1 Non-Profit US POSTAGE PAID PERMIT #4 PO Box 428 Oakland, IA Postal Patron Striving to Provide the Highest Quality Education for the Communities of Carson, Macedonia, and Oakland. Riverside Community School Mission Statement The mission of the Riverside Community School District is to prepare students to meet the challenges of the future as responsible citizens in a global society. Riverside January, 2015 Volume 21, Issue 6 INSIDE THIS ISSUE: School/Community Administrators Reports * Dr. James Sutton, Superintendent Central Office *Mr. Jamie Meek, Pre-K-6 Principal Intermediate School Elementary School * Mr. David Gute Jr.-Sr. HS Principal Jr.-Sr. High School * Don Graham Transportation Bus Garage Riverside website is Classes begin again January 5, JH Girls Basketball Season Begins This Month. Support the Bulldogs! JH Wrestling Season Begins This Month. Support Your Teams! The Riverside Community School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, socioeconomic status, or disability in its educational programs and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, socioeconomic status or disability in its employment practices, or as otherwise prohibited by statute or regulation. For more information or concerns regarding educational programs or activities, employment practices or information regarding the grievance procedure, contact Dr. James Sutton, Equity Coordinator, Riverside Community School District, 330 Pleasant Street, PO Box 218, Carson, IA 51525,
2 DON T FORGET : JOIN THE RIVERSIDE BOOSTER CLUB Single is $15 Couple is $25 (get 1 lanyard & 1 Koozie) Gold is $50 (get 1 lanyard & 1 Koozie) Contact any school secretary Or Jon Johnson, Niki Ford, Callie Kallsen, Tami Skank PARENT(S)/GUARDIAN(S): TAKE NOTE BELOW: Check your family s lunch balance We are seeing a huge spike in the number of families with a lunch deficit. This is a problem this time of year as we enter the new semester. Please do not ignore the automatic calls notifying you of your lunch status. We do not want to implement an alternative lunch option to your child. Please contact the business office if you need to make some payment arrangements to get your lunch balance to a positive balance prior to us notifying you. Your current lunch balance can be checked by accessing JMC. Please contact your school secretary if you have any problems looking at this information. The 2015 Riverside Yearbooks will go on sale February 2, There will be more details in the February Newsletter. At press time, we know that the price will remain $45 or 2 books for $80. We will once again offer them for sale via a website which will published in the next school newsletter. Stay tuned for the details. Thank you for your continued support. Wrestlers Get Their 100th Win Recently two of the Riverside Wrestling Squad earned their 100th win. These two boys are seniors Tucker Bluml an Jacob Vogel. The photos were supplied by Congrats! Contest Winners (Ruth Hardy) Riverside juniors in American Literature class participated again this year in the Veterans of Foreign Wars annual speech contest Voice of Democracy. This year's theme was Why Veterans Are Important to Our History and Our Future. Congratulations go to Kelsey Danielson for first place in the local competition. Kelsey will receive a $500 scholarship and move on to the district level competition. Congratulations also go to second and third place winners Maggie Buckingham and Kelsey Eskins. Pictured above are (left to right): Kelsey Eskins, Maggie Buckingham, Kelsey Danielson. Congratulations! Classes Resume on Monday, January 5, 2015! Tucker Bluml Thank You Jacob Vogel Once again, we are overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in the Riverside Communities. Several groups, families, and individuals came forward and asked what they could do for a family in need this holiday season. Thanksgiving meals were provided for several families, and over 50 Riverside kids were adopted for Christmas this year. A BIG thank you to the following for their thoughtful and generous donations: Carson United Methodist Church, Oakland United Methodist Church, Fellowship of Faith Church, Sharon & Carson Presbyterian Churches, Oakland Foods, Riverside Wrestling Club, Riverside Jr High School Student Council, Riverside Intermediate School Student Council, Riverside Intro to Education Class, (Oakland) Alegent Health Clinic, The Thorpe Family, Kevin & Niki Ford Family, Mark & Les Schueman, Jeff & Sherrie Martens, and Mark and Rhonda Crumley. THANK YOU!! Chip Stanczak & Jana Hensley Page 2
