Category Archives: Community & Service

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!

Cooperation Comes in Many Forms

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

Reposted from Mrs. Sterling’s Preschool Class Blog:

“This week, as we’ve continued our discussions on friendship, ‘working together, otherwise known as cooperating, has been our focus. Over the past couple weeks I’ve concluded that active participation seems to make the greatest impression on these young minds so we stuck with this learning model and I capitalized on every opportunity to point out when members of our preschool team were in cooperation mode. Fortunately, I’ve had lots of great examples: when the kids go through their morning routine; when they participate in circle each morning; when they discover ways to work together in free play time; as we clean up our room; when the kids responsibly complete their daily duties and/or respect each other in the process; when they respond to a call for help and provide assistance throughout the day; and how they generally interact with each other in positive and helpful ways. Many of these cooperative efforts have allowed us to revisit past lessons on being a responsible member of a community, using helping hands, and sharing.

To really emphasize the concept of cooperation and give the kids additional examples we could explore, we read and discussed a variety of relevant stories: Swimmy, Rainbow Fish and Rainbow Fish to the Rescue, David’s Drawings, Stone Soup, Burgoo Stew, and Fandango Stew. Next came the creative explorations. We made paper-bag rainbow fish complete with flashing scales. We painted other fish shapes and added glitter to represent the community of fishy friends that developed after Rainbow Fish shared his scales. We worked together to create a colorful and super-sized Rainbow Fish who, in the second story, encouraged the other fish to join forces to rescue a fellow fish in danger. We replicated the giant fish created by Swimmy and friends when they all swam in formation. When working together, they found courage to face predators and swim in the open sea. Inspired by David and his classmates, we created a cooperative drawing, each member of our preschool team offering their individual contributions to one paper. Most of these creative efforts are incorporated in the hallway bulletin board display just outside our classroom. The projects were intended to reinforce the power of cooperation present in the stories but also to allow the kids to directly experience the value and success of combined effort.

The reinforcement didn’t end there. After reading the variations of Stone Soup, we branched out from art into food. On Tuesday the kids helped to prepare our own chicken noodle Stone Soup. Our proverbial ‘watched pot’ did take a long time to cook but excitement remained high. Before the day was out, we’d not only enjoyed it ourselves, but we’d shared the bounty of our cooperative efforts with various members of our Riverstone community. Then Wednesday, each child contributed to our Friendship Fruit Salad. By combining our efforts, we enjoyed a delicious and varied snack. (PS Thanks Parents for making it possible!) We’re also discovering that sharing and working together is so much more fun than not.

Also during the week, unrelated to any literature, we found fun ways to be cooperative. We formed an impromptu band, making music together, focusing on playing together with coordinated stop and go rhythms. Self control is a pretty hard thing to master at such a young age but they all tried. We also banded together to build a tall block tower. The tower did topple several times but we were laughing together, rebuilding it together, and having fun … together! We focused on working as a group, invested in a common goal. Every afternoon before going home, we’ve been playing a round or two of Memory. In some other games the kids have been vying to be the “winner” but in this game, they’ve been celebrating each match that is made, regardless of who makes it. The kids worked on patience, taking turns, and finishing the game together. We’ve continued to play our balloon games – keeping the balloon aloft for as long as possible. Maybe I imagine it but the mayhem in this game seems to have diminished a bit as the kids become accustomed to playing it together, trusting they will get a turn.

Encouraging each other and letting go of individual preferences to embrace a group effort is a long process. Not every activity noted above went off without a hitch. Reminders were needed, encouragement was given, hurt feelings were soothed. As with all skill development, the more we practice it, the easier it will become. Here’s to a year of productive practice by Team Preschool!”

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream

By | Community & Service, Parents' Association | No Comments

Many thanks to our Parents’ Association for kicking off the new year with the Second Annual Ice Cream Social last Friday! Giving us all a (delicious) reason to spend a few extra minutes together, reconnect, and meet new friends in the beautiful sunshine was just another way that the PA builds and strengthens our community.

