Riverside Students Connect with Olympic Athletes during Biography Fair


The Riverside School
30 Lily Pond Road
Lyndonville, VT  05851

(802) 626-8552
Contact: Mel Reis, (802) 745-8136

                                        DURING BIOGRAPHY FAIR

Lyndonville, VT – The annual Biography Fair held at the Riverside School is a unique opportunity to involve the entire student body (K-8) in active learning where each student chooses an influential individual to research. Older students present their learning in a variety of ways: creative visual displays of maps, timelines, or symbolic crests; articulate and well-prepared oral presentations; and organized and revised research papers. Younger students are engaged in more developmentally appropriate ways, such as class bulletin boards or individual informative posters.

Students prepare formal presentations performed in front of faculty, peers, staff, parents, and grandparents. They are encouraged to create costumes, props, and makeup to fully communicate their knowledge of the person they are portraying. The entire school day is dedicated to the presentations that occur throughout the Riverside campus.

Social studies and history teachers integrate the biography topics into their year-long curricula. The 3rd graders do autobiographies, 4th graders present Vermonters, the 6th graders research people from the ancient world, and 8th graders choose to learn about modern, international reformers.

“One evening the thought came to me that it would be such a cool experience to connect students with their biography fair subject who was special to Vermont (if that person is still alive), so I began reaching out to people,” said Riverside 4th grade teacher, Laryssa Fortier.

Two 4th grade students, Sophia Bunnell and Brooklyn Hibshman, were very interested in connecting with influential Vermonters.

Fortier wrote to the US Ski Team’s alpine press officer, Megan Harrod, in hopes of having Olympic Gold Medalist and Burke Mountain Academy alumna Mikaela Shiffrin answer Sofia’s questions. Harrod responded immediately and arranged for Shiffrin to answer her questions via a Facebook Live video.

The entire class, along with Sofia’s mother, sister, and Head of School, Michelle Ralston, gathered on October 18th and watched as Shiffrin answered all of Sofia’s questions, live from Europe. Shiffrin shared information about her childhood, setbacks and successes, and gave Sofia advice about working hard and putting all your love and passion into what you do.

Brooklyn reached out to professional mountain biker Lea Davison, also an Olympian living in Vermont, who took the time to email her back with thoughtful answers to all her research questions. Brooklynn eventually met with Davidson who provided an autographed poster.

“It was wonderful to see the students’ hard work pay off during Biography Fair as they sat in front of their audience dressed in character and shared the extensive amount of information they had learned,” said Fortier. “This was certainly a special experience for Sofia and Brooklynn, and the entire class, because they saw how research can come alive and take you to fascinating places. I plan to continue reaching out to more Vermonters as the year goes on to have them come in and share their story with the class.”

 Riverside 4th grade students watch Mikaela Shiffrin’s live Facebook feed from Europe as part of the school’s Biography Fair. Pictured are front (l-r) Molly Aeberbard, Esme Cobb, Kingston Newell, Sylvan Balcom, and back (l-f) Gabi Young, Sofia Bunnell, Brooklynn Hibshman, Pearl Arberbard, Lyric Golden, and Julia Spence.

Riverside 4th grade students watch Mikaela Shiffrin’s live Facebook feed from Europe as part of the school’s Biography Fair. Pictured are front (l-r) Molly Aeberbard, Esme Cobb, Kingston Newell, Sylvan Balcom, and back (l-f) Gabi Young, Sofia Bunnell, Brooklynn Hibshman, Pearl Arberbard, Lyric Golden, and Julia Spence.

Riverside School Coffee House to Highlight“ Teaching Kindness” Advisory Program


November 1, 2018

The Riverside School
30 Lily Pond Road
Lyndonville, VT  05851
(802) 626-8552
Contact: Mel Reis, (802) 592-3079


 Lyndonville, VT -  The Riverside School coordinates parent group discussions entitled, “Coffee Houses” and public group forums each year. These theme-based, informal group discussions invite the Riverside parents and, sometimes, the public to meet with school staff, faculty, and professionals in their field to discuss subjects relevant to life-long learning. The events are also planned with suggestions from the Riverside Parent Group.

