Preschool Takes Flight

One would think that preschool students are not the worldliest, but that is anything but the case at The Riverside School. These students travel much and are eager to tell about it. The director, Heidi Andrews and the assistant teacher, Dianah Hale developed an entire unit around world travel. They hired a friend to create a cockpit with gages, gizmos, and maps.  Each student took turns role-playing being pilots, flight attendants and passengers.

They also had their own passports that they stamped with letters and numbers and even had a real ticket and boarding pass that they used to take flight on the Riverside 747. They enjoyed flying to places such as California, Florida, Italy, New Hampshire and the class favorite, Africa. Benny Holder so enthusiastically inquired, "Let's go to Africa! Can you show me where Africa is on our map?"  

It will be easy to assume that these youngsters will be life-long explorers.

Crazy 8's is a Crazy Good Time

 Rosa Patoine & Lila Yerkes are all hands in the human clock!

Rosa Patoine & Lila Yerkes are all hands in the human clock!

At The Riverside School, school does not end at 3:00 pm!  An innovative afterschool program specifically geared towards grades K-2 called Crazy 8’s Math Club is being led by Kim Adams, a mother of two Riverside School students and a high school math and science teacher. It is part of a nationwide initiative whose main purpose is to allow young students the chance to become engaged in STEM activities and gain a passion for math. Kim is committed to providing an engaging, hands-on eight-week course that will include activities such as “Glow in the Dark Geometry”, “Let’s Get Loud”, “Toilet Paper Olympics” and “Spy Training”.

When asked about her desire to lead such an endeavor Kim responded, “ I heard about the program from colleagues and it sounded really fun. As a teacher of upper level grades, I hear so many students say they dislike math.  My personal goal in running this program is to instill a passion for and a confidence in math.  As well, I greatly enjoy being able to volunteer at my children’s school. I get to know their classmates and friends on a deeper level.”

Sawyer Daffinrud and Ivan Dovholuk chimed in, “We liked making the human clock. We learned that time is broken up into days, weeks, months and years as well as seconds, minutes, and hours.”

All students agreed that their absolute favorite class was learning about pitch and being able to scream as loud as they could, once again proving that teaching is not for the faint of heart!


Welcome to the New Faculty & Staff at Riverside

 Back row from left to right: Nathan Gair, Amalia Harris, Sarah Broome, Jacob Topping Front row from left to right: Erin Glocke, Heidi Andrews, Dianah Hale

Back row from left to right: Nathan Gair, Amalia Harris, Sarah Broome, Jacob Topping
Front row from left to right: Erin Glocke, Heidi Andrews, Dianah Hale

There is a notion that school campuses are quiet in the summer, but that is anything but the truth for The Riverside School during these last three months. With four new teachers setting up their classrooms and returning teachers moving to new locations on campus, repainting and flooring installation, yurt construction, and the creation of a new preschool classroom the action never stopped. The students are going to be truly surprised to see all the freshening up, moving around, and so many new faces.

Two of the new additions, 4th grade teacher, Erin Glocke recently graduated from Penn State and Jacob Topping, the music, band & choir teacher, a Lebanon Valley College alum, both moved to Vermont from Pennsylvania. They are excited to make a new home in the Northeast Kingdom and explore its many wonders.  Heidi Andrews and Dianah Hale have spent the summer developing the new preschool program, hosting several family events that were so well received, the students all but refused to leave. Heidi and Dianah are both Vermont natives and received their degrees from Lyndon and Johnson State Colleges respectively. Nathan Gair, a 2002 Riverside graduate from New Hampshire, has returned to campus to teach Middle School Latin, 6th Grade Ancient History and Elementary School Spanish. Combined with his love for the Classics and so many fond memories of his time spent at Riverside he inspires the students to reach for their own visions of the future. 

Sarah Broome will continue to provide Literacy and Math support for K-3rd grade.  She will also teach K-3 Physical Education and introduce a brand new Health and Wellness curriculum to the early elementary grades. Amalia Harris joined the staff in the winter of 2015 and will return to assist Heidi Toney in the K-1 classroom as well as managing marketing for the school and providing event planning support for family and community events. Both are from Vermont and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with these dynamic and energetic youngsters and their families.

