Category Archives: IB

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

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

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

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

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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International Achievements: IB Diploma Programme and International Schools’ Assessment

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

The following is the introduction to Bob Carignan’s July 18, 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,

At Riverstone International School, we are committed to ensuring that our students have both the personal and academic skills to interact with others and contribute on a global stage. An international community of families, students and staff provide excellent opportunities to connect on a personal level. Additionally, we evaluate our academic programs through two important measures: our International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) exam results and our International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) scores.

International Schools’ Assessment

In 2015-16, over 76,000 students from 355 schools around the world participated in the ISA.

Yes, I can tell you how Riverstone’s Grade 3 measures up against third graders in Poland in Math or how our Grade 9 performs against their peers in Finland in Writing.

The graphs in the bottom of the newsletter highlight that our students in Gr 3, 5, 7, and 9 are outperforming their counterparts in every area that is tested: Mathematical Literacy, Reading, Narrative Writing Narrative and Expository Writing.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

The Diploma Programme pass rate is another method that we use to evaluate our students’ preparation.

I’m pleased to share that the percentage of Riverstone Diploma Programme candidates earning the IB Diploma exceeded both the United States and the global rate for the third straight year. Please see the graph below. Additionally, our average score was 31 whereas the US average score is 27 and the global average score is 30. Read the IBO announcement regarding DP results here.

I would highlight that our ISA scores and DP pass rate are not achieved by rote practice, but achieved because our school and teachers provide an atmosphere where both skills, knowledge, and innovation are equal parts of the daily education. We balance the emphasis on project-based learning with skill acquisition. We develop students who have strong 21stCentury skills, who can research and read critically, who complete a rigorous math and science curriculum, who find mentors and ask for help, and who engage daily in a global community. We strive to bring the IB mission to life, “…to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

I am proud of, and grateful for, our faculty who provide a challenging, yet supportive educational experience and am proud of each and every one of our students. I am excited for the upcoming school year and know we will continue to engage, teach, and learn from one another.

We will return to school at the end of August. Until then, enjoy time with your family.

 

Call for anything,

Bob Carignan

Head of School

Riverstone Breaks Ground on Phase 1 of New Middle & High School Building

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

Riverstone International School is expanding!

With an eye to the future, Riverstone International School has broken ground on Phase 1 of a new Middle and High School on their campus in southeast Boise and will be opening a new residential program this fall.

Phase 1 features a 6,962 square foot building that will include two music classrooms, a recording studio, two science classrooms with laboratories (one wet and one dry), a general classroom, restrooms, and two offices.

This new building was designed by Erstad Architects and will connect to a larger, Middle and High School building to be constructed at a future date. The overall design compliments the striking, light-filled Elementary School that Erstad Architects designed in 2009. PETRA, Inc. is the general contractor for the project with an anticipated completion of December 2016.

According to Bob Carignan, Head of School, “Upgrading our Middle and High School facilities to reflect the innovative education we offer at Riverstone is part of our 2014-2019 Strategic Plan. Our goal is to create a distinctive learning environment that fosters inquiry-based learning, encourages engaging discussions between students and teachers, and builds a strong community.”

The school is opening a residential facility in downtown Boise in the fall of 2016 with a long-term goal of housing 32 domestic and international residential high school students. Improving the school’s academic facilities is necessary to meet both the educational needs of students and future growth of the school.

Phase 1 of the new Middle and High School replaces the original modular buildings that were purchased in 1997 when the school first opened as the independent Hidden Springs Community School in Hidden Springs. The modulars were moved and installed at the school’s campus at 5521 Warm Springs Avenue when the school relocated to its current 14-acre site in 2000. The school bid a fond farewell to the modulars in late May.

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Riverstone International is a private, independent school with 325 students from preschool through high school. Recently recognized by The Washington Post as “Idaho’s Most Challenging High School,” Riverstone is the only school in Idaho, and one of 17 in the nation, authorized to provide the three International Baccalaureate programmes. About 20% of the families receive tuition assistance. Riverstone International School inspires courageous journeys of academic and personal growth to enable students to lead purposeful lives.

