Rio Reporter WINTER 2021


Welcome to the Spring Semester 2021 at Rio Norte!

Greetings Rio Norte Families!

Congratulations River Hawks! The spring semester is off to a great start! Our new Wednesday schedule and our new afternoon schedule are going well. The new schedule is attached below.

This semester we also began a new program to replace our text-a-tip line. The Student Care Line is available for students if they would like to share a concern for our administration or counseling department to address. The Student Care Line Poster is attached below.

Thank you to our fabulous PTSA and to the Wish foundation for purchasing supplies for our Wellness room! We look forward to having students utilize the new room. Thank you to our PTSA for providing certificates and goodie bags for Student of the Month (SOTM) awards and also for our Q1 Academic Award ribbons!

Our PTSA also purchased supplies for instructional materials for 10 of our teachers! Your PTSA donations go to good use to support our students and our teachers. Even during the pandemic, they have continued to provide support!

We continue to have limited staff on campus and have the office open only to pick up items essential for learning. Please email or call, we are available to help you.

Random Acts of Kindness Week starts February 14! Spread love and kindness, River Hawks!

"My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who you are and astonish the world with your acts of kindness." - Maya Angelou

Thank you,

Audrey Asplund


Rio Norte Jr. High School


The Rio Norte PTSA has been a part of Rio Norte Junior High since its first year in 2003. We offer many programs such as Team Field Trips, Teacher Grants, Academic Recognition and Student of the Month. At the beginning of every school year, Rio Norte PTSA sets a membership goal of 1,000 members and, historically, we have reached that goal and more! This school year, we have met some obstacles reaching out to our community and could use your help! Have you and your family registered for the PTSA yet? Did you know that membership is not just limited to parents. It also includes students, teachers, grandparents, family members, etc. Please support your Rio Norte PTSA by becoming a member today! Registration is very easy by visiting our membership website:

Even though we are not on campus, the PTSA has continued to help honor our Rio Norte students with our student of the month awards and ribbons for our honor roll recipients. The PTSA has also awarded several teacher grants that have helped to enhance our 7th and 8th students virtual learning experience. With your support by joining the Rio Norte PTSA for just $10, we can continue to sponsor the field trips, student recognition and academic awards and fund teachers grants such as these:

Grant Awarded: MOTE, a chrome extension which allows teachers to leave verbal feedback on student assignments

Teachers: Jase St. Peter, Science & Stephanie Madrid, Science & Seminar

Students have been very appreciative of the personalized and detailed comments and suggestions the teachers are able to provide on their assignments. Students have often responded back with 'thank you for the explanation", "now I understand" or, "that was helpful." MOTE seems to add a personal touch to this distance learning and students are grateful.


Teacher: Ron Ippolito, U.S. History and Government and Broadcast Media Teacher

Mr. Ippolito has been using the Smore digital platform to connect with his students' parents and guardians. With it, he can provide a content-rich experience complete with embedded YouTube links, reminders of upcoming exams and review opportunities. This platform allows him to stay more connected with his history students' families.

Please consider joining your Rio Norte PTSA today! If you have any questions, please email - your VP of Membership, Rio Norte PTSA SY 2020-2021

Thank you for our support,

Heather Ippolito

PTSA President

Counselor's Corner

We are so excited and hopeful that we will be back at school in our offices with students lined up in the hallway waiting to speak to us very soon. We are confident that we will beat this virus and return safely. We can't say when that will happen, but we can say that we are looking forward to it. Please remember that we are available to meet with students individually via Zoom or a Google Meet invitation, so if you or your child needs to chat about academics, 8th grade transition, or social emotional challenges please send us an email and we will determine the best way to contact you whether by phone or by video conference.

Here are a few things coming up:

Academy of the Canyons (AOC) is hosting their virtual information meetings on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. If you are interested in learning more about this amazing school please register to attend one of the sessions. You won't be able to get a link to the application without attending one of the information meetings, so be sure to sign up. Information about AOC is located on the AOC or the Rio Norte website. If you go to the Rio Norte Website the AOC information is under the Counseling Tab.

Valencia High School Registration for current 8th graders will be announced at a later date. Mrs. Steinman is working with the high school counselors to set dates and get information to you. As soon as they have dates and a format for registration, they will send information via email. The information will also be available on both the VHS website and the Rio website.

CAASPP testing is being looked at and considered for this year, but final decisions haven't been made. They were considering some type of state assessment that would allow us to measure growth, but given the current circumstances that remains a fluid conversation. More will be shared when a decision is made.

“A strong mind always hopes, and has always cause to hope.”
Thomas Carlyle

See you soon,

Ms. Burns, Mrs. Racina, Mrs. Steinman

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.

