River Valley Academy News

An RVA Family Update

October 1, 2021 Edition

Goal Setting Day

October brings with it a checkpoint in monitoring student progress. October 4 begins the second half of the trimester, and all students should be halfway done with all five classes by then!

To help students and parents monitor progress, teachers will be beginning Course Completion Plans with students. Students will be asked to set SMART Goals and action plans to get them there. You will be able to meet virtually with teachers and go over these plans on Parent-Teacher Conference night, which is coming up on October 13.

Here is a template we used to set goals for one of our classes, as we learned about SMART goals and action steps last week.

I am excited about how a focus on goals and action steps can help students move forward and complete classes!

Please let us know if there is anything you need.

On behalf of the RVA Staff,

Jenny Thompson

How can I make this year successful?

With Rockford's trimester high school system, students are expected to complete 2.5 credits (5 classes) each trimester, for a total of 7.5 credits each year. Students will begin the year with 5 classes, which should be completed by November 12. While November 12 seems like a long way off, trimesters are about 12 weeks long, so each week, students should be completing about 10% of each class, to finish on time. Completing this work will require students to make progress on assignments and activities in every class, every day!

Picture Day is Coming on October 4!

All students will be photographed for their RPS ID card and parents will have the option to purchase photos. Photos will also be used throughout the year for student recognition.

Fall Count Day in the State of Michigan is coming up on October 6!

All students must be present for all five hours to be accounted for by the State of Michigan. Please make every effort to have your student in school for the full day! Thank you!

Parent /Teacher Conferences - Wednesday, October 13

Please plan to participate in virtual parent-teacher conferences from 5-8 PM on Wednesday, October 13. Take advantage of the opportunity to chat with staff regarding your student's progress, to make sure he/she is on track to complete all five coursed by the end of the trimester, on November 12. Here are the directions for signing up!

Groups are here!

Students had their first group session on Wednesday, September 29. Many students have been struggling due to Covid. Depression and anxiety are prevalent. In partnership with Arbor Circle, students are invited to join groups of students to support one another. Topics will be initiated by students and facilitated by mental health professionals. Topics may include healthy coping skills, 'adulting', and positive choices.

If you feel your student would benefit from this support, please contact the office! You can find out more about Arbor Circle and their counseling services here.

Last year, students found this resource helpful! Arbor Circle Counselors will be onsite on Wednesdays during third hour.

Staff Spotlight

The RVA Team - A caring group of educators dedicated to meeting students where they are and helping students grow and succeed!

One of last year's graduates said, "Without you guys, I wouldn't be where I am today. Graduation is one thing, but the connections I have made with the teachers have taught me how to be a better person. All of the teachers at River Valley have helped me tremendously through my classes. The teachers are there to do whatever is possible to help you graduate."

We can't wait to get to know our students and to watch them succeed and grow into responsible adults! It's going to be a great year! To help you through, you can count on the RVA Staff! Get to know us in this section of the RVA News!

Becky Caterino - RVA Math Teacher

Becky has been a math teacher at RVA for 25 years! Before coming to RVA, Becky substitute taught, and was a part-time math teacher at a community college. While in college, Becky worked at a gas station.

Becky attended GVSU for her Bachelor's degree and Aquinas for her Master's degree. She ran track and cross country for Grand Valley for three years!

Becky thought she was going to be a secretary. Her mom was a secretary and was very successful. She was asked to coach her junior year of college and she realized she couldn't work a 9-5 job and coach. So, she decided to shift her focus and work on becoming a teacher and coach in her senior year of college. To students considering career and post-secondary options, Becky says, "Choose a career/job you enjoy and won't dislike going to."

Becky is motivated by student success and positive conversations with students. She also enjoys exercising and being outdoors.

Thanks, Becky, for your dedication to the students of RVA and the greater Rockford community for the last 25 years!

How do I know how my student is doing from day to day?

RVA courses are run through either Schoology or Edgenuity. Schoology courses are RPS teacher created and directed. If you want to know how your student is doing in these classes, log in to Schoology. If you need help getting in to Schoology, use this How to Cheat Sheet. Using a parent log in, parents can see messages and course information. However, if you want to see what your student has completed and what grades they have earned so far in classes, the best way to do that is to log in as your student. Students have access to the course gradebook which includes a list of assignments that need to be completed, showing scores earned on work that has been turned in.

