Category Archives: IB

Becoming (and Staying) an IB School

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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.

Gr 1 Commitment and Veterans Day

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

Please enjoy the following write-up from Gr 1 teacher, Mrs. Morgan, about their Unit of Inquiry, Where We Are in Place and Time:

“This week, our first graders learned some amazing lessons about commitment. We interviewed our parents about ways they have shown commitment. We identified areas in which each of us shows commitment. We started learning about the commitment shown by the Pilgrims so they could worship their own way. Perhaps most importantly, we learned about the incredible commitment that has been demonstrated by the veterans who have served, or are serving, our country.

Throughout the week, we read stories, watched videos, and had great discussions about the sacrifices that veterans make to keep us free and safe. We wrote letters to veterans and mailed them to the Veterans Home and the Veterans Medical Center.

The most exciting part of learning about veterans was when we delivered some of our letters to the veterans at our Veterans Day assembly on Friday. It was really special to be able to personally say, ‘Thank you’ to these amazing people for their sacrifice and their commitment to The United States of America!”

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Exploring Primary Sources in the Elementary School

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

Throughout the school year, Riverstone students focus on “Units of Inquiry” – in-depth explorations of concepts where students inquire into a central idea or a main understanding, guided by lines of inquiry and teacher prompts.

Our Grade 4 students’ current Unit of Inquiry is “Where We Are in Place and Time,” which focuses on how primary sources provide a unique insight into cultural and personal histories. Students explore inquiries into how primary and secondary sources are used for research, how these sources can assist with understanding individuals and cultures, and how information gained through the interviewing process can lead to new understandings.

Last week, students were placed into teams to explore the four major types of primary sources: documents, artifacts, photographs, and oral histories. For several days, teams explored each primary source and set out to explain what they had learned to their peers by creating an informative poster. Students also learned how graphic design can make information visually interesting, presentation skills and how to be a good audience.

This kind of experience is prevalent throughout Riverstone’s Primary Years Programme (PYP), where students (Preschool – Grade 5) learn skillsets throughout each school year, culminating in their Gr 5 year with their Exhibition project and greatly benefiting their future experiences as students in Riverstone’s Middle Years Programme (MYP) in writing essays and research papers and Diploma Programme (DP) in writing their Extended Essay.

2017 Convocation Senior Speech

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

At the end of each school year, we select a junior to receive the Head of School Award. Three months later that same junior, now a senior, delivers the Convocation Address from the graduating class. We are so proud of James E (Class of 2018) and his peers for all of the journeys they have taken and will take.

Please view his inspiring speech below and join us in wishing all the best to the Class of 2018, and all of our Riverstone classes, for the 2017-18 school year!

You can read more about James’s journey in the Idaho Education News article from September 2017: One of Idaho’s Top Students Survived Life-Threatening Illness.

The Journey to Becoming a Lifelong Learner: Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten at Riverstone

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

The early years of a child’s education are critical in laying the foundation for learning in their future years. During this time, children absorb knowledge at amazing rates and develop the skills necessary for success in school — and life.

Preparing your child for a lifelong journey of learning is the primary goal of the Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classes.

Our small, nurturing environment and experienced staff focus on the cognitive, social, and emotional well-being of students while building upon the strengths of the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum.

The Pre-Kindergarten schedule “allows for the students to have ample opportunity for unstructured free play time with a balance of teacher directed time to help prepare the students for the transition to Kindergarten.” – Kathie Stilinovich, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher

In both classes, activities are student-centered and developmentally appropriate, with a balance between free-choice activities and small group directed activities. Listening, pre-reading, and writing skills are promoted in Language Arts activities. Students learn math with hands-on manipulatives. Art, music, PE, and library time are integral parts of the week and all subjects tie into the classroom Unit of Inquiries.

The Preschool Unit of Inquiry, “Who We Are,” in which students begin to understand that we “all experience the same emotions, but the ways in which we navigate through those feelings can be different.  It is important not only for creating and strengthening our classroom community, but for beginning at a very young age, an idea of cultural sensitivity and acknowledgement of each person’s unique attributes.” – Janice Flynn, Preschool Teacher

Students begin to make connections between school and their personal experiences outside of school, as well as begin to take responsibility for their learning.

We encourage our students to attain their “personal best” and we celebrate their individual accomplishments. Recognizing that most learning occurs through active participation, our teachers help students stretch to take that next step.

We have openings for the 2017-2018 school year. If you apply before August 15, 2017, for the 2017-2018 academic year, your $75 application fee will be waived. Please note this applies only to applicants for the upcoming school year, not for 2018-19.

Inquire Today!

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Kindergarten at Riverstone

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Why is Kindergarten at Riverstone International School Different from Other Options?

Small classes – maximum of 16 students per class
Full day program
World renowned International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Spanish, art, music, and PE taught by specialist teachers
Outdoor education and field trips included in tuition
Fully-credentialed, experienced teachers
Before and after-care available for additional fee

Idaho’s top performing International Baccalaureate World School
Ranked as Idaho’s Best Private School by Niche.com

Thirty percent of Riverstone students are awarded tuition assistance or scholarships that do not need to be repaid.

Inquire Today!

Join Us at an Open House!

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

Tuesday, Jan 23 at 9:00 AM: Preschool – Grade 5

Thursday, Jan 25 at 9:00 AM: Grade 6 – 12

Riverstone International School is private, independent, Preschool through Grade 12 school located in the Pacific Northwest that offers day and boarding students the academic prestige of the International Baccalaureate programmes with outdoor education, leadership, service, and international opportunities.

We have combined the best of the international school and community school educational models to create something totally unique: a school with internationally-recognized academics and opportunities to explore through service, leadership, and the outdoors, all built upon the fundamental belief that knowing and nurturing students lies at the core of any successful school.

Quick Look:

  • Celebrating 20 years of excellence in education
  • Idaho’s Most Challenging High School (The Washington Post; 2016 and 2017)
  • Top Private School in Idaho (Niche; 2016, 2017 and 2018)
  • #1 Best High School for STEM in Idaho (Niche; 2017 and 2018)
  • Top-performing International Baccalaureate School exceeding Diploma Programme pass rate globally and nationally
  • 345 students in the Preschool – High School with 40+ nationalities represented
  • Student-teacher ratio of 7:1
  • 1 of 20 schools in the nation and the only school in Idaho authorized to offer the continuum of International Baccalaureate Programmes (Primary Years, Middle Years and Diploma Programmes)
  • 1st and only John C. Malone Family Foundation School in Idaho
  • 30% of our students receive tuition assistance
  • Dual language-learning in Pre-Kindergarten class (Spanish and English)
  • 100% of graduates accepted into four year colleges and universities world-wide: Class of 2017 College Acceptance List
  • Riverstone students’ combined average SAT scores exceed Idaho and national averages
  • Athletic teams and extracurricular opportunities offered

We’d love to show you more! RSVP below to join us at an upcoming Open House.

RSVP 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).

The Typical Riverstone 9th Grader

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Grade 9 Middle Years Programme (MYP) math students were recently asked the question: “Are you typical?”

After brainstorming various parameters that could help describe their class, students paired up to write survey questions and created their own statistical analysis projects. They now better understand what it means to be a typical Grade 9 student at Riverstone.

Some questions asked were, “How long is the typical 9th grade Riverstone student’s ear?” or “What is the average amount of time spent on Snapchat each day?” or “What is the furthest distance you have moved houses?” The results of the survey were enlightening and at times unexpected, emphasizing the importance of gathering data to make informed decisions about our world.

Check out a few photos below of their findings!

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