PBIS/School Connections Time on FRIDAYS @ 1:15 pm 🦅

Every Friday students and teachers are invited to join us for some school-wide connections! Check out the Rio TV announcement page for Zoom links to all weekly student activities.

February 5- Counselor Self Care Fun!

February 19-ASB Fun!

February 26-ASB Fun!

March 5-Rio Wellness Time!

March 12-ASB Fun!

March 19-Rio TV Activity TIme!

Team Amazon


Schneider-Quarter two in Amazon English was focused on the Thrill of Horror Unit and explanatory writing. Students enjoyed the Gothic Literature we read and worked hard to locate strong evidence for their essays. This quarter we moved on to The Value of Work Unit and argumentative writing. Students are in the process of learning about Ethos, Logos, and Pathos and other rhetorical devices that are used in argumentative essays; they will work on selecting a side to defend while addressing counterclaims as well.


In Mr. Ippolito's Team Amazon history class, we did not shy away from current events. We discussed the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and compared this with other acts of insurrection throughout American history. We then wrote a formal letter to newly-elected President Biden, where students had the chance to practice not only their letter writing, but also to practice communicating their hopes, priorities, and concerns directly with their elected leaders--a skill they can use as voters when they get older. While exploring current events, we are also concurrently studying the events of the first seven Presidents, including George Washington's Farewell Address, the triumphs and contradictions of President Thomas Jefferson, the origins of American nationalism with the War of 1812, and the expansion of political participation under President Andrew Jackson. That will then take us into our study of Manifest Destiny, Westward Expansion, and beyond as we transition from Quarter 3 into Quarter 4.


In Mrs. Robb's class students studied and experimented with gravity and potential energy to finish up Quarter 2. Since energy is our overarching theme for 8th-grade science, it has shown up again in Quarter 3 as we have gotten underway with our chemistry topics. We started evaluating thermal energy in January and we will continue with it into February as we observe changes in matter. Later as we head into Quarter 4 we will delve into chemical energy. Stock up on vinegar and baking soda parents!

In Mrs. Madrid's class-Did you know there is no such thing as cold? Did you know that a boiling tea kettle may have a higher temperature than an iceberg, but the iceberg has more thermal energy? These are some of the questions we have been answering in our Matter and Thermal Energy unit. With the use of a virtual calorimeter, students are studying factors that affect heat transfer. Next, students will be using an online simulation to model the behavior of molecules in solids, liquids and gases when thermal energy is added and removed.

Team Columbia


Fitzpatrick-In English class this quarter, Team Columbia students are learning how to be more persuasive. We are studying the art of rhetoric, learning how to write and support opinions, and practicing how to argue topics with respect and dignity.


Pulaski-The last 6 weeks have been spent learning about three Mesoamerican civilizations, the Inca, Maya, and Aztec. Using GRAPES, we analyzed and compared the Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economy, and Social Structure of each. One thing they ALL shared in common was their desire to please the gods through human sacrifice! No one said history was warm and fuzzy! Using GRAPES, we can learn to analyze present cultures, countries and civilizations - even our own.


L. James-Our Columbia scientists just finished their human body segment, and we ended the segment with nutrition. We sadly found out that most of our favorite snacks are not that good for us. And that most of the serving sizes are so small- who eats just two Oreos or 3/4 a cup of cereal?! Up next we have the students learning all about the world of paleontology.


Visual Arts

The visual arts department at Rio Norte Junior High continues to see student success through positive and creative changes. Included in Spring 2021 is integrating SPARK Curriculum. From a list of 82 open ended questions, students are actively speaking about master artworks and photographs. Finally, our Art to Remember Keepsakes Fundraiser for Art and Photo students will begin soon in February. Submission of Rio Norte student artwork and photos can be uploaded to


Achieve students completed their Performance Task essays. Several were able to reclassify in Quarter 2. We are so proud of their progress. In Quarter 3, students are reading the novel Wonder and diving into the learning more about theme, academic vocabulary, and comprehension. Achieve students are also beginning to prepare to take the ELPAC exam in the spring. Argumentative style writing is also a focus for Quarter 3 in order to enhance Achieve students' writing skills.


Advanced Theatre is working on advanced acting techniques. Currently we are reading Almost, Maine and will soon move on to The Importance of Being Earnest. At the end of the semester, we will be having a showcase where our advanced students will have the opportunity to show off the work they have been doing.

A new round of Beginning Theatre has started, and we begin with the art of Storytelling. We will move through Greek Theatre, Shakespeare, design and short scenes.

