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Riverdale Grade School News - June 22

RGS Team Meeting Summary

Our RGS Equity Team met last Friday on Juneenth to discuss our path to this point in history and our journey forward. We acknowledge the community conversations and invite partnership. We believe we need to heal, listen and grow. During our meeting, we discussed Riverdale's history, shared personal experiences and our commitment to the work in front of us. We generated the following potential action steps (and plan to come together again this month);


  • Incorporate the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards formally into our teaching and learning
  • Use the Teaching Tolerance's Webinar Series: Speak-up at School as a springboard for more conversation (including potentially a facilitated conversation by our guest speaker during Black History Month, Wyjuana Montgomery
  • Create opportunities to learn more together about Portland's history with racism and how that can inform our understanding and context for our work
  • Lean on Restorative Justice practices for more conversation and intentional dialogue about race and racism in our schools
  • 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
  • Create school-wide RGS, or district Anti-Racism statement to post in the school and handbook
  • Create a mission statement and short-term goals for the upcoming one to two years
  • Work with our in-district and out-of-district partners to strengthen our efforts
  • Create a mural highlighting our commitment to equity (include Anti-Racism statement) and feature student art and voice, with an invitation for signatures on the statement 


Thank you to our RGS Equity Team Members who were able to participate (listed below). 


Take good care,


Joanna Tobin 

and RGS Equity Team Members

Erika Andrews

Nigel Burton 

Nancy Fowler

Alena Lauritsen

Dimati McPherson 

Chrisie Patrick 

Liz Randall

& Michele Rosenbaum  

Welcome New RGS Hires

This past month, I've led three different interview committees in the work of filling four staff positions. Thank you to all of our dedicated committee members! We had three positions to fill as a result of temporary contracts ending and one new position. Ashley Hayes will be moving to 1st grade and will be joining her new teaching partner Cayla Papke, who was new to our RGS community in 1st grade last fall. These two will make a fabulous 1st grade team! Additionally, you'll see Tyler Street is moving to kindergarten. The addition of a kindergarten section was the result of several key factors. The first being a commitment to achieving a smaller class size in kindergarten and a new model for primary enrollment. Instead of lowering the class size in kindergarten and then needing to add enrollment in the following years in 1st and 2nd grade, we are opting to have three smaller kindergarten sections funneling to two 1st grade classrooms. We believe that getting to serve our students earlier on and in this instructional model holds great promise.

Ashley Hayes | 1st Grade

Ashley Hayes has been teaching 2nd grade at RGS for the past two years. Prior to arriving at RGS and following her graduation from University of California-Berkeley, with a major in art history, Ms. Hayes worked at Masterworks Fine Art, Inc. in Oakland Hills, California, as the director of outreach and education and also the curator of collections. Her passion for art education inspired her love for classroom teaching. Ms. Hayes completed a rigorous program at Bank Street College of Education with a master’s degree in education and worked as an associate teacher at the 3rd grade at Ethical Culture Fieldston School: Fieldston Lower. At Fieldson, Ms. Hayes developed and implemented curriculum for diverse learners. She also led Asian affinity group discussions about race, diversity and social justice through a Conversations About Race program with students in grades 3rd-5th. Ms. Hayes is thrilled to move to 1st grade and is excited for the new opportunity to lead children at this developmental stage.

Cayla Papke | 1st Grade

Cayla Papke came to Riverdale in August of 2019 with seven fantastic years of experience teaching 1st grade at Wedgwood Elementary, a Seattle Public School. Prior to that rich experience, she also was a substitute teacher in the district for two years. She brings with her recent professional development experiences in Race and Equity, PBIS, Ruler, Math and Data Teams and Literacy. Ms. Papke is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University and grew up in our local area. She loves 1st grade and is committed to putting down her roots at Riverdale! Though she has absolutely enjoyed working with Jennifer McDonald and Tyler Street this year, Ms. Papke shares that she is also very excited to have Ashley Hayes as her new teaching partner.

Tyler Street | Kindergarten 

Tyler Street successfully filled in for 1st grade this spring following Ms. McDonald’s transition to the Behavior and Restorative Justice Coach position at RGS. He is a graduate of Jesuit High School and his undergraduate years were spent at Saint John's University where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in education. Mr. Street has extensive experience coaching and teaching students in all grades (emphasis on kindergarten, 1st and 4th), including five summers as a camp counselor with Beaverton Police Activities League. He also has tutored students grades K-8th in reading, writing, phonics and math and has successfully completed a variety of substitute positions. In addition to his strong undergraduate preparation, Mr. Street is currently completing a master's degree in education with a focus on trauma and resilience in education. Our committee was impressed with Mr. Street's academic accomplishments, well-rounded experiences and true love for the kindergarten classroom. 

Hannah Hanke | Music 

Hannah Hanke comes to us with 10 years of experience in the United States and abroad, including Chicago, IL; Shanghai, China; Quinto, Ecuador and most recently Tacoma, WA. She completed her master’s degree in education at Northwestern University in 2017 and her undergraduate studies were at the University of Kentucky, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in music education in 2008. Our committee was most impressed with Ms. Hanke’s commitment and depth of understanding around using culture and diversity as a vehicle for meaningful instruction. Her earnest love for teaching music is evident! Ms. Hanke is an accomplished musician herself and finds most joy in bluegrass music. She has experience teaching all ages and is thrilled to dive-in and build our program by leading with her passion for cultivating a love for music. Please join me in welcoming Ms. Hanke to our RGS Community!  She shares, "I am looking forward to joining and serving the Riverdale Grade School community! I can’t wait to get started and make some music. See everyone soon!"

RGS Trimester Three Report Cards

K-4th grade report cards are being mailed this week. 5-8th 3rd Trimester Report Cards are available in Synergy. Please contact Chrisie Patrick with any ParentVUE related questions. Distance Learning marks of Pass/Incomplete reflect ODE Covid-19 Distance Learning Guidance and will not affect student placement in 2020-2021. All students will be promoted to the next grade. We also thank you for the tremendous flexibility, partnership and patience throughout distance learning. Wishing you all a wonderful summer!

Take good care,

Joanna Tobin, Principal