Rio Reporter FALL 2020


Welcome to Fall 2020 at Rio Norte!

Greetings Rio Norte Students and Families!

Congratulations River Hawks! We have completed over half of the fall semester! We have 6 weeks to go until winter break! All of us have figured out how to make Online Learning work!! Thank you to all of our teachers, students, staff and parents who have worked so hard to create meaningful learning experiences during this pandemic.

In August, our staff learned ways to deal with Stress and Trauma from Dr. Bryan Harris and LeAnn Nickelsen. They shared ways to deal with stress in ourselves and our students!

"First, we must care for ourselves by creating a stress response toolkit so we can cope more effectively. We need to fill it with Coping Skills such as:

*Label stressors as challenges

*Exercise & move your body

*Journal & write

*Express gratitude every day

*Connect with friends

*Give your brain a break

*Get enough sleep

*Do something you are passionate about every day"

Everyone benefits from having a stress response tool kit filled with coping strategies!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay positive River Hawks! This season won't last forever. Seasons always change.

Thank you,

Audrey Asplund


Rio Norte Jr. High School

DO you want your child to remain with Online Learning for the remainder of the school year? Please let us know your choice by NOVEMBER 13!

Please fill out this form:


This quarter we kicked off our membership drive. We are currently at 144 members and are hoping to hit 200 before Thanksgiving Break. Please join today:

PTSA helped the school honor 50 Student of the Month recipients with goody bags, we have given out nearly $1600 in teacher grants, and are preparing to recognize outstanding academic performance for the first quarter with the academic ribbons. These are just some of the programs our PTSA supports here at Rio Norte. We hope to see you at our next Association Meeting on December 3rd at 1 p.m. Zoom invitations will be sent to all our members in late November.

Counselor's Corner

Hi Riverhawks,

The counselors miss seeing all of your smiling faces on campus. We know how hard you have been working in your classes and adjusting to distance learning. We are so proud of your grit and determination. I truly believe that we will get through this difficult time stronger than we were before. Resilience is a character trait that allows people to survive trauma and overcome obstacles in order to move forward and grow successfully.

"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become"

Carl Gustav Jung

Upcoming News:

October is Bully Prevention Month - there will be a short presentation in P.E. about what bullying is and strategies bystanders can use when they see mistreatment.

Wellness Room - We are working very hard to create a peaceful place for students to

visit if they need a few minutes to unwind, reset, and return to class. There will be

a virtual grand opening soon! Keep an eye out!

Counseling Website - Take a few minutes to check out our website. It can be found

on the Rio Norte website under the Counseling Tab. There is a lot of information,

activities, and resources for students and families to use. Take a look!

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.

Team Amazon


Quarter one was a dive in the 1960s world of Greasers and Socials in S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders; utilizing the novel to uncover literary devices, elements of plot, and several themes. Students composed theme paragraphs where they had to cite evidence from the novel to support their theme choice, and then elaborate on why their evidence mattered, or what it revealed. All that work supported us as we transitioned into the district program called APEX Learning. As we finish up our APEX Learning unit, we have tested the waters of the Thrill of Horror Unit with EdPuzzles to help prepare us for the creepy Gothic Literature we are about to embark on for the rest of quarter two where we examine the horror genre and its various elements.


We began Quarter Two by examining the Electoral College and the ways in which Americans participate in the political process. We have been studying the difference between the electoral vote and the popular vote, and why our Presidential candidates have been spending so much time and money in a small handful of states as we head into the home stretch of election season. After the election, we move into a deep dive of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and we will conclude the quarter by gaining a greater understanding of how political parties and other political traditions formed under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.


Ms. Robb-Team Amazon science students have been busy! We have been investigating motion and forces during Quarter 1. Students will apply their new knowledge to analyzing and understanding energy transfer during collisions. So much physics! Big shout out to Nitya Kotha for earning the October Student of the Month award for Amazon Science!

