March Principal Newsletter

MARCH PRINCIPAL’S NEWSLETTER

Dear RBS Families,

Women’s History Month is celebrated in March.  In the United States, Women's History Month traces its beginning back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911.  Our country finally found it appropriate to acknowledge a group of citizens who have historically been silenced.  As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us also lift up the voices, contributions and bravery of women in the margins.  This Women’s History Month, the RBS is devoting time for our celebrating and amplifying women’s contributions to academia, art and popular culture. 

Spring is approaching and learning is in full swing here at the RBS.  As you may know, this is a time of year that students make the most academic and social learning improvements.  Make school a priority.  Very soon the weather will change with spring right around the corner.  It can be challenging to keep our children focused on learning.  What can you do to make school a top priority for your child?  Keep these ideas in mind:

  •  Make attendance your number one priority.  Let your child know that unless they are sick, they must attend school (and be on time.)  Make an effort to schedule appointment after school hours.
  • Show you care.  Talk about school activities and projects.  Make an effort to attend as many school events as you can.
  • Remain positive.  Try to set a positive example for your child, even when your own day has been challenging.  If you show a positive attitude about your work, your child may feel better about their own.

One important reminder is that our school has a wellness policy which reinforces good nutrition during the school day.  Please be mindful about sending beverages and foods for snack or lunch that are giving your child(ren) the healthy nutrition they need to be productive, engaged learners all throughout the day.  Candy, soda, sugary drinks, and potato chips are foods to be avoided, and staff will also help remind students that these foods should stay at home.

As we move closer to Parent-Teacher Conferences ( March 9th) educators are often asked one important question, “What do you think I can do at home to help my child be more successful at school?”  My answer is very simple, “Read with your child every day.  Let them see you read.”  Before, during, and after the reading, encourage your child, begin a discussion about the story, ask questions, visualize the story, offer information, share personal thoughts, and connect the story to real-life situations.  Make the time an enjoyable experience and let your child see that reading is fun.  Celebrate this special time together!

Also, students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will be venturing into the first state assessment cycle with the English Language Arts test on March 28 – 30.  During the week that your child is testing, make certain that your son/daughter rests properly each night, arrives for school on time, and is not distracted at home.  Students test in the morning and are expected to report to their designated testing room no later than 8:00a.m. Students are expected to bring (2) sharpened, number two pencils. No personal devices may be used during the assessment.

Everyday boys and girls are leaving their coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, and lunch boxes on the school grounds. Those items without student’s names are picked up and brought to our lost and found located in front of the office. During the school year when the pile gets high we donate these items to missions and shelters. During spring break we will be donating any items left in our lost and found to a mission in Harlem. Please be sure to check or have your child check the lost and found by Friday, April 7th.

At this point in my career, I’m considered a veteran principal (6 years and counting…) Yes, maybe sometimes I don’t completely fit the part, but that’s part of always being a life-long learner.  As I’m settling into my role as principal, I realize how much students, families and faculty have done for me. And, for that, I need to truly thank you—something that I don’t do enough.

Parents/caregivers, thank you for showing me what I’m capable of. For giving me the support that I needed to build a dream of a progressive school in West Harlem. Also, for believing that I have the talent to reach our goal of making our progressive school a successful learning community for all.

RBS staff, thank you for standing with me, before, during and after every phase of our transformation.  For making me realize that I can put more time into my work and improve my performance.  Thank you for standing up for me from the sidelines and checking our naysayers when they thought that progressive education would not work in our community. You’ve shown me to never back down and give in to the loudest voices in the room.

RBS students, thank you for being the best selves.   For sharing your interests, love of life, sense of humor, excitement for every experience, ability to show compassion and empathy, and courage to look fear in the face until it backs down.

Without kids, families and staff, I’d be nowhere the principal I am—and the person I’m still working on becoming.

This month I would like to focus on the multiple ways our parents, caregivers, and families get involved in school and how important that is. New this month at the Parent Association meetings is an opportunity for the school administration and faculty to join the conversation on making the RBS one family.

Finally, know that you do not have to wait for a parent forum or parent conferences to call if you have questions, concerns, or needs. We are here to serve your children and your families. Please contact your child’s teacher, the office staff, or me if you want to set up a meeting to discuss any issues that arise. As always, THANK YOU for being our partners in this important work helping your child enjoy learning and prepare for a bright future!

With warmest regards,

Reggie Higgins

Principal