Welcome to Riverdale Grade School
Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to Riverdale, and to share a bit about our school. I am thrilled to have found a home in such a dynamic and proud school district; Riverdale is a place where, above all, relationship is primary. Our school is steeped in tradition and grounded in the expectation that our students will learn "to be thoughtful in their education, about each other, and for their community."
You may know that, during the 2009-2010 school year, we temporarily relocated outside of the Dunthorpe neighborhood. In November 2008, voters approved a generous bond measure for the renewal of our historic campus. In September 2010, we moved back home!
We are a K-8 school. A K-8 school is a rarity these days, which is just one more aspect of our school that makes us an anomaly within the larger context. What I appreciate most about this arrangement is the duality that exists when we have elevated academic and behavioral expectations of our older students -- they set the example for their younger siblings, neighbors, and friends -- and yet provide the opportunity for them to naturally act their age, rather than feel pressured to grow up too quickly. On a weekly basis I witness older students interacting, socially or around academics, with primary students; it never fails to bring a smile to my face.
We focus on arts integration. The statistics are there. Our students perform exceptionally well on standardized tests and other State metrics. But that record of success doesn't even begin to tell the story of what it means to experience a Riverdale education. We have a full time media specialist/librarian, art teacher, music teacher, and counselor. We offer physical education classes as well as organized, competitive athletics where the focus is on skill-building and teamwork at least as much as winning. The integration of the performing and visual arts into the curriculum is unsurpassed in my experience. With these, come the test scores and the "Exceptional" ratings. I am confident it is not the other way around.
The "school" is bigger than its walls. Our Field Studies program is one of the most wonderful aspects of living and learning at Riverdale. Beginning in fourth grade, students participate in a series of off-campus experiences, ranging from living-history overnighters, to week-long geological studies at the foot of an active volcano, to the capstone Field Study -- four plays in four days at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. Taken in addition to our regular schedule of field trips at all ages, the Field Studies program is an integral part of our efforts to expose our children to the broader context.
Principal, Riverdale Grade School