Tuesday, February 18, 2020


FREE resources are available for students to practice their test taking skills for the upcoming ACT. At Rivercrest, all juniors will take this test on February 25th - and it is at NO COST to the student.

Check out these resources! The resources are FREE (yes, FREE), and they target the specific areas where students need the most help - for FREE!

Mrs. Graham and Mr. Dave are available if any student needs help in creating their FREE account @ act.org/academy.  Check out the links below:

The higher a student's ACT score, the wider range of opportunities they have available. This is important for college admission, scholarships, and financial aid.

It is never to early to start preparing. I created an account as a parent and created a "class" for my grandchildren who are in elementary school! You can select the grade level (all the way to kindergarten!), the area you want to work (math, English Language Arts, etc.), and featured resources are suggested. Assignments, videos, and games are identified. You may be further prompted to create an account on the sites that are linked, but those are FREE sign-ups as well.

I look forward to seeing how well our students demonstrate their knowledge on the upcoming assessments!


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Lots to Love

With Friday being Valentine's Day, I've been thinking about all the things I love about the Rivercrest School District and our communities!

💗Our students top the list! Parents, I can't thank you enough for giving us the privilege of working with your child each and every day.

💗Our teachers are tops! They go above and beyond to plan lessons, to deliver quality  instruction, to ensure students "get it," and they truly care about our students.

💗How about those National Award Winning Cheerleaders - 3rd year in a row - Bronze Medalists - all around great girls!

💗Have you heard about our Robotics Teams? Those guys are racking up their own awards!

💗Community members like Eddy Ezell. We so appreciate the generous donation of brand new clothes for our elementary clothes closet.

💗I can't forget our sports teams - basketball is underway right now! I love that game. I also love the football and the baseball and the softball and the track and the trap shooting and...

💗Then there is E Sports - competitive gaming fun!

💗And BAND - oh my goodness - such talent!

💗Which reminds me - Rivercrest Voices - those young sweet voices who love to sing!

💗Local churches - many of you contribute to our backpack program which provides meals for students. What a blessing you are!

💗Volunteers - everything from taking care of bus stops to helping at school. I can't thank you enough!

💗Dedicated administrators - countless hours are committed to a cycle of continuous improvement

💗The unsung heroes - bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, maintenance guys, classified staff members - They truly keep all of us going!

💗Tech folks - VITAL to our operations!

💗But most of all, I love the smiles, the hugs, the greetings when I walk down the hall. I am truly blessed, and my heart overflows. Thank you for the joy of being a part of this wonderful world of education.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Let's Talk Testing

The mission of the Rivercrest School District is to create an environment of high expectations and intensive support in which each student is able to achieve.  This provides us a very clear target to strive for high levels of student learning  We want ALL students to be future-ready; ready for success in whatever their path is after high school. 
Image result for testWe are currently held accountable by the Division of Elementary & Secondary Education for student learning as measured by NWEA testing at lower elementary (K-2), ACT Aspire for upper elementary and beyond (grades 3-10), and the ACT for grades 11 -12. Testing is certainly nothing new, and most of us have experience with completing bubble sheets for testing in years-gone-by. Though the tests may have changed, the concept remains the same.

What has changed is our approach to state-required testing. We are striving to overcome the BIG EVENT of state assessments by providing students along the way an opportunity to demonstrate their learning in smaller chunks. We are using the results of student performance on these chunk-type tests to guide both our classroom instruction and to plan appropriate supports (interventions) to help students become successful on specific learning tasks. We want to be strategic about how we serve students, and this is a bit of twist on how students have been assessed in the past. Every assessment students take is important, and we are striving to help students realize the importance of always giving their best effort.

Let's talk testing. Classroom teachers routinely give tests over material that is taught in class. We are all familiar with quizzes, unit tests, etc. However, we have other assessments that might be unfamiliar to you.
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  • We have implemented a 10-day testing cycle in most classrooms where students are assessed over specific skills. We call this a common formative assessment (CFA). Teachers use the results of the CFAs to determine what to do next in their teaching: they may reteach a concept or they may provide a reach activity to help all learners deepen their understanding. 
  • We are also using interim assessments. These assessments are given at specific points during the year, and they are similar in format to the state assessment that is given in the spring. Students in grades K-2 and 7-11 are given the NWEA assessments three times a year (beginning of the year, middle of the year, and spring of the year). Students in grades 3-6 are given the ACT Aspire Interim Assessments. These assessments are used to monitor overall student achievement, and growth/achievement goals are set based upon student results. These assessments also serve as the basis for focus groups and after school study groups.
  • The summative assessment is the "THE TEST" that students take in the spring that is mandated by the state. This is the high stakes test where we particularly want (and need) our students to demonstrate their very best effort. The student results on this assessment reflect on both the school and the district, and it sets the future direction for curriculum and instruction in our continuous cycle of improvement. 
Image result for ACT Aspire clip artI hope you will continue to encourage your child to always give his/her best effort. We typically perform the way that we practice. We want all practice efforts to build toward attaining our learning targets. The testing dates are on the district website. Thank you for your continued support in all teaching and learning endeavors!

Friday, January 3, 2020

What's Your Word?

What's Your Word?

Author of One Word Jon Gordon challenges readers to set aside making New Year's Resolutions and to select one word as a focus for the year. I have several friends who have participated in this activity, and they have inspired me to join the movement. I was further spurred into action by Rivercrest teacher Brooke Brewer who tweeted about a student activity around this topic. 

