All posts by Melinda Quick

Idaho Rivers and Riverstone

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The last few weeks have seen an uptick in activities related to sustainability at Riverstone!

 

Students in Grades 2 and 5 recently entered a partnership with Idaho Rivers United (IRU) to learn more about our local water supply and what we can do to improve water quality in the Boise River. As part of the project, Grade 11 Geography students Maggie L. and Thomas C. will help Elementary School students measure water quality on our campus. Maggie is also monitoring the school’s bioswale. IRU posted a blog about the project, which can be found here.

 

Several classrooms in the Elementary School have also been retrofitted with energy efficient LED lighting, further improving the performance of our Energy Star certified facility.

 

Indoors, students in the Middle and High School Plant Club have been making cuttings of sansevieria plants, which are some of the most efficient plants at scrubbing toxins and particulate matter from indoor air. When they are established, the plants will be distributed to classroom teachers to help improve air quality. And with spring just around the corner, Plant Club will begin starting seeds for our veggie garden!

 

High School Green Team students are entering the planning stages for Earth Week (April 16-21). Please stay tuned for details about ways to get involved via our weekly newsletter. We are looking forward to the return of the Zero Waste Food Truck Rally, Bike to School Week, and community trail maintenance in Polecat Gulch.

 

If you are interested in getting more involved with our sustainability efforts on- and off-campus, please contact Ben Brock, Sustainability Coordinator, via email.

Primary Years Programme Exhibition

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The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) Exhibition in Grade 5 is often referred to as the capstone project for PYP students. At Riverstone, not only have our students been addressing important, real-world issues, but our teachers have taken the Exhibition process to a level that has been garnering national and international attention.

 

Please watch the following video in which Riverstone Grade 5 teacher, Trevor Lindsay, explains what is so unique and impactful about Riverstone’s PYP Exhibition.

 

For more information about the PYP Exhibition, please check out the IBO blog and download the 2017 Riverstone Exhibition brochure to read about the real-world issues that our Gr 5 students tackled last spring.

 

Building an Environmentally-Friendly Riverstone

By | Community & Service, Elementary School, High School, Middle School, Outdoor Education | No Comments

Thanks to efforts by students of all ages, a wildlife habitat is being created, food gardens are taking root, and turf is removed in order to create a more environmentally friendly campus to learn and play.

The Riverstone Pollinator Garden and Bioswale has seen several recent expansions and now includes a wide variety of native flowering plants; including columbine, goldenrod, yarrow and two species of milkweed. The bioswale itself helps us remove rain water from where we don’t want it (in the parking lot) to where we really need it (helping trees, shrubs and flowers provide habitat and food). Eventually the bioswale will extend all the way to the playground basketball court!

Nearby, directly outside the Elementary School Music room and Gr 1 and 5 classrooms, our Outdoor Learning Space was a group effort imagined and designed by Gr 1, 5 and 8 students. After removing a large section of sod, a thick layer of mulch was laid down to create a blank canvas for students to design an the space. Water conservation, native plants and food gardens, as well as natural seating areas and art installations were predominant in the students’ design concepts, ensuring it that it is as people- and planet-friendly as possible.

Additionally, students harvested and planted garlic cloves in the Elementary School Garden. Middle and High School students who are members of the Green Team and Plant Club care for the original garden on campus near the North Fork building.

Potential future projects include:

  • Paint a mural with non-toxic paint;
  • Test the campus water quality;
  • Wildlife field trip;
  • Garbage pick up;
  • Environmental awareness campaign;
  • Build animal homes;
  • Goose poop cleanup.
If you or your child is interested in reimagining the way in which Riverstone’s outdoor spaces can be as stimulating as our classrooms, contact Sustainability Coordinator Ben Brock.

Becoming (and Staying) an IB School

By | Academic Excellence, Elementary School, High School, IB, Middle School | No Comments

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According to the IB website, “Becoming an IB World School means joining over 4,500 schools worldwide in delivering IB programmes, and becoming part of a community of educators that is growing and developing constantly. The IB’s unique implementation is strengthened through our relationships with schools, governments and international organizations globally.” The authorization process varies by school and IB programme, but typically takes between two and three years. It comprises the following phases:

Following initial authorization, schools undergo regular re-evaluations to ensure ongoing quality and adherence to IB ethos.

Although we share our framework and philosophy, each school develops their own curriculum surrounding that framework.

When parents are considering an IB school, we suggest they:

  • Confirm the status for each program they are interested in;
  • Ask how long the school has been offering those authorized programs;
  • Ask about the training of the teachers, and whether they also serve as IB trainers or examiners;
  • Ask about the language, music, arts, PE, and design programs;
  • Ask which classes the school offers in the Diploma Programme;
  • Ask what percentage of Diploma Programme (Gr 11-12) students are IB candidates seeking the full diploma;
  • Ask how successful the students are at achieving the IB diploma and how many receive certificates;
  • Ask what other opportunities exist for students to supplement their IB education (outdoor education, leadership opportunities, international student population, etc).