3 Backpack Program (Jana Hensley) One in five kids in Nebraska and Western Iowa under the age of 18 are at risk for hunger. The Backpack Program is designed to provide food for hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as during weekends and school vacations. - foodbankheartland.org The Backpack Program is available once again this school year to Riverside students. Food Bank for the Heartland supplies packs filled with nutritious food for children to take home on Friday afternoons. Each pack provides two breakfast meals and two lunch or dinner meals. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Jana Hensley at Thank you again to Riverside Links for bringing this wonderful program into the Riverside School District! LOCAL STUDENTS ARE FINALISTS IN IOWA STATE BAR ASSOCIATION COMPETITION by: Mandie Reynolds Michael Antunez, Caitlin Hughes, and Jordyn Winget of Riverside High School are finalists in The Iowa State Bar Association s Young Lawyers Division Know Your Constitution Project. One hundred finalists were selected from the more than 1,000 students across the State of Iowa who participated in the Know Your Constitution Project. These finalists will be honored at a luncheon held at the West Des Moines Marriott Hotel in West Des Moines on January 9, The luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. This year s Keynote Speaker is the Honorable Ross Walters, Magistrate Judge of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. From the finalists, five students and their teachers will be chosen by a random drawing to attend the all -expense paid, Close-Up Foundation s five day long education work session in Washington, D.C., in February The work sessions are designed to develop a deeper understanding of government and the political process. The Know Your Constitution Project is designed to enrich students understanding and appreciation of the Constitution. The students participating in the project were required to familiarize themselves with Constitution related issues. A quiz was completed by each participating student. An essay question accompanied the quiz in case of a tie. One hundred students and their teachers were selected to attend this luncheon. Exploring Teaching Class Traditionally, Mrs. Putnam s Exploring Teaching class adopts a family during the holidays. This year was no exception. To help secure funds to make this project possible, the class sponsored an Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. For the simple donation of $1, students and staff could wear an ugly sweater, ugly jewelry, or any other ugly holiday items. Pictured at the left are staff member Rhonda Crumley and Exploring Teaching class member Kyra Martens. Thanks to all who donated to help make a family s Christmas a little brighter. (Photo by Mrs. Faxon) Left: Peter Palazzo at the Riverside Wrestling Tournament Row 1: Michael Antunez Row 2: Jordyn Winget, Caitlin Hughes, Mrs. Mandie Reynolds, Social Studies teacher Page 3
4 2014/2015 ACT Test Dates Test Date Registration Date (Late Fee Required) February 7, 2015 January 9, 2015 January 10-16, 2015 April 18, 2015 March 13, 2015 March 14-27, 2015 June 13, 2015 May 8, 2015 May 9-22, 2015 ******Register for http//: Seniors, Parents/Guardians of Seniors Take Note: The Yearbook Staff Needs Your Senior Pictures! Preferred Deadline is: February 2, 2015 Concerns: Contact Mrs. Stempel at the high school or THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Music Tech iband (Amanda Brandon) Riverside s music technology class made their debut with the iband during the Winter Concert at the Junior-Senior High School on Monday, December 15. Mrs. Brandon and her four students performed Feliz Navidad on ipads. They used Bebot and Garageband apps as their electronic instruments. A link to this performance will be uploaded to the school website soon! THE iband WAS A HIT! Lucas Ana Val December Top Dawgs (Holly Hinkhouse) The Top Dawgs for Riverside Jr.-Sr. High School for December were Lucas Wilber, Ana Andrusyshyn, and Val Andrusyshyn. Each month, different members of the Riverside Jr.-Sr. High School staff select students who have contributed positively to the school by their respect and their leadership roles. These three students were highly praised for their willingness to help others as well as class participation and general all-around leadership skills they show every day. Congratulations!! IBand Class Members (Above left): Dylan Sanders, Brianna Sayles, Michael Antunez, Frank Palazzo: Left: At Winter Concert: Brianna Sayles, Michael Antunez, Frank Palazzo
5 7 Essential Life Skills for High Schoolers to Build Before College By Briana Boyington 5, :30 AM Teaching teens how to wash clothes properly is common advice for parents with high school students heading to college. And while it s important for students to know how to clean their clothes without shrinking them, experts say that there are a few more practical skills that can help make the transition to college easier for students. Before teens head to school next fall, colleges encourage parents to help students learn the following skills: Planning: Contrary to popular belief, you can predict the future, says Donald J. Foss, author of Your Complete Guide to College Success and a professor of psychology of the University of Houston. Creating and following a schedule will help teens manage their time, which