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Monday, October 21, 2019

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Curriculum Features

We enrich the experiences of our Academy students with an array of cultural, artistic and place-based learning experiences including the integration of our 38-mile Cross Rivendell Trail into our curriculum and course work.

Schedule

A sixty-two (62) minute block schedulefor grades 9-12 and a fifty-five (55) minute block schedule for grades 7-8 is employed allowing students in grades 9-12 to take five classes each trimester and six classes in grades 7-8.  Classes meet every day and are either one, two or three trimesters long with each trimester worth .5 credit. Core courses in grades 7-10 meet for the entire year. 

Advisory, Academic Support, and Assembly:

Students are assigned to an academic advisor for four years. Advisory meets for thirty (30) minutes once a week and fifteen (15) minutes at the start of the day four times a week. The Advisory program provides students and staff with an opportunity to work together to develop community, character, and scholarship. The goal is to develop individuals who take responsibility for their own learning.

Four times a week students have a block for Academic Support. Once a month students participate in an all-school assembly focusing on a compelling issue related to school, the community or the world. Examples have included: student government elections, debates (on the use of cell phones in school), genocide, improvements to our Cross Rivendell Trail system, and the effects of the Bystander in bullying/ harassment situations.

Rivendell Academy: The 3 Learning Expectations

Effective Communicator:

Students interact with people and media to acquire information and develop ideas used to communicate to an audience through appropriate media.

Effective Communicators show:

  • Strong reading skills
  • Strong research skills
  • Effective writing (consistent application of standard English)
  • Effective use of images, movement, color, sound, performance, voice, photographs, video, computer, graphs, charts, tables, statistics, technology etc...

Evidence in performance:

  • Clearly articulates ideas (your own ideas, and summaries of other people’s ideas)
  • Demonstrates the ability to create reasoned arguments supported with relevant evidence, analyze, synthesize information, produce rich descriptions, narrate a compelling story
  • Engages an audience
  • Demonstrates organization, clarity, voice, logic, polish, humor, complex thinking, originality, accuracy
  • Control of content and message

How well do I read and understand a broad range of written material which includes but is not limited to poetry, novels, short stories, essays, textbooks, technical manuals, maps, sheet music, graphs, tables, charts, works of art, and film? How well do I determine the reliability of sources? How well do I recognize my struggles with comprehension and ask for support? How well can I make connections between what I’m “reading” and other contexts?

How well do I express myself in a variety of ways, including but not limited to art, music, world language, writing, speaking, theater, athletics, and community service? Do I support my points with information? Do I speak clearly and make an effort to show others that I’m engaged in communication with them? Do I try to develop my communication skills in different areas? Is my communication organized? Do I have a thesis statement or main point? Are my ideas supported by examples?

Effective Problem Solver:

When faced with challenging situations, students effectively frame the problem, apply knowledge, and use inquiry skills to minimize barriers.

Effective Problem Solvers show:

  • Efficient use of familiar and known problems
  • Use of systematic methods
  • Correct application of math
  • Application of communication skills

Evidence in Performance:

  • Frames the problem to drive inquiry
  • Considers alternatives, diverse perspectives, multiple approaches
  • Provides relevant evidence supporting the effectiveness of the solution
  • Applies strategies, asks good questions, thinks logically, thinks creatively
  • Seeks relevant assistance
  • Reflects on results of trials to improve outcomes

How well do I solve problems through seeking help, grappling with difficult questions, experimenting, gathering information, planning, goal-setting, reflecting, and management of discouragement and frustration. Do I think creatively in seeking solutions, or do I take the easiest route possible? Am I willing to risk being wrong on the way to solving the problem and learning?

How well do I understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, and relationships among numbers and number systems? How well do I use mathematical concepts I’ve learned to solve problems in other classes or contexts? How well am I able to use numbers, statistics, and data to defend an idea?

Responsible Citizen:

Students demonstrate concern for and appropriate actions towards themselves, the community, and society.

