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Great Valley Academy marks 2nd year of operation with ‘50s BBQ

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POSTED April 24, 2013 1:52 a.m.

A child’s second birthday, for many, is a big to-do for the little one’s family and friends.

If the milestone involves the families and close associates of 526 individuals, the event becomes a grand celebration.

Such is the case for Great Valley Academy on Button Avenue in Manteca. The charter school is marking its second graduation ceremony for its eighth graders on Wednesday, June 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

But that’s not the only school year-end celebration on tap for the campus located on the Highway 99 Frontage Road north of East Highway 120.  On Friday, May 3, the entire school – from the school principal to all the staff, teachers and K-8 graders – will be enjoying what is turning out to be an annual tradition, a 1950s BBQ party al fresco complete with all the visual ambience of that era. Everyone is invited to come to the event in ‘50s-era dress style – e.g., poodle skirts for women.

The party, which also marks the end of the 2013 STAR Testing, will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in the school’s grassy gazebo area. Designed for the entire family, it will be a fun day for the students as well as their teachers.

The bill of fare will be barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers. Tickets for a hot dog meal is $3; $4 for a hamburger. The cost will include chips, cookie and drink.

During its first year, Great Valley distinguished itself academically by posting an 800 mark in the 2012 STAR testing. It was a significant accomplishment for a school whose charter was denied twice – first by the Manteca Unified School District, and then by the San Joaquin County of Education – before New Jerusalem in Tracy welcomed the Modesto-based charter school into its district fold.

“Those of you who receive the Manteca Bulletin likely read the front page article today regarding the school API scores. In case you missed it, of the 20 elementary schools in Manteca Unified, 5 earned an API score of 800 or better; 800 being the California state API target. Manteca Unified over-all API score was 758,” Principal Russell Howell stated in his e-mail to all parents.

“This is obviously a very positive beginning for GVA of Manteca. It brings me a great sense of satisfaction to have accomplished this in our first year while maintaining our commitment to developing student character, while emphasizing music, Spanish, and PE, without teaching to the test, and without overwhelming our students with homework,” he added.

Howell said that first-year success was “the result of a collaborative effort among students, staff, and parents.”

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