Eye On Riverdale

Back to School, Positively!

By on September 19, 2014

The feeling in The Riverdale Public School this year can’t be explained. I could try to use some S.A.T. words, or grab a thesaurus, or even make up words, but still I couldn’t accurately describe the mood in the school. So, I’m going to use one simple word…Positive.

Our very dedicated staff has reached a “high” I haven’t seen in our school system since it was announced that we were changing from a K-6 to a K-8 in 1985. The teachers I have spoken to are re-energized. And that energy is seen in their classroom displays, hallway decorations, and their excitement in the upcoming year.

At back to school night on Tuesday, I had the pleasure of manning the membership table for our PTA. Membership is through the roof. There are new faces at the meetings and great things are being planned. As a regular volunteer, I can tell you there is nothing more rewarding than chairing an event that enhances our children’s education. The positive vibes from the staff and parents are showing up in BOE meetings too.

Riverdale parents seem to be breathing more easily. How can we not feel relieved? When your child is going to school to be greeted by administrators and staff that are more excited to be there than a first-day- kindergartener, you can’t help but smile as you kiss them goodbye.

The final piece to this positive movement is our children, the most important piece. The stories I’m hearing about 8th graders not wanting to leave in June because the year has had such a fantastic start, are overwhelming. My own kids came home the first week completely giddy about the teachers doing an “ice bucket challenge” in front of the school. Our children are reflecting the atmosphere in the school; they are thinking positively and they are excited to learn! I haven’t heard my daughter complain about not understanding her homework once. My son isn’t giving me a hard time about getting out of bed in the morning. Of course you’re all thinking “Well, it’s only the first month. The excitement will fade.” I’m going with more positive thinking and saying, “It’s going to be a great year!”

What’s the catalyst in all this positivity? What has changed? I’m not going to go backwards and dredge up negativity from the past. I’m going to attribute most of the positive energy in our school to our new administration. They are the “dynamic duo”. I can’t explain why, but when you talk to our new superintendent you continue smiling even after you’ve left her company. I can’t explain the energy and passion for education that you feel when speaking with our new principal. His upbeat personality is contagious! I highly recommend attending a community or school event and meeting them yourselves. They may inspire you to do something out of your comfort zone. They inspired me to write this!

I said I attributed most of the positive energy to the new administration, but not all of it. Riverdale is full of people wanting to volunteer, wanting to help, wanting to be part of something good. Like our new principal, positivity is contagious also. The students caught it from the staff; the staff caught it from the administration. (I have no idea where the administration caught it. Maybe it’s something in the water where they live.) The community will catch it from the school. Riverdale-ians want to be a part of something good! What’s going on at the school is definitely good!

Posted in: Riverdale School


  1. Jessica Palombi
    September 20, 2014

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    Beautifully written Ms. Norris. You are so right! The halls feel different, our administration is so passionate and devoted, and my students are loving taking risks! I’m with ya- it’s going to be a GREAT YEAR!!

  2. Vicki Reinhard
    September 22, 2014

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    I am so happy to hear what you wrote. Things could not have been more negative which is why I sadly bailed last year. I hope it continues on this great upswing because the staff deserves a positive atmosphere to do their magic!!

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