank you to the many, many supporters of me and this work, to those who have been open to learning, to those who ask questions and genuinely listen to the answers, and to those who speak up and advocate for others.
There are still people in our community who are opposed to equity and inclusion and who intentionally spread disinformation. As a public school, we are required by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to focus on this work and to center the most important people here: our students.
We have shown with data, time and time again, that students and families from marginalized communities have not historically felt welcome, valued, heard, seen, or celebrated in this district. We had 19 Bias Incidents this year in RSD. That’s why this job exists. That’s why this job has to exist.
We have made so much progress in equity and inclusion and creating a positive culture in the last few years. At the same time, there is still much work to be done. I would encourage everyone — staff, students, caregivers, and community members, to think critically about the power of silence. When we choose to stay silent in response to harmful comments and disinformation, we condone that harm. I want to leave you with two quotes:
Riverdale staff, thank you for the love, support, and friendship. It has been a joy to lead you, work with you, collaborate with you, and learn from you. Please stay in touch.
Finally, a word to my students. You are incredible. I am deeply lucky to know you. You have brought me joy and laughter. You have filled me with hope that the future will be okay. Thank you for showing up as your authentic selves, for pushing me, for teaching me, and for inspiring me. When I was a classroom teacher, I would tell my students, “Once you are one of my kids, you are one of my kids forever.” And I mean that. Even if I am far away, know that I am rooting for you. I’m in your corner, always.
Farewell, and let the work continue.
All the Best,
Abby Rotwein (she/her)
Riverdale School District Director of Equity and Inclusion, March 2021-June 2023
The district will be working to fill the vacancy for this important position over the summer.
NEW RHS SPORT OFFERING FOR THIS FALL
Riverdale High School is teaming up with Gladstone High School to offer tackle football to all interested RHS students in the fall of 2024! Riverdale students will attend Riverdale High School during the day and practice and compete with Gladstone High School as part of their team.
Any students/families interested in this opportunity should reach out to athletic director Derek Duman (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible for information.
Middle School Sports Survey
Current 5th-7th grade sports interest survey. Please complete ASAP so that we can assess interest and coaches can get in contact with you.