Rio Reporter SPRING 2021


The Final Stretch!

Greetings Rio Norte Families!

Congratulations River Hawks! You have almost completed your first year of online/hybrid instruction! And hopefully, it's your last year of online/hybrid instruction!

Let's finish this race with the enthusiasm and determination we started it with! 🏃Thank you students and parents for being flexible and patient with all of the schedule changes and inconveniences of online instruction! Our teachers went above and beyond to provide quality instruction and we are grateful for their professionalism, care and dedication.🏆

Thank you to our fabulous PTSA for providing an All Staff Appreciation lunch for Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you to our PTSA for also providing certificates and goodie bags for Student of the Month (SOTM) awards and for our Q2 and Q3 Academic Award ribbons! We appreciate the many ways our PTSA supports our students and staff at Rio Norte.

It's an honor to work with supportive parents, kind, hardworking students and a committed staff. To our 8th grade students, we wish your success and happiness in high school and to our 7th grade students, we hope to see you in person, every day next year! 😊

Thank you,

Audrey Asplund


Rio Norte Jr. High School


The Rio Norte PTSA is still very active this year! We have given grants to teachers for programs to help distance and hybrid learning, we have continued the Student of the Month and Academic Awards Programs and we just completed our Staff Appreciation Lunch.

A huge thank you to the executive board who have continue to support the River Hawks this crazy term and to all the families who have joined the PTSA and supported our activities!

Thank you to Mona and Monica for preparing our Jersey Mike's all staff lunch for Staff Appreciation Week! Here is a brief clip of the luncheon! All staff PTSA lunch

Thank you for our support,

Heather Ippolito

PTSA President

Counselor's Corner

Well Rio... on behalf of the counseling team we are so happy that we have survived this incredibly unique year and are well on our way to a happy healthy 2021/2022 school year! Here are a few bits of information that may be helpful as we close out this school year...

  • Current 7th graders are still able to fill out the elective form which is located on the Rio Norte website. Click on the Students tab and then scroll down to Rio Norte Electives. Once there the form for incoming 8th graders is on the right side. Please remember this is a courtesy that we offer, but we can't guarantee placement in your number one choice.

  • School Links were emailed to parents of both 7th and 8th graders. Please take a look at what is offered and decide whether you would like to sign up for a class. If you have any questions please email or call your child's counselor. The summer school links are also available on the Rio Norte Website.
  • We are happy to launch the Rio Norte Wellness Room. We are still working on an official name for the room, and we are hoping to enlist the students to help us choose a terrific name that will be welcoming and inclusive for all. The room will be used to teach workshops, engage students in wellness activities, run counseling groups, and be a place for students to decompress when feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed. More information to come as we will be busy coordinating and collaborating with other professionals as we design an amazing program for next year.
  • Have a wonderful summer. 7th graders - we can't wait to see you back next year... 8th graders - we wish you luck in high school. "You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice" Bob Marley

See you soon,

Ms. Burns, Mrs. Racina

Students, would you like to visit your counselor? Click below!

Counselor Contact: Rio Counselor Visit Request

Or visit the Counseling website:

Students can meet their counselor on Zoom, or students can visit on campus with a health screening and a mask.

Library News

It’s hard to believe that this rollercoaster of a school year is coming to an end! It has been nice to see some students back on campus, have a few visitors in the library and to be able to talk books (oh how I’ve missed this!). We’ve also been enjoying Book Club. Last quarter we read Focused by Alyson Gerber and now we are reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Our curbside checkout has also been up and running again, allowing both on campus and remote students to pick up books. This is coming to an end soon though as we are approaching the end of the year and trying to get all materials back.

Here are a few important dates and notes:

  • Textbook collection will take place for all students during the week of May 24

    • Cohort A students will return books with their science class Monday and Tuesday, May 24th and 25th.

    • Cohort B students will return books with their science class Thursday and Friday, May 27th and 28th.

    • Online Only 8th graders will return from 1:00-3:45 on Monday, May 24th. Students may come anytime during the window.

    • Online Only 7th graders will return from 1:00-3:45 on Tuesday, May 25th. Students may come anytime during the window.

  • Only Accelerated Math books need to be returned. Please do not bring back Algebra, Math 7 or Math 8 workbooks (these are consumable and can be recycled once teachers and students are done with them).

  • All class novels need to be returned. Many students checked these out months ago (if not at the beginning of the year) and may have forgotten about them. These titles may include The Outsiders, Stargirl, The Hunger Games or Where the Red Fern Grows.