Seminar is a short quarter long class, so we are quickly moving through our social emotional section and soon on to College and Career readiness.


Rio Norte's first ever, semester long Journalism class finished off 2020 strong with each student completing a total of 7 articles for the Norte News website! They learned reporting techniques including interviewing and news values. The class collaborated on the 2020 Presidential Election and USPS Operation Santa stories. 2021 has brought a new class of Journalism students and they have begun their journey with discovering new journalistic curriculum and using their skills to start to write articles for our school.


You might question if taking a Culinary class while 100% online distance learning is something that can work. It can! Rio students did great!! Exploring Culinary I students learned the basics of cooking and baking and developed a sense of comfort working in their home kitchens. Many students cooked and did very well!! Exploring Culinary II students continued their practice and made some amazing meals. You can check us out on Instagram @Rionorteculinary.


Mrs. Madrid enjoyed reading students' creative 6 word memoirs, and I loved watching the thoughtful Self-Esteem Flipgrid videos that students filmed with loved ones. In class, students made lists of the things they need most in life and then related those needs to Maslowś hierarchy of needs. Students are currently learning about the benefits of a growth mindset.


The yearbook students are hard at work creating a yearbook like none other because of this unique year. They are doing a wonderful job collaborating with teachers and students to tell the story of Rio Norte this year. In order to help more families make the yearbook more personal this year, personal ads are on sale at a lower price than ever before. Ads and yearbooks can be bought here: . Ad sales will go through February 20 (this deadline will not be extended) and space is limited, so get your orders in soon!

MATH Teachers

Ms. Groller

As we begin a new quarter and a new year, I want to take a moment to recognize the hard work, determination and resilience that our students have shown during this continued time of many challenges. We began this quarter working with ratios, unit rate, and proportions. We are continuing to build on these concepts as we move into proportional vs. non-proportional relationships and understanding what this means. Beyond this current unit, we will explore and learn about very practical uses of percentages with topics such as discount, markup, interest, and sales tax. Keep up the great work Math 7 students!

Ms. James

Welcome back to Math 7 and AM7 with Math James! In both of my math class we are starting Q3 with Ratios and Proportions. My students are able to find Units Rates to compared quantiles and solve real-life problems using Unit Rates or setting up and solving a Proportion.

Ms. Van Dyke

My Accelerated students have now mastered equations, inequalities, and everything dealing with proportional relationships. This quarter we're learning about many real life situations- everything dealing with percents and money. The Math 7 students have learned equations and inequalities as well, and are following behind with proportions. I hope all students continue to focus on being engaged and present in class. Keep up the participation!

Mrs. Mandel

Math 7 and Accelerated Math 7 are both working on proportional relationships, unit rate, and percent problems. It's my favorite topic of the year because students can clearly see that we use math in everyday life! The accelerated class will also be learning about functions and linear equations this quarter.

8th Grade Math

In Math 8 we have mastered solving equations with the variable on one side of the equation. We are now using our previous knowledge of solving equations and learning how to solve equations with variables on both sides of the equation. We are also challenging our Math 8 students with equations involving fractions so they are better prepared for Algebra next year!


Algebra is currently learning about functions and their transformations such as shifts, stretches and shrinks and reflections. Students will be able to describe in words, different types of transformations occurring by looking at a given equation. They will also be able to write an equation given transformations as well as graphing them.


Mr. Burleson

Ended Quarter 2 with a fun Jeopardy game which included questions from Units covered in PE. Students participated in various conditioning exercises during class and also submitted fitness logs once a week. We are off to a great start Quarter 3 and looking forward to continued success through Zoom. Opportunities to interact through breakout rooms and students engaging in activities will help enhance the PE experience. Looking forward to a great Spring semester.

Ms. Carrizales

We have made it to the second half of the year! Bravo to you! Things have been going great in class as we mix up the workouts and activities. We completed another round of Quarantine Olympics in Quarter 2. Congratulations to the California Quails, Team Aloha, Coconut Crew, Broadway Blues, Hawaiian Palm Trees and Florida Gators for winning the Gold. The participation has been stellar and I continue to encourage the students to make sure they have their cameras on so I can see them participating in the workouts, skills and games. During Quarter 3 we will be incorporating some dance, group workouts, more SEL lessons, and conquering more skills. Keep up the good work!

Ms. Cooper

In PE we have been enjoying daily warm-ups and workouts together. The students are also turning in weekly fitness Logs to help maintain and improve their physical fitness. We will continue to do a variety of activities like challenges, self-care, daily workouts, dances, and whatever fun activities come our way!!!