The International Baccalaureate Programmes are robust and complex in order to meet the needs of our youth. There’s a lot to learn! As part of our weekly newsletter, we include a section highlighting features of the IB Programmes – subscribe today!

For more information, read about our Authorizations and Accreditations here or inquire today.

Gr 1 Commitment and Veterans Day

By | Academic Excellence, Elementary School, IB | No Comments

Please enjoy the following write-up from Gr 1 teacher, Mrs. Morgan, about their Unit of Inquiry, Where We Are in Place and Time:

“This week, our first graders learned some amazing lessons about commitment. We interviewed our parents about ways they have shown commitment. We identified areas in which each of us shows commitment. We started learning about the commitment shown by the Pilgrims so they could worship their own way. Perhaps most importantly, we learned about the incredible commitment that has been demonstrated by the veterans who have served, or are serving, our country.

Throughout the week, we read stories, watched videos, and had great discussions about the sacrifices that veterans make to keep us free and safe. We wrote letters to veterans and mailed them to the Veterans Home and the Veterans Medical Center.

The most exciting part of learning about veterans was when we delivered some of our letters to the veterans at our Veterans Day assembly on Friday. It was really special to be able to personally say, ‘Thank you’ to these amazing people for their sacrifice and their commitment to The United States of America!”

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Exploring Primary Sources in the Elementary School

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Throughout the school year, Riverstone students focus on “Units of Inquiry” – in-depth explorations of concepts where students inquire into a central idea or a main understanding, guided by lines of inquiry and teacher prompts.

Our Grade 4 students’ current Unit of Inquiry is “Where We Are in Place and Time,” which focuses on how primary sources provide a unique insight into cultural and personal histories. Students explore inquiries into how primary and secondary sources are used for research, how these sources can assist with understanding individuals and cultures, and how information gained through the interviewing process can lead to new understandings.

Last week, students were placed into teams to explore the four major types of primary sources: documents, artifacts, photographs, and oral histories. For several days, teams explored each primary source and set out to explain what they had learned to their peers by creating an informative poster. Students also learned how graphic design can make information visually interesting, presentation skills and how to be a good audience.

This kind of experience is prevalent throughout Riverstone’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), where students (Preschool – Grade 5) learn skillsets throughout each school year, culminating in their Gr 5 year with their Exhibition project and greatly benefiting their future experiences as students in Riverstone’s Middle Years Programme (MYP) in writing essays and research papers and Diploma Programme (DP) in writing their Extended Essay.

2017 Convocation Senior Speech

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At the end of each school year, we select a junior to receive the Head of School Award. Three months later that same junior, now a senior, delivers the Convocation Address from the graduating class. We are so proud of James E (Class of 2018) and his peers for all of the journeys they have taken and will take.

Please view his inspiring speech below and join us in wishing all the best to the Class of 2018, and all of our Riverstone classes, for the 2017-18 school year!

You can read more about James’s journey in the Idaho Education News article from September 2017: One of Idaho’s Top Students Survived Life-Threatening Illness.

The Journey to Becoming a Lifelong Learner: Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten at Riverstone

By | Academic Excellence, Elementary School, IB | No Comments

The early years of a child’s education are critical in laying the foundation for learning in their future years. During this time, children absorb knowledge at amazing rates and develop the skills necessary for success in school — and life.

Preparing your child for a lifelong journey of learning is the primary goal of the Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classes.

Our small, nurturing environment and experienced staff focus on the cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of students while building upon the strengths of the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum.

The Pre-Kindergarten schedule “allows for the students to have ample opportunity for unstructured free play time with a balance of teacher directed time to help prepare the students for the transition to Kindergarten.” – Kathie Stilinovich, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

In both classes, activities are student-centered and developmentally appropriate, with a balance between free-choice activities and small group directed activities. Listening, pre-reading, and writing skills are promoted in Language Arts activities. Students learn math with hands-on manipulatives. Art, music, PE, and library time are integral parts of the week and all subjects tie into the classroom Unit of Inquiries.

The Preschool Unit of Inquiry, “Who We Are,” in which students begin to understand that we “all experience the same emotions, but the ways in which we navigate through those feelings can be different.  It is important not only for creating and strengthening our classroom community, but for beginning at a very young age, an idea of cultural sensitivity and acknowledgement of each person’s unique attributes.” – Janice Flynn, Preschool Teacher

Students begin to make connections between school and their personal experiences outside of school, as well as begin to take responsibility for their learning.

We encourage our students to attain their “personal best” and we celebrate their individual accomplishments. Recognizing that most learning occurs through active participation, our teachers help students stretch to take that next step.

We have openings for the 2017-2018 school year. If you apply before August 15, 2017, for the 2017-2018 academic year, your $75 application fee will be waived. Please note this applies only to applicants for the upcoming school year, not for 2018-19.

Inquire Today!

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2017 Middle and High School Awards

By | Academic Excellence, High School, Leadership by Example | No Comments

Each year, we honor students who have gone above and beyond inside and outside the classroom and within our community. Congratulations to all of our Middle and High School award winners!

