River Valley Academy News

An RVA Family Update

May 7, 2021 Edition

Did you know there are scholarships available for RVA graduates only??

Introducing the Amy Himmelspach Scholarship for Service to Humanity

Amy Himmelspach was the first RVA secretary, serving RVA students and staff for over 20 years! Amy was an amazing person. She spread joy and a positive attitude every day. I had the privilege of working with Amy for 3 years. She welcomed me to Rockford Public Schools and became a friend I cared for dearly! She was a beautiful woman, but more importantly, she was a beautiful soul. Amy was compassionate, caring, and organized. She always greeted students and staff with a smile. She loved beauty in the world. She was artistic and loved flowers. She almost always had fresh flowers, beautifully arranged, on her desk! She had a way of making people feel comfortable, even when they weren't. RVA held a special place in her heart.

Her family and loved ones want to honor her memory by awarding scholarships to RVA students who desire to pursue further education toward the improvement of the human condition - to promote beauty, justice, health, and loving action in our world. Seniors interested in the arts, criminal justice, education, environmental service, health sciences, social work, or spiritual service can receive a $1,500 scholarship. This scholarship can be renewed each year, totaling $6,000 over the course of four years! Seniors should apply! Scholarship essays were written in senior composition class, which can be revised or adapted. The Amy Himmelspach Scholarship for Service to Humanity application can be found attached below.

I am so excited about this opportunity for RVA students to follow their dreams and make a difference in the world!

Jenny Thompson

Deb Chamberlin Memorial Scholarship

The $1,000 Deb Chamberlin Scholarship has been available to two RVA graduates since 2007.

You can find the application for the Deb Chamberlin Scholarship below. All seniors should complete the application. Essays were already written in Senior Composition!

Graduation is coming, May 20!

Graduation 2021 is just two short weeks away! We have reserved Ram's Stadium, behind Parkside Elementary, for our outdoor ceremony. As with all events this year, circumstances and weather may affect our plans. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at the Rockford Freshman Center cafeteria. Graduates will receive an email and a phone call before noon on May 20, to confirm location!

This week's featured graduate is . . .

John Dykstra completed his RVA graduation requirements, by pressing on in the short term to gain in the long run!

John is excited to join the Navy after graduation! He ships out on June 24! He will be attending training north of Chicago. John attended the Aviation Maintenance program at KCTC. In the Navy, he plans to be an aviation technician and work on aircraft carriers!

When asked why he chose RVA, John said, "I was not going to graduate and this gave me a second chance! I got to work at my own pace and it worked better for me." In response to the question of what RVA could do to make our program better, John said, "Tell more people about this program!"

John said, "The fact that I needed this and it wasn't all a waste" is what made the effort worth it. He feels very relieved to have finished.

John, we are very proud of not only the work you were able to accomplish, even graduating early, but of how you grew as a person. You knew you had to step up and complete your classes, and you did. After a backslide, you kicked it in gear by taking a zero hour and staying after school at KCTC to complete labs.

You will make a difference in the Navy! We are excited about the opportunites you will have for your future as well! We wish you all the best!!

RVA Graduation 2021 is TWO short school weeks away!

Covid -19 Protocol Update

Due to a change in the Kent County Health Department protocol, RPS will be adjusting our protocols as well. In a nutshell, students no longer need to be quarantined due to being a close contact at school.


1. Students will be required to wear a mask covering nose and mouth.

2. Social distancing will be implemented where possible.

3. Staff and students should regularly wash hands and use sanitizer

4. Buildings will be regularly cleaned and sanitized.

5. Students with any Covid symptoms will be sent home.

6. Students with Covid symptoms should remain home.

Updated protocol:

7. Parents of students who were close contacts will be notified, so they can monitor for Covid related symptoms, but students may attend school.

8. All Students quarantined by RPS for being close contacts may return to school on Monday, May 10!

MiCareerCareerQuest came to RVA!

NWEA Testing

NWEA MAP tests will be given on Thursday, May 13. This assessment will detail academic growth this year.

Attendance (time and effort) counts!

Attendance will be taken in person and for students working from home for medical reasons, via Google Meet. Attendance rates should be above 90%. Schools are required to track attendance and report to the truancy office. Please check in with your student to make sure they attend over 90% of their scheduled classes! Education still needs to happen, and diplomas still have to be earned! Diplomas are a product of time and effort! Let's make it happen!

In an effort to provide a supportive academic environment to help students reach their goals:

  • students without a documented medical excuse who aren't present in school, will be marked absent.

