Upper School Remote Program

At Rivers, we prize the relationships between teachers and students as central to the learning experience. Our hope and priority in transitioning to distance learning is to allow students to continue with their learning while maintaining connection and routine in their daily life as an Upper School student. Faculty and Administrators have been preparing for this transition over the last few weeks and remain committed to the continuity of classes along with community connectedness during this challenging time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we engage in a new way to “deliver School” remotely—and we appreciate the partnership of families and students as we navigate this new system.

The uncertainty of these past few weeks has been a challenge for all of us. Invariably there will be issues that arise as we become accustomed to our new form of teaching and learning. I would ask for your patience and do not hesitate to be in touch with questions and concerns.

—James Long, Assistant Head of School/Head of Upper School


List of 8 items.

  • Upper School Class Schedule

    Click here to view the daily class schedule.

    An updated schedule of the week's club meetings and other afternoon activities can be found in the Rivers Strong section of the Rivers Responds site.
  • Advice for Rivers Parents and Guardians

    The transition to remote learning will be a challenge for everyone involved. These guidelines provided below are intended to help parents think about what they can do to help their child find success as we transition to remote learning in the Upper School. It may also help you to review the expectations and guidelines for students in the sections that follow.

    • Try to establish routines and expectations as much as possible. Encourage kids to go to bed and wake up at defined times.
    • Try to define the physical space/location where your children will learn most of the time - a place that can be quiet and has a strong wireless signal, if possible.
    • Remember that this is a school day and your kids will be expected to be on time for class and in appropriate attire. Attendance will be taken.
    • Encourage physical activity and / or exercise during the day. Students taking breaks from their monitor when they have free blocks is important for their well-being.
    • Try to remain mindful of your child’s stress or worry. Kids will be challenged by this new learning environment and need as much routine as parents can provide.
  • Expectations for Students

    • Classes will continue to meet in their normal time blocks, and classes will be held by teachers on Zoom. Classes will be a mix of active Zoom classes and independent work assigned by your teachers. Often all 45 or 80 minutes of a block will not be taken up in a Zoom class itself.
    • In our slightly revised daily schedule (see link below), you’ll notice that most of the times that you don’t have class are “free.” This is your own time to manage appropriately, knowing you need to balance getting your schoolwork done with taking care of yourself.
    • Advisory will meet during its normal Monday and Friday blocks, PLUS a new Wednesday advisory at 9:20. Advisories will be an important time to stay connected with your peers, and for your advisor to check in on how you’re all doing.
    • The link to get to each Zoom class will be posted through Google Calendar.
    • Your first day “back” will be Wednesday, March 25, and we will be following a MONDAY schedule.
  • Best Practices for Student Learning

    • Prepare for class as you would normally, based on your assignments posted on Podium.
    • This is still school, so work to establish routines that help you shift in and out of the school “mindset” before and after classes.
    • Find a quiet desk or table to sit at when in Zoom classes or meetings with teachers, and have your class materials on hand. Remove distractions from this space and have an appropriate backdrop.
    • Do not use your phone or other device during a Zoom meeting/class, and do not use Zoom or any other technology to have side “chats” with friends in the class.
    • Never record (video, audio, or screenshots) peers or teachers without their permission, and definitely never post any of the above anywhere without permission either. Doing so would disrespectful and again our school rules.
    • Wear appropriate clothing, meeting at least the minimum requirements of a dress down day if we were on campus.
    • Be on time for class, and if you have a conflict, make sure you communicate with your teacher via email as you usually would. Also, as usual, a parent needs to email Ms. Donahue (s.donahue@rivers.org) if you are going to miss or be late to any class periods. Teachers will be taking attendance.
    • When in a Zoom class or meeting, do not mute the video feed of yourself.
    • Turn on “Do Not Disturb” on your iPad or Computer during Zoom sessions.
    • Overall, be your best selves, and especially remember to conduct all of your communications with adults, especially surrounding completion and submission of work, and attendance, with the fullest of integrity and honesty. Reach out to your teachers and advisor when you’re struggling or need help instead of cutting a corner to get by. All school rules and class-specific integrity policies still apply.
  • Support for Students

    We ask all Upper School students to proactively seek out and communicate with adults at Rivers as different needs arise. Contacts for a variety of support will remain the same. If you are unsure of whom to ask about an issue you are having, your advisor is always a good point person. There will undoubtedly be a lot of questions in the first days, so please be patient as we reply!

    In addition to using your advisors as a resource, you can use the following list to help identify the proper person to contact for various issues:

    • Difficulties in a particular class: Your teacher
    • Broader concerns or questions: Your advisor
    • Counseling and Wellness: Mr. Liston and Ms. Knortz
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Ms. Archibald
    • Technology: Tech Office (techoffice@rivers.org)
    • Student Life: Class Deans and Mr. Mills
    • Curriculum Concerns: Ms. Fraser
    • Class selection/schedule: Dr. Dalton
    • Athletics: Mr. Pipe
    • College Counseling: Mr. Lyons, or your assigned College Counselor
  • Counseling and Wellness

    We understand how important it is for students to have access to social/emotional support in these uncertain times. We encourage families to utilize the counselors for scheduled appointments and check-in during the counseling drop-in hours, and also to access the “self help” resources for parents and students below.

    The first self help resource is our COVID-19 Padlet page, which has resources for parents and students. The second resource is our main resource page that has over 40 resources that address typical issues that adolescents face.

    Our counselors will continue to be available for virtual drop in consultation, via a HIPPA compliant video conferencing platform (that works with Apple and Android phones, iPads, and through web browsers) during the academic week. Drop in hours for virtual counseling support for both Middle and Upper School students will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00am - 12:30pm.

    During those dedicated times, both students and parents can video conference with Ms. Knortz though this link and students can connect with Mr. Liston through this link. Students interested in resuming standing weekly meetings with their school counselor should email Mr. Liston or Ms. Knortz to coordinate meeting times.

    The Rivers Counseling Department will continue to be “on call” to support families around urgent matters that arise, as they always are. The primary contact person for any matters that merit immediate attention is our Director of Counseling and Wellness, Ben Liston, who can be reached on his work cell at 617-835-9266 during the academic day or the evenings.
  • Using the Technology: Zoom and Google Calendar

    Click on the following links to view videos created by Director of Academic Technology John Adams that explain how to use the remote-learning technology.

    Getting started with Zoom and Google Calendar
    • Using Zoom
    • Connecting Notability with Google Classroom

  • College Counseling

    COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on how admission offices operate, but it has far from stopped them. Colleges are working round the clock to create ways for you to learn about their campuses despite the current limitations on visits. For certain, many have created amazing resources and are continuing to do so. Below is a listing of virtual visit resources as well as the latest information regarding standardized testing, interesting articles we’ve come across, and quick tips from our office. We cannot stress enough that if you dig into this stuff by spending time “visiting” colleges, reading guide books, and perusing college websites, you will be incredibly well informed -- likely even more than you would be if you had simply relied on visits!

A Weekly Message from Mr. Mills

Every Monday, Dean of Students Will Mills posts a video message to Upper School students. Visit his YouTube channel to see his latest message or review the previous messages that are archived there.

Feedback Form

Have questions or feedback related to some aspect of the new remote-learning program? If so, we'd love for you to share them with us using this feedback form, which we've developed to help us be more efficiently responsive to your thoughts and concerns.

Need Tech Support?

If you need technology support during our campus closure, please reach out to our Technology Office at techoffice@rivers.org. When emailing them, please include your name, phone number, and a complete description of the issue you are having. Our technology team will be in contact with you as soon as possible.


List of 12 frequently asked questions.

Find Student Life Info on Rivers Responds

Information about advisory, club meetings, athletic schedules, and other student activities can be found in the Rivers Strong section of the Rivers Responds site​.