Monday, September 9, 2019

Golden Celebration

I have to admit that I almost missed the fifty-year celebration of Rivercrest High School. I was thinking it was next year, so I am very grateful that Danny and Kristy Graham put paper to pencil and figured out that this is actually the 50th start of school, the 50th football team to take to the field, the 50th homecoming court, the 50th basketball season - you get the picture. Where has the time gone??!

We are now working to plan celebrations for this momentous occasion! Various activities will be planned throughout the year, and we want Colt Nation to celebrate with us as much as possible. Our plan includes both online activities as well as onsite activities. Some of the planned activities include the following:
  • Rivercrest Remembers - We will ask you to send in your fondest memories of your time at Rivercrest. We hope to compile the memories in a digital format. You can send digital pictures, short anecdotes, or a shout-out to someone at Rivercrest who impacted you in a positive way.
  • What celebration would be complete without a commemorative t-shirt? We will have t-shirts for sell, and we will look to take a picture of the entire group wearing the shirts in a "50" formation.
  • Homecoming festivities  will include blasts from the past as well as recognizing current students. We have some special recognitions from the very first homecoming court that we are excited about. Additionally, we are looking to do a balloon release - one golden balloon released by a class member representative from each class. Details will be coming out regarding how that will be done. 
  • On-line Trivia - We look forward to seeing who can answer our questions about the school and its history. We will have prizes!
  • Parent - Teacher Conference - At the February 4th conference, we plan an anniversary-type celebration with cookies & punch.
If you have ideas for a celebration, please let us know!  In the meantime, I've attached a throwback picture.  These are my grandchildren sporting the vintage Rivercrest attire that Gene and I have from when we were students here! I can hardly wait to see your pictures and to hear your stories. Stay tuned for updates - and be prepared for some surprises! Let's celebrate in a big way and enjoy the memories that serve as our common bond.  #WeAreRivercrest #ColtPride #RivercrestRemembers

Friday, August 30, 2019

Lunch Room News

This year we are striving to make school meals better than ever! The breakfast and lunch menus are being adjusted to more kid-friendly items. The high school cafeteria has been completely remodeled, and we are now calling it the "Colt Cafe".

Our goal this year is to increase the number of meals we are serving to students each day. IF we can get our number of meals served each day to average 85%, we will be able to apply for the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) for the 2020-2021 school year. That means ALL students in the district would be able to eat free.

I need your help.

1.  Please complete the 2019-2020 Household Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals.  We recognize the strain of breakfast and lunch costs for children. Fortunately, free and reduced meals and free milk are made available to children of qualifying families.

If your family meets the income eligibility guidelines, you can save hundreds of dollars a year through this program.

So, who qualifies for free or reduced meals?

  • Households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Foster children under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court
  • Homeless and migrant children
  • Households that meet the income eligibility guidelines
    • Children in households participating in SNAP for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) may be eligible, too
    You also assist the district by completing these forms. Part of school funding is based upon the number of students who receive free/reduced meals.

    2.  Encourage your student(s) to enjoy the meals that are provided daily. My favorite meals are chicken nuggets and hamburgers, but the other meals are good as well.

    Please contact Mildred Boone for any help you might need. She can answer your questions as well as help you complete forms.

    Thank you for your help!

    Monday, August 26, 2019

    Image result for school safetySchool safety is a topic that is always on my mind - and it is a number one priority for the school district. The district is striving to ensure the safety and well-being of each student as much as possible.  We continually evaluate building access, traffic patterns, and student supervision.  Steps are being taken to safeguard all the students that are entrusted to us each day.

    We are currently reviewing our existing Crisis Plan. The plan details the steps teachers and others would take in the event of an emergency situation. These actions are  reviewed with teachers toward the beginning of each year. Evacuation plans are detailed in the event of fire, bomb threats, or other disasters. Procedures are described for situations that include weapon suspicion, missing children, gas leaks/hazardous material spills, medical emergencies, as well as severe weather. Teachers have identified not only the "safe" spot in their classrooms, but they also know where students will go if the building has to be evacuated. Teachers will be communicating this information to students in each of their classes so that students will know how to respond appropriately at any point in the day. Our faculty and staff are trained on emergency procedures to protect our students.

