IB

Becoming (and Staying) an IB School

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

ib-world-school-logo-1-colour

According to the IB website, “Becoming an IB World School means joining over 4,500 schools worldwide in delivering IB programmes, and becoming part of a community of educators that is growing and developing constantly. The IB’s unique implementation is strengthened through our relationships with schools, governments and international organizations globally.” The authorization process varies by school and IB programme, but typically takes between two and three years. It comprises the following phases:

Following initial authorization, schools undergo regular re-evaluations to ensure ongoing quality and adherence to IB ethos.

Although we share our framework and philosophy, each school develops their own curriculum surrounding that framework.

When parents are considering an IB school, we suggest they:

  • Confirm the status for each program they are interested in;
  • Ask how long the school has been offering those authorized programs;
  • Ask about the training of the teachers, and whether they also serve as IB trainers or examiners;
  • Ask about the language, music, arts, PE, and design programs;
  • Ask which classes the school offers in the Diploma Programme;
  • Ask what percentage of Diploma Programme (Gr 11-12) students are IB candidates seeking the full diploma;
  • Ask how successful the students are at achieving the IB diploma and how many receive certificates;
  • Ask what other opportunities exist for students to supplement their IB education (outdoor education, leadership opportunities, international student population, etc).

The International Baccalaureate Programmes are robust and complex in order to meet the needs of our youth. There’s a lot to learn! As part of our weekly newsletter, we include a section highlighting features of the IB Programmes – subscribe today!

For more information, read about our Authorizations and Accreditations here or inquire today.

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 Middle and High School Awards

By | Academic Excellence, High School, Leadership by Example | No Comments

Each year, we honor students who have gone above and beyond inside and outside the classroom and within our community. Congratulations to all of our Middle and High School award winners!

  • Head of School Award – James E (Gr 11)
  • High School Leadership Award – Maggie L (Gr 10)
  • Middle School Leadership Award – Louisa G (Gr 8)
  • Outdoor Leadership High School Award – Ian W (Gr 10)
  • Outdoor Leadership Middle School Award – Louisa G (Gr 8)
  • Community and Service High School Award – Ellie C (Gr 11) and Anna F (Gr 10)
  • Community and Service Middle School Award – Meghan F (Gr 7) and Taavi Z (Gr 8)
  • International Understanding High School Award – Caca W (Gr 10) and Ana Sofia (Sofi) LG (Gr 11)
  • International Understanding Middle School Award – Ethan H (Gr 8) and Honggeol K (Gr 8)
  • English Departmental High School Award – Jessica A (Gr 11)
  • English Departmental Middle School Award – Darci D (Gr 7)
  • Spanish Departmental High School Award – Olivia L (Gr 11)
  • Spanish Departmental Middle School Award – Katie M (Gr 6)
  • Mandarin Departmental High School Award – Preston B (Gr 9)
  • Mandarin Departmental Middle School Award – Laila M (Gr 8)
  • French Departmental High School Award – Elvira T (Gr 11)
  • English B Award – Haobo (Jay) X (Gr 11)
  • Individuals and Societies High School Award – Emilie E (Gr 11) and Edie J (Gr 10)
  • Individuals and Societies Middle School Award – Emma G (Gr 8)
  • Biology Award – Emilie E (Gr 11)
  • Chemistry Award – Christina U (Gr 11)
  • Physics Award – Josh HK (Gr 11)
  • Sciences Award -Charlie D (Gr 8)
  • Mathematics Award – Avery P (Gr 10) and Nathan M (Gr 7)
  • Visual Arts High School Award – Kana T (Gr 10)
  • Visual Arts Middle School Award – Emory G (Gr 8)
  • Music High School Award – Rose E (Gr 11)
  • Music Middle School Award – Salma S (Gr 7)
  • Scholastic Art and Writing National Award – Maeve P (Gr 9), Silver Key
  • Physical Education Award – Laurel C (Gr 10) and Ryan W (Gr 7)
  • Wesleyan Book Award – Qianyi (Astoria) S (Gr 11)
  • Wellesley Book Award – Zibo (Rebekah) J (Gr 11)
  • Kenyon College – Ellie C (Gr 11)
  • Williams Book Award – Aela D (Gr 10)
  • Dartmouth Book Award – Javin S (Gr 11)
  • University of Pennsylvania Book Award – Josh HK (Gr 11)
  • Brown University Book Award – Christina U (Gr 11)
  • Mount Holyoke Book Award – Ana Sofia (Sofi) LG (Gr 11)
  • Certificates of Recognition for Math Tutoring – Olivia D (Gr 11), James E (Gr 11), Rose E (Gr 11), Josh HK (Gr 11), Anna F (Gr 10), Anton (Tony) K (Gr 10), Jordan L (Gr 10), Maggie L (Gr 10), Olivia L (Gr 11), Drew M (Gr 10), Patrick M (Gr 10), Avery P (Gr 10), Solomon R (Gr 10), Anwen R (Gr 10), Javin S (Gr 11), and Christina U (Gr 11).

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).

Riverstone International School Awarded Idaho’s Most Challenging High School

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

widget_emblem_2016

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

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. 

Riverstone Attends IB Conference

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

Riverstone representatives attended an International Baccalaureate (IB) Conference and Workshop in Los Angeles, CA. Pete, Jane and Damon each attended conference sessions targeting towards their own areas of expertise. Below are vignettes from each of their experiences during the Conference:

Jane Kaserman, ELL and International Student Coordinator: “With over 600 fellow IB educators, there were great opportunities for networking, sharing, and learning. I had the chance to talk discuss second language learning for native English speakers and explore how to best support our second language learners. What I love about attending conferences is the chance to share what we are doing at Riverstone. Inevitably, people are surprised to learn about an international school in Idaho and that we have been successfully implementing the IB program for 10 years. Having the chance to learn from the mistakes and successes of other schools provides fresh ideas and helps me learn about some of the pitfalls that schools encounter so we can avoid doing the same. However, the best part of professional development is the sense of community and the collective understanding that we are in our profession because we believe we can improve education for all of our students.”

Damon Brown, Music teacher and MYP Coordinator: “My session was specifically for MYP Curriculum Coordinators. We focused on supporting and coaching teachers in teaching the MYP.  My favorite take-away was learning how to identify which learning skills are required for complex tasks. This way we can do a better job of helping students see how their skills at school can transfer to “real-world” applications.”

Pete Burton, Gr 2 teacher: “My area of focus at the Conference was on concept based learning. There were over 600 attendees and my category included about 25 Administrators, Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinators and Grade Level Teachers.  The main goal of our professional development was to evaluate our Units of Inquiry and determine if we had a topic-based unit or if we had a more conceptual unit. We went thought several strategies and activities that gave us ideas and strategies for implementing a more concept-based approach in our Units of Inquiry for each classroom. It was amazing to collaborate with different schools from around the United States and make connections with fellow educators. The big take away for me was to continue to have an open mind and to continually reflect on our Units of Inquiry so that they are not only concept-based, but also allow for the students to understand the key concepts at a deeper level of understanding.”

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!

 

|
|