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RI Tech opens; 20th year for St. Anthony preschool
YE 9 - SchoolsStAntDec
Firefighters with the Manteca Fire Department help celebrate the 20th anniversary of St. Anthony Preschool with a number of fun activities for the students. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/ Bulletin file photo

The year 2013 closed on a high note for other schools that are not part of the Manteca Unified School District area.

St. Anthony of Padua Preschool, for one, celebrated a high-water mark – the 20th anniversary of its opening. The school marked its two-decade milestone with Mass followed by an open house.

The preschool opened in 1993 when Dennis Tarricco was the principal of St. Anthony School. After the school obtained a license from the state for the preschool, following the result of a survey of families in the parish which indicated that there was “a real interest” in having such a program offered, Claudette Alves was tapped as the new program director. Alves remains the director of the preschool today.

The school now has four classes with a total enrollment of 65 children. The pre-kindergarten classes are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with the preschoolers attending classes on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8 to 11 a.m. and from noon to 3 in the afternoon. One of the reasons St. Anthony opened a preschool is to have a “feeder” program for the K-8 parochial school.

During 2013, two charter schools – one in Manteca, and the other in Lathrop – dominated the news.

In August, the River Islands Technology Academy held its dedication ceremony at 100 Commercial Street in the River Islands at Lathrop development project. The school held its first day of classes on Aug. 14.

The technology academy opened with classes from kindergarten to sixth grade. The staff consisted of 14 teachers, with former Manteca Unified School District employee Brenda Scholl as the school’s first principal. All students from kindergarten through second grade are issued iPad Minis, with those from third through sixth grade given Samsung Chromebooks to use.

River Islands Technology Academy is not only the first campus to open west of the San Joaquin River; it is also the first of its kind in the city of Lathrop.

Another public charter school, Great Valley Academy on Button Avenue in Manteca, was on a roll in 2013. For the second year in a row, the school posted an impressive API score. In 2012, the number was 800. In 2013, the school gained 4 points from the previous year, giving them a score of 804. Eight-hundred is the state API target.

Great Valley Academy took over the old Manteca Christian School campus on Button Avenue. It is a branch of the Modesto GVA. Before it was able to open its doors, its application for sponsorship was turned down by Manteca Unified and the San Joaquin County Office of Education. The tuition-free school was approved eventually by New Jerusalem School District in Tracy. The school continues to maintain a long waiting list of students. Like any public school, Great Valley is funded by average daily attendance (ADA) funds from the state.