Ms. Madrid-In science, students continue to work through the unit on energy and motion. Students have learned to measure and graph speed. In addition, students have learned how to analyze a distance versus time graph in order to describe an object’s motion. Gizmo and Phet simulations have been used as replacements for traditional labs. Students are currently studying friction and Newton's laws of motion.

Team Columbia


Quarter 2 is all about informational text. Students will be learning how to read and write in this genre, and we will continue to read and discuss our self-selected novels.


The year started with a review of the Roman Republic and a study of the Empire of Rome, arguably the words "Greatest Empire". After studying the achievements of such an amazing but failed empire, we "traveled" to the Arabian Peninsula where we learned of a new significant world religion - Islam - and traced its growth and impact across trade routes and battle fields. The achievements of this powerful and influential empire still influence us today.


Energy, energy & more energy! We just finished talking about how energy is cycled through an ecosystem. Currently we are talking about how all living things turn that glucose into ATP(energy) through the process of cellular respiration. Then, we will be off to the races with the fun of cells unit, and then end the quarter with all students favorite topic- the human body.


Visual Arts

The Rio Norte Visual Art students have been creating a variety of creative work this semester. Our Beginning Artists have been applying the Art Elements through Art Journals and Projects. Advanced Art Students are creating work using the Art Elements and Principles. Included projects this semester are a Deconstruction Project, Expressive Project, and a DTLA Culture Project. In Digital Photo, students have been involved with many photoshoots to become proficient with composition. All students can purchase Art to Remember Keepsakes. It is as simple as uploading their artwork and photos by clicking on this link.


Achieve, EL, classes have been creating goals and working to accomplish them! All Achieve students have been working hard to be prepared for the upcoming performance task essay. Achieve students have also had fun teaching their classmates about their culture and conquering escape room Grammar games!


Advanced Theatre is gearing up for our virtual festival at the end of October, as well as two different virtual plays, available for streaming in November! Beginning Theatre is exploring the Technical and Design jobs of the theatre.


Rio’s Norte News Journalism website is up and running! Journalism students wrote 4 articles each during Quarter 1. In Qurter one the focus was minimizing bias. Quarter’s 2 focus will dive more into investigative questions and incorporating news values in writing articles. Be sure to check out our Norte News website!

MATH Teachers

Ms. Groller

Great job to our Math 7 students who are working so hard each day with distance learning! In class, we have learned about positive and negative rational numbers and their operations. We are continuing to build upon these skills as we are explore algebraic expressions and soon begin our work with equations.

Ms. Rippe

In Algebra we are learning how matrices can be used as another way to solve systems of equations. High level thinking is needed as this is a pre calc. standard which will be used in higher level math classes in high school. In Math 8 we learning all the different ways to find on slope (tables, graphs, equations and two points). After we have mastered slope, we are going to see how it can be used to graph lines.

Ms. Shaw

Math has been busy learning and solving problems through the internet. It's difficult, but Rio's students are rising to the challenge. Math 8 is mastering graphing linear equations and Algebra is exploring matrices. Thanks for all your support Rio families!

Ms. James

During Q1 in Math 7 we have been reviewing and mastering Rational Numbers. Operations with negative and positives numbers, including fractions and decimals. Now we are ready to apply those skills to simplifying expressions and solving equations. In Accelerated Math 7 we also conquered Rational Number. We also mastered Exponents and Roots! Next up, simplifying expressions and solving equations.

Ms. Van Dyke

I'm proud of my students for their great attendance, work completion, attitudes and kindness. But it would be so much more fun if we could be in person! The Accelerated students have already learned about the famous Pythagorean Theorem and are heading in to learning multi-step algebraic equations for the second quarter (great fun!). The Math 7 students are mastering integers, distributing, factoring and will also work with equations and inequalities in this next quarter. Keep up the great work, kids! - Mrs. VanDyke


Mr. Burleson

In PE class we have been enjoying warm ups and workouts together as well as Quarantine Olympic events and Google classroom assignments. The students are also turning in weekly fitness Logs to help maintain and improve their physical fitness. We have just completed our Basketball Unit and Unit 1 in Apex. Looking forward to more fun in PE Quarter 2!

Ms. Carrizales

Great job on Quarter 1! We made it! Thank you for working with your son/daughter on making PE possible during distance learning. We did different types of workouts and ran our miles while having some fun with juggling and the Quarantine Olympics. Congratulations to the following teams for winning a GOLD medal: Olympic Oranges, Purple Panthers, Purple Rain, The Orange Traffic Cones and Lucky Green Leprechauns. We look forward to starting another round in Quarter 2! Be sure to have your child show you their juggling skills as well...very impressive! We have also spent a little time learning about mental health and social emotional well being. This can be equally important to our physical health. As we continue to navigate uncharted territory and move into a new quarter, I will continue to get your kids moving and trying to have fun while doing it. In order for me to give your child the grade deserved during these activities, please make sure they have their cameras on and are in a location that I can see them participating. Thank you in advance. I have also enjoyed some of you (the parents) joining in on our workouts. Together is better!! Our students have been rockstars during this time and I enjoy seeing their faces everyday! Thank you, Mrs. Carrizales

Ms. Cooper

Our daily workouts and challenges have been keeping us busy! Continue to work on your weekly fitness logs and stay active! Try to get up and get out moving everyday!

Mr. Stroh

The Zoom Physical Education experience has gone better than I ever could have imagined. We juggled all the way through the 1st quarter and just finished our final assessment. It was amazing to watch the students grow and develop in their juggling skills. The classes have also competed in teams during our "Quarantine Olympics" activity and practiced daily "Home Skills," using items around the house as well as participating in daily workouts. In the second quarter we will be moving on to our dance unit, workouts and more creative games and activities. I am thrilled with how well I am getting to know many of the students in this format and look forward to a great rest of the year.

Team Rio Verde


Team Rio Verde English classes are headed into the Horror Unit as we analyze elements of suspense in the horror genre. We will read works of literature by Edgar Allan Poe and W.W. Jacobs as well as study adaptations of the classic thriller Frankenstein. Students will have the opportunity to put their knowledge into action with the creation of their own horror short stories as we welcome in the season of fall. Heading into November and Decemeber, students will continue their work in the informative writing genre, learning the proper way to cite works of literature in their own writing and researching with informed digital literacy skills.


In Mrs. Bonilla, Mrs. Meddaugh and Mrs. Osovsky's history classes, students are just completing their studies on the American Revolution. We then begin to look at the government that was set up after winning independence. We will spend quite some time looking at our Constitution and how it applies to us today!


Team Rio Verde science is on track with the district science pacing. We are studying Newton's Laws of Motion and we'll be continuing learning how energy is transferred from one system to another. We'll finish quarter 2 with the energy of gravity. The district science guru's have modified the curriculum for distance learning and have added many online platforms like Gizmos for lab activities. I know for many students distance learning isn't ideal but the majority of our kids on Rio Verde have taken on the challenge with tenacity and grit. I am proud to be working with so many amazing students.

Team Shenandoah


My students and I thoroughly enjoyed English class this Quarter. We read, analyzed, and discussed several short stories as well as Jerry Spinelli's novel "Stargirl." In addition, we did a great deal of both formal and informal writing, including writing narratives. In short, we have studied the storytellers and have become storytellers ourselves! In the next Quarter, we turn our attention to informational texts with students taking an active part in leading the class through small groups.


In Ms Kratofil’s history class, we unraveled a very tangled web--figuring out why the Western Roman Empire died. Then, in the following weeks we became familiar with the rise of Islam, and will now venture into the Medieval African cultures of Ghana and Mali. I am overwhelming PROUD of my Team Shenandoah students...their hard work, patience, and good spirits shine through the ZOOM screen. Thanks to all families for their support, kindness, and gratitude!


We are having a blast in science class! In quarter 1, students learned about characteristics of living things, energy flow through ecosystems and the carbon and water cycles. Looking ahead to quarter 2, students will learn about photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cells and body systems!