  • Head of School Award – James E (Gr 11)
  • High School Leadership Award – Maggie L (Gr 10)
  • Middle School Leadership Award – Louisa G (Gr 8)
  • Outdoor Leadership High School Award – Ian W (Gr 10)
  • Outdoor Leadership Middle School Award – Louisa G (Gr 8)
  • Community and Service High School Award – Ellie C (Gr 11) and Anna F (Gr 10)
  • Community and Service Middle School Award – Meghan F (Gr 7) and Taavi Z (Gr 8)
  • International Understanding High School Award – Caca W (Gr 10) and Ana Sofia (Sofi) LG (Gr 11)
  • International Understanding Middle School Award – Ethan H (Gr 8) and Honggeol K (Gr 8)
  • English Departmental High School Award – Jessica A (Gr 11)
  • English Departmental Middle School Award – Darci D (Gr 7)
  • Spanish Departmental High School Award – Olivia L (Gr 11)
  • Spanish Departmental Middle School Award – Katie M (Gr 6)
  • Mandarin Departmental High School Award – Preston B (Gr 9)
  • Mandarin Departmental Middle School Award – Laila M (Gr 8)
  • French Departmental High School Award – Elvira T (Gr 11)
  • English B Award – Haobo (Jay) X (Gr 11)
  • Individuals and Societies High School Award – Emilie E (Gr 11) and Edie J (Gr 10)
  • Individuals and Societies Middle School Award – Emma G (Gr 8)
  • Biology Award – Emilie E (Gr 11)
  • Chemistry Award – Christina U (Gr 11)
  • Physics Award – Josh HK (Gr 11)
  • Sciences Award -Charlie D (Gr 8)
  • Mathematics Award – Avery P (Gr 10) and Nathan M (Gr 7)
  • Visual Arts High School Award – Kana T (Gr 10)
  • Visual Arts Middle School Award – Emory G (Gr 8)
  • Music High School Award – Rose E (Gr 11)
  • Music Middle School Award – Salma S (Gr 7)
  • Scholastic Art and Writing National Award – Maeve P (Gr 9), Silver Key
  • Physical Education Award – Laurel C (Gr 10) and Ryan W (Gr 7)
  • Wesleyan Book Award – Qianyi (Astoria) S (Gr 11)
  • Wellesley Book Award – Zibo (Rebekah) J (Gr 11)
  • Kenyon College – Ellie C (Gr 11)
  • Williams Book Award – Aela D (Gr 10)
  • Dartmouth Book Award – Javin S (Gr 11)
  • University of Pennsylvania Book Award – Josh HK (Gr 11)
  • Brown University Book Award – Christina U (Gr 11)
  • Mount Holyoke Book Award – Ana Sofia (Sofi) LG (Gr 11)
  • Certificates of Recognition for Math Tutoring – Olivia D (Gr 11), James E (Gr 11), Rose E (Gr 11), Josh HK (Gr 11), Anna F (Gr 10), Anton (Tony) K (Gr 10), Jordan L (Gr 10), Maggie L (Gr 10), Olivia L (Gr 11), Drew M (Gr 10), Patrick M (Gr 10), Avery P (Gr 10), Solomon R (Gr 10), Anwen R (Gr 10), Javin S (Gr 11), and Christina U (Gr 11).

Exceptional Riverstone Faculty News

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We are excited to share the recent successes of two members of the Riverstone faculty. Both Christine Corbin and Jon Moreno-Ramirez exemplify the unique and exceptional individuals who teach at Riverstone International School.

Congratulations, Christine and Jon!

00063Christine Corbin, our Middle School Art teacher, has been recognized as a 2017 Fellow and awarded a $5000 grant to “Explore the art, customs and culture of the diminishing Ethiopian Omo River Valley tribal people to enhance current art units on perceptions of beauty in diverse cultures and on unique tribal identity through the use of body painting and adornment, scarification, and piercings.”

During her month-long trip, Christine will be living with the Omo River Valley tribal people as she conducts her research. Fund for Teachers, the organization awarding this grant wrote to Christine, “From thousands of applications from across the country, your proposal stood out as one that will bring relevant knowledge and skills back to your students.You now join a peer group of over 7,000 other PreK – 12 educators who refused to settle for traditional professional development or the status quo in their classroom. After navigating the globe conducting field research, attending seminars, volunteering with community organizations or observing best practices, our Fellows inspire school communities with authentic learning.” You may read more about the 2017 Fellows and their proposals here.
We are incredibly proud of Christine who put over 100 hours of work into her grant application. We can’t wait to hear about her adventures and see the impact on our students! Congratulations, Christine!

 

00236High School Physics teacher, Jon Moreno-Ramirez was recently featured in an Idaho Ed News article celebrating him as a recipient of a $15,000 Partners in Science Program grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

Jon will investigate the fundamental physical properties of nanoscale ferroelectrics and multiferroics in various devices, such as computer memories or microwave electronic devices. The grant program is to help high school science teachers obtain firsthand research experience that they can apply in the classroom. Congratulations, Jon!

 

 

 

 

 

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