With the advent of new ideas and perspectives coupled with the invaluable mentorship and expertise of the veteran staff it is sure to be an exhilarating and fulfilling academic school year for everyone.

Riverside partners with Antioch College to host Critical Skills Institute for local teachers

The Riverside School hosted a professional development opportunity for area teachers recently in the form of an intensive, 5-day, 40 hour course through the Center for School Renewal of Antioch University New England. Participants in the Critical Skills Institute included five teachers from The Riverside School and three teachers from Lyndon Institute.

The institute challenged teachers to develop a culture in their classrooms that values collaborative, experiential, problem-based,, and standards-driven learning. The designers of the Critical Skills model believe that we need future adults who know how to work together to solve problems.

The Level I institute experience is designed to introduce educators to the Critical Skills classroom model and prepare them to begin implementing it in their own learning environments. The classroom model is a highly interactive, experiential approach to learning that develops student knowledge and skills through collaborative problem-solving. Students in a Critical Skills classroom are thoroughly engaged in their learning and play a very active role in all aspects of the learning process. The overwhelming majority of students find the approach to be fun, stimulating, and very demanding. The institute experience for teachers reflected this same educational design.

Instructed by Nelia Rath, a graduate of Antioch University and Critical Skills Master Teacher, the group was introduced to all of the values and routines of a Critical Skills Classroom; diving intensively into the content through the eyes of the students they teach while also increasing and enhancing their own professional development goals.

As physically and intellectually exhausting as they all admittied it being, the participating teachers noted that it was one of the most rewarding and compelling courses they had ever taken. Each one enthusiastically considered how best to incorporate these new ideas into their classrooms. Noteworthy is the fact that every grade level from K-12 and a wide variety of subject area concentrations were represented among the eight participants.

The culminating project of the group was to present what they’d learned in the form of findings in an archaeological dig a thousand years in the future. The participants acted as researchers who wanted to learn about and present to others, why this educational model was appropriate for the 21st century and might also be for the 31st century! invite family and friends to learn about Critical Skills in the form of a museum experience This task and presentation process required that they put to use the collaborative, problem solving skills they’d been learning about all week. It was well received by their visiting audience of friends and family, who also gave valuable feedback that provided for further discussion.

The class had an immediate opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real life scenario. One of the participants was enjoying the collaborative experiencethroughout the week so much, that she invited everyone for a BBQ at her home at week’s end. It wasn’t long after they gathered, the hostess mentioned having to move a couch and not sure it would fit up the stairwell. The task was reviewed, roles were assigned, and together they solved the problem. It was decided that this group of educators will have reunions in order to support and inspire their endeavors to create Critical Skills classrooms, and those reunions will be problem-based.

The Riverside School looks forward to developing relationships with Antioch University and other institutions who want to provide professional development opportunities for teachers from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and North Country of New Hampshire. 

Latin Club Travels to National Junior Classical League

 The Vermont delegation at the NJCL National Convention: Front row left to right: Joleil Whitney, Ileah Arcand, Katie Lyon, Kate O’Farrell, Waverly Griffin Back row left to right: Rossen Goodwin, Jeremiah Aiken, Holden Larsen, MacKay Breton

The Vermont delegation at the NJCL National Convention:
Front row left to right: Joleil Whitney, Ileah Arcand, Katie Lyon, Kate O’Farrell, Waverly Griffin
Back row left to right: Rossen Goodwin, Jeremiah Aiken, Holden Larsen, MacKay Breton

The 56th annual gathering of the National Junior Classical League (NJCL) attracted thousands of the nation’s top students to Indiana University in Bloomington during the last week of July. This year ten of those participants came from The Riverside School and Lyndon Institute. The Vermont delegation consisted of Lyndon Institute juniors Rossen Goodwin, Jeremiah Aiken, Joleil Whitney, and Angela Kubicke and sophomores Kate O’Farrell and Ileah Arcand. They were accompanied by their coach, Roy Starling. They were joined by Riverside eighth grade students Waverly Griffin, Katie Lyon and Holden Larsen and their coach, Nathan Gair.

The National Junior Classical League is an organization that promotes the study of Latin, Greek, and the Classics in middle and high school classrooms. The convention provided the Vermont delegation with opportunities to participate in academic and artistic contests, fellowship with Latin students from around the country, service projects, dances and lectures.

Maryellen Griffin, Waverly’s Mother, stated, “They all made us proud with their depth of knowledge about the classics and courage to perform under pressure. They also made us proud by coming out to watch and support each other.“

There were countless moments from this experience that the students will carry with them throughout their lives, but especially noteworthy were the incredible test results to include Waverly Griffin’s 1st place result, out of hundreds of students, on the Ancient Geography test and 4th place result on the Roman History and Mythology tests. Other successes included Rossen Goodwin and Katie Lyon earning 1st place recognition for

their roll call skit at the General Assembly. The skit included an impersonation of Bernie Sanders that brought the house to its knees in laughter.

Angela Kubicke was elected to a national office as editor for the NJCL. Her duties will involve editing a national publication, traveling around the country to other NJCL events and planning meetings.

In the spirit of camaraderie, New Hampshire and Vermont students formed teams to compete in the national Certamen. Certamen is a quiz-bowl style game where teams of four test their knowledge about the Latin language and all aspects of the Ancient World. Participants in this event included Kate O’Farrell in the advanced division, MacKay Breton in the intermediate division, and Waverly Griffin in the novice division. The event was a tremendous learning experience.

“It is so important for us to take students from the Northeast Kingdom to other parts of the country, get them on to college campuses, and to provide them with the opportunity to engage with their peers from across the nation.” stated Starling. “Giving them the opportunity to compete against and make friends with some of the best students in the nation enables them to see just how much they can achieve as a result of hard work and enthusiasm.”

The Vermont delegation at the NJCL National Convention:
Front row left to right: Joleil Whitney, Ileah Arcand, Katie Lyon, Waverly Griffin
Back row left to right: Rossen Goodwin, Jeremiah Aiken, Holden Larsen, MacKay Breton 

Riverside has new Head of School

The Riverside School is pleased to announce the selection of Michelle Ralston of Waterford, Vermont as its next Head of School effective as of July 1. Ms. Ralston succeeds Riverside’s long-time Head of School Dr. Laurie Boswell, who led the school for nine years before resigning in 2015 due to personal family concerns, and current interim head Kim Butler, Esq.

A search committee led by education consultant Dr. Stephen Sanborn reviewed applications from throughout New England and beyond before choosing Ralston, who impressed the committee, the school's trustees, faculty, and parents as being the best fit for this important position. "Ralston has extensive expertise in curriculum and instruction and her leadership style will compliment Riverside’s culture and climate," said Sonia Peters, Board President. Ralston’s love of children, the learning process, and knowledge of current standards of best practices are aspects we were looking for in the new Head of School. "Across the board, she had the best representation of all those qualities.

Ralston earned her B.A. in mathematics from the University of Hartford and her M.Ed. from St. Michael’s College. She began teaching in Danville then moved to St. Johnsbury Academy where her career spanned 25 years and included positions as mathematics teacher, mathematics department chair, and dean of academic affairs. Ralston worked as an independent curriculum consultant and for the VT Department of Education as grant coordinator. Her most recent position has been at Lyndon Institute where she taught mathematics and currently serves as the dean of faculty.

The Riverside School, which has an enrollment of 74 students, was founded in 1981 and is located on Lily Pond Road in Lyndonville. Its longest serving head was school co- founder Jim Newell, who served until 2000 when Riverside was primarily a grades 4-8 school. Boswell assumed the head’s position in 2006 and since that time the school has doubled in enrollment, expanded to grades K-8, and undertook a successful capital campaign to support the building of a new multi-purpose barn and classroom facility. The school will expand again this summer to add a pre-school program.

Riverside’s mission to develop active learners, patient leaders, and engaged citizens in a supportive community fits well with the educational philosophy Ralston shared with the search committee. Ralston has taught many Riverside alumni and is the grandmother of two current students so she is familiar with the strong academic program and traditions that Riverside enjoys.

Ralston's challenge will be to build on the strong foundation and reputation of the school and to explore new learning opportunities influenced by technology and current research. Ralston said she first wants to learn more about the school community, listen to the various constituencies, and then begin work with the trustees on Riverside’s next strategic plan. 

Spring Field Trip to Boston

The Riverside School’s annual Spring Field Trip was a flurry of activity commencing with a visit to the Minuteman National Park in Lexington on the first day and ending with a tour of Walden Pond in Concord on the third. The middle portion of the trip was spent as an all day trek through Boston beginning with a tour of the Mapparium at The Mary Eddy Baker Library. The school extends many thanks to the Burklyn Arts Council for funding this memorable component of the field trip.

“The Mapparium was conceived by the architect of the Christian Science Publishing Society building, Chester Lindsay Churchill, as a symbol for the global outreach of The Christian Science Monitor.  Mary Eddy Baker founded the Monitor in 1908 and gave it the mission “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” The Mapparium was three years in the making (1932-1935). Originally, Churchill designed the glass panels to be replaceable as the political boundaries of the world changed. There have been several points in the Mapparium’s history where the discussion of updating the map did arise. The final time was in the 1960s, when it was finally decided that the Mapparium was a priceless work of art and history, and so should never be updated.”

A piece of art, it certainly was! The students were awestruck by the unique beauty of the stained glass, as well as its bold testimony to geopolitical changes that have occurred in the 90 years since its installation. Probably the most startling and eerily entertaining was the acoustics. “Because the Mapparium is a sphere, the shape of the Mapparium creates unusual sound effects. When people are speaking near the center of the room, their voices are much louder than usual. This is because the curved glass walls do not absorb the sound waves produced by the voice, but reflect them back.” Upon entry, the participants were instructed not to yell and to be conscious of ones volume. Amazingly, the conversations at the other end of the bridge were as clear as if the speakers were standing next to you.  This coupled with the brilliant colors and delicate nature of the structure The Riverside students were introduced to a learning experience like no other and one that will be impossible to forget!

Latin Club sees much success at recent Certamens

 From left to right: Jasmine Whittaker, Katie Lyon, Phoebe Barrett, Sarah Barrett, Meredith Nicol, Waverly Griffin, Darwin Smythe. Back row from left to right: Abigail Searles, Nathan Gair, John Keenan

From left to right: Jasmine Whittaker, Katie Lyon, Phoebe Barrett, Sarah Barrett, Meredith Nicol, Waverly Griffin, Darwin Smythe. Back row from left to right: Abigail Searles, Nathan Gair, John Keenan

It is with tremendous pride that The Riverside School announces the success and achievement of the Latin Club at the Phillips Exeter Classical Forum on April 2.

Riverside continues to be boldly represented by its alumni on the recently elected board of the Vermont Junior Classical League. The newly elected members are, Joleil Whitney ’14, president, replacing outgoing president, Angela Kubicke ’14, Waverly Griffin ‘17 as Vice President and MacKay Breton ’16 is the new secretary.

Riverside took 1st and 3rd in novice Certamen, 1st in costume, and 1st in spirit. BecauseRiverside's A and B team both won their first round, they actually sparred off against each other and Dover School in round two.

As well, The Riverside’s A Team, composed of Sarah Barrett, John Keenan, Meredith Nicol, and Waverly Griffin spent the previous weekend of March 26 at the Harvard Certamen and made it to the semifinals in competitions against high school students from around the United States.

Riverside's Latin Club is organized by parent volunteers and led by student captains, Katie Lyon and Waverly Griffin and co-coaches, Nathan Gair '02 and former Latin teacher, Roy Starling. These students, in addition to the other members, Sarah Barrett, Phoebe Barrett, Darwin Smyth, Abby Searles, Holden Larsen, John Keenan, Jasmine Whittaker, and Meredith Nicol thrive in showing off their love of learning classics by participating in celebratory and competitive events with other Latin scholars around the region and the country!

The team is currently raising funds to travel to and participate in the Annual Forum of the National Junior Classical League in Bloomington, Indiana. 

Open House for New Preschool

Heidi Jenkins and Dianah Hale have been busy all summer preparing the new classroom and meeting with parents at The Riverside School Preschool. There are eleven families enrolled and there is room for four more to join the incredible fun and exceptional learning that will be happening during the coming school year. The two students in the photo, Zoe Bunnell and Oden McMullen are busy exploring the new space and getting to know their new teachers. There is an Open House on Tuesday, August 9th from 6:00-8:00 to introduce the community to the new program and its very talented teaching staff. The Open House is open to the public.  Please come and enjoy the hard work and talent of our new Pre-K faculty. The Riverside Community hopes to see you there. 

2015-2016 Graduation

Meredith Nicol from Sutton, Abigail Searles from Cabot, Elijah Clarke from East Haven, Zachary Lemieux from Lyndonville, Sarah Barrett from Westmore, Marc Lamontagne from St. Johnsbury, and Piper Rolfe from Kirby are thrilled to announce their graduation from The Riverside School on May 28, 2016.

Their former Latin teacher, Roy Starling, was the keynote speaker and reminded the audience about his four favorite classical myths and the life lessons to be taken from them.

What adds to this unique graduation celebration is that it is considered a school day with the entire student body and all the families present to honor these graduates and students. Honors and diplomas are awarded and then everything convenes for a family style potluck lunch and cake cutting. 

5th Annual Fun Run

 From left to right: Jeremy McMullen, Zoe Heinrich-McMullen

From left to right: Jeremy McMullen, Zoe Heinrich-McMullen

Nothing starts spring off right like some fun and lighthearted family exercise and that is exactly what the 5th Annual Fun Run at The Riverside School had to offer all of us on Sunday, May 1, 2016. 70 runners and many more spectators gathered in the Cedar Circle to participate in a one mile and a 5k race geared towards all ages and ability levels. Meant as a fundraiser for the school, it doubles as a community- building event and provides opportunities for folks to get know one another better while getting into shape. All ages were represented, with our youngest runner being 2 but several more youngsters being pushed in strollers. Everyone enjoyed themselves especially our top male and female runners who were awarded delicious, homemade cupcakes and pies. As well, Stonyfield Yogurt and Cliff Bar generously donated snacks and area businesses provided swag for raffle prizes.

The Fun Run is one of many fundraisers that the parents of The Riverside School help with to bridge the gap between tuition costs and programming. We are so thankful to have such a supportive parent group and community to help foster the education and experiences of the students. These events would not be possible without the generosity and commitment of the families and the far-reaching Riverside community. 

Play Week: A Riverside Tradition

 From left to right: Elijah Clarke, Claire Morgan, Wally Hunt, James Lamontagne, Katie Lyon, and Jasmine Whittaker

From left to right: Elijah Clarke, Claire Morgan, Wally Hunt, James Lamontagne, Katie Lyon, and Jasmine Whittaker

It is with great pleasure that we ask you to join us for The Riverside School’s production of The Lion King on March 18-19 at 7:00 pm in the Barn. Producing plays has been a long-standing tradition at The Riverside School and over the years it has become more elaborate with the creation of Play Week. The classes for the 6-8 graders are suspended the week before the performance and the students, faculty and staff as well as parent and community volunteers work collaboratively on all aspects of the production.

When asked how they feel about Play Week, the students responses clearly addressed both the work and pleasure aspects of this community effort. Ishika Patel, a member of the costuming elective as well as one of the Lionesses stated, “Play Week is very stressful but it is worth it in the end when you see the final production.” Trevor Lussier, a set builder and member of the Ensemble was quoted as saying, “the play is a lot of work but really fun.” Phoebe Barrett, an Ensemble member and part the costuming elective mused, “the play is really fun because we get to joke around while getting things done.”

