Rio Reporter Quarter 1

Fall Edition 2019

Welcome to 2019-2020!

Greetings Rio Norte Families and Students!

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school Year! Thank you for the many ways you have supported Rio Norte, it is an honor to care for and educate your students this year.

This year Rio Norte has adopted a new program called Character Strong. The CharacterStrong curriculum is built around “Eight Essential” character traits and social-emotional skills that have been proven to help students be productive, empathetic, successful people. The Eight Essentials are: Patience, Kindness, Humility, Respect, Selflessness, Forgiveness, Honesty and Commitment.

We all will be working together to build a kinder school culture. Twice a month, students will be given a new challenge (CharacterDare) that helps them to practice one of the eight character traits in their daily lives. The following week they are given an opportunity to reflect on their experience, either with trying the Dare or by sharing what they think about that week’s CharacterDare. Thank you to Mr. Ippolito and Rio TV who will be helping coordinate our monthly activities. At the end of this newsletter a letter is attached that gives more information about the program.

We are looking forward to a fantastic school year. It takes a village to raise a child and we are honored to partner with you for the success of all of our students.

Thank you,

Audrey Asplund


Rio Norte Jr. High School


Thank you for your continued support with all of our requests for volunteers and donations! Together we support the staff and our students at Rio!

  • Thank you for your donations to support field trips, curriculum, academic awards and so much more!
  • Thank you for assisting with summer registration, and the Back to School Dance.
  • The PTSA Reflections entries are due the week of Oct. 8-11. The Reflections Gala at Rio Norte is on October 23 at 7pm.
  • Our PTSA supports the Student of the Month luncheons on 9/23, 10/18, 11/15 and the Awards Assemblies on November 1 and 4.

Thank you,

Christine Davis, PTSA President

PE News-Quarter 1

Our lunchtime dodgeball tournament has been a huge success, the championship game was be played last Friday. The next tournament will be flag football. Sign ups will start at the end of the week.

The District Cross Country Meet is scheduled to be sometime in November. Students will have the opportunity to tryout for the meet during their PE period on October 2nd and 3rd.

The annual 8th grade Turkey Bowl is scheduled for Friday, November 22. Tryouts will be in November. Details to be announced.

Team Amazon

Science is studying motion and energy transfer. We will begin out crash-test eggs challenge soon.

So far in English, we have read "My Favorite Chaperone" and analyzed different aspects of the text. These different aspects include the setting, characters, conflict, and how the setting influences characters and the story. Based on their understanding of the text, students answered the essential question: how do people develop their own identity within a culture? Students did a wonderful job participating in a Socratic seminar to discuss their ideas with their peers. We are now in the middle of reading The Outsiders, which we are using to continue our study of culture and belonging.

In Math 8 we have been incorporating the computer program, Mathia, with the book. We have been studying transformations and will start parallel lines and angles. In Algebra we just finished the units on statistics. We will start equations. So far students have been diligent with doing their homework, and checking their work in Google Classroom. They have taken two tests so far. Please check Infinite Campus on a regular basis or get the app for your phone and get the notifications.

In Amazon history, we are currently learning about how the Declaration of Independence serves as the ultimate expression of who we are as a nation. Students have been challenged to engage their parents and family members in a discussion of the Declaration, and how it defines the type of government we have in our country today. Soon, we will be learning about the the Critical Period--the time period between the Revolution and the Constitution when we weren't sure if our nation and our government were going to survive. We will then finish our first quarter of study by examining the Constitutional Convention.

Team Columbia

Team Columbia has had an amazing start to the school year. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting our families at Back to School Night, and are grateful for the generosity we have received ever since! A HUGE thanks goes out to all who have donated money and supplies to our Team! (It’s never too late to donate…hint.hint.) We are looking forward to our “Animal Week” in November. And, in addition to what was mentioned at Back to School Night, please dig out your spare coins for our upcoming Penny War to benefit the charity, Heifer International. So exciting!!!

“The Columbia Games” have started out strong. Our jars are filling with tickets, ready to be counted. Team Columbia is aiming for 1,500 tickets in order to plan some fun extra-curricular activities. Students have earned tickets based on their academic skills, their character and good choices. We simply love our students this year!

We will continue moving through the academic standards this quarter. Mrs. Fitzpatrick would like to encourage you to check out the team website occasionally ( In English, students are working on narrative reading and writing strategies. They are exploring their reading likes and dislikes, and learning how to become avid readers of good books! Math James' and Mrs. Groller’s Math 7 classes are working together on Circles, Ratios and Fractional Rates. We're getting good at finding the Unit Rate to compare two different quantities. In Accelerated Math 7, the students are reviewing some 6th grade concepts and building on those to pave the way to a great foundation for Algebra. Energy, energy, and more energy! In quarter 1, our Columbia scientists are talking about how energy is transferred through an ecosystem. We started off with food chains, and now we are in the messy and tangled food webs. Soon we will be diving into relationships- ecological relationships and symbiotic interactions that is. In Ms Kratofil’s history class, we unraveled a very tangled web--figuring out why the Western Roman Empire died. While Mr. Sheridan's World History class is becoming familiar with important terms, uses of the tools of history, and learning the main reasons for the Fall of Rome. In the coming weeks we will become familiar with the rise of Islam, and venture into the Medieval African cultures of Ghana and Mali. It’s good times all around!

