Falcon Reflections from
Around the Valley
The first quarter of the school year finished up last week. I wonder if you have been in touch with everything that’s going on “around the valley.” Read further to find out all the ways to know what’s going on, what’s new, what’s relevant in the RVS community. But first, I’d like to just write a few words about communication.
The dictionary says that communication is “the imparting or exchanging of information or news” and that it is a “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers.” I think the concepts of “exchanging” and “sending or receiving information” are important to note. This correctly implies that communication is a two-way street. The District does its utmost to provide information (summarized below) but it’s up to our community to participate in this exchange and to receive the information on a regular basis. Another important aspect of home and school communication is having productive conversations with your students. There are lots of great ways to have dinnertime or “car” conversations to find out from your kids what is going on in school. I shared a list of these discussion starters at back to school night. There’s a link to that newsletter here.
Here’s a recap of all the ways to find out the news, updates and happenings at Rockaway Valley School.
First and foremost is the school website: rvsnj.org. You're already here! You can find the answers to the majority of questions right on the webpage. Questions about a classroom, homework, due dates? Check the teachers’ websites for everything having to do with student learning. You can find information about student sports, clubs and groups under the “For Students” tab, clicking on Athletics and Activities. Keep up to date with daily school-wide events, due dates and celebrations by using the District Calendar. For the short term view, use the home page of the website; for future weeks and months, click on the “District Calendar” tab. A lot of valuable information is contained in the files under the “For Parents” tab, including a link to the State Model Curriculum (the curriculum guides approved for use at RVS).
A scaled down version of the website is available for your mobile devices. Download the Boonton Township Schools app wherever you find apps for your iPhone or Android phone. Keep the calendar at your fingertips every day.
You’ll also find the RVS “Virtual Backpack” on the website (look at the tabs on the left). The backpack is updated on a weekly basis with news, flyers, due dates, calendar items, order forms, sign-up sheets and more. If you’re not checking the backpack, then you don’t have a complete picture of what’s going on. If you’re signed up for texts and emails on the Honeywell Instant Alert system, then you receive a weekly reminder to check the backpack along with a direct link (in the email).
RVS has an active Facebook page. Follow us for photos, updates, emergency news, events, and much, much more. Search for Rockaway Valley School in Facebook and like and follow us!
I have a Twitter account for RVS. This is where I highlight some of our accomplishments, sports highlights and important school news. Follow me on Twitter at @rvsfalconpride!
Signs! There are signs all around us! Our new marquee at the base of the driveway has quick reminders about important dates. The BrightSigns inside the building scroll photos and messages highlighting the week’s news and upcoming happenings. The next time you drive by or are waiting in the lobby to pick up your student, check out our digital signage.
Did you know we have a podcast? Our podcast club (learn about it on the student activities page on our website) records the headlines of all the news at RVS on a weekly basis. The podcast is uploaded each week, usually by Friday morning. You can connect to Falcon 411 through the virtual backpack. If you download the Podbean app, you can follow Falcon 411 there too. Our student broadcasters would appreciate your support!
The Honeywell Instant Alert system is used only for emergencies and last minute news that must be communicated immediately. The school district will upload your primary phone number from your student’s registration paperwork. If you need to change that number, want to add the ability to receive texts and emails, have your sitter receive updates, etc., you must configure your account yourself to accommodate your needs. Instructions for updating your Honeywell Account are on the homepage of the website.
Both of our community partners, the Home and School Association and the Boonton Township Education Foundation are also communicating their news on a regular basis. You can join the HSA’s Facebook group by going to Facebook groups, searching on Rockaway Valley School HSA and requesting to join the group. The Education Foundation has both a website and a Facebook page. Like and follow them on Facebook and bookmark the website to stay abreast of Foundation news and opportunities.
And that’s the story ... we are using every means available to us to try to keep everyone up-to-date. We need your help as the “receivers” of this information to check our communication channels regularly and to engage in robust discussions with your students too. We appreciate your support of Rockaway Valley School!