Friday, January 13, 2017

Yesterday, we hosted the leadership team from Clarendon High School at Rivercrest. They came to our school because they are interested in implementing Flex Mod Scheduling and wanted to learn from our experience. They spent several hours with us and left very excited about the potential benefits for the students at Clarendon. In addition to visiting with some of our leadership team, they also talked to teachers and students. I was most excited by a group of our students who served on a panel and fielded questions from our friends from Clarendon. After the panel discussion, our students escorted them on a tour of our campus and broke off in pairs to visit with them informally. Those are the "soft" skills of leadership and communication that are a part of ColtFlex! I want to thank Jamyka FranksSydney Lane, Stephan Range, and Oscar Rios from our 9-12 building, and to Kinsey Jones and Shaunclynn Perry from our 7-8 building, for a job well done!
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Eleven students in our December ACT Academy have earned incentive rewards totaling almost $3,500 for attendance and performance. Students were able to earn up to $150 for attending ACT prep sessions and up to another $350 for increasing their ACT scores as a result of what they learned in the academy. Congratulations to Elizabeth Bell, Mallorie Boyles, Jala Jones, Chris Mireles, Bobbie Pierce, Tailynn Richmond, Kelly Robinson, Raven Robinson, Hayley Toler, Luis Valenzuela, and Savannah Winford!
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Seven of our Essentials of Computer Programming students received a $100 Visa gift card as a result of their performance in that course last semester. We are able to do this through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education. Congratulations to David Carney, Gilbert Jaramillo, Chris Mireles, Alex Poag, Ezequiel Sanchez, Scotty Sipes, and Jani Sykes! We will offer this incentive program again this semester.
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We are very proud of senior Taylor Oakes, who this week became the first cheerleader in school history to be named an all-state cheerleader by the Arkansas Activities Association. Congratulations, Taylor!
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Several of our students competed in the Mississippi County Spelling Bee this week and represented our school well. Caleb Benham finished 15th, while Aiden Ezell placed 21st and Victoria Joiner came in 30th. I appreciate Mrs. Christy Stewart for her sponsorship of this activity for our students.
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Thursday, January 19th - The Lady Colts will travel to Harrisburg for three basketball games (7th/Jr./Sr.), with the first one tipping off at 5:00 p.m. The Colts will make up the home games with Westside that were postponed due to inclement weather last Friday. The Jr. High game will be at 6:00 p.m., followed by the Sr. High game. There will not be a 7th grade game.

Friday, January 20th - The Colts will host the Harrisburg Hornets for three games (7th/Jr./Sr.). The 7th grade game will tip off at 5:00 p.m.
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Colt Pride!

Monday, January 9, 2017

An update on the School of Innovation application process: our 7-12 staff has elected two certified and two classified members to serve on our School Council of Innovation, and the PTO has elected four parents who will serve on the Council as well. I will also serve on the Council, as will two of our students. I hope to have them in place this week.
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Forty-seven students in grades 9-12 made the "Three A's" list for the second nine weeks. Those are students who earned at least a 2.0 Grade Point Average, had no discipline referrals, and had no more than two absences for any reason. We will let them offer suggestions on how they would like to be rewarded!
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I have overseen our Supplemental Instruction Program (SIP) since 2002. That program, sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association, offers students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities but have below a 2.0 the opportunity to do so if they complete 100 additional minutes of instruction per week during the semester. Out of 87 student-athletes participating in baseball, basketball, cheerleading, softball, and track this semester, only three will have to be in SIP! That is a record low, and is a testament to their work in the classroom and I believe to the extra time during the day that ColtFlex affords us!
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We are revamping our student tutoring program for math this semester. Instead of pairing students with students, we have generated enough interest to place one student in Mr. Felizco's room for each of the first seven flights of the day, and we also have three students available to tutor in our 7th and 8th grade building. These students are upperclassmen who have demonstrated math ability. Mrs. Jones came up with the idea based on the plan implemented at Dover High School a few years ago, and Mrs. LeeAnn Graham coordinated it. I certainly want to thank them, and those students who are volunteering their time!
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Our youth leadership team - Grayson Driver, Whitney Fincher, Sydney Lane, Gracie Pierce, Joseph Robertson, and Latijah Starr - will be going to Armorel High School on Wednesday for the monthly county-wide leadership team meeting. The topic this month will be diversity and communication.
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This Friday, seventeen of our 7-12 students will be participating in the National CyberPatriot competition. They will compete in teams to troubleshoot problems in Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 14, and Cisco packet tracer. The teams are sponsored by 1st Sgt. Bell and Mrs. Bell. Good luck!
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Monday, January 9th -  The Lady Colts will host Trumann for three basketball games (7th, Jr., and Sr.), with the first one tipping off at 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 10th - The Mississippi County Spelling Bee will be at 10:00 a.m. at Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville. The Colts will host Trumann for three games (7th, Jr., and Sr.), with the first one tipping off at 5:00 p.m. The Board of Directors of the Rivercrest School District will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Parent/Teacher Center at RES.

Thursday, January 12th - The Lady Colts will travel to Brookland for three games (7th, Jr., and Sr.), with the first one tipping off at 5:00 p.m.

Friday, January 13th -  Our JROTC cadets will work the American Red Cross "Drive for Life" blood drive in Jonesboro. The Colts will host Brookland for three basketball games (7th, Jr., and Sr.), with the first one tipping off at 5:00 p.m.
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Colt Pride!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Tomorrow is "Championship Saturday" for our RHS cheerleaders! Our high school cheer squad, including our freshmen, will be competing in the Arkansas State Cheer Championships at the Hot Springs Convention Center. We are one of 10 schools in the 1-3A Game Day Division. Our girls are scheduled to perform at 10:02 a.m. tomorrow, and the competition will be streamed live online on the NFHS Network. Our young ladies and their coaches have done an amazing job this year, and we are so proud of them!


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One of our points of emphasis this year is to provide students with work-based experiences. Our ANC Career Coach, Mr. Dave Diagostino, will be working to set those up for some of our upperclassmen next semester. In the meantime, some of Mrs. Tracey Bell's 8th grade Career Development students have been job shadowing. Connor Gray recently job-shadowed at Stracener Construction and James Hice job-shadowed at Corbin Allen Contractors. We need to take advantage of every opportunity we can find to illustrate to our students what is possible as a member of the Mississippi County workforce!
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We had our junior high spelling bee this week, and I am proud to announce our winners! Caleb Benham finished in first place, followed by Victoria Joiner in 2nd place and Aiden Ezell in 3rd place. Congratulations! All three students will represent us in the Mississippi County Spelling Bee next semester.
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More good news from our JROTC program! Our cadets recently qualified for the second level in both the academic and leadership categories in the JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl. This placed them in the top 50% of 1,742 teams entered in the national contest. Our Academic team consists of Kendarius Brooks, Madison Crawford, Zante Harris (Captain), Leah Pannell, Alex Poag, and Kyler Williams. Our Leadership team consists of Megan Beatty (Captain), Deontae Davis, Kalandria Ingram, Latijah Starr, Mary Stone, and Desere Williams.
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Our Lady Colts defeated Manila 53-33 last night at RHS. Sydney Lane led all scorers
with 12 points, while both Dede Williams and Lexi Gonzalez recorded 11 points. Amber
Blagg finished with nine points, and Lauren Shempert added four points. The Lady Colts
are now 7-5 overall and 2-4 in the conference.
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Our Jr. Lady Colts defeated Manila 38-26 last night to move to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the
conference. Ty Coleman led the scoring with 12 points, followed by Tyshianna Turner
with 11 and Zoe Warhurst with eight. Railee Powell scored five points, and Melanie
Lucas added two points.
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We will be hosting a team from Clarendon High School on Thursday, January 12th. Their
principal has asked if they could visit Rivercrest to learn more about ColtFlex, and we are
pleased to be a resource for them!
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Monday, December 19th - Our RHS band and choir programs will present their annual Christmas concert at 5:00 p.m. in the auditorium.

Tuesday, December 20th - This is the last day of the fall semester. School will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. for Christmas break. The Lady Colts will play Trumann in the first round of the NEA Tournament at the ASU Convocation Center in Jonesboro. Tip-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Colts will play Cave City in the first round of the NEA Tournament, with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 p.m.


Merry Christmas!!!


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Colt Pride!

