Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of May 24, 2021

Principal Madden’s Weekly Message—Week of May 24, 2021

Dear Caregivers,

I hope you enjoyed the toasty weekend!

I sent this last week, but in case you missed it…

Although Governor Bakers shared new guidance stating students no longer have to wear masks when outdoors, even if distance cannot be maintained effective as of May 18th, the district’s Face Covering Policy will remain in place. All students, staff, and caregivers must wear masks on school property, in the school building, and on buses. We will keep you posted if anything changes within the school district.

Florence Bank—Customer’s Choice Awards

THANK YOU to all of you Florence Bank Customers who voted for R.K. Finn Ryan Road School for the Customer’s Choice Award. We received $1,966.46! These funds will go toward our goal of getting a wheelchair accessible piece of playground equipment. More information about that here. 


Placement Plans for Next Year

It is hard to believe that I am starting to think about the 2021-2022 school year (mostly, just looking forward to being back to normalcy!), but I wanted to let you know that we will conduct the process of class placement similarly to the way we did the last several years. Class placement decisions will be made by the end of this school year, and your child’s teacher for next year will be communicated to you with his/her end of year report card. Also, we plan to have a brief gathering of next year’s classes and teachers on the last day of school. We have found that this process eliminates some of the summer anxiety that can occur by waiting until the end of the summer. I have received positive feedback about the process from students, teachers, and families.

I will be working carefully with teachers to create class groupings that work well together and build positive, productive learning communities. Families cannot select teachers, and I have confidence that we will all work well together to ensure a good year ahead for all of our students. All of the teachers at our school are committed to developing positive relationships and nurturing academic success. However, if you feel that you have necessary information to share with me before this process begins, please do not hesitate to contact me by Monday, June 7. Thank you!


 • This week’s photos show recess swinging (the swings are such a popular recess activity), reading outdoors on yoga mats (thank you to our PTO for getting us the mats!), outdoor lunch with Mr. St. George and 4th graders, and science and technology with programming Ozobots in grade 5. We always have a lot of fun and learning going on here at school. 

Caution Tape in the woods:

In case you were wondering about the Caution Tape in the woods, we have blocked off a large section of the woods for recesses. The only woods area that can be used during recess is the area in front of the tape. I was worried about ticks (we’ve had many) and poison ivy with time spent deeper into the woods. Not everyone dresses for woods walking on a regular day of school. I also wanted to keep students away from the fence, as they are a bit too far away from school grown-ups for us to make sure that they are kept safe. Let me know if you have any questions. 

COVID news

I want to make sure everyone understands the COVID routine if someone in our community tests positive. Anyone who has been within 6 feet of that person for 15 minutes or more is considered a “close contact” and needs to quarantine and get tested. Contact tracers will notify close contacts and answer any questions you may have. 

I know that it is unsettling when we have a positive case (fingers crossed we are all done with them!), but we are being very careful here at school and continue to have no school transmissions. Please remain vigilant regarding safety protocols and procedures, as a positive case impacts many children and families. I encourage all caregivers to get vaccinated. 

• Here is the information regarding “Pool Testing”. Some caregivers have asked for this again. Also, with the Pool Testing, no news is good news. You do not get contacted if we have negative results (which is only what we have received so far!). You can sign up at anytime.

The district will begin a voluntary free weekly COVID-19 testing program on or about May 7, 2021. Regular pooled testing of students and staff for COVID-19 will be an additional layer of protection for safe in-person learning.  We strongly encourage you to join our pooled testing program. Pooled testing can quickly detect, trace and isolate COVID-19 positive individuals. Testing is quick, easy and is not painful.  This testing program will help identify positive cases in people who do not show any symptoms of illness.  Pooled testing will help lower the risk of transmission and allow us to have more consistent in-person instruction. 

Pooled testing for Northampton public schools will happen each Friday. The County Ambulance COVID Response Team will provide direct nasal swab testing and will observe self-swabbing by students and staff.  The nasal swab may be self-administered for students grade 2 and above.  The nasal swab is performed by gently swabbing the lower inner nostril on each side. Health services staff will provide follow-up antigen testing for any individuals in a positive pool.  

This program is voluntary and caregiver consent is required for the participation of minor students. To enroll in the pooled testing process, please complete the informed consent form found at this link.

MCAS Dates and Information 2021

Third Grade Duffy

Monday, May 10–ELA 

Monday, May 24—Math

Third Grade Cleary

Friday, May 14—ELA

Friday, May 28—Math

Fourth Grade Desmond

Thursday, May 13—ELA

Thursday, May 27—Math

Fourth Grade Simmons

Monday, May 17—ELA

Tuesday, May 25—Math

Fifth Grade (both classes)

Friday, May 21—ELA

Friday, June 4—Math

Thursday, June 10—Science

We will do all we can at school to make these days go smoothly for your children. It is important to remember that any test is only one measure of a child’s performance at school, especially this year! Teacher evaluations through the years, day-to-day work, other academic screeners we use during the year, and other types of performance assessments and projects are additional ways to evaluate learning. However, these tests are important, and we will do all we can to prepare our students to take these tests with calm confidence. All of the tests are taken online, and the state has modified them this year to only take place one day per subject area (instead of the usual two days per subject).

Please make every effort to get your children to school on time for their testing days. Please do not schedule appointments on testing days. Thanks!

Please contact me with any questions and concerns (about the MCAS or anything else).

From our Nurse, Karen Schiaffo:

The COVID-19 protocol is as follows:  

In order to minimize risk and keep the school community safe, district nurses are required 

to send students home that have 1 symptom.  Symptoms include: headache, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, chills, fatigue, body aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, or fever since these mimic COVID-like illness. Caregivers will be asked to contact their health care provider to see if testing is needed. There may be other diagnoses that cause these symptoms and your provider can discuss that with you.  In order for your student to return to school, you will need to provide a negative test result or a note from your provider documenting an alternative diagnosis as the cause for the symptoms. 

Many students experience seasonal allergies at this time of year and allergy symptoms can mimic COVID-like symptoms. Please consult your child’s health care provider about treating your child’s seasonal allergy to avoid your child being sent home for symptoms that appear Covid-like. 

Remember to review the Student Daily Checklist before sending your child to school. 

Thank you for your cooperation.  

2021-2022 School Year

• The 2021-2022 school calendar has been approved by the school committee. Here it is. Please note the change in school hours (in the lower left-hand corner) that were recently approved by the School Committee to allow for a later start for high school students. 


Next year, our school hours will be 8:00-2:10.

• Looking for information about Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 School Year?

Also, I have had many questions about whether or not we are planning to have our kindergarten students in-person full time, and that is certainly our plan. We are all looking forward to a typical and spectacular start at Ryan Road School!

Important Upcoming Dates:

Wednesday, May 26: Half Day with an 11:30 Dismissal (Staff Professional Development)

Wednesday, May 26: Photo Day for anyone who couldn’t be here for our first one

Monday, May 31: No School for Memorial Day 

• Wednesday, June 16 at 1:30: Outdoor 5th Grade Celebration (Rain Date Thursday, June 17).

Friday, June 18: Last day of School! 12:20 Dismissal

Stay up to date with all of our school activities on our School Website’s Calendar!

I hope that all families feel welcome, comfortable, and valued at our school. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.


Sarah Madden, Principal