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Thursday, August 06, 2020


News from Keri Gelenian, Head of Schools/RA Principal

Summer 2017

Summer 2017 Newsletter


Spring 2017

Spring 2017 Newsletter

Dear Rivendell Families,

“The Wizard of Oz” will be presented on May 11th, 12th, and 13th in the Rivendell Academy Gym. Times of presentation: Thursday, May 11th—6 PM, Friday and Saturday, May 12th and 13th—7 PM. This year we are offering special seating which includes reserving your seat in the first two rows, receiving a special printed ticket and a café chair. General admission will be paid at the door, with doors opening one half hour before show time.

Join us for this beloved tale, in which a Kansas farm girl travels over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home which has been entertaining audiences for generations. Dorothy Gale (Delaney Vogelien) a young girl living on a Kansas farm with her Aunt Em (Thessalie Butler) and Uncle Henry (Caleb Haehnel), dreams of escaping her mundane life (“Over The Rainbow”). The family’s mean neighbor, Miss Gulch (Moria Haehnel), threatens to impound Dorothy’s cherished dog, Toto, so Dorothy and Toto run away. They meet up with kindly Professor Marvel (Max Haehnel), who subtly convinces Dorothy to return home. Suddenly a cyclone hits, as Dorothy and Toto, seek shelter in
the house, they are transported to the Land of Oz. Join us as Dorothy travels the land of Oz with the Scarecrow (Teddy Wilkin), the Tinman (Caleb Day), and the Lion (Izzy Formica) to find the Wizard (Max Haehnel) and battle the Wicked Witch of the West (Moria Haehnel). Playing various other roles are Ariana Baumann, Cora Day, Shannon Fleming, Eadie Molesworth, Elizabeth Noyes, Sarah Parenti, Kelsey Peebles, and Adele Tilden. Featuring the Orford Ballet to include 24 munchkins, poppies, and jitterbugs! These are all students in the elementary grades! Directed by Anna Alden & Carol Sobetzer, set design and tech directed by Cami Buster, costume design by Brook Lewis with assistant Julie Ann Otis.

Tickets include special seating, $17.00/adult, $10.00/student, general admission $12.00/adult, $5.00/student.
For special seating please call Brenda Gray at 603-353-4321 ext 1225. For more information call 802-356-0363.


Winter 2016

Dear Rivendell Families

This fall our professional focus on critical exploration and project-based learning has started to take hold. Both approaches create greater equity and motivation among our students while also increasing rigor. Students in “right answer” classrooms tend to clam up. In contrast, a question about provocative materials like, “What do you notice?” opens the door to participation, collaboration and creative thinking. Students come to see that the ideas generated build upon one another in a way that deepens everyone’s understanding. In a similar way, carefully designed projects engage students with complex problems embedded in real experiences. Both approaches engage students in learning from one another and our larger community in a non-competitive atmosphere.

Project work and community participation this fall—Advisory Open House

We had a great night in October for families to get together for dinner and participate in advisory. We watched the student and staff videos related to our summer reading. It was great to see the students’ work. Families didn’t get to see the fun (and struggles) that students had in working together to create the videos within a tight time-line.


Our 9th grade humanities students began the year with a new approach to exploring the English colonization of New England. Students spent several days puzzling through detailed readings of primary source documents about the Pilgrims’ departure from Plymouth, England and their landing on Cape Cod, as well as descriptions of their settlement in Plymouth, MA. Students then spent a day at Plimouth Plantation and a cold, wet, windy hour on the Mayflower. The students’ detailed knowledge, from the vantage point of the documents they explored, created a powerful experience when they arrived at Plimouth. Students constructed boxes, which explored the larger theme of Encounters, a theme also reflected in diverse materials in English class. The boxes were dis-played at an evening exhibition, where students did a great job discussing their work.

The Silk Road

If you were lucky enough to attend the 7/8th grade Silk Road exhibition, you would have met a friendly camel, traded goods at various markets, tasted camel’s milk, eaten sweet Indian pudding, and met a variety of challenges that might have cost you gold or valuable water or food. The Silk Road project was cleverly designed as a “choose your own adventure” simulation that fully en-gaged “travelers” in an experience on the Silk Road. Like the 9th grade project, students struggled with complex texts, and maps together. Just as the 9th grad-ers’ readings enriched their experience at Plimouth, the 7/ 8th grade projects were influenced by students’ critical explorations of challenging materials in class.