Friday, December 9, 2016

We received some wonderful news yesterday! Our JROTC program went through their federal inspection, which happens every five years. We received a Gold Star based on our achievement of a score of 95% on all elements inspected! That is the first time in approximately 15 years that our program has received that distinction, and we are extremely proud of everyone involved. Our cadets received perfect scores on the Cadet Portfolio and Interview, the Unit Report, and In-Ranks Inspection. We also received 19 of 20 on the Service Learning Briefing and 13 of 15 on Color Guard. Our instructors each received a perfect score on their portfolio and interview. Congratulations to our corps of cadets, Major Northcutt, and 1st Sgt. Bell. They have worked so hard to achieve this honor for their program and our school!
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Our students in grades 7-10 took the second ACT Aspire Interim Assessment this week. We enjoyed some nice growth from the first assessment, but experienced a decrease in some areas that we need to investigate. The results for grades 7-8 were as follows:


Grade
Eng #1
Eng  #2
Read #1
Read #2
Sci 
#1
Sci 
#2
Math #1
Math #2
7th
46%
42%
52%
59%
48%
61%
26%
28%
8th
44%
40%
47%
50%
39%
40%
29%
28%


We will have results for the 9th and 10th graders next week, after we have completed all make-ups.
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Five of our Medical Professions students - Ally Ainsworth, Breeann Bonee, Courtney Brister, Haley Toler, and Savannah Winford - job shadowed at the Baptist Memorial Hospital in Southaven, Mississippi this week. They visited the cardiac cath lab, the emergency department, the cardiac monitoring center, the simulation labs, the intensive care units, the cardiac care units, radiology, and women's care. I very much appreciate Mrs. Debbie Stubblefield and Mrs. Michelle Bennett at the ANC Secondary Center for coordinating this opportunity for our students!
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Congratulations to sophomore Kentavious Robinson and senior Freddy Ware, who have been named to the Class AAA All-State football team! Kentavious rushed for 1,523 yards and scored 21 touchdowns on 180 carries, an average of 8.5 yards per carry. He also led our defense with 120 tackles. Freddy was the anchor of our offensive line and also recorded 19 tackles on defense. Both young men were also named to the 3A-3 All-Conference team. Senior Preston Wilson, who made 82 tackles from his linebacker spot and rushed for 303 yards, was named Honorable Mention All-State.
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In addition to Kentavious and Freddy, six other Colts were named all-conference in football. Those young men are defensive back Carl Coleman, kicker Mateo Chirinos, defensive lineman Jamyka Franks, offensive lineman Daniel Guerrero, defensive back Bruce Parker, and linebacker Preston Wilson.
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Eighth grader Victoria Beckett made All-Region 2nd Band (4th chair) on the French Horn last weekend! She has only been playing the instrument for three months, but she scored better than 22 other students in the region. Congratulations!
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The Jr. Lady Colts improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the 3A-3 Conference with their 48-24 victory over Osceola last night. Railee Powell led the scoring with 12 points, followed by Tyshianna Turner with 11. Ty Coleman scored eight points and Tatiunna Burks had six points. Both Zoe Warhurst and Kylan Williams finished with four points.
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Our Sr. Boys started off conference season in a winning fashion Tuesday night, posting a 72-54 win over Harrisburg. Raequan Hodges led the scoring with 14 points, followed by Kentavious Robinson with 13 and Robert Banks with 10. Demilon Brown scored nine points, and Bruce Parker added eight.
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The Colts will play their home opener tonight against the Osceola Seminoles. The 7th grade game will tip-off at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Jr. High game and then the Sr. High game.
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Monday, December 12th - The District Leadership Team will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Parent/Teacher Center at RES. The Lady Colts will travel to Gosnell for three games (7th/Jr./Sr.), with the first one beginning at 5:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, December 13th - The 7th/Jr./Sr. Colts will host Gosnell for three games. Tip-off for the 7th grade game is 5:00 p.m. The Rivercrest School District Board of Directors will hold their regular December meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the RES Parent/Teacher Center.

Wednesday, December 14th -
The RHS Leadership Team will meet at 1:15 p.m. in Rooms 108/109. The Fall CTE Advisory Meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. in the conference room at RHS.     

Thursday, December 15th - The 7th/Jr./Sr. Lady Colts will host Manila for three games. Tip-off for the 7th grade game is 5:00 p.m.

Friday, December 16th - The Colts will travel to Manila for three games (7th/Jr./Sr.), with the first one beginning at 5:00 p.m. 
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Colt Pride!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Our leadership team met this week and reached consensus on several items of interest:

(1) we are going to move forward with our application to become a School of Innovation;

(2) we are working through the New Tech Network to schedule a team visit to Marked Tree High School in late January;

(3) we are working through Pace School Network to schedule a team visit to another flex mod school during the spring semester; and,

(4) Our leadership team did 39 classroom observations in the month of November. We are going to increase the frequency of peer observations, which will be done individually or in pairs on a weekly basis. The purpose of these visits will be to identify both best practices and gaps in teaching and learning, and we will focus on different aspects of instruction. This week and next week, we are focusing on student engagement, grouping format, and questioning strategies.
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We are saddened that our football season came to a close in the quarterfinals of the Class AAA State Playoffs, but we're also very proud of the effort of our players and coaches this year! We enjoyed another successful season, one that included a 3A-3 conference co-championship, our conference's top seed in the state playoffs, and a final record of 9-4. We will miss seniors Robert Banks, Zack Brown, Daniel Fines, Bruce Parker, Kelser Pierce, Oscar Rios, Freddy Ware, and Preston Wilson.
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I am always happy to see college coaches at my door, because that means one of our student-athletes is drawing interest! I was pleased to visit this week with coaches from Eastern Illinois and UA-Monticello, who stopped by to talk with Freddy Ware. What an exciting time for him and his family!
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Basketball season is now fully underway! Our Lady Colts (4-3) won two of three this week, with victories over Caruthersville and White County Central and a loss to Quitman in the quarterfinals of the White County Central Tournament. On the first school night following the end of our football season, our Sr. boys lost their season opener to Rosebud in the White County Central Tournament. Our girls and boys will play two conference games next week, against Harrisburg and Osceola. Our Jr. Boys will open their season Tuesday night, at Harrisburg.
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Monday, December 5th - Our 7th and 8th graders will take the second ACT Aspire Interim Assessment in science and math. The Lady Colts will host Harrisburg for three games (7th/Jr./Sr.), with the first one beginning at 5:00 p.m. 

Tuesday, December 6th - Our 7th and 8th graders will take the second ACT Aspire Interim Assessment in English and reading. The 7th/Jr./Sr. Colts will play at Harrisburg. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, December 7th - Our 9th and 10th graders will take the second ACT Aspire Interim Assessment in science and math.   

Thursday, December 8th - Our 9th and 10th graders will take the second ACT Aspire Interim Assessment in reading and English. Our JROTC program will undergo their federal inspection, beginning at 8:15 a.m. The 7th/Jr./Sr. Lady Colts will play at Osceola. Tip-off is set for 5:00 p.m.

Friday, December 9th - The Colts will host Osceola for three games (7th/Jr./Sr.), with the first one beginning at 5:00 p.m. 
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Colt Pride!

Friday, November 18, 2016

One of the educators I follow on Twitter is Dr. Justin Tarte. He made two tweets this week that really resonated with me:

"Do the grades in your gradebook reflect what a kid actually knows/can do, or do they reflect compliance and one's ability to play school well?"

"Allowing a kid to retake an assessment says to the kid you believe in them and their ability to do better; it says your learning is my goal..."
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Our leadership team at RHS has begun doing colleague visits. These are classroom observations designed to allow us to identify best practices and to gather data on our instructional practices. During visits this month, we are focusing on three elements: (1) a learning objective, written in student-friendly terms; (2) grouping format; and (3) student engagement. So far this week, we have done 16 observations. I did eight today, focusing primarily on our Jr. High building. Mrs. Denise Forister's Pre-AP Geography students were working in groups on a project centered around the physical geography of South America. She allowed her students to choose the region they wished to study, which is an element of student voice. Mrs. Jourdan Cobb's English 7 students were working through complex sentences independently, using an online software application. As they worked, she was walking around the room to assess their understanding and facilitate their learning. Festive Christmas music played in the background, which I thought was a very nice touch (even if it was before Thanksgiving!). In Mrs. Tammy Fleming's Math 7 class, her students were working independently to solve and graph inequalities. She also walked around the room, using questioning strategies to facilitate her students' thinking. In each class, there was a grade-level appropriate learning objective posted and every student was engaged in the work. Great job!
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I had the privilege this afternoon of watching the students on our JROTC Command Staff do a run-through of the oral presentation they will deliver during our federal inspection next month. They did a very nice job, and I have no doubt they are going to represent us well on December 8th!
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The Lady Colts (2-1) defeated Marked Tree 45-43 last night, in overtime. The Lady Colts trailed by 10 points entering the fourth quarter, but mounted a comeback that culminated with a jumper by Sydney Lane to send the game into overtime. Lane finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Lexi Gonzalez added 14 points. Our Jr. Lady Colts won as well, defeating the Lady Indians 32-10. Tyshianna Turner scored nine points, while Zoe Warhurst and Ty Coleman each scored five points.
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The Colts (8-3) will play the Junction City Dragons (8-3) tonight at the Cotton Patch in the second round of the Class AAA state football playoffs. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. Per guidelines of the Arkansas Activities Association, admission is $6.00 for students and adults.
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Our 9-12 cheerleaders will compete tomorrow in the Russellville Classic. This is our first competitive cheer meet in RHS history! Our competition time is 4:24 p.m. at Cyclone Arena.
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Monday, November 21st - Depending on the outcome of our state playoff football game tonight, the Colts, Jr. Colts, and 7th grade Colts will open the 2016-17 campaign on the road against the Bay Yellowjackets. The first game is scheduled to tip-off at 5:00 p.m. If we are still playing in the football playoffs, these games will not be played.