The first Riverside Coffee House for the 2018-19 school year will focus on the new “Teaching Kindness” anti-bullying advisory program introduced last year. Recognizing that supportive community development is an essential part of character development and moral maturity, the school has begun to expand upon the elements of its Advisory Program to include new teaching and learning experiences that deal with issues of bullying, teasing, exclusion, and the importance of personal space.

The purpose of the Advisory Program at The Riverside School is to integrate the diverse elements of Riverside’s program by teaching personal responsibility by facilitating the building of practicing problem solving, supportive community, and collaboration.

With the assistance of Ellen Moore LCMHC, a clinical therapist, the Teaching Kindness advisory program trains and and utilizes the leadership of Riverside’s 7th and 8th graders to mentor and talk with younger elementary students.

Now in its second year, the program provides time for 7th and 8th graders to work on three lessons that are age appropriate. The lesson topics for this year are: what is bullying; what does it mean to be unkind; how does one define inclusive and exclusive behaviors (in and outside the classroom); and what can a student do when someone is unkind to them (instilling a sense of self respect and empowerment to stop the behavior).

The 7th and 8th grade students divide themselves into groups and adopt a lower-grade class (i.e., one group works with Kindergarten, first grade, etc.). The older students plan age appropriate lessons and use age appropriate language when they visit younger classrooms. Essentially, the 7th and 8th grade students are mentoring the younger students.

“The Teaching Kindness program does not embrace any one definition of bullying but embraces kindness and what it means to be “unkind,” said Michelle Ralston, Head of School. “Riverside believes that it “takes a village” and the entire school community to teach kind behavior. I am excited to welcome parents to learn more about our Teaching Kindness program.” 

The event will take place on Thursday, November 15th from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at the Barn at The Riverside School on Lily Pond Road in Lyndonville. The discussion will include: an update for parents on how the program has progressed; a demonstration of a lesson via a skit by the 7th and 8th graders; opportunities for attendees to discuss their own childhood experiences with bullies, and discuss how to respond now as parents; Ellen Moore will offer helpful Tools for Parents, and the evening will end with a Q&A session.

The event is free and refreshments and childcare will be available.

 Riverside School 8th graders Alexa Counter of Barnet, Kaelen Glentz Brush of Kirby, and Laela Kane of Peacham discuss positive traits of leadership during 8th Grade Day at Riverside before the start of the school year.

Riverside School 8th graders Alexa Counter of Barnet, Kaelen Glentz Brush of Kirby, and Laela Kane of Peacham discuss positive traits of leadership during 8th Grade Day at Riverside before the start of the school year.

Riverside Opening of School 2018


September 13, 2018

The Riverside School
30 Lily Pond Road
Lyndonville, VT 05851
(802) 626-8552

Lyndonville, VT – The Riverside School began the 2018-19 school year by welcoming 105 students in PreK – 8 th grade from 17 towns and villages including Greensborough Bend, Guildhall, East Burke, West Burke, Sutton, Westmore, East Haven, Barnet, Peacham, Kirby, Lyndonville, Danville, St. Johnsbury, Albany, West Glover, McIndoes Falls, and Newark.

In addition to new students, Riverside welcomed three new members to the faculty. Laryssa Fortier, who will be teaching 4th grade, graduated from Keene State College with a B.S. in Elementary Education and Psychology. For the past two years, she has been teaching 4th grade in Bellingham Public Schools, Bellingham, MA. She maintained a student-centered classroom as well as supported and collaborated with special education teachers and support staff to differentiate instruction. Integrating technology and digital sources allowed her students to engage in class activities and support fluency with digital platforms. She lives on Burke Mountain with her partner, Malcom (a high school teacher and coach at Lake Region Union High School) and her dog, Max. 