  • All library books also need to be returned. There are no late fees so please just bring back anything that is currently checked out.

  • If you want to see what you/your child has checked out, follow this link. Click on sign in with Google and log in with the student Google account. Once there, click on My Info and it will show all materials that are currently checked out along with due dates and replacement costs.

  • If a book has been lost or damaged beyond repair, please bring a check (made out to William S. Hart Union High School District) or cash at the time of return.

  • If you have any questions, please email me at

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Team Amazon


Mrs. Schneider - As we venture into the last quarter of this year, and hybrid learning, our focus is on the human struggle and overcoming obstacles. Students began by reading the Child Labor Laws and Dust Bowl pieces in the textbook. We finish the school year with WWII and the Holocaust. Students read the play version of The Diary of Anne Frank in the textbook and watch several clips that illustrate the devastation of WWII and the Holocaust. One of the last items this school year is the iReady English assessment near the end of May. I am very proud of our students' dedication to school this year and all they had to adapt to in order to make it all work.


Mr. Ippolito

In eighth grade history for Team Amazon, we have just finished learning about "Antebellum America," the time period leading up to the Civil War. We have been trying to answer this essential question: "How did our nation grow so far apart from itself that Americans were willing to kill other Americans?" Along the way, we learn about Northern industrialism, the plantation South, the growing divide over state sovereignty and states' rights, and the greatest cause of the Civil War: the institution of slavery. Coming up in our final weeks of school, we will examine the Civil War, how we healed and reconciled, and how the Civil War went from a struggle to keep the nation together, to a struggle that gave our nation, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, "a new birth of freedom."


Mrs. Robb -

Amazon science students have been doing an amazing job learning chemistry during Quarter 4! We are wrapping up chemistry with a group research project on polymers. Our final unit for 8th grade will be on magnetism, electricity, and waves. Thank you parents for all your support this year! We appreciate you!

Mrs Madrid - Students built molecules using an interactive Phet simulation, and they looked for signs of chemical change using the Gizmos Explore Learning Chemical Changes lab. During a teacher demonstration, students observed aluminum foil and a copper chloride solution react to make a copper precipitate. Students observed the temperature rapidly increase from about 24℃ (75.2℉) to 85℃ (185℉) as the copper precipitated out of the solution in this exothermic reaction. Recently, we compared balancing equations to making S'mores. We will end the year, learning about electricity and magnetism.

Team Columbia


Mrs. Fitzpatrick - Team Columbia students are winding down the year with a focus on creative writing. We are analyzing the techniques used in photography and applying them to writing. Students are getting the opportunity to be creative and express themselves as we navigate narrative elements.


Mrs. Pulaski - In history we have been studying about life in the European Middle Ages. This is always a favorite unit for students as we examine where Hollywood fiction ends and reality begins when studying Feudalism (peasants, knights, nobility, monarchs, and the Church of the early Middle Ages). We will continue to study human progress into the Renaissance and beyond (Age of Exploration and Discovery, Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution)!


Mrs. L. James - Science James´ team Columbia scientists have had fun learning how adaptations can be advantageous for survival in different ecosystems. We are now learning about genetics and seeing how those organisms receive or are passed those advantageous adaptations. They are about to become Punnett square masters! Genetics is my favorite- so get ready for lots of genetic surveys your son or daughter might ask you.


Beginning Video - In quarter 3 of Beginning Video Production, students created a commercial where they "sold" an item and included camera angles and moves, and even the rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, and logos) learned in English class. In quarter 4, students are creating their own original short film, which has consisted of writing a screenplay and practicing different cinematography techniques.

Achieve - Achieve students have completed their ELPAC exams. They are finishing up the novel Wonder by R. J Palacio. They continue to use the interactive programs of Nearpod, Listenwise, and Edpuzzle in order to meet their English language goals. Achieve students are also continuing to work toward their citizenship goals of turning work in on time and reaching out to teachers, in all their content classes.

Journalism - Quarter 3 and 4 Journalism students learned the basic elements of journalism, discovered how to interview and report on a variety of topics, and analyzed professional articles. The students wrote and published 5 articles on the Norte News website, created a satirical April Fool's section, and developed a "15 Under 15" section to highlight Rio Norte students.


It is wonderful to have some of the students in person for the first time this quarter! An added bonus to this is that we were able to hang up their very informative anti-bullying or anti-cyberbullying flyers on our campus - something we weren't able to do all year until this quarter! The students have learned about topics such as organization, growth mindset, conflict resolution strategies, transcripts and how to compute a GPA. Next up, is college and career exploration, along with strategies they can use now to work towards achieving their future goals.