Edgenuity courses offer parent updates. If you would like to be signed up to receive these, please complete this form. When the form has been processed, you will receive directions for signing up for the Parent Portal along with an access code. You will receive daily updates. If you want specific information on how your student is doing in Edgenuity, ask your student for their login information. If you log in as the student, you can see a more detailed report.

Good questions to ask your student include:

1. Are you attending all class sessions, whether school is in person or remote?

2. Are you completing at least one assignment in each class session?

3. About how far in each course are you?

4. What are you doing well?

5. What can you do better?

Parents and schools are partners in educating students!

KISD (Kent Intermediate School District) Resources for students and parents

ACE Mentor Program

(Architecture, Construction & Engineering)

Career Chats

Career Chats are designed to provide 7-12 grade students a virtual opportunity to meet real professionals employed in real jobs. This series of 30-40 minute sessions will highlight professions from a variety of career pathways, giving students the opportunity to learn more about a career of interest, or to explore new options. Click here for the full line-up and to register!

Upcoming Sessions:

Thursday, October 7, 2021: 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Kelly Summers - RN: Kidney Transplant
Mercy Health

Thursday, October 14, 2021: 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Angel Hall - Occupational Therapist
Mary Free Bed

Tuesday, October 26, 2021: 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Leslie Hirschenbauer - Health Instructor

Talk & Tour Career Series

Our Talk and Tours provide a virtual panel of professionals in select industries that share their own career path, the inside scoop on what their jobs are really like, along with their perspective on what you can do to prepare for a career that interests you.

Upcoming Sessions:
Health Science Careers: Orthopaedic Associates
of Michigan - Surgery Center
(register here)
Wednesday, October 13: 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Health Science Careers:
Mary Free Bed
(register here)
Wednesday, October 20: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Career Explorers

This virtual career exploration program will give students grades 7-12 a deep dive into a career pathway of interest. Over 4 weeks, students will have the opportunity to meet 8 career mentors through 30-minute Career Chats. These Zoom-based career conversations allow mentors to share their own career path, information about education and daily work, along with valuable industry insights. Additional Explorers activities include self-assessment and conducting an information interview. Students can earn a Certificate of Completion for college/scholarship applications.

Upcoming Sessions:

Health Care Occupations
October 5 - October 28, 2021
Tuesdays/Thursdays 3:30pm - 4:00pm
More information and registration is available here.
Registration deadline is October 1.

STEM Occupations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
November 2 - November 30, 2021
Tuesdays/Thursdays 3:30pm - 4:00pm
More information and registration is available here.
Registration deadline is October 29.

Discover Manufacturing Week 2021
Virtual: November 1-5, 2021
In-Person: November 8-12, 2021

Discover Manufacturing Week continues its mission of providing opportunities for manufacturers and students in West Michigan to connect via webinars and live tours. We are excited to announce we are hosting two events this year, with the option for you to participate in one or both events.

: Interactive 30-minute webinars offered throughout the week (four per day, M-F). Each webinar features two manufacturers, a tour of the facility, and discussion.

In-Person: Traditional event allows small groups of students to visit local manufacturers
for on-site facility tours and discussion.

Read more about Discover Manufacturing Week here!

P3: Professional Pop-Up Panel

During P3: Professional Pop UP Panel sessions, you will get a chance to meet and chat with Professionals of Color to learn about overcoming obstacles and achieving success. Sessions are 40 minutes and feature professionals from various career pathways so students can explore a variety of options. As Chris Webber stated, “You can’t be something until you see it”!

Next Session:
Tuesday, October 15, 2021
2:00pm - 2:40pm

Jose Velasquez - Product Engineer
GE Aviation

Kia Rodriguez - Software Engineer
GE Aviation

Humberto Tello - Test Engineer
GE Aviation

Register Here for the October 15 P3 Event!

Parents As Career Coaches
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

This webinar is designed to equip parents so they can help guide their student through the challenging process of narrowing down to their best post-secondary path.