We will waive the $75 application fee for families who start their applications* for the 2016-17 academic year prior to August 15. Please inquire at the button below. We will send instructions and the appropriate code via email.

*Day students only; not applicable for residential students.

Inquire here

Photo includes  Andy Johnson (RIS Middle & High School Director), Andy Erstad (Erstad Architects), Katrina Kulm (Erstad Architects), Mark Liebich (RIS Chairman Board of Trustees), Bob Carignan (RIS Head of School), Rachel Pusch (RIS Director of Enrollment Management), Jerry Frank (PETRA, Inc), and Melinda Quick (RIS Class of 2009).

Riverstone International School Awarded Idaho’s Most Challenging High School

By | Academic Excellence, College Placement, High School, IB | No Comments

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Riverstone International School has topped The Washington Post‘s list of Idaho’s Most Challenging High Schools!

According to reporter Jay Mathews, “The index score is the number of college-level tests given at a school in the previous calendar year divided by the number of graduates that year.”

As an International Baccalaureate World School that enrolls every student in the prestigious IB Diploma Programme, graduates sit for six college-level tests. In addition to a month-long battery of exams covering six subject areas, students must complete an independent research paper of approximately 4,000 words and 150 hours of Creativity, Action and Service. Additionally, students are required to complete a course in Theory of Knowledge, a hallmark of an IB education.

On a national level, Riverstone appears at #125 out of the approximately 22,000 schools in the United States that were evaluated.

 

Don’t Fail Idaho: How Riverstone Stacks Up

By | Academic Excellence, College Placement, IB | No Comments

Bob by the Rock 2015The following is the introduction to Bob Carignan’s March 3, 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.

Dear Riverstone Community,

I would like to talk about the report completed by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, “Don’t Fail Idaho,” that has received a great deal of coverage in the media of late. I have been asked by many parents as to how Riverstone is doing in comparison to the trends in this report and national benchmarks. I apologize if this is longer than normal, but urge you to read on.

The skills identified in the report that employers are seeking mirrors the skills that Riverstone teaches our students: “performing with integrity, contributing to a team, acquiring knowledge, solving problems, and being able to communicate effectively.” You can see our students putting these skills into action every day:

  • Our very youngest students speak publicly about their work during their Primary Years Programme open houses
  • Our grade 5 students research and address real-life issues throughout their 8 week Exhibition
  • Our Middle Years and Diploma Programme students research and form opinions on topics that are relevant to the real world
  • Starting in Middle School, our students have to problem solve and cooperate to set up tents, carry group gear, and prepare meals for their outdoor trips
  • Our students work side by side with classmates from around the world and from different backgrounds; real international and socio-economic diversity

College Preparedness
According to the report, only 20% of high school seniors in Idaho are prepared for college. In the highest ranking public schools in Boise, less than 50% of seniors are prepared. Using the same measure, 100% of the Class of 2015 were prepared for college.

Math
At Riverstone, every student is required to take four years of mathematics and all of our students are on track to have the option to study calculus in their junior year. Nationally, less than 20% of students take calculus, even less in Idaho.

Science
One hundred percent of our students who attend Riverstone from grade eight on will study a year each of biology, chemistry and physics; nationally only 30% students earn credits in all three sciences. Our students then specialize in one science for an additional two years during the Diploma Programme, obtaining a total of five years of High School science prior to college.

Second Language
In the last major study fewer than 20% of all K-12 students nationally and under 12% of Idaho students studied a foreign language. At Riverstone, every student from Pre-Kindergarten forward study a second language, with many of our students achieving non-native fluency by graduation.

Arts
In line with current brain research, 100% of Riverstone students from preschool – grade 12 take art and music as a core class taught by dedicated specialists. Only 57% of US high schools require art credits to graduate and over two-thirds of those schools only require one credit.

