Elementary School

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!”

IMG_2624

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.

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!

Preschool:PreK details

Kindergarten at Riverstone

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

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.

Inquire Today!

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.

###

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).

Celebrating the Chinese New Year and Carnival!

By | Elementary School, High School, International Understanding, Middle School | No Comments

This week, international understanding was front and center as Riverstone students celebrated two international holidays: Chinese New Year and Carnival.

To kick off the Year of the Monkey, High School students learned from their Chinese peers how to write their names in Mandarin, and Middle School students cooked an authentic Chinese feast for lunch.  Our Preschool students set the stage for the Elementary School festivities by making a giant dragon and parading through the hallways and classrooms. Later in the day, Chinese students from Northwest Nazarene University shared stories, games, and music in an Elementary School assembly.

On Tuesday, the festivities continued when our International Committee hosted a lunch time celebration of Carnival in the Elementary School. They shared decadent treats that would traditionally be offered in Brazil, talked about traditions and listened to Brazilian music. Additionally, the committee provided teachers with materials to decorate masks to take home. The committee also created a beautiful display that demonstrates the many ways that Carnival is celebrated around the world. 

Please stop in the Elementary School atrium this week and check out the Carnival and Chinese New Year displays. Photos are posted on Riverstone’s Facebook page and Instagram. 

Outdoor Education Winter Activities Kick-Off

By | Elementary School, Outdoor Education | No Comments

Riverstone Outdoor Education Winter Activities are in full swing! Our students step out of their comfort zones with opportunities to offer and receive assistance from classmates, which helps knit our community together in sometimes subtle, but significant ways. Likewise, teachers and parent volunteers help ensure that students know they are supported even when the going gets tough. Furthermore, the most important outcome from these activities are the attitudes towards outdoor recreation that take root during these long, cold months fostering an appreciation for shared outdoor experiences and for our natural environment.

For example, our Elementary students are getting valuable practice layering for the cold and managing personal equipment while also improving balance, endurance, and coordination through swimming lessons with our younger students in Preschool; ice skating at Ice World with PreKindergarten, Kindergarten and Grade 1; nordic lessons for Grades 2 and 3; and a 5-day McCall Outdoor Science trip for our fifth graders.

Grade 4 classes participate in SnowSchool on the slopes of Shafer Butte. The following is a post and pictures shared on the fourth grade classroom blogs by our teachersMs. Fitzharris and Ms. Smackey:

We began the winter session of our Outdoor Program with a layer of fresh snow on the slopes of Shafer Butte. Outdoor Education Director, Mr. Brock, had visited our students earlier this week to discuss the importance of layering during outdoor adventures. Much of what the students learn during these trips in fourth grade will serve them well when they spend several consecutive days and nights outside in the wintery mountains as Middle and High School students.

The fourth grade broke up into three groups to learn how to strap on snowshoes in order to navigate the terrain without getting stuck in the drifts of snow. Each group was led by a member of the Bogus Basin SnowSchool staff. These field instructors took their respective groups off into the woods to learn about hydrology –  the branch of science concerned with the properties of the earth’s water, especially its movement in relation to land.

The students conducted experiments to discover the powerful insulating effect of a snowpack as well as to explore the significance of the Boise River watershed on which life depends. The team accompanied by Ms. Smackey hypothesized the temperature at the bottom and top of a snow pit they dug using collapsable shovels, viewed snowflakes under a giant hand lens, and tried to determine which animal had left fresh tracks in the snow. They also cruised down slopes on their bellies like otters and were even given the chance to enjoy the inside of a five-person igloo! Each team worked independently, then met back at the Cross Country Lodge for lunch. The gorgeous weather and blue skies made for a terrific day of learning about winter ecology while enjoying the best of our Idaho winter.

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!

 

Preschoolers Become Authors and Illustrators

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

The following is a post and pictures shared by Preschool teacher, Ms. Sterling, on their classroom blog. Their Unit of Inquiry focuses on understanding the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), how to minimize waste, and how to share their learning with the rest of the school.

Our efforts to creatively reuse materials led us to new frontiers in the library. Prior to Thanksgiving, our school Librarian, Mrs. Tabb, read a story about a cardboard box that was recycled into the very book we were reading! She suggested we consider making our own book, reusing (rather than recycling) materials from around campus. Hmmm, we could do that!

To support our efforts, Mrs. Tabb gathered leftover cardboard pieces for the book cover and trimmed used library posters into pages. The Preschool team went to work this week to write and illustrate a story we titled Taking Care of Our Planet. The story was written during a recent morning circle as the team responded to questions about concepts we’d been learning in this Unit of Inquiry. During free play, our artists-in-residence created the illustrations. In a cooperative team effort, we then constructed the book with Mrs. Tabb during Monday afternoon’s library time. Today we put finishing touches on the back cover – signing names and adding important details about all the authors.

Not only did we find a way to share our knowledge and accomplish our goal to reuse materials in a creative way, the team was educated on book parts and purposes. They also learned all sorts of book related vocabulary in the process. The kids were thrilled to learn they were authors and illustrators. I think they were equally delighted, if not slightly challenged, to decide on two facts about themselves to include in the author information on the back cover. Our creation will be on display during Friday’s Open House. Come ready to read!

|
|