Return to Headlines

RCSD Community Update: 12/9/22

Dear RCSD Community,

The first week of December is behind us! In case you missed it in my update last week, I’m relinking a December “refrigerator calendar” with the “can’t miss” events coming up at the schools. The link to the calendar is here.

Inclusive Schools Week

December 5-9 marks national Inclusive Schools Week. Inclusive Schools Week annually celebrates the progress schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population. This aligns nicely with a discussion we held at our last Board of Education meeting on November 29.  The main presentation that night was on the District’s efforts in regards to inclusivity: creating a stronger sense of belonging in our schools for all of the District’s students. 

We talked about the new student supports and programs that are in place, including:

  • The RHS Student Ambassador Program (please see below for a video about it)
  • New and more varied clubs at RMS and RHS, including speech and debate clubs, robotics, engineering, arts and crafts clubs and a community service club
  • The GARNETS class, an inclusive special education program designed to help students Gaining Academic Rigor in a Natural Environment through Teaching Life Skills
  • The Building Bridges program, a homegrown program designed by community parents and educators to raise understanding that we are all unique and support inclusive practices in the schools
  • Expanded athletics offerings, including girls ice hockey, boys volleyball, and a unified basketball team coming this spring
  • Classroom lessons about creating a sense of community, strengthening relationships, and empathy

During the meeting, we heard from a number of students about how the new after-school clubs at RMS and RHS provide ways for them to explore their interests and forge new friendships. Several students later talked about their experiences with the Garnets Connect club at the high school. Watch the video here, starting at 2 minutes, 10 seconds.

Video about RHS Ambassadors Program

Fresh off the presses (video camera) is a new short video about the Rye High School Student Ambassadors program. RHS Student Ambassadors are 60 upper-class students who serve as a year-long “welcome wagon” for incoming 9th graders and upper-class students new to RHS. The program began as a student-driven recommendation to make the transition to high school smoother. It has the added benefits of creating authentic peer-to-peer connections and fostering a stronger sense of belonging at the school. To learn more about this terrific program, watch the video here.

Rhythm on Rye at Rye Rec

On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of hearing the talented members of Rhythm on Rye perform at the Rye Rec Seniors Club meeting. Rhythm on Rye is Rye High School’s a capella group, and they compete locally and regionally in a capella competitions. They brought the house down with their renditions of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” “Candles in the Window,” and “Let it Snow.” All (except for me who lip-synced, my holiday gift to the group) joined in for the closing number, “Jingle Bells.” It was a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

8th Grade Field Trip to Ellis Island

Yesterday, I had a chance to travel with the RMS 8th-grade class to Ellis Island, the first such field trip since COVID. The kids (and chaperones) had a terrific time locating artifacts and taking a photo of them and the associated information explaining their importance. Students will craft a written reflective piece comparing one of their own family artifacts to the ones they discovered at Ellis Island. It was great to spend time learning alongside the RMS students and staff.

Have a terrific weekend.

Eric Byrne, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools