The Riverside Latin Club is enjoying their pizza lunch after competing successfully in the Granite State Certamen in Dover, NH on November 19. Teammates (from left to right) Phoebe Barrett, Katie Lyon, Henry Griffin, Sarah Barrett and Waverly Griffin competed in the Certamen which is a contest of knowledge about Roman and Greek history, mythology and language. Everyone on the team played hard, answered a lot of questions right, and had a ton of fun.
Firefighters Dan Bigelow and Tim Nolan brought the big red engine to The Riverside School much to the excitement of the preschool through 1st graders. They instructed the students about fire safety, explained their equipment, what to do in the event of a fire and how to act in the presence of a firefighter.
The Riverside School welcomed 57 grandparents to school activities during their annual Grandparents’ Day: the first Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. The photo shows the Kindergarteners with their grandparents, enthusiastically playing math games.The Riverside faculty comment that Grandparents’ Day helps the school meet its mission to develop a supportive community and engage students in active learning. It is another example of how the school and its community wraps its arms around its students, providing them the support they need.
The parents and faculty of the Riverside School came together on November 16th for the first of a series of “Coffee House” discussions that are being hosted by the Parent Advisory Committee. The very interactive and lively event was led by Riverside parent, Sandra Laflamme, with guidance from a professional facilitator from National School Reform. The topic of discussion was homework. Michelle Ralston, head of school, stated “The parents and faculty were asked for their input and participated in a variety of activities that allowed for contributions by all who attended. The information that was gathered that evening will be used to help inform a possible revision to The Riversides School’s homework policy.”
Given a little homework themselves, the participants were asked to read several articles about the pros and cons of this topic prior to the gathering. This provided a framework for what proved to be lively discussions and observations. Some of the more telling responses included, “homework should help teach delayed gratification and the love of learning” while others pondered the idea of “quality over quantity.” Still the “consideration of what needs to be in place for homework to be successful” was the theme that prevailed.
Many agreed that proper stimulation and time management skills coupled with assignments that allow for student ownership and choice are the clear benefits of homework. Furthermore, it was stated that the importance of these experiences is to facilitate and enhance parent understanding of their child’s learning.
Parent involvement has always been a central component of The Riverside School and one of its strongest traditions. Parents are called upon throughout the year to perform a variety of tasks and the response is resounding. The goal of the Parent Advisory Committee is to support two-way communications between the head of school, faculty, and parents by providing a point of contact for parents within one grade level when questions arise related to Riverside’s program; assisting Riverside in keeping parents updated and involved in program events and aware of classroom needs; to assist the Head of School in the facilitation of “Coffee House” discussions for all parents. It is with this charge that parent involvement will continue to thrive at Riverside.
The next “Coffee House” is scheduled for January, 19th. The topic will be: Grades and Grading.
Studying the classics has always been an integral part of The Riverside School experience. Nathan Gair, an alum and current Latin teacher, led the entire student body in the school’s annual Mythology Day on December 21, 2016.
In preparation for the whole school event, each student chose a character from Norse, Greek, Roman and Tolkien mythology, studied the character in depth, dressed in costume, and presented it to Riverside students, teachers, and family members.
The mixture of Cyclops, heroic soldiers, powerful gods and goddesses then preformed such formidable tasks as reenacting the Battle of Troy, braving the Labyrinth while defeating the Minotaur, and building the Walls of Troy. The event commenced with the Urn of Fate in which the students shared gifts with one another, not knowing the giver or contents of the package prior to its opening.
It was an event shrouded in tradition and mystery, evoking a deeper understanding of history and reinvigorating the mythmaker in all of us.
With the holiday season in full swing, it is the time of year when folks feel compelled to reach out and support one another. The students at The Riverside School show no exception to this rule. On Friday, November 18, each one of the 96 students spent his or her time participating in a variety of service projects designed to benefit our community during the school’s annual Community Service Day.
Whether it was wrapping 100 boxes for HOPE to fill with holiday gifts, making cards for soldiers or baking 48 loaves of pumpkin bread for the Lyndon Area Food Shelf, the spirit of engaged citizenship, a key component in the school’s mission, was genuinely expressed throughout the Riverside community. The school felt honored to contribute to HOPE, the Lyndon Area Food Shelf, the Darling Inn Free Thanksgiving Meal, local preschools, the American Legion and the Riverside Life Enrichment Center.
Everyone enjoyed their chosen projects and were eager to participate in any way. Many going above and beyond offering assistance to other groups on campus to make sure everything was completed before the Thanksgiving break. In addition to the group projects, the student body, faculty and staff donated to a food drive. These items were given to the Lyndon Area Food Shelf.
Nick Heinrich a 4th grader from The Riverside School shakes the hand of a local veteran during a celebration on Veterans Day. Students from The Riverside School and Thaddeus Stevens School attended the ceremony and their presence was noted and appreciated by the attendees
Soccer has been a long-standing tradition at The Riverside School. The 5-6th grade team coach, Jamie Yerkes, played when he attended Riverside in middle school and his passion for the game has continued on with his son, Gus, who played on the 5-6th grade team. The team ended their season undefeated with two ties.
Jamie commented, "It was a thrill to see how quickly these kids started to play together as a team. A lot of them started the season with little to no soccer experience but they picked up on team spirit almost immediately. That is why they were so successful. They will all be playing together for 2-3 more seasons of Riverside soccer, building on these team skills. I’m very excited to see how they develop over the next few years."
Joel Gilbert, the 7-8th grade team coach, stated that that team was well balanced with both a strong defense and an offense making many generous passes. The students also had well distributed skill levels with many players scoring their first goals. Their final standings were 7-1.
During his five years of coaching, Mr. Gilbert has always encouraged every student to play for the team and worked to give roughly equal playing time for all. This hasn’t always made the team as competitive but has nurtured team camaraderie and sportsmanship which are far more important than winning the games.
The Riverside School’s soccer program is a leadership opportunity for students, a place to have fun exercising and developing skills, and most importantly a venue to grow their sense of community.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.