03/19/12 Friday was a day of celebration at Riverside Intermediate School as the school was officially honored for being selected as one of four “School to Watch” in the state of Indiana.

Dignitaries on hand for the celebration included Superintendent of Plymouth Schools Dan Tyree, Mayor Mark Senter, The Executive Director of the Indiana Association of School Principals, Mr. Gerald Mohr, Ms. Shirley Wright who is the Director of the Indiana Middle Level Education Association and the Indiana State Superintendent of Public Education Dr. Tony Bennett.

  Riverside Principal Donna Burroughs told the students, teachers and staff at the convocation the award was the culmination of a process that began 6 years ago when it was decided to create a 5th 6th building.

   Ms. Wright told those gathered that it wasn’t only student ISTEP scores the lead Riverside to receiving a unanimous decision to be named a “School to Watch” but input from students, teachers, parents and others.   Riverside was one of only four of those outstanding schools that are being honored and given the status as mentor to other schools hoping to achieve the status not only in Indiana but across the nation.  Wright also noted that Riverside is the first “Intermediate” school awarded the honor of “School to Watch”.

   Superintendent Tyree said, “We are celebrating six years of hard work.  We began this years ago debating whether or not we should create a fifth and sixth grade building in the Plymouth Schools.”  He told the students, “You are the proof of why we made the right decision.”

    State Superintendent Tony Bennett asked the student how many school there are in Indiana.  Students guessed 500, 632, and 734 but Bennett said, “Would you believe it’s around 2,000.”  He then commented on Mr. Mohr’s example of being at number one seed in the NCAA basketball tournament.  Bennett said, “It’s better than that. That’s the top four in a field of 64. There are more than 2,000 schools in Indiana. You are one of the top four in 2000.”  He continued by discussing the affect of being named a school to watch by saying, “It means when other schools see something that you are doing that they would like to try they are going to call your school and ask questions.  It means that you are a mentor school, helping other schools be better.”

    Bennett asked the kids the three most common characteristics of a “School to Watch.”  The kids hit it right on the head…Administration and principals who provide leadership, Teachers and staff who work to educate our children, and Students who are outstanding achievers.  He continued, “We are proud of you.   We consider you our leaders for tomorrow.”

  The program closed with Riverside staff and students performing “The First 10 Days at Riverside” a spoof of the Ten Day of Christmas and the singing of the Riverside School Song.