The Washington Post’s Most Challenging High School in Idaho 2017

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TWP America's Most Challenging High School Badge 1Riverstone International School has topped The Washington Post‘s list of Idaho’s Most Challenging High Schools for the second time! On a national level, Riverstone moved up the rankings from #125 to #116 out of approximately 22,000 schools in the United States that were evaluated.

According to reporter Jay Mathews, “America’s Most Challenging High Schools ranks schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates.”

Reflecting on this recognition, Head of School, Bob Carignan, wrote to the community, “While no ranking captures what a school does, it is certainly an acknowledgement of our excellent delivery of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes. We do the IB right!

In his article on the selected schools, Post education writer Jay Mathews talked about dedicated teachers finding potential in students – all students. This is something that we have always believed and it is why every student at Riverstone is enrolled in IB classes for their entire time here. Many schools make students apply and test in to the Diploma Programme, but we offer it to all.

While not every student is successful in gaining the Diploma, every student gets a better education because they are taking these demanding courses in small classes with teachers who are totally focused on each student’s potential. Every student must think critically, write clearly and persuasively, analyze facts, and apply what they are learning. Ask any senior who is currently taking the grueling set of IB exams this month.

And yet we are more than the most academically challenging high school in Idaho. While not every day is rainbows and sunshine for every student, nor should it be, when I walk down our hallways I am always renewed by how much our students laugh – in class and out. The faculty mentorship, the academic challenge, the emphasis on curiosity, interests, and passions turns our academic rigor into a very special kind of academic vigor that lasts a lifetime – this is our true coin of the realm. This is what is reflected in our ranking, and we should all be very proud of that.”

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Riverstone International School is a private, independent school with 350 students from preschool through high school. Offering both day and boarding programs, Riverstone is Idaho’s premier International Baccalaureate World School and the only school in Idaho authorized to provide all three International Baccalaureate Programmes. The school awards scholarships and tuition assistance to approximately 30% of their students and 100% of graduates are accepted into four year colleges and universities around the world. Academic excellence, community and service, leadership by example, international understanding, and outdoor education form the foundation of Riverstone’s educational philosophy.

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Riverstone’s Earth Week

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Throughout this past two weeks, students have been learning about all of the sustainability initiatives on campus at Riverstone to celebrate Earth Day.

Elementary School students attended a brief assembly where they learned about pollinators and the school’s Pollinator Garden. Each class was given a blueberry bush that they will plant on campus with Outdoor Education Program Director, Ben Brock, during the coming weeks.

Senior Alex M presented a mason bee house that will be installed in the pollinator garden to illustrate that not all bees sting and are welcome in our garden. Special thanks to Far West Nursery for providing the blueberry bushes to replace the Japanese Yew shrubs that the school removed in February to provide a safer wintering habitat for deer and elk.

In an assembly organized by students in the Plant, Sustainability and Veggie Clubs, Middle and High School students learned about diverting waste from the landfill through increased awareness of recycling, composting and reusable containers. During the 200+ person event, less than 2lbs of garbage was produced! All biodegradable waste was diverted into the Middle and High School garden compost and all plastic/glass made its way into the recycling. Following the assembly, Darjeeling Momo, El Paco Tacos y Tortas and Burgerlicious food trucks set-up shop in the Middle and High School Quad for the school’s first Food Truck Rally! The rally educated students about fuel emissions and the environment and encouraged students to stay on campus for lunch or walk to nearby stores.

Big thanks to Naomi C (Gr 12), Ethan E (Gr 6), Anna F (Gr 10), Andres G (Gr 12), Avery P (Gr 10), Olivia P (Gr 12), Zach P (Gr 6), Vedant R (Gr 6), and Dev S (Gr 6), for inspiring us all to have a positive impact on our planet!

Additionally, students from our Outdoor Leadership Program will be maintaining Riverstone’s Ridge-to-Rivers Adopt a Trail segment in Polecat Gulch.

On Earth Day, Saturday, Apr 22, our community will gather to expand the school’s Pollinator Garden and Bio Swale on the west side of the Elementary School! Once the swale itself has been widened and a bit more sod has been converted into mulched garden beds each Kindergarten through Grade 5 class will get to plant a blueberry bush and make our campus more pollinator friendly, and edible. Native and flowering plants will continue to find homes in the garden during the spring thanks to Plant Club and Middle School Science classes! Stay tuned for more pictures.