The Parents’ Association is always looking for fresh ideas and more parents to be involved. Check the PA page on our website and contact any member of the leadership team to get involved!

Sports Unites Us

By | Academic Excellence, Community & Service, IB, Middle School | No Comments

Grade Seven’s final piece of literature for the semester was Michael William’s “Now Is the Time for Running.” It is the story of two brothers who flee the massacre of their small village in Zimbabwe for the “safety” of South Africa. Soccer is a way the boys are connected to their vanished home, each other and the people they meet during their journey to safety. There are many scenes and vignettes in the book that describe how they use their homemade soccer ball to play the game they love with the people they meet.

Kids love soccer. They play it on manicured fields, debris strewn lots in cities, open dirt patches and, as in Ben Stiller’s “Mitty” at the top of the world in the Hindu Kush. Unfortunately, not every kid owns a soccer ball. Like kids everywhere, our Grade Seven students discovered what it is like to work together to make a ball for the game they love.

Their ball was made from 100+ Winco shopping bags and duct tape (thanks Ben!). They played happily with the ball for an hour – just like kids across the developing world. Sport, particularly soccer, does unite us.

Riverstone Elementary School Science Fair

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

Fifteen Elementary School science enthusiasts shared their passion for science at the first Riverstone Elementary School Science Fair, sponsored by the Academic Excellence Student Council members.

Students completed projects and experiments at home, as well as created displays explaining their experiments or inventions. On Friday morning, other Elementary School students and parents toured the exhibit to meet the scientists. Our scientists taught everyone about acids and bases, centrifugal force, and many other concepts. There was even a homemade Galilean telescope!

Thanks to the Student Council and our scientists for a great event!

Gaining Personal Perspectives on Migration

By | Academic Excellence, Community & Service, Elementary School, IB, International Understanding | No Comments

Gr 4’s current unit of inquiry is based on migration and how throughout time, people have migrated causing change to themselves and indigenous populations. They learn about the factors that cause people to migrate, the many migration routes that have developed throughout history, and affects of migration on the emigrants and the indigenous population.

In order to learn about personal experience with migration, the classes met with and interviewed students at the Learning Lab on the 4th floor of the Boise Public Library. Children and adults new to the United States come to the Learning Lab (LL) for a variety of reasons. Some want to hone their English skills. Other want to learn how to read or complete their GEDs.

Lila Cabrera, a former Riverstone Spanish teacher, who now works at the LL, introduced us to her students when we first arrived. The groups were split into teams, and then the 4th graders traveled to “stations” to interview the Learning Lab students from a variety of countries: Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Russian, Somalia, and Nigeria. The questions covered a gamut of topics. “Why did you leave your country?” Do you miss your friends and family? “Do you have any special wedding traditions, and if so, what are they?” “What are some of the things that you first thought were strange about life in Boise?” Some of our 4th graders learned how to write their numbers and alphabet in Farsi, or how to say hello in Yuruba, a Nigerian language.

The time flew. Students on both sides benefited, having had the chance to share over two hours together. A woman from Mexico remarked, “I haven’t spoken this much English since coming to the Lab!”  Another person commented, “I can’t believe how bright these kids are! Are they really only in 4th grade? They are so perceptive and adept at asking good questions!” What a great time we had!

In the afternoon, after a lunch at Julia Davis Park, Gr 4 went on a walking tour of the downtown area. The students began their journey at the Rediscovered Bookstore (where they picked up another copy of their guide book, Ethnic Landmarks: Ten Historic Places that Define the City of Trees). They visited the old Chinese quarter, the Basque Block and the Star Hotel, the German Turnverein building, the Assay Building, the Spanish Village, and the O’Farrell Building on Fort Street. Students took notes and learned a great deal more about their city.

Thanks to Ms. Fitz and Mrs. Clayton for organizing this great field trip!