High School Academics
Riverdale High School operates on a trimester schedule. Each trimester is 12 weeks long, with five-period days. Classes meet daily for 70-minute periods (with the exception of 50-minute classes on early-release Wednesdays). Students focus their attention on five subjects at a time, allowing for better retention and management of rigorous content.
Attendance is crucial and participation is vital. Students know they need to be prepared every day, in every subject. Teachers interact with each student on a daily basis – creating continuity and providing individual attention and feedback to students regarding their needs and progress.
Riverdale students exceed Oregon state graduation requirements by four credits, by completing Riverdale's 28 credit graduation requirements.
Unlike most other high schools, Riverdale students can complete honors level work in any core subject, starting any term. Each core subject teacher offers a specific Honors Curriculum that deepens and extends the regular course plan, essentially creating a “class within a class.”
Honors Curriculum provides greater challenge for students who are interested in and capable of such work. Students who wish to pursue honors must be self-directed, able to meet deadlines and work independently. Honors work might include research, reading and writing, leadership and presentation, problem solving, scientific experimentation and investigation, community service or independent projects.
The teacher, student and parents all sign a formal contract for the Honors Curriculum. Students who complete the Honors Curriculum and receive a grade in the A or B range have an “H” designation added to their transcript for that course.
College Credit Courses
Riverdale students can graduate with 20+ college credits – taught on our campus by Riverdale teachers through partnerships with Portland State University, Portland Community College and Western Oregon University.
In fact, Western Oregon University's “Willamette Promise” program costs students only $30 per year – no matter how many WOU credits they earn. Additionally, our Willamette Promise course teachers are part of a larger professional learning community of educators – high school and college level – who meet regularly to develop common proficiency assessments, share effective teaching strategies and review data on student performance.
Many Riverdale students also earn off-campus credits through Templeton Scholars at Lewis & Clark College and similar programs at other schools.
While the high school offers no formal AP classes, our rigorous academic curriculum prepares students to succeed in the exams. We encourage our students to take AP exams and we proctor the tests at the high school.
In 2016, 71 percent of students who took an AP exam earned a score of three or greater, the requirement to earn college credit. And 37 percent earned a five, the highest score possible. The state of Oregon's overall average for AP success that year was 62 percent receiving a three or better, and the global average was 60 percent. Nearly 1 in 3 members of the class of 2016 took at least one AP exam while studying at Riverdale High School. Of those, 93 percent earned a score of three or greater, and 50 percent earned a five.
The idea of service at Riverdale is more than just community service or volunteerism. It links education to service, and service to learning. Our students contribute locally and globally in meaningful and memorable ways through their 90-hour service graduation requirement. This happens through individual service and service learning projects in the classroom. Participating in service projects prepares our students to be effective leaders, community members and citizens.