Grade School Principal's Blog

  • Welcome to Fall

    Posted by Joanna Tobin on 9/24/2019

    Welcome officially to fall! We are off to a solid start, and I am excited to share with you promising developments underway this year. Have you heard your student talk about classes taking place in a circle format? If so, this is referring to Circle Forward, or a process of building a restorative community in our school. This is a format for facilitating conversation that I started using with staff meetings and discussions last winter. The process beautifully gives each person in the room an equitable voice and opportunity to contribute and share.    

    Restorative Practices are based on principles and processes that emphasize the importance of positive relationships as central to building community and restoring relationships when harm has occurred (San Francisco Unified School District).

    Last spring we invited Gabi Ross from Resolutions Northwest to lead Restorative Justice, or RJ, professional development with staff.  She also facilitated a discussion at a spring PTC Meeting. We welcomed her back this fall to kick off the first of what will total two days of RJ training. As we strengthened our work in this area, we reviewed an article outlining the unintended harm of zero-tolerance policies, emphasizing the importance of our Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports and also the need to continue to develop our RJ framework. To quote Resolutions Northwest, “Restorative Justice is about relationships…building, maintaining, and repairing relationships to form healthy, supportive and inclusive communities. When we do things that impact others and create harm in the community, it is our individual and collective responsibility to make things right. Restorative practices help create spaces that hold us accountable in supportive and inclusive ways.”

    Diving into this work, we highlighted the question, what does this look like? As an example, this could be a facilitated conversation after one student hurts another student’s feelings or harms another student at school. The number one rule we pay attention to is to not create more harm. For this reason, we believe it is critical for both parties to be ready and interested in participating. This led to a review and comparison of our Riverdale Grade School Parent Student Handbook from 2018-2019, to the Beaverton School District’s K-12 Student and Family Handbook. From there, we united a district team to draft our new document, which better supports the work of restorative practices and unites our district. I am so excited to share with you our new first draft of the Riverdale School District K-12th Student and Family Handbook! We welcome you input, so please send any feedback to

    Test Score Info:

    State Test Scores data was released statewide last week. Our students and staff have much to celebrate, including 8th grade students achieving 95% “meets and exceeds” in English Language Arts and 89% “meets and exceeds” in Math. Look for more information coming in the mail this week with your student’s individual data (for students grades 3-8th last year who took the assessments).  

    K-4th Winter Concert Update:

    We have given some thought to the K-4th format and design. We would like to move to a Kindergarten “Informance” or Daytime Concert and invite you to check your calendars for a 2:30-3:00 p.m. Informance on the same day of the evening concert. This is currently scheduled for Dec. 5 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. We would like to move up the start time to 6:30-7:45 p.m. and have the concert be for 1st-4th grade students.

    Comments (0)
  • Details for Parent Teacher Conferences

    Posted by Joanna Tobin on 3/12/2019

    Dear RGS Parents, 

    We look forward to welcoming you to Parent Teacher Conferences this Thursday and Friday. Below are a few reminders about conferences.  

    Should students attend?

    • Kindergarten: Our kindergarten teachers find it is most helpful to conference without students present, if possible. 
    • 1st-4th grade: We encourage 1st-4th grade parents to bring their children so they can take ownership of their own learning. Our focus at conferences is to empower students to reach their academic goals.
    • 5th-8th grade: While most families opt not to bring students with them, we want you to know they are welcome.

    K-4th grade

    By now, you should have received an invitation to sign-up for a conference with your child’s teacherConferences are 25 minutes in length. We ask for your support wrapping up the conference in a timely fashion to keep on pace and allow everyone their opportunity. The decision to bring your child is up to you. If you do not bring your child, please consider asking them a few questions beforehand, such as:

    • What are you most proud of this year in school?
    • What would you like me to ask your teacher?
    • What would you like for me to know about school this year?

    5th and 6th grade

    Conferences for these grades take place upstairs near the 5th and 6th grade classrooms. We use a modified “arena” style for conferences. Teachers are stationed at individual areas in the hallway and parents rotate through to meet with each core teacher. 

    Teachers make every attempt for each conference to be as efficient as possible. It is important for parents to arrive on the day they are scheduled, arrive at the beginning of the time slot scheduled, and to keep individual conferences under eight minutes. You may have to wait at times between individual meetings. We understand this can be frustrating. The time blocks are two hours long to accommodate wait times; if parents arrive at the end of their scheduled block, they spill over into the next block, creating greater wait times. We ask for everyone to please do their part to make this as pleasant as possible for all and please plan on this process taking two hours. Should there be concerns that may not be addressed fully in eight minutes, or a need for further discussion, we can schedule an additional meeting for a later time between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

    7th and 8th grade

    Conferences for these grades take place upstairs near the 7th and 8th grade classrooms. We use a modified “arena” style approach and ask parents to rotate through individual teacher lines. With five teachers to rotate through, we are able to provide no more than five minutes per student. We ask that you make arrangements with individual teachers should this amount of time not suffice. We ask that you come during the first hour of your two-hour time slot and plan on spending two hours with us in order to meet with all five teachers. 


    We would love for you to have the opportunity to conference with our specialists! To speak with our Art, Music or PE teachers please visit the Art Room (228) and you are also welcome to meet with Ms. Mizera in the Library. 

    We look forward to seeing you all and to celebrating the great learning that is taking place this year!  

    All the best,

    Joanna Tobin, Principal

    Comments (0)