“I was drawn to Riverside so I could teach in a community that would allow me to engage students in creative ways and foster natural curiosity,” said Fortier.

Hannah Galinat has been hired to teach 5th grade. She graduated from Antioch New England Graduate School with a M.S. in Environmental Science. She graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in English (a Creative Writing major and an Environmental Science minor). She was an elementary school teacher at the "Neighborhood School House" where she created daily math and literacy lessons and long-term science-themed lessons. During 2015-16, she managed an after-school science program for the Peacham, Danville, Walden, and Barnet schools. She utilizes behavior management techniques from the Responsive Classroom and enjoys creating and helping students to implement place-based projects. She lives in Peacham with her husband Tom and their two sons.

“I am excited to work at Riverside because of its reputation and its emphasis on outdoor programs,” said Galinat.

Zach Perry joins the Riverside Team, part-time, teaching physical education for grades 4th through 8th as well as working in the after-school program two days each week. He is currently taking an interim year from Northern Vermont University where he has taken course work in elementary education and fitness science. He worked full-time for the Balch Preschool at The Fairbanks Museum in the 2017-2018 school year.

“The enthusiasm and early engagement on the part of our new faculty is inspiring and contagious,” said Head of School, Michelle Ralston. “We are delighted to have them as part of The Riverside Team.”

Laryssa Fortier.jpg

Laryssa Fortier

Hanna Galinat.jpg

Hannah Galinat

Zach Perry.jpg

Zach Perry

Riverside 8th Grade Leadership Trip


September 12, 2018

The Riverside School
30 Lily Pond Road
Lyndonville, VT 05851
(802) 626-8552

RS 8th Grade Leadership.png

Riverside School students participated in a two-day canoe and camping trip that took

them down the Connecticut River with an overnight stay in Lyman State Park. Jason

Brueck, Manager of Siskin Coutts in Derby organized the trip. Eleven students were joined by parents and Riverside staff who served as chaperones. The annual field trip is an element of the school’s year-long Leadership Program at Riverside where 8 th grade students plan and conduct assembly, lead buddy teams, and organize other activities that involve leading "families" that consist of children ages K - 8.

Race Back to School

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The Kingdom Trail Association is introducing Race Back to School, a walk-run-bike-a-thon organized by local schools, on August 19, 2018.  This laid back competition takes place on designated trails where participants race to accumulate the most points within a two-hour time span.  Points are awarded for laps and for fun stations – stops along the way providing specific challenges including anything from physical fitness tests to face-painting.

Families, individuals and teams of all ages are invited to participate.  The course offers a focus on endurance challenges rather than technical difficulty, in order to encourage walkers, runners and bikers of all ability levels.   And the Fun Stations give slower racers the opportunity to rack up high points and stay in the running for a podium spot.  Racers can also fundraise for specific causes by turning points into pledges.

Following the race, there will be music by the Bald Mountain Boys, food and prizes for the top point earners, and general revelry and good times for all.

Kingdom Trails, who is hosting the event with this year’s organizing school (the organizing entity will rotate as school's express interest) The Riverside School, wants this fun race to grow in the coming years, drawing in Northeast Kingdom elementary and middle schools, to become an end-of-summer celebration of community spirit.  “There are very few events where we come together as a community of schools,” says Lilias Ide, Director of Marketing at Kingdom Trails.  “We’d love this to be the time and place where we share and get to meet each other.”

The competition runs from 9-11AM on the 19th, with check-in at 8AM in the field below the Wildflower Inn on Darling Hill in Lyndonville.  

Participants must pre-register online.  There will be no on site race-day registration. 

For information and to register visit kingdomtrails.org

Those wanting to fund-raise for their school, class or organization through pledges should contact Melanie Finn at melfinn1@yahoo.com

To volunteer to help or man a Fun Station, email info@kingdomtrails.org