Every week we are seeing academic growth in our Team Columbia students. Thank you for all of the support you provide at home with organization and encouragement. Here’s to a great remainder of the school year!

Team Nile

Team Nile is off to a great start this school year. Thank you for all the donations of Kleenex, Clorox Wipes, and pens! Our first field trip is actually coming to us. Versa-Style Dance Company has toured all over the country as well as internationally. We are so excited they will be coming to Rio Norte to perform for Team Nile on November 15.

English students have the “week of” due dates (for the school year) for Cultural Terms and Google Classroom has updated homework and/or classwork listed. Once we complete The Outsiders, students need to find a new novel to read for quarter two that focuses on some aspect of WWII.

Please remember to check In science, students have learned to measure and graph speed using the constant speed cars. With the use of motion detectors, students have also learned how to analyze a distance versus time graph in order to describe an object’s motion. At the end of the motion unit, students will design and build a bumper for a car that holds a raw egg passenger. Students will then test those bumpers and see if the eggs can survive a car crash.

Team Rio Verde


In Mrs. Bonilla's history class, 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!


Students are learning transformations (translations, rotations, reflections and dilation). Students learned how to take images and flip, spin and slide images to create new images. Now students are learning how to dilate an image and then will apply multiple transformations from one image.


Science students are learning about Energy of Motion. They are also completing many labs to understand the physics of motion. Throughout the first quarter students will learn Newton's three laws of motion.


In English, we are starting to read the Outsiders as we continue analyzing the essential question about developing identity within a culture. Students will have an opportunity to discuss the single story narratives and stereotypes that develop because of social class structures in the Outsiders.

Team Shenandoah

In History, we have just completed our first unit on the Roman Empire. Specifically, students examined Roman accomplishments like our own form Democracy here in the U.S. (a Republic) and the reason for the mighty empire’s collapse. The skills we worked on were: summarizing, citing evidence from text, studying/reading a textbook, creating graphic charts for comparison and contrasts, and looking for real-life connections between Rome and our own country.

In Shenandoah Science: Ecology: Traits of life and Relationships and Energy

We are learning about how living things have certain characteristics. Next we look deeper at one of our characteristics of life: the need for and use of energy. Energy flow through organisms in an ecosystem and matter cycles. Food chains and webs. Also close (symbiotic) relationships are studied.

In English, we have spent the majority of the school year thus far reading and analyzing narratives. Students have been challenged to annotate these short stories to arrive at the deeper meaning beneath the surface of the text. They have also studied the elements of a story using a plot graph, emphasizing conflict, climax, and theme. Currently, we are rewriting the ending of one of the narratives that we read in class to make it a more powerful story. In short, we are studying how authors create engaging stories, and then writing our own stories so as to become young powerful writers ourselves.

In Math 7, students have delved into Proportional Relationships. Who knew that that could include learning about circumference and area of circles? Has your student told you about complex fractions and how to find a unit rate from them? In Accelerated math, students have reviewed as well as learned new topics that are crucial for their future in math: order of operations, graphing, all operations of integers and fractions. In all classes, we have learned some valuable math songs- if you haven't heard your son or daughter singing them around the house, ask them for a solo performance.

Team Yukon

Yukon history 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!

Yukon’s English class has started reading “The Outsiders” and connecting literary devices and writing activities with this beloved novel. We are excited to get to know each other and continue to learn about media and text comparisons as well.

Yukon math is off to a great start. We are getting familiar with our new curriculum and checking our work along the way. Our study buddies are a big help as well as Homeroom and Brunch time with Ms. Shaw. Our units on Dilations and Data are wrapping up. Welcome back to Rio!

Team Zambezi

It’s hard to believe that the end of quarter one is drawing near. We’ve become familiar with our students, and they with us, and we’re looking forward to an equally productive 2nd quarter on Team Zambezi.

In history class we have just witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire. It's time now to move east to Arabia and learn about the achievements of the Arab people and the origins of Islam. Students will take an imaginary time travel trip to medieval Arabia and write postcards home to tell about all they've learned.

In English, we have spent some time reading about what it means to face challenges fearlessly and investigate the purpose of an author’s writing. We'll soon be writing a personal narrative with a focus on our names, and in just a few weeks we will be reading the rich poetry of Langston Hughes and Rudyard Kipling. As we begin the second quarter, we'll dive into the drama , Sorry, Wrong Number, a classic and student favorite for sure!

In Math 7 we have been working hard on ratios, proportions, and fractional rates. Next up is percents so you will have an informed shopping buddy next time you hit the mall!

In Accelerated math, we are wrapping up exponents and will be tackling more 8th grade standards next - scientific notation and The Pythagorean Theorem. After that, we will cover ratio, proportion, and percent.

In science, we have been learning about energy and how it flows through an ecosystem. Next up we will be learning about photosynthesis and respiration, which harness and transform that energy into usable forms for living things. We are also looking forward to learning more about animals during our "Animals Around the World" assembly on October 4.

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.