The Value of a Deep and Enriching Science Curriculum This week I witnessed one of those wonderful moments that give shape to the Riverdale experience. Sixth graders were busily huddled over large pieces of paper -- drawing, labeling, and debating the appropriate analogy for mitochondria and vacuoles. The assignment was to develop and articulate a metaphor to describe the make-up of a typical cell. Three days later I watched seventh graders involved in a similar exercise, with slightly less teacher scaffolding, creating physical manifestations of cell parts. Watching the levels of engagement in these two related activities reinforced for me the value of the kind of hands-on, inquiry based, scientific exploration that is the hallmark of our science instruction.
And all of this after returning last week from the 23rd (at least) annual 5th Grade Field Study to St. Helens. (For parents who remember this trip, I'm sure you will agree that it is an incredible learning opportunity for our budding geologists. For those who have yet to experience it, the wait is well worth it. Mr. Nebert and Mrs. Reece put together an incredible trip and put out an exhaustive amount of energy in the process!) For some incredible photos -- taken by Brian Black -- click here.
It almost goes without saying that 100% of our 8th graders last year met or exceeded State expectations on the OAKS assessment. Almost.
This year provides us with an opportunity to improve upon an already excellent curriculum. Each year the State cycles a curricular area for review -- this year's area is science. Faculty members will be attending a "caravan" of approved instructional materials with me in November and developing a road-map for our adoption process. We will be seeking parent input in this effort as well -- stay tuned. The beauty of our materials adoption philosophy is that it puts the focus on adaptive, flexible use of materials to meet the needs of learners in a variety of modalities. We have traditional textbooks, but they certainly are not the only drivers of student learning. I am thrilled that we are sending faculty to State and national professional conferences around current best practices in science education. Three faculty will be attending an Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA) conference this Fall, and three more will be attending the NSTA conference as well. The investment in our teaching faculty pays off in myriad ways. Research tells us that the most critical element in a child's education is exposure to excellent teachers. I'm so blessed to work in a community dedicated to providing its children with just that.
The first 50 RGS students at tonight's homecoming football game get a free treat from the concession stand. An athletic competition for students in grades 4-6 will be at half-time. K-3 students get to hold the homecoming banners. Go Mavericks!
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to families and teachers for starting out the year with an eye toward maintaining a healthy learning environment for our children. Families have been fantastic about reporting illnesses and symptoms to the office, as well as in keeping children home until they are symptom free for 24 hours! On the school side, we have distributed a great deal of hand sanitizer to classrooms, and teachers -- especially primary teachers -- have explicitly spoken with their classes about the appropriate use of hand sanitizer, lest it wind up in a mouth. As well, we installed touch-less foaming sanitizer stations at the entrance to the cafeteria and where primary students return to the building from recess. More are on order for middle school re-entry points. All in all, we are doing everything we can to promote healthy habits, especially emphasizing the importance of hand-washing.
Athletics Update from Athletic Director Lori Peterson
Girls' VB started off with a SMASH HIT! The Lady Falcons beat both Portland Waldorf and City Christian to begin the '09 campaign. The competition has stiffened since. Open Door, Damascus and Country Christian have handed the team three straight match losses. Next week will offer the volleyball athletes an opportunity to redeem themselves at Portland Lutheran on Monday, 10/5 and NCCS on Tues., 10/6.
The Div I boys' soccer team is undefeated at this point in the season. They have dominated play against Catlin Gabel in a preseason contest as well as league play. The upcoming week we'll host a Tues. on Oct. 6th (late start after the girls' game) and TH game at the Riverdale Grade School field. Div II boys' soccer has three wins with one tie to date. This team is playing well together and reflects the depth of RIVERDALE SOCCER. Next week Wed., 10/7 these athletes will be competing on a fantastic turf venue at 53rd Avenue Park in Hillsboro under the lights against Faith Bible (6:30 p.m. start).
Finally, the girls' soccer team began the season beating Catlin at their field during preseason play. They have come up against two really strong teams at the start of league play in Kingsway and Tualatin Valley Junior Academy. The Falcons lost both games. Next week, they'll continue to gain aggressiveness defensively as they host Meadowglade on Oct. 6that RGS field (start time 4:00 p.m.) and travel to OES on Oct. 8th for a 3:30 game against the Green team.Upcoming events:
4:00 PM GS 6/7/8 Gr. Girls' VB (away) vs NCCS 4:00 PM GS Girl's Soccer (home) v Meadowglade 5:20 PM GS Div I Boy's Soccer (home) v Trinity Lutheran
6:30 PM GS Div II Boy's Soccer (away) v Faith Bible
8:40 AM - 3:30 PM GS - 4th Gr. FT - Bull Run Reservoir 3:30 PM GS Girls' Soccer (away) v OES Green 4:15 PM GS Div I Boy's Soccer (home) v Tualatin Valley Junior Academy
K-12 Half Day for Students -- AM only: dismissal at 12:05