Tuesday, November 22nd - The RHS leadership team will meet at 1:00 p.m. School will be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

Wednesday, November 23rd - Thanksgiving Break.

Thursday, November 24th - 


Friday, November 25th - Thanksgiving Break.
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Colt Pride!

Friday, November 11, 2016

We held our annual Veterans' Day Ceremony this morning and it went exceptionally well. Cadet 2nd Lt. Madison Crawford served as the Mistress of Ceremonies, and our keynote speaker was U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford. Several of our JROTC cadets were promoted and we honored cadets from the Class of 2017. A number of our students participated in the promotion of their Cadet classmates, and the behavior of our student body as a whole was exemplary. I very much appreciate the leadership of Major Northcutt, 1st Sgt. Bell, and our Cadet Command Staff for everything they do. JROTC is definitely one of our "mission-critical" programs!
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I am very proud of the students and teacher in our Jr. High building. On Monday of this week, we changed the ColtFlex template that we have used this semester to address the problem of all students being in Independent Learning Time (ILT) during the same 25-minute mod after lunch. Approximately half of the 7th and 8th grade teachers agreed to switch teaching their classes from three to four times per week. During our weekly after-school meeting on Tuesday, the teachers described the atmosphere in the building as being much quieter and everything as going much smoother. They also noted how flexible our students had been! I very much appreciate the positive attitudes of those involved. I continue to believe that this holds much promise for education at Rivercrest!
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Last Friday, I attended a School of Innovation workshop at the Western Co-op in Charleston. We are exploring the idea of submitting an application to become a School of Innovation. After reflecting on the day, a couple of thoughts occurred to me:

  • ColtFlex is a structure; unless our instructional practices change, the structure will not make a difference in student learning.
  • We cannot just set high expectations; that is a recipe for failure. What infrastructures are in place to help students reach those expectations?

The keynote speaker at the workshop was Kenneth Grover, who is the principal at Innovations Early High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. He made what I believe is a very valid point when he said, "We often hear people say that our school system is 'broken.' It's not broken. In fact, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do over 100 years ago. The problem is that the present system is doing all it can, and it isn't good enough. An obsolete system cannot be improved. If we are going to transform schools, we must innovate."
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The Lady Colts opened the 2016-17 season with a 57-55 win over the Lady Thunderbirds from Cross County Tuesday evening. Makya Mitchell's basket just before the final buzzer was the game winner. Dede Williams led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Sydney Lane with 17. Lauren Shempert had eight rebounds. The Jr. Lady Colts won their game by a score of 44-16. Ty Coleman led the way with 15 points, followed by Zoe Warhurst with seven. Melanie Lucas and Railee Powell each scored five points.
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The Colts will host the Barton Bears tonight in the first round of the Class AAA State Playoffs at the Cotton Patch in Wilson. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. This is the first-ever meeting between two tradition-rich programs. Prior to the game, the RHS cheerleaders and the Wild Colts Marching Band will host a pep rally on the RHS practice field. The festivities will get underway at 6:00 p.m.
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On the Horizon at RHS.... 

Monday, November 14th - The District Leadership Team will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the RES Parent/Teacher Center. Our football coaches will meet at 12:30 p.m. to discuss plans for the new football stadium. The Jr. and Sr. Lady Colts will host Brookland in our home opener. The Jr. Girls' game will tip-off at 5:00 p.m., followed by the Sr. Girls.

Thursday, November 17th - Mid-term progress reports will go out. FAFSA Night for parents will be from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the RHS library. In a schedule change, the Colts and Lady Colts will host Marked Tree in a pair of games. The first game will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. Whether the Sr. Colts play that evening will depend on if we advance in the Class AAA state football playoffs.
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Colt Pride!