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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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News From Keri Gelenian

Dear Rivendell Families,

Half the school year vanished! We started off with great student energy, and that positive feeling has continued. Students treat each other with respect and often display a sense of caring for one another. This isn't to say life is perfect at Rivendell. Negative behavior happens and we deal with it through discussion and clear expectations for positive change.

Academic Concerns and Learning Expectations

Academic concern notices will arrive soon. These are meant to be a wake-up call for students who are failing classes at this point in the trimester.

This newsletter includes a guide that clearly explains all sections of the grade book page that we are now using as our academic concern notices. This is the same format you will see in the parent portal when checking on grades. I will be sending out a document entitled "Learning Expectations, Grading and Project-Based Assessment". This paper outlines how we assess students. The biggest change, and it will now be evident in teachers' grade programs and report cards, is a Learning Expectations designation for projects that correspond to the Rivendell academic, civic and social learning expectations (LE). The RA learning expectations are:

  • Read, comprehend, analyze, and critique a variety of media.
  • Demonstrate effective problem solving skills in a variety of disciplines.
  • Communicate effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes.
  • Demonstrate cultural awareness and an understanding of national & global interconnectedness.
  • Apply mathematical analysis in a variety of situations.
  • Be a positive contributor to the community.
  • Accept individual responsibility & awareness of social context.

Whenever a teacher has a significant project assigned for a class, the students' performance is tracked in two ways. First, the teacher will assign an overall percentage grade in the grade book as he or she normally would. Second, the teacher will designate in the grade program one or more LEs reflected in the project. Teachers use rubrics developed for each learning expectation and score the students' performance in each LE. The scores range from 4 (exceeds expectations) to 1 (significant improvement needed). Projects then become part of students' E-portfolios and are the basis for discussion of students' learning at three way conferences.


Statement of Core Values and Beliefs—January 27th

The Academy started a process to develop a clear statement of our core values and beliefs. Kirsten Surprenant is leading a committee that includes Nancy Hall, Christina Robison, Michael Galli, Mary Rizos, Rachel Sanders, and Jenny Ellis. The committee has created a process that includes all Academy staff, all Academy students in advisory meetings, and Rivendell family members. On JANUARY 27th the faculty committee will lead family members and students through a process to help develop the Statement of Core Values and Beliefs. We will send out more notices about this work and the process.

Good News

The Robotics Club held an evening scrimmage with Thetford in our new Workshop space (the old stage in the West Wing). Thetford came with a big crew and the room was packed with robots, equipment, and pizza. The $15,000 grant from the Byrn Foundation has helped Doc Browne take a significant step forward with the club. We now have four robots preparing for competition.

Before Winter Recess, Ms. Hall and members of the Leo club went to Glencliff Home to wrap presents.
The student government held its annual holiday assembly before the break. Rivendell's own Staff Infection and Rivendell's chorus provided the music. Student Government piloted a unique approach to the raffle. Congratulations to Chris Gendron for winning what most would consider the grand prize. Cheryl St. Pierre and Laura Wheeler led the dancing.

Mrs. Keefer's 10th grade advisory is planning to help staff the Orford Senior Center lunches every Tuesday.

Moriah Ludwig is back from the Mountain School. Welcome back Moriah!

The indoor track team members are doing well on the Thetford team. The team includes Andréa Haehnel, Kayla Gould, Christian Parenti, Sam Emerson, and Liam Fleming.

Will Gardner, Heather Dexter, Zachary Dexter, Elias Adams, and Will Ussler are on the ice for Rivendell.

Dametres Perry spent part of the winter break in San Antonio, Texas to attend the National Underclassmen Football Combine.


THANKS

Thank you Judy Siemons for the donation of yet another beautiful quilt (her 8th!) for the senior class fundraiser. The 2014 French trip received a $1000.00 donation. Orford resident Michael Collins donated two SLR cameras and lenses. We received a $10,000 grant from the state of Vermont to develop our internship programs. Thanks to Jeff Winagle for the beautiful, handmade display in the gym for the basketball roster.

Academic Performance By the Numbers

The charts and tables below give an overall picture of how students did at the end of this first trimester compared to the first trimesters in the previous two years. The tables show the number and percentage of students' GPAs in the entire school in 5 points intervals. What this shows is that:

  1. Our students are doing better at the high end than in the previous two years: 55.45% of our students have GPAs between 100 and 85 compared to 51.19% (2012) and 52.16% (2011).
  2. The percentage of students with GPAs in the middle has shrunk: 28.71% of our students have GPAs between 84.9 and 75 compared to 34.6% (2012) and 33.96% (2011).
  3. The percentage of students with GPAs at the low end has increased: 16.84% of our students have GPAs between 74.9 and 55 compared to 14.22% (2012) and 13.68 (2011).
  4. The percentage of students with GPAs below 70% is slightly better than last year and .33% worse than 2011-12.

February/March 2014 Newsletter