Riverside High School is in the process of developing its overall vision and purpose. In the fall of 2010 Jamesville High School and Williamston High School consolidated into the New Riverside High School.
While both schools had viable mission, beliefs, purpose, and vision statements it was obvious that Riverside High School needed to begin the process of unifying our school, community and overall vision and purpose.
Riverside High School faculty and staff began this process by discussing what are the reasons teachers began teaching. What was it that attracted them to the field of education. We then went into what their beliefs were about educating children. Faculty then had table discussions about what children deserve in education and what is the purpose of our school in educating children. The discussion ended with the tables thinking about a vision of what we want to see our student’s achieving when they exit our school and beyond. It was obvious in listening to teachers speak that it was not only a job to educate our students but they saw this as their duty and moral responsibility. They also agreed that this was not an easy task, but one that had to be accomplished.
All staff members had to write two sticky notes about their personal beliefs for education and their vision for our students who attend Riverside HS. All information was collected.
The information will be analyzed by the SIT team and we will use this information for the beginning of discussions of the writing of Riverside High School’s Vision and Purpose. This will not be a short process. We will include our local advisory committee, student government, and community input. We will try to have this goal completed by the first week in January and will frequently visit our vision and purpose to se if what we say and believe actually match our actions.
Policies and procedures are collaborative between staff and administration. At the beginning of each school year administration reviews with staff pertinent policies, procedures and expectations regarding school governance (Staff Handbook). We annually review and revise student / staff handbook, policies and procedures.
School staff identifies school improvement needs; goals are set based on the identified needs; improvement strategies are implemented, and data collected and strategies are assessed to determine effectiveness. The review process is collaboration between staff and administration regarding adherence to strategy implementation and follow through. Other student performance measurements: EOC scores, graduation rate, resiliency software and training (graduation cohorts), retention rate, discipline, student failure data, and students’ demographics
Students are offered leadership opportunities through our student council program. The Staff is regularly provided leadership opportunities to participate in policy development on a building wide and departmental basis. At times staff is encouraged to volunteer for committees, selected by fellow staff members, or directed to participate by administration.
Various opportunities for curricular and extracurricular activities are provided through our sports programs, and educational clubs.
Community expectations and the satisfaction of our community as stakeholders of their children’s education, is addressed through regular meetings with our local advisory board.
Teachers have the opportunity to improve evaluation ratings, for example (Developing, Proficient, Accomplished, and Distinguished)
All staff can select their individual professional learning needs. All learning opportunities are submitted and measured against the mission/belief statement, improvement goals and strategies. All requests are prioritized without bias. Recent addition of teacher led PLC’s (professional learning communities) have been implemented to give further empowerment and professional development flexibility to our teachers.
The school has leaders who are advocates for the school's vision and improvement efforts. The leaders provide direction, lend support, and systematically allocate resources for implementation of curricular and extra-curricular programs that enable students to achieve expectations for their learning as well as developing their characters and leadership potential. Leaders ensure collaboration and shared responsibility for school improvement among stakeholders with clearly defined expectations for each stakeholder group (students, staff, and community members). The leaders provide our stakeholders meaningful roles in the decision-making process that promote a culture of participation, responsibility, and ownership. The school's policies, procedures, and organizational conditions strive to ensure equity of learning opportunities and support for innovation and are integral to the way the school functions.
Riverside High School’s curriculum provides opportunities for all students to acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for success. Our staff develops and implements curriculum based on clearly-defined expectations for student learning. Teachers’ lesson plans adhere to or exceed state and national standards, reflect various learning strategies, and incorporate modifications for different levels of learning. Furthermore, teachers promote active involvement of students in the learning process, including opportunities for them to explore application of higher-order thinking skills, such as lab investigations, group and independent real world research in all curricula. Our staff encourages students to investigate new approaches to applying their learning, such as participation in various vocational competitions in the district and state. Riverside teachers use various means of gathering data and research in making curricular and instructional choices. Our teachers use EVAS to examine student potential indicators. The EVAS data enables teachers to chart adaptations for individualized learning and whole group learning. In addition, benchmark testing helps our instructors and students determine what goals or objectives have been met and which ones need more intense review. Many teachers use their own pre- and post-testing programs to determine the success of student learning, while others use informal analysis of student errors to design mini-lessons aimed at particular student needs. Finally, technology programs such as ClassScape and Study Island assist students themselves in using data to determine their own personal learning achievements and needs. Our staff uses instructional strategies, innovations, and activities that have proven effective through research and reflect best practice. Teachers use Blooms taxonomy and Marzano to structure lessons and activities that tap into higher order thinking skills. Integrating technology into instruction helps engage student interest, while integrating it in our assessments helps prepare students for the demands of college and careers in the Twenty-first Century. Many of our staff design lessons that incorporate learning styles to help students get the most out of their learning. Teachers also include various inter- and intrapersonal activities to help students grow academically as well as socially. Riverside High School offers a curriculum that challenges each student to excel, reflects a commitment to equity, and demonstrates an appreciation of diversity. Our Occuprep program challenges students to learn skills necessary for a successful career after high school. Students have equal access to honors and AP courses to prepare themselves for the rigor of college academics. The school system provides support personnel for those students with special physical needs to facilitate their learning and movement throughout the school with the least restrictions possible. Our curriculum assistance courses provide extra time and instruction to students with learning disabilities, thereby keeping them in the regular classroom for most of the school day. Media materials, bulletin boards, and textbook choices, as well as the school climate, all send the message that diversity should be understood and celebrated.