Mr. Stroh

In the second quarter, we had a great time with our quarantine olympics, dance unit, and a variety of strength and cardio workouts. This quarter we will sharpen our skills with some zoom challenges and add yoga into our rotation of workouts. I appreciate the efforts of all students' willingness to make the best out of our zoom PE experience.

Team Rio Verde


In Mrs. Perez-St. Antoine's English class, students will focus on the Value of Work Unit and Argumentative Writing. Students will read excerpts from Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Ray Bradbury's The Flying Machine, and Francisco Jimenez's The Circuit, analyzing the multiple perspectives and ethical issues involved with various types of work through the lens of rhetorical devices.


Bonilla-In Quarter 2 we looked at our first two Presidents, Washington and Adams. We watched our nation grow from 13 dependent colonies to an independent nation! In Quarter 3 we will continue looking at our first presidents and the growth of our new nation!


St. Peter-Team Rio Verde science finished quarter 2 studying Kinetic Energy versus Potential Energy, using roller coaster concepts, and also learned about Universal Law of Gravity. Rio Verde students are learning Thermal energy and will finish quarter 3 with Chemical Energy, these concepts help in the understanding of Chemistry.

Team Shenandoah


Maradkel-This winter promises to be an engaging one for our English class, as we study the art of persuasion and analyze a variety of argumentative texts. We will also conduct several debates and Socratic Seminars on a number of topics. In addition, we will write argumentative essays, as well as continue to build our vocabulary and read a novel of our choice independently. In our English class, the claims of young people are taken seriously, as long as they can be supported with reasons and evidence. Long live logos, pathos, and ethos!


Kratofil-This quarter the Shenandoah World History classes have continued their journey around the world by exploring the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties of China. These studies will culminate with a "Law and Order" lesson in which students have to prove whether or not Marco Polo really traveled to China. After that, our lessons will take us back to Europe for the remainder of the school year...beginning with medieval times...all sorts of good "dinner time conversation" about Vikings, knights, and the Black Plague! I'm grateful for and proud of Team Shenandoah for working so hard during this distance learning "adventure"!


In Mrs. Zide’s science class, we finished the fall semester by studying how plants and animals interact via photosynthesis and cellular respiration, then had fun studying human skeletal and muscular systems. We picked up in the spring semester learning about other body systems - cardiovascular, respiratory and digestive systems. Students are doing a great job making connections and asking great questions!

Team Yukon


Ms. Ng

In quarter 2, students continued to strengthen their essay writing skills in an informative essay about Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," which wrapped up our horror unit. In quarter 3, we will focus on argumentative writing, including analysis of rhetorical appeals and a continued focus on writing skills. Our readings will explore the benefits and challenges of being a worker.

Ms. Sosa

English class wrapped up quarter 2 with the Horror Genre Unit and wrote an explanatory essay that focused on how suspense draws a reader into the story. Quarter 3 is focused on the unit "Value of Work." We will learn persuasive techniques through advertising and include persuasive rhetoric in our upcoming argumentative essay.


Stroh-During the second quarter of this year, the focus was on building the first steps to the nation, as well as the era of Thomas Jefferson. We discussed in class the importance of our government and the voting process. Toward the end of the quarter, we discussed the change in America from an economy based on agriculture to an economy based on trade and manufacturing.


Swanson-Did you know there is no such thing as cold? Did you know that a boiling tea kettle may have a higher temperature than an iceberg, but the iceberg has more thermal energy? These are some of the questions we have been answering in our Matter and Thermal Energy unit. With the use of a virtual calorimeter, students are studying factors that affect heat transfer. Next, students will be using an online simulation to model the behavior of molecules in solids, liquids and gases when thermal energy is added and removed.

Team Zambezi


Norris-Wow! The end of winter break and the beginning of quarter three came in a flash. In English we're learning about rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos, and how to add those very sophisticated writing techniques into our own argument essays. Should humans colonize space? Are seventeen year-olds too young to sail around the world alone? What are the global issues young people should be most concerned about? These are some topics the kids will choose to persuade me; I can't wait to read their essays!


In quarter 2, English students learned to write a thesis statement and an informational essay. They practiced identifying evidence in informative text and finding credible sources. In quarter 3, English students will be learning rhetorical appeals and methods of persuasion. They will be debating and arguing claims throughout the quarter. Quarter 3 will be completed with writing argumentative essays.


In Mrs. Ratliff's class we are visiting east Asia, studying the cultures of medieval China and Japan. We'll be learning about dynasties and barbarians and Samurai warriors! What could be more fun!


Bretthauer-In science, we have been learning all about the human body systems and how they relate to one another. Coming up next in quarter 3 we will be learning about fossils, and earth's past history and how it relates to the living things on earth today.

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: