RSS High School Blog

Monday, February 10, 2020

Image result for happy february

February has come and so has the snow! But we have not let that stop us! The high school has been going places and getting stuff done. 

10th-grade Fieldwork to History Colorado: The Outliers expedition went to History Colorado to help deepen their knowledge of the Ute Indians and interned Japanese Americans. We focused our fieldwork on 3 exhibits in the museum, one of which was Portraits of Courage images by Shane Sato. 

The group in the lobby.

9th-grade Humanities Students: The Empire Stories exhibition has just finished a unit on how religion and belief systems help societies to develop customs and traditions. Students choose one of the top 11 most populous religions and researched and created a poster. They also made a religious object to accompany their projects to help tell that religion's story. Many used RSS's new laser printer to create their objects. We ended with a gallery walk for them and 11th-grade. 

12th-grade Fieldwork to the Colorado Supreme Court: The Legal History expedition toured the Colorado Supreme Court and the Colorado Court of Appeals. We learned about the Colorado judicial system, its structure, history, and mission. We got to sit in the Supreme Court and the students were challenged to come back when there is an issue they are passionate about being presented in front of the Supreme Court. 



Greetings from the Project Happiness X-Block! : Our group of middle and high leaders is journeying into the science behind happiness.  A shortlist of the cool stuff our crew has gotten into so far: creating inspirational quote chalk art, daily gratitude journaling, team-building challenges, and doing small but mighty acts of kindness. We are currently writing letters to someone we are grateful for and then we are reading the letter in-person or on the phone to that person.   

Our crew activities center around the daily Project Happiness theme. One of our #WellnessWednesday's had us working through the trust progression which led up to levitation (along with huge smiles and laughter). Our crew favorite, #FreedomFriday - finds us out in the courtyard each Friday giving out cocoa, lemonade, cookies, and hearts with quotes to RSS students and staff.  

Check out Project Happiness and follow K^3 Crew and RSS Project Happiness X-Block on Instagram at projecthappiness_renaissance.  #RSSspreadthelove

Upcoming Events for the High School: 

2/12 - Star Party - Denver Astronomical Society 6-9 pm for Freshman students and families
Mary Poppins Audition Workshops - 1/30, 1/31 - 4:45 - 6:00; 2/1 - 9-10:30;  2/6 - 4:45-6
Auditions - 2/13,  5-6:30 and 2/18-2/19 from 5-8
2/25,26 - Fieldwork - Outliers, PACE Center, When Will They Tell My Story? Art Exhibit
2/27 - Fieldwork - Legal History, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
3/16-20 - Spring Break
3/27 - Wish Week Kick-Off; Closing Ceremonies 4/6
4/4 - Wish Week Game Day, RSS, 12 - 6 pm
4/30 - Senior Capstone Community Night, RSS Commons, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
5/2 - Junior/Senior Prom, Pinnacle at Chrystal Valley, 8 pm
5/30 - Graduation, 10 am

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

One month into the semester and things are really getting going. Here is a brief recounting of some of the highlights from the last two weeks.  

In the 10th grade expedition, Outbreak, students went out and collected samples off doors, the park benches,
basically anywhere that could be swabbed and they tried to grow what they found. Riffee emphatically
said, “Everything grew something.” Proving to the students that there are lots of bacteria, viruses, fungi out
there and that hand washing is always a good idea. Students have continued to learn the science of infectious
diseases and are diving into case studies on various outbreaks from the past and today. 

In the 9th science expedition, Prove It, they have been measuring samples of matter, like wood, acrylic,
metals, and other materials, to determine the relationship between mass and volume. They have been
designing experiments in order to connect the relationship between mass and volume to the concept
of buoyancy. 

Seniors have been working hard on their capstone projects. They are in the thick of revision and gathering the
final pieces for their portfolios, all while continuing to develop their final product. It is exciting all the neat and
interesting things they are doing. On April 30th starting at 5:30 pm, seniors will have a Capstone Community
Night to show off their wonderful projects. Please put it on your calendar and come out to show your support. 

In Math classes, 11th/12th graders are in the middle of their Tessellation Project (due Monday, Feb 3). In 10th grade, students continue to work with functions and function notation to predict outcomes including
disease spread as it relates to their Outbreak Expedition. The 9th graders continue to practice writing
and solving proportions to explore how ancient cultures may have designed physical structures.
They will soon begin working on their scaled-down models.

In the Legal History expedition, students have been out in the field learning about the legal and legislative
systems. Students toured the state capitol and were able to see first hand how the government runs and
the place where its laws are made. Students then went to see the movie, Just Mercy. They were able
to glean from the film how the judicial system is not always just and how it takes courage to bring justice
to all. Based on the book and the true story of Bryan Stevenson, it is a remarkable story of perseverance
and integrity. 