    Additional day-to-day precautions are being taken.  Teachers and staff are vigilant in watching students throughout the day. Classroom doors are locked during instructional time. The parking lot, hallways, and other areas are monitored by duty teachers. Visitors to the buildings are required to obtain a visitor's pass, and all employees wear an identifying badge. The district employs two Commissioned School Security Officers (CSSO) as well as a School Resource Officer. These gentlemen are well-trained in all facets of school security. Just this past year, ALICE training was conducted in the school district, and this included emergency personnel from the entire county.  New this year are Dean of Student positions - one in the elementary and one in the high school.  These are extra pairs of eyes who are helping to ensure the safe environment we want for all students.

    Physical efforts are also in place. Security cameras monitor activity throughout the district. The elementary is only accessible with a security badge, and visitors must be allowed access through the front door. At the junior high/high school, new fencing has been installed (with more fencing coming later). Plans are being reviewed to limit access yet still allow students opportunity to move among the various buildings. The district wants to take a proactive approach to be as prepared as possible to deal any situation that may arise.

    The administrators, faculty, and staff do not take our responsibility lightly. We want parents and guardians - as well as community stakeholders - to know that we are acting in the best interest of each individual child on a day-to-day basis. I pray that we never have to deal with a crisis situation; however, I want us all to be prepared. Please reassure your child - and be assured yourself - that precautions are being taken. We want to partner with you to ensure the safety of every child.

    Friday, August 2, 2019

    It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Rivercrest School District.  If you are familiar with the district, you know that we are focused on providing the best learning opportunities possible for our students.  We strive to live our mission of creating an environment of high expectations and intensive support in which each student is able to achieve each and every day.  If you are new to the district, we are glad you have chosen to join the Rivercrest Colt team!

    We are truly embracing the team concept across the district. Our Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Work processes and practices will provide wrap-around support for all students. So what does that mean for your student? We will be even more attentive this year about student progress.  In a continuous cycle of improvement, we will monitor how well students are learning, and we will intervene if students need additional support.  Focus groups will provide both intervention and enrichment opportunities for student learning.  Our teacher teams will work collaboratively to plan lessons, to monitor student progress, and to take responsibility for student success.

    As we begin the 2019-2020 school year, you will notice new faces and spaces on campus. We have several new teachers who are excited to be a part of our team.  I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to visit with our new folks as well as our returning faculty and staff at our upcoming school events.  You will notice new traffic patterns this year.  With the overpass construction underway, we are trying to provide for the best traffic flow possible in order to maintain student safety. Please keep in mind that cell phone use in school zones is not allowed.  The high school cafeteria has been completely renovated, and we are now referring to it as the "Colt Cafe." With updated menus, we know students will enjoy this new space. The Fine Arts building has also had a face lift with new paint, new flooring, and a new roof.  A paving project around the high school and in the parking lots is also underway. I am pleased that we are able to continue the physical improvements to our campus.

    The 2019-2020 school year is going to be a great year! I can hardly wait to get started!

    Thursday, May 2, 2019

    Thank you, parents and stakeholders!

    The Rivercrest School District is fortunate to have the active support of parents and the surrounding communities. In addition to the individual family support, several organized groups unite their efforts to provide for our student body.

    Do you remember when we had the "flood" in the kindergarten wing? A quick tweet resulted in community members showing up with shop vacs to help move water out of the building right before school was to begin. And what about the band boosters who worked through football season in a concession stand under construction? I never heard a word of complaint, and everyone pitched in to make the most of the situation. Thankfully, the working conditions will be much better this year! Band boosters provide a banquet for the students, and this year they overcame a tough situation to pull off a great evening of student recognition. The high school PTO group is another group that doesn't mind rolling up their sleeves and going to work. They run the basketball concessions and contribute in so many ways to the school. They provide scholarships for graduating seniors, and they help fund raise for other groups as needed. Baseball/softball boosters take care of that concession stand, and they did a great job through the district tournament - even with rain-outs that resulted in rescheduled games. Cheerleader parents are also heavily involved in school activities. Elementary parents are quick to volunteer when asked, and they are supportive of the parent-involvement activities at the school. Rivercrest parents are great to ensure that students complete their homework, come to school ready to learn, and have high expectations for academic success.

