Middle School

Becoming (and Staying) an IB School

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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.

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).

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

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).

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. 

Giving Thanks

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Riverstone students, faculty and staff enjoyed giving thanks in all classrooms and student activities last week.

On Monday, the Middle and High School students and teachers met with their advisory groups to discuss who and what they’re thankful for followed by a hilarious round of one-word guessing games and charades. A few of the thank-you notes that students wrote are posted to the Middle School bulletin board if you have a chance to stop by and want to read through them.

Our Preschoolers made pumpkin donuts and learned how to skin apples for apple pie with the generous help of parents. The students thought a lot about what being thankful means and related it to their current Unit of Inquiry on “Sharing the Planet.”

Students in Grade 3 are currently focusing on “How the World Works” and thought about why we eat turkey on Thanksgiving and what else we could be eating. In Mrs. Wallace’s class, students made turkey hats and paper turkeys to celebrate the holiday together while also writing persuasive essays about what other foods you might want to eat on Thanksgiving instead of turkey. And Mrs. Stewart’s 3rd graders wrote about the Thanksgiving tradition of eating turkey from the perspective of a turkey.

In Ms. Ramirez’s Grade 8 Spanish class, students wrote what and who they were thankful for in Spanish and then celebrated together with a Mexican-themed Thanksgiving feast.

Pre-K students created thankful turkeys and wrote a dual-language English/Spanish book called “Turkey, Turkey What Do You See?” / “Pavo, Pavo ¿Que ves tu?” to embolden the lessons they’re currently learning about “How We Express Ourselves”.

And our Grade 1 students used an interactive computer program to learn about the Pilgrims’ journey on the Mayflower, tying back to their current Unit of Inquiry about historical experiences and their influence on the actions of the Separatist Pilgrims and the Wampanoags in the early 1600s.

We hope the entire Riverstone community had a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Check out some pictures from the events mentioned above and feel free to follow us on Facebook for daily posts about what we’re doing!

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!

Your Gifts Make Riverstone a Better Place

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

The following is a letter from Bob Carignan, Head of School, from last week’s newsletter touching upon how the Riverstone community’s generous gifts and donations help to make our school a better place. Thank you everyone for your continued support and participation during this year’s Annual Fund.

Hi All,

As we near the final week of the Annual Fund, I’d like to highlight why these five weeks of fundraising and our annual Auction are so important.  All gifts from both of these two important fundraisers go directly to our programs and allow us to say “yes” to making Riverstone a better place for all of our students.

Thanks to your generosity at last year’s Auction during the Fund A Need portion of the evening, we were able to enhance our current science curriculum and implement new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs – a direct connection to the initiatives outlined in the Strategic Plan. We have used the funds to improve our science labs, purchase equipment, and provide training for our teachers.

Last summer, three Elementary School staff members — James Hamilton-Vail, Jennifer Smackey and Tina Morgan — attended a STEM-based Project Lead the Way training. Ms. Smackey and Mrs. Morgan then trained other members of our staff to implement the program in Grade 2 and Grade 5. This inquiry-based program, which we are integrating into our Units of Inquiry, is tested and proven to be very effective in getting students excited about STEM.

Check out the short video and photo at the end of this letter highlighting Grade 5 and how they have integrated their unit of inquiry on media with robotics. We will share photos of the other science improvements in the near future.

We also now have an after-school “white hat hacking” club which offers a complicated and advanced level view of computer coding. Thanks to parent Dejan Nenov for making this possible for our students!

We also received a matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation for $50,000 last year. As with any granting organization, they looked very closely at our 2014 Annual Fund participation. Their grant enabled us to purchase robotics equipment and computers necessary to introduce the robotics program that we are implementing in the Gr 9 Design Technology course. Our students are enjoying robotics so much that we have two robotics teams that are preparing for competition. We have been trying to raise matching funds outside of our parent community and are still in the process of doing so with a deadline of December 31, 2015. If you have any suggestions for potential organizations or individuals who would be interested in supporting STEM-education at Riverstone, please let me know.

Finally, thanks to the Parents’ Association for planning a pre-holiday stress-reducer, “A Taste of Riverstone.” I hope to see you there!

Sincerely,
Bob

 

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)

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