Greeting Panda Family,
Greetings, my name is Mr. Darby. I am the proud principal of Royal Palm Elementary. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 2021 -2022 school year. The staff and I are looking forward to seeing our scholars return to the school building. While we look forward to a new school year I must acknowledge and thank those who embraced a challenging 2020 - 2021 school year.
To our parents, I want to say thank you for allowing our teachers to educate your children during a very difficult time. In knowing the value of education, you allowed our teachers into your homes via TEAMs meetings. In many cases, you sat next to your child ensuring their engagement. In acting in the role of a teacher assistant you support your child and provided valuable feedback to our teachers. Your partnership throughout the 2020 - 2021 school year was very much appreciated. We look forward to the same support throughout the 2021 -2022 school year.
To our scholars, I say thank you for all your hard work during the 2020 - 2021 school year. In learning remotely from home or in the brick and mortar you put forth your best effort. In this new education setting, you were asked to sit in front of computers for extended periods. This compromised your ability to interact with your peers. Through it all, your teachers continued to have high expectations and held you to high standards. While there were many opportunities for you to complain about technology and/or the learning environments you remained focus on your education. For your hard word work and effort, we thank you. We look forward to that same effort and dedication as we enter the 2021- 2022 school year.
To the amazing RPE staff that I have the privilege of leading, I say thank you, thank you, thank you. Saying thank you three times cannot express the gratitude I have for the staff. At RPE we commit to being a family first and an employee second. While the 2020 -2021 school year tested our family, without reservation, I must say we far exceeded the expectations. We exceeded because the work was not about titles. The work was about equity, ensuring our scholars received the resources and support that were needed to be successful. As a family, you delivered laptops, textbooks, and Hot Spots to those needing internet access. To reward scholars, you also delivered pizza and snacks. As a family, you went beyond addressing just the academic needs. You also connected families who required assistance to the appropriate agencies. Without being asked you provided clothing and shoes for scholars who were in need. Many members of the staff went above and beyond. As one of many leaders in the building, I want to say thank you to the Café staff for providing our families with healthy nutritious meals. Thank you to our facilities staff and campus monitors for ensuring a clean safe learning environment. Thank you to our technology team, SPARKS Team, and clerical staff for issuing out and troubleshooting laptop devices. To our instructional leaders and ESPs who were forced to make the greatest adjustments throughout the school year, you were simply amazing. You were asked to do what no one has been asked to do before. You were asked to fly the plane as it was being built. While our flight was challenging, our destination of student achievement never changed. During our flight we hit turbulence, we flew into storms, we ran low on fuel and due to circumstances beyond our control we were forced to change our navigation route, but never lost sight of our destination, student achievement. To our teachers and para’s you persevered putting the scholars’ needs first. For that and so much more I thank you, thank you, thank you. Rest assured the 2021 - 2022 school year will also have some turbulence but we are prepared as the RPE plane is built and ready to take flight. It's a different school year but our destination of student achievement remains the same. I asked that you bring that same perseverance and commitment as we Seize the Opportunity.
The 2021 -2022 school year has arrived, and my staff and I could not be more excited. We are looking forward to the return of 100% face-to-face instruction. We have made some academic changes that will assist in moving our school grade from a "C" to a minimum of a letter grade "B". Some of those changes include a focus on the following: high-quality instruction, high expectations, exposure to grade-level assignments, and deep engagement by scholars. Research shows these teaching strategies have a positive impact on student achievement. The staff and I can’t generate increased student achievement alone. Increased student achievement will require your assistance as a parent and/or guardian. Remember you are always the first teacher. As the parent/guardian of an RPE scholar I ask you to safeguard the following:
- Scholars arrive at school on time - The first bell rings at 7:50 and classroom instruction begins promptly at 8:00. At RPE we value all instructional minutes. Allowing scholars to arrive late sends a message that instructional minutes are not important. Every minute counts!!!!!
- Get involved in the learning of your scholar - When I was a scholar it was the norm for a parent to ask their child how was your day was at school. The normal and often accepted response was “good”. I ask that you have your child elaborate on “good”. Ask specific questions like what was good about it, what did you read about, were there any characters, what problems were you asked to solve in math? In answering these questions, it reinforces their knowledge. Furthermore, it gives you an idea if they understood what was being taught.
- Have constant communication with your child's teacher - Students spend at least 7 hours a day, 180 days within a year, and at least 10 months with their classroom teacher. Classrooms become a home away from home. Knowing that students spend this much time in the classroom you must be in constant communication with the teacher. The partnership between the parent/guardian and the teacher must be established early and continued throughout the school year. Research shows that the classroom teacher and parental involvement have the greatest impact on student achievement. We need your support.
- Be a cheerleader for your child - As a parent/guardian please understand the POWER of your words. When speaking to your child regarding their academic progress Please be mindful of your word selection. Your word selection can either encourage or discourage a student’s effort. While we want to be honest at no point, do we want to discourage our students? Please remember to be a cheerleader for your child, especially when they are struggling. When they struggle continue to reiterate, they can do it and seeks ways in which you can assist. If you believe they can, they will also believe they can.
Having shared our plan for the 2021 - 2022 school year it is now time for implementation. Through the collaborative efforts of scholars, parents/guardians, community stakeholders, and RPE staff this school year will be the best. We are committed to preparing all scholars to reach their full potentials. Their full potential includes attention to their academics as well as character development. In focusing on character development, we ask that you continue to enforce KINDNESS to Self, Scholars, Staff, and School. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the school. In addition, if you would like to volunteer at the school, get involved in our School Advisory Committee (SAC), or be a member of our PTA please contact the school at 754-322-8350.
2021 -2022 School Theme - Seizing the Opportunity