In the 9th grade expedition, Empire Stories, students have begun to tease apart the layers of what makes a
society and its cultural beliefs. They have mapped empires and seen how geography plays a role in the
development of a society. Also, they have dived into creation stories from around the world as a lens of
understanding how a culture defines its existence and determines the values to hold dear. Next, students
have just begun an in-depth study of modern religions as vehicles of understanding society. They will make
beautiful and informative posters and a 3-D representation of an object that represents their religion. 

Juniors studying Mythology are looking at stories and myths from cultures around the world through the lens
of the hero's journey and examining how the basic idea of that journey and many of its components links
humanity throughout time. We are currently moving from ancient mythology to modern religions to see if some of the stories we tell in modern religions follow the hero's journey as well. 

RSS will be traveling to Costa Rica in Summer 2021. This trip is open to all RSS students and families! Join us for 8 all-inclusive days in Northern Costa Rica. Your days will be full of expeditions & excitement. Students also have the opportunity to earn 1/2 Spanish credit. Email to RSVP or for more information check out

Upcoming Events for the High School: 

1/30 - Fieldwork to History Colorado - 10th grade Outliers Expedition 
2/5 - Star Party - Denver Astronomical Society 6-9 pm for Freshman students and families
2/6 - Fieldwork to Colorado Supreme Court - 12th grade Legal History Expedition
Mary Poppins Audition Workshops - 1/30, 1/31 - 4:45 - 6:00; 2/1 - 9-10:30;  2/6 - 4:45-6
Auditions - 2/13,  5-6:30 and 2/18-2/19 from 5-8
3/27 - Wish Week Kick-Off; Closing Ceremonies 4/6
4/4 - Wish Week Game Day, RSS, 12 - 6 pm
4/30 - Senior Capstone Community Night, RSS Commons, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
5/2 - Junior/Senior Prom, Pinnacle at Chrystal Valley, 8 pm
5/30 - Graduation, 10 am

Friday, January 10, 2020

Welcome back to a new semester! I hope your break was restful and joy filled! Below are a few highlights of
all the good things taking place in the High School. 

9th Grade: 

In the new ninth grade English and World History expedition, entitled Empire Stories, students have been
looking at the danger of a single story and how perspective shapes the stories we tell ourselves. They will
use this knowledge to delve into world history and how the stories we remember from these civilizations
say more about us and where we are today. This expedition is linked to what 9th grade is doing in math.
Students are working on proportional reasoning and will be constructing relevant models of historical

In science, students have begun one of two ninth grade expeditions - Eaarth or Prove It. Eaarth focuses on
astrobiology and environmental science. Prove It looks at the basic principles of science and math that are
needed to be successful as a scientist. 

10th Grade: 

In the science and humanities expedition, entitled Outbreak, Schafer and Riffee did a contagious lab where students simulated the swapping of bodily fluids.  All students started with a clear liquid in a test tube and a transfer pipette, however, one person unknowingly started with a disease (simulated with aqueous sodium hydroxide) while all other students.  Students traveled around the room and when told to stop, they swapped the simulated bodily fluid from their test tube. This was repeated for five rounds. Once all rounds were completed, an indicator solution was added to each student's test tube.  If the liquid turned pink in color, the student has the disease. Students were then tasked with determining who was patient zero (the person that started with the disease).

In math, students are working on slopes and rates of change in functions. They are working in connection
with the Outbreak expedition and will be modeling how infectious diseases spread with functions.

In the art and English expedition, entitled Outliers, students launched this expedition by diving  into the idea of
what is a societal outlier. They have looked at many examples of this and then shared them in a gallery
walk. Students will then begin to examine in depth two outlier examples in art and English, Native Americans
and Japanese Internment, culminating in fieldwork at History Colorado in a couple weeks. 

11th and 12th Grade: 

In science, upperclassmen are beginning a quarter of learning about genetics and bioethics. They will be
completing independent study projects and having discussions of issues involving bioethics today. 

In the Junior English and humanities expedition, entitled Mythology, Avengers End Game is the perfect,
interest grabbing vehicle for students to analyze the Hero's Journey of their favorite Avenger. End Game
will be used as a springboard to delve into Ancient Mythologies, and the Hero's Journeys that take place
within those ancient myths. Additionally, students will be assessing their analysis via a single frame,
epiphany-inducing comic about their chosen Avenger; this activity will prepare students for our final
assessment for the quarter: our own RSS Comic Con. Throughout the quarter we will work our way
through history to more modern myths, including coming full circle and analyzing other mythological
scenarios in our modern pop culture, like End Game. 

In math, 11th and 12th graders are exploring solid geometry, specifically related to the structure of beehives
and honeycombs.