Kindergarten at Riverstone

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Why is Kindergarten at Riverstone International School Different from Other Options?

Small classes – maximum of 16 students per class
Full day program
World renowned International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Spanish, art, music, and PE taught by specialist teachers
Outdoor education and field trips included in tuition
Fully-credentialed, experienced teachers
Before and after-care available for additional fee

Idaho’s top performing International Baccalaureate World School
Ranked as Idaho’s Best Private School by Niche.com

Thirty percent of Riverstone students are awarded tuition assistance or scholarships that do not need to be repaid.

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Idaho National History Day 2017

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Not only did 84 Riverstone students continue their exceptional tradition in the regional National History Day competition this weekend, but Riverstone was also the host to all Treasure Valley competitors!

Congratulations to the 35 Riverstone students advancing to the State competition on Saturday, April 15 at the College of Idaho – the student names and their placements in their respective categories are included below.

Individual results are as follows. Please congratulate these students if you happen to see them. Please also thank our dedicated teachers and staff who made all of this possible: Jeff Cole, Trevor Lindsay, Joe Beard, Kate Riede, and Andy Johnson.

Grade 5

  1. Blake B – Youth Individual Website, 2nd Place
  2. Thomas B and Ethan E – Youth Group Website, 1st Place
  3. Laura F – Youth Individual Exhibit, 3rd Place
  4. Nolan G – Youth Individual Exhibit, 1st Place
  5. William G – Youth Individual Exhibit, 2nd Place
  6. Carter H -Youth Individual Historical Paper, 3rd Place
  7. Lily S – Youth Individual Historical Paper, 1st Place
  8. Fiona VDG -Youth Individual Historical Paper, 2nd Place

Grade 6

  1. Parker B – Junior Individual Performance, 2nd Place
  2. Lucas E – Junior Individual Website, 2nd Place
  3. Annie L – Junior Individual Website, 1st Place
  4. Gabby M – Junior Individual Historical Paper, 3rd Place
  5. Katie M – Junior Individual Historical Paper, 2nd Place
  6. Michael M –  Junior Documentary, 3rd Place
  7. Nina N – Junior Individual Website, 3rd Place
  8. Aidan S – Junior Individual Exhibit, 1st Place
  9. Kimberly S – Junior Individual Exhibit, 4th Place

Grade 7

  1. Solomon B – Junior Individual Exhibit, 3rd Place
  2. Darci D – Junior Individual Website, 2nd Place
  3. Andrew E – Junior Documentary, 2nd Place
  4. Meghan F – Junior Individual Exhibit, 3rd Place
  5. Derek L – Junior Individual Performance, 1st Place
  6. Hailey W – Junior Individual Exhibit, 2nd Place
  7. Ryan W – Junior Individual Website, 3rd Place

Grade 8

  1. Spencer B – Junior Individual Exhibit, 2nd Place
  2. Walker C – Junior Individual Website, 3rd Place
  3. Emma G – Junior Individual Historical Paper, 1st Place
  4. Gavin G – Junior Documentary, 1st Place
  5. Olivia G – Junior Individual Website, 1st Place
  6. Ethan H – Junior Documentary, 1st Place
  7. Nathan M – Junior Individual Website, 1st Place

Grade 9

  1. Max C – Senior Individual Website, 1st Place
  2. Samantha E – Senior Individual Website, 3rd Place
  3. Tess E – Senior Individual Historical Paper, 1st Place
  4. Aiden G – Senior Individual Exhibit, 2nd Place
  5. Edie J – Senior Individual Historical Paper, 3rd Place
  6. Maeve P – Senior Individual Historical Paper, 2nd Place
  7. Gwyneth W – Senior Individual Website, 2nd Place

The Otterbots Compete at FIRST Tech Challege

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Congratulations to the Otterbots, Riverstone’s Robotics team, for their stellar performance at last weekend’s FIRST Tech Challenge Competition in Moscow, ID! The six members of the team have been meeting twice a week after school since September to design, build, program, test, and refine their robot in preparation for this unique competition in which they compete in head-to-head challenges in an alliance format.

