Principal's Message—March 13

Dear Rieke Families,

Here is a short summary of what was discussed at last week’s conversation around inclusive practices at Rieke. We talked about several different topics.

A big focus of the first part of our conversation was around students feeling isolated.

Some ideas to address this were:

  • Not having students sit by class during lunch – I made this change on Thursday, the 8th with good success for the 3-5 grades.
  • We have done a survey of all students K-5 about school climate and how safe they feel in the different areas of the school – staff will review the results on our late opening on March 21
  • Sharing facts on bullying and suicide rates with families with the purpose of engaging the entire community in the importance of talking with our kids about inclusiveness and having a strong sense of belonging
  • How do we empower students with lots of positive social capital to use this asset to benefit their peers who may need an advocate or ally?
  • Reinforce campaign of “If you hear something, say something” both in regards to overall safety as well as hurtful comments. Goes for both students and families

We also discussed specifically how to support students with their gender identity choices. I’ve attached a link to the district’s list of resources and details of how we are supporting students. The district expectation is that we will try to support students to the greatest extent possible to the gender they are identifying with which includes the use of the corresponding restroom when feasible. Here is that link:

And finally we discussed ways to reach out to the adults in the community.

Ideas included:

  • Are there forums we can have that focus on specific topics to provide support and/or connection?
  • This idea has come up previously so we should try to seriously consider it: role playing. It can help with what it might feel like to not fit in and also how to respond when you hear something negative or sexist or racist.
  • Need to identify who could facilitate these types of conversations?

We talked about embracing the slogan of “We don’t say or do that here!” Maybe think about how to frame this in the positive but the goal is to create a sense of belonging for all members of our community.

The next steps could be one more conversation this spring that specifically talks about some type of celebration and perhaps it is scheduling a parent forum.

This week I am finalizing the staffing for next year. The decisions will be in place this Wednesday and I will share information with the community next week. There are some definite good news and not so good news. My plan is to be as student focused as possible so we get the greatest outcomes for them given the resources we have to use.

We are looking forward to welcoming many of you to your child’s PE class this week! Lunch today was outside for all students which was a fantastic way to start the week!

Wish the nice weather was sticking around a little longer!