August 14, 2014

Welcome Back Lions!

The start of school is one of the best times of the year, even if children seldom admit openly to it. The anticipation of new subjects, the renewed comradery, the excitement of unforeseen possibilities all combine giving campuses new energy. It truly is remarkable. 

I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable summer and are looking forward to a wonderful year at Rivermont. Our school has been extremely busy over the break both in conducting summer school and in preparing for the new academic year. There are a lot of new programs and initiatives this year we are excited about!

New Faculty 

I would like to introduce you to the new members of the Rivermont family and faculty.

Shawn BuettnerShawn Buettner, our new Upper School Science teacher, comes to us from Assumption High School. Shawn has tremendous experience, having taught a variety of science courses in Iowa and Florida. She holds a Graduate Degree from Kaplan University in Teaching and an Undergraduate Degree in Science from Emory University. Shawn will be teaching Biology, Chemistry and Anatomy this year. We are excited to welcome Shawn to the Rivermont family!

Andy ScottComing to Rivermont from the Wilton School District, Andy Scott taught AP Calculus, Trigonometry/Pre-calculus, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Pre-Algebra for seven years while leading his school's computer and technology programs. Andy Scott is a remarkable addition to our faculty. A University of Northern Iowa graduate, Andy is an avid outdoorsman volunteering his energy and commitment to youth summer camps.

Jessica Freemyer

A St. Ambrose graduate, Jessica Freemyer will lead our Instrumental Music program. Jessica joins the Rivermont family with a wealth of experience and talent across the Quad Cities region. Whether collaborating with the Quad Cities Symphony, the Saint Ambrose Choir, or introducing individual students to the world of music, Jessica's unbound creativity, high energy, and passion for music will vault our instrumental program skyward. 

SewardStephanie Seward, joins the Rivermont family this year in leading our Vocal Music program. An accomplished artist in theater and music, Stephanie has worked with all age groups across the Midwest teaching vocal workshops and overseeing a wide variety of musical productions. Whether as a Director/Instructor at the Beverly Arts Center in Chicago or performing with the Saint Ambrose Choir, her alma mater, Stephanie brings a wealth of talent and energy to our music program.

There has also been a change unfortunately to our Early Bird Care Provider. Lesa Behrends, whose bright smile and enthusiasm for each student provided such a warm and friendly start to each school day, is unable to continue with us in this capacity due to family medical and health concerns. Lesa will be a remaining a part of the Rivermont family in a substitute teacher capacity. Lesa asked to pass along that it was an absolute pleasure to honor and serve her Rivermont family and that while her role at our school has changed, she looks forwards to the opportunity to continue to work alongside such a tremendous faculty in support of our students. Amber Weeks, our exceptional Preschool Aide will be assuming the additional responsibility of our Early Bird Care Provider.

We are excited to welcome Vanessa Douglas to the Rivermont family as our new Marketing Manager. As a Western Illinois Alumni, Vanessa comes to Rivermont with an array of marketing experience in the Quad Cities working with John Deere as a Marketing Analyst contractor, Marketing Director of Chick-fil-A, and an Advertising Account Executive with WQAD - News 8. Vanessa started at Rivermont over the summer and has already made a significant impact on our school. We are incredibly honored to welcome such a creative, talented, and energetic member to the Rivermont team.

New Website

If you have not been on our new website, I highly encourage to explore all the new features. Additionally ACTIVE THIS WEEK on our website are the individual teacher pages. Simply click on the "LOGIN" button on the upper right corner of the website or on an individual teacher's name on the Academics Page to access the teacher sites. The user name is "rivermont" and the password is "lions1"

Out-of-Box Electives

Middle School students will have the opportunity this year to select an expanded array of electives. During the first day of school, students will receive a presentation from the various elective teachers outlining their courses. Students may select a different course each semester or remain in a single course for both semesters. The elective courses offered this year include:

  • Robotics (Fall Semester Only): Rivermont's First Lego League Robotics class returns for its fourth season this year. A fun and exciting curriculum that stretches the imagination while promoting character and the value of teamwork, our Robotics teams participate in local, and potentially state competitions in December and January. Whether a seasoned veteran or new to robotics, we have the challenge for you.
  • Introduction to Flight (Spring Semester Only): As a compliment to the fall Robotics course, Rivermont's flight course explores the science and behind man's journey skyward. Combining elements of aerodynamics and rocketry, this course is designed as a hands-on student laboratory examining the wonders of flight.
  • Creative Writing (Fall and Spring Semesters): Though innate gift and practiced talent strengthen young writers, this course does not require either-merely avid interest and willingness to work hard. Students will examine excerpts from classic and favorite writers' work and will practice and adapt those skills and styles. Lots of reading. Lots of writing.
  • Video Journalism (Fall and Spring Semesters): Returning to Rivermont this year is our very popular Video Journalism class. Using advanced graphic and illustrative software, students plan, write, direct, and film a number of newscasts throughout the semester covering a wide variety of school events and topics. These student newscasts are presented periodically to the student body throughout the year. If you are interested in journalism or media production, this is the class for you.
  • Comic Storytelling (Fall and Spring Semesters): Also returning this year, our Comics as Art course introduces students to the world of graphic and illustrative novels. Students will learn comics as a unique language that combines storytelling, art/design choices, and communication skills. Their art will be viewed in the world through traditional and online media.
  • History Day (Spring Semester Only): This course is designed as an independent group research project focused on a student chosen topic in alignment with the National History program. Students research, develop and present their work to a panel of judges at the regional National History Day competition. Student may be eligible to compete further at the State and National levels. 

On the Horizon

With the start of each new school year there are so many new and exciting things to cover. Many of our new initiatives, like our Education Partners and 1:1 Technology programs, are discussed on our new website. On August 28th, we will be hosting our next Evening With The Headmaster series, which outlines many of our new school initiatives while also previewing future programs that are in the works. Designed as a town hall forum, this meeting provides parents the opportunity to discuss school policies and concerns with the Headmaster. For those not able to attend the presentation in person, we will be live-streaming the event on the web.

Again, welcome back! We are all very excited for the upcoming school year!

Todd Zachary


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