This session will:

  • Help you understand the critical role parents play in helping their child to recognize their interests and unique talents
  • Help you understand the career development process so that you can partner with your child in the self assessment, exploration and plan of action stages
  • Introduce you to useful print and website career resources, and show how your children can access information and experiences they need to make informed career decisions
  • Highlight valuable Kent ISD career exposure programs
Click here to register!

Groundhog Shadow Day 2022 will take place on Friday, February 4, 2022.
This virtual event will have three one-hour sessions at 7:30am, 9:30am and 12:30pm.
Stay tuned for registration information later this year!

How are you doing? People care and want to help!

Hand 2 Hand can help with food and toiletry needs.

RVA has an amazing staff, social worker, and mental health liaison who can listen and connect you to resources!

Ele's Place is a community based organization with the mission to create awareness of and support for grieving children and their families. Please find a very helpful guide for parents - how to support teens, as well as a handout titled, How to Help Yourself: For Teens below.

Opportunities for Rockford RAMS!


Winter sports tryout information can be found on the Rockford Athletics Website. Winter sports include: basketball, bowling, competitive cheer, dance, gymnastics, hockey, skiing, swim and dive, and wrestling.

Ram's Tale Yearbook 2021-2022


$65 August 2 - October 1

$70 October 2 - December 17

$75 December 18 - May 1

Order online at: yearbookforever.com

Senior pictures are due by December 10, 2021, and images must be:

Wallet sized

Vertically formatted


Not full length - headshot preferred

Full-color (No sepia or other toned images)

Email digital images 300DPI or greater to jfeeley@rockfordschools.org.

How do I know what time the bus comes, if I need it?

Bussing information including bus number, bus stop location, and pick-up times will be available in Family Access.

Students will ride the listed bus to the Rockford Freshman Center, where they will get on the RVA shuttle bus. In the morning that will be bus 51. The shuttle bus leaves RFC between 7:25 and 7:30 AM. After school, the shuttle bus will pick students up at RVA at 2:18 and drop them at the RHS 10-12 building where they will catch the bus that takes them home. The afternoon shuttle bus will be bus 63.

Students riding RPS busses will need to follow the federal mask mandate and wear masks at all times, from entering to exiting the bus.

RVA Daily Schedule

First hour: 7:45-9:00

Second hour: 9:03-10:18

Third hour and lunch: 10:21-11:42

Fourth hour: 11:45-1:00

Fifth hour: 1:03-2:18

What about Covid protocols?

Dr. Shibler outlined the current RPS plan for returning to school in his August 11 video message which was sent to you through Family Access. Here is the link to the district Return to Learn plan.

In a nutshell, RPS will be following any public health mandates and offering public health recommendations as published by the Kent County Health Department. At this time, this means parents of students in grades 7-12 may choose whether students wear a mask or not, and all classes will be held in person. Choices, to wear a mask or not, will need to be respected.

Most cleaning protocols initiated last year will remain in place. Students will be encouraged to use the hand sanitizer and table wipes in each classroom, and to regularly wash hands, to mitigate the spread of illness.

If you ride an RPS bus, however, masks will be required when riding, following the federal public transportation mandate.

RVA/RPS Calendar Highlights

October 4: RVA Picture Day!/ Goal Setting Day!

October 6: Group 3rd hour/ Michigan Fall Count Day - All students must be present all day!

October 8: Homecoming RHS

October 9: Homecoming dance

October 13: Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences - 5-8 PM/ Group 3rd hour

October 20: Group 3rd hour/ RPS Early Release Day - students dismissed at 11:48

October 27: Group 3rd hour

November 3: Group 3rd hour

November 10: Group 3rd hour

November 12: End of Trimester 1 - Students should have 5 classes completed by this day!

Area Resources

North Kent CONNECT: (adjusted hours due to COVID-19 precautions)

Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Mobile Food Pantries: https://www.feedwm.org/findfood/

Assistance with housing, food, utilities:

contact 211 by phone or text (800-877-1107), text your zip code to 898211

Youth in need of shelter: The Bridge 616-451-3001 or 877-275-7792

Please reach out with any questions you have or if there is anything you need!

RVA Team - A caring group of educators dedicated to meeting students where they are and helping students grow and succeed!