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Originally delivered on 4/3/2020 2:51 pm

SUBJECT: Dragon Tales ISD News - April 3, 2020


April 3, 2020

Principal's Corner

Dear ISD Parents/Guardians, 

There are very few "moments of joy" coming our way these days but the ISD'Y news team produced a news show segment that managed to make one forget, at least for a few minutes, the situation we are experiencing.  Please make sure you and your family take a few minutes to watch it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Today concludes the third week of distance learning.  It appears the new template was well-received for the most part, based on emails and conversations with both staff and parents.  That is not to say, the whole process isn't challenging.  There are many competing factors for parents to navigate, besides becoming their children's instructional leaders.  Many of you are working from home yourselves, experiencing feelings of sadness, stress or fear, dealing with the virus personally, or with a family member, a lost job and many others.  As I have said before, we appreciate all you are doing to support the distance learning program.  Today's designated "Flex Friday", can help with catching up, if that is what is needed.

A new digital literacy program will be soon available to students in grades kindergarten through second grade.  Teachers are getting trained in the program today with the goal of implementing it next week.  It is called, "Headsprout", and it is an award-winning program, which provides sequential and differentiated instruction to students in the areas of Early Reading and Reading Comprehension.  Colorful program characters teach key skills, track errors and provide instructional practice.  It is to be assigned two or three times a week.  Having reviewed it myself and being a former reading specialist, I was impressed with the caliber of the program.

Teachers have also been provided additional materials and resources from both the STEM Coordinator and Humanities Coordinator for them to include in their programs.  The Coordinators shared organized collections of instructional materials by grade level with the teachers, which I know they will find extremely helpful.  All hands are on deck in terms of providing materials, resources and guidance.

The continued onslaught of sobering news and statistics in the media can be frightening to children.  Please continue to monitor how much they and perhaps you, are hearing and viewing.  Personally, I can only watch small chunks of it because it can be overwhelming.  In the meantime, take one day at a time, practice the recommendations as part of our collective responsibility toward mitigating this tragic pandemic.  Stay safe.
Terry Ricci



This awesome episode of the ISDY News is just what we need to bring a smile to the whole school.
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • A Humorous view of one family's home learning
  • Messages from Staff - Slideshow
  • Birthdays
  • Closing Joke 


Watch the Episode 

If you watched the ISDY News you will have seen the wonderful slideshow of staff messages to our community. Now its your turn! Have your child's message be part of the news! Starting with Kindergarten and 1st grade, Mr. Harris wants to collect your messages to put together a slideshow for next week. Send a photo of your kids holding their message to


We can't wait to see it next week!

ISD Learning Commons Happenings...

Even in the midst of this crisis, we can be mindful and grateful for those moments of insight, clarity of mind, and joy that have resulted from this distance learning experience.  As students choose to participate in my Learning Commons optional activities, they share their voices, video clips, and images with respect and deep thinking.  The voluntary bookclub for grades 4 and 5 has given students a chance to listen to a read aloud chapter by chapter and to engage in thoughtful conversation through asynchronous communication using Flipgrid.  What I am noticing is that the ability to engage in conversations with others in this environment is helping students to truly listen and process what another person shares. At the same time, this tech tool is also allowing everyone’s voice to be heard and valued without the restriction of time constraints that we face in a physical classroom environment.  Students post and add to the conversation on their time-table, which puts the student in the driver’s seat for their learning.

Parent feedback on the read aloud opportunity for K-3 has melted my heart to hear how families are using these daily audio recordings to experience a story together. Some students listen on their own and tell me how comforting it is to hear a familiar teacher’s voice sharing a story.  Participants have requested that this program continue.  Of course… I started a second book for a K-3 daily read aloud series.

As much as I wish we were not in the midst of this national health crisis, and as often as I can get anxious for my loved ones safety and well-being, I do acknowledge that this pause is helping all of us to refocus our priorities. I hope that my optional Choice Board activities (which are posted in your child’s lesson template) provide time for siblings to engage in fun, hands-on learning activities together.

Lastly, children need to have their innocence preserved and protected.  So, take a look at our new addition to the ISD Learning Commons, and listen to the daily short and sweet, but very purposeful messages from Maggie, our library dog. Let’s face it, a dog makes everything better...or so it seems.

It’s never too late to join any of these optional activities.

 Feel free to email me with questions or concerns.


Mrs. Jane Martellino,

ISD Media Specialist

Support our Local Sponsors

These local businesses have been supporters of ISD and our PTA, and we thank them.  When you need something, please keep them in mind and support them in these difficult times.



Anna Banana


Old Greenwich Social

Back 40


Upper Crust


Tony's at the J House

Sushi Soba (closed right now but look for reopen date)

Sweet Pea's ( Closed right now but look for reopen date)

Mike's Organic (Deliver)

Fjords (Curb Side and Deliver)

OG Butcher (Curb Side Pickup)

Cap Cork and Cellar (they Deliver)

Old Greenwich Wines

Club Sweat


Empanads To Go





Windows By Toll

Parent Resources

A number of organizations have stepped forward to offer online services.  The ISD PTA has not fully reviewed these resources (so we suggest you look at them before you get your kids engaged) but parents might find these services useful for supplemental enrichment for the kids' distance learning experience:


Greg Tang Math: 

Greg Tang Math sent out a reminder that -- as they have been doing many years -- there are many things available on the website that are free for everyone.  The kids always seem to enjoy spending time with Greg Tang Math puzzles and challenges.  Greg Tang Math posts free math challenges during every school vacation and they have posted both their Spring Break and March Math-ness Challenges as well as two puzzle packs. Those materials can be accessed at

The National Constitution Center offers daily lectures and interactive classes on the basic principles of the U.S. Constitution.  A variety of online free resources hosted by leaders, historians and judges, are available for students as well as educators.
The Connecticut Science Center is sharing experiments, activities, and inside-looks at their exhibits on their BLOG and social media channels like FACEBOOKTWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.
  • Science At Play - on our Blog
  • Animal Encounters - Tuesdays & Thursdays at Noon on Facebook
  • Kahoot! Challenge - on Facebook
  • Field Trip Friday - Fridays on Facebook
  • #MuseumFromHome - Weekends on Facebook



The Macinspires team is offering After School Online Learning from 3:30-4:30 PM. While these classes are not free, parents can visit their website for a directory of class offerings.


International School at Dundee PTA - Riverside, CT
55 Florence Road
Riverside, CT 06878