Led by Coaches Jon Moreno-Ramirez and Jenn Schmutzler (our High School Science teachers), the team made it to the semi-final round of their inaugural competition! They were honored to be invited to join one of the finalist teams as their alliance partner, a reflection of the Otterbots’ skill and teamwork during the early rounds.

Team members included in the team picture below are Nathan M (Gr 8), Jay X (Gr 11), Kana T (Gr 10), James E (Gr 11), Rose E (Gr 11), and Leo W (Gr 11). Also pictured is Coach Jon Moreno-Ramirez. Not pictured team members are Gavin G (Gr 8), Colin C (Gr 12) and Neo Z (Gr 11).

The team is not finished for the year, as they will be going to reconvene after Spring Break to create a plan for next year with a focus on participating in and completing challenges they haven’t yet tried (such as using sensors and building a new arm).

Special congratulations to Rose E (Gr 11) for being chosen as a Dean’s List Award Finalist!

Rose was chosen for her leadership, dedication, and contributions to the team!

Go Otterbots!

Our International Community: A Letter from our Head of School

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The following is the introduction to Bob Carignan’s February 2, 2017 newsletter to the Riverstone community. To read previous Riverstone newsletters, you may link to our archives here. We invite you to subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

A few years ago, I remember teaching a unit on Persepolis, the Iranian graphic novel, and a student pondered what life would be like in Iran. As if magically, the classroom door opened and I heard “Hi Bob!” coming from a recent Riverstone graduate who had spent the summer in Iran with her family. So I gave her the floor to discuss her experiences and what life was like in Iran for her and her family. I remember the enormous pride I felt that we at Riverstone, in Boise, Idaho, had built an authentic international community in thought and deed that connected our kids everywhere. I am no less proud now.

We have welcomed immigrants, refugees, exchange students, and green card holders from throughout the Middle East and Africa, including most of the seven countries experiencing the current immigration and travel ban. In all cases, these students and their families made Riverstone a better place by deepening the richness of our community and widening the perspective of our students. Included below are pictures from our 2005-06 school yearbook, featuring our international students. We are proud of this tradition and of bringing these incredible students into our community year after year.

I want to make it clear where we stand as a school. Riverstone will continue to welcome students from around the world. We will continue to read and teach from a global curriculum. We will continue to give our students an understanding of the Middle East and the worlds great religions. We will continue to encourage free and open inquiry. We will continue to encourage critical thinking in which facts matter. We will continue guiding our students through difficult conversations in an atmosphere of respect.

These changes are already impacting our community. Please read this article from a major German newspaper concerning one of our graduates, Kat T (’10).

Places like Riverstone, places that strive to teach students empathy through a diverse curriculum including the study of global art and music are places that can serve as antidotes to hatred and ignorance.

Yes, the world is a difficult and complex place that can be dangerous. But, we need to stand for opportunity and understanding; optimism and realism can exist side by side. A disciplined, “liberal education” that is global in reach, asks difficult questions and does not settle for easy answers, encourages 21st Century skills like collaboration, celebrates diversity, and encourages understanding is the best way to prepare students for the most important job that lies ahead: being informed and responsible citizens who seek peace and make the world a better place.

Bob Carignan
Head of School

Riverstone Students Receive Idaho Scholastic Writing Awards

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This week, 19 Riverstone students were recognized for excellence in writing by the Idaho Scholastic Writing Awards – an affiliate of the national organization that works to honor and encourage the voices of young writers. Student submissions were blindly judged by panels of leading writers and artists in our community. Each student’s work will be submitted to the national awards, which entails massive scholarship opportunities and a possible invitation to the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall. For more detailed information about the awards, please visit www.artandwriting.org.

The students who were honored at the Idaho level (names included below) will be recognized at a spring ceremony at Boise State University on Sunday, Mar 19 at 4:30 PM. All Gold Key and Silver Key recognitions will be submitted to the national awards, which entails massive scholarship opportunities and a possible invitation to the awards ceremony at Carnegie Hall. For more detailed information about the awards, please visit their website here.

