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Monday, March 19, 2018


July 31, 2012

Dear Rivendell Families and Students,

I hope that everyone is having a great summer. We are working hard to prepare for the start of school. Over the last two years we have made structural changes at the Academy and emphasized student voice and leadership in the school. We will continue asking our students to play a major role in shaping their lives and learning at the Academy. I am proud to say that changes that we made last year in creating the Upper House Project and Internship classes resulted from student suggestions. Our overall goal this year is to begin building on foundation that we have laid. Our expectations for our work and the performance of our students are very high.

The continuity that we have achieved, as well as the decrease in discipline issues, allows us more time to focus on student learning. I hope to spend more time in classrooms this year, possibly teaching or co-teaching parts of units. Independent critical thinking is the educational trademark of a Rivendell Education. Our ultimate goal is to strengthening students’ capacity to achieve their full potential as human beings. This work happens in our classrooms. To support I need to teach and be in conversations with teachers and students about teaching and learning.

Goals: We have some remaining work that we started last year that we hope to “complete” this year:

  • Use our Learning Expectations rubrics regularly to assess major projects, papers and performances.
  • Write a vision statement that reflects what we believe and practice.
  • Develop an advisory system that builds powerful relationships and furthers our goals of student empowerment and responsibility.
  • Reduce by 30% the number of students who consistently fail one or more classes (approximately 45 students each grading period).
  • Engage more students in co-curricular activities.
  • Develop more consistent requirements for Certificates of Initial Mastery in grades 9 and 10. 
  • Require more public presentations in which students demonstrate their learning.


Grading: Grading in the integrated classes (7th and 9th grade Algebra and Physical Science, and Humanities 7-10) will change because of the integrated nature of the curriculum. In some cases (and the better teachers get at integrating the more this should happen) one assignment will receive a grade in both classes.

  • Pending a final evaluation from the faculty, a student must receive a passing final grade at the end of the year (FAV) in BOTH integrated courses in order to pass both courses.
  • If a student fails one integrated course for the year, both courses must be repeated the following year. 
  • If a student fails one course, repeats both and passes both, the student will receive an elective credit for the course he or she passed twice.


Staffing: We have a few new staff joining us.

  •  Jonathan Lester will be teaching 7-12 health and PE courses at the Academy as well as 5-6 PE at Samuel Morey. Mr. Lester is the first Academy graduate to return as a teacher. He comes to us after completing (in three years) a degree in Kinesiology from UNH and a Master of Arts in Teaching in Physical and Health Education from UNH. He did his student teaching at Mast Way Elementary, Dover Middle School, Little Harbor Elementary School, and Newmarket Jr./Sr. High School. Many of our students will know Mr. Lester as their Water Safety instructor at Lake Fairlee.
  •  Laszlo Bardos will be teaching 9th grade Algebra in Physical Science, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus and Calculus. Mr. Bardos received his BS from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. He has an MBA from Dartmouth and a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education from Western Governor’s University in Salt Lake City, Utah. He held a two-year temporary position at Hanover High, a part-time, temporary position at Lyme Elementary, and a he taught at Thetford Academy for three years before moving to Budapest Hungary for one year. He is also the author of a hands-on math activity book called Amazing Math Projects You Can Build Yourself. Mr. Bardos worked in business and technology before he discovered his passion for teaching.
  • We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to hire Robert Bryant from Second Growth (http://www.secondgrowth.org/) to work with students. Last spring Mr. Bryant worked with a few students to develop goals and skills to achieve those goals. He will also be available to work with all the staff to help students achieve their goals. Robert can also work with students with addiction issues and support students in the court system, especially those in diversion. The Academy will also have access to Second Growth’s Coaching for Captains program. Robert will be working at the Academy on Fridays from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Robert will work in Ms. Fariel’s office, which he will share with Mrs. Widmann, our 7-8 Counselor.
  • Pending Board approval we have an exciting new teacher in Spanish ready to start this fall.
  • Pending school board approval, we will be hiring someone to fill a multi-duty position (Yearbook Advisor, Upper-House Elective teacher, Upper House Project and Career Internship teacher and tutor).
  • Additional Federal dollars from Title I may allow the Academy to hire a Title I Literacy teacher to work with students and teachers on advancing the reading and writing skills of our students as part of the District Action Plan.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the beginning of the year BBQ. We have set the dates for the Family Meetings on the third Tuesday of every month from 6:00-7:00 p.m. As we did last year, we will rotate the locations. More information about these events will be coming home soon.


Keri Gelenian
Principal, Rivendell Academy
Head of Schools, Rivendell Interstate School District