can help students be successful in college, Foss says. He encourages students to use a calendar that help them keep track of practical responsibilities such as washing the laundry every two weeks and any other important tasks. -Managing money: Parents should make sure that students understand the basics of money management before they head to school, experts say. That includes maintaining a budget and paying bills, but teens should also understand how student loan debt will affect their quality of life after graduation. Talking to students about how small expenses like buying a cup of Starbucks for $5 a day adds up over the course of the year can help parents teach students about the importance of using money wisely, experts say. The way that teens use money now can affect how much spending money that they have in college and the amount of debt that students take on and how quickly they re able to pay it off. The decisions that you make on a daily basis, or monthly or even a one-time expense that all factors into y our larger experience. And when students are accumulating into the tens of thousands of dollars of debt, even the small things can add up, says Reuban Rodriquez, associate vice provost and dean of student affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Studying: It turns out what a whole bunch of high school students, even those who did pretty well, don t really know how to even read a college textbook effectively, the University of Houston s Foss says. The common practice of spending hours reading, underlining and rereading text is a waste of time, he says. Instead, Foss encourages students to look at what they re supposed to read, determine what s important, make a list of the things they re supposed to know and test themselves multiple times before an instructor tests them. Staying safe and health: Campus safety and sexual assault are a significant issues on college campuses. While it can be difficult to prepare for the new environment, families research campus safety and teens can work to build personal safety habits. VCU s Rodriguez says. That can include being mindful of their surroundings, but it also means considering how students can help create a safer community for others, Rodriguez says. Students should also have a plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle when they go to school, says Erin Foster Zsiga, assistant dean of students at Bates College. Students should understand how to navigate a pharmacy, fill prescriptions, change doctors and find any other resources that they may need. Apartment hunting: Many first-year students will live in on-campus dorms, but for Freshmen who live off campus, understanding the ins and outs of apartment hunting can be invaluable, Foster Zsiga says. She encourages parents to explain how to hunt for an apartment, explain the responsibility that comes with signing a lease and other details that students might overlook, such as how to make sure they get their security deposit back. Cooking: Many Freshmen have meal plans, but cooking can be another way for teens to bond with other students on campus, Foster Zsiga says. Students cam use food to share their culture experiences, and having the recipe for your favorite homemade comfort food can help make the hard days at college a little easier, she says. Knowing how to shop is also important. For our students who live in off-campus apartments, I think that a really important thing is shopping, and shopping so that you re not walking into the grocery store without a list. She encourages parents to discuss how to stock a pantry, save money on food and the differences between processed food and other varieties. Getting around town: Students with cars should know how to change a tire, and get and use roadside assistance. It s also important for students to know their options for getting around town. Some colleges work with transportation services like Zipcar that allow your to rent a car for a short time, or provide buses and other campus transportation options, while others are located near public transportation systems. Students should feel confident about using mass transportation or taking care of their own car if necessary. Experts say colleges are also working to help students bridge the gap between what they know and the life skills that they need to be successful for college, so parents don t have to stress out about preparing their students for everything. It s hard to teach every single lesson before a student goes off to college, Foster Zsiga says. Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges. Briana Boyington is an education Web producer at U.S. News You can follow her on Twitter or her at Some of our Riverside Wrestling Cheerleaders at the Riverside Wresting Tournament on December 13. Left to right: Jasmyn Carter, Sydney Swope, Jami Carter, Hayley Haines. Sometimes during tournaments when we have more than one wrestler is on the mat, the cheerleaders have to split up.
