Dear Riverdale Community:
It is a privilege to be writing my first “back to school” message for the Riverdale School. I am honored that I have been chosen to be the new Principal! I feel fortunate in the fact that Principal Ed Paris has 7 years of historical perspective here at Riverdale and in Dedham, and I appreciate the support he has given me as I work to transition into Riverdale. I have spent this last month and a half listening and talking with many people from the Riverdale community, i.e., teachers, staff, families, administrators. It is evident after all of my conversations that a theme that came across loud and clear is that Riverdale is a very special community with a tremendous amount of dedicated members. In just a short time, I can feel the magic of this community. Whether it’s building a playground, walking the neighborhood, meeting with staff, everyone is very proud and happy to be here. The excitement is contagious!
The greatest part of my job is going to be working with your children. As a mother myself, I recognize that when you send your students off to school each day, you are not only trusting us to ensure their safety and well-being but it is our job to educate the whole child and enhance their love of learning. I promise I will be a person you and your child(ren) can turn to for guidance and support. During my 23 + years in education, I pride myself on my unwavering commitment to lead by example. I hold 3 characteristics above all others in myself as a leader; kindness, empathy, and a strong communicator. I intend to continue that commitment as I start my journey here in Dedham.
If you haven’t already, make sure you come over and see the new all-inclusive Julieanne Kelly Playground. It was a hot two days of building but the end result is spectacular. I want to thank each and everyone of you that lended a hand. In hopes of capturing the moment, I took a few photos (included in the Gazette) on Friday and Saturday of the playground project. I was then able to share with my two children, Paxton (8) and Addison (5) and they can’t wait to come see Mommy’s new school and play on the new playground. We look forward to having all of our Riverdale students enjoy so many hours of inclusive play on our new structure.
As I mentioned, I have been meeting with a lot of Riverdale community members during the last six weeks. In the weeks to come, I will also be asking for feedback from our entire parent community in a google form. I will be asking for your input as it pertains to areas that are relative strengths for Riverdale, as well as areas that you would like to see some improvement. While keeping specific feedback confidential, my goal is to identify any themes across the school community. My intention is to be able to share those themes with Riverdale families at one of our first few PTO meetings.
As you look to enjoy the last few weeks of summer, I wanted to share a few important upcoming dates with you. I hope that you will join me on August 31, 2022 for “Popsicles with the Principal” as well as September 9th for a “Picnic on the Playground”. I look forward to welcoming you to Riverdale School. Click here for the August Gazette which includes helpful information to start the 22/23 school year. Now please go outside and play because summer vacay is not over just yet!
Dana J. Bennett