MATH Teachers

Mrs. Groller - As we set out to complete our final quarter of this very challenging year, I want to mention that it has been wonderful to see some of the students in person and in the classroom! In math, we most recently completed our percents unit and our angles unit. We are currently learning about surface areas and volumes of three-dimensional figures such as prisms and pyramids. We are in the home stretch now, so let's all work hard to finish strong!

Ms. James - In both Math 7 and Accelerated Math 7 we have been working in favorite! Angles and Triangles is were we landed first, using the relationships (and our knowledge of solving equations) to find missing angles. Next, we reviewed Areas of Polygons and Circles, looked at where the number "Pi" comes from, and used area formulas to find the area of Composite Figures. We will finish up the year with Probability and Scale Drawings.

Ms. Van Dyke - What's the best thing about this past month? Seeing 'real' people! In both Math 7 and Accelerated we've been focusing on Geometry- angles, lines, areas, circumference, volume and surface area. In our last few weeks Math 7 will experience the fun of probability and Accelerated will practice transformations. Let's finish this year strong!

Mrs. Shaw - It's been fun getting to learn and teach in person! Math 8 has been discovering exponents while Algebra has learned to work with quadratic functions. Students and families have done a great job adjusting to all the changes this quarter.


Mr. Burleson

The students are doing well with online class through zoom and activities on campus in PE. It is really nice to meet the students in person and see them having fun and making new friends. We just finished our Basketball Unit and will playing pickle ball followed by Disc golf. So glad to be back on campus with the students and Faculty. Looking forward to a great fourth quarter finish.

Ms. Carrizales

We made it! Quarter 4 is here and we are almost done. It has been so great being able to see some of the students here at school. Although we are limited to what we can do, we have been making it work with socially distant activities and lots of sanitizing! Our mix of zoom sessions and live classes has been a new challenge but seems to be going smoothly. We continue to have our weekly fitness logs and daily workouts to keep the students moving. Additionally, we have had weekly challenges to complete at home to work on hand-eye coordination and to add a little competition. On our Wednesdays, together on zoom, we have SEL lessons to hopefully help everyone through these different times. It has been wonderful having all of your children this year and thank you for your patience as we had to navigate new waters in Physical Education. :)

Ms. Cooper

We did it!!! I’m so proud of all my students! It has been a unique year but together we made it! Thank you for working out with me every day! I have enjoyed getting to know all of you! Let’s finish the year off strong! Keep up the good work!

Mr. Stroh - Blended PE is going great! It has been awesome to see students compete in safe class activities on campus and stay connected to the students on zoom. Students that are on campus will participate in modifications of pickleball, basketball, “hands free” kickball and disc golf. Students on zoom will continue with zoom workouts and their individual physical activities.

Team Rio Verde


Ms. Turner - In Mrs. Turner’s Basic English 8 class for 4th quarter, we have been looking at the theme of Approaching Adulthood. We have read about, discussed, and written about the voting age, the teenage brain and when it reaches full maturity, the driving age, and peered into previous practices of child labor leading to the Fair Labor Standards Act. In Basic English 7, we have explored the theme of Nature through poetry, figurative language, and informational texts. We will culminate our studies this year in each grade level with a writing project, showcasing what we have learned about proper sentence formation and punctuation.

Mrs. Perez-St Antoine - English students are currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank- the play. Once we finish, students will conduct research and compose an informative research paper. We will round out this amazing school year with the iReady Assessment before heading into a well-deserved summer vacation.


Ms. Bonilla and Ms. Osovsky

Wow! I am truly grateful for how hard our students have worked thus far and the determination they have shown. As the 20/21 school year comes to a close, we will dive into the American Civil War. Students examined many events that led to the division in our nation and we will finish out the year looking at how Americans will put the country back together and begin to make lasting social justice changes.


Mr. St. Peter - In science we spent most of 3rd quarter on our chemistry unit. It was a challenging unit for many students yet they persevered. We will finish 8th grade science with magnetism and electricity.