6 Junior Bri Alff during the IKM-Manning game Tanner Storrow takes the ball down the court. THE FANS Basketball Cheerleaders
7 Riverside Pride Update As the building is continuing to progress, it is becoming a visible site of our new Riverside Jr/Sr High School and Charles L. Pigneri Sports Complex. The Riverside Pride Committee s fundraising efforts are well underway. Enclosed in this issue of the school paper are all the forms and information sent to Riverside patrons earlier this month. We hope you have all had a chance to read through the material and are able to contribute to this cause. Please note the many levels of recognition and no contribution is too small. The first step of recognition will be listing the names of all contributors in each month s paper(s) beginning in the January issues. This will be ongoing throughout the fundraising time period. By partnering with the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3), donations are fully tax deductible as allowed by law. Please make your donation out to the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation, include "Riverside Pride Committee Fund" in the memo line and submit it to their office. At the time of cleaning up the Macedonia School building, bricks were collected and saved. These bricks will be used in areas of the Charles L. Pigneri Sports Complex along with the engraved bricks. A $ donation will buy a Macedonia brick and the donor s name will be displayed on a plaque. If this level of donation is your desire, please send the name you would like to have engraved on the plaque to Riverside Jr/Sr High School, ReAnn Hildebrand; Riverside Intermediate School, Tami Skank, Troy & Liz Graves or Nancy Raney. If you are submitting an engraved brick form please send it to any of the above locations or committee members. The bricks are a high quality brick, engraved with a special technique that creates very clear, high gloss/glassy characters with a life time guarantee. The bricks will all be ordered at the same time. At the time of placing the brick order with the engraver an confirmation will be sent to you. If you do not have an address, we will call you. So please complete all the information required on the brick order form. All orders must be signed. A sample of the bricks will be available at many of the upcoming school/athletic events or contact a committee member if you would like to see a sample brick. With each 4 x 8 brick order, a 1.5 x 3 replica will be sent directly to you. With each 8 x 8 brick order a 3 x 3 replica will be sent directly to you. These can be used to visibly show your support at your place of business or mounted on a magnet for your refrigerator. Please feel free to contact any of the committee members with questions. Thank you to all who made the annual Riverside Food Drive a success! This year we collected over 5,500 items and over $3,600 in monetary donations. This generosity should keep our local food pantry going for many months! THANK YOU,THANK YOU, THANK YOU! This drive is a district-wide activity. We want to thank the students who help load the food and, of course, the guys that make that delivery possible Steve Feauto and Greg Reed. A special thanks to our Platinum ($200+) and Gold ($100) Donors: Platinum Donors Gold Donors Great Western Bank Mertes Welding Holly Hinkhouse Jeff and Marcia Buckingham Pierce Pump JP Lumber Mark and Susan Beedle Casey s General Store Oakland P.E.O James and Cheryl Sutton Larry Hackett Construction Robert and Gayle Strickland Hildebrand Feed & Seed
8 School Calendars Making the News By James Sutton, Ed.D. It s just a few more shopping days until the end of the first semester. Doesn t seem possible, does it? Time flies. That seems to be what time does best. That s why we are usually talking about next school year s calendar about now. But this year is a bit different. Just this week, I received (as did all superintendents in the state) a letter from Dr. Buck, Iowa s Department of Education Director, stating that the early start waivers that schools have received in the past may not be passed out as easily as in the past. For years the waivers have simply been approved by local school districts, had a hearing where community members could address the board, and then told the state that we intended to start before September. So what is the problem with local school calendars? For several years there has been a debate between schools that want to start school when their local communities agree and the State Fair Board that wants to make sure that no school is allowed to start before the State Fair is over. Schools that don t agree with this have been hanging their hats on local control being the driving force while the State Fair Board seems to be pushing for a stricter interpretation of the law which requires schools to start in the first week of September unless this would have a significant negative educational impact. The calendar process I ve used for several years is to get parent input (often through our School Improvement Advisory Committee), board input, staff input and student input (through the Student Council). I take the input from all of the groups and move a calendar forward for the board to approve. Does it make everyone happy? Of course not. But it is an attempt to understand what is most