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River Islands Tech celebrates school’s grand opening

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River Islands Tech celebrates school’s grand opening

Sixth-grade students of River Islands display the colleges they hope to attend someday.


POSTED October 9, 2013 11:49 p.m.

River Islands Technology Academy is no ordinary school.

Principal Brenda Scholl mentioned just that at Tuesday’s grand opening celebration.

“So much planning was involved in the opening of the school – there’s still so much to do,” she said at the evening program held in the multi-purpose room.

The special event was a team effort, involving all 394 students along with teachers, staff and volunteers.

River Islands opened Aug. 14 as a kindergarten- through- sixth- grade campus. The program is expected to add seventh-grade classrooms come next year and eighth the following year. Discussions are underway to possibly expand the program to ninth- through- 12th- grade students, Scholl said.

A charter program – the Banta School District, in this case, is the authorizing agency –  River Islands is “a place where schools provide rigorous project-based learning,” according to its mission statement.

Students have access to new technology while learning the three fundamental skills – How to find information; how to access the quality of information; and how to creatively and effectively use this information to accomplish their goals.

Scholl recalled the early days when the River Islands campus was under construction and registration was held in a trailer.

The campus is nearly completed. Coming soon will be the construction of nearby homes.

“It’s extremely unusual to build the school before the homes,” said Susan Dell’Osso, who wears several hats including developer, school board president, and co-owner of the nearby Dell’Osso Family Farm.

She added, “Soon the houses will fill the area and it’ll be much easier getting to school.”

Dell’Osso acknowledged students from the 14 classrooms for making possible the scarecrows currently on display for “The Scarecrow Ride” at her Pumpkin Maze.

Scholl noted that two programs were held during the grand opening. Both were similar, thus, allowing most of the families to attend.

Students from each of the classrooms were involved in various performances.

The third-grade classes, for starters, did “This Land is Your Land” while the presentation by kindergarteners was entitled “Technology.

The fourth-grade classes provided facts and figures on the area called “Did You Know?”

The second graders put together an acrostic poem, the fifth-grade classes played “Fifth Grade Rocks,” and first graders performed “Bright Happy Days.”

The sixth-grade students, who, according to Scholl, are the leaders of the school, did “A Day in the Life of…”

They held on placards a logo of the college that they hope to attend.

Among the special guests were Dell’Osso, board Vice President Gene Neely, and fellow board members Kitty Towers, Rick Arucan, and Albert Garibaldi.

From the San Joaquin County Office of Education were guest speakers Jim Thomas in business services – he attended the earlier session – and James Mousalimas in student programs at the evening event.

Scholl, in addition, recognized Maryanne Friend and Ed Babakhan, a technical support specialist. Both are from SJCOE, but help out regularly at River Islands with technology integration.

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