Reading, Writing, and Research
Nationally, less than 25% of grade 12 students write proficiently. At Riverstone, we just mailed our seniors’  4000 word (14-16 page) Extended Essays to be read by evaluators around the world. My advisee’s research question was, “To what extent did the rise of antitrust law in the United States shape future efforts by the federal government to expand regulation over the national economy.” That’s only one. You can see the topics for the Class of 2015 in our “Meet the Seniors” brochure from last year. They are equally impressive.

The International Baccaulareate Programmes are only a part of our success. At Riverstone, we go beyond, by investing in small classes so that our inquiry-based approach to teaching and applying skills is always hands-on and integrated into our Five Pillars.

Why Riverstone?
What is it that made my family invest in a Riverstone education for our children? Quite simply, my wife and I (a former options trader) wanted to give our children the best probability of gaining the best set of skills possible – exactly those mentioned in the report.

By looking at the above numbers, coupled with our college acceptance success, I’d make that trade over and over again.

Call for anything,

Bob Carigan
Head of School

Exploring Magnetism and Electricity with Micron

By | Academic Excellence, IB | No Comments

Earlier this week, employees from Micron Technology visited our Grade 3 classrooms to teach students about magnetism and electricity in relation to their current Unit of Inquiry, “How the World Works.”

Using hands-on activities, our third graders explored how people use investigations, tools, evidence, and knowledge to learn and explain how magnetism and electricity work. Students rotated through four stations: 1) Static Electricity, 2) Magnets, 3) Circuits, and 4) Lemon Batteries. The class was able to experiment with materials such as volt meters, D-cells, bulbs, motors, magnets, lemons, balloons, pie plates and even a Barbie doll in order to explore the properties of magnetic materials and how various components interact to create electricity.

Following the visit from Micron, students drew electric circuits and discussed the challenges of manufacturing an invention using these drawings. This led everyone to learn more about schematic drawings. Using the first draft of their electric circuits, they edited their drawings into more professional ones and found it easier to share their creations with one another.

Both third grade teachers, Mrs. Wallace and Ms. Stewart, were thrilled to use the topic of electricity to develop critical thinking skills and warned parents not to be surprised if their student asks for electric components or a Van De Graaff generator to play with at home! The classrooms will be moving forward to focus on experimenting with insulators, conductors, and reading a bit about Michael Faraday, whose discoveries in the 1700s helped pave the way for the invention of the electric motor.

Thank you to the Micron volunteers for sharing their love of science with our students!

 

Annual Riverstone Alumni Bash

By | Alumni, IB | No Comments

We were thrilled to see so many alumni back home for the holidays and hear all about their latest adventures. Included below are a few photos from the party and some awesome updates from alumni we “overheard.” Thank you to everyone who attended and to all of the alumni who have stopped by the campus to say hello!

Julia F (2010) is now working at Boise State University as Operations Assistant for Women’s Basketball and as the Administrative Assistant for both Women’s and Men’s Basketball.

Charlie U (2009) recently returned from a trip to Chile where he worked with internationally renowned painter Tony Foster.

Becca Q (2011) caught up with fellow classmates and told us all about her new position with the Evanston Public School system in Illinois developing educational programs and assisting with budget development.

Alex P (2014) recently declared Economics as his major at Pomona College.

Ellery C (2014) is playing volleyball as a sophomore at Lewis and Clark University while studying International Affairs.

Hannah Mae S (2009) encouraged her fellow alums to come and check out the newly renovated Discovery Center where she works as the Volunteer Program Director and assists with various marketing initiatives.

Erik M (2005) enjoyed answering his peers’ questions about his current job testing out video games in Portland.

From the Class of 2012: Jon F and Jackson C will graduate this spring with degrees in Economics from Duke University and Wesleyan University, respectively; Davis G will also graduate this spring from Arizona State University with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Karoline W (2015) is loving her freshman year at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and is hoping to major in International Relations or Global Studies.

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