Prior to the official Play Week, the students spent the quarter in an elective that is designed to fit the plays needs. The electives include costuming, props, sets and publicity. This year, the props elective also included puppetry as this production has many elaborate puppets in its cast.

Parent and community volunteers are an integral part of the play production, leading some of the electives as well as donating supplies and expertise for set building and costuming, make-up and hair, dinner for the students and bake sale items.

For more wide spread promotion of the play, the students invite News Channel 7 from Lyndon State College to come and do a TV news article on them. Plus, several students go to Magic 97 at 8:35 am on the morning of opening night to be interviewed on the air. Be sure to keep and ear and eye out for those two pieces.

The Lion King is appropriate for all ages and admission is by donation. Please come and be transported into this magical land of singing and dancing, drumming and chanting and admire the hard work and collaborative efforts of our Riverside community. 


 From left to right: Koji Ebbett, Nick Heinrich, Cameron Griffin, Aiden Sicard

From left to right: Koji Ebbett, Nick Heinrich, Cameron Griffin, Aiden Sicard

After the well received middle school Play Week at The Riverside School, the K-5 students had their turn to shine with two well choreographed and hysterically funny plays, “Pirates” and “Stone Soup.” Directed by Janet Edmonson in her final bow at The Riverside School, one could not help but feel her pride and enjoyment of watching these young thespians sing and dance in such awesomely entertaining productions. It is clear these students will continue on to do great in future performances. 

8th Graders at The Riverside School Service Learning Project

 From left to right are: Meredith Nicol, Marc Lamontagne, Sarah Barrett, Piper Rolfe, and Zachary Lemieux with Abigail Searles in the back row

From left to right are: Meredith Nicol, Marc Lamontagne, Sarah Barrett, Piper Rolfe, and Zachary Lemieux with Abigail Searles in the back row

The 8th graders at The Riverside School received great applause and accolades from a local senator and two social service organizations for their contributions to the eradication of hunger in Caledonia County. Every year the 8th grade culminates their World Issues class with a service-learning project based on the UN Millennium Development Goals. After careful consideration and research about how these goals are present the local area, the students chose to focus on poverty and most specifically hunger and how it effects this vulnerable population.

The students invited Bob McCabe from the HOPE organization and Debbie Minor from the Lyndon Area Food Shelf into their classroom to speak to them about the impact hunger has in the community and what is being done to eradicate hunger in Caledonia County, where 1 in 4 people live with food insecurity and hunger. Mr. McCabe introduced to the students the idea of reaching out to their local legislators to encourage them to increase funding for programs designed to decrease hunger and increase awareness about this issue. Ms. Minor spoke to them about how and what they could do to volunteer and donate to the Food Shelf.

The impact of this discussion was great and the students came away with increased understanding and desire to help. They went back to the classroom and started collaborating on a pamphlet about nutrition and healthy food choices that included recipes and information about how to use the foods that the recipients received from the food shelf. Another group started a letter to legislators encouraging them to increase funding for federal school lunch programs.

After several weeks of discussion, creation, and editing, the projects were submitted to their respective recipients. The HOPE store and Lyndon Area Food Shelf were thrilled to receive the donations, and homemade cookies. As well, the students received a letter from a local representative, Senator Dick McCormack, applauding them for their letter, both in the academic sense of its fine craftsmanship and the politic sense of its vitally important social message. 

5th Grade Math Class Field Trip

From left to right: Maren Giese, Ruby Rolfe, Colter Thibaudeau, Riley Miller, Tegan Harlow

A sense of caring for animal’s great and small was well exhibited by the The Riverside School’s 5th grade math class. In conjunction with their lessons on fractions, they worked together to bake and sell pans of brownies to raise money to donate to Melvin the Sheep’s care at the Inn at Mountain View Farm’s Animal Sanctuary. Active learning, patient leadership, and engaged citizenship while building a supportive community were all showcased clearly through their sincere efforts.