In 9th grade physical science the students were involved in a mini-robotics competition. Design teams built and programmed computers to independently maneuver through a covered maze. Students could watch their robots wind though the maze (or crash) from smart phone cameras attached to the front of each robot. The final challenge for the design teams was to create a lesson plan and a programming task for 4th graders from Sammuel Morey and West-shire. The general consensus by the 9th graders was that the 4th grade students were quick learners.

Our direction

Again, we believe that carefully designed projects provide each student with personally relevant entry points to work that requires rigorous thinking. As teachers, the work challenges us to shift how we think about learning and knowledge, structure instruction, and assess students’ performance. This is not easy work, but we are not entirely on our own. This year’s Rowland Foundation Fellowship supported the development of materials used in the humanities projects. We also have a budding relationship with High Tech High, a group of schools recognized internationally for achieving a high degree of in-novation and equity though projects. This week Kirsten Surprenant, Doc Browne, and Story Graves have completed another Rowland Fellowship appli-cation designed to help us further develop our partnership with High Tech High. http://www.hightechhigh.org

First trimester student performance

Our students’ performance this first Trimester showed a drop in the percent-age of total classes failed, from 9.28% to 8.44%. This 8% threshold has been very hard to break. A significant change was the percentage of students failing one or more classes, 19.29%.

For the past five years at least 21% of our students have failed at least one class. This number was as high as 22.86% in the first trimester of 2012.

Tri1 Percentages:

tri1 percentages

The democratic process of school governance

As principal of Rivendell Academy and Head of Schools, school board meetings are an important venue for me to hear from community members.

Our school board meetings take place on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM. The meetings rotate between the district office conference room in the West Wing (lower building) and Westshire Elementary School. December and January include special budget meetings in preparation of the Annual Re-port and presentation of the budget at the town meeting.

The development of our schools requires increased community participation. These meetings provide community members an opportunity to address con-cerns to the board, hear reports from each principal, and the superintendent. There are usually one or more special presentations to the board by students or community members.

Upcoming dates:
Board meeting 1/3 Westshire
Budget meetings 1/10 Academy, 1/17 Westshire

Keri Gelenian

Fall 2016

Dear Rivendell Families

We have had a fantastic start of the year. Students seem happy, focused and engaged. After four years we now have all high school students on personal laptops and our technology has been working beautifully. Our new staff, Mr. Pilcher in 7/8 social studies, Ms. McConnell in math and Ms. Radney in Spanish are settled in and doing a great job. Our strong start is testimony to the professionalism and excellence of our teachers and staff.

Upcoming Events, which we would appreciate your input, please place on your calendar:

Rivendell Academy Advisory Open House

~Bringing Us Together in Meaningful Conversation~
Thursday, October 6, 2016
6:00pm – 7:45pm
Meet your student’s advisor
Overview of first month of school and future events
View student and teacher video projects
Meet other parents and staff

Sign-up for 3-way conferences

* Please note that 3-way conferences are November 4, 2016 not October 7, 2016
We are encouraging 100% participation at all grade levels. This is a time to come together as a school community. Each advisory is providing a baked good and coffee/tea will be available. Dinner will be provided for all soccer players.

We need Assistance in Creating an Afterschool Arts Program:

We held our first meeting with two parents, and we held an initial brainstorm meeting with parents and students on September 15th. Our second planning meeting is on September 28th from 6 - 7 PM at the academy. Our first initial project is organizing a fundraiser in December. We need your help, if interested please attend this meeting or call Brenda Gray at 353-4321 x1225.

3-Way Conference Change

We are moving the academy 3-way conference to November 4th from 11AM-6PM, families will schedule times at the  Advisory Open House. October 7th is a scheduled day off for students.

Honor Roll Reception

We will not have an honor roll recognition night at the end of the First trimester. We will however hold one recognition night at the end of Tri II recognizing high school students who made honors Tri 1 and Tri 2.

Fall Newsletter