  • Students with a documented medical reason to work from home will need to keep their screens on for the entire class period. This will allow teachers to monitor student work.

Thank you for putting your best effort into completing classes and graduating!!

How do I know how my student is doing from day to day?

RVA courses are run through either Schoology or Edgenuity. Schoology courses are RPS teacher created and directed. If you want to know how your student is doing in these classes, log in to Schoology. If you need help getting in to Schoology, use this How to Cheat Sheet. Using a parent log in, parents can see messages and course information. However, if you want to see what your student has completed and what grades they have earned so far in classes, the best way to do that is to log in as your student. Students have access to the course gradebook which includes a list of assignments that need to be completed, showing scores earned on work that has been turned in.

Edgenuity courses offer parent updates. If you would like to be signed up to receive these, please complete this form. When the form has been processed, you will receive directions for signing up for the Parent Portal along with an access code. You will receive daily updates. If you want specific information on how your student is doing in Edgenuity, ask your student for their login information. If you log in as the student, you can see a more detailed report.

Good questions to ask your student include:

1. Are you attending all class sessions, whether school is in person or remote?

2. Are you completing at least one assignment in each class session?

3. About how far in each course are you?

4. What are you doing well?

5. What can you do better?

Parents and schools are partners in educating students!

Groups are happening!

Many students have been struggling due to Covid. Depression and anxiety are prevalent. In partnership with Arbor Circle, students are invited to join groups of students to support one another. Topics will be initiated by students and facilitated by health professionals. Topics may include healthy coping skills, 'adulting', and positive choices.

If you feel your student would benefit from this support, please contact the office! You can find out more about Arbor Circle and their counseling services here.

Girls In Non-Traditional Occupations

May 12th, 2021 - 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Help young women discover high-wage, in-demand careers they might otherwise not consider! During this virtual career exploration experience, just for girls, students will take a virtual tour of Kent Career Tech Center’s Welding, IT, Construction and Engineering-related
programs to explore careers in these fields.

While traditionally male-dominated, many women excel in these fields – if they know about them.
Make sure your students do!

Contact Dollineller Michelle Large for more information

Summer Camp Opportunities

Summer camps are BACK! We’ve assembled a comprehensive list of academic camps to help your student explore an area of interest, or try a have fun learning about a new one. Camps serving PreK – 12th grade in a wide variety of subject areas is available. Check out our list of local summer programs here!

New Kent ISD Program


Students have told us “How am I supposed to choose a career when I don’t even know what is out there?” Career Explorers can help!

As a Career Explorer, students will participate in 12 live virtual Career Chats (career conversations) with local professionals, complete self-assessment inventories, and conduct an Informational Interview. Students will earn a Certificate of Completion to enhance scholarship/college applications and resumes. This is a great way for students to take active steps on their career exploration journey. Athletes and working students can also participate by watching recorded content.

Careers in Business will be the first pathway focus. Additional pathways will be offered in the 2021/2022 school year
April 13 - May 20, 2021 (Tuesdays/Thursdays), 3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Registration is now open through April 9. Sign up today!

Full information at kentisd.org/careerexplorers

Contact kristaharmon@kentisd.org with questions.

Monthly Career Readiness Resource

Each month we'll share with you a different resources to assist you with career readiness.

Supporting A Job Seeker: A Plan for Parents of Early Careerists

How are you doing? People care and want to help!

Hand 2 Hand can help with food and toiletry needs.

RVA has an amazing staff, social worker, and mental health liaison who can listen and connect you to resources!

Ele's Place is a community based organization with the mission to create awareness of and support for grieving children and their families. Please find a very helpful guide for parents - how to support teens, as well as a handout titled, How to Help Yourself: For Teens below.

Area Resources

North Kent CONNECT: (adjusted hours due to COVID-19 precautions)

Mondays and Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Community Calendar of Services

Mobile Food Pantries: https://www.feedwm.org/findfood/

Assistance with housing, food, utilities:

contact 211 by phone or text (800-877-1107), text your zip code to 898211

Youth in need of shelter: The Bridge 616-451-3001 or 877-275-7792

RVA/RPS Calendar Highlights

May 11: JMG 3rd hour - Last meeting

May 12: Group 3rd hour

May 13: NWEA testing

May 19: Group 3rd hour

May 20: RVA Graduation 2021!

June 4: Last day of school!

Please reach out with any questions you have or if there is anything you need!

RVA Team - A caring group of educators dedicated to meeting students where they are and helping students grow and succeed!