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
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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

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Break Reflection

Spring break served as a time of reflection for me. I finally had some time to relax and unwind, and I spent time thinking about the Rivercrest School District. All in all, I am pleased with the direction the district is moving. At the same time, I acknowledge that we still have room for continued growth and improvement.

Our teachers, administrators, and staff members are among the best in the state. They are dedicated individuals who want to do what is best for students. As our work becomes more student-focused and directed toward learning at high levels, we recognize some growing pains. It can be challenging to sharpen our teaching tools, to learn new methods, and to hold ourselves accountable when students aren't where we want them to be. It is a daunting task to motivate, to inspire, and to move students forward in their thinking! Yet, at the same time, I cannot think of anything more rewarding.

I have had the privilege of supporting the professional learning community work that is being accomplished. The elementary has the advantage of being part of the state initiative, and our students are blossoming with many of the initiatives that are underway. The high school currently lacks the formal support of the state grant, but we are optimistic it will be selected in the next round of grants. Despite that formal support, the high school is on the move! After school study sessions have been a success. Who would have ever thought staying at school until 5:00 could be such a fun learning experience! Professional conversations are changing, and there is a heightened awareness that we are all responsible for student success. Using a data-driven approach, we are working with great intention and forethought to not let students get "lost in the cracks." Working collaboratively has taken on a whole new meaning.

Image result for spring break reflectionSpring break was great. I thoroughly enjoyed spending extra time with my family. My husband and I went to visit my 94-year-old aunt, and her indomitable spirit is simply amazing and inspiring. I played with grandchildren - even jumped on a trampoline. I read, and I played video games. I rested, and I relaxed. As much fun as that was, the time away served to remind me how much I love what I do on a professional basis.  I missed seeing all the students!

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. I think we are embracing this mission with a renewed sense of purpose.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Friendship According to Humphrey

Poetry Challenge!

Mrs. Brisbane’s assignment to the class was to write a poem six lines long with rhyming words.  Many of the students wrote poems about Og because his name was easy to rhyme. Kirk wrote a poem about a frog where each line started with the first letter of the word “frog.”  Poetry can take many forms, and it does not all rhyme! 

I am challenging students to write a poem on the topic of friends/friendship. I have a separate challenge for elementary (K-6) and for high school (7-12). Yes, I will give a prize for both the elementary and high school winners!

My challenge for elementary (K-6) students is to write a Cinquain poem about friends/friendship. A Cinquain poem is a style of poetry that is made up of five lines. The pattern is described below.

High school students must write a poem using any format. However, they must include all of the following literary elements:
  • repetition
  • alliteration
  • simile or metaphor
  • onomatopoeia
  • imagery
ALL poems should convey a positive tone, and they may be illustrated.

Poems should be submitted NO LATER THAN MARCH 25th.  Poems are to be turned in to the building principal in the space designated. Don't forget to put your name on your entry.

I am looking forward to reading your poems!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Guess who is back! Humphrey Returns!  

The Rivercrest School District is once again participating in the One Book/One District  program. Every student and school employee will receive this year's book selection Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty Birney. You may remember that we read The World According to Humphrey last year, and the book reading was a huge success.

The kick-off is February 14th. Our plan is for a chapter to be read every three days, and the reading schedule will be posted in each book. The book has fifteen chapters, so we will enjoy approximately 45 days of reading and related activities. We hope you will share this book with your entire family!

In this book, we will continue to read about Humphrey the Hamster. We will share his adventures as he deals with making friends with another classroom pet. He also uses his special skills and talents to help the students in Classroom 26 improve their friendships with one another. He is able to work his magic to bring about positive outcomes to support a new girl who won't talk and has trouble making friends, two pals who get into a terrible fight, a bully who causes trouble on the bus, and the janitor who dreams of going back to college. We will be talking about what makes a good friend as we read. I love an engaging story that also has some great lessons!

Reading together helps children become better listeners, builds vocabulary, and creates positive feelings about books. Most importantly - reading is fun! I hope you will enjoy reading this book along with me - and don't forget to be on the lookout for some fun activities along the way!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Why Rivercrest?

Faculty and students were recently asked to respond to the question "Why Rivercrest?" What makes our school special or makes it stand out from others? The words and phrases used to respond to the question are reflected in the Wordles below. I appreciate Dana Lane pulling this together for me!

I hope some of the above words and phrases will resonate with you! With School Choice as an option, it is great to take a moment to reflect on why we think the Rivercrest School District is the "THE" choice for a great well-rounded education. The deadline for application is May 1 if you don't live our district!