Grade 12
  • Nina E: Poetry – Gold Key
  • Ethan T: Poetry – Gold Key
  • Audrey T: Poetry – Honorable Mention

Grade 10

  • Laurel C: Short Story – Honorable Mention
  • Olivia D: Personal Essay/Memoir – Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention
  • Aela D: Poetry – Honorable Mention; Flash Fiction – Silver Key and Honorable Mention
  • Anwen R: Personal Essay/Memoir – Honorable Mention and Honorable Mention
  • Maryana T: Personal Essay/Memoir – Honorable Mention
  • Ian W:Personal Essay/Memoir – Honorable Mention

Grade 9

  • Aiden G (Gr 9): Flash Fiction – Honorable Mention
  • Maeve P (Gr 9): Personal Essay/Memoir – Gold Key and Honorable Mention

Grade 8

  • Rachel C (Gr 8): Flash Fiction – Silver Key
  • Louisa G (Gr 8): Poetry – Honorable Mention; Flash Fiction – Silver Key; Critical Essay – Honorable Mention
  • Olivia G (Gr 8): Flash Fiction – Gold Key
  • Emma G (Gr 8): Flash Fiction – Honorable Mention
  • Alyson G (Gr 8): Flash Fiction – Silver Key; Poetry – Honorable Mention
  • Ethan H (Gr 8): Flash Fiction – Gold Key
  • Nathan M (Gr 8): Crictical Essay – Gold Key; Flash Fiction – Honorable Mention
  • Faye S (Gr 8): Critical Essay – Honorable Mention

And thank you to our English teachers, Amanda Micheletty and Jeff Cole, for guiding our students with their entries for this year’s competition!

Spirit (of Kindness) Week

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During our all-school Spirit Week, our Middle and High School students also celebrated Spirit of Kindness Week and heard from Sienna, a representative of Revealing Kindness LLC, on how and why it is important to be kinder to each other.

Organized and led by senior Avery W, students spent the week practicing kindness to others as well as participating in the “Pie in the Face” fundraising campaign. Avery asked students to put spare change into one of four jars labeled with four of our staff members’ names: Andy Johnson, Jim Harper, Amanda Micheletty and Samantha Cole.

Whoever received the most donations in their jar would not only get to choose which charity to donate all of the funds to, but they would also receive a pie in the face during our Spirit Week Pep Rally. After the original donations were calculated, it was revealed Jim Harper, Art teacher, and Amanda Micheletty, English teacher, were tied. After accepting a few last minute donations, Amanda was the lucky winner of a pie to the face with all of her students cheering her on. You can watch the video on our Instagram here.

Other Spirit Week activities included students dressing up based on a theme each day, such as a day dedicated to wearing your favorite international sports team jersey, to making plaid rad again, to wearing one color in solidarity with classmates. Middle and High School grades each participated in a dodgeball tournament during lunch with Grade 8 taking the final win against Grade 12 – the Grade 8 champions are pictured below. All grades competed in a relay race and Riverstone cheer contest with Grade 12 winning both competitions.

This week not only encouraged our students to be kind to one another, but to feel pride for the school they attend and the peers they share it with. Check out all of the pictures from this week’s events below!

Middle and High School Morning of Service

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Middle & High School Students Impact Local Organizations during Morning of Service

In a single morning, local non-profit organizations were the recipients of about 450 hours of volunteer work by Riverstone International School Middle and High School students. Rather than staying at home when they had the day off for parent-teacher conferences, 180 students in Grades 6-12 donated their time to give back to the Boise community during their semi-annual “Riverstone Morning of Service” on October 27, 2016.

Students assisted the Discovery Center of Idaho by assembling engineering kits and helped with Zoo Boise’s fall cleanup. The largest beneficiary of this year’s Morning of Service was the City of Boise. Students helped prepare two new parks, Molenaar Park and Esther Simplot Park, by collecting trash and moving mountains of mulch. Another group replanted 10 acres of sagebrush on Table Rock to help replace the vegetation burned in this past summer’s fire. Additionally, one group stayed on campus to complete projects in order to make it more sustainable.

The Morning of Service takes place twice per year; this is the school’s fourth year of holding these service days as a means to put into practice the school’s commitment to Community and Service.

Watch the KTVB news story here

Watch the Idaho Ed News news story here

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