I have spent quite a bit of reflective time "finding" my word. I wanted something that would serve as a guide for the year, not only in my professional life but also in my personal endeavors. I wanted something that would be timely and meaningful; something that would set a sense of purpose and direction. As I considered numerous words, I kept thinking about the need to be clear, intelligible, and transparent. I also thought about the decade we have just ushered in, and the phrase 20/20 vision kept rolling around in  my head. All of those thoughts brought me to the word I have selected - clarity.

I pray for clarity in the collaborative work that we are engaged in at Rivercrest to positively impact student achievement. I want to maintain a laser-like focus on our work and to not get distracted or disheartened by the twists and turns along the way. The poem If  by Rudyard Kipling comes to mind.  The poem begins, "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs..." I also think about the lyrics to the Johnny Nash song - I Can See Clearly NowThis may all be a bit whimsical, but I hope by maintaining clarity we will realize success. 

I encourage you to join me! What's your word? You can watch a short video at this link: One Word

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words...

As we wind down the 2019 calendar year, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some of the events and happenings from the first semester.

I love the encouraging words that Mrs. Portia Routon posts at the car rider drop-off line. In the haste to unload, the simple statements help all of us start the school day on a positive note. Our lunchroom participation has increased, and I am hopeful about our next steps! Our work as a professional learning community is continuing to grow and develop. Teachers are working more collaboratively to support student learning. Thanks to Solution Tree for the professional development to help us hone our skills.

 School groups are active, and student engagement is high. From a tea party to robotics to athletics to academic competitions, students have choices for involvement in numerous activities.  I can't neglect to mention Rivercrest Voices, our band program, our award winning cheerleaders, eSports - the list could go on and on!

Community support is strong. Our political officials actively engage with our students, and our alumni are generous donors. Our graduating students benefit from scholarships from local businesses and organizations. The late Cortez Kennedy made provisions to endow a scholarship, and the Rivercrest Alumni Association also provides a scholarship for graduating seniors. It is always a pleasure to accept gifts on behalf of the district!

 Looking to the future, I think I may ask Santa Clause for some of the things on my district wish list. I would love to continue to renovate our facilities.

 Wouldn't it be great to upgrade our baseball and softball fields? And what about renovating the old gym? I guess a superintendent can dream!

During this Christmas season, I hope you will find time to rest, relax, and enjoy family and friends. Let's remember the joy of giving as well as receiving.  I appreciate the gift I have each and every day to serve this community!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Thank You

It is always heartwarming to be able to say "thank you" for the many kindnesses that are bestowed upon the Rivercrest School District. We live in a very generous community. People are willing to give of their time, their talents, and their good fortunes.

Our students reap the benefits from such generosity. Our football players, cheerleaders, and band members are treated to delicious meals prior to each home game from various folks in our community. Our interscholastic events are well attended - from football to band competitions to cheer competitions to Fall Festival to parent nights - our parents and other stakeholders can be counted upon to support our young people. The town of Wilson hosts trick-or-treating fun for our elementary students each year. The town of Dyess invites Rivercrest Elementary Voices singing group to perform during the Johnny Cash Festival. The Charles Strong Center in Luxora provides opportunities for our youth.  Nucor generously donates trees for planting and books for coloring. Papa John's provides coupons that can be used to recognize our students' academic achievements. Even individual student needs are met through the caring eyes and hands of adults in our school and community. We are truly blessed.

This past week marked another round of exceptional gifting. The district received the generous gift from the Cortez Kennedy Estate that endows a scholarship in remembrance of the late Cortez Kennedy. This scholarship will help provide educational opportunities to Rivercrest graduates for years to come. We also unveiled a bronze rearing horse statue from Don Slaton and family. This statue will serve as a hallmark of Colt pride and tradition. These tributes serve as an inspiration to all of us.

Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success." Fifty years ago five communities came together to forge a new educational path with the establishment of Rivercrest High School.  The schools have continued to come together, uniting as one pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade organization. Our continued success lies upon our ability to work collaboratively for the good of our school and community. I see a bright future for the Rivercrest School District.

As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, we have many reasons to give thanks. Thank you all for your continued support.

Monday, October 28, 2019



In August, Rivercrest High School received the Class 3A Sportsmanship Award from the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA). I am particularly proud of this award as it is a positive reflection of our players, coaches, and fans. 

Good sportsmanship is a big deal. We live in a society that is quick to anger and slow to forgive. It can be easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and the excitement of a ballgame. We want our students to have the best opportunity for success, and we get upset with bad calls/no calls. I completely understand the emotion behind the game. 

It was alarming to me when I learned of the problems poor sportsmanship causes. Officials do not want to go to hostile environments to officiate ballgames. In some states, the scarcity of officials is causing games to be double-booked and played on Saturdays. Some officials refuse to go to certain places; they don't want to be unduly harassed or have to be escorted from the field or court. Who can blame them? I would rate officiating ballgames as one of those thankless jobs; a job where one team will always win and one team will always lose. Tough situation....

Several quotes about sportsmanship have really spoken to me. 

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"It is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser." - Harry Sheehy

"Sports do not build character. They reveal it." - Heywood Broun

"Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - John Wooden

During the Award Ceremony in August, a video entitled "Parent's Do & Don't" was shared. This video was developed by the Student Advisory Committee of the AAA. You can view this original video by clicking here. After sharing this video with our coaching and administrative staff, we talked with our students about a remake of this video. The students were eager to be a part of the project. This is our remake of the "Parent's Do & Don't" video. 

Click Here for Video
Thank you for your continued support of all Rivercrest Colt activities!                                             #WeAreRivercrest #ColtPride