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April 30 Riverdale School District News

Riverdale School District

Friday, April 30

Riverdale School District News

Dear Riverdale Community,
Thank you to our entire high school staff for leading Compassion and Inclusion Week. As we honor and remember Carson Bride, this week was dedicated to kindness. What I remember most about Carson was his kindness and his wonderful smile. It has been so hard to lose one of our students. This week was dedicated to learning, growing, being an “Upstander” and setting the stage for compassion because in the end, kindness matters.
You can view the Webinar here with Dr. Sameer Hinduja about Addressing Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Unwise Social Media Use: The Role of Parents, Youth, and the Community. 
We had an incredible film and speaker panel on Tuesday that has been recorded for viewing by our wider community. Here is the link to the Upstanders online program.
The case-sensitive login to access the link is:
Password: riverdale 
Take good care.
Joanna Tobin, Interim Superintendent

Equity and Inclusion Corner 

Holidays and Celebrations 

May is both Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. This is a great time to celebrate the cultures and impacts that these communities have made on our country.
To our Mexican and Mexican American community, Happy Cinco de Mayo.
To our Muslim community, we hope you have a lovely Laila Al-Qadr.
Happy Mother’s Day to all who celebrate. We recognize that it can be a hard day for many: for those who have lost children, for those who have lost mothers, for those who have a strained relationship with their mother, for mothers with strained relationships with their children, and for those yearning to be mothers. We include you all and honor you all.

What actually is Equity & Inclusion? Why is it important in schools?

There are many misconceptions about what “equity & inclusion” is. Some people think it is divisive. Some people think it is only about race. Some people think it is a political agenda. Some people do not understand why we are talking about it and focusing on it in schools - shouldn’t school just be about academics?
Equity at school means that all students are getting what they need to thrive - academically, socially, and emotionally. The graphic below shows the difference between equity and equality. Equality means everyone is treated the same. Equity means giving everyone what they need.  
Inclusion at school means that all students feel safe and supported when showing up as their full selves. This includes social-emotional support and education. The graphic below was shared with high school students this week and shows our hopes for inclusion at Riverdale:
When students feel supported and included at school, they show up ready to learn.  There has been a significant amount of research about the positive impact of social-emotional support on student outcomes - including academic outcomes. Read more about that in this cumulative report from CASEL.
In our “Compassion and Inclusion” events at the High School this week, it was clear that many students in our community do not feel like their needs are being met or that they belong at school. We did flash polls with students and here are a few of the results:
We hope that by having meaningful conversations and focusing on these topics as a staff and school district that we can start to shift our culture to be a positive place for all.  
In addition to the above reasons to engage in this work, as a public school, this is legally required of us. In September 2018, Oregon adopted the “All Students Belong” state policy that outlines the aspects of equity and inclusion that are required in all school districts. Compared to many local schools, we are understaffed and behind in this work. Catlin Gabel currently has a Director of Inclusion and Outreach, an Assistant Director of Inclusion and Outreach, a Director of Place, and an Inclusion and Outreach Administrative Assistant. OES has a Director for Inclusion, an Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, a DEI Coach, and an Executive Assistant under Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. PPS has three Racial Equity and Social Justice staff at the district level, as well as an Equity Team Leader in every single school site, five Restorative Justice Specialists at the district level, and full-time Restorative Justice coaches in every high school and in most middle schools. PPS also has partnerships with sixteen local organizations that offer students services around race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity, equity, and inclusion. 
We are working hard to make this school district the best it can be for all of our students.

Community Events: Riverdale High School Compassion & Inclusion Week

This week was “Compassion and Inclusion Week” at the high school.  
We had an incredible film and speaker panel on Tuesday that has been recorded for viewing by our wider community. Here is the link to the Upstanders online program.
The case-sensitive login to access the link is:
Password: riverdale
The Q&A Panel can be found at the top of the "Additional Materials" section on the right. Subtitles are included and can be turned on/off on the video player progress bar where it says "CC."  Access to the film and panel link will end on Wednesday, May 5th, at 11:59pm PST.
We were also fortunate to have two events with Dr. Sameer Hinduja - a student assembly on Monday and a caregiver event on Thursday evening. He is a great communicator and wanted me to share his contact information so that you are able to reach out to him at any time with questions.
If you missed the Webinar with Dr. Sameer Hinduja about Addressing Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Unwise Social Media Use: The Role of Parents, Youth, and the Community, you can view it here.
Here are some of the prompts he suggests using to start conversations with you children about social media and technology use:

Reminder About Caregiver Listening Sessions 

The district has taken a number of steps in the last year to help make our schools more equitable and inclusive. Towards that end, we will be holding three listening sessions to hear from community members and caregivers of students who are part of historically marginalized communities. The purpose of these sessions is to hear about experiences and listen to ways that we can be more supportive to our marginalized students. All of these meetings will be held virtually.
These sessions are only for caregivers, not for students.
Caregivers of Students of Color and Caregivers of Color: This meeting is for caregivers, parents, and guardians of students who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern/North African, Latine/Latinx, multiracial or biracial. This meeting is also for caregivers, parents and guardians who are in any of the above categories.
Thursday, May 6, 6-7 p.m., Sign-up to participate here.
Caregivers of LGBTQIA2S+ Students and Caregivers who are LGBTQIA2S+: 
Thursday, May 13, 6-7 p.m., Sign-up to participate here. 
Caregivers of Neurodiverse Students, Caregivers of Students with Disabilities, and Caregivers who are Neurodiverse or have a Disability:
Thursday, May 20, 6-7 p.m., Sign-up coming soon.
- Abby Rotwein 
Riverdale School District Equity and Inclusion Coordinator K-12
Restorative Justice Coach 9-12


  • Wednesday, May 5 - Second Budget Committee Meeting at 6 p.m. via GTWRegister here
  • Thursday, May 6 - Caregivers of Students of Color and Caregivers of Color from 6-7 p.m. Sign-up to participate here
  • Monday, May 10 - School Board Work Study at 4:30 p.m. via GTW
  • Friday, May 14 - RGS Teacher Work Day (no school)
  • Wednesday, May 19 - Third Budget Committee Meeting at 6 p.m. via GTWRegister here
  • Monday, May 31 - Memorial Day (No School)