Principal Lull's Back to School Newsletter - 2018

Dear Parents & Guardians,

I know it’s hard to believe but in the next few weeks we open our doors to a brand new school year. Together we will create a year of excellence as we focus on improving the instructional core by improving student engagement, ensuring instructional quality and making what we teach meaningful.

As with any new year I would like to share with you some exciting initiatives and happenings at Rye Elementary for the coming year.


We have chosen a new school-wide theme this year:  S.O.A.R. This stands for Show Respect, Be Outstanding Citizens, Accept Responsibility, and Rise to the Challenge. It is our hope that throughout this coming year students will SOAR to great heights and be excited about learning.


This year our focus in literacy is on guided reading in kindergarten through grade two and reader’s workshop in grades three through five. In the younger grades we have adopted the Fountas & Pinnell Guided Reading and Interactive Reading program.  In the older grades we are adopting Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Reading. Teachers have been busy preparing their classrooms and lessons for these two new and exciting programs.


Over the summer, steps have been taken to ensure great security at RES. A new gate was installed by Lang Field to keep vehicles away from the Leaping Lizards playground during school hours. A fence was installed along the driveway by Leaping Lizards playground to keep students and equipment from entering the parking lot. The entire building is being programmed with a new keyless door system so that we know at all times who has access to the building. Monitors will be installed at exit doorways for continual monitoring.


H.O.W.L.s (Habits of Work and Learning) at RES are a concept we introduced last year. We have identified three school-wide habits for focus:  Respect, Responsibility and Resourcefulness. These critical skills help students grow as all-around learners and are assessed separately from academic skills.This year report cards will reflect student growth in their H.O.W.L.s. Rubrics for each will be handed out on Curriculum Nights.


This school year we welcome a few new members to our school community.  Sarah Holmes, a Rye resident, will become our new math specialist. Her focus the first few weeks of school will be to visit each classroom during math period and set goals for the academic year. Jennifer Adams joins our top notch special education team and will manage a smaller caseload of students with more intensive needs. Jennifer will follow these students throughout their academic years in Rye.  


Over the summer many bright and beautiful rocks with inspirational messages were planted around a tree in the front garden. All students painted a message or created a special design for their rock to be planted in our first kindness garden. Stop and visit the tree and be encouraged by the messages you read.  Inside our building there are also some new sights. Outside the gym Lauren Kalil, a parent, did a superb job painting a large quote for all to see, and along the fourth grade wing you will find blocks painted on the wall with some of the same inspirational messages on kindness. Fourth grade students in June created these blocks.  


Last year we had six snow days that interfered with many families and their plans for camp or family vacations.  This year we will be applying to the state for permission to have Remote Instruction Days, commonly referred to as Blizzard Bag Days. Blizzard Bags contain work sent home for students to do so the day will count as a regular school day. Teachers put together lessons based on their curriculum that students can easily complete at home. The teachers are available by email or phone for questions your child might have completing the work.  80% of the students must complete the work sent home in order for that day to be counted. The Rye School Board has approved piloting this program for three days.


We have a very active Wellness Committee with many members from all different stakeholders including parents and even a student. This year we are hoping to try something new. While recognizing students and their special day is important, parents will no longer be asked to send in cupcakes or sweets for their child’s birthday.  We have encouraged all teachers to forgo the typical birthday celebrations that take place daily and replace it with a birthday celebration once a month where students decide what they would like to do. A special game time? An extra recess? A new book? Lunch in the outdoor classroom? Replacing sweets with an activity is a positive step on our road to wellness.


We have listened to comments from parents about communication and we will strive to be more consistent across grades with newsletters. Every other Monday each classroom will send home a newsletter electronically (unless hard copy are requested) starting on the tenth of September. Though each might look a bit different we want you to have timely news and dates no matter what classroom or grade your child is in. We appreciate the Principal’s Advisory Council and the parents who brought this issue up for discussion.

Some important dates that are coming up:

  • August 15th at 9:00  New Students (grades 1-5) Orientation
  • August 28th:  First Day of school for all
  • August 31st & September 3rd:  No School-Labor Day
  • September 7th at 2:00  Celebration Assembly (first Friday of each month)
  • September 11th at 6:00  grades 3-5 Curriculum Night
  • September 18 at 6:00  Kindergarten through grade 2 Curriculum Night
  • September 27th at 5:00-6:30:  Instrumental rental for fifth grade band students

As you can see a lot will be happening. The students of Rye Elementary benefit from the support and dedication of our school board, staff, parents and community members who have helped make these things happen. Thank you. Together we can SOAR!

See you on the 28th!

Suzanne Lull

Rye Elementary Principal

“Dedicated to Learning”

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