important to all of our folks and try to incorporate that into a calendar. I was in the process of doing that for the school year when I received Dr. Buck s . In a recent TV interview, he seemed to imply that the way to make the State Fair Board happy and create a school calendar that started after the state fair and ended before Memorial Day was to simply go fewer, longer days. Many of the superintendents that I visit with want to keep the school year close to the 180 day mark. To Dr. Buck s credit, he must have looked at the reality of the calendar conundrum before making the statement. Because it is extremely, if not impossible to create an acceptable calendar that starts after the State Fair and ends before Memorial Day and has 180 student contact days. Riverside s Board of Education had a hearing on the Early Start Waiver at its December Board Meeting. No one came to voice their concern about our calendars. Our calendar drafts (at this point) have us starting after the State Fair and getting out before Memorial Day. Thanksgiving vacation will start on November 25 th or November 26 th, depending on stakeholder input. The winter break will be less than two weeks but will start on either December 22 nd or December 23 rd, depending on stakeholder input. The spring break will be 4 or 5 days long, depending on stakeholder input. My current objective is to end the school year before Memorial Day. After the calendar hearing at the board meeting, the Riverside board passed a resolution to start the before the September start date and listed the following reasons why it would negatively impact our educational program: Completion of the semester after winter break will require teachers to spend a week in January refreshing students memories, effectively adding days of instruction. Allowing those students graduating at semester to attend post-secondary instruction starting in January. Avoiding the delay of the end of school, due to weather, going into mid-june when students are significantly less likely to be learning than they are in late August. Facilitating dual credit courses for high school students, ensuring they are equipped with post-secondary and career ready skills, with post-secondary institutions by having the calendars aligned. Allowing for effective and evidence-based professional development to be spread throughout the school year, rather than front- or end-loaded, in order to improve instruction. Giving teachers and other staff, a small break between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer coursework in June. Better coordinating with elementary summer schedules for activities that would require students to spend more evening hours in summer youth programs. Providing a summer time period that is better able to facilitate Early Literacy programs and other summer school initiatives. Providing opportunities for greater community input in a calendar that fits the board, community and staff goals for the school program. Honoring the community s desires and needs in the calendar adopted. We now move our request to the State Department for a ruling. Unfortunately, waiting for the State Department of Education to rule on our waiver means waiting until we submit a report in June. In the past we didn t worry about that because waivers were assumed by all districts to be a formality. I called the State Department to see if they could give us an earlier ruling. Hopefully, they will answer the voice mails I left them, soon. If they do not honor the waiver request submitted by the Riverside Board, our school calendar will likely end after Memorial Day. If you would like to weigh in on this issue, I encourage you to contact Dr. Buck Governor Branstad and our local legislators (see below). Let them know if you think schools should be forced to start in September or be allowed to start earlier with less effort. Let them know if you consider this a local control issue. Let them know if you believe school districts should be required to wait until after the State Fair ends before starting school. Your opinion is important and it s what motivates our legislative and executive branches to action. Thank you, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. House Jack Drake 21 Republican Cass County House Greg Forristall 22 Republican Pottawattamie County Senate Hubert Houser 11 Republican Pottawattamie County Far Right: Wrestle! Right: Pep Band
9 The Magic Show (Holly Hinkhouse) This December, the Riverside 4th grade students visited Ms. Hinkhouse's Advanced Chemistry class for a Chemistry Magic Show! The "magic tricks" included a methanol rocket, fire on water, Christmas lights from fire and much more! After the show, students traveled to three different stations in the classroom for hands-on science with slime, growing soap, and instant snow! Advanced Chemistry students are Sierra Davis, Kylee Hendricks, Trae Kelly, Sara Kemp, Sydney Raney, Jordyn Winget, Bailey DeShong and teacher's assistant Michael Antunez Top Left: Bailey Deshong makes the flames turn many colors. Top Right: Michael Antunez and Trae Kelly cause some fire and a big boom. Above: Sara Kemp tries to burn money. Above Center: Sydney Raney mixes chemicals to make bright colors. Shyanne and Kylee make sparklers! Riverside Wrestling (Casey Conover) Soledad Castaneda on the