    Several outside agencies can also be counted upon to help the district. The Chamber of Commerce supports the schools by providing snacks during state testing, honoring our seniors at the Scholars' Banquet, and providing speakers to our classes. Arkansas Northeastern College is another valuable resource for our school community.  Our local libraries support district literacy efforts, and several local businesses provide discounted services to the schools. Through both formal and informal groups, parents and other community members are our partners.

    If you are looking for an opportunity to become even more involved, please check out the Colts PTO 7-12 page on Facebook. The high school group is planning to assist with forming an elementary PTO group, so please be watching for that group to form.

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    Rivercrest roots run deep, and our traditions are strong.  Thank you for being an ever-present resource in our district.  Parents have prepared meals for our athletes before ball games, smoothed out our gravel driveway at the high school, and even trapped skunks that have wandered onto campus! I appreciate all forms of parental support in helping us achieve our mission to create an environment of high expectations and intensive support in which each student is able to achieve.

    Friday, April 12, 2019

    Another Season
    Image result for learning tree
    Image result for 4 season trees

    A fifth season?  Spring is typically marked by blooming flowers and increasingly warmer temperatures. Summer is usually filled with outdoor activities and family fun. In fall, we are all excited to return to school to enjoy both learning and football! Winter is that cold time of year when many hope for enough snow to have an AMI day. The fifth season in education circles is TESTING SEASON! Testing season is marked by sharpened pencils, scratch paper, and practice problems. 

    Now, this is actually a pretty exciting time. It's that glorious time of year when students are given the opportunity to shine! They get to demonstrate all they have learned during the school year.  Students work hard all-year long to gain information, to apply their learning to real world situations, and to reach their academic goals. Many students have taken advantage of extended learning opportunities in our after school study groups or in our ACT Aspire Academy. We have had family literacy and math/science nights to engage our community in the learning process. And we can't forget our district-wide reading of the book Friendship According to Humphrey. Each of these activities and events has helped prepare our students to do well on our state assessments.

    Why test? Student performances on our state assessments serve several purposes.  Students have the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in literacy, mathematics, and science. This is vitally important as the students' scores are used to determine the rating of the school and district. Student performance also serves as a guide to indicate curriculum strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. The assessments help fine tune instructional efforts to provide a quality education for ALL students. It is the mission of the Rivercrest School District to create an environment of high expectations and intensive support in which each student is able to achieve.

    What tests? Eleventh grade students have already completed their ACT tests; we look forward to receiving those testing results any day. Our students in grades kindergarten through grade 2 take the NWEA assessment for literacy and mathematics. Those tests have already been completed. The ACT Aspire is administered to students in grades 3 - 10. Students are tested in literacy, mathematics, and science. We want each and every student to come to school prepared to give their best effort on our upcoming assessments. 

    The Arkansas Department of Education provides the following suggestions for how parents can help.

    When a test is to be given, you can help by making sure your student:

    • gets plenty of sleep the night before the test;
    • has breakfast on the morning of the test;
    • goes to school on the day of the test;
    • knows you think he/she will do well on the test;
    • knows you understand that the test is important.

    When?  The students in grades 7-10 will test on April 15-18 according to the following schedule.

    • April 15 - Reading
    • April 16 - Science
    • April 17 - Mathematics
    • April 18 - English/Writing
    Students in grades 3 - 6 will on April 23 - May 1 according to the following schedule
    • April 23 - Reading
    • April 24 - Mathematics
    • April 30 - Science
    • May 1 - English/Writing 

    Thank you for encouraging your student to give his/her best effort this testing season!

    Friday, April 5, 2019

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    What an overwhelming response to my Superintendent's Challenge for the Friendship According to Humphrey Poetry Contest!  In the high school 31 students submitted poems, and in the elementary 111 students submitted poems. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every single poem! Selecting only one winner at each level was quite a  task. However, I am pleased to announce the winners and to share their poems with you.  Congratulations!!

    by Abigail Castling

    by Makayla Cotham