This is indicated by:

  • Respect (honoring individual differences)
  • Responsibility (seeing oneself as a cause, not a victim)
  • Responsiveness (acting for the good of the whole)
  • Resourcefulness (taking effective action)
  • Ethical actions

Evidence in performance:

  • Listens to diverse perspectives
  • Supports inclusivity
  • Demonstrates empathy
  • Participates in the school, community, nation, world
  • Seeks out diverse perspectives
  • Dependable team member
  • Works towards consensus
  • Adjusts behavior to social context (time, place, people)

How well do I understand and accept that people live differently from me? How well do I understand the reasons for those differences? Do I know some specific ways in which people live, interact, or think differently in other places? Do I appreciate art, literature, music, film, or dance from another culture? How much am I aware of what’s going on in the world? What understanding do I have about how my actions and the actions my country takes affect other people in the world? What understanding do I have of how the environment affects how cultures and civilizations live?

How well do I understand the needs of my community? How willing am I to help in whatever way I can? How well do I work as part of a team? How well I do I work with people who are different or who have different ideas from me? In what ways do I demonstrate leadership? How do I contribute to a positive environment at Rivendell Academy? How do I contribute to my community beyond Rivendell?

How well do I advocate for myself and my needs? How willing am I to ask for help when I need it? How aware am I of the effects my actions have on my own life and on others? How accepting am I that other people have different needs and things that are important to them? How do I respond when something is hard and I’m struggling? How sensitive am I to other people’s needs and feelings when I’m working in a group?

Honors Challenge

Rivendell Academy offers students the opportunity to do advanced level work that will be designated as honors (H) on their official transcript. Along with advanced level work, there are expectations of an “honors” student that include responsibility, strong leadership skills, being a positive role model to others, and a willingness to share new depth of knowledge with other students in the class. Students must attain permission from the teacher and their parent/guardian to take on the honors challenge.

It is important to note that while advanced level work may imply simply additional work and assignments, the essence of advanced level work is a deeper understanding, study, and knowledge of the subject matter at hand. Mastery is of a more rigorous nature and this will be reflective in the grading.

Advanced Placement Exam Option

While Rivendell Academy offers many challenging advanced level courses, none are designed solely to prepare students for the Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations administered by the College Board. Students planning to take specific AP exams may request a list of recommended courses from the School Counseling office. Advisors may also direct students to online resources specifically designed for AP exam preparation. AP courses are not required in order to take AP exams.

Additional Opportunites for Advancement

For students who seek advanced courses and meet the appropriate criteria, classes are available through: Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH; Dual Enrollment and Early College through the State College System of Vermont; Running Start courses through River Valley Community College; and E*Start courses through the Community College System of New Hampshire and Southern New Hampshire University.

External Programs

  • River Bend Career and Technical Center , Bradford, VT – Open to juniors and seniors who meet eligibility criteria. The following fields of study are offered: Automotive Technology, Construction Academy and Residential Energy, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diversified Agriculture and Natural Resources, Emergency Services, Health Sciences, Heavy Equipment, Teacher Education, and 21st Century Media and Design.
  • Hartford Career and Technical Center , Hartford, VT - Programs that are not offered at River Bend Career and Technical Center are open to juniors and seniors who meet eligibility criteria. The following fields of study are available: Business Administration, Collision Repair & Refinishing, Computer Science, Design Illustration & Media Arts, Industrial Mechanics & Welding, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

  • Upward Bound – Upward Bound has been on the campus of Lyndon State College for the past 25 years. Our program is committed to ensuring that first generation, low - moderate income high school students receive the support, encouragement, and preparation to obtain the most appropriate post secondary degree.
  • Vermont Governors’ Institute – Governors’ Institutes provide an opportunity to study with the State’s finest professionals on the campuses of Vermont colleges. Students in 9-11th grade with a strong interest in Arts, Asian Cultures, Current Issues, Engineering, Information Tecnology, Mathematical Sciences or Science and Technology are invited to apply.