right. The Riverside wrestling started the year off strong. The team has 30 wrestlers, and they all have been working hard to get better. Thursday December 4th, the Riverside wrestling team wrestled Underwood and Southwest Iowa. Riverside wrestling team came away with two dual wins. They beat Underwood and beat SWI Saturday, December 6, the wrestling team traveled to Harlan to wrestle at the Harlan invitational. The wrestlers wrestled extremely well. The day was highlighted by three wrestlers making the finals. They were: Ethan Rankin, Tucker Bluml, and Jacob Vogel. On Thursday December 11th, Riverside had home duals with Coon Rapids Bayard, Guthrie Center, and Bedford/Lenox. In front of a packed gym, the Riverside faithful saw their wrestling team come away with two dual wins. They beat Guthrie Center and they beat Coon Rapids Bayard They lost a close dual to Bedford/Lenox The night was highlighted by Jacob Vogel getting his 100th win. Saturday December 13, Riverside wrestlers wrestled in their own tournament. The team finished 4th overall. The day was highlighted by Tucker Bluml winning his 132 weight class and Jacob Vogel getting 2nd at 145. The day was also exciting because Tucker Bluml received his 100th win. On Tuesday, December 16, Riverside wrestlers competed in a double dual against Clarinda Academy and Red Oak. The wrestlers came away with two hard fought wins. They beat Clarinda Academy 48-36, and Red Oak On December 1920, the wrestling team will be competing in the WIC Conference dual tournament. They are heading into conference with a 6-1 dual record. Monday, January 5th the Riverside wrestling team will be hosting AHSTW and Abraham Lincoln. Please come out and cheer on the wrestling team. That night we will also be honoring Riverside senior wrestlers and all the little kids involved in Riverside wrestling. Stay tuned for more details on the season.
10 Elementary and Intermediate Schools (Mr. Meek) We have made it! We are half-way through the school year and are headed toward the finish line. Last year at this time we were half way through adjusting to several impactful school wide changes regarding grade level locations. With any change there will be questions! A few of the most common questions that we addressed were: what will it all look like, how will it directly affect my child for the long term, and how do we determine this is the right decision for all? Let s do a quick review of what happened 18 months ago the 7th and 8th grade moved from Carson to Oakland and that building is now the Jr.-Sr. High School; grades 7-12 the 4th grade moved from Oakland to Carson and that building is now the Intermediate School; grades 4-6 the Elementary School is now PreK-3 Here are some of the positives that I have seen. These changes have allowed two of the larger classes to add a teacher and keep class sizes in almost every grade level under 20 students. In addition, we were able to rearrange some technology so that every student at the Intermediate School has his/her own computer or ipad to use on a daily basis and the elementary population has more technology available to use daily as well. With the reorganization we also have fewer teachers who are traveling between buildings for their jobs. Unfortunately for me, I am still traveling, sometimes daily, between buildings; however, I do see fewer classroom teachers on the road back and forth. With less travel, this has allowed them the opportunity to build better relationships with students in their corresponding buildings. Additionally, I have seen a decrease in student discipline problems. With both the Elementary and Intermediate Schools operating on elementary schedules, we have eliminated the passing period transition times. This provides less opportunity for students to be mingling in the halls and increases the amount of on-task instructional time in every classroom. These are a few of the positives I have noticed over the past 18 months, and I am very pleased. I welcome your feedback as well! or stop by the school and see me; I value your input, positive or negative, on how you feel we have transitioned thus far. One last unrelated note: Please do not wait until the February Parent-Teacher conferences to ask questions about your child s progress in academics and/or behaviors that you may have concerns about. The Riverside staff works hard to connect with you as often as possible. We discuss often as a staff how crucial this is. The students days are packed full just like yours and mine. Our children are our most important assets. Try to take some time and , call, or drop in and have a conversation about how we can all have the best school experience possible. Mrs. Henderson's preschoolers came to Mrs. Ravlin's 2nd grade classroom in November for their monthly craft, and the students made turkey puppets. The 2nd graders and preschools also took time to write what they were thankful for. These colorful messages of thanks cover our school hallway. Let s Decorate Some Cookies (Julie Ravlin) Paxtyn Meek's mom, grandma, and brother came into the classroom and brought supplies to decorate gingerbread cookies with the students. While the students ate their creations, Grandma Meek read the book The Gingerbread Man to the students. Reminder: Classes Resume Monday, January 5. Enjoy your Holidays!