Team Shenandoah


Maradkel -During the spring, we have accomplished a great deal in our English class. We have focused on reading and analyzing texts on a deeper, figurative level. We have read excerpts from several memoirs, read an independent reading book of our choice, completed a project based on that book, and are currently in the process of reading our second complete class novel. In addition, we had a short, but inspiring unit on poetry, in which we analyzed poems, then wrote our own, culminating in a Poetry Slam in which we read our poems aloud to our classmates. As we wrap up the school year, we have peace in our hearts that we have grown as readers, writers, listeners, speakers, and most importantly as human beings. And now, we can confidently say: bring on 8th grade!


Ms. Kratofil - The World History students on Team Shenandoah have been learning about Europe in the Middle Ages. Our next adventure will take us across the seas to investigate the period of European Exploration! Ms Kratofil says a big “THANK YOU” to all the families who have been helping their children stay focused and motivated throughout this far-from-"normal" school year. I am SO proud of Team Shenandoah...they are strong writers and critical thinkers...definitely ready for 8th grade, and beyond!


Mrs. Zide - In Mrs. Zide’s science class, we studied the influence of Charles Darwin and his ideas of natural selection. We also learned about DNA and its structure, and are finishing out the year digging deeper into genetics and inheritance! The genetics unit is very interesting as students discover why they may look similar to their family members and why genetic variation is so important for survival.

Special Education

Mr. Marziani - Students in Mr. Marziani’s class are currently using Read Theory and Read Works to practice their reading and comprehension skills. In N2Y they are learning about Protecting the Environment. They use MobyMax, Khan Academy, Freckle, Prodigy, N2Y and Quizziz to practice their math skills. In addition, in BrainPop Jr they are learning about mammals, the biographies of Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson and use Google Slides to finish their assignments. On a daily basis students practice their writing skills and use Google Docs to write a paragraph (beginning sentence, first, next, last and a conclusion sentence). Last but no least, students enjoy watching Rio TV and CCN10 every day.

Team Yukon


Ms. Ng - In English class, students participated in a virtual Socratic Seminar, which explored the quarter's essential question of "how does being a worker benefit people?" Now in quarter 4, students are finishing up their reading of the play adaptation of "The Diary of Anne Frank" which allowed students to analyze stage direction and dialogue in a text. We will wrap up the school year with speaking and listening activities relating to the text.

Ms. Sosa - Mrs. Sosa's English classes created persuasive cereal ads in Q3 to learn persuasive rhetoric to use in our argumentative writing. It was fun to view everyone's commercials they created and how incorporated ethos, pathos, and logos into their writing. Q4 started off with reading the short story "Marigolds" and writing a short literary analysis on this beautiful piece of fiction. Q4 has also been busy learning historical context for the play "Diary of Anne Frank." We are also busy creating our own research project presentations as we read the play.

Team Zambezi


Dawson - English: Ms. Dawson's English class accomplished learning and demonstrating argumentative essay style writing. They cited evidence and elaborated effectively in quarter 3. In quarter 4, they are reviewing figurative language and creative writing. Students are analyzing and writing memoirs and poetry to wrap up 7th grade English!


Mrs. Ratliff -

In Mrs. Ratliff's Exploratory Peace class we are learning how to communicate effectively in a digital world, as well as learning how to keep ourselves safe online. In History class we have just learned about the new tools developed during the Scientific Revolution. Now we are embarking on our last voyage - the Age of Exploration!

Mr. Sheridan - This quarter in Mr. Sheridan's World History classes students have become familiar with the important explorers, technologies, and voyages of exploration of the late 15th and early 16th century. As we round out our year, students will be introduced to the inventions, theories, and important individuals of the Scientific Revolution, and will finish with the most influential people, and important ideas that emerge from the philosophies of the Enlightenment.



Quarters 3 and 4 have taken us from the interworkings of the human body, to remains of living things including fossils to help tell us about how organisms are related to one another. We are finishing the year learning how we inherit traits and characteristics through DNA in our genetics unit.

Rio Norte Junior High School

Rio Norte Mission Statement

The Rio Norte Junior High School community is dedicated to providing a safe, flexible, positive, and nurturing learning environment, in which all its members have the opportunity to experience a sense of belonging and personal growth, and all students have the opportunity to develop academic excellence.

Hart District Non-discrimination Policy

The William S. Hart Union High School District prohibits unlawful discrimination against and/or harassment of any student, employee or job applicant on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, ancestry, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, military or veteran status, political affiliation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively at any District site and/or activity. All inquiries regarding discrimination, civil rights, and/or Title IX should be directed to the Director of Human Resources and Equity Services, William S. Hart Union High School District, 21380 Centre Pointe Pkwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91350, or by phone (661) 259-0033, or by email: