Navigating the River

Friday, July 17, 2020

For our families new to Riverwatch, Navigating the River is our weekly newsletter where you can find all the up-to-date information about life on the River. We will be running the newsletter more often as we begin this year in order to keep you as informed as we can. We include a link each week where you may submit questions and thoughts. We always try to reply in the next issue. Thank you for your expressions of gratitude. It means so much to us as we endeavor to get back to school this year.


Thank you to all of you who took the time to review our newsletter for information! We know it is lengthy and has more information than you can probably digest in one reading.


For your reference, all our newsletters will be archived at the RMS website. You may access them at any time.


We love our Panther families!

Pam Bibik

Questions for us, use the link below!

Riverwatch Community Feedback Form


We know that there are many questions surrounding the school opening this year. Please use the link above to ask questions, share ideas, and celebrate something good at RMS. We will answer these questions in future newsletter communications.

Riverwatch Community Questions

Q: How will COVID positive cases be handled?

A: Please review the FAQ available at the Restart Forsyth webpage linked here.


Q: How will class changes take place?

A: Each grade level is made up of teams. Teams will be released on a staggered schedule to encourage distancing as much as feasible. When class changes take place, students will be expected to go directly to the next class without visiting the locker. Locker visits and restroom visits will take place during scheduled times while class is in session.


Q: How will band be handled since there are many students in those classes?

A: With two band teachers, we will be holding band both in the band room and in the cafeteria each period to encourage distancing as much as feasible.


Q: Is there going to be Open House for 6th graders so they know what the heck to do and where their classes are the first day? Virtual isn't going to cut it for them.

A: If you scroll to the bottom of this newsletter or the previous newsletter, there is an opportunity to sign your child up for a 6th grade in-person tour. We will also have an opportunity for new students in grades 7 and 8 to visit. Only students will be admitted for the tour as we adhere to the guidelines to limit visitors. These will take place in small groups to allow for distancing as much as possible.

We realize that 6th graders will be facing a whole new school and our school days will look different than they have experienced in the past. Our plan for the first days of school is designed with this in mind. We will meet 6th graders and any other students anxious about the start of school at the door on the first day of school with staff available to help. More details will be shared during the virtual Open House. All the relationship-building that would have started during Open House will happen on those first days of school. We love our students. We put their emotional needs first whenever we plan.


Q: What connections classes can my grade 6 student take online?

A: 6th and 7th grade students who choose the virtual option will be enrolled in four courses: English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. They will not take the enrichment course, nor will they take connections courses. This will not cause those students to be behind as enrichment and connections are opportunities to build interest, not required courses for progression.


Q: If a student is coming to Riverwatch from a Forsyth County elementary school, do we need to create a new MyPaymentsPlus account?

A: There is no need to create another account. The account from elementary school will follow them to Riverwatch.


Q: Will middle schoolers have the part-time option, meaning face to face classes and FVA classes?

A: Yes, middle school students may choose the part-time option. Please email bloedding@forsyth.k12.ga.us if you plan to take advantage of this option for your child.


Q: I would like to remove my child from chorus/ band due to concerns about aerosol spread. How do I do this?

A: Please email bloedding@forsyth.k12.ga.us to make that request.


Q: What is CTAE, world languages, and Health/PE? Are they connections classes?

A: CTAE refers to the connections courses that connect to career pathways. World languages (Spanish, Latin, and French) are a choice made by 8th graders as part of their daily schedule. These earn a high school credit for students who complete them satisfactorily. Health/ PE are connections classes.


Q: What will the staff do to encourage students and teachers to wear masks?

A: Student council members interested in promoting mask-wearing will be able to lead this effort. Information regarding masks is available on the Restart Forsyth webpage.


Q: If schools have to be shut down can you please provide some type of information of what learning will be like? Will it be the same as the spring and completely on Itslearning? Will there be any actual teacher learning through online/webcam? This is very important to know for parents who are concerned school will end up shutting down and would like to understand if it will be any better/improved from the spring learning.

A: During pre-planning, teachers will receive training to better prepare should virtual instruction become necessary. We understand your concerns. Feedback from the spring was utilized to design teacher training. In addition, more detailed, better defined expectations will be put in place and communicated with families. As we have more information, we will share this.


Q: How will effective contact tracing take place at schools?

A: We will follow all guidelines provided to us through the partnership between Forsyth County Schools and the Department of Health. I encourage you to review the Restart Forsyth webpage.


Q: I would like to know how to set up online courses if I choose online courses in the fall semester. Is there a teacher teaching online every day?

A: Please visit the FVA webpage for all the information for registering for online learning in the fall. Online instruction will be delivered by FVA teachers. FVA may add teachers from a variety of schools to provide instruction should enrollments call for that.


Q: When registering for FVA, how do I know which course numbers to choose?

A: FVA is aware that parents do not have course numbers available to them. Please select one English course, one math course, one science course and one social studies. Once the registration is complete, staff will make certain that the correct course number is used.


Q: How will FVA students be able to take the accelerated math screening test?

A: More information on this process is coming soon. FVA students will be provided the opportunity to take the accelerated test.


Q: Where can I find supply lists?

A: To better accommodate the needs of students, teachers are collaborating on supply lists that best align with guidelines regarding the sharing of materials. We also are seeking to reduce the numbers of binders to 2 or less. Students will be able to carry a backpack throughout the day to support decreased sharing of supplies. We ask that backpacks not be overly large so that students are able to keep backpacks at their own desk without blocking aisles. Since teachers are making a plan to reduce binders and notebooks, there should be no need for a large backpack. See below for more information from our previous newsletter.


Q: What procedures will be put in place to drop off student medications?

A: This information will be communicated during our virtual Open House by our school nurse, Kim Varner.

Continue to watch the Restart Forsyth page!

The Restart Forsyth webpage is regularly updated. Please watch this page for district-wide information.

FAQ about Forsyth Virtual Academy - from previous newsletter

Q: How do I know which course numbers to choose?

A: When registering, choose a course in each of the four core content areas (Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies). FVA will check these registrations to ensure students are enrolled in the proper course number.


Q: How do I choose the right connections courses for my child?

A: FVA may provide some connections course options. Connections courses taken at RMS will be face-to-face courses (this includes band, chorus, and all other connections courses). Connections courses taken at FVA will be virtual courses.


Q: How does my child get involved in clubs and organizations at RMS while learning virtually?

A: Once we have settled in to our new daily schedule later in August, we will advertise club information through our newsletter, our Facebook page, and our Tweets. Stay tuned for that information ...


Forsyth Virtual has put together a FAQ document for parents that will be updated during the next few weeks to answer the common questions they are receiving.

Middle School FAQs and Course Registration Help

Grade level Supply Lists

We have asked teachers to streamline their supply lists for the 2020-21 school year. Once these lists are received, we will post them on our School Website and School Social Media Sites.


We will have those posted on Monday, July 20 by the end of the day.


Students who will be attending in-person learning need to bring the following each school day.


  • technology (if possible)
  • water bottle
  • personal school supplies as needed to minimize sharing
  • personal hand sanitizer

Events Happening on the River!

6th Graders . . .We can't wait to welcome you!

Welcome new Panthers!


We would like to offer 6th-grade students the opportunity to come by for a 20-minute tour of Riverwatch. This is an opportunity to see our campus, see some of your new classmates, and have questions answered.


Please review the Sign-Up Genius for available slots and signup.


The link below is for our Virtual Tour Video of RMS that we made sent out at the end of the year. If you have not watched it yet, take a few minutes to get a glance inside the RMS doors!


RMS 6th Grade Tour Video


We look forward to meeting you and seeing you "on the river" soon!

~The RMS Administrative Team

New 7th and 8th Families to Riverwatch or Forsyth County Schools for the 2020-21 school year!

We know that moving to a new place can be stressful. We want to invite our students new to Riverwatch and Forsyth County to come by for a tour prior to the start of school.

Please see the sign-up genius below and select your time. Unfortunately at this time, these are open only to our students in order to follow the guidelines around people in the buildings.


Sign Up Genius New Student Tours


The link below is for our Virtual Tour Video of RMS that we made sent out at the end of the year to our Rising 6th families . Even though your student might not need the 6th grade tips, it is a good opportunity to get a glance inside the RMS doors!


RMS 6th Grade Tour Video


If you have questions about these tours, please contact Kelle Russo in our counseling office, krusso81@forsyth.k12.ga.us.

Staying Connected to Riverwatch!

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