Special Education

Ms. Cruz

Students in our class have completed a short novel: High Tide in Hawaii. Along with this book they have practiced summarizing, answering comprehension questions, and deciding which characterizations match the behavior of the characters in the book. Students are now researching the state of Hawaii. We are also studying the three branches of government and working on basic math concepts like multiplication facts and rounding! We miss each other and can't wait to come back together at school. :)

Mr. Marziani

In Mr. Marziani”s class the students enjoyed working on N2Y, Readtheory, Khanacademy, Freckle, readworks, brainpop, flipgrid, epic and Quizizz regularly. The class also works hard on completing their Google Docs and Google slides for English, Math, History, and Science assignments. The students really seem to enjoy all the technology and fun of seeing and working with their peers on the daily zoom meetings. The breakout rooms are get for the student to receive more attention, usually having 4 or less students to one adult. Both the students in the classroom and the students at home are learning several functional skills daily.

Ms. Meddaugh

History 8 - We are finishing up the Articles of confederation and we will begin discovering the wonders of the Constitution. History 7 - We are finishing up Medieval West Africa and getting ready to being the exploration of the Mayan, Inca, and Aztec Civilizations.

Team Yukon


In Quarter 1 we practiced our text analysis and writing skills with the short story "My Favorite Chaperone" and the novel "The Outsiders". Students discussed character development and the use of figurative language throughout. Our focus for quarter 2 is informative writing. We will be emphasizing the use of strong textual evidence through analysis of horror literature, such as "The Monkey's Paw" and "The Tell Tale Heart".

Q1 in Mrs. Sosa's English class embarked on getting to know each other in the online distance format. We enjoyed the "Culture and Belonging" unit with completing the novel "The Outsiders." We even had a movie streaming zoom "party" where the students could share their thoughts on the film via the live chat stream. Q2 Started with the Horror Genre Unit and Edgar Allan Poe was introduced via the "Tell Tale Heart" classic short story. Lots of interactive lessons and writing an explanatory essay will encompass this quarter!


In history the students have been analyzing, debating, and using technology to gain a bigger grasp on America’s past. The students have been focusing on America's roots and foundations, as well as the first 13 colonies and the Constitution. Soon the students will be moving into the Constitution and how it is a living document.

Team Zambezi


Dawson-In Quarter 1, Ms. Dawson’s English class discovered all the elements of narrative text. Students wrote amazing narrative essays to show their understanding at the end of the quarter. Quarter 2 will be all about informational text. Students will learn how to cite evidence and elaborate effectively. Each student will write an informational essay before winter break! The students will be able to choose their own research topics, we are excited to read their essays!


In Mrs. Ratliff's history classes we've studied the Roman Empire and African Empires. Now we're crossing the ocean to learn about the Maya, Inca and Aztec civilizations of Mesoamerica. It has been a pleasure sharing good things with my students each day. We've learned much about one another and I'm very pleased with the enthusiastic participation of my students. Keep up the great work!

In Mr. Sheridan's History class, students have become familiar with the tools historians use to interpret the past, reasons for the Fall of the Roman Empire, the Rise of Islam in Arabia, and are beginning to learn about the rise of powerful western kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai in Africa. As we continue through Quarter 2, we will become familiar with important empires of central and South America, and with the Tang and Song Dynasties of China.

Saugus High School~Unity of Community

A Saugus High School "Unity of Community" virtual event is planned for November 14. During this time, it may be important for you or a loved one to have access to particular resources. We want to remind you where you can go should the need arise:

District Wellness Website

Mental Health Resources

Wellness Warm Line a Non-emergency resource for Hart District students, 8am-3pm, M-F

California Peer-Run Warm-Line: 855-845-7415

If you know someone who needs immediate help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)

or you can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Students can also reach out to our Rio Norte Counselors for support:

Counselor Contact: Rio Counselor Visit Request

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.