Our administration and staff place a high value on instructional time and work together to ensure the least number of interruptions to the learning process. Intercom announcements are infrequent and come at expected times during the school day, and most club meetings are held after school to protect the integrity of class time. To smooth the transition from middle to high school, our guidance department goes to the middle school to help students register for classes that are appropriate for their needs and interests. Further discussion of alignment between and among all levels of schools occurs in monthly departmental meetings as well as through maintaining prerequisites for various classes to ensure the continuity of the curriculum. Our school offers interventions to help students meet expectations for learning. For example, the Credit Recovery helps student to refocus and get back on track for graduation. Our county’s Drop Back In program offers students a modified instructional program to help former or potential drop-outs earn their diplomas. Our school is open for extended hours before exams for evening review sessions. Also, EOC course tutors are available on campus during the school day. The High School Success program targets potential future college students who may need extra support to realize those dreams, and our school athletes are offered extra help with academics through the ACES program. Finally, all students have access to programs which can be accessed at home, such as Study Island and ClassScape, to practice and review weak areas of understanding.
Again, Riverside administration, teachers, and support staff highly regard time on task and monitor the school climate, taking steps to ensure it is conducive to student learning. Our Freshman Academy helps keep freshmen focused on academics. ISS provides students who misbehave a way to stay on top of their assignments, keeping them from getting behind.
Our school provides comprehensive information and media services that support the curricular and instructional programs. Parents are kept aware of upcoming events through the ConnectEd program. All teachers use Engrade, an online program that allows parents to access all their students’ grades and assignments with the click of a mouse. Progress reports are another way we strive to keep parents abreast of student performance. Many teachers also use teacher web pages to post helpful links, homework calendars, blogs, forums and other learning tools. Our student-created daily announcements are another way students are informed.
Students at Riverside High School have regular and ready access to instructional technology and a comprehensive materials collection that supports the curricular and instructional program. Most classes have interactive white boards for instruction and/or document cameras. The library houses a computer lab as well as two portable laptop carts. Students are welcome to check out one of the fifteen flip cameras from the library to complete technology projects. Our media coordinator works closely with departments to make subject content materials available when grant funding becomes available.
Clearly, Riverside High School provides the curriculum, instruction, and materials to facilitate achievement for all students.
The school has implemented programs to document and monitor students. EVAS is used to predict what student should score on exams based on previous results. Study Island and benchmarks are used to measure progress towards meeting the expectations of student learning. Benchmark data is used to assess student progress to allow teacher to improve upon instruction techniques. End of grade results are used along with teacher evaluations. Personalized Education Plans (PEP) are used to improve student performance. NC school reports cards show school achievement which compares our school performance to the state and district. NC school report data can be used to compare different schools along with different counties in the state. Annual Yearly Progress results (AYP) and data are used to verify student growth and performance. Student records and EC records are housed in a secure location under lock and key.
Making information available to everyone is one way that we can improve. If the tools that are currently in place is made available to everyone this would help data collection. This will also help staff and faculty better analyze the data.
Riverside High School is successful in providing resources and services that are necessary to support its vision and purpose and to ensure achievement for all students because it has sufficient human, material and fiscal resources that allow students to be successful.
The staff at RHS is qualified with several staff members that are Nationally Board Certified and several staff member having Masters Degrees in their specialty areas. Six staff members are currently waiting for National Board Certification results. Due to renewal requirements by the Department of Public Instruction, teachers must participate in professional development in order to maintain their teaching license. Professional Learning Communities are offered for teachers by teaches as an additional opportunity. This allows teachers to showcase areas of expertise and strengths while enhancing skills for other employees. High EOC and VOCAT test scores also prove that Riverside High School has a qualified staff.
Finances are audited yearly. The faculty and staff are required to keep receipt books that are up to date and must turn in funds in a timely manner. Faculty and staff participate in training concerning Bloodborne pathogens, Asthma, diabetes and epilepsy at the beginning of each school year. The School Resource Officer and principal update yearly the security and crisis management plan and the staff is updated on a regular basis. The guidance department works with students as a whole and one on one to ensure that they have access to the services offered by the guidance department. Internships and apprenticeships are also offered to allow students opportunities for educational and career planning. The exceptional children’s department works to ensure that students with special needs have the support needed to be successful.
Riverside High School does a good job in working to provide positive opportunities for its students to be successful. However, it is lacking in providing sufficient staff in the library where everyone in the school comes for information, books and technology. Budget resources are not sufficient when it comes to purchasing books, technology and providing staff development opportunities. Teachers would be more motivated to participate in staff development opportunities if they knew that there would be some reimbursement. Due to the age of our building, it is difficult for our janitorial staff to keep the building, particularly the restrooms as clean as they should be. Updating the restrooms would be a giant step in helping our school look and feel better.
We at Riverside High School work to create effective communication and relationships with and among our stakeholders. We recognize that collaboration and shared leadership between students, staff, and community members lead to the understanding, commitment, and support that is necessary for student learning and improvement. The Riverside staff strives to communicate the expectations for student learning and improvement to its stakeholders. At the beginning of the school year, parents and students are invited to visit the school to meet the teachers and discuss requirements and expectations. On the first day, all students receive a grade-specific handbook, and homeroom teachers review information with them. Teachers give handouts with their specific goals and required performance levels and have them signed and returned. During class registration, students have individual conferences with counselors and receive help from homeroom teachers. Parent conferences are encouraged before schedules are finalized. In order that the stakeholders see the results of our collaboration, we provide information about school performance and effectiveness and take the time to explain what it means. We send the annual school report card explaining our growth and achievements. The report card is also published in the local newspaper. So stakeholders can see individual student performance, progress reports, report cards, and transcripts are given regularly.
Riverside uses different modes of formal communication with students and their families. Telephone messages are sent to specific groups of students via Connect-ed, an automated phone system. We also use local television and radio stations for weather and emergency situations. A large marquee in front of the school displays important school information. Students and parents also have access to daily announcements and grades via internet. Our school uses Engrade, an on-line grade book, which allows stakeholders to see grades and assignments daily, not just at progress report and report card time; however, these hard copies are still sent home for those who don’t have easy access to internet. Engrade also allows e-mail between parents, students, and teachers. Whole-school parent/teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year and are held both during the day and at night so we accommodate as many schedules as possible.
Riverside collaborates with community stake holders to support student learning as well as solicits the knowledge and skills of both the school and community stakeholders to enhance the work of the school. We provide the opportunity for internships and apprenticeships that are mutually beneficial to students and the community. We also partner with Martin Community College to offer our students training for jobs. We offer classes on campus such as PEPI and Allied Health that take students into the community to work and train while helping community members. Student clubs also work for mutual benefit of individual members and the school and community. The Art Club regularly paints the football field and driveway with school symbols. Key Club hosts blood drives where some community and school members work and others donate blood. This provides a necessary product while helping to create a new generation of service workers. The Americore Project Heart program through East Carolina University trains our seniors to work with 9 th and 10th graders as in-class tutors. Our FFA organization works on school-beautification projects.
Riverside High School’s continued success is directly related to the quality of the relationships among all its stakeholders, and these relationships are built through effective communication. We will, therefore, continue to look for new ways to improve in this area.
A major focus at Riverside High School is monitoring student progress and finding ways to implement both in and out of the classroom to help our students become successful. To be successful, our faculty and administration collaborate to find strategies, software that can be implemented after analyzing data from our student performance.
This year our faculty has started to implement Professional Learning Communities. PLC’s are provided by teachers that excel in certain areas to help teachers that need guidance or instruction in those areas. With budget shortfalls, going to staff development off campus is not an option so we are teaching each other. The areas addressed may be: teaching strategies, discipline strategies, pacing the curriculum, using technology, etc. We also make sure our curriculum is based on state and federal standards and pacing guides are developed. We look at results from local tests and benchmark tests to review areas of weakness that need to be addressed. Students are given data from these tests to show areas of strength and weakness so they will be informed before state testing begins. Departments meet to align the curriculum to the standards so that students will be prepared for the state tests.
A major emphasis is placed on remediation for students before testing takes placed. Teachers offer after school and night remediation sessions using a wide variety of resources to help prepare students. We regularly use computer software, Study Island and Class Scape, to help students with sample questions. We also access our state department website to get released test items as well as other published recourses that offer sample test questions.
Students and parents are provided with the status of our school during the year with a copy of our schools performance on state tests. We also have given students and parents 24 hour access to grades for their child’s classes through Engrade, a grade book program on line.