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River Islands Tech classes get underway
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Parents arrived at noon during an abbreviated first day of school at River Island Technology Academy. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

LATHROP – Wednesday marked many ‘firsts’ at the River Islands Technology Academy.

For starters, it was the first day of school at the independent charter school for kindergarten- through sixth- grade students. By that, Principal Brenda Scholl noted that the charter actually leases the facilities from the Banta School District.

“It was calm for our first day,” she said. “It was great seeing smiles on the faces of our students, who were dressed in uniforms.”

For some parents, it was their first time that they made their way through the River Islands project. No doubt there was some confusion with the drop-off and pick-up points around campus. The limited access route bogged down traffic at noon on this minimum day.

“It’s a brand new school and everyone is still trying to figure out the routine,” said fourth-grade teacher Randy Goodwin.

 The second-year instructor taught the previous year at Lathrop High.

On this first day, he distributed Chrome Books to his students. Using the available up-to-date technologies is part of the academy’s vision.

“It took time to get the devices out to all 32 students in my class,” Goodwin said.

The Chrome Book, allows him to present his English, math, history and science curriculum to the youngsters.

Goodwin added that the goal for the academy is to someday go paperless. “It’ll take some time,” he said.

Third- through- sixth-grade students are responsible for taking care of their Chrome Book.

Fourth-grader Reed Goodwin, who attended Woodward School last year, understands that and is looking forward to the new school year on a brand-new campus.

K-2 youngsters were provided with iPad minis.

River Islands will eventually become a K-8, according to Scholl, who previously worked as a site administrator for Manteca Unified.

This wasn’t her first time opening a new school. She was at the McParland Annex when it first opened.

But academy is bigger in scope. As principal, Scholl oversees 398 students – they come from the surrounding areas, including Tracy, Stockton, Salida and Ripon – along with 15 teachers, five campus monitors, and four office staff members.

Custodial and gardening services are contracted out.

Scholl is planning grand opening for the charter school in about six weeks or after the dust settles in River Islands.

“Creating a new school is really exciting,” she said.