Dear River Grove School Community,
Welcome to the 2023-24 school year! I hope you had a wonderful summer and spent time having fun with family and friends.
We are happy to see many of our familiar staff members back at RGS, and I know you join me in welcoming new faces. We will have more new staff than typical. The employment world continues to see shortages in staffing and schools are no exception. There is a teacher shortage with fewer young people choosing to be educators. With fewer teaching candidates there are more openings available and moves are inevitable. We are excited about our new staff members, all coming with teaching experience, and they are excited to be at RGS! Please take a look at the carousel pictures at the top of our website to meet our new staff additions.
The River Grove School District 85.5 Board of Education is committed to continuous improvement. A community survey was sent to all staff, families and community members last year. The Board of Education has analyzed the input provided by the families, community and staff, along with other district data, and has worked to develop a new 5-year Strategic Plan. The overall focus is on Student Growth and Achievement, a Positive School Environment and Efficient Management of District Resources. The plan will be shared with the community this fall.
In the meantime, River Grove School District is always striving to improve the building and opportunities for students. Here are some accomplishments:
Building and Grounds- No doubt you have noticed the extensive work being conducted on the outside of the school building, including new limestone and brickwork on the River Grove Avenue side. Even more work happened inside. Given the size of the school, this project is happening in 2 phases. This summer half of the school received new ceilings and lights. The lighting is LED, bright and energy efficient. I know the students will notice a positive change in the learning environments. The second half of the school will be updated in the Summer of 2024.
Teaching and Learning- This year, we are committed to elevating our math and writing instruction. Teachers will begin reviewing the most essential learning standards in math and writing on Institute Day, and they will use these important standards as a focus for planning math and writing lessons throughout the year. You can expect to see an increased focus on building students’ writing and math skills in every subject this year at RGS.
Technology-We continue to support a 1:1 environment where every student has an iPad or Chromebook to use at school and at home. For the 2023-24 school year, using a federal grant, all students in 3rd through 8th grades will receive a brand new chromebook, and Promethean Boards, large interactive boards that students and teachers can write on and manipulate content on, similar to a room sized iPad, in place in all K-3 classrooms have been added to 4th grade classrooms.
Safety-The Board, Administration and Staff are committed to the safety of our students. We are very excited to share that all classrooms and offices in the school have new door handles that lock from the inside. In a crisis situation, it is no longer necessary to exit the class and lock the door with a key. The doors can be locked from the inside saving time. And, we have a new fire alarm, public announcement system and clocks, all for safety and efficiency.
The Board of Education accomplished these improvements and updates without overspending and ending the fiscal year in the black. Because we are a small district receiving limited state and local resources, a balanced budget is not an easy accomplishment. I congratulate the Board on their fiscal responsibility and dedication to the students, families and tax payers of River Grove.
Finally, communication with families and our community is very important to us. The school calendar, school updates, student and staff celebrations, lunch menus and a warehouse of all of our important documents are found on our website. It is regularly updated, so please bookmark www.rivergroveschool.org and visit it often! Please follow us on instagram with the handle rgs.855 and on facebook by searching “River Grove School District 85.5”. Our twitter feed is easily viewed from the main page of the website. Please follow us @rivergrove85_5, #rgroyals, #WeAreRG. The Royal Revolution newspaper, written by students and staff, is delivered to all River Grove addresses each December and May. It is also linked on our website, so please take a look! Finally, ParentSquare, our communication app, as well as Teacherease are used by staff and families to message, call or email each other. As you can see there are many ways to communicate and keep up with RGS.
River Grove is a wonderful place to live and work because of the kindness and respect we show each other and model for our children. I look forward to seeing you at one of our fall family, fine arts or sporting events!! I am looking forward to a wonderful 2023-24 school year!
All my best,