Seniors will continue to refine and work towards completion of their capstone projects. Some seniors began
their Legal History expedition with a mini-mock trial. We are excited to dive into the judicial system and
how it affects society, politics, and economics today and in the past. 

Legal History Mock Trial

Spanish - all grades: 

Spanish students in all levels are kicking off the New Year by taking a look at how Spain rings in the New
Year. In Spain, they ring in the new year in two ways, one of which is making 12 resolutions as they eat
12 grapes at midnight. What's the other way? Ask your Spanish student to find out!

Other announcements: 

Juniors and Seniors interested in taking the ASVAB should see Jan or their advisory teacher to sign up. Test
will take place January 17th. 

Are you a construction guru? Would you be interested in earning some volunteer hours? The HS
sustainability x-block would love a construction foreman or expert to help design the new RSS
Greenhouse. Please email Matt Riffee for more information,

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Welcome to the RSS High School Blog!

Every two weeks, we will be updating this blog with all of the good things that RSS students are doing. We will share high school updates, classroom photos, information about things happening in classes, and other exciting things taking place. We are excited to have one more way to share all the cool and amazing things taking place at RSS. 

General Announcements: 

  • The semester ends 12/20/2019. Please help your student be vigilant about checking their grades and turning in final assignments as the grading period ends 12/20. 
  • The Glee X-block will perform in the Commons at RSS, Wednesday 12/18 at 6pm. All are welcome. 
  • There is a Costa Rica interest meeting on Tuesday, 12/17 from 5pm - 6:30pm. It will be held in the Spanish room. 
  • In all Spanish classes, students will be reading a novel next semester. If you would like your student to have their own personal copy of the book, below are the links of where you can purchase them. Spanish 1   Spanish 2 Spanish 3
  • If you are willing to donate to Riffee’s science project goals to purchase cool science stuff, please use these links (project 1 or project 2) to see what he needs. 

Expedition/Course Related Demonstrations of Learning or Final Projects: 

  • In the Mystery Expedition: 
  1. Students will be presenting their historical mystery projects - 12/17 and 12/18.
  2. Students hold a story time with the 6th and 7th grade, sharing their original Mystery Mash-Up stories on 12/19.
  • In the Cold War Expedition: 
  1. Students are giving impassioned speeches about a recent conflict and their perspectives opinion on the topic. 
  • In the Chemistry of Food Expedition: 
  1. Students are creating a 3D moveable model of insulin and glucose and the physiology of type 1 and 2 diabetes.
  2. Student will host and participate in a Diabetes Panel with experts and those who have the disease on Tuesday, 12/17. 
  • In Fantastic Journey:
  1. Students will do a gallery walk of their original sci-fi or fantasy stories and world building portfolios. 
  • In Integrated Math classes:
  1. In the Integrated Math 2,3,4 and Math Foundations 2 classes, students have completed transformational snowflakes projects. 
  2. In the  Integrated Math 3 and 4, students will finish and submit on 12/13  their final proof project. 
  3. In the  Integrated Math 2 class, students will have due their mini-proof project on 12/13 and their final exam will be on Tuesday, 12/17. 
  4. In the Integrated Math 1 class, students will have a gallery walk displaying their work on systems of linear inequalities on 12/13. They will finish the semester with a final exam on Tuesday, 12/17. 
  5. In the Integrated Math Foundations 2 class, students are working to finish their Raptor dilation sculpture and will have their final quiz Monday, 12/16. 
  6. Lastly in Integrated Math Foundations 1 class, students are using their detective skills to complete a math mystery and creative writing project. 
  7. In Deegan’s Integrated Math 4,5 math class, student’s final demonstration of learning will be completing the High Dive math problem by 12/19. 
  • In Spanish classes:
  1. All classes are completing a kindness scavenger hunt in Spanish. Students must document their acts of kindness, which all are due 12/20. 
  2. For their Spanish final students are creating a Loteria board game based on their own culture. These games are due end of next week. 
  • In Deegan’s Science classes: 
  1. In the 9th grade expedition, Predict It, students will be completing a final project where they will be making their own labs based on velocity and physics. 
  • In Riffee’s Science classes: 
  1. In the 9th grade expedition, Eaarth, students have finished reading the book, Eaarth, and are working on writing research proposal papers for the Green Flag Schools initiative. It is a hope that students will create simple changes that can work on making RSS a more sustainable school. 

High School Vote with your Wallet X-Block

  • In the Vote with Your Wallet X-block, students will complete the Second Wave Clothing Exchange store at RSS. It will be a clothing swap allowing students to recycle their unwanted clothes or clothes that don’t fit. Other students hope to make rugs out of old t-shirts for classrooms. 

February has come and so has the snow! But we have not let that stop us! The high school has been going places and getting stuff done...