Category Archives: Community & Service

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.

Riverstone’s Earth Week

By | Community & Service, High School, Leadership by Example | No Comments

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.

Spirit (of Kindness) Week

By | Community & Service, High School, Leadership by Example | No Comments

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

By | Community & Service, High School, Middle School | No Comments

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

Call to Action: Building Riverstone Community

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

The following is the introduction to Bob Carignan’s August 11, 2016 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.

Hi All,

I hope you are making the most of August. Walls are going up on “Phase 1” and we are on schedule to have them all up by the start of school. Summer camps are busy and the school is beginning to come alive with activity!

I need to ask everyone a favor. This morning I met with a new residential student and his mother who arrived early to explore Boise. It was touching to see her concern for her son as he begins a new and unknown adventure – it is the same concern that we all have for our children. I promised her that this caring and welcoming community would look after her son well.

As we move into this new phase of Riverstone’s future, I ask that all of our families help us to ensure that these students are known and celebrated. The same is true for the many new day students and their families who will be entering our doors for the first time.

There has been a time in all of our lives when we were new to a situation. We can all remember how important simple gestures and kindness were to making us feel part of the community. We will be asking this of our students as well.

We are excited for all of our High School students to be a part of the fabric of our residential “Riverstone House.” We will be hosting and planning many activities that originate in our downtown “Basecamp,” as the facility’s common area will be known. We hope to also host parent events as the schedule allows.

I am so proud of our community, and I am thrilled to welcome new students and families into it!

Enjoy August,

Bob Carignan
Head of School

Rake Up Boise 2015

By | Community & Service, Elementary School, High School, Leadership by Example, Middle School | No Comments

For 17 years, Riverstone has organized a Rake Up Boise team to rake and winterize yards for senior and disabled neighbors who cannot do the work themselves.

This year, we had over 30 students, teachers, administrators, parents and friends come out to fill 90 bags of leaves from homes in Southeast Boise. With the kind donations from DK Donuts and the HumanBean, the team got an early start on Saturday, November 14.

Thanks to the High School’s Social Change Leadership student group who organized this year’s team.

Taking part in the largest volunteer event in Idaho is very gratifying and a wonderful opportunity to connect personally with our neighbors.

Please check out the photos of Team Riverstone at Rake Up Boise!

Riverstone’s Halloween Parade

By | Community & Service, Leadership by Example | No Comments

Last Friday, we hosted our annual Halloween Parade for the Elementary School. A long-standing tradition, our Preschool students start off the Parade by winding through the school hallways and picking up students in the next grade. Once all the students from Preschool through Grade 5 have joined, the Parade then makes it way over the Middle School and High School Quad area for the older students to cheer them on.

An exciting event for students of all ages, it’s great to see how much our community celebrates each other during the parade. Emboldening our emphasis on leadership by example and community, the Halloween Parade inspires camaraderie and companionship throughout all grade levels. Here are a couple student and teacher quotes about this year’s parade as well as a few photos of the amazing costumes.

“The whole event is a great community builder because we get the whole school together during the parade. Unfortunately, the fun has to stop at 3:30 when we all go home. I can’t wait until next year!” -Gabby M (Grade 5)

“The day that our little ones were waiting for finally arrived! We enjoyed  seeing Riverstone  full of parents and kids dressed up in different costumes like witches, Darth Vader, the Cat in the Hat, dinosaurs, paper bag puppets, dolls, mermaids, superheroes, and all sorts of interesting characters.” -Mrs. Stilinovich and Señora Vallejos (Pre-Kindergarten teachers)

Our New Butterfly and Pollinator Garden

By | Academic Excellence, Community & Service, Elementary School, High School, Middle School, Uncategorized | No Comments

Thanks to the recent efforts of ten Riverstone students and parentsour and our partnership with Blake Schnebly at SustainingUS, our campus is now a more welcoming place for pollinators like butterflies, hummingbirds and honey bees! The recent installation of a Butterfly and Pollinator Garden between the Elementary School and the Middle School parking lot has also enhanced wildlife by providing seasonal food and shelter for birds.

Concerned about our role in weakening pollinator/plant relationships through the overuse of pesticides and other issues, the students created the garden to provide an oasis for plant and animal visitors. Educational signs will be installed shortly and will help teach our community about the importance of pollinator species.

Additionally, these signs will emphasize the role that the Butterfly and Pollinator Garden will play in the cleansing of pollutants from surface run-off from the parking lot. There’s a lot going on in that little corner of campus: come on over and check it out!

Special thanks to SustainingUS for native plant donations and project design and Home Depot for crabapple and cherry tree donations. Contact Ben Brock with any questions.


Middle School Celebrates Diversity

By | Academic Excellence, Community & Service, IB, International Understanding, Leadership by Example | No Comments

Riverstone’s Grade 6-8 held their first Diversity Celebration on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28 and 29. Middle School Director, Alex Ide, organized the celebration and provided the following recap.

We had two great keynote speakers! The Honorable Judge Gutierrez has spent time to promote various diversity, education and leadership causes within the judiciary, the legal profession, and the larger community in Boise. He is a member of the Diversity Section of the State Bar; a past board member of the the National Job Corps Association; and a board member of the Idaho Latino Scholarship Foundation. Our students were graced with stories of his upbringing, and were privileged to hear his words of advice for the future. Dr. Janet Kaufman has integrated diversity work into her college courses, in High School, and in Middle School. She has led diversity trainings for a range of organizations. Mostly, she enjoys facilitating conversation that helps people of any age discover new ways of thinking about themselves and others. Dr. Kaufman introduced our students to activities that helped them to consider how we make the world a place where everyone has a voice, feels safe, and gets to contribute.

Over the two days, students rotated through the following sessions:

  • Celebration of Diversity Though Art (finished product below)
  • Perspectives: Ethical and Moral Dilemma Role Play
  • Human Rights and Diversity: LGBT Topics
  • Acceptance Through Tolerance and Repsect
  • Insider vs. Outsider: A Mini Theory of Knowledge Lesson
Students were surveyed before and after the event. After the event, the students rated themselves in the following manner:
  • I am more comfortable about who I am as an individual and what my values are 91%
  • I feel more compassionate and empathetic towards others 93%
  • I feel more empowered to speak up to support my peers when issues arise 93%
  • I have increased my knowledge and awareness of issues of diversity 97%
 Special thanks to Judge Gutierrez, Dr. Kaufman, our Middle School Staff, Sarah C, Olivia D, and the International Parent Committee for helping to make these celebration days a success!


For the Love of Reading

By | Academic Excellence, Alumni, Community & Service, Leadership by Example | No Comments

Alumni visit the school for lots of reasons: to see their former teachers, coach our athletic teams, lead an outdoor trip, and even to teach. But last week, one of our alumni, Trevor Wallace (’11), visited our Gr 3 class to talk about his favorite authors when he was in elementary school. Trevor is currently a film major at Wesleyan University and donated many of his books to Ms. Wallace’s class library. He spent quite awhile sharing with students who were interested in finding new, more challenging authors to try. No one gives a book talk quite like a person who has loved and lived through the stories many times!

As you can see by the photos, the